Tech Isn’t Your Savior – It’s Your Accelerator

Corey Burns A.I., ATS, Books, Business Development, Candidate Pool, Change, Corey Burns, Driving Productivity, Employee Communications, HR

This past September, I wrote an article about recruiting “tech stack”: tools and technology that combine to help enable the recruiting function. The words “help enable” are two of the most important words in that statement, because technology is an accelerator, not a creator, of momentum.

While I stand by the explanation of the term “tech stack,” my thought process was recently challenged when reading Good to Great by Jim Collins and thinking about the role of technology. In the last article, I mentioned that initiatives fall into the buckets of people, process, and technology. Each bucket relies on the others to truly support the ongoing effectiveness of an initiative.

When reading G2G, I initially began to question and disagree with the statement that technology is an accelerator, not a creator of momentum. In an attempt to support my thought process, I reflected on my own experiences with two specific tools: our applicant tracking system and our employee satisfaction measurement tool. Certainly, the ATS has helped engage our applicant pools, and our NPS measuring tool has helped us measure our workforce satisfaction.

I thought to myself, “Doesn’t that mean our ATS created momentum in driving candidate engagement and our NPS tool helped us keep a pulse on our employee satisfaction?” Sure they did, but it wasn’t until I realized that the tools only accelerated our ability to do so by supporting our already established goals and processes. These technologies only came after we recognized the need to further enhance and accelerate our current processes to reach our goals.

The factors that truly drove the outcome were a combination of processes, people, and our thoughtful consideration of the technologies. In the end, technology only played a part in helping us achieve positive outcomes and the book G2G helped change our organization’s mindset about the role of technology.

My favorite line regarding technology and great companies from Good to Great is:

“How a company reacts to technological change is a good indicator of its inner drive for greatness versus mediocrity. Great companies respond with thoughtfulness and creativity, driven by compulsion to turn unrealized potential into results; mediocre companies reach and lurch about, motivated by fear of being left behind”

Here are two key points that help navigate and support the “tech stack” for my Recruiting and L&D teams.

Avoid tech fads and bandwagons:

The feeling of being left behind in regards to technology is always present. Every day it seems that new workforce tech tools or recruiting tech is being introduced to the market. Yet great companies become pioneers in carefully selected technology.

Your strategy shouldn’t hinge on technology pioneering your department or organization. Instead, think in terms of how does this technology fit into our strategy and help us reach our ultimate goal?

Ultimately, ask yourself these questions to gain clarity:

  1. Does the technology fit directly with our strategy and drive us to reach our end goal?
  • If yes, then become pioneers in the application of the technology.
  • If no, ask, do we need the technology at all?
    • If yes, then all you need is parity (maybe you don’t need the best)
    • If no, then the technology is irrelevant (you don’t need the technology at all)

Crawl, Walk, Run:

This simple concept will save you major headaches! As I just mentioned, the feeling of being left behind is always present. When responding to new technologies, take the crawl, walk, then run concept.

Crawl – Does the new technology fit into your strategy and your main focus? In the book they refer to “hedgehog concept,” but for this purpose, we’ll refer to it as strategy. Does it serve as an accelerator for you reach your department or organizational goals?

Walk – Find out how you can use this technology specifically for your organization. Each software and each company has its unique challenges and not all tools are designed for every organization’s unique challenges.

Run – Fully implement the technology and become an expert in that tool. The tool is only as powerful as those who implement and utilize it.

Next time you’re in the process of evaluating new tools to add to your tech stack, consider your true motivating factors and whether this new technology will truly accelerate the achievement of your team’s goals.

Rather than looking to emerging tech as the main catalyst of success, look at how you can pioneer the application of the right technologies that fill your toolbox.