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angle-left Why technology alone is not the answer


Video calls, personal drones, wearables, hover boards, as I go over the predictions Back to the Future II made it’s actually pretty impressive how close the 1989 blockbuster was. Whilst I’m still waiting for a flying DeLorean to cut my commute it would seem that there is no end to the problems technology can solve.

Resourcing is of course no exception. Technology in the talent management space is no longer limited to simply processing seemingly endless piles of CVs, updating potential candidates progress or ensuring people get paid on time. The focus is now firmly on providing insight from all this data, such as where to find the best talent or predict what skills and qualities make applicants successful in particular jobs. We can integrate psychometric assessments in ways that candidates don’t even see them as tests but games, or build in our social media platforms to identify ‘passive’ talent.

And yet at the heart of all this technology there’s no escaping resourcing is all about people. When a candidate isn’t paid on time, a hiring manager just isn’t gelling with people in an interview, or when someone just needs to be heard, it’s a person they want to see with expertise.

People at the heart of technology

Whilst tech advancements are enabling business to offer more personalised candidate experiences and aggregate sourcing efforts across job boards, social, etc. in today’s candidate driven market where skills shortages loom large none of this can replace the relationships required to inspire loyalty, or assist someone to decide which job offer is right for them.

Our CEO, Alastair Cox, recently wrote an article about how the rise of robots simply serves to put people at a premium. Anyone can replicate technology or training, but your people, motivated innovators, thinkers with natural intuition, that’s what drives true business success and this is something that features heavily in my conversations with HR and procurement professionals time and time again.

Technology is a great enabler when it comes to almost any question, but technology alone is never the solution, as people always lie at the heart of the talent question. Therefore once you are clear of the issue you are trying to solve before you turn to technology consider the below people factors first.

People and processes

Have you reviewed how your people are engaging with existing processes? If you don’t sense check your current way of working you are simply enabling bad business practice to be more easily actioned. Think about how many times a process is implemented and then over time people become so used to the system they simply do it without thinking if it’s really the right solution or the best way of doing things. People begin to develop ‘work arounds’ as situations change or new issues arise rather than really addressing the problem.

People and systems

If you’re implementing technology to reduce headcount or free up resource, you may need to think again. Whilst technology can free you from an administrative burden you will still need someone, or in some cases a team of people, who are in charge of the implementation and ongoing governance of any system to ensure it is being used by others as intended. If someone is inputting information incorrectly, manual updates are required, or for some reason there is an error, people will need to step in.

Take a VMS system, where will your flexible workforce go when they cannot login to submit a timesheet? Back to that already stretched Line Manager who’ll come to your team that implemented the system?

People and promotion

How will you promote the benefits of the system to the Line Managers and other users to secure the buy-in so they take some ownership of the system and how to use it? How will you decide who is responsible for what? For example, who manages Agency Worker Regulation (AWR) compliance? Technology will give them visibility, but who has the conversation with the Line Manager about tenure, extensions and managing risk?

It’s not just the promotion of the system itself we need to consider either. In a world where the employer brand and candidate experience must meet the standards set by constantly evolving world of e-commerce and consumer branding, your technology must be able to keep up, allowing a two way conversation between the business and the talent. Who do your contractors and temps feedback to about their experience of working within your organisation and how they rate the experience?

A great candidate experience can be enhanced with the latest technology, video interviewing, etc., but is this authentic? Does it really reflect what it’s like to work in all areas of your business or in reality will they be dealing with real people, on the phone, or in person in a collaborative environment all day?

People and people

If you’ve got a talent issue simply implementing a VMS solution or integrating some new functionality will not solve your problem. It takes leadership, it takes people. People drive relationships, engage stakeholders, secure buy in, provide advice on best practice, suggest alternative routes to market. People understand your business, and the best technology providers can adapt their offering to support how your people work.

So whilst I wait for this self-drying jacket to lessen the burden of those rainy London days, I’ll be reaching out to those I haven’t spoken to in a while to discuss how their people are going to answer their talent question, not just which technology! 


Victoria Fernandez
Client Engagement Director, Hays Talent Solutions UK

As a Client Engagement Director for Hays Talent Solutions in the UK, Victoria is responsible working for with HR and Procurement professionals to better understand their resourcing challenges, both industry specific, such as acute talent shortages, and business critical issues, that are unique to your organisation.

Having joined Hays Talent Solutions in 2015, from another resourcing provider, Victoria has developed expertise in the Information Technology, Telecoms, Media, BPO and Life Sciences industries, supporting organisations in this space to identify and shape resourcing solutions that meet the demands of their business today and in the future.