Storytelling about GR8 People with Jayne Kettles
Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 120. This week we have storytelling about GR8 People with Jayne Kettles. During this episode, Jayne and I talk about how practitioners make the business case or the use case for purchasing GR8 People.
Jayne is an expert in all things HR and technology. Her passion for continuously growing a global platform that addresses the full talent acquisition life cycle really comes through during the podcast.
Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.
Show length: 27 minutes
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Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup, and you’re listening to the Use Case Podcast. Today we have Jayne on from GR8 People, and that’s spelled G-R, the number, people. And we’re going to be talking about the use case for GR8 People. Jayne’s been in the industry for more than a few days. So she can talk to that. But I can’t wait to talk with her about GR8 People. So, Jayne, would you do us a favor, the audience a favor, and introduce both yourself and GR8 People?
Absolutely. And thank you for hosting me on your podcast, William, happy to be here. So my name is Jayne Kettles, and I am one of the co-founders and the chief product officer at GR8 People. As William had said, I’ve been in the recruiting technology space for more than a couple of days, probably for close to 20 years. Prior to GR8 People, I was a co-founder and chief technology officer at a company called VirtualEdge. VirtualEdge was a global ATS company, and we enjoyed having customers like Apple, Avery Dennison, Chevron, [inaudible 00:01:35], lots of really amazing brands, and smart people. So we had a lot of fun and successes building out VirtualEdge. As I said, we worked with a lot of smart people. We definitely had a reputation for keeping our customer success at the center of our business. And then 2006 ADP bought Virtual Edge, and it continued to sell the platform probably for another decade.
So I took a few years off after VE and definitely kept close to the industry from the sidelines. During that time between leaving ADPVE and starting GR8 People, there is just a ton of innovation. Lots of companies were created [inaudible 00:02:21] help solve partially the puzzle for TA needs and which was great. TA professionals were buying solutions that were helping them. But after a point in time, they looked in the rearview mirror and what they found was they had a lot of different technologies, a lot of siloed data, multiple contracts, lots of points of integration for potential failures. And just ultimately, at the end of the day, poor experiences for both your recruiters and the job seeker.
So in bringing GR8 People to market, we were challenged with an audacious goal of creating a One-Experience Talent Acquisition Platform, which today is a global platform that addresses the full talent acquisition life cycle for 250 plus customers today. So that includes things like candidate relationship management, CRM, recruitment marketing automation, campus and event recruiting management, referrals. We just [inaudible 00:03:27] out integrated text recruiting. We know that’s not going away. And, of course, ATS internal mobility. And then data insights that looks kind of across the whole entire life cycle, which gives our customers an opportunity to understand things that are going on in their initiatives.
So folks in our industry, practitioners, in particular, love these kinds of hard lines of categories, right. ATS is a category of software, and it’s been around for 50 years. CRM a little bit newer, and y’all have effectively kind of blurred and cleared out some of those what used to be hard edges between technologies. I didn’t hear sourcing. So I’m imagining on the front end, you connect to all the different sourcing tools that folks use, but from there, you can basically take people all the way to onboarding. Is that correct?
Yeah, that’s correct. I kind of try to use the language that resonates or is defined kind of by the market. But absolutely sourcing and distributing requisitions and direct sourcing within our platform is supported. And then, we have the handoff to kind of the higher system. So we do a lot of pre-hire kind of data collection. Make it really easy for the candidate, for the new hire to start their engagement. We may send out notifications through the process, but that’s really kind of where we do the handoff over to the HRS.
I love that. I love that. I mean, anything you can do in pre-boarding today is just time and really energy, and more, a better experience. And I know that y’all care deeply about the [inaudible 00:05:17] experience as well. So one of the things that people will ask is, where are y’all? There’s hourly environments or high volume environments, and then there’s more corporate environments. Where do y’all thrive? Where are your customers? Where are they mostly?
