Written by Mark Gray, head of cloud-based recruitment software company, Graylink
Corporate HRs in South Africa have not embraced social recruiting via the Internet with the same speed as their US colleagues, but are lighting the way for mobile in solving the unique needs of the African market.
In the US, smart recruiters are already integrating social technologies into the way they recruit to build social capital - from advertising on niche job boards and LinkedIn, to running targeted Pay-Per-Click campaigns, to featuring video testimonials, crowdsourcing referrals and gamification.
South Africa doesn’t have the same supportive culture for innovation, which means making a big social recruitment idea work in a corporate setting is often quite a challenge. Inadequate access to affordable bandwidth further keeps four in five South African’s without Internet access, so e-recruitment innovations that have worked elsewhere in the world don’t always work here.
While social recruitment via the Internet is an increasingly important part of the process, it is not the full solution. Corporate HRs in South Africa can’t just follow the US trends or apply the same broad brushstrokes to all hires. They will have to come up with their own mix of tactics, based on local needs. This includes leveraging trust from their own networks instead of just blasting out a job advert and hoping for the best.
As a continent, Africa has been forced to find applications for its own emerging market challenges and part of this answer is definitely mobile.
Capitec Bank has been using SMS very effectively since 2010 as an application channel for new sales, branch and call centre staff, who are geographically spread across South Africa and don’t always have Internet access. One of the big five accounting firms has also successfully automated candidate referral via SMS. Sending the word “referral” to a free SMS shortcode, employees can easily suggest good talent and receive a commission upon placement.
Social campaign responses like these are normally fed into an applicant tracking system to automate the CV filtering and short-listing process, which can either be integrated standalone software or be part of an HR Management or ERP system.
New rules of engagement
Finding the best talent quickly and efficiently is going to get much harder as the pool of skilled, experienced talent is shrinking; competition for talent is now global as talent is geographically mobile; and competitors are willing to pay more and offer extra benefits such as work flexibility to attract and hold on to talent.
In the old days of Recruitment 1.0, jobs were announced via spray-and-pray print adverts, CVs were received via fax, and candidate databases were built by adding business cards to a Rolodex. Recruiters could take a few months to find a new candidate.
In Recruitment 2.0, general online job boards were used to place adverts and search for CVs, and companies set up static career websites to announce new jobs. Recruiters had to find new candidates in weeks rather than months.
Recruitment 3.0 is about sniper-targeting the right skills through the media channels most relevant to them. It’s about building relationships and creating targeted, engaged communities, telling a story, listening to candidate feedback and fostering an emotional attachment with new talent around your authentic employer brand. The test is to get the best talent, who are already working at other companies, to consider joining your company – in days rather than weeks.
The days of Recruitment 1.0 and 2.0, using one way, mass targeting and completely ordinary communication is gone. Recruitment 3.0 will require far more strategy and forward thinking, getting creative and niche targeting to get the attention of the top talent and deliver a compelling employer value proposition to them.
Marriage of HR and marketing
While there’s always been a need for recruitment and marketing to be closely aligned, this need is intensifying. Very similar to how marketing engages with consumers, HR needs to engage with prospective employees.
Companies that take this shift seriously and want to differentiate from their competitors need to transform from within. They need to make their next appointment an HR/ social media person with a background in marketing.
Getting to grips with how to use social media in recruitment requires a learning curve, but will ultimately make the recruitment job easier for HR with more effective targeting, higher quality candidate pipelines of talent with strong relationships, and massive savings in time and effort. It will also help to start building a workforce of the very best people that will move the company to new heights.
Graylink is the leading provider of cloud-based recruitment software to corporate Africa. Its web and mobile recruiting solutions help corporate companies recruit the best talent quicker, more efficiently and for less. Founded in Cape Town, South Africa in 2002, the company also has offices in the UK.
Automation of repetitive tasks leads to higher value work
Two-thirds of global office workers feel they are constantly doing the same tasks over and over again. That’s according to a new study (2021 Office Worker Survey) from automation software company UiPath.
