HR Vision Podcast #14 – A Marketer’s Perspective on HR Tech ft. Britt de Roode

By FourVision
Oct 6 • 1 min read
HR Vision Podcast Episode 14 ft. Britt de Roode

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Welcome to the second season of the HR Vision Podcast!

Britt de Roode, our VP of Marketing and Recruitment Implementation Services, kicks-off this season with a marketer’s perspective on HR Tech.

She gave us her take on why people are key to a successful HR system implementation, what is the end-to-end HR process and a fair comparison between recruitment and marketing. A good way to start!

Ivo:
Hey everyone, and welcome to the HR Vision podcast. I'm your host Ivo and every week I'm going to have a conversation that matters about HR. After a small hiatus, we are kicking off season two with the Britt de Roode. Hey Britt, welcome, how are you?

Britt:
Hello, thank you. Yeah, I'm doing well, how are you?

Ivo:
I'm doing great thank you. Britt is the VP of Marketing and Recruitment implementation services at FourVision. So we obviously work very closely together and she's here today to kick off season 2, like I said, and to give us her marketers perspective on HR tech. It shall be fun. So Britt, are you ready? Very nervous? Not really.

Britt:
A bit, yes I am.

Ivo:
OK. OK. So guys, give her a break. But she'll be fine, I know that. All right, so let's start. For all new guests, you know by giving us a small introduction and, you know like, your background, professional backgrounds. Tell us all about it.

Britt:
Yeah, of course of course. Well, like Ivo said, my name is Britt. I've been working at FourVision since four and a half years ago, when I was not working in HR Tech, but I had some elements of it with my previous employer. But my journey began in a completely different industry, and that was in the retail industry. Where I was responsible for marketing campaigns within supermarkets, you can think of Christmas, in the Netherlands you have a celebration called sinterklaas.

Ivo:
Sinterklaas, yes.

Britt:
Indeed indeed, but during the time that I was working there. I was also involved, very much involved in projects from the commercial IT side. So we were professionalizing the marketing side around advertisement. So offline advertisement, where you get your weekly advertising journal, yeah. And because everything was still in Excel, everything was still on paper, feedback rounds also on paper. But also all that was published within the stores. So for example. If you have, I don't know, chicken that normally costs you 5 euros and if it's for sale it's gonna cost you 4 euros. You would like to publish that as well in your stores. At that time stores were still doing this manually. Printing things out, had to put that in front of the product and you will think well that's a small thing. But it was very complicated to make that into an automated space.

So that was my first experience within, my first footprint within technology. So without the HR side. I've been doing that for four and a half years, always in combination with marketing activities. And with my next employer I became a recruiter, so that was my first step in HR tech. Which brings my background closer together with FourVision. In the meantime, I had several employers more focused on marketing. Then my previous employer asked me. Hey Britt, can you please implement a new careers site for us in combination with the new ATS. ATS is an applicant tracking system which enables us to manage all the new candidates and eventually also to automate the hiring process. Because that company had the ambition to grow from 40 employees to a company of 300 employees in a couple of months. And you can imagine, if you only have one recruiter to do that, it was a hell of a job. That's what I did just before I switched employers.

I switched from my previous organization to FourVision. And that was my first job, in that sense, in the actual IT technology services. At that moment I was focusing on all the changes that came from Microsoft at that moment, and to also bring that to our customers and to our potential customers through a new website.

Ivo:
But was that already at FourVision or before FourVision?

Britt:
That was at FourVision.

Ivo:
That was already when you joined. Yeah, OK, that's interesting.

So you actually managed to mix a small part of IT with HR, even before coming to FourVision. So how was the time around you joining FourVision? Did you have a difficult time adapting to the type of product or services that FourVision was providing at the time? It was a whole new world, I can imagine right?

Britt:
Yeah that's correct. That's correct. Yeah, almost correct to be honest. Because before I joined FourVision, I just finished my other bachelors which was for business and IT. So I was already involved in that sense. Or not involved, I had knowledge about services. About how you can implement a software as a service, so also on that side. But that was of course not in the HR industry, from dynamics. So yeah, that was a whole new world for me. Recruitment is more related to marketing because you are trying to sell your company, of course.

