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drive better recruitment outcomes with your HR tech strategy.

how healthcare leader, Kaiser Permanente uses smart technologies to empower its people

As one of the fastest-growing business sectors in the world, the healthcare industry is meeting the evolving demands of patients, thanks to the proliferation of medical innovation.

Health informatics are allowing physicians to collaborate more closely for better medical outcomes. Staff training is being transformed, with many adopting virtual or extended reality to better educate practitioners. Live in a remote area with limited access to doctors? Telemedicine is enhancing coverage to change that. Everywhere you look in healthcare, there is innovation.

When it comes to competition for skills in the sector, human capital leaders are leveraging an ever-expanding technology toolkit to improve recruitment outcomes and workforce planning. And Kaiser Permanente, one of America’s leading healthcare providers and not-for-profit health plans, is putting talent innovation into practice. With 12.2 million members, 39 hospitals, 680 medical offices and more than 213,000 workers, the California-based provider supports its holistic talent strategy with a progressive approach to HR technology. By focusing on practical tools, Kaiser Permanente is improving the candidate journey, facilitating recruiters’ daily tasks and getting better access to the talent it needs to deliver outstanding patient care.

Alya Abdoun, Kaiser Permanente


“We promote business processes and technologies that allow for a self-service management environment. This enables recruiters to focus on top talent. They can engage in meaningful dialogue and support more fulfilment needs, which improves the experience for applicants and hiring managers alike,” says Alya Abdoun, senior manager, Business Process Solutions at Kaiser Permanente.


tech & touch: recruitment at its best

Due to the massive volume of applications the company processes every year, technology is playing a vital role in accelerating the hiring process. Abdoun, who began her career as a recruiter, points out that today’s recruitment process is completely different from when she started out. Technology has bridged the gap between employers and job seekers. For example, Kaiser Permanente is using smart technologies to improve job-candidate matching. Using bots to better match candidate qualifications to job descriptions, the company has decreased the volume of applications that recruiters need to review by up to 35%.

Abdoun says that Kaiser Permanente’s recruiters can better focus their time on high-value activity. They’re able to dig deeper into candidate engagement and better identifying those who have strong cultural fit. High-impact tools streamline the process and lead to better hires overall. And as accessibility of talent acquisition technology grows, there will be more opportunities for recruiters to reclaim time in their day.

assessing & selecting talent technology

According to analyst Josh Bersin, recruitment accounts for the biggest portion in talent spend — three times the amount companies spend on employee training. He notes talent acquisition software is the “most dynamic and exciting” portion of HR technology today. It promises to further transform how companies can win high-quality talent.

At the same time, investing in recruitment technology can be challenging because there are so many choices. Adding complexity, talent leaders need to make critical decisions around implementation, training and change management. It’s also important that they communicate how these technologies will impact individual roles.

Abdoun says Kaiser Permanente is highly deliberate in the way it assesses technology investments. They are careful to ensure that investments align with business goals and support both members and healthcare providers. An internal leadership committee weighs in on the many technology decisions that affect talent for both the short- and long-term. The leadership committee also helps decide when to implement a new technology and whether better alternatives are available.

At the end of the day, it comes back to a simple question. Is the recruitment technology ultimately helping us deploy quality talent to business faster, more efficiently and cost-effectively?

empowering the robo-recruiter

Recently, Kaiser Permanente has been focusing on a number of HR technologies, including talent analytics and automated screening tools. Abdoun explains that the goal is to accelerate recruiter output, not to replace highly skilled human workers.

“Technology in my opinion is made to support recruitment, not replace that function,” she says. “Recruitment tools should help a recruiter to be successful at their role. They should streamline processes, allowing for simple engagement and tracking. They should provide reporting tools that not only support larger cost savings initiatives, but that can also contribute to workforce planning and understanding the talent landscape — not just within an organization, but in its talent pool.”

For the past 18 months, gaining greater business insight and driving more efficient candidate matching have been central to the company’s HR tech strategy. In the near future, Kaiser Permanente will consider technologies to help source contingent talent directly — a rising trend among many employers. In part, this is driven by the rise of the human cloud and freelancer platforms. Plus, Kaiser Permanente believes that being closely connected to talent helps it better respond to peaks and valleys in the business.

Abdoun expects that innovations such as virtual reality recruiting, video resume submittals and real-time recruiter chatbots are likely to become more popular. She also predicts that more consumer technologies will make their way into corporate hiring. “I believe that the on-demand car service is a model that we will see adopted in the talent acquisition space. What better way to support an evolving gig economy? You can allow talent to select the assignment and environment that best fits their career goals,” she adds.

a human forward HR tech strategy

While technology can have a huge impact on talent attraction and engagement, Abdoun is quick to note that innovation is just one part of the equation. In the healthcare industry, healthcare networks, hospitals and the people that serve them are an integral part of the community. Kaiser Permanente has a large presence in the towns and cities its facilities serve. Its leaders recognize the importance of constantly supporting its brands — both corporate and employer — to be an attractive workplace.

“Kaiser Permanente continues to invest in the right tools and methods to engage talent. In addition to technology, there are many other attributes that allow for a competitive advantage that go hand-in-hand. Branding, being part of our local communities, and knowing that our prospective employees are potentially our current healthcare members are all important to our success,” she adds.

But Abdoun is all for more innovation when technology can step in to make a difference. She’s especially excited about tools that can enhance recruitment personalization and help workers build trust and a lasting connection with Kaiser Permanente. For instance, instead of sending automated impersonal follow-up emails, she hopes that AI will use context to engage applicants with useful content. “I’d like to see technology that will keep them warm as candidates,” even if they don’t become hires.

Because candidates can be Kaiser Permanente plan members, ensuring they have a pleasant experience also enhances the company’s reputation among its customers, she adds.

As demand for healthcare continues to grow, companies in the sector will need all possible resources to attract, engage and win over great talent. Technology is a crucial part of the equation, and Kaiser Permanente is among those creating a better workforce through innovation.

want to learn more?

Find out how employers are using AI and automation to drive recruitment outcomes. Download the Q3 2018 Talent Trends Quarterly for insights based on surveys from more than 800 C-suite and talent leaders around the globe. You’ll learn how these trends are impacting your industry and be able to benchmark your company’s HR tech strategy against the market.