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TecHR Interview with Pat Palmer, President and CEO at PDS

Patricia Palmer, an expert in the fields of development, consulting services, sales, and marketing joins us today for an interview to share her professional learnings and to talk about the evolving HCM segment. 

Catch a glimpse!

Hello, Pat! Please tell us about your professional journey. What is a regular day at work like for you?

I have had the pleasure of working in the software field over the past 35+ years and have found it to provide me with continual challenges and opportunities for innovation. My initial work in programming and implementing HRMS software provided a solid basis as my responsibilities expanded to include marketing and sales of our product solutions. Today, my focus is on corporate strategies and managing the PDS ecosystem, but I remain tightly connected with our customers.

How have you seen HCM evolve over the years? 

When I started back in the 80s, software was managed and used by the more administrative type of user. IT was heavily involved in operating and processing HR, benefits and payroll activities. Over the years, as systems have become more “user-friendly”, and less technical, usage has shifted to the end-user and the day-to-day operations have transitioned to users across the enterprise. This transition has forced HCM software design to become more automated, and easier to operate. The shift to cloud-based solutions further removed any IT involvement in managing systems and compounded the need for quicker ramp-up time, easier integration, and regular automated maintenance.

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How can firms make use of public and private data to enhance candidate screening and recruiting processes?

In addition to the data that is collected directly from candidates and depending upon the nature of the job to be sourced, additional intelligence can be gathered and analyzed via background checks and even social media sites. In many cases compliance requires the review of a candidate’s criminal record prior to hire. That said, with the advent of privacy-related legislation across the world, it is critical that users stay aware of legislative dos and don’ts.

Talking of common challenges in talent acquisition/retention, what are the top 5 tips you’d advise HR teams to keep in mind when using HR tech to optimize these challenges?

    1. Due to the shortage of applicants in today’s competitive environment, it is critical to keep your job postings clear and concise, and on point. Keep in mind that many are viewing your posting via a mobile device.
    2. Recruiters need to utilize tools to help automate the matching of job openings to qualified applicants in order to sift through the volume of candidates.
    3. Implement automation wherever possible within the recruiting cycle to improve efficiencies – staying on top of candidate activity is key.
    4. It’s also critical that recruiters react in a timely manner when responding to a new applicant and where possible automate those responses to ensure timely and consistency.
    5. Respect the applicant’s privacy throughout the recruitment process and pay attention to compliance.

What are your views on the role of employee training and reskilling in building a future-ready workforce? Given the era of AI and automation, how should companies pay better attention to upskilling initiatives?

Depending upon the line of business, employee staffing costs are often the highest cost within an organization. Managing and optimizing the workforce is critical to stay competitive and profitable. It’s critical that managers today utilize analytical tools to monitor and more easily analyze their workforce’s statistics, and put into place tools to better utilize the strengths and correct the weaknesses of staff.

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What are your top 3 best practices when it comes to using HR analytics to drive better business outcomes? 

    1. Recognize that implementing analytics is a good-sized project that requires resources from different business perspectives. In order to drive better outcomes, you’ll need to invest in the appropriate resources from the business management side, from the technical perspective, and from the user perspective. Involving the right expertise will make or break this initiative.
    2. Publish to a small group
    3. Tweak, tