Global Lessons

by Elaine Orler |

The SaaS revolution has enabled companies to actually implement software globally. Standardizing on an ERP vendor globally, usually does not mean that a company is implementing one instance of software across the world. So, ironically, the staffing group is on the vanguard of global software. Over the last 5-7 years multi-nationals corporations have been implementing SaaS recruitment systems globally and this will continue. In this piece we have shared what we have learned along the way.

Phases, Phases, Phases. Naturally, companies want to implement software as quickly as possible. More often than not, we end up recommending phases, or longer phasing than is originally proposed. Phase 1 affords many important lessons that greatly increase adoption in latter phases.

Don’t Ignore Low Volume Countries. I recently heard a global project leader for a significant oil company talk about their initial resistance to include African countries in the project. In one country, the operation only hired about 5 positions per year. With that volume, how could there possibly be a compelling ROI? Well, it turns out that they received about 1,000 paper applications for each open position and they hired temporary staff to handle that volume. The ROI for this country was actually very compelling.

Rollout a Basic Version First. It is dangerously easy to choose too much complexity. These enterprise software products are very seductive. What we have seen that works is a very basic and grounded approach with the initial rollout. The right first version for newby (first exposure to recruitment software) countries is an online career website connected to a resume database. Resist the temptation to introduce complex workflows for every process step. And if you do implement a workflow then try, try to keep it very basic. Rapid in-country implementations build momentum for a more sophisticated approach down the road.

Seize the Project Team Moment. Global projects are a unique and rich opportunity for everyone involved. For many large companies, a SaaS recruitment software rollout will be the first case of real global collaboration. It is an incredible opportunity for surfacing and clarifying the global culture. Spend the money and fly the project teams to meet in person at the project onset. Develop a common conceptual language for global recruiting at your company. If the project’s success is owned by people from every participating country then it will have the best chance to succeed. The relationships that are developed during the project will pay dividends in many other areas.

Don’t Force Countries (too much). Many global projects have gotten off to a bad start because it was perceived as forced by the headquarters entity. If a country has a solution that they are attached to, then give them the option of using it. If you implement successfully in countries that want the solution, then everyone else will follow. They will ultimately ask for your help.