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The JOY Podcast: Episode Six

Tech Adoption - Going Slow to Go Fast

HubSpot Video


Episode Six of Symphony Talent’s JOY Podcast series brought Debbie Tuel, Symphony Talent’s Chief Joy Officer, together with Heather Moffitt, the Global Talent Acquisition Technology Manager at General Electric.

One of the key topics covered was organizational readiness for HR technology investments particularly – at large enterprise organizations – and the framework for the workflows that recruiters need to adopt. Although people come to recruiting with a variety of backgrounds, their goal is ultimately bringing great people on board. When, and how, technology is integrated into their toolkit can make a major impact on their success. This can be done by completing the proper due diligence, and going slow at first, in order to go fast with the correct tech.

Recruiters are handling more tasks – both routine and sophisticated – than ever before. At a certain point, it becomes critical to ask what they do day-to-day and how a particular set of technologies could make their roles easier. 

The next challenge is technology adoption which also involves managing change, and particularly aversion to it. It is important to demonstrate the value of a tool to make a recruiter’s job better and how it can quickly connect them with the right talent. Heather notes that many organizations identify “super users” internally who become experts and champions of the technology, then take it to the teams and help them personalize it to the organization.

In the final analysis, successfully identifying, implementing and adopting the right recruitment marketing technologies is a win for everyone involved. And a powerful milestone on the Journey to Joy.
Copy of The JOY Podcast in Boston (1)


Debbie [00:00:00] Welcome to the JOY Podcast, Episode Six, where I get to shine a light on how global organizations are getting back to work faster and with an exceptional experience. I'm Debbie Tuel, Chief Joy Officer at Symphony Talent, a global technology company that is leading an industry-wide movement in partnership with our customers, partners and industry leaders alike. It is a project that we're calling The Joy Pipeline, and we are glad you are joining us on this #journeyofyes. Our mission in this journey is to help recruiting teams bring the joy back to recruiting and empower them to create an exceptional candidate experience that both they, and the candidates, need now. And speaking of industry leaders, I am honored to be joined by one of my dearest friends, Heather Moffitt. Welcome, Heather. How are you today? I am good! For those of you who have not had the opportunity to meet Heather. She is the global talent acquisition technology leader at General Electric who pre-pandemic moved their headquarters to right here in Boston. And Heather and I go back, gosh, I don't know, nearly 11, 12 years. I have no idea how it's been that long because we are are not old enough to have been in the industry that long. But I do know that it was right when I moved to Boston and about 2009 that we started working together. And in that time we've both come a really long way, both professionally and personally. And I'm excited to dive into the professional aspect of that. But if you don't mind, I want to start with personally, because I think that our listeners will be able to relate because both Heather and I have young boys at home. And over the last 15 months, we have had to balance remote school shutdowns of child care and the continued expectations of work because that hasn't stopped either. And article after article is coming out right now about, you know, the impact that this has had over the last six months, the burnout that working parents are feeling across the world. And you, Heather, I started by asking you how you are today, but I should ask more generally, how have you been over the last 15 months? How have you balanced or in my case probably failed to balance taking care of your family, your boys and work?

Heather [00:02:31] Yeah, I mean, it's been pretty wild for everyone, right? I just remember at the time of the travel shutdowns last year, I was actually at an industry conference. So it was a really abrupt transition for me. And, you know, I think some good came of it and some not so good. We were all of a sudden four of us in the house spending lots and lots of time together. And my oldest, who was almost 10, started to show some behavior issues. And that was just really stressful on everybody. You know, kids are trying to do their own Zoom, parents are both doing their own work in different rooms. And really, meanwhile, my four year old decided it was a great idea to climb up on the diaper pail and try to jump into the living room below. So a lot of stressful things going on that we all had to juggle. Right. And you're still trying to be professional in your meetings during that whole time. But what I did find is the flexibility was great. And I've always had amazing flexibility working at a global organization. Sometimes it's even better for me to work odd hours depending on who I'm working with in the company on a project. But, you know, in the sense I was able to take advantage of some of the things around me and really prioritize. I happen to live on a bike path and we've lived here for a year and a half, I had never even really used it. So, you know, just gave me that perspective and focus to be able to go out and start running and bring that balance into our daily lives that maybe was lacking before.

