digital transformation begins with a focus on customer needs.

by René Steenvoorden, Chief Digital Officer and CIO Randstad

lessons learned from the launch of Randstad’s Digital Factory help bring innovation to market more quickly

Your business may be unique, but here’s one trait it likely shares with other companies and even competitors: it’s transforming digitally. A survey conducted last year found that 70% of employers either have a transformation plan in place or are developing one. 

This fact is one reason why many of the companies we support are making tremendous changes to their business model, the way they operate and how they acquire talent. In your organization, are you undertaking similar initiatives to facilitate revenue growth or operations? I suspect that’s probably the case.

It was with this trend in mind that Randstad decided to speed up our own digital transformation through the launch of our Digital Factory in 2017. Leading up to this effort, we questioned how we can better meet the talent needs of our clients and deliver the human capital required to drive growth and operational efficiencies. As our clients sought to create more value for their business, we set out to develop solutions to facilitate their mission.

In your own digital transformation, are you focused on the customer experience? Any effort should always lead back to the question: “Is what I am doing leading to a happier customer?”

So why did we set out to create the Digital Factory? The world of work is changing quickly because of new economic models, demographic shifts and the impact of technology. That means jobs are changing, the skills candidates need are changing, the job application process is changing and our clients’ workforce is changing. It is the mission of Randstad to help our clients and candidates to stay relevant in this changing world of work.

In today’s tech-driven society, we believe it is the human touch in talent management that creates the greatest value for organizations. Tools enable the people who regularly interact with job applicants, employees and contingent workers to focus on nurturing and personalization. Recruiters, hiring managers and talent advisors can spend their time deepening relationships with talent instead of tactical tasks such as scheduling shifts or sourcing candidates. 

Across the 38 countries in which we operate, employers continuously seek out new ways to become more efficient, fill roles more quickly and spend less time and money getting to great talent. There have been tremendous shifts in the way companies utilize human capital, increasingly embracing flexible talent in their workforce to achieve agility. Not surprisingly, many of the same challenges faced by organizations in one country also affect companies in other markets. 

In developing the Digital Factory, we have a core team to address many of these issues. This enables an accelerated development of remedies for employers. Our global group of multidisciplinary talent specialists – consisting of data and business analysts, user experience experts, compliance specialists and others – oversee innovation and their scale-up. Often an internally piloted technology is locally developed before it is rolled out to other markets. We also  partner with innovators who are part of the Randstad Innovation Fund, which invests in promising HR technology companies. 

Supporting employers who face a variety of workforce challenges means delivering solutions with greater agility. The world of work is undergoing tremendous change at this moment – digitalization, talent scarcity, proliferation of the human cloud and a growing skills gap in many markets, to name a few – and companies everywhere want to be able to better connect and engage with job seekers. The Digital Factory is focused on piloting tools that enhance organizations’ ability to do that quickly and effectively by first piloting in one or two markets before scaling to others around the world.

To be effective, it’s important to consider the talent needs of companies in new ways. For instance, many organizations continue to view talent as permanent employees versus contingent workers. This old way of thinking limits creativity and flexibility. Instead, they should holistically examine how to get work done by using all types of labor. Developing solutions in partnership with employers and regarding talent in fall forms ensure we have a comprehensive view of the market’s needs and help employers to better outcomes. It also means Digital Factory innovations are based on real-world needs.

Being pragmatic is important because many organizations today are wary about the challenges of implementation. The adage “Technology is easy. Change is hard.” has never been more true. Innovation that can transform talent strategies is nearly worthless if it isn’t implemented effectively. That’s why it’s important solutions are developed with an eye on adoption and integration into existing workflows. This requires collaboration with employers to understand their needs for support and change management – key facilitators in any digital transformation.

Since the launch of the Digital Factory three years ago, we have piloted numerous technologies and broadly commercialized some of them in many markets. Productive tools such as workforce scheduling used by clients and our own specialists help them to more efficiently and rapidly schedule talent, resulting in benefits for all stakeholders. Other technologies around talent analytics, candidate engagement and freelancer resourcing further accelerate the ability of businesses to address their total workforce needs. We will continue to make progress that leads to practical, meaningful changes to the talent acquisition functions of businesses everywhere. We welcome your suggestions for solutions specific to your needs.  

 

This is the first in a series of blogs about Randstad’s digital transformation.