During the pandemic, 44% of companies implemented new recruitment technology, and investment in HR and talent tech is now at an all-time high as companies scramble for talent integrations to better attract, develop and retain talent.
But this rush to build up the tech stack will see some of these companies end up with little to show for their costly investment.
For your integrations and talent tech stack to be effective, you need to take a step back and ask how it all fits together, and what it’s helping you to achieve.
Strategic talent integrations
At its core, your talent tech stack should ease the flow of information across your talent ecosystem, giving you a single source of truth from which you can generate insights, power automation, and act with data – in other words, it should make your life easier and your talent efforts more impactful.
So before you make any buying decisions, decide on your strategy. What do you actually want to achieve, and what capabilities and data do you need to get there? Where do you need the data to go in your business? For example, maybe you want data from a talent intelligence integration to help you tag employees for internal roles to improve internal mobility and retention. By thinking early on about your strategic aims and goals, you can better define what tools and integrations you really need.
And this thinking should go beyond just your team. Your talent tech strategy should encompass talent acquisition, internal talent development, retention, and your diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) efforts. If you invest in tools in a silo, you’ll have a patchwork of fragmentary systems and data; it will be much harder to map the whole lifecycle of talent through your business and the flow of skills in and out of it. But if you have a coherent, holistic talent strategy, which also aligns with the wider goals of your business, you can start to think about what tools will make that a reality.
The right partners – inside and out
When investigating a new tool, you should assess how and how well it will integrate with your existing tools and workflows. Most modern tools have application programming interfaces (APIs), making it much easier to integrate with your current tech stack and feed into each other systems in modular ways – rather than having to manually pull reports and data locked in .csv files.
But you should also think beyond the technical side; you need to consider the company you’re partnering with. Their product roadmap and potential financial exits can influence the future of the integration and how useful it is to you. If, for example, the company looks like it is likely to be acquired by another player in the space, then it may pose more of a risk than a company who is on a clear path to an IPO. You might lose a vital service you’ve just spent time and money integrating.
You also need to establish clear ownership and responsibilities inside your own business so your integrations actually work the way you want them to. For most companies, IT plays the key role in integrating new tools, but it often doesn’t collaborate effectively with the talent team during the process. In fact, 40% of talent leaders believe that their IT team prioritizes its own needs over the talent team’s needs.
The same goes for ongoing running of the integration and the management of data associated with it. Many companies develop talent operations teams to manage these functional aspects of talent integrations. Not only can they look at the quality of integrations and what potential risks a new tool brings to your processes, they can also manage the day-to-day running of these integrations, acting as a liaison between the talent function and IT, and making sure the tools and the data are being used in the most effective way.
Managing the data – and ensuring its accuracy, integrity and quality – is a critical part of your integrations strategy because it allows for the efficient flow of information across your talent ecosystem and opens up new opportunities.
You need to consider the quality of integration: what sort of data is it giving you access to, and how fresh is it? Is it real-time, or does the data update just once a day? And how many data points is it giving you? For example, is it just giving you access to a name and email address, or does it include past work experience, skills, tags, and more? By asking these questions, you get a clearer idea of what the integration will actually allow to do.
An integration with the right tool and the right data source can deliver new insights or power AI tools. Our integration with Workday, for instance, allows us to build a talent pool of “silver medalists” – applicants who were a great fit, but the second or third pick – whose profiles would otherwise be lost, and then uses AI to recommend the strongest candidates from that pool when a relevant position is opened.
The connected talent ecosystem
But, more than that, by feeding into the rest of your talent tech stack, the right integrations help connect up your talent ecosystem, so you can start operating from a single, coherent source of data. This allows you to connect up and introduce automation throughout the talent lifecycle – from recruitment to onboarding to development.
You can define your talent pools at a more granular level, surface untapped talent, customize outreach campaigns, and automatically suggest adjacent jobs to employees based on their existing skill set. Your whole talent ecosystem becomes fairer, more transparent and more powerful – driven by data and the right integrations.
Modern recruiters know, for example, that to get the best talent, you need to be proactive. An ATS alone is not enough – what about great candidates that aren’t in your application process? But integrate a CRM into your ATS and you can start to source, attract and engage hiring prospects long before they apply.
So thinking strategically about the data you need to achieve your talent goals and the integrations you need to make it flow has an outsized impact on the return you get from your talent technology investments. Rather than a disparate set of tools, you start to develop a coherent, connected Talent Lifecycle Management solution – a centralised hub where all of your talent acquisition, development and retention activities and tools can be managed. Your tech stack, and the integrations that augment it, create a robust, flexible flow of data that can adapt to meet any change in the market or competition, meaning you’re always able to deliver the right talent.