Debbie [00:03:56] I love that, that you have not only found the time to balance it all, but also worked in a little self care, which is so important and I know a lot of organizations have focused around how do they give employees time back for that self care aspect of it. So, yes, if anybody takes away, it's important to not only take care of your family, take care of work, but really take care of yourself, because that comes first and foremost.

Heather [00:04:21] Right. And even just the change up in routine really allows you to focus on things like that. For me, sitting at the computer here all day, I found that breaking away for a healthy meal was great. I actually found this vegan meal delivery service and I loved it because it was variety every day. So just making this something I could look forward to in the middle of the day and then feeling great about whatever the family decided on for dinner help to kind of change up the routine.

Debbie [00:04:46] Oh, I love that. And it means you don't have to cook, which is a big win in my book. I mean, for me, one of the big shifts that I really focused on a couple of months into the pandemic is I looked at my calendar and I was like, OK, if this is a one to one meeting, whether that's a one on one with my boss or it's a meeting that's happening where it's just me and one other person connecting, I switched that from a Zoom meeting to just a phone call and took that as my time to get outside and walk or pace around the house or pick up, you know, and multitask a little bit. And I found that that started to be a little bit contagious. People were like, oh, you're outside walking the dog. I'm going to go outside and walk the dog. And you're so much more productive when you're away from that screen and you're not finding yourself clicking, that you can really actually listen to that conversation and and make it a little bit more meaningful. So there's definitely little things I've picked up along the way that have made it a bit easier. But it does make me look at what the long-term impact will be of women working in the workplace. And how can we as organizations do better to get those women back into the workplace that have taken that six months, 12 months, maybe they even end up being out 24 or longer months, to take care of those home responsibilities. How can we as a professional workforce look at getting them back in? And is that a conversation that's happening today at the enterprise level?

Heather [00:06:14] Well, we have initiatives surrounding women's networks and things of that nature, but as far as a specific outreach, I only know of some pockets where it may be that that may be occurring. I actually kind of also worry about the flip side of it as far as are we being good role models working through all of this while our children are watching us and asking us for things. I need a snack. And you're saying, hold on, I'm on camera. So I worry about the impact of that as well.

Debbie [00:06:47] That's a great question. And I know my kids thought my job was a lot cooler until I was at home. And now I'm like, what? What do you do?

Heather [00:06:55] My four year old wrote on his Mother's Day worksheet that he thought I cleaned toilets. So hopefully I've clarified that for him now.

Debbie [00:07:02] Yes, I hope so. Although it's not a bad job to have - somebody got to clean the toilet.

Heather [00:07:08] But, you know, they always think you're a thousand years old and two pounds.

Debbie [00:07:12] We could talk about kids all day. As always, I love and appreciate your perspective and I do think it's really important and relevant today. But let's shift gears to the main focus of today's conversation, organizational readiness for technology investments. And over your time at large enterprise organizations, you've had a front row seat to selecting, implementing, utilizing four recruitment marketing technologies. I think I have the count right. In my opinion, that gives you expert status. So I'm eager to pick your brain on what you've learned and the way that you've learned it. And I know that our listeners are, too. So your experience with tech is not the only thing that gives you that unique experience. Can you share with our listeners a little bit about your educational background and how that plays into kind of your perspective?

