Jennifer O Gara
A highly experienced, SHRM-SCP and Chartered MCIPD qualified, Human Resources Professional with over 12 years' management experience across multiple business sectors including legal, management consultancy, banking and hospitality. A professional HR business partner with a proven background in designing and implementing HR strategies, managing teams, and dealing successfully with the day to day HR activities necessary to support on-going business operations, growth and change.Follow Follow
How can it be an unhealthy addiction if it saves you time and efficiency?? No code automation might just be the key to getting you home on time. Let’s move away from the work environment where monotonously clicking buttons takes up 90 percent of your day.
Our guest Jennifer O Gara, Talent Lead at Tonkean, talks about taking advantage of no code platforms. Her passion is creating an optimized work environment using automations.
Most companies have about 16 different HR systems that they use. Whether or not they integrate with each other, there’s still a LOT of disconnect. Switching back and forth between these applications causes a bunch of redundant clicks, time wasted, and data lost. But, thankfully there’s a solution.
Automations and integrations will be the saving grace of your HR team. Building a complex network of these systems isn’t something we all need an engineering degree for…if you have the willpower to learn these fairly straightforward “no code” platforms you can save yourself hours of work every day.
Quotes from Jennifer O’Gara on no code automation:
“There’s a real need to create streamlined integrations that actually work for an HR professional or a talent professional versus what some engineer thinks we need.”
“Google gets hundreds if not thousands of NDA requests, and we actually automated all that. So when one comes in via email, our NLP recognizes that. It auto-generates the NDA and sends it to the proper person for approval, and then sent to DocuSign. Now, some poor paralegal or lawyer with a huge education doesn’t have to sit there and do that all day.”
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This HR Tech 2022 series is sponsored and made possible by our friends at Gem!
School is in session. This is RecruitingDaily Sourcing School podcast. We’re recording from HR Tech in Vegas thanks to our friends and partners at Jen. Sharpen your pencils and get your sourcing pants on because we have the scoop on sourcing news, recruiting tech, and all the hot topics that you need to learn about. Here’s your professor, Ryan Leary, with special guests Shally Steckerl and Mike Batman Cohen.
Mike Batman Cohen (00:28):
All right. Welcome back for another episode of Sourcing School. Yes, we are here at HR Tech. You’ll hear the hustle bustle in the background. This is an incredible opportunity to meet thought leaders like the one that we have coming on our show right now. I’d like to introduce Ms. Jennifer O’Gara, who’s at Tonkean right now. You’re going to do a better job explaining you than I will. Why don’t you tell the people who they’re listening to and you’re background, a little about where you are now?
Jennifer O’Gara (00:53):
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks. I am the talent lead for Tonkean. My background is actually out of agency recruiting, where I spent about three and a half years recruiting for venture-backed startups, a wide variety, lean data, [inaudible 00:01:07]. You name it, we hit them all.
Mike Batman Cohen (01:09):
Jennifer O’Gara (01:10):
Aggressive agency recruiter style.
Mike Batman Cohen (01:12):
Jennifer O’Gara (01:13):
Then came over to go internal with Tonkean, been there about a year and a half. Originally started just leading all their go-to market recruiting for the US and then now I’m leading people ops as well. And yeah, that sums it up.
Mike Batman Cohen (01:27):
Very, very awesome. And for those who are listening who don’t know what Tonkean is, can you give us the elevator pitch on what you guys do? Because it’s going to be real relevant for what we’re talking about.
Jennifer O’Gara (01:36):
Absolutely. So we are a no-code automation platform designed to sell into operations team. Could be HR operations, legal operations, finance operations, you name it. Fill in the gaps between disparate systems, allow teams to build their own internal applications, unified dashboard for all the data for those systems, kind of anything else you want, too, but we’ll stop there.
