Automation has come a long way since its early days in 1946 as an automatic process in automobile production. Now it impacts every facet of a business from operations to marketing, and staffing is no exception to this. In fact, staffing is one of the sectors set to most benefit from introducing automation. Why? Because automation in staffing can improve every part of the talent acquisition and management cycle.
SIA’s Lexicon describes automation as “The use of technology, and more specifically artificial intelligence, to automate parts of the recruitment process from sourcing through to matching, shortlisting, fulfillment and onboarding.”
It gives an indication of some of the benefits you can expect from automation. For example, you can post to the best job boards based on your target candidates, strip biased wording from your job descriptions and schedule interviews. Advanced automation, in the form of virtual staffing assistants, can create candidate shortlists based on resume parsing and skill data. Such assistants can also match candidates to roles based on their skill data and help recruiters rediscover candidates in their talent pool.
With all of these benefits, you might wonder why more staffing firms aren’t using automation. It can be tricky to get automation right, and there are many pitfalls to avoid. That’s not to say it isn’t worth it, but there’s a right way to go about it – and that’s what I’m going to focus on.
How to Start Automating
Evidently, there are many avenues that you can explore when using automation. It might be tempting to automate every possible process in your firm. The key, however, is focusing on a few use cases that provide quick returns for little initial investment. Don’t go for the most complex process first.
1. Start small. Start with a small, simple project that generates results you can promote internally. Proving the value of automation early on makes things a lot easier long-term. Senior stakeholders will be more likely to approve bigger projects that require higher investment.
2. Prepare your team. It will also start building the right skills within your team. McKinsey & Co predicts that between 2016 and 2030, demand for IT skills will increase by 90% due to automation. The same study found that every employee will need basic digital skills as automation becomes part of every role.
3. Stick to your business goals. An important decision will be choosing the automation technology that will support your journey. It’s important that whatever you choose aligns with your business goals. Any tool that you invest in needs to be scalable and able to adapt to future changes in your firm and wider industry trends. Go with a vendor who has a proven track record of innovating and improving their product.
It’s an exciting time for the staffing sector, as automation is going to make a big impact. Getting ahead of the curve now will pay dividends in the long run – but only if you do it in the right way, with a clear focus on what you want automation to do in your firm and the right technology to get there.