Heather [00:08:11] Oh, sure. So I actually have a psychology degree and I have a business and French minor and I took all of that and I originally wanted to be a family counselor, which, you know, probably would have been a much different experience through all of this past year. But I went on to do a master's degree in psychology. And even though I sit in a technical organization, I sit in the IT side of the house supporting our TA folks and all the great work that they do. I actually bring that organizational development perspective to the equation and try as much as possible to put that hat on when we're thinking about how we're solving problems, how we're building the architecture and the framework for the workflows that our recruiters will need to follow.

Debbie [00:08:54] Yeah, and, you know, as you've taken that different lens and you've thought about it, have you noticed that it's shaped your experience in recruiting technology that may be different from others that are in recruiting?

Heather [00:09:09] Yeah, I mean, people come to recruiting with a variety of backgrounds, right, but at the end of the day, for full lifecycle recruiters, it's really about closing the deal. And so having those really good people skills, strong sales skills, all of that. And I think one of the things I see having that putting that hat on is we're asking recruiters to do so much. It's such a breadth of skills that we're we're saying, you need to know process. You need to know what technology. You need to know people. And, you know, we just keep learning more and more onto the plate. And so at a certain point, I think we have to look at roles and responsibilities, how those are designed and how that relates to the technology that you're evaluating, because it plays such a huge role in how licenses are used. What are your expectations for the amount of time you think people should be in the tool and who should actually be in the tool and for what purpose? So kind of being more thoughtful around that, you know, maybe even getting a team together to do some vision boarding or something of the like to say where do we want to be a few years from now? And specifically, like, what are the people that are going to help us get there doing X, Y and Z?

Debbie [00:10:18] Absolutely. And I think that's something that you and I have talked about in quite a bit of depth, is this disconnect between the vendor expectations and the reality of enterprise organizations, and the skill sets that teams have. And, you know, thinking that there's these niches of skill sets. For instance, we've talked about the recruitment marketing or the marketing talent role. Right. Have you found that recruitment, marketing technology often requires a skill set that doesn't exist within traditional corporate teams?

Heather [00:10:55] Yeah, absolutely, and I mean, if you're in a position to have a full recruitment marketing team or even just one or two talent marketers, that's fantastic. Same goes for sourcing side of the house. If you have a dedicated sourcing group. That's amazing. And that's really how I think a lot of the products and in our industry have a built around that concept of, this person's going into source talent. And that's what they're doing. They're nurturing. They're engaging, just like in a marketing setting. And at the end of the day, most recruiters day in the life doesn't look like that. So until you get a really strong business analyst in there asking good questions, identifying the pain points and seeing what the workflow could look like, it's really challenging because a lot of organizations don't have that broken down structure. It's more of the recruiter is a catch all for a lot of different tasks. And so it totally plays into, you know, the perspective of how many tools we have to use. Right. And how do I navigate from one to the other. And also KPIs, you know, am I being measured on whether I'm in that tool or not? So a lot of pieces go into that puzzle.

Debbie [00:12:01] And I think all of those pieces that go into that puzzle ultimately result in adoption, or lack of adoption of those tools. Would you agree? Right. And we've talked about it on previous episodes of this podcast. We see teams usually recruiting leaders that know they have a problem. They invest in the technology to solve that problem, and then they have low adoption of that tool. And it's because of what you just said, right? The users who they think should use it don't have that skill set or, you know, aren't being measured on the KPIs. How has that impacted the way that you evaluate technology?

Heather [00:12:43] I think that, you know, one thing that has often been done is bringing in all those perspectives, right, so that people can share as a sourcer or as an executive recruiter, or as a campus leader. What does that look like? And make sure that everyone's inputs are heard. But, you know, it's a lot harder to change how roles are designed in an organization when you need it to align with your technology. So definitely pushing those questions with the vendor during the evaluation phase and it really plays into, you know, licensing models and things of that nature, too, because if you have 10 licenses and you have 10 days dedicated sourcers, that's cool. You know, they're being used. Right. But, you know, if people are using them maybe 10 percent of their time, you may not really be getting the value that you're expecting there. So those are things that you definitely want to dig into. And also, I think if there's other functionality that could bring recruiters into the platform. Right. A lot of people are exploring different automation features and things of that nature. If there's something that's a hook, right, that the recruiter needs to get their job done quicker or faster, then, you know, that's something that you can look out to, to say this is going to be the expectation for recruiters and helps to kind of set the stage.