Mike Batman Cohen (01:59):
Yeah, no, I love that. And you mentioned something, the disparate systems. That was something I was interested in chatting about and we discussed real briefly before we jumped on, this idea of the Lord of the Rings, “One ring to rule them all. This is the platform,” versus a model that I’m starting to see emerge, but you’re going to have a way better perspective than I will around finding best in class disparate systems and having those speak to each other, which is way easier to say out loud than it is to make it happen. What are you seeing in terms of companies approaching that one ring to rule them all, versus the disparate systems?
Jennifer O’Gara (02:39):
So what I’m seeing is that actually in the market right now, on average, most companies have 16 different disparate HR systems that they’re using. And that’s just the average.
Mike Batman Cohen (02:48):
Jennifer O’Gara (02:49):
Yep. Yeah. So you’ve got your HRIS, your ATS, your background check, whatever it might be, and they do have built-in integrations that some engineer within that company decided the HR person needs, but that engineer is not necessarily the expert on HR, so a lot of gaps in those integrations, and I see it personally myself, of just things that are missing in the day-to-day, and how do you solve that problem? Because the end result of having those gaps is that people switch back and forth between applications, and there’s some data on it that the average person, not even just HR, switches 1200 times a day.
Mike Batman Cohen (03:30):
My ADHD brain right now is going, “Oh, no.”
Jennifer O’Gara (03:34):
Yeah, it’s awful. So what I’m seeing is there’s a real need to solve that problem and actually create streamlined integrations that actually work for an HR professional versus or a talent professional versus what some engineer thought we needed.
Mike Batman Cohen (03:52):
Yeah. And you bring up an interesting point, which is also, most of the tech that we use are built by engineers. I don’t often run into, and I’d love to hear if I’m totally off base on this, which is entirely possible, I don’t run into a lot of HR tech companies that are founded by recruiters. They’re typically founded by a TA professional in conjunction with a software engineer or a software engineer who’s noticed a gap in a thing internally, and so there’s a little bit of that, from what I’ve noticed, that missing component of the user actually going through that. Can you speak to that at all?
Jennifer O’Gara (04:28):
Yeah. So I know you are a huge no-code fan and I think that’s where that comes into play. With a no-code solution-
Mike Batman Cohen (04:36):
Can you explain no-code for those listening, just in case people don’t know? I know it seems logical, but what would you define that as, no-code?
Jennifer O’Gara (04:42):
I would define it as a solution where someone who has no technical background and doesn’t know how to code or understand code can actually build a tool that works for them.
Mike Batman Cohen (04:53):
Yes. Cool. Okay. You go.
Jennifer O’Gara (04:56):
So yeah, I think having access to those types of tools as we move forward in HR that can… and we can build ourselves. As a talent person or as an HR person, I know exactly what I need. I know exactly what I want my workflows to look like. If I have access to a no-code tool that I can then build out those workflows myself, it’s drag and drop, and integrate things the way I want them integrated, I can create something very powerful that works for me and my team versus someone else’s team. It could be completely different in a different company.
Mike Batman Cohen (05:30):
Okay, so that sounds really great. On paper I’m like, “Oh, this is a utopia I want to live in.” Do you actually have any examples of companies that… because you guys do the no-code solutions, right? Particularly in this space. Do you have any examples that you can pull from of, if you’re open to sharing, maybe some clients that you’re working with or some projects that you guys have done that kind of exemplify for people listening? What can this do and look like and be?
Jennifer O’Gara (06:00):
I can. I have a couple different examples in different fields, not in HR that some of our bigger clients have used. So for Google, we actually work with their-
Mike Batman Cohen (06:11):
Those little fellas?
Jennifer O’Gara (06:12):
Yeah. Just a little. We actually work with their legal operations team, and one of the things we did is automate their NDA process. So if you can think about Google gets hundreds if not thousands of NDA requests, and we actually automated that. So when one comes in via email, our NLP recognizes it, auto-generates the NDA and sends it to the proper person for approval and then it’s sent out to DocuSign and all automated so that some poor paralegal or lawyer with a really huge education doesn’t have to sit there and do that all day themselves.
