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Gautam Ghosh on Making the Benefits Clear

Posted by Colin Kingsbury

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Aug 24, 2006 12:25:00 PM

This week we are proud to host Gautam Ghosh, an OD, HR, and blogging consultant based in Hyderabad who needs little introduction around the recruiting blogosphere. His post offers some great advice on simple ways to make an ATS (or really any kind of system) rollout go more smoothly, no matter what size your organization is.

Making the Benefits Clear

I've never been a recruiter, but have worked in three organizations that were trying to implement Applicant Tracking Systems within their Recruiting organizations.

Like all change, implementing an ATS is fraught with issues around Change Management. So the process which could have been smoother caused a whole lot of heartburn and took a lot of directive prodding that could have been avoided.

Here are my learnings from these implementations, from a distance:

1. Benefits of the system should be make explicit from the very beginning. A recruiter loves sourcing and shortlisting and interviewing. Any time he/she would be spending not doing any of these should be clear why. Case studies should be shown on benefits of using the system.

2. Most of the ATS rollouts were done because of a global system changing. Nobody in India knew all the answers to point 1. Hence a change champion who has implemented this change across similar countries should be present in person to address fears and discomfort. The real thing is not "explicit questions" but the "implicit ones"

3. When systems are in a state of turmoil then introducing a system gets the pushback much more vigorously. When India is amongst the only countries hiring in new numbers, ATS rollouts might make sense for the global Online Recruitment boss, but not for the recruiters and hiring managers in the country.

4. User training and coaching should not be a "check-box" activity. When a training is called for a new software system, most people who are laymen come out of it glazed. ATS and other software tools must have a "play and test" system with dummy data to make users comfortable with the new system. This needs a champion within the team to take up the role.

5. Sometimes even third party recruiters and testing vendors need to be trained, after analysing a local country/locations specific hiring needs. If they can't be accomodated the whole system becomes cumbersome.

If the above points are kept in mind by firms before rolling out ATS systems, then they would not generate the amount of negative energy in recruiters and hiring managers than they do right now.