So we have a blend, William, of the different types of jobs that need to be filled through our customers. So we definitely have retail environments. I think there’s a case study that retail data put together with our team that talked about the high volume hiring requirements and how they’re different from kind of their professional hires. We really excel at because we’ve learned from being in the market that there needs to be a level of flexibility for TA to define kind of how they need to work candidates through a job hiring process. So we have successes in both that high volume, lots of automation where it should be. And also a lot of opportunity for more professional hires that may be more engaging the hiring manager at different stops within the process for review, et cetera, a lot of collaboration for the recruiter, but certainly support kind of both those types of job categories.
I love that. Well, first of all, that’s helpful for folks that have a blend themselves, which I think a lot of companies have that blend. And so they need a solution. They don’t need yet another technology. They need to probably lessen some of their technologies, which I think bodes well for the future of GR8 People because you can… if you had a bespoke CRM or bespoke ATS or bespoke something that did recruitment marketing, now you can pull those together and get rid of a couple of those systems and use something that kind of has a continuous experience all the way across, which I absolutely love.
I’m going to give you a magic wand, Jayne.
It’s actually a pen, but a magic wand, nonetheless. You’ve got a lot of experiences to pull from. If you could change one thing in the way that HR and TA practitioners buy software, be it the questions that they ask or processes or whatever it is, what would you change?
I think that having clear goals for the use of technology makes the experience for both us and for our customers more successful, and I’m not saying that most don’t, right.
So if it’s very clear that we need to increase the top of the funnel and up our conversions from leads to applicants, those are fun things to work on. I think when it’s not as clear, I think that just throwing technology out there just to have the technology hurts, I think, everybody.
Like something doesn’t work. But maybe it’s just the goals aren’t clearly set, and it could work if their objectives were well defined.
So when you say goals, because of just my personality, I’m hearing challenges, problems, breakdowns, et cetera. But that’s not the way you said it. And I want to just make sure that I understand that when somebody comes to you, that they’ve got in their mind, they know what true north looks like.
Yeah. I think it’s helpful when we have conversations, and together we’ll be successful if these three things kind of happen within six to six months to nine months. And that we all know where we’re contributing, right.
If they don’t know that… Sorry to interrupt, Jayne.
No, no. Go ahead.
If they don’t know that, do y’all provocatively kind of get them there?
Absolutely. I think implementation is-
… definitely a big part of successful technology adoption. And I think that part of our methodology is probing and trying to understand and meet our customers kind of where they are today, right. And kind of that trusted advisor that may connect to other customers or ask questions or present solutions that other customers have done to get them thinking potentially more tactically with the decisions that they’re making during the implementation process. We also try to make sure that we’re optimizing. So our customers will stay with their implementation team for a little… for quite a while kind of after they go live, just so that we can make those optimizations on maybe some of the decision-making. So there’s a history kind of with that person so that we can maximize the success.
Because you’re a product person, I got to ask a bunch of product questions because I finally have someone on that understands product. So let’s deal with customers for just a sec. What are they using? As you look at all the features that GR8… that y’all have. What are they using the most right now?
So I think there’s trends, right, with the hiring that’s happening-
… with COVID. We saw just as one example of just kind of the pendulum, right, and [inaudible 00:11:28] that may be exercised more. So we had industries where hiring was maybe delayed. So the idea that we could nurture and market to those people that were through the selection process we found that was being highly leveraged, right. So also kind of with the labor market to where it is today, we’re seeing a lot more focus kind of on the top of the funnel. So one thing I just want to say is, even though our platform is kind of optimized for the full life cycle, not all of our customers leverage all of the components with our platform. So we have a lot of customers who will just use our sourcing, our career site, landing pages, micro-sites, and CRM.
And then we’ll plug into systems like a Workday, which is a recent partnership of ours that we’ve established to help optimize the opportunity for them to get people into the business adoption for processing for hire. So that’s definitely part of the platform that is highly leveraged today. I mentioned that we have integrated texts comm channels. So that’s definitely something that there’s a lot of success happening with that. And when they have a lot of success, so they tend to leverage it more and find more creative ways to leverage different pieces of the platform with the end goal of filling jobs with the best candidate fast.