Mike Batman Cohen (06:53):
That’s interesting, and I think you touched on this, and something for people to really marinate on, which is, “Well, doesn’t a paralegal do… isn’t their job paperwork?” And the question is, if you have a company who specializes in these automations, you’re going to pay a fee, whether it’s upfront, monthly, whatever that is. Do we think that that is less than or more than what it costs a paralegal or worst case, lawyer per hour to do their job based on what they’re paying? And there’s no way that you can convince me that paying for that no-code automation solution will cost more money than it would for a lawyer to do a thousand NDAs a year, right?
Jennifer O’Gara (07:36):
Yeah, definitely a cost savings, a time savings, but I would actually link it back to an HR thing now, which is employee experience, because that’s not really very rewarding work to sit there and just process documents all day. Ask any attorney. That’s not what they want to spend their time doing, right?
Mike Batman Cohen (07:57):
Jennifer O’Gara (07:57):
Or anybody, any HR professional. You asked about an HR example. I actually use our own platform internally and have built out my own modules, and I am not technical. In fact, I get made fun of by our CEO as being the least technical person on the team in our company. I may not be, but it’s out there.
Mike Batman Cohen (08:19):
She’s currently holding a flip phone. No, I’m kidding. I’m kidding, I’m kidding.
Jennifer O’Gara (08:23):
But I actually have built some modules for onboarding, for offboarding, for new requisitions that we use internally. The onboarding one, I linked Checker to Slack, so I get a notification when people complete their background check, and then it actually asks me a question in Slack, do I want to hire them? Do I want to not hire them? Do I want to investigate? And if I hit that hire button, it kicks off an entire automation using integrations with Google Forms, with Gmail, with our HRIS system, basically does about an hour’s worth of work with the click of a button.
Mike Batman Cohen (09:00):
Okay. So right now, I know there’s at least one user who’s saying it to themselves, and if this is you, I see you. who’s saying, “Yeah, Jennifer, I know that you think you’re not technical, but I’m really not technical.” How long did it take you to learn this? Because you’ve only been there for what, a year and a half now?
Jennifer O’Gara (09:19):
Mike Batman Cohen (09:20):
Right? And if you used Tonkean before that, shame on me for an assumption, I’m assuming no. So how long did it actually take you as a non-technical person to learn the system enough to build some of these tools? Because that’s going to be the deal breaker or deal maker for some folks.
Jennifer O’Gara (09:37):
Yeah, absolutely. So I’ll be honest, my initial idea of solving my problem was just connecting Checker to Slack and letting me get a notification, and it took me about 10 minutes to build that.
Mike Batman Cohen (09:49):
Jennifer O’Gara (09:49):
Mike Batman Cohen (09:50):
Okay, love that.
Jennifer O’Gara (09:52):
Then, one of our implementation architects saw it and was like, “What are you doing? This is like one step in. Do you understand what we can actually do?” And apparently I didn’t. So we sat down for about an hour, walked through it. He walked me through some steps. I’ll admit, he did a few of the things for me, but that is something we do for our clients, too, and showed me how to do it.
Mike Batman Cohen (10:12):
And that’s not something Zabier, Integromat and the others offer-
Jennifer O’Gara (10:18):
Mike Batman Cohen (10:18):
… is my understanding. So for the non-technical folks, to make sure they understand, going down that road of totally trying to do it yourself, great if you’re connecting two things real quick to do one task, but what I’m hearing is you may need a little bit of assistance as you’re getting a little crazier, and that’s something obviously that’s-
Jennifer O’Gara (10:36):
Yeah. I think it depends on how technical the person is. We have clients who really take to it and learn it and do it all themselves and become, I can’t think of the word right now. I don’t know.
