Customizable Technology Enables Virtual Hiring and Onboarding During Covid-19
Founded in 1890, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is a private, non-profit institution at the forefront of biomedical research. Their campus employs 1,100 people, including 600 scientists, students, and technicians. And with educational programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology, and quantitative biology, reaching close to 12,000 scientists around the world, the demands for effectiveness in HR are high.
Even before the pandemic, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s partnership with PeopleAdmin allowed them to realize efficiencies by streamlining and simplifying many of their processes through integrations with their current systems such as job boards and their HRIS system. The solution has provided flexibility through customization and visibility through deep analytics, enabling informed decision making. In addition, it has helped them to adapt their processes to remote hiring and onboarding during the pandemic.
The Importance of Integration and Customization
As a non-profit, the Laboratory had to find a solution that was affordable, while still meeting their high expectations. PeopleAdmin stood out to them for several reasons, but the main one was the high level of customization. This became important to the success of their operation. “The customization has been key with this solution,” said Jessica Toner, the Laboratory’s recruitment manager. What they managed to do was create a unique route for each department, all while using only one platform. “While we have one system, each process level was unique for our administrative, scientific, and education departments,” said Toner.
Being a small, but dedicated, HR department, everyone’s time is extremely valuable. Toner says that the PeopleAdmin system “integrated with not only our HRIS system but other platforms we use such as Job Target.” That allowed the Laboratory to “make the entire ecosystem better and make things easier for us” she says. On top of that, the Search Committee option was important to streamlining the faculty search experience. Overall, the high level of configurability is something they consider essential to the success of their HR team.
Actionable Insights on Hiring Trends, Sourcing and Lifecycle Data
Another significant component for the team was PeopleAdmin’s deep reporting and analytics features. Toner and the HR team specifically note how “the reporting function is extremely easy to use which is needed for our affirmative action plan, the monitoring of requisitions and being able to serve hiring managers effectively upon requests for detailed information about their applicants.” Again, this was key to saving time and money.
The analytics information unlocked a wealth of information for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. It allowed them to learn more about and easily understand hiring trends, sourcing, and insights on lifecycle data. Toner explains this information “tells a unique story… leading to better decision-making.” And with such a wide integration across departments, this information was crucial for that process.
Recruiting and Onboarding Virtually During Covid-19
As with most organizations, Cold Spring Harbor Lab also had to adjust their processes based on the pandemic. They’ve had to move from physical to electronic employee files. Additional checks had to be added to budget approvals. And most importantly, the orientation process was adjusted to reflect a remote process. That’s where they found PeopleAdmin’s HigherEd Platform to be beneficial.
“The ability to assign onboarding documents has been helpful,” Toner says. That’s something that they were already starting to implement before the pandemic but has now become essential to their process. Their big tip is to use the solution as a tool to conduct virtual orientations along with assigning documents. “The onboarding module has been really great for conducting virtual orientations.” As a result of doing this, “the recruitment process has not slowed in terms of being able to process requisitions and continuing with the hiring process.”
One last tip Toner shared is to “make sure there’s ample training and support for new hiring managers.” During Covid-19, things change fast, especially in higher education and research institutions. Having a well-trained and supported team, along with a customizable talent management and acquisition system, can help weather the storm.
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