I think that on the recruitment side a candidate has almost the same journey at a customer or prospect. But if you hired someone, then yeah, it's more difficult to keep the right employees on the right spot. So I think that was for me the other end. So if someone is hired, yeah, that was an entirely new world. And then with all the technology from Microsoft behind it, yeah, that was a different, but not difficult to adapt to. Because I'm always really eager to learn. But the company was smaller at that time, so yeah, the lines were very short. But also when I started I immediately got a lot of responsibilities and not only on the marketing side, but also on the platform side aimed at partners, to Microsoft and to third parties.

Ivo:
Interesting. So when you joined and learned a lot about HR, technology and how those two mix. Were there any great things that you identified right away, that you never thought about? That HR tech could be so useful, are there any things that you can share that were surprising to you at that at that time? When you started learning about HR tech.

Britt:
Yeah, that the world of HR was more than only an admin function or an admin role within a company. And nowadays for me, the most surprising thing is that, at this moment, an organization is not choosing a candidate but the other way around. And if you are mature enough as an organization. You don't need to have everything right away, but systems can help you a lot, but it's still the people who need to do it. I think that was from me the biggest eye opener in that sense. And I think that's not only for HR, but because it's system and people related. Also then the people within your own company. This makes it even more difficult.

Ivo:
Yeah, uhm, I under I understand that. You know. Like if you look globally at HR tech. What do you think are the the main value propositions? What can HR tech help and facilitate and automate? What if you had to select top strengths of HR tech in general, what what would you say?

Britt:
Yeah, I think especially one is a clear process. From the candidate side as well as for an HR manager or recruiter or an HR employee. A solution will help you, but also only if the solutions are connected with each other. We call that end-to-end solution experience and I can elaborate on that a bit more, but maybe that's another topic to discuss.

Ivo:
We'll go there, we'll go there.

Britt:
Yeah yeah yeah, I thought so. But i think, also focus on not only on industry but also on what's going on with people from nowadays. So people who are already in their 40s are different from people who are just starting as they are 20. Someone from 40 can say, well, I can still I can type a motivation letter or I can send you my resume in PDF or another file, but maybe someone that's twenty is saying, well, I prefer to send a video, a recorded video.

Also the other way around that an organization can say, hey we wanna have a round with selections with a video resume. Turning your letter into a video. So I think it's also less on age, but more in the sense of knowing what your candidate wants. And on the other end, if you hire them, know what your employee wants and keep yourself up to date. Try to have the people within your HR department and don't keep them only for administrational tasks because solutions can do that. To have the communication on a regular basis with your employees. I think that's most valuable and that's the for me also the biggest difference with a couple of years ago already. Especially now that we are still in lock-down ish. Yeah we are opening up, I know, but a lot of people are still working from home. Now you need to communicate proactively with each other and yeah.

Ivo:
Yeah. That's a that's a very good point. Going back to what you said, the end-to-end. We tend to talk about a lot about that, especially with our partners and customers, our prospects. We tend to speak a lot about this end-to-end. I know you've been in the company for some time now and you have had your hands on a lot of partnerships with Dynamics ATS and Phenom and LMS and such. All of these partners try to, you know, to combine together to get that end-to-end solution that supports the whole HR process. So yeah, what's your view on that end-to-end and the importance of having an end-to-end process that works for HR?

Britt:
Yeah, I think an end-to-end process in combination with the right solutions is that you can offer a good candidate and employee experience. So a candidate is now searching for a company which fits his or her skills and not only based on his or her experience. That starts with a really good careers site or with good job posting. If the candidate has the feeling that there is already a fit. That will help you, so a careers site is how you can market yourself.