From a recruitment marketing perspective, how does a recruiter or even a recruitment marketer, how do they know what works for, with a particular job, job class, job [inaudible 00:13:28], whatever it is. You’re trying to fill it. How do you know or how do they know either with language or medium how do they know what’s going to work?
So we definitely have the ability to peer into different channels. So whether it’s programmatic, we partner from a programmatic side to fill that. Also, from a recruitment marketing, we do have an automated engine that sits and listens to categories of jobs like engineering or nurse and can be engaged based on where they are in their life cycle, whether they’re kind of new, whether they’re previously considered, whether they’re a referral. And then you can AB test some of those results and see where your successes are coming from. We also know that when you look at sourcing that understanding your pool from a diversity perspective is very important, so giving them a little bit of knowledge that they’re weighted a little bit light in different categories is something that’s very valuable. So opportunities like that to understand what’s working, what’s converting, what resonates better is supportive from the analytics side.
So couple of questions. One is, is during the demo. And when you show people software for the first time, when you show them GR8 People for the first time. What do they immediately fall in love with?
So I think the intuitive way that they can manage, whether it’s the job dashboard and how easy it is to understand what is kind of next up. The ability to quickly get to a list that I need to react to now and kind of power scan and disposition is something because their time is very valuable. I also think that automation plays really well with recruiters, especially as it relates to how wide their job responsibilities have become. So the idea that they can have this sourcing engine that’s constantly delivering a list of qualified interested people is something that’s very valuable to a recruiter, and then how I can easily understand where they may fit. So we do have an AI engine that sits and listens to job openings and scores people that are in their database, people that they already know. And that’s been really successful in helping that time and the expense of bringing talent in.
I also see that the integrations, because like I said, you are a platform. And so you can go full all the way from A to B. But if people want to use different pieces, they can do that too.
Which I think that flexibility is really, really, really, really helpful. Is there a piece of the platform that they have to at least start with?
Yeah. I mean, we really want to be able to partner with companies that need what we’re offering [crosstalk 00:17:22]-
I love that. That’s [crosstalk 00:17:23] unusual too. I know you know this because you study the same stuff I do. But it’s that total unbundling and saying, “Hey, if you want to start with CRM. Great. You want to start with an ATS. Fantastic.” You start wherever you want to. And I love that, but that’s truly unique.
I think it helps, especially with the maturity sometimes of organizations that we be in, as an example, kind of running their ATS to requisition management, postings, promoting jobs to pre-hire activities. And then we always have a way to introduce them to other ways of getting… they experienced the automation that we have on the job side. And we kind of say, “Hey, we can really help you out kind of with this business acceptance and time to get people to your hiring managers.” So when they’re ready, we have opportunities to turn on other functionality, which is, it’s fun for us because we want our software to be leveraged-
… and exercise. And then we learn well.
And sometimes folks are in a contract.
Like again, if they’re in a contract, they would love to use, for instance, your ATS, but they got three years left on an ATS. And so, for the interim time, until that happens, they needed to work. So workflow and process, and all of that other stuff, the data being able to flow from one to the other, it’s got to work. And it’s for no other reason than they want to use your ATS they just can’t because of a previous commitment. So I get that.
How do you… because, again, you play on the product side, which is fantastic. How do you unearth or discover what new features need to be built for your customers?
So they tell us. I mean, I’m true to the word of they’re the center of the business, and staying close to the recruiter, we’re not going to be everything that there is that they need, but we’re certainly have opportunities to partner. So we’re pretty proud of our engine and the fact that it can consume other best and great products. As an example, things like making their job descriptions more inclusive. We have several partners that allow us to easily provide that to our customers. But if it’s something that made sense to the core. Like we felt very strongly about not partnering for our own text engine. So it’s a powerful way to reach people and communicate. And it was something that we felt like it’s going to be a big opportunity in lots of places in the process to interject text. So we wanted to control that, right. We wanted to have the opportunity to make it part of our marketing engine, to make it part of our hiring manager reminder. All through the life cycle, we wanted to leverage texts in a meaningful way.
