S4 E67 | eXpert Tease: Building the foundation of talent technology with Madeline Laurano

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research 0:00
Welcome to the CXR channel, our premier podcast for talent acquisition and talent management. Listen in as the CXR community discusses a wide range of topics focused on attracting, engaging and retaining the best talent. We’re glad you’re here.

Chris Hoyt 0:16
Hello, and welcome to another edition of CareerXroads hosted expert tees. I’m Chris Hoty president of CXR. And you’re joining us for the next few minutes to hear from an industry leader or practitioner who will share with you one lesson one how to one milestone that they’ve actually found worthy of your time. So we do these in quick conversations that are typically no more than about 10 minutes and touch on any number of topics such as diversity, inclusion, ethics, and hiring, recruiting, automation, and tech, and a number of other areas that actually were identified by nearly 150 talent leaders from multinational corporations. Each week, you can listen in live and participate with questions and live chat or you can find any of these episodes on our website at CXR.works, our CareerXroads podcast or in our new YouTube channel youtube.com/careerxroads. Now if you’re with us live, you have the ability to ask a question at any time through the session. And if we have the chance, we’ll try to answer it. If we do run out of time, or if there are additional questions that come in or you think of later, you can find us over at the open and public exchange that’s hosted by CXR. And that’s at www.CXR.works/talenttalks. So with all of that being said, let’s get started with today’s guest Madeline Laurano. Madeline is a very well respected industry analyst and founder of Aptitude Research. Welcome to the show, Madeline.

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research 1:36
Thank you, Chris. I’m thrilled to be here.

Chris Hoyt 1:39
So, Madeline, on our topic today is around building the foundation of talent technology within an organization. So throwing you right on the spot, given your experience and expertise, what’s something that you want our listeners to understand about their existing or future tech stacks?

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research 1:54
Yes, it’s so important. We just did this big research study, in partnership with V. Murray. But it’s all around this foundation, it’s around thinking about, what do we need to consider in our TA tech stack, before we even make this investment. So many companies are excited for new technology. There’s so much especially in this this year that we’ve had, we found 44% of companies are investing in new technology, which is exciting. But oftentimes you don’t have the foundation in place. And the foundation is really integration. So thinking about how are you going to have a strategy around integration work with IT? Think about, you know, an open API strategy and how you’re gonna work with your providers? How are you going to think about data management? So really having quality of quality data with data or starting with? How are you going to maintain that data, clean up that data, everything that goes into that? And then the final piece is automation? You know, I think it’s a big topic. I know, it’s a big topic that we talked a lot about, but how do we think about really a strategic approach for automation? And you know, something, I think that’s near and dear to Gerry’s heart, which is automation for the candidate? Why are we just thinking about moving someone along efficiently? How does this benefit the candidate?

Chris Hoyt 3:00
And so how does somebody go about sort of putting something like this together? Is, is there a template? Is there a roadmap? Is it you just throw everything at the wall and see what sticks? I mean, what do you advise there?

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research 3:10
Yeah, so I would say it really starts with three things, we found three things in a very strong foundation. And the three things are start early. Don’t wait until after you’ve been invested in technology during the implementation process after implementation start even before you’re thinking about technology to put a strategy in place for integration, your data management, and then your automation. The second piece is identify the KPIs, what drives success, what’s important to your stakeholders? What’s important to IT? You know, one in three companies said that IT views talent acquisition technology is low priority. That’s really a big frustration. When you think about integration and data management, how do we build this relationship earlier in the process and understand what those KPIs are? And then the final piece is establishing ownership. What’s the responsibility of IT? What’s the responsibility of TA and HR? And then what’s the responsibility of our vendors? They have to be responsible for some of these aspects, too. And oftentimes, you know, we’re just kind of blaming IT, instead of turning to the vendor and saying, what are you doing to help solve this?

Chris Hoyt 4:14
Yeah, it’s interesting. You mentioned integration as being sort of a focal point out front. I can’t tell you how many times we have seen some pretty impressive tech stacks that seem sort of hobbled together sort of just sort of pasted and stuck and working and all of them reliant on every single one of them working perfectly. I mean, what what would be a big watch out for someone who’s maybe already in a very complicated tech stack has already got a solution in play that, you know, this front end piece relies on this back end piece that relies on this vendor that relies on this API, like, what are they supposed to do at this point?

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research 4:50
Yeah, it’s such a good question. And it comes up all the time, right. I think I was doing a call with a company and they said, our systems do not work together. We’ve got all these these great technologies. If they don’t work together, we can’t make sense of the data. So I think it’s really thinking about open API’s. I mean, it sounds like an obvious thing to think about. But you really have to think about providers that do have that open API strategy. And then you have to get really granular when you’re investing in new technology on asking questions. Is this an API rest model? You know, are these bi directional API’s? What what’s the process? And I’d say the the final piece that I would really dig deep in is ask other companies. If you’re investing in new technology, you have a tech stack in place, and talk to your peers, this industry is so amazing, because people share their experiences. That’s not true in other industries. And you know, what you’ve built with the colloquium is so impressive, because that’s an opportunity for people to ask each other, you know, how does this work? I’m just I’m looking at this new technology for the first time, how does it integrate with with what I have in place, and they and you can learn so much from that?

