Navel/ Star Gazing
I haven’t been sleeping well lately. Last night, as I sat in my backyard listening to the wind and the sea, my wandering brain started thinking about a post by Adam Gordon in a Facebook group I run called Talent Product Plays. He’d asked about the (oft rumored) death of the ATS. I love the comments in it, how it meandered but ultimately stayed on topic. And, there was talk of the marketing funnel – it’s something a number of my peers (friends, clients, whatever the portmanteau of those two is) bring up as a normal, “of course you measure the funnel” thing.
I disagree. (Also, as a side note, it’s a bit sad that this is what I’m thinking about at 3 am in the dark of the night).
We’re Really Playing Infinite-Dimensional Chess
Here’s where I’m at: not sold on relying on the marketing funnel (or, recruitment marketing and/ or ATS funnel)- heck, even marketing isn’t sold on it anymore. Marketers started looking askance at the concept several years ago – for good reason. Consumers don’t follow linear paths to specific, measurable conversion points. The job discovery process isn’t linear – it never was. But, way back, a supply chain engineer decided you could make recruiting software. So, he built a system based on… supply chain. It’s called Taleo, now, and it has had an overly-large impact on the ATS’s that came after it. Some of the more progressive systems have tried to shake off that heritage, but… you still see echoes. Ghosts in the machine.
Job discovery was never really transactional – which makes it challenging to layer a funnel on top of. Real workflows look like pretzel logic, if they’re being honestly used. Our prospects come in and out of view, from different directions. They engage in the process randomly, and disengage the same way. Sometimes they skip steps. Move backwards, in and out. I’m viewing it as akin to the board game Shoots & Ladders – sometimes they’re on one square, about to hit victory (for you), the next they’re sliding out of view, only to (hopefully) come ‘round the bend again. Maybe.
Fun, amiright? Also: how the hell do you measure that? Also, I don’t think even that does it justice. The sheer fact is, it’s more like somebody took Shoots & Ladders, and then made it 3-dimensional. Go Shoots & Ladders, as it were.
…and There are New Dimensions Opening Up
Along with that, we’re now entering into an economy that is becoming less rigid – work is more transactional, gig roles are evolving, and everybody’s got a side-hustle. Mechanical Turk, Amazon’s “digital guns for hire” tool is spreading the wealth (and/ or creating a digital serfdom, but that’s a post for another 3 am ramble). And this is just the beginning – the majority of leaders at the companies we support are increasingly convinced that this trend is their future, and (of course) they don’t know how to get there. Go Shoots & Ladders, only you’re playing it underwater. While drunk.
While 66 percent of companies believe their use of off-balance sheet talent will grow significantly in the next 3–5 years, only 49 percent say they are not able to manage contingent labor well and 55 percent say they have never used or do not understand how to leverage crowdsourcing. So while some elements of the future of work are well understood by business leaders, others are still in an emerging stage of understanding. (Deloitte 2017 Global Human Capital Trends – The Future of Work: The Augmented Workforce)
So… yeah. I don’t think many of should be sleeping well. The funnel can’t measure well, as it is, and it’s about to get a whooole lot more complicated, my friends. The center, it never really could hold.
(Also, this made me laugh):