Mike Batman Cohen (10:52):
Jennifer O’Gara (10:53):
Yeah, evangelists within their own company, talking about it. And we have less technical folks who understand what they want their workflow to look like and what they want to connect, but they might need a little more handholding along the way. So I’m definitely in the handholding bucket, but I can go in and make changes really easily, which is great. So now that it’s built, if I want to change something, like add a person to Slack who is going to get a notification if our office manager changes, it’s really easy for me to go back in once it’s built and do whatever changes I need, as well as add a new data source or whatever. A little bit more complicated things, too, but…
Mike Batman Cohen (11:32):
Yeah. We discussed this beforehand. I love no-code. I’ve been playing with it for a couple years. I didn’t realize that that’s what it was until I talked to an actual no-code developer. It was like, “Oh, that’s what I would’ve built.” I was like, “Huh, well awesome.” And I can tell you from my experience, when you start using it, it becomes like a healthy optimization addiction because it started me questioning, “Well, why do I have to do that thing?” And I just set it, this does… and if I showed you some of yours, they’re like 29 steps long of all these different tools, and I’m fairly technical. I don’t code, but I’m fairly technical and I’m telling you, I’m actually at a point now where I’m reaching out for help. We talked about me pinging Tom Keen after this. So Tom Keen, if you’re listening to this, help me. And so I can tell you when you’re going through this, the way that you can save, from my experience, time and efficiency and reduce human error will only grow the more you wind up using this. And when you start, it triggers like a domino effect, right?
Jennifer O’Gara (12:38):
Absolutely. It’s like you’re falling down the rabbit hole.
Mike Batman Cohen (12:41):
Jennifer O’Gara (12:41):
Because honestly, I had this one idea to automate a notification and now I’m using it for offboarding and I’m using it for new roles. We actually even built an employee engagement feature just using Tonkean, not integrating anything, where it’s like a water cooler type of Slack channel and pings things. So I know there’s other applications out there that do that. We can build our own stuff, too, using Tonkean as well as integrating other tools. So it’s been really fun to play with, as an HR professional, as a talent professional of kind of imagining, “Okay, what do I want to see next? And how do I solve that problem and how do I use Tonkean to do it?”
Mike Batman Cohen (13:23):
Interesting. Okay. I love that. I love that. All right, we are just about out of time. I like to end all of these the same way, which is to say, for all the people who are listening right now, you can impart one piece of knowledge that you’ve learned throughout your life and your career. Can be related to this, it can be completely different. Something’s going to hit them in their head, their heart, their soul. What is the one thing you want to leave listeners with?
Jennifer O’Gara (13:51):
Honestly, putting people first. I think that’s the most important thing to me as a recruiter, and also one of our values at Tonkean is putting people first, whether it’s on a personal level, on the day-to-day, or whether it’s using technology tools, is actually thinking about the person and what they need. And I think it’s something we live by.
Mike Batman Cohen (14:15):
We like this. Awesome. Thank you so much. I know it’s crazy busy. Thank you for joining us here and we’ll see you next time on Sourcing School.
Jennifer O’Gara (14:23):
Thanks so much.
Speaker 4 (14:26):
Oh, man. That means it’s over.
Speaker 5 (14:28):
You’ve been listening to the Sourcing School podcast Live at HR Tech in Vegas, sponsored by our friends at Jen. For all other HR, recruiting and sourcing news, check out recruitingdaily.com.
Ryan Leary helps create the processes, ideas and innovation that drives RecruitingDaily. He’s our in-house expert for anything related to sourcing, tools or technology. A lead generation and brand buzz building machine, he has built superior funnel systems for some of the industries top HR Tech and Recruitment brands. He is a veteran to the online community and a partner here at RecruitingDaily.
Mike “Batman” Cohen is the Founder of Wayne Technologies, a Sourcing-on-Demand and Recruitment Training Organization. Wayne Technologies On-Demand Sourcing is a revolutionary approach that provides the most actionable data available, is based on deliverables – not time, and is based on access to more recruitment tooling than any organization worldwide.
One of the pioneers of the sourcing discipline, Shally is the Founder and former President of The Sourcing Institute, where he has helped numerous F500 and mid-market organizations train and develop their talent sourcing capabilities for nearly 20 years. When it comes to innovative approaches to candidate search, Shally literally wrote the book. He is the author of the industry-standard textbook “The Talent Sourcing and Recruitment Handbook” as well as “The Sourcing Method: Tactics to Find Unfindable Talent.”