Debbie [00:14:03] Absolutely. And I think that goes in. I'm going to skip forward a little bit here, Heather, because I think that goes into another topic that you and I have spent some time on, which is the role of change management. And I think a piece of that change management is showing the users what the value of the tool is going to be, their daily lives, and then that value actually being realized to where it does hook them and get them to come back into the tool and say, OK, this has taken this part of my process off of my plate, or this has this is getting me to the right talent faster, or hey in the past, you know, it took me two weeks to get a requisition approved. And then from there, I'm starting from ground zero. Now, all of a sudden in those two weeks, my technology serving me up a bunch of relevant talent that's already warm and ready to go, whatever that value is. Right. Is that something that you guys have seen within your technologies that's really helped you in driving adoption and that change management piece?

Heather [00:15:07] Yeah, there's a couple of pieces there. Definitely the show and tell, right, because someone will always think, OK, well, I'm doing fine, whatever your target number is, time to fill or whatever you're measuring. Right. If it looks good from what you had in the past, do you think it's good? It's not until you show by comparison you could actually be doing it and let's say two weeks. Right. If you use a different methodology and really pointing that out and showing people, taking them on that journey, I think the other thing too is to reduce anxiety is doing more small hands on group training and training in the sense of situational cases. Right. So saying something like, oh, you're looking for a niche talent in this specific location, like make it really realistic for them so that it is meaningful. A lot of times trainings are just done at the high level navigation, and that's really not impactful for a recruiter at the end of the day. So those are just a couple of the things that come to mind.

Debbie [00:16:04] And you've got to have a good partner with the technology that's going to help you in those situational kind of use cases. I've also seen a lot of organizations that take the approach of finding kind of super users within the organization that kind of become the experts, become the champion of that technology, and then take it to the teams and really help them personalize it to the organization. That takes it from that broad scale to specific scale. Is that, you know, tactics that you guys have seen internally that have worked for you guys as well?

Heather [00:16:36] Yes. But at the end of the day, a lot of times it comes back to the original topic we were talking about, which, you know, lends to all recruiters. We need to bring more joy into the recruiting lifestyle right. You know, when there's there's so much churn in the industry, you know, you're training people, then they're leaving and then you're training another SME and they're leaving. And, you know, that's just not sustainable.

Debbie [00:16:58] Yeah, no, absolutely, so it's got to be kind of a multipronged approach.

Heather [00:17:05] Yes. And on-demand bread crumbing some information. I would say if you have a communications person that you can lean into it all to help you build out a comms calendar, maybe just snippets once a week of information that people can easily digest. That really helps because I know the same is true for my role. Right. I have a technical role, but these are all things I should be doing. And depending on where your focus is at any one time, right. You might not be giving the comms enough energy.

Debbie [00:17:33] Absolutely, and, you know, we've talked a little bit about that role of communication and finding those subject matter experts and really making it personal. I'd also love to dig into what the relationship is between and the dependencies between your recruitment marketing technology and your applicant tracking system. You've been through a lot of change. I believe you guys have even changed your ATS. So it's not just recruitment marketing platforms that you've gone through the process of migrating in the past couple of years. How much of a role has communications taken in helping you guys drive that? And what dependencies, this is a two part question, what dependencies do you feel are really critical between those two tools to drive adoption?

