You committed yourself to a new Applicant Tracking System (ATS). You likely spent months researching all of your options, and now you’re ready to get started. You need your new platform up and running and your team onboarded and trained as soon as possible.
While your first instinct may be to have everyone dive right in and learn for themselves, it’s best to avoid this approach. No matter how intuitive the platform appears, having a structured implementation plan in place is the most important part to battling the initial learning curve and setting your team up for long-term success.
Be sure to keep these things in mind as your build out your plan.
Share the Reason for the Switch
You likely spent weeks, maybe even months, researching all your options for a new ATS. At this point, you know the strengths and weaknesses of your current platform as it relates to all of the different options in the market. You had time to sell yourself on the change, now you need to sell it to the rest of your team.
While the reason for the switch may seem obvious to you, it may not be to others. Clearly demonstrate to your team the reasons for the change and the value your new ATS.
Will it save them hours of work by automating data entry? Will it give you greater visibility into the effectiveness of your recruiting efforts? Does it include new features that eliminate the need to switch between multiple tools? Whatever it is be sure to tailor your message to your team and clearly articulate how the new ATS will benefit them.
Choose an Internal Champion
It’s important as you start planning for onboarding that you identify someone within your team who can lead the implementation. Ideally, you want to choose someone who was involved in the purchasing decision and is enthusiastic about the new ATS.
This will be your internal point person for everything related to the new tool. They will coordinate and lead internal trainings, communicate directly with the vendor, and be the go-to resource for your team.
As you begin to consider your choice for an internal champion, make sure whoever you choose is a good fit for the role. A good internal champion should be tech savvy, embedded in the ATS, and an excellent communicator.
Once you decide, announce your choice to the rest of your team. Your team members should work together to determine process, requests or any needs from your vendor. This will reduce turnaround time and ensure everyone is on the same page.
Create a Small Group of Key Stakeholders
It can be tempting to involve your whole team. With everyone included, it’s a lot easier to create mutual buy-in, grow enthusiasm, and collect different points of view, creating an opportunity to build a more robust onboarding experience.
However, there could be potential issues by involving too many people. More opinionated employees can dominate conversations and distract your internal champion and the rest of your team from the task at hand.
Instead, find the right balance by involving a small group of individuals with diverse skills and experience to provide a well-rounded perspective. This will ensure that the transition to the new ATS is carefully planned with the rest of your team in mind.
Transitioning to a new ATS can be a challenging experience. While you may feel confident in your decision to switch, there will likely others who don’t share your enthusiasm and resist the change. To garner support and limit pushback, be as transparent as possible early on in the transition process.
Start by communicating your timeline for the transition to your team as soon as possible. Identify the date for the official transition, and define any necessary action items and when they must be completed.
No matter how well you have built your transition plan, there will always one person on every team who will resist the change. By being as transparent early on in the process, you will address issues before they occur and give your team the time to mentally prepare for the switch.
No matter how thoroughly you have thought through the transition, there will be bumps along the way. Your ability to quickly respond and address issues will impact your team’s perception of the new ATS and how quickly they adopt it.
Be sure to have a plan for support in place. Identify someone within your organization, ideally the internal champion, who people can reach out to when issues arise. Provide support collateral, whether it is dedicated trainings or video resources, that users can reference as needed. Most importantly, work with your ATS provider to define your implementation plan, and ask them to share any available resources to help with the transition.
Caution! Don’t Give Your Team Full Access before the Formal Switch
Undoubtedly, you will be excited for the change, and you may even be tempted to let your team poke around the new platform before they have been trained. Usually when this happens, panic sets in. Your employees may feel uncomfortable because the new ATS looks different and may require changes to their workflow. They may even to start to push back when they feel uncomfortable.
Avoid this by limiting your team’s access until they have been fully trained on the new ATS. Make sure they are comfortable and confident prior to the switch. It’s a lot easier to address individual issues as they arise rather than fight an uphill battle before you have even started to make the switch.
Support after the Switch
With a thorough implementation plan in place, you have done everything possible to ensure your team’s transition to a new ATS will be as seamless as possible. Remember, your job is not over after you have officially made the switch. This is an ongoing process that will likely last for up to 6 months following the transition.
Make sure that your plan covers this time and that your team is continually working together to identify new ways to improve and streamline processes. As roadblocks appear, continue to work closely with your ATS provider to ensure your long-term success going forward. In no time at all, you will begin to reap the benefits of all your hard work and careful planning.