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From Surviving to Thriving: How Agility Drives Talent Success in Uncertain Times

Written By
Brendan Bresnahan
Senior Content Producer

At Avature, agility is much more than a trendy catchphrase, it’s ingrained in our talent DNA.

From sourcing activities, to new hire onboarding, to performance management and the employee experience, we have consistently been ahead of the curve in providing our clients with the next generation of highly configurable talent technologies.

And while HR executives have long understood the many benefits of solution flexibility in the digital age, the hard truth is that agility continues to be a topic that perplexes, and – in some cases – even frightens many large enterprise organizations.

Why would organizations prefer cookie cutter and off-the-shelf technologies to a blank SaaS canvas of almost infinite possibilities? Well, that’s a good question. Perhaps culture. Maybe knowledge. In all likelihood, it’s due to a still evolving vision of the role that talent technology should play.

And yet, with 2020’s shift from “business as usual” to “business as unusual” (re: COVID-19), a clear vision is exactly what organizations now so desperately need.
In today’s “new normal,” the demand for solution flexibility and adaptability has never been greater. With most of our customers having experienced some degree of pandemic-driven adversity (i.e., budget cuts, furloughs, hiring freezes, etc.) in the last few months, it’s glaringly clear to us that solution-driven agility is the defining characteristic of HR excellence in these trying times.

This post will describe how a number of Avature customers have used our agile solutions to quickly pivot and adapt in the face of 2020’s ever-evolving business landscape.

Let’s dive in.

Delta Airlines Reimagines Internal Mobility

With faltering consumer demand, sweeping travel restrictions and a general concern regarding the safety of air transport, global aviation – like many service-centric industries – was quick to feel the full financial force of the Coronavirus pandemic. Delta, one of America’s oldest and largest commercial airlines, was forced to make significant staff reductions to their pre-pandemic workforce of 90,000 plus employees.

In fact, between furloughs and early retirements, Kevin Robinson, Lead Program Manager for Talent Acquisition, estimates a staff reduction of around 20,000 employees since the pandemic struck in early March. With such significant and unexpected employee turnover, Delta suddenly (and solemnly) found itself with a worryingly unequal workforce distribution. That’s to say, while some business units were experiencing a pandemic-driven downturn (e.g., cabin crew), others were desperately in need of a fresh influx of talent (e.g., customer service).

Looking to close their quickly widening workforce talent gap, Delta developed an innovative approach driven by the flexibility of the Avature platform. With a focus on employee redeployment, job shares and targeted internal communications, Delta utilized short-term assignments to fill positional demands and implement a more efficient “gig approach” to talent mobility.

Leveraging tools that were previously implemented for the specific talent acquisition goal of sourcing, engaging and hiring top-tier candidates, Avature’s flexibility allowed Delta to easily repurpose the platform to fit their talent mobility needs. Utilizing Avature’s email templates and versatile landing pages, Delta was able to successfully present furloughed employees with a diverse range of internal employment/upskilling opportunities both within and outside their typical business units.

The addition of automated end-date management ensured a smooth transition from assignment to assignment (typically ranging from weeks to months), while hiring workflows were redesigned to more efficiently engage distinct categories of internal candidates.

With Avature’s help, Delta achieved an unbelievable 100 percent use rate of interested employees, and, more importantly, provided their workforce with exceptional support in circumstances that were immensely difficult for both employer and employee.

Fortune 100 Financial Services Corporation Overcomes Onboarding Adversity

Home to more than 200,000 employees and serving customers in over 160 countries, “Company X” is the largest mover of money in the world.

And, as with most large enterprise organizations, a significant degree of Company X’s success is owed to its robust and comprehensive talent acquisition framework – a key part of which is the organization’s global summer internship program.

With position offerings across a diverse range of divisions (from corporate banking to technology) and cities (from New York to Hong Kong), Company X’s ten-week summer internship program looks to discover and develop early career talent with a specific aim towards ensuring the future success of the organization. As a top-tier, in-demand program, its strict recruitment timeline typically concludes by April.

Well, as with most summer plans in 2020, Company X was forced to confront the viability of their program as the Coronavirus pandemic took hold. Not only were many interns now subject to travel constraints based on their country of origin, but it was clear that the program needed to be delayed until at least July in order to offset global movement restrictions and mandatory lockdowns. Forced to cut the program from ten weeks to five, Company X looked to Avature to help facilitate an unexpectedly virtual – not to mention global – new hire onboarding initiative.

Using Avature’s highly flexible forms builder, Company X was able to successfully survey all 1,500 interns to better understand each participant’s specific situation – everything from geographic location, to the availability of quiet spaces while working from home. Once appropriately informed, the organization leveraged Avature’s “views” functionality to create a custom contract addendum field, providing hiring managers with advanced visibility and ensuring that addeneums and additional documents could be digitally delivered to candidates and signed on a global scale.

By partnering with Avature, Company X was able to preserve their summer internship program and effectively prepare interns for the work realities of 2020’s “new normal.”

Talent Pools Drive Hiring Boom for Non-Profit Healthcare Provider

Given the industry’s historically high turnover, effective healthcare talent sourcing has always been a tough nut to crack.

Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, talent acquisition stakeholders are struggling to adequately address the crisis-driven exacerbation of the industry’s boom/bust hiring duality.

One such organization is “Company Y.”

With over 100 hospitals and clinic locations in seven states throughout the United States, Company Y is helping lead the fight against COVID-19 by focusing their care on the most vulnerable and at-risk segments of society. Like most healthcare providers on the frontlines, Company Y was forced to confront an unprecedented increase in demand for specialized medical personnel (particularly in virus-ridden hotspots), as well as a simultaneous and significant decrease in demand for rural primary care providers.

Although Company Y ultimately experienced a staff reduction of around 30 percent across the United States, coastal city talent demands necessitated the immediate development of a number of deep talent pipelines.

With a focus on automation and efficiency in the form of standard fields and concise workflows, as well as a helping hand from Avature’s advanced CRM engagement tools (including both SMS and email marketing), Company Y successfully launched three separate sourcing campaigns focused on recently furloughed employees, campus leads for nursing positions and historical leads for vacancies in surging fields.

With response rates as high as 25 percent, Company Y was not only able to meet the spring’s record-breaking demand for essential workers, but is now better positioned to manage fluctuations in worker demand as they continue to confront the virus’ second wave.

To Conclude…

A core tenet of our talent mission, agility continues to be the driving force behind Avature’s best-in-class SaaS technology. And although some HCM stakeholders have been slow to fully embrace the utility of made-to-order talent solutions, 2020 has unequivocally demonstrated their unparalleled value.

As we enter the next chapter of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2021, those organizations willing to go all in on agile talent solutions and innovative processes are likely to be the big winners of our “new normal.”

While the client stories described above are impressive, it is important to note that they are by no means unique among our customer base. If you are interested in learning more about how we can help your organization maintain talent operations with minimal disruption in the coming months, don’t hesitate to reach out – our experts are standing by.

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