Chris Hoyt 5:55
Well, I think that’s another good point, too, you know, and again, I hit, you know, be stuck on integrations. But the topic that keeps coming up in some of our meetings, and when we look at other vendors in the space is platform fatigue, right, giving recruiters or giving leaders or giving users just yet another place to go login and manage are API’s the solution to that? Or should should leaders be looking at, you know, vendors that actually have more of a robust suite of offerings?

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research 6:24
Yeah, it’s a that’s a great question. It’s, you know, I think the ideal situation is you’re managing less vendors, right? You don’t have to think about 10 different relationships with vendors, the ideal situation is you have less vendors to manage the challenges, do they have the depth and functionality to do what you need them to do? And if they can do both, I don’t think you have to sacrifice in an ideal world, one for the other depth and functionality for integration, you should be able to get both with the way that these companies are going. But if that’s not the case, you’re going to have to go for an integration strategy model.

Chris Hoyt 6:56
Yeah, yeah, we’ve got it. And we think that’s great. And we’ve got an interesting comment. That’s already come in, in the chat. But with regards to pilots. Now, if I’m a TA leader, and I’ve got five technologies that I’m considering, or augmenting right, moving into, how do I go about asking for a pilot? Like, I mean, do I just ask for a pilot? I mean, how do I go about standing up for myself and saying, I got to try before I buy?

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research 7:22
I love the idea of a pilot. So I love this question. And I think the pilot is a really smart thing to think about. I think a lot of large companies are doing that. Right? You can go to smaller providers and say, we want to test this out. And they’re gonna say yes, because especially with everyone that’s probably on this call today, your large companies, you’ve got great brands, you are sophisticated ta leaders, they’re going to want to do a pilot with you, I absolutely think you should ask, I think where I would caution and be a little hesitant, is running too many pilots at the same time. There’s a couple examples of companies that have done that, where they almost do like a pilot hackathon, where they kind of bring in a bunch of vendors and say, we’re going to run some pilots, and we’re going to run like five pilots at the same time. That’s a lot. That’s still a lot to manage, you’re not going to see the results, you know, really be very judicious that if you’re running a pilot, this is something you’re you’re pretty far down the path with

Chris Hoyt 8:19
Five pilots at the same time. Sounds so exhausting,

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research 8:23

Chris Hoyt 8:23
I don’t even want I don’t even want to think about it. Yeah. So another piece that I want to touch base on sort of quickly, before we wrap up is the accountability factor, right, measuring the results? Like how how does someone know if they’re tech stack is a success? And you know, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But how do they know if what they’re doing is is the best for them? And whether or not they should look on or look to add something to it or remove something from it? Yeah.

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research 8:50
So to me the number one, the number one thing is adoption? Are people using this. And it sounds so simple, and so basic, but it’s so often not the case, right? Especially if we look at like the recruitment marketing space in the CRM space, companies are investing in this technology, and then they’re not able to adopt it because it’s complex, and they don’t have the skills internally. We found that only 2% of companies are adopting all the capabilities of their recruiting and marketing platforms. So that’s, that’s quite an investment and then not to see that adoption.

Chris Hoyt 9:22
Wait, wait, I want to make sure that right, only 2% are at full adoption. Is that what’s going on?

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research 9:28
Yeah, of all the capabilities. And I think it’s, you know, it’s there’s two parts to that, right, because a lot of these providers offer so much companies don’t need everything. So that’s one piece of it. But the other piece is it’s just too complicated, or a lot of users to really get the most out of,

Chris Hoyt 9:44
Do you think that it’s because organizations are buying a vendor that does A to Z, and the organization actually wants like A to F.

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research 9:53
I think that’s part of it. And I think even if they did want a to z, the training and the change management that would needs to take place isn’t getting provided from the vendor and the organization really has to think about where that’s going to come from.

Chris Hoyt 10:06
Oh my God change management and tech rollout and adoption could be a whole nother that’s a one hour webinar. Well Madeline, thank you so much for your insights today. We really appreciate the quick chat.

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research 10:18
Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Chris Hoyt 10:20
Awesome. So next week, I’ve got Nick Bailey in the hot seat to address the age old question and challenge around whether to build or buy the talent that you need to be successful. Nick is obviously a longtime friend, a member of CareerXroads, and is the VP of talent acquisition at Equinox and always fun to have on the show, I think. I think the last time he joined us may have been in an Uncorked session and we crushed a few bottles of Justin Isosceles. Anyhow, he’ll be back with us on December 3 at 1pm Eastern and you’re not going to want to miss it But until then, we hope we see everyone online at www.cxr.works/talenttalks Thanks everybody.

Madeline Laurano, Aptitude Research 10:56
Thanks for listening to the CXR channel please subscribe to CXR on your favorite podcast resource and leave us a review while you’re at it. Learn more about CXR at our website CXR.works facebook.com and twitter.com /careerxroads and on Instagram @careerxroads. We’ll catch you next time