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Comment: taking an agile approach to an agile workforce

The accelerated rate of change in business and in career paths has forced many companies to adapt and embrace the modern Agile workforce model. By Eploy technical director Chris Bogh


Comment: taking an agile approach to an agile workforce

The accelerated rate of change in business and in career paths has forced many companies to adapt and embrace the modern Agile workforce model. By Eploy technical director Chris Bogh

This approach is where the company’s core, critical, permanent employees are supported and augmented by contingent teams and connected specialists. The right talent, in the right place, at the right time and cost.  

When implementing an online recruitment system, many of the companies we work with plan for, and manage their agile workforce by taking a ‘mixed mode’ approach to their recruitment. This could involve maintaining an in-house team to manage permanent staffing requirements, while using an RPO for contingent workforce needs. Often this will require the RPO (whether working as a master or neutral vendor) to co-ordinate and distribute jobs across a series of specialist agencies.  

Suddenly, this now creates a whole bunch of extra stakeholders for us to consider and a new set of user journeys we need to plan for. It would be easy to lose focus, so to counter this we too take an Agile approach.  

By starting with the end in mind, we can consider the main objectives of each of our internal stakeholders:  

‘As a Recruitment Manager I want visibility of where we are with each job, so that I can monitor the vendor’s performance.’ Also ‘I want to ensure that we don’t have the same candidate being submitted by multiple vendors.’  

‘As a Hiring Manager I want to raise a job, see candidates and provide feedback easily so that I can still get my day job done.’  

‘As a Finance Manager I want to instantly see what this is costing so that I can track and control costs.’  

Then we do the same for each of the external stakeholders in the process:  

‘As a Neutral Vendor I want to easily distribute jobs to the right agencies, and to quickly sift candidates so that we can get the most appropriate in front of hiring managers, quickly.’  

‘As a Neutral Vendor I want to act on Hiring Manager feedback as quickly as possible to ensure my time to hire KPIs are not adversely affected. I also want to get the quality right every time so that it doesn’t adversely affect the quality of my hire KPIs.’  

In addition to this: ‘As a Master Vendor I want to make the most of my talent pool so that I can efficiently identify the most suitable candidates to put forward.’  

We also need to consider the agency’s further along the supply chain: ‘As an Agency I need to get feedback when my candidates are rejected, so that I don’t put forward similar candidates who will be rejected for the same reasons. And so that I can give useful feedback to the candidate and better understand what the client is actually looking for.’  

For each of these users, you’ll notice that we have verbalised their needs as a short story in the format ‘As a…I that’. 

This is the Agile approach we use - breaking every requirement down into a series of user stories.  This helps us concentrate on putting the user at the centre of everything we do, and it keeps us focussed on their objectives.  

In turn this helps our software development team identify and create solutions based on meeting the needs of the users – even in complex situations like vendor management in mixed mode recruitment.  

The result is our web based vendor management portals that seamlessly connect with Eploy. Our unique portals give vendors a simple front-end through which they can submit candidates and capture the right information, while ensuring candidates aren’t duplicated.  

Rather than having to learn a new ATS or CRM system, the vendors have a task-based tool through which they can get their job done and provide (and be provided with) feedback from each of the other stakeholders in the recruitment process.  

The Agile methodology has over recent years transformed the design and development of software – but it is not limited to it. There is much we can learn from Agile and use throughout our businesses, and as we have seen, it is ideally suited to unpicking the requirements of complex recruitment problems and helping to solve them.   

Join Chris and and other top-level speakers including Rivers Island, adidas,TalkTalk, Aldi and more at the Retail Bulletin's 6th Retail HR Summit, October 8th 2014. Click here for details and registration. 


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