There are very few walks of life that have not been radically changed forever by the rapid pace of technological change over the last 20 years. Retail has changed forever. The way we access goods, services, products and travel have all been transformed.
Technology of course can bring its own frustrations and problems but in most applications it reduces the time and friction of simply ‘getting stuff done’. There is sometimes concern about people becoming more redundant, but good technology, well applied, makes people more productive and is an enabler rather than a replacement.
The recruitment and employment sector is a good example of how technology can make the process faster, lower cost and more assured and compliant. Previously the ‘traditional’ recruitment business was intensive on both labour and real estate. Lead times to find, hire and pay contingent workers was far longer and involved reams of paper and lots of points of friction. Today that process is faster, lower friction and lower cost to the firms looking to hire staff.
That’s an obvious case of technology simply modernising a clunky process. Less tangible are the checks and balances that tech can radically improve.
Some recruitment agencies are still worryingly dependent on manual processes to manage worker compliance, pay rates and UKVI right to work rules. Well applied technology automates those processes and puts in hard controls that remove the human error factor and ensure that policy can be properly enforced at all times.
Technology also improves the audit trail: so now we can see who did what, when and at what cost and reporting on every aspect of employability, compliance and all the evidence attached to the process is readily available.
Of course speed is a major driver in change: the need to get things done faster. We all cram far more into our working lives and so the ‘time-taken-to-complete’ metric is a key factor. Getting things done quickly is all well and good but it cannot be at the expense of accuracy and efficacy.
Finding and hiring staff is a good example of something that can soak up valuable time, but has to be done right. What technology provides is the information at your fingertips, rather than having to wait for an agent to give you what you ought to be able to access directly.
As more organisations, particularly in the housing sector, rely on contingent, temporary and contract workers it makes sense that a more dynamic and frictionless means of finding, hiring and managing workers exists. Well deployed technology can make this process faster, more assured and available 24/7. The modern world is not confined to office hours or indeed offices, so being able to interact with candidates without boundaries of time or location is key.
Software-as-a-Service solutions are more accessible than ever before and procurement frameworks such as those offered by PfH have made digital services more accessible without the obstacle of time consuming tenders.
As of the end of 2018 the spend on the cloud based tech services by the public sector in the UK was at more than £5billion and this shows no sign of slowing. This is also good news for the UK’s successful tech industry, making it easier for them to access the once impenetrable public sector and gain benefits of scale.
Rarely can one software application be a panacea in any organisation but when done well it can genuinely save time, money and anxiety around tasks that should rightly be more automated and frictionless.
Malcolm Paice is Managing Director of Keystone Talent Bank. Their cloud based Talent Bank online recruitment solution was named in the Top 10 Recruitment Solutions of 2019 by HR Tech Outlook and the company was recently awarded with both ISO27001 and Cyber Essentials security certifications. Keystone Talent Bank is an approved supplier to the Procurement for Housing framework.