HR technology is an investment, not a cost

By Jon Phillips 01/7/2019

As a sales professional I have seen the companies I’ve worked for invest significantly in technologies to help me do my job better. Everything from CRMs and prospecting tools to software that helps sales reps better forecast their sales. Generally, if a VP thought the technology would generate more sales, the software was bought. Why? Because it was an investment that was expected to generate a positive return on investment. One of the biggest frustrations I’ve witnessed in my nearly decade of experience working closely with HR/recruiting professionals is that same ROI based logic is somehow thrown out the window when it comes to the HR department investing in technology. Instead of being an investment, technology is somehow looked at as a sunk cost because HR isn’t a revenue generating department. Let’s challenge that perception by taking a look at some of the reasons companies typically invest in technology and how those reasons can be applied to HR/recruitment.

Increased Productivity- When it comes to increasing the output of your workforce, you only have two options: 1- increase the number of your workforce or 2- increase the output of your current workforce. When it comes to recruiting, you either need to hire more recruiters, or make the ones you have more efficient. When it comes to the sales department, it’s easy to justify the ROI because if you increase a sales person’s productivity, you’re increasing revenue. When it comes to HR and recruiting, the trick is quantifying the impact of increasing recruiter productivity. Within staffing firms, this is simple because placements directly generate revenue. It can be a bit more challenging for enterprise companies, but it can be done (and there are entire books written on the subject). The over simplification of it is that the faster HR is able to make hires, the faster the positive ROI of that additional headcount can be realized. There are many technology investments HR departments can make to achieve this whether it be an applicant tracking system, screening tools, etc. FlashRecruit’s live-messaging technology helps move applicants more quickly through the hiring processes, enabling recruiters to make hires faster.

Cost Reduction- It seems companies will invest $.99 to save $1.00. If a company finds a technology that will decrease the cost of production enough to more than offset the investment in that technology, it’s a no brainer every time. Another example is investing in technologies that help you get more out of a company’s current resources. For example, a manufacturer who makes olive oil invests in a technology that enables them to extract more oil per olive. Because the efficiency is increased, the manufacturer will not need to purchase as many olives to produce the same output in the long run. An example of this in the HR/Recruitment world would be investing in an Applicant Tracking System that helps recruiters get more out of the applicants they’re currently receiving. The recruiters would have a better way of keeping track of, sort, and follow through with the applicants who come through. They could also more easily access previous applicants for roles instead of spending more money to get new applicants. FlashRecruit achieves this by improving the effectiveness of a company’s current digital recruiting resources (career site, job postings, emails, social media, etc.) by making it quicker and easier to connect with qualified candidates who may not be willing to go through the lengthy application process prior to speaking with a recruiter about the job they’re interested in. By significantly increasing the performance of a company’s candidate funnel, FlashRecruit is able to reduce the candidate marketing volume needed to convert candidates into applications and eventually hires.

Improved Customer Experience- Companies invest in technologies that make it easier for customers to buy their product. They’ll also invest in technologies that provide a customer experience that differentiates them from their competitors. Live-chat technology has already been heavily invested in by companies in the customer service area to make it quick and easy for consumers to inquire about goods and services they’re interested in purchasing or that they already have. Recruiting often follows online consumer trends (think mobile sites, one click purchases vs. easy apply, etc.). Live-chat technology for recruitment is the next logical step in the evolution of recruitment technology. The ROI lies in being able to better connect with passive candidates and providing a unique candidate (consumer) experience that differentiates you from your talent competitors.

There are many more reasons companies invest in technology, but I haven’t found one yet that can’t be applied to HR and recruiting and that won’t generate a positive ROI for the enterprise. Sales reps often get the luxury of getting all kinds of technology investments to help them do their jobs more easily. I look forward to the day in which recruiters are given the same luxury. After all, they’re the ones hiring those sales reps!