Dr. Amy Lui Abel, Author and Former LHH Global Talent Partner, on the True Impact of Artificial Intelligence in Talent Selection
Delve into the world of AI and its implications for the staffing industry.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
– Variously attributed to Charles Darwin, Clarence Darrow, Leon C. Megginson
Avionté, a leader in staffing and recruiting software and mobile staffing solutions, celebrated its 14th annual CONNECT user conference at the InterContinental Saint Paul Riverfront Hotel in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota. Over 650 attendees that included customers, associates, partners, and industry experts gathered to explore the theme of “Frictionless Staffing: From Employer to Talent and Back”, with sessions that covered every step of the staffing workflow from partnering with employers and the core recruiter experience, to the talent experience on a mobile phone to apply, onboard, get paid, and redeploy. Beyond software functionality, CONNECT took a deep look at a wide range of employment trends impacting the staffing industry, including Mobile Talent Adoption, Best Practices in Sales & Marketing, Artificial Intelligence, M&A Strategy & Trends, VMS adoption by Employers, and Compliance. Equally important, Avionté also conducted design sprints with small groups of customers to explore potential new products and features.
Among major events within the staffing industry, CONNECT has always stood out for its unique vibe. The people who come to CONNECT—and some have attended continuously since its inception in 2012—tend to share a common passion for shaping the future of staffing. Across customers, experts, vendor partners, and Avionté associates, there is tremendous openness to share new ideas and opinions.
“Avionté is not so much a software company as a community, where associates, customers, and business partners come together for a common purpose. We connect people with work.”
– Rishabh Mehrotra, CEO of Avionté
This core ideal brings everyone together to drive innovation and bring the staffing community into the future.
As in prior CONNECT events, Avionté often opens with a major announcement, and CONNECT 2023 did not disappoint. In the CEO address, Rishabh Mehrotra announced Avionté’s acquisition of SimpleVMS, the first significant merger of a staffing platform with a VMS (vendor management system) in North America.
“To deliver true frictionless staffing, and position staffing agencies as the hub between supply and demand, we need a frictionless flow of data from the employer’s VMS to AviontéBOLD and Avionté 24/7. If we can develop a deep integration with the right VMS partner, we can give our customers a competitive edge against other staffing agencies, marrying up the best mobile talent engagement platform in the industry with the best employer solution for managing their contingent workforce.”
– Rishabh Mehrotra, CEO of Avionté
Given Avionté’s position as the most widely used end-to-end staffing platform in North America, as well as the leader in mobile talent solutions for staffing, other staffing software vendors will likely need to follow suit or cede market share in critical markets. And it signals Avionté’s commitment to position its customers as the vendor of choice to employer clients.
The SimpleVMS deal was also notable due to its rapidly growing customer base, and its reputation among staffing agencies as the friendliest VMS to work with. As its co-founders, Jason Oswald (President) and Scott Frost (CTO), have deep roots in the staffing industry, they designed the SimpleVMS platform with features to support high-volume staffing and promote better communication and connectivity between staffing agencies and employers. Their unique design has already garnered widespread recognition among employers as the most effective VMS for staffing, and Simple VMS boasts one of the industry’s highest net promoter scores (NPS) for VMS software. Remarkably, almost half of its new customers come from direct referrals by staffing agencies, including existing Avionté clients.
Avionté also made other major announcements regarding its WorkN and Avionté 24/7 mobile talent platforms, featuring breakthroughs like a mobile job board, onboarding, and Avionté PIXEL – a highly customizable talent engagement tool empowering recruiters to customize automated pre-screening questions and assess candidate responses for questions with definitive answers.
As part of the product and technology discussions, Avionté also announced major departures in product design and development from prior years. Frictionless staffing requires an outstanding end-user experience for all users, and Avionté signaled to customers that their product development teams would be shadowing customers and end-users in the field to ensure that product design lives up to the promise of Frictionless Staffing on a daily basis.
While Avionté touted its new technology, there was also significant discussion around the importance of change management and engagement with recruiters. Mobile talent adoption depends upon front-line recruiters who can connect with talent on their terms. Among the most popular sessions at CONNECT were customer panels that discussed leading practices to roll out mobile talent applications and drive up talent adoption. Across these sessions, recruiters maintain their vital role in talent communications. As customers noted, embracing mobile staffing is paramount for agency success. Envision a user-friendly mobile talent hub that encompasses job search, credential submissions, onboarding, time tracking, and payment, all in one solution that helps build enduring agency-talent relationships.
“Mobile – it is an expectation – not a choice. If you want to compete you need it.”
– Dan Mastropolo, Chief Vision Officer, Staffing A to Z, INC.
Not surprisingly, CONNECT also featured robust discussions focused on the future of artificial intelligence (AI) within the staffing sector. Avionté’s CTO Odell Tuttle shared his unique insights into the role that AI will play in the future of staffing, as well as the company’s own innovative AI approaches. These include using employee information for enhanced job matching, extracting crucial insights from recruitment processes, and facilitating direct communication with talent via Avionté PIXEL messaging and mobile apps. Guest speaker Amy Lui Abel, PhD, explored talent acquisition technologies that leverage AI today, and provided insight on how to think about AI when selecting talent applications.
The fundamental question remains: How will AI reshape staffing? Two key points stand out. The first, is that early on, AI applications will play a co-pilot role for recruiters—the recruiter’s assistant. Today, search functionality is one of the most widely used tools on staffing platform and generative AI can transform search into a true value-added tool. The second is that the recruiter’s job will change, but it won’t go away.
“Artificial intelligence will change the way we work and we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. AI capabilities are unlikely to replace workers today, but those who use AI will replace those that don’t.“
– Odell Tuttle, CTO of Avionté
While we’re still discovering the full potential of AI’s impact on this industry, one lesson is clear: Embracing technologies like AI isn’t about fear, but about exploring possibilities to enhance talent pools and streamline processes for recruiters, clients, and talent.
With 3 days of networking, entertainment, and insights from Avionté leaders, customers, and industry experts, we are barely scratching the surface of CONNECT2023. The main takeaway from CONNECT 2023 is that change is inevitable. Technology and competitive strategies are continuously evolving across the entire staffing ecosystem, from employer to talent and back. But for those who can embrace change and leverage technology, there are huge opportunities for growth. Agencies embracing this transformation will position themselves to thrive in the rapidly shifting world of work.
But we’ll give the final word to the CONNECT Emcee and Keynote Speaker Rachel Sheerin, who discussed the importance of embracing change in her keynote address:
“It’s not the destination. It’s not even the journey to get there. It’s the people you choose to travel with.”