Heather [00:18:26] Well, I really I think that a lot of organizations go through something similar to what we did, which was just flipping the whole tech stack. Right. And when you do that, it can be challenging because the focus can be on one part and not the other. And it's a lot going on. At the same time, if you don't think about both sides of the equation, you might configure something in the ATS, for example, that doesn't quite align with your recruitment marketing platform. So those are, I would say, just really the team members need to be very tight at the hip if they're not already the same individual, because there's a lot of things that have to do with statuses. Just as an example. Right. If you want to be able to pass statuses both ways, between systems, that has to be really planned out well. And you need to make sure that both vendor partners have a good integration or able to customize solutions in some cases for you, depending on what your desired outcome is. You're having a good foundation of that data that's moving between the systems, having a full understanding up front about what data points will be available, what won't be available if it requires extra effort to do some of those things and what support models available for you on both sides of the house to do those activities.

Debbie [00:19:43] So for those of you that are tuning in, you are probably hearing a similar theme to what I am, that thoughtfulness in all of this is key. Heather, we preach a lot about this walk, crawl, run approach. Have you guys found something similar in that when you're bringing in new technology to start simple as you're learning and thinking through that thoughtfulness, or do you find it better to spend that time during implementation and really go live with the Big Bang approach, where you're almost at the run stage automatically?

Heather [00:20:20] Yeah, I think we've we've probably done both, if I'm being honest throughout my career. It's just my personal preference. I like to know a platform inside and out so I can be able to really convey that back to my my users and partners rate and understand and pick apart, what is it that applies to my organization and what is it that doesn't? Because oftentimes vendors will think like there's this really cool feature and everybody's going to love this, and at the end of the day, we as an enterprise organization are like, well, that's not that helpful for us. Or maybe, you know, X, Y and Z is a bigger priority. So, you know, that's just kind of how the nature of the beast, I guess.

Debbie [00:21:57] No, absolutely. Which is why, you know, we've we've also talked about this on previous episodes, user sessions when building technology are so important and technology should not be built in a bubble. And you're absolutely right. You know what we think on the vendor side and on the product side is a really cool feature, does not always translate into practice. And it's not a one size fits all. So it might be a great feature for another organization, but it doesn't, you know, fit your organization or maybe it works for, you know, your your campus recruiting and early talent teams. But it's not going to work for your experience tires and vice versa. It's really challenging to think through the different user groups and who's going to use what. And that's where having somebody like you on the technology side that can understand the product and bring the relevant features to that internal talent audience and translate it for their specific needs and workflows is so key to it all. 

Heather [00:22:52] All right. And, you know, it really is all about segmentation in this case, not of leads, but, you know, of the information that you're giving back to particular groups. And we have some users that are really invested in the campus space. Some only care about the career site and what's happening there and campaigns. Others really just want to know at the end of the day what their recruiters are doing in a platform. So, you know, the interests are going to be very different depending on the part of the organization.

Debbie [00:23:20] And I think the the last question that I have for you is you talked about kind of the disparity between the skill sets that vendors think you have and what organizations actually do have. And, you know, we used to talk about this with the modern recruiting team will look like, well, I don't know that we're ever going to get the right resources to fund a modern recruiting team. So what do you do when you don't have it right? When you don't have that talent marketer or you don't have that data scientist, you don't have that internal skill set? You know, we've seen some companies like Sprint that will repurpose skill sets. They've got a recruiter that has a background in marketing and really loves marketing. So let's scoot that into a talent marketer role. We found other organizations that are like, hey, this isn't in our skillset that we can't get marketing support, you know, maybe do like Hilton Grand Vacations that will leverage our studio services to help fill that gap. What have you guys done to pivot? You know, we've watched the organization go through a lot of changes and restructuring. You're not always going to have those skill sets. So how do you fill those gaps when you have them? Because oftentimes you can't just say, hey, look, we're not going to do this piece of it.