Whether emailing, inputting data, or scheduling calls and meetings, the majority of those surveyed said they waste on average four and a half hours a week on time-consuming tasks that they think could be automated.
Not only is the undertaking of such repetitious and mundane tasks a waste of time for employees, and therefore for businesses, but it can also have a negative impact on employees’ motivation and productivity. And the research backs this up with more than half (58%) of those surveyed saying that undertaking such repetitive tasks doesn’t allow them to be as creative as they’d like to be.
“When repetitive, unrewarding tasks are handled by people, it takes time and this can cause delays and reduce both employee and customer satisfaction,” Gavin Mee, Managing Director of UiPath Northern Europe tells Business Chief. “Repetitive tasks can also be tedious, which often leads to stress and an increased likelihood to leave a job.”
And these tasks exist at all levels within an organisation, right up to executive level, where there are “small daily tasks that can be automated, such as scheduling, logging onto systems and creating reports”, adds Mee.
Automation can free employees to focus on higher value work
By automating some or all of these repetitive tasks, employees at whatever level of the organisation are freed up to focus on meaningful work that is creative, collaborative and strategic, something that will not only help them feel more engaged, but also benefit the organisation.
“Automation can free people to do more engaging, rewarding and higher value work,” says Mee, highlighting that 68% of global workers believe automation will make them more productive and 60% of executives agree that automation will enable people to focus on more strategic work. “Importantly, 57% of executives also say that automation increases employee engagement, all important factors to achieving business objectives.”
These aren’t the only benefits, however. One of the problems with employees doing some of these repetitive tasks manually is that “people are fallible and make mistakes”, says Mee, whereas automation boosts accuracy and reduces manual errors by 57%, according to Forrester Research. Compliance is also improved, according to 92% of global organisations.
Repetitive tasks that can be automated
Any repetitive process can be automated, Mee explains, from paying invoices to dealing with enquiries, or authorising documents and managing insurance claims. “The process will vary from business to business, but office workers have identified and created software robots to assist with thousands of common tasks they want automated.”
These include inputting data or creating data sets, a time-consuming task that 59% of those surveyed globally said was the task they would most like to automate, with scheduling of calls and meetings (57%) and sending template or reminder emails (60%) also top of the automation list. Far fewer believed, however, that tasks such as liaising with their team or customers could be automated, illustrating the higher value of such tasks.
“By employing software robots to undertake such tasks, they can be handled much more quickly,” adds Mee pointing to OTP Bank Romania, which during the pandemic used an automation to process requests to postpone bank loan instalments. “This reduced the processing time of a single request from 10 minutes to 20 seconds, allowing the bank to cope with a 125% increase in the number of calls received by call centre agents.”
Mee says: “Automation accelerates digital transformation, according to 63% of global executives. It also drives major cost savings and improves business metrics, and because software robots can ramp-up quickly to meet spikes in demand, it improves resilience.
Five business areas that can be automated
Mee outlines five business areas where automation can really make a difference.
- Contact centres Whether a customer seeks help online, in-store or with an agent, the entire customer service journey can be automated – from initial interaction to reaching a satisfying outcome
- Finance and accounting Automation enables firms to manage tasks such as invoice processing, ensuring accuracy and preventing mistakes
- Human resources Automations can be used across the HR team to manage things like payroll, assessing job candidates, and on-boarding
- IT IT teams are often swamped in daily activity like on-boarding or off-boarding employees. Deploying virtual machines, provisioning, configuring, and maintaining infrastructure. These tasks are ideal for automation
- Legal There are many important administrative tasks undertaken by legal teams that can be automated. Often, legal professionals are creating their own robots to help them manage this work. In legal and compliance processes, that means attorneys and paralegals can respond more quickly to increasing demands from clients and internal stakeholders. Robots don’t store data, and the data they use is encrypted in transit and at rest, which improves risk profiling and compliance.
“To embark on an automation journey, organisations need to create a Centre of Excellence in which technical expertise is fostered,” explains Mee. “This group of experts can begin automating processes quickly to show return on investment and gain buy-in. This effort leads to greater interest from within the organisation, which often kick-starts a strategic focus on embedding automation.”