On the other end. If someone is applying for a job that can still be through a form or maybe for example like Phenom does. Phenom is one of the vendors, that we work with. They have a chatbot where you can even schedule an appointment with a recruiter. So it helps the candidate move faster, make faster decisions. Because at this moment, if someone is looking for a new job, they're only scanning a job description, maybe only reading headlines or the first lines of a paragraph, and that's it. And that's how they make a decision. If you can support that with a process from one system which is integrated to another system. If a candidate applies, as a recruiter you would like to communicate with them, as fast as possible. Give them a reply. What are we going to do with your application? Are we gonna do an interview with you? Or are we saying, well at this moment we don't have any opening for you etc. And then on to the next steps. Hire them, onboard them the right way. And for a recruiter it makes it also a lot easier to work with those systems if they are integrated with each other. That's why we call it an end-to-end, yeah.

Ivo:
Yeah, it's not only the recruitment stage, of course where you need to provide a good experience, but then we have many studies saying that a good onboarding experience actually, you know increases 80% chance of an employee staying in the company. So good onboarding is also important. And then the development of the employee, right?

Britt:
Yep, the whole talent management is the second step. If you hire someone, how can you retain someone? It's not only through a nice rule, but also to give someone a perspective. This is what your next steps can be. This is how you can grow into a new role or this is how you can grow in your current role. Depends on what the employee wants.

Ivo:
Yeah, absolutely. And you know this end-to-end basically goes exactly from end to end, from the recruitment towards onboarding and talent development and eventually offboarding too.

Britt:
Retirement, yeah.

Ivo:
Yeah to retirement. Yeah, absolutely. You know when arrived at FourVision, I don't know if you had any experience with Microsoft products before. We didn't speak about that by the way, you can say if you did, but uhm, when you arrived at FourVision, we have a strong partnership with Microsoft. We use Microsoft products for our services and implementations. What do you think? What is important? Because I also know that you work closely with the Microsoft partner program and that you know a lot about that. So what what can you tell us about your experience with Microsoft so far?

Britt:
Yeah, and then more on the products? Or more on the relationship that we have?

Ivo:
More on the relationship. I would say.

Britt:
Yeah yeah. Well the relationship is really good. And I think that's more depending on the founders of FourVision. A couple of years ago they were focused only on Microsoft and their relationship. Microsoft is a very big sales channel for us. And a very good partner as well, because we work together to bring the best solution to the customer. And I think that's most important, to always keep the customer in mind. And yes, then we have our other partners as well. And yes, we use solutions from Microsoft to deliver the systems, but also. It's about creating the best experience for the customer.

Then on the other end we also develop solutions and we are an HR expert. And we've seen in the standard product from Microsoft that it wasn't enough for a lot of customers. It was too standardized and it was not possible to enhance the solution. So what we did is create our own solutions. Also modular are based because organization A has other needs than organization B. So each organization is able to create their own HR solution based on the Dynamics platform. So that we have the ability to combine the best of both worlds for customers. I think that's the most important part of our relationship.

Ivo:
Alright. I worked with it before, with Microsoft. We worked closely on the partner center. My experience is very good like in terms of support? I think they're very quick. Do you feel the same? With all the experience that you had before, working with them. Do you feel the same? They are really helpful, supportive, and and and always there for their partners?

Britt:
Yeah, they are. They are very open. If you look at from a more regional perspective is we have an international company, but Microsoft is also very regional based. So we have Microsoft Netherlands, we have Microsoft Belgium, but we are also operating in the US. The sales relationship that we have is really good and we are working now for several years on a global partnership. And that's still yeah, it's not there yet. So I think that has to do with the fact that we are only focused on HR. But the willingness to have that relationship is there from both sides. So the intention is there we only need to fill in the blank spots.

Ivo:
Yeah. I think the the focus that it has been given to HR in the last couple of years or the last five years. I think it will bring the companies that work with HR a bit up in the scale, you know, to get to that global partnership. So we'll work will work on that.

Britt:
Yeah, and I think especially because the importance of HR is growing. And it's now a bigger part of the Dynamics platform and organizations are now choosing for a platform again rather than a single solution and HR is part of that.

