Businesses know that providing a personalized experience to their customers is a surefire way to get better results. And consumers demand it: 71% expect companies to deliver personalized interactions; 76% get frustrated when this doesn’t happen (McKinsey). As targeted marketing and tailored recommendations get ever more sophisticated, these same businesses are looking to their talent experience – the interactions they have with candidates and employees – and asking how technology can help with personalization, and ultimately improve the overall experience.
When you consider the talent journey, it’s clear that there are areas that could be massively improved with more consideration for the unique individual you are interacting with. Just like the customer experience, a personalized talent experience helps people feel connected to your ‘brand’, and builds loyalty.
The more you know about your potential candidates and existing (and even former) employees, the more likely you are to present them with options and opportunities, at each touchpoint, that truly match their skills and interests – and actually engage them. The right technology, based on the right data, can help you personalize the whole talent experience, at scale, and make people feel more valued and understood – a great way to get them on your side as an employer.
Grow your talent pool
Think about the first stage of a candidate’s journey. If they find your careers site, what do they see? Is it akin to Netflix, where they can log in and see tailored job recommendations, based on what they’ve looked at before and the preferences they have shared? Do they have to fill in lots of information, or can you pull in CV information automatically from their LinkedIn profile? Are you able to email them with relevant content and personalized job alerts, like your favorite consumer brand?
In this tight talent market, it makes a lot of sense to make this experience as seamless as possible, so you can – quite simply – convert more prospects into candidates, and more candidates into employees. Going beyond a ‘careers site’ to more of a ‘candidate portal’ means you can gather the right insights and build up your talent pool: creating a community of passive talent, which can be organized by things like job category, location and readiness.
Nurture talent in the right way
Your sizable talent community isn’t worth much if you can’t keep them ‘warm’ and build a proper talent pipeline. You need to keep in touch with all the people in the database, and give them a flavor of how good it would be to work with your company. And, as we all know from the most effective marketing emails, engaging communications need to be properly personalized.
Luckily, keeping your talent community engaged, and keen to apply when the right role comes up, is easier than ever. With a Talent Lifecycle Management platform (including talent CRM), you can keep the data on your wide range of potential candidates in one place. From there, you can then automate ongoing communications: personalized emails can be sent to specific candidate segments, and then – depending on how someone interacts with those comms – you can trigger a followup. These sequences ensure you are creating a superb impression of your employer brand, and tailored job alerts (powered by AI) give your database every chance to apply to their ideal role.
Improve quality of hire
While creating an engaged community is a very useful first step, the key benefit of personalization is quality. With explainable AI, people can be matched to roles they are most suitable for (and most interested in) based on their skills; matches can be made that a human may not even have spotted. While humans will always be making the final decision, technology brings smart recommendations to the table – ensuring that your business can get the best ‘fit’ for every role.
When you treat people as individuals, and eschew a one-size fits all approach, you can also make good progress towards DE&I targets. We know that a more diverse workforce leads to better business (as well as societal) outcomes; diverse perspectives mean more creative outcomes and innovation to help you better compete.
From a candidate perspective, seeing recommendations for roles – rather than just one huge list – could mean giving people more confidence to apply for something they otherwise would not have. Engaging with people based on their unique set of skills (rather than a generic approach) offers a far more inclusive experience. To offer personalization at scale you need explainable AI, and that leads to more equitable processes: it will uncover talent you might never have considered.
But diversity goes beyond hiring. There is no point widening your talent pool and getting plenty of diverse perspectives in the door, then not being able to hold on to that same range of talent. Making employees feel appreciated, seen, heard and understood is imperative.
When you deploy technology to create personalization at scale, by definition you are going to see time and money savings: by automating processes to do something that would otherwise be incredibly manual, you give your HR teams space to focus on the work that really matters.
Insights about preferences, as well as skills and interests, can even be inferred from interactions (both from candidates and employees). The manual work of data collection can be a thing of the past.
But this approach also means you can hone in on the talent that is most suitable, the best fit, the most interested and the most engaged.
Recruitment teams don’t need to spend valuable time chasing down people who are not really interested or ready to move; they don’t need to spend time talking to folks who won’t be a good fit for the sorts of roles you are hiring for.
By putting opportunities in front of candidates, they help you with sourcing: they are driving the experience, and being a more active participant in their career ‘journey’. They are ‘sourcing themselves’ – giving you the feedback you need to improve the recommendations in the future, and saving time and money. The same goes for employees: they can be shown potential career paths, opportunities for upskilling, and roles they’d never considered but could be great at – and they can take control of their experience at your organization.
Personalization requires data, and gathering data always comes with risk. With the right technology, you can manage that risk better and find easier ways to prove compliance. Ask your potential employees for their preferences in a consistent, managed way and give them exactly the experience they want – compliantly.
A proper Preference Center for candidates gives you more visibility, and makes it far easier to see who opted in and when. Automatically send the right content to people who want to receive it, with complete confidence in your data. Give candidates more control over the whole process – and give your legal teams peace of mind.
Higher engagement and retention rates
According to Gartner, 82% of employees say it’s important for their organization to see them as a person, not just as an employee. Indeed, 47% of HR leaders are prioritizing employee experience in 2023. How can a big company make every employee feel valued and understood?
Consider an AI-powered Talent Marketplace, to bring together a deep understanding of the talent in the business, with the needs of the business, in real time. It can help match people with internal opportunities, from gigs to full-time jobs, and from training courses to ideal mentors within the business.
In our Talent Index research, 38% of people told us they would be looking for opportunities for career development in a new job. A Talent Marketplace makes it really easy for people to find (and move into) those development opportunities, and thus makes it more likely they will stay at your company… and stay engaged and interested in the work they are doing.
“Companies are no longer happy with end-to-end talent management systems designed for HR – we now need platforms that help employees (and contingents) manage their own talent experience at work.” Josh Bersin
Related to the point above, personalizing the experience – matching the right person with the right role, gig or mentor – helps to get the work done more efficiently. The route to this ideal scenario is to break down jobs into tasks (‘unbundling the job’, as Forrester calls it) and match the skills of your talent with the skills needed for those tasks.
It requires a step change in how work, and talent, is perceived, and a new way to ensure skills data is consistent (and dynamically updated) across your various HR technology solutions. But in a world where skills gaps are widening, and the skills needed to be successful are constantly changing, it’s worth stepping back and seeing how data and technology can help you close those gaps efficiently.
A skills-based approach to hiring and redeployment – matching candidates and employees to opportunities based on their unique set of skills, their potential to develop skills, and the qualities they bring to the workforce – is key to a personalized experience across the talent lifecycle. For businesses looking to do this at scale, proper management of skills data, then the smart application of explainable AI, could bring a raft of benefits for both employers and talent… and ensure people choose you, and stay with you, as they grow their careers.