Storytelling about Kelly Helix UX with Tammy Browning

Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 105. This week we have storytelling about Kelly Helix UX with Tammy Browning. During this episode, Tammy and I talk about how practitioners make the business case or the use case for purchasing Kelly Helix UX.

Tammy is an expert in all things talent and staffing. Her passion for changing lives and providing purpose by connecting people to meaningful work really comes through during the podcast.

Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.

Thanks, William

Show length: 23 minutes


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William:   00:24
Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you’re listening to Use Case podcast. Today we have Tammy Browning on and we’re going to be talking about Kelly Helix UX, Helix UX specifically, and Tammy’s going to give us the explanation as it relates to Kelly. So let’s just jump right into it. Tammy, A) thank you so much for being on the show and would you introduce both yourself and Kelly Helix UX?

Tammy:   00:58
Yeah. William first, thank you for having me on, it’s an honor to be here so thanks for having me. For me, first off, I’m Tammy Browning and I’m the president of Kelly OCG. My organization is a world-class organization that provides workforce solutions globally around the world, and our goal is really to provide resources in any way, from a talent perspective by which an organization or a client of ours would like to procure them. And the reason, and they’re really the use case or business case for Helix UX and what we’re about to talk about today, is really a user experience or a one-stop shop for any organization from a hiring manager, all the way up to your procuring resource to have full visibility into their workforce needs, trends and analytics, as well as the call to action. To be able to meet those user experiences anywhere somebody sits in the world. To say, I have a need, I need a person, and I need work done, and how can you help me? So helix is really a one-stop shop for all of that and I’m happy to talk about it much further.

William:   02:01
Oh, well this is going to be the fun part. So, for those that know Kelly and have an understanding of Kelly, Kelly’s been around for a long time and done a lot of great work on the services side and you’ve built a technology play inside of a services play. So let’s just start with that. Like, how did the origin story, how did this first kind of come to market in your mind or how was it first developed?

Tammy:   02:37
Yeah, well first let me say it is our 75th anniversary at Kelly today.

William:   02:41

Tammy:   02:41
We did pioneer the industry as it relates to contingent labor 75 years ago, which we’re proud of that. And our household name as it relates to a brand of Kelly and formerly Kelly Services was our name, and today we are Kelly. And as OCG what I really set out to do, and really what made Helix come to life, is when I was asked about a year and a half ago to take the helm of the OCG organization, which is that a services organization. So our goal is to manage again any way by which an organization wants to procure talent.

Tammy:   03:17
I read through many of our client verbatims, so their feedback, what they said about us, what they said to our teams. I created a taskforce that spoke to over 3,000 of our end using clients at the user level, to say if we could do something much different, what would it look like. If you could ask the question of, if you had a magic wand around talent and access, what would it look like? And some of the verbatims that came back were so compelling that I started to take multiple pillars and broke it down and said, if we could address holistically speaking the user experience.

Tammy:   03:55
So I’m a hiring manager in the United States, but I need a worker in France, what does that look like? And as I was thinking about a global organization, traditionally, you would have, the hiring manager would have to log into a system, they’d get routed to 17 different people, and eventually they’d be able to hire the person in France. But it would take them many months to figure out even just the process. So what I did was I wanted to really create a solution whereby where you could engage a technology, either through chat, through phone, or through some type of instant connectivity with a Kelly resource that could tell you exactly who to go to when, where, and how, or at even better, interface with the technology that the client has in place to immediately route the user there.

Tammy:   04:42
And so we created a one-stop shop for a hiring manager to take three calls of action, I need a worker, I need a resource, I need help and took him to the next level. So Helix just addressed the overarching, I need a worker. It also gives you the ability to track it, understand where they, the request is in queue. Inquiry management systems that tell you exactly how long the requisition is going to take to fill. Supply chain engagement that pushes that record of the request out to the supply chain. And in Kelly’s case, we have over 4,600 suppliers across the world. And then the other big piece of it is data analytics and insights. So there’s a significant amount of insights within Helix that can really share, not just at the user level, but at a country level, at a dynamic level, and maybe even at a procurement level. So procurement organizations can have a better handle on what’s happening from a talent attraction-perspective globally. So that was the brain trust was really coming from reading verbatims and solving problems through all those verbatim problem questions that were, that we post out there.

