After two years of digital conferences, we finally got to meet again in person and the excitement was palpable. HR leaders shared inspiring stories of how their organizations are tackling today’s talent challenges with Avature and attendees tuned in to engaging sessions with our onsite experts. The notable buzz during coffee breaks, lunch and evening soirees highlighted the best this conference offers: the animated Avature community sharing valuable ideas and experiences. In case you couldn’t attend, here are the highlights. The True Power of Data ROI Long-time Avature advocates, the team at Epic, the leading medical records software company in the US, opened the conference with a powerful masterclass on ROI. Through a compelling superhero vignette packed with impressive numbers, Epic explained its transition from struggling to consistently meet hiring goals to a talent powerhouse that drives significant business value. Since going live with Avature, its small team has conducted 28,230 final interviews and hired 14,741 candidates from 24 countries. The team shared practical tips during their presentation to help other attendees optimize ROI, including: Rethink your processes and make the most of workflows: Replacing a heavily manual and paper-based sourcing process with a much more efficient way of working in Avature saw the sourcing process fall from three months to three days. Thanks to powerful workflow automation, Epic achieved quantified reductions in direct costs across their hiring process of nearly 50%. Invest in a CRM: Since implementing Avature, 11 percent of Epic’s total hires have come through direct sourcing. Access to an engaged talent community makes life easier for recruiters while reducing sourcing and job posting costs. Provide a game-changing onboarding experience: Integrated with Docusign, Epic’s onboarding portal eliminated time-consuming tasks such as mailing, reviewing and filing employment agreements, saving $15,000 a year in postage and materials alone. But Epic also leveraged the portal to get new hires excited about their role before their starting date, sharing relevant materials and encouraging cohort networking. Ensure team-wide access to reporting: With access to real-time data, they have been able to identify trends, dig into hunches and adapt strategies quickly to enhance performance. “One of the greatest things about Avature is that everything is so easily measurable – so as you begin to tackle your biggest pain points, take a snapshot in time, so you have something to measure against after you’re live.” Jeff Sonntag, Avature Team Lead at Epic, and Maria Szychlinski, Recruiting and Onboarding Lead at Epic Enhancing DEI Data For a leading New York City hedge fund, initial analysis showed that its candidate demographic data completion rate was 85 percent. But digging deeper, they realized that non-direct candidates, such as referrals, had a much lower rate of only 15 percent. Since more of these candidates reached later stages, they needed to fix the issue. As is the case for many organizations, data capture around diversity recruiting at the company was limited to tracking a candidate’s source, such as which conference or diversity event they came from, and government reporting for the EEOC, which often only covers race/ethnicity and gender. Having a renewed critical look at their DEI initiatives led them to analyze and capture enhanced data around candidate demographics and lean into the insights for process improvement. In collaboration with Avature, they implemented a set of best practices: Going above and beyond legal requirements: Consider introducing new and more inclusive categories or adding new fields to capture more relevant data. This organization broadened the options so multiracial candidates can better identify themselves, as well as including sexual orientation and trans identity fields. Be sensitive about the order in which options appear: As their speaker explained, “putting the most frequent options toward the top may be off-putting to underrepresented candidates. When in doubt, put your options in alphabetical order.” Prioritize candidate data autonomy: While you might require a response, you shouldn’t require disclosure. Offering candidates a mechanism to self-define if the provided options don’t suit them can improve their experience. And finally, candidates should be able to update and remove any data provided at any time. By adding more granularity and leveraging the flexibility of Avature’s data model and reporting, they increased their diversity data completion rate for non-direct candidates to 75 percent while enriching the data they have for all candidates. Pick a True Partner When looking for a technology solution to help you reach your business objectives, you’re not just looking for a vendor but a partner that will help enable your strategy. Growing and evolving in tandem, customers shared stories of success based on their partnership with Avature. Among them was Bain & Company, whose journey with the platform began in 2016. The decision to add a third instance to their portfolio or embark on an alternative path marked a critical moment in their Avature journey, so they consulted us for advice. Today, collaborative work is underway to implement Avature’s recommendation of a single instance that will cater to the distinct recruiting needs of each stakeholder group. According to Bain, this is a true testament to the platform’s flexibility and they greatly value being able to count on the sound strategic advice of Avature. In the case of Kelly Services, the Fortune 500 staffing company and Avature customer for 15 years, the successful partnership has enabled them to build out a suite of innovative solutions to meet their own client needs. They currently manage 15 instances to deliver industry-leading services in the contingent space. As an extension to their partnership with Avature and a strong relationship with the support team, Laitram, a Louisiana-based global leader in conveyor belt systems, highlighted the benefits of building a network with other Avature customers and attending conferences as its secret recipe for successful use of the platform. “As a lone Avature admin, I absolutely needed to find a way to continue my education to make the best recommendations and decisions for my company’s instance. I also