Ivo:
Absolutely. As we said you also are, besides VP of Marketing, our VP of Recruitment Implementation Services. That means that you work very closely with one of our vendors. One of our partners Phenom. You said a very interesting sentence in the beginning of the episode, saying that recruitment is a lot like marketing. That you see a lot of similarities there. Anything about the Phenom platform that surprised you. In the way they use it or anything in tech, in recruitment technology that surprised you once you started working closely with it.

Britt:
Yeah, I think that's also more on the process behind it then the platform itself because the platform itself is basically a very big CRM system. So a customer relationship management system. Phenom developed the same thing or the same platform. But the C in CRM stands not for customers but for candidates. So platform wise no. But what I've seen in the last couple of years is that platforms are changing, to make it easier for recruiters. Because recruiters nowadays are more in the role of a marketer. They are trying to convince candidates, and it can be with a careers site or it can be in a conversation, to work with the company. Then the other way around. So if you give a recruiter a platform like Phenom. They can't work immediately. They need training. They need the right steps from a process. They need the right approach. What do you want with your company? Set goals, etc. And that's what a marketer does because they are educated to do it. But a recruiter isn't.

So you can bring a platform to a recruiter but it doesn't mean the recruiter can work with it and that's now changing. And that's also what we see in the implementation period. Is that if we are implementing, it's also about training and help the customer to work with the system. And not say, customer what do you want? No it's the other way around. This is how the system works. This is the best practice. And we can help you with that and it works because it's a proven system. With about more than 4000 customers.

Ivo:
That's a very good point of view. Like recruiters, nowadays, need to think as a marketer, and it's true. The power is shifting to the the candidates more these days because they want a company that aligns with their values more than the skills, the the role itself or even the money sometimes, especially in some countries. Of course this can vary, but in general terms in developed countries that's probably the case. So that's a very interesting perspective.

You know, let's talk about the future. So what are you seeing right now as trends in HR technology? Where do you think it's going? Where is the focus is shifting to? What is your view on HR tag for now and in the future?

Britt:
I think for now, that candidate and employee experience is key. And that you need to support that with the right systems. And also at this moment, like I already said, organization A is different than organization B and you need to adapt to that. As an organization, try to be in the market, but also look at the future. What do you want to do with your organization?

Because if you created your career site maybe a couple of years ago, but are you working on continuous updates? So are you working on your strategy and is your HR strategy changing or is it the same? Working remotely nowadays, is normal, it's common because we were pushed to do that. But now people thinking, hey maybe I don't want to go back to the office. It was so much easier working from home. I don't have travel time anymore so companies need to adapt to that. And like you said candidates have the power. Employees have the power and if you combine those two strengths. I think yeah, you are a good employer.

Ivo:
Because there's been a talk before in the recruitment part, like the AI and that involvement. Do you think it's coming very soon or?

Britt:
Yeah, you see that with multiple systems, that at this moment AI is one of their biggest key functionalities. But also on AI, there's so much data and companies don't know what to do with it anymore. They don't know how to translate it to, maybe steering information. So Yeah, AI will be a big thing, but I think AI still needs a lot of improvement to help companies. It's the same thing as with the recruiter. You can create a very big cool dashboard with a lot of data in it, but a hiring manager or HR manager don't know what to do with it. What's the point? So also on all the AI, you can have so much data. But if the AI is not able to translate it then it's difficult to work with or for it to benefit a company.

Ivo:
OK, we are towards the end. I just have one final a question for you or ask for advice. So if you had one thing to say to people out there listening, being HR professionals, IT professionals, whatever it is. What can you say as a VP of Marketing or a VP of Recruitment Services?

Britt:
Do not focus only on implementing a system, but also focus on your employee wants and what the needs are of your employee in combination with your organization. Because like our tagline says, it starts with you. It starts with HR and it starts with us as your partner to help you with this process. The company needs to be ready for a transformation. Do not think you can transform an old process into a new solution, because that doesn't work.

Ivo:
Alright, enough said. Great, thank you so much for the time. I hope you enjoyed it.

Britt:
Yes I did, thank you.

Ivo:
OK, alright. Everybody out there take care, we are back with season two and every wednesday drops a new episode. So keep following us and we'll see you next time.

Britt:
Bye bye.


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