William:   05:51
So this is going to make it so much easier for Kelly customers clearly, cause it’s way finding it’s going to help them, help customers be able to find things in a more elegant manner, but also speed. Just there’s going to be a rapidity that’s helpful to people that they can find things fast and get there faster and get candidates or whatever they’re trying to solve for, they can get there faster. Is there currently, or is there in the future or like a model to do this if they aren’t currently Kelly’s customers?

Tammy:   06:27
Yeah, that was a, that was my second request. So when I approached my IT organization with this notion of creating this one-stop shop, my first comment was I want to solve for the user experience. My second is I want to solve for any customer around the world, whether they’re Kelly or not Kelly. And so in fact, you do not have to be a Kelly client or an MSP or a managed service client of ours, or even a staffing client of ours to engage in the Helix platform. And in fact, we can embed and overlay over any platform, whether again, whether we’re immediately engaged or not. And the reason for that is the tech stack that’s built on Helix is so simple, that it really is just something that any company could overlay over their vendor management system, over their ATS systems that they have internally within their organization.

Tammy:   07:22
Perhaps if they’re using technology like a Workday, it will immediately connect into an HRS system. So there’s absolutely no reason that you have to be a Kelly client to utilize Helix. However, for the Kelly client base, existing customers and our global scale clients, we do deploy this as our standard operating procedure today. So it is automatically given to every client because not only does it give them the user experience that they so deserve, it also gives me and my organization much more insight and accountability to drive the behaviors that are necessary within an organization. And provide that valuable insight that many clients have never had before. So we’re really proud of the fact that it doesn’t have to be a Kelly client deployment, but where it is a Kelly client deployment, we can provide so much more value in terms of how to attract talent when work needs to get done. And in today’s market, it is so incredibly important that we have speed to market, both speed, cost, quality, and compliance across the board. And this gives visibility into all of that.

William:   08:29
I love it. Well, first of all, I just love all of it. It makes what you already have, better. And it also makes the experience for folks that are, haven’t worked with Kelly, or are currently working with Kelly, it opens the doors to potentially working with new folks and working with them in a more refined way. So, I love it. I know folks are going to ask me, at least after the show though, ask me the question of, “okay, what’s it like?” What’s it like for you, running a technology company? Again, you’re in parallel with running a wonderful services organization is at the same time, what’s it like to run both?

Tammy:   09:14
Yeah. I will tell you that the pivot has been easier than anticipated. So meaning as a services organization, our goal has always been to find work for people in ways that enrich their lives. That’s our noble purpose as a company. And so when you think about that, the world of work has transformed so dramatically from a technology perspective that really, technology and putting people to work actually go hand in hand. So without technology today, any organization would be in a world of hurt, think of digital strategies and digital transformation and the digital focus of taking their recruiting out of recruiting by using technology. So the pivot for us really wasn’t that difficult to solve when we consider the use cases that I described earlier, the value propositions. But what we’re doing now, I think the best part about it is really looking at it as being a technology company in parallel-

William:   10:11

Tammy:   10:12
Is we’re able to provide a level of service that our customers expect. So who wants to pick up the phone and ask for a contingent worker, a temporary worker, and where nobody wants to do that anymore. They want to go onto their text and have it pushed through a system. They want to have it a voice to talk type situation of, “Hey, I need somebody to work for me.” And so that paradigm shift has been quite simple. And what’s even more exciting about that is that our IT organization, I should brag about this more and I’m not, but our IT organization, when I approached them with this we did not buy a single technology to build helix. In fact, we owned all of the technology today in the services world. All we did is take what we had, did some benchmarking again, what the technology capability was. And we took what I like to call a Lego block approach to building Helix out.

