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“We need to be able to attract and retain talented people and support their continuous growth while fostering respect, diversity and well-being at work.” That was the goal for European Central Bank (ECB). And it’s one that resonates with companies everywhere. But transforming that vision into a reality without burdening talent teams? That was the real challenge.

When brainstorming solutions, they knew the path forward involved investing in highly configurable technology that would adapt to their specific needs and empower a scalable approach while ushering their processes into the digital age.

About European Central Bank

ECB is the central bank of the European Union countries which use the euro. Working with 27 members of the European System of Central Banks (ESCB) and 19 members of the Euro area, its key responsibility is maintaining price stability; developing monetary policy and contributing to the safety and soundness of the European banking system.

ECB is based in Frankfurt, Germany, and has approximately 4,500 employees, comprising more than 28 nationalities and speaking 24 official languages. To continue to engage and expand their diverse workforce, they needed a system that could support their hiring and talent management models.

The Challenges

Before Avature, ECB were facing several obstacles, primarily in two key moments of their talent journey.

Talent Acquisition Challenges

At ECB, the recruiting process involves a selection committee that screens eligible candidates and provides the hiring team with detailed scores as well as dispositioning criteria depending on a candidate’s compatibility. Before implementing Avature, the step-by-step process involved:

This was all carried out in spreadsheets, where individual panel members would manually add their scores and comments leading to a series of obstacles that included:

  • Siloed information and duplicate efforts. Their existing solution wasn’t flexible enough to accommodate their process, so it had to occur outside the system. As a result, somebody had to manually input the data into the system.
  • No possibility for simultaneous scoring. With only one file to work on, the process was time-consuming.
  • Lack of impartiality. Panel members further down the line could see their peers’ feedback, which influenced their decision-making process.
  • Synchronization issues. When working on the same file, occasional glitches led to score registration failure and they had to check and correct the scores.

Talent Management Challenges

Conscious of the importance of retaining their existing workforce, as well as attracting new talent, ECB had activated a mentoring program for employees. But it relied on heavy manual input from the HR team members tasked with its management.

Without technology, they were responsible for maintaining mentor and mentee lists, carrying out the matching process, sending communications, collecting feedback and reporting on performance, all manually. Soon, it became too burdensome and ECB was forced to sunset the program.

The Solution

The challenges ECB faced were hindering the organization’s ability to attract and retain talented people and support their continuous growth. ECB knew that they needed to find a scalable solution that would relieve stakeholders of the current burden and have a positive knock-on impact for both candidates and employees.

When looking to technology for help, they prioritized choosing a vendor that would adapt to their processes and not the other way around. Therefore, they’d be able to provide each stakeholder with the best possible experience in a manner that remained true to their organization.

“Most of the vendors in the market were asking us to adapt to their systems, to be more lean, to simplify our processes. On the contrary, we wanted to have a system that catered to our processes in ECB.”

Peter-Alexander Weprich
Senior HR Analyst at European Central Bank

After a rigorous RFP process, Avature came out on top, predominantly due to the platform’s configurability that would facilitate ECB’s vision. Working in partnership with the Avature team, ECB embarked on the implementation of multiple solutions that would resolve previous issues.

A Seamless and Transparent Screening Process

By implementing Avature ATS, ECB has successfully digitized its screening process, eliminating synchronization issues and data silos. Everything now takes place within the Avature platform, removing duplicate efforts and reducing the margin for error.

The ECB team chose to implement a hiring manager portal for their panel members, where they can easily filter for candidates that have yet to be scored. Once they select a person from that list, the intuitive interface shows them both the individual’s CV and the scoring form on the same page, facilitating the assessment process as they no longer have to tab between multiple programs and windows.

Reducing bias was one of ECB’s main concerns when it came to enhancing their existing screening process. With the Avature Hiring Manager Portal, panel members can’t view other scores until the calibration meeting, which helps mitigate influencing and bias among panel members.

Manual efforts have also been reduced by making use of Avature’s smart automation features. The system now averages the scores automatically, saving the team time and reducing any possible errors. But score calibration is available, which allows the panel to adjust scores in cases when they deem it necessary. This gives panel members a final say, keeping them in control of the process.

By leveraging Avature workflows, the ECB team no longer has to manually move candidates through the hiring process. In fact, the platform moves them automatically to the appropriate workflow step depending on their score and automated communications are triggered to inform them if they’ve been asked to interview, were placed on hold or rejected. Those that don’t move forward in the process are also sent personalized panel feedback, improving the candidate experience without burdening recruiters.

The New and Improved Mentoring Program

Once they had the right technology in place, bringing back their mentoring program was a no-brainer for ECB. With Avature, they can now offer the service to their entire workforce.

“Another building block we’ve implemented was the mentoring portal. At ECB we think that mentoring is a complement to training. For example, to support professional development. We think that mentoring can be a vehicle for fostering diversity and inclusion and it enables sharing diverse perspectives and experiences among colleagues. Mentees can use the tool to better understand the organization, develop relationships across business areas and work on skills development that they may need and ultimately contribute to improving their performance.”

Sandra Savary
HR Systems Team Lead at European Central Bank

The pandemic prompted the implementation of work-from-home policies at ECB and, as a result, HR saw an opportunity to expand mentoring initiatives to better support the workforce. For example, a digital dexterity program that would help upskill employees for using new technology and onboarding mentoring that would replicate the on-site support for new hires. Since then, ECB has introduced other programs, including peer and reverse mentoring.

Now the entire mentoring process occurs within an intuitive portal. Both mentors and mentees are prompted to complete a comprehensive profile based on their experiences, what they hope to get from the program and the perspectives they can offer (for example, cultural insights, long-term ECB experience, LGBTQI+ community member, work-life balance as a parent, and more).

The system intelligently matches mentors and mentees using transparent AI, providing matches sooner and replacing the manual process that previously created so much work for HR. This ensures the scalability of the program as interest in it increases and the organization grows.

Mentees can view their matches and even request a chemistry meeting to see if their potential mentor is a right fit, adding a personal message that can further expand on the request. If both stakeholders agree to proceed, they’ll receive an automatic email where they’ll be prompted to schedule the meeting and, in the portal, they’ll later be able to make a final decision whether they’ll begin the mentoring program or not.

Through the portal, they’re able to access all the details regarding their mentorship, such as start and end dates, areas and perspectives of mentoring offered and the areas and perspectives the mentee is seeking.

Feedback collection is also built into the process through the journal. Here, they can provide information on the status of the program – ongoing, paused or closed – as well as being prompted to share feedback once they’ve completed the experience.

A year after their implementation, 147 mentors and 375 mentees have already subscribed to the program, from which 87 ongoing mentorships have blossomed and 63 are open.

Looking to the Future

Through the right technology, ECB was able to power talent attraction and retention initiatives and work towards supporting the continuous growth of its workforce. Putting user experience first was key to achieving this goal, making the processes more scalable, improving adoption, streamlining hiring and enhancing development strategies.

But for ECB, this is just the start. Real-time reports within Avature grant the team a level of visibility they previously lacked, enabling them to fine-tune their programs on the go with rich data-driven insights. So the optimization journey continues. In fact, ECB is currently working with Avature on powering new initiatives that will improve the talent journey even further.

“What is next on the Avature agenda? We kicked off the talent marketplace, an internal solution to find talent, to find people with skills that aren’t normally shared in a CV. We’re making talent available to the ECB. We’re also looking forward to bringing CRM and onboarding at a later stage.”

Peter-Alexander Weprich
Senior HR Analyst at European Central Bank

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