What is most valuable?
The most valuable feature is the standardization of all of the basic aspects of recruitment process management. I think it's the idea of opening and closing requisitions, and the workflow to enable efficient movement of a mass number of candidates through a product to get all the way from job sourcing through to hiring and onboarding.
How has it helped my organization?
Our organization require large volumes of hires on an annual basis. It's the nature of our industry. We bring in 35,000 people a year, so it's a necessary thing for us to have technology in place to do that in an efficient way with as few people as possible; to enable 700 different restaurants to be able to manage their own hiring experience; and so it's an adaptable tool. It's flexible, but it's also engineered for simplicity.
What needs improvement?
If you look at Kenexa's direct competitors – and we always look at the landscape of who's doing what in the ATS space – for a company like ours that does high volume hires of relatively low skilled workers, simplification's important; simplification for the hiring manager, simplification for the applicant. I think the more we can incorporate engineered ease of use, I think that's better. Same thing on the system admin side; the more we can engineer ease of use so that you don't have know HTML, you don't have to really go through days of training to be able to easily configure pages, I think all of that is an important thing for Kenexa to continue to make progress on.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
I've found that there's a consistency to the product that we have not had concerns with downtime issues and looking forward that there's always a robust road map that gives us some idea of where the technology is moving so that we can be prepared for those shifts.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
As we add new locations, we're able to quickly bring on. Any given location’s going to hire 100 to 150 people a year, so it's pretty easy for us to just bring on a new location, add them to our account, get them up to speed, and train the management teams; it's not that difficult.
How are customer service and technical support?
I have not personally used technical support; people on my team do use tech support often. We've logged tickets. We've found the process to be very easy to navigate. We understand who to connect with and again we think that they're on top of things as far as getting issues resolved quickly.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We were using Kenexa at the time we separated and we had the opportunity to either decide to move away or to keep what we had. We did a quick look at the landscape and we balanced the cost associated with change and change management, what we thought the upside benefits were of going somewhere else, and we didn't see that the landscape offered meaningfully better solutions. We felt like Kenexa was robust enough and dynamic enough that it met our needs, so it didn't make sense for us to disrupt 700 locations and reteach them something. That was a primary factor why we stayed with Kenexa.
How was the initial setup?
I was involved in the initial setup. We configured our own instance. We were separated from a former parent company about 2 1/2 years ago and at that time, we set up our own instance, so I've been a part of it ever since we stood that up. It was straightforward; it was good project management. Wwe had the resources we needed from the IBM side to make sure that we stayed on time and on task. It's not different from a lot of other large system implementations. There are a lot of moving parts. There's data migration. There are other things that have to be taken into consideration. Yeah, I think it went as well as it could, given the size and scale of the project.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We've looked at talentReef. We've looked at WorkDay. We've looked at a number of other solutions, including People Matters. We also use IBM assessments, so we've had an integrated platform on the assessments front.
We also take a look at who's playing in the ATS space, as well as who's playing in the assessment space, and make sure we feel like our solution is competitive with what our alternatives our, both from a functionality and from a pricing standpoint.
One of the most important criteria for me when selecting a vendor is partnership. By which, I mean it's a combination of support on a daily basis, as well as planning for the future, and it's also about the business side of things, being able to work effectively on the contract itself, extensions of the contract, how engaged is that business partner in meeting our needs. The important thing is to know that we don't want to be just 1 of the vendor’s 500 customers. We want our needs to be uniquely heard and uniquely met. We feel that we get that attention from IBM. We've got the ears of all the right people. We get the dedicated time. They've partnered us with other similar customers, but they never lump us into a big group where we can't state what's most important for Red Lobster.
What other advice do I have?
Do your homework. Make sure you know your own organization, your own processes, your own needs, and that you make sure that the vendor that you're considering fully understands that, can embrace what you're trying to accomplish, can paint a picture for you of where you're going to go, and that they will be there post-implementation in a support capacity and a continuous planning capacity, etc.
In my mind, it’s at the 80th percentile of the solutions out there. I think if there are 20% of solutions that are better, it's probably only because they were invented more recently and engineered with social in mind, with text in mind, with a more modern dynamic user in mind. I think the great thing about it is they've got a lot of invested time, energy, and knowledge. The downside is it's a system that was created many, many years ago and so it just evolves. You think of where it goes next and you add something, but you keep bolting on or adding on. It's probably not as clean or as efficient as something if you start it from scratch and said, "What's the simplest, easiest way to get a person from here to there?"