I didn’t ask this before. But global, multilingual, et cetera, is that on the pathway, or are y’all already tinkering around with that stuff?
Yeah. We’re all over the globe. So we’re all over. We’re Asia Pac, EMEA, US, North America. So the application is probably in about 14 different languages. Our career site is really N languages, meaning that it’s driven by the customers because typically, everything that content is definitely owned by the customer, right. The micro-sites and the brand and all of that. So all of that is kind of baked into our architecture.
I love that. Thank you so much. Buying questions, buying behaviors that you love, and the flip side? Buying behaviors and questions that you, I wouldn’t say loath, that’s probably a little bit heavy. But if you have another prospect actually of how much you’re going to stick pins in your eyes or something like that. But really, buying questions that you love. We’re trying to kind of tease out the things that you’re like, “I love it when a practitioner asked me this.”
Yeah. I think that it gets fun for us when we look at RFPs or RFIs that there’s a level of complexity in their process, right? So we’re in 10 countries, and we need to do this with our offer process, or we have all these data privacy regulations in these five countries, but not these. So we understand all those things, and we’ve built frameworks for those things. Those are fun questions for us because we have a really robust solution for it. Extras like when they have would nice to haves, because our platform is very rich, those nice to haves we can tick the box because of what we have, right. Where maybe a smaller solution wouldn’t be able to do that.
You avoided the hate or love, which is fine. I appreciate that. Tell me, and you can anonymize it with your customers if need be, but your favorite customer story for GR8 People. And you got many. I know that I get it. But just like right now, one’s top of mind, what’s kind of one of your favorites.
I have a couple of them. I love that a customer may step a little bit outside of their safe zone and may lean into things that we suggest and they have great success with, that’s fun to be that partner. We love to partner. There’s also great stories where we know that there’s lots of different point solutions, and we may kind of take over part of the process. And then, if we look in the rearview mirror in three or four years, we’re running their end-to-end programs. So, those are really… we like to partner. And I think that having customers that want that feedback loop, we’re great listeners, those are things that are fun for me and the team.
It’s under-leveraged by practitioners that they don’t leverage vendors as partners. Like, hey, in 20 plus years, you’ve done… Let’s just say at least a couple hundred, if not thousands, of implementations. You’ve seen things go really well. And you’ve seen things get sideways. And so, as a practitioner, why wouldn’t you leverage that.
I think for me, it’s practitioners that look at buying software like you’re buying a transaction.
Like the software somehow is just going to solve all the problems. It’s like, no, no, no, that’s not the case, but-
I wish, right.
Yeah, well. But if you partner with somebody, if you’re buying that software, yes. But you’re buying their experience and truly partnering with them so that you understand how to best leverage the technology. I think that’s where practitioners could get the most out of their software spend.
Absolutely. I think that’s a very smart way to look at an investment and technology and your staff, your people, and the time to roll out a solution because things are always going to change, right.
It’s good to have that channel of working together to [crosstalk 00:25:58]-
Yeah, it becomes a collaboration. You look at it, not as just, “I’m going to sign a proposal, and now we’re going to go through SLAs and contracts, and procurement’s going to get involved.” All that stuff’s going to happen.
However, instead of focusing on that, and another thing that… advice I give practitioners is buying software is, that’s easy. The job starts was once you start to implement and rethink your processes and really collaborate, which is what you and I both kind of hit on today is thinking of software as collaboration.
And that’s why we named the company GR8 People. I mean, we want to be great people. We want to work with great people, and we want to help great people hire great people. Right. So it’s a people business.
Drops mic, walks off stage. Jayne, thank you so much for your time today. And thanks for explaining GR8 People to us.
Thank you, William. I appreciate it. Have a great day.
And thanks to everyone listening to the Use Case Podcast. Until next time.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.