How Northern Illinois University used PeopleAdmin to rethink their EEO workflows
Alan Clay arrived at Northern Illinois University in May of 2019 to serve as the Associate Director for Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity. With his expertise in applicant tracking systems from a previous role, in which he owned and customized the hiring workflows, Alan immediately noted that there was a lot of functionality missing from NIU’s ATS. NIU had implemented PeopleAdmin’s Applicant Tracking System and Position Management modules in February of 2017, and while the system was working for the basics of receiving and reviewing applications, many affirmative action principals and EEO capabilities were missing. Alan realized right away that his office, along with hiring managers, needed visibility into and access to the ATS.
Rethinking the workflows
As a subject matter expert, Alan was just the person to introduce the concepts the Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Office wanted to incorporate into ATS. By the summer of 2019, Alan was working with the PeopleAdmin team on a solution review, a program designed to optimize an institution’s platform and recommend updates based on changing business needs. Partnering with PeopleAdmin’s technical team, Alan began making incremental changes to the platform as the full scope of opportunity for customization became clear—the university just needed to take advantage of all PeopleAdmin’s capabilities. Over the past two years, NIU’s ATS has been transformed. The solution review process, Alan said, “ushered in a new level of collaboration and interaction” that helped NIU get where they are today.
Alan and his team decided to not just add access for their office, but to completely overhaul some of the processes and enable workflows that were not even on the radar before. For instance, compliance and internal review and approval processes were done on paper. Now, departments have the ability to upload documents and have them routed to the appropriate workflows for approval. Currently, Alan’s team is working to implement an entirely new role – within both the university and ATS—that will support the office’s functions. This exciting idea is to have an EEO liaison at the college and department level who would be responsible for reviewing all search documentation and affirmative action documentation for that department’s current open searches. This role would ensure departments are taking on responsibility for equal opportunity best practices before the search comes through the Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Office, making such practices a natural part of every search rather than an externally managed process. Within the PeopleAdmin system, this new role means re-thinking some of the workflows and ensuring that the EEO liaison has access to review hiring information at the right time in the hiring process. This idea also led to a broader overhaul of HR workflows, as teams examined who should get what materials at what point in the hiring process? With the flexibility of PeopleAdmin’s ATS, Alan is ensuring that the right departments are reviewing exactly what they need to review at the right time.
Certified Administrator Training: A game-changer
Last month, Alan and several other NIU leaders decided it was time to take their understanding of PeopleAdmin to the next level. They joined our most recent Certified Administrator Training to become experts in the platforms they work with, and Alan says the training is especially important given the revamp of the system, including brand new workflows and position types. From the team’s perspective, Certified Admin Training has been incredibly beneficial because of how thorough and detailed the information is. Sessions offer participants nuanced knowledge of capabilities they never knew the system had. Alan notes that one of the most vital parts of training is that, since everything is recorded, it empowers him and other participating leaders with the knowledge and resources to create detailed guides for campus partners and end users. When they can share their increased knowledge out to the NIU community, everyone on campus will be able to more effectively use the platform, making everyone’s jobs easier.
With Alan and the PeopleAdmin team working together, NIU was able to take its ATS from a baseline program to a dynamic, unique, and effective platform that worked for the specific challenges faced by the university.
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