Tammy:   11:09
And so we didn’t have to buy another technology. We didn’t invest in more technology. We in fact used the technology we had, to become a technology company. So while it’s proprietary and I’m not prepared to share with you how we exactly built it, I will tell you, we owned all this technology through partnerships already. So my IT organization made that pivot, they recognized what we were trying to accomplish, and they did it in with flying colors. And so that’s why I say every technology company has a capability to become a service provider or a tech company. If you give the right vision and you put the right people in the right seats and asking the right questions, you’ll be able to come out with something pretty cool on the other end.

William:   11:46
It’s beautiful because you’re right. It’s extraordinary, most in that situation would and acquire. They just see something on the market, they’d go and throw money at it and acquire something and not necessarily go through the hard work of building it from brick by brick. So I love that. Let me, I’ve got a couple of questions. One is kind of when you’ve demoed this, you’ve shown Helix to a lot of folks. What’s the aha moment that that folks have when they first see it? Like, what do you over time and time again you’re like, oh yeah, this is the moment where I know they’re really, really going to get really, really get turned on.

Tammy:   12:30
Yeah. So the one area that they’re most excited about is the inquiry management and what that is, is a dashboard view to think of it kind of a landing page for any way, by with the cabin hiring manager, whether it’s thousands or one where you can look in and see exactly where your requisition is, exactly the time by which it came in, and whether or not somebody’s working on it, and whether or not there’s action being taken. Just the dashboard views by requisition and the hiring manager views, its been the most exciting piece of this. Because when you think about the way people procure talent today, we have in our world, in the services world, what we like to call the swivel chair of technology. Where you’re swiveled hearing from one technology to recruit, to another technology, to manage a resource to another technology, to put provisioning into a resource in terms of getting them access to systems.

Tammy:   13:39
What this does is it tells you exactly where you’re at in a dashboard view, and that is what has been the aha, the game-changing moment of everyone saying, I want that. And not only do I want it, but how quickly can you stand it up? And then the second piece of it is, is because we built it with this Lego block approach. We were able to take a view of, can we customize the view of it? So Helix on its own is more of a portal landing page, if you will. We can make it look any way the client wants. In fact, we have two or three clients where they’ve launched it on their intranet as their own landing page, and even their full-time resources are connected in that way. So meaning it doesn’t matter what kind of talent they need, whether it’s a gig worker, a full-time worker, a contingent worker, it launches them wherever they want it to go.

Tammy:   14:34
So Kelly’s not maybe managing the requisition, but we’re managing the inquiry of the requisition and we’re pushing it to their respective systems. So their speed, their cost, and their quality, and their compliance is in order across all hiring channels. So to come the ability to come totally, make it look and feel like their company has been the second big win for us, because it’s not another kind of feeling like it’s another swivel chair. It’s solving multiple problems.

William:   15:03
I love that. And people need one less thing, that just that ease of use, but also it helps them on their employer brand front. And it gives them some power over that. I love that. I love all of that. Buying questions that you love. And again, you’ve been doing this for a long time. So this, you’ve got a range of things to pull from, but let’s focus on Helix, explicitly. The things that you love when you’re talking to practitioners all across the spectrum, you’re talking to HR, you’re talking to TA you’re talking to different business leaders, what do you love to hear from them in terms of buying questions?

Tammy:   15:48
Yeah. First off, what I’d love to hear that the first one is, can you solve my problem with respect to having a non a one-stop shop? So almost every single one of my clients today is saying, I need greater access to visibility. I need greater access to DE&I strategies, meaning our diversity, equity and inclusion, how can you give me visibility into that? How can you give me visibility into my total talent, labor categories? Can you solve for the, as I described this swivel chair of activities that happen in many organizations for varying reasons. And can you help me in a way where I’m saving money? And so the better part of Helix, again, is that it’s going to give you much more insights into your holistic organization and the buying behaviors that your hiring managers have. So when they come through our system any way again, by which they want to hire a worker, it automatically begins to track that and it engages them.

Tammy:   16:52
And it then provides visibility to the rest of the organization to say, huh, we might be overpaying for this labor category, or have you considered that you have independent contractors doing what should be full-time labor work, or have you considered that we have contingent workers that potentially should be in an independent contractor role. And so it gives them the visibility. And so my bigger and most favorite buying question is, can you help me solve my talent-attraction needs in general? And then the other piece of it is, can you give me insights into the future? And that’s easier said than done, by the way. So predictive analytics is extraordinarily complex, but what we can do is over time, the data and the analytics does show buying behaviors. And when you start looking at data over a period of time, you start seeing how your organization behaves, and you can start actually workforce planning in a completely different way.