Heather [00:24:35] Yeah, I would say no matter what no matter what the functionality of a platform is, if they have a strong HR or TA expertise in-house, that will always deliver a better product at the end of the day, because it's just giving that connection to the functional side. Right. And understanding of what may be happening in the daily life of those recruiters. And so anything you can serve up, if it's a sample campaign, if it's a sample search, right, overlays and things like that, to kind of walk people through, it is a good way to fill that gap when you don't have people on the ground who can, you know, hold everyone's hand through the process the first time and and give them the confidence they need to have the hands on experience. So that's one piece, I would say. And the other thing is in terms of upskilling or reskilling people, I think we do a little bit of that. But it really depends on capacity. So there's been times where our technical team maybe was waiting on inputs from business stakeholders. And, you know, there's ways that we could help be more agile and serve things up as a sample and say, oh, is this what you were looking for? You know, we'll try to make that landing page for you or that event page. And, you know, people tend to like that approach, too, because it lets them feel comfortable with the technology. They understand how quickly things can be done, or not, depending on the case. And it also gives our team like the new skills as well. Right. So we have some very technical folks that we were able to give them exposure to just better, you know, customer relations activities and things of that nature.

Debbie [00:26:13] Absolutely. Amazing. Well, Heather, before we close out, we cannot forget one of our listeners favorite segments and a lighthearted way to end our day and bring a little bit of joy to the conversation. Confessions of a Recruiter. And I know you have to have some really great stories over your time. Is there one that sticks out that you can share with our audience?

Heather [00:26:38] Sure. So while I've been on the technical side of the house for the last five years, prior to that, I did a lot with offer letters and onboarding and the like. And, you know, even before that time, I worked for a staffing firm. And I can tell you there was never a dull moment there because you would meet any cast of characters in a given day. But the memory that stands out to me the most was, you know, when you're working a staffing firm, you want to get the job done, you want to get it filled. You don't want the team across town to fill that role. So we had a request come in that we needed two people at a warehouse. The warehouse was on the outskirts of town, really not very accessible off the bus line kind of situation. And so I called everybody in my Rolodex to see who was available. And these two gentlemen said they could come in. So when they got there, I realized they didn't have a car. So I had to drive them out to the site. And it was so hilarious because here I was like a brand new recruiter, pretty much right out of college. And I had my little Toyota Tercel. And I'll tell you, you know, we're very tightly packed in this car. Missy Elliott came on the radio and it was just like the most awkward, funny moment in the world. And these guys sing along. They just said, Missy, she's crazy. And I said, Yeah, I know. You know, it's funny. The things you learn about people. They had no idea. I listened to Missy Elliott. I was their recruiter. So we learned a few things that day.

Debbie [00:28:09] We're all human, we all listen to music.

Heather [00:28:12] I'll always take that memory with me. It was it was just a fun one.

Debbie [00:28:15] I love that. I love it. Well, Heather, it is always a joy to talk to you. Last question. If you had one actionable takeaway for how brands can pursue their own journey of. Yes, how we can bring joy back to the recruiters and give them the ability to create exceptional candidate experience, what would be your best piece of advice for talent leaders globally?

Heather [00:28:41] I mean, maybe this is a little squishy, but I am a big believer in going slow to go fast. And I think that we absolutely need to do more of that. And, you know, whether your organization does workout sessions or anything of that, like to really walk through a processes end to end and think about those moments that matter to people. It's so important, impactful at the end of the day to take the time to do that. So it's going to give joy to your candidates. If you're automating the process, it's going to give joy, hopefully, back to your recruiters. So that's what it's all about, right?

Debbie: [00:29:14] Absolutely. We all want to enjoy and have fun with the work that we do. And so the more that we can do that, the happier everyone is going to be, which then helps them sell your opportunity to those that want to look at you as an employer of choice. So thank you, Heather. Thank you all for joining us here in Boston today or listening in virtually, if you want to join us on this #journeyofyes to learn more from other talent acquisition leaders, visit us at the thejoypipeline.com, follow the JOY Podcast on Spotify or wherever you listen to your podcast. And until next time, we are done. Thank you.

Heather [00:29:58] Thanks, Debbie. Great to see you.