We usually think about evolution as a process that takes place over centuries or millennia, but technology evolution is a different animal altogether. In less than half a century, innovation has accelerated exponentially — and so has the potential for companies to integrate technology into critical business processes. During a recent Sterling Live event, social media manager Katelyn Brower sat down with Harris Bornstein, Sterling’s Vice President of Strategic Alliances & Channel Partners, to talk about how our own partner ecosystem has evolved into a global network over the past 45 years and the myriad advantages of background screening integrations in the hiring workflow.
Changing Standards for Background Checks
Harris points out just how significant tech adoption has become for HR departments and staffing firms. Having started at Sterling in 1999, he recalls the predominantly manual workflow, supplemented by the reigning technologies of the time — phones and fax machines. A decade later, desktop computers and email dominated. Sterling saw the technology shifts as opportunities to re-imagine and enhance candidate screening within the hiring workflow.
Harris notes, “Ten years ago integrations were simply about reducing the data entry it took to request the background check.” Efficiency is still a priority, but as the HR tech stack has grown, integrations are enabling organisations to optimize the entire employment lifecycle.
In 2020, technology enablement became an even bigger priority out of necessity. Research by Oxford Economics and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) shows the trend will continue. The Top 3 areas of investment include:
- 34% in remote collaboration tools
- 25% in automation tools like self-service portals
- 25% in recruiting and on-boarding programs
Today, the Alliance team manages an ecosystem of more than 50 integration partners. Rather than a straightforward data transfer to fulfill orders, Sterling facilitates more efficient hiring processes that cater to different industries and workflows — including varying compliance expectations — while enhancing candidate experiences.
Consider the high-volume hiring needs of retail, e-commerce, and contract/gig work. For those types of organisations, Harris points out, it’s about getting candidates processed, then moving from Offer to Day One — fast. Those needs are quite different from healthcare, financial services, or tech industries, for example, where more thorough background screening and ID verification requirements are common.
How Our Broad Partner Ecosystem Helps Right-Size Hiring Processes
Whether an organisation needs to process job applicants by the hundred or the handful, technology integrations can create a more efficient, streamlined process that improves productivity within HR teams and staffing firms and delivers better experiences for candidates. In fact, Harris notes that our own customer retention rates are higher for those that have implemented integrations than non-integrated customers, suggesting that the experience boost isn’t limited to job applicants.
Our own experience with integrations emphasizes the flexibility that comes from collaborating with a wide range of partners. Depending on needs, integrations can also support:
- Self-service options to reduce implementation time and allow clients to activate their integration from within the HR platform quickly and easily
- Dynamic updates within the ATS platform give a more detailed candidate status
- A simplified and streamlined adverse action workflow
An applicant tracking (ATS)/HCM (Human Capital Management) system with the right integrations can fast track everything from recruiting and screening candidates to offer and on-boarding. Perhaps that’s one reason that at least 66% of large organisations use an ATS. Harris also points out, “Global screening, in and of itself, is becoming much more prevalent, so it’s important for organisations to be working with a screening partner who can not only service their global hiring programs but can do so via similar integrations for a unified hiring process across all of its business units.”
Data privacy laws, hiring regulations and paperwork requirements for completing background checks can differ by country, so working with an experienced partner paves the way for a more seamless integration experience. Harris points to global capabilities available through Sterling’s platform, as well as unique services available for the US and APAC region.
Streamlined Hiring Workflows Yield Long-Term Value
As companies grow, there’s a tremendous value in streamlining the entire talent management process from recruitment to onboarding — all in one place. Greater efficiency and effectiveness in recruiting doesn’t just pay off in a faster hiring process. According to SHRM, companies with high-maturity talent acquisition teams and processes see 18% higher revenue and 30% greater profitability than low-maturity talent functions. Research also shows that 75% of hiring leaders also focus on improving candidate experiences versus only 17% of less mature teams.
Ultimately, Sterling RISQ prioritizes these partnerships because working together generates opportunities to wow our customers and meet our People First commitment. Technology implementations help our clients make fast, well-informed decisions with confidence. Screening that supports safe hiring. Candidate experiences that are intuitive and convenient. Partnerships that yield value for everyone involved.
In wrapping up the integrations discussion, Harris notes, “2020 was the furthest thing possible from business as usual. We worked closer than ever with our partners, and we somehow came away having had our best year ever in terms of our partner engagements.” It’s a testament to just how much the right technologies can help organisations navigate unprecedented challenges and thrive.
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