needed to build a network of other Avature users to serve as an ad-hoc team with whom I could bounce ideas, get help with troubleshooting, and exchange best practices. It was crucial to both my and my company’s success with Avature that I get involved with like-minded administrators and begin to build a community that facilitated the exchange of information and surrounded me with people to learn from.” Megan Deville, Senior HRIS Analyst at Laitram Bankers Life echoed this message of the value of community during its session, which focused on how Avatue has enabled the organization to create a bustling hub for its Avature users in the wake of Covid. Before the pandemic, they relied heavily on large in-person events, training sessions and face-to-face communication to get the most out of the platform and hit their hiring goals. When this was put on hold, they needed an online space to replicate that connection, especially because outside contractors can’t access corporate community platforms like Yammer. With Avature DNA, they were able to create that community, which has become a vibrant hub where users communicate and exchange recruiting tips through real-time interactions, posting questions, and suggesting best practices. The Value of the CRM Solution CRM remains Avature’s best-selling solution and a real game changer for recruiting organizations that want to shift from active to passive candidate recruiting, but most companies have yet to add a full-fledged CRM to their talent tech stack. Like Epic, M&T Bank didn’t have a CRM before implementing Avature. In just four years, they have saved $5 million in potential agency fees, built out a database of more than 83,000 prospects, sent more than 50,000 emails and achieved a 64 percent open rate. But ensuring maximum return on investment and impactful sourcing outcomes requires an effective strategy and a focus on user adoption. There are many reasons that some CRMs don’t thrive, including fear of change, lack of training on CRM techniques and limited integration with the ATS. Uber took to the stage to explain these issues and share the best practices they put in place to guarantee the successful implementation of Avature CRM: Revitalize leadership support. Identify CRM champions in each region and type of recruiting. Motivate a vibrant user community by leveraging success stories, sharing best practices and going through use cases. Set collaboration guidelines that clearly define candidate ownership, processes to share hot leads, naming conventions and data cleansing protocols. Make the most of metrics and provide visibility into KPIs. Data can help elevate TA within your organization by demonstrating the business value of recruiting activities. Ensure training for new team members and implement annual refresher training. For Northrop Grumman, before Avature CRM, candidate-centric high-volume hiring seemed like an oxymoron. But the technology has given them the tools to build rich talent pools, segment audiences and deliver high-touch, personalized campaigns for their high-volume recruiting events. The Case for Smart Automation The need to automate processes tends to be the driving factor for customers looking to buy Avature, so it’s no surprise that several conference presentations focused on compelling stories of smart automation. Atlanta-based GPS Hospitality is on the way to becoming a billion-dollar restaurant company. Successful hiring is fundamental to this strategy. To be precise, 2,600 shift leaders, 700 assistant managers and 600 general managers in the coming year. To hit these massive numbers, the team has been leveraging Avature automation. They’ve made the most of workflows to make application as seamless as possible, including text-to-hire functionality, self-scheduling for candidate interviews and automated offer letters via SMS. The University of Phoenix shared a similar tale, highlighting their use of role-specific and knockout questions for auto dispositioning, helping the TA team prioritize qualified candidates in high-volume cases. Automated email notifications keep candidates, approvers and hiring managers in the loop while keeping the process moving. And they have enabled a three-step offer letter generation process, saving time for recruiters and getting a competitive offer in a candidate’s hands as quickly as possible. This fall alone, Somerset CPAs and Advisors, one of Avature’s smallest customers, showed some mighty impact in what is perhaps the most difficult area to recruit – accounting. Demonstrating how a boutique player can compete with the Big Four on campus, this fall the organization has attended 30 recruiting events at ten universities, speaking to roughly 300 students. Before Avature, a paper-based process was inefficient and hard work for internal stakeholders. By implementing our platform, they’ve been able to design a more automated process, digitalizing campus recruitment and centralizing data capture and feedback. They’ve saved time, money and paper and can identify and interact with hot talent a lot more quickly. Road to the Future With new functionality hitting the platform every two weeks, the highly anticipated Power User Academy provided attendees with a broad range of best practices to leverage new features and up their game. More packed than ever, the Technical Track sessions offered insights into some of our recent engineering updates, system architecture and security foundations. Speaking to attendees, one of their most powerful takeaways was regarding Avature’s unique and impactful approach to semantics which eliminates the risk of bias. In keeping with our innovative spirit, the most important announcement of this year’s edition was the launch of Avature 10. Excitement during the session was high, with cheering from attendees as the team showcased the exciting new enhancements that will soon be hitting the platform. Watch this space for the exact dates these features will be released to the Platform. #AvatureUpfront US was a blast! But more importantly, it was packed with actionable insights. Attendees left with a long list of new ideas and strategies to put to work in their own organizations. We can’t wait for next year’s conference when customers will come back to showcase how they used the new features of Avature 10 to improve their operations. We hope to see you there too.