Tammy:   17:46
So it’s been an exciting journey, the team is excited around it. Our high, our organization’s excited. I will give you a little bit of a dataset. We had deployed this, where we had it, deployed it at March as a soft launch. It hit the market last month, officially we have 78 clients in queue to go live with it for all those buying questions that I just asked about every one of them want it. And they want it now because it is going to solve a lot of their challenges.

William:   18:16
You know, one of the things that you hit on, first of all, I love that answer, but is the categorization of work so independent contract, because you deal with all of it, you deal with the entire spectrum, full-time, part-time, seasonal. The whole, the whole bit independent contractor is, is people might not know either where they are currently or the optimization of that work. And you touched on it a little bit, should this be contracted versus full-time, and those are wonderful, first of all, insights into, where they are now and even where work, or maybe even where candidates are going and want to work. So, one of the things COVID is forced us to reconcile is that candidates might want to work and do want to work differently. So I love any type of visibility and insight into the different types of work, that we should be taking advantage of.

William:   19:16
So I love it. I can’t wait to talk to you, in a couple months, once you have some of these live to actually see what some of the data’s playing out. Without getting into the X’s and O’s of pricing, one of the things that people generally like to know is just philosophy. How do y’all with Helix, what is the kind of, when you’re approaching people and you’re talking to them about pricing, how do you go about it?

Tammy:   19:46
Yeah, it’s interesting because it depends on if you’re a Kelly client-

William:   19:50

Tammy:   19:50
…or not a Kelly client.

William:   19:52

Tammy:   19:52
So if you’re an existing Kelly client of OCG and you’re in our managed services space, so you’re one of our existing managed service clients. We do have a standup charge and in some cases it’s embedded in our overall pricing structure. So I like to use the word free for them, but obviously there is some embedded price structure. It is a nominal cost for our existing client base to stand it up. They would like a significant amount of customization or integrations that may be more complex. There is an individual and though, it’s a little complex in that way, but I will say-

William:   20:32

Tammy:   20:33
…it is nominal. And when I say nominal, I’m talking less than a few thousand dollars.

William:   20:35

Tammy:   20:37
And most organizations when they’re buying software, they’re spending hundreds and millions of dollars to thousands-

William:   20:43
Oh yeah.

Tammy:   20:43
…or millions of dollars.

William:   20:44
Oh yeah.

Tammy:   20:45
So in our case, it’s very amount of pocket… [Inaudible 00:20:50] What we’re working on now though, to be fair and transparent is we’re also working on that non Kelly client. So how do we monetize it?

William:   20:57

Tammy:   20:57
And what does that look like? And what is the business case and use case to monetize the technology? Is it in fact, a usage charge or is it in fact, a monthly management charge or perhaps it’s a transaction charge? So it’s really going to be bespoke to the client. And I’m excited to be able to say, I don’t have all the [inaudible 00:21:16] customer today. I want this, but I want to better, and we can actually work on some of those levers together because it is a, it’s an interesting model that we’ve taken, what is traditionally something you create an innovation channel for your existing customers, we’re creating an innovation channel that’s for any anyone. So it’s a unique challenge that we’re heading in today and I’m happy.

William:   21:40
I mean, it’s, y’all done it masterfully, I would say because you’re, you’ve got something that’s going to make your Kelly 75 years of wonderful service. You’ve got something that makes their experience better and OCG all of your customers makes their experience better. And you’ve also got something for those that maybe haven’t worked with Kelly in a little while. You’ve now got something, a way to bring them back into the kind of the Kelly family. So I love it. And Tammy, I know you’re super, super busy. I really appreciate you coming on and talk about helix. I love it. Love with a capital L, so thank you for taking out time in your busy day and explaining-

Tammy:   22:28
Me too.

William:   22:28
…it to us, I really appreciate it.

The Use Case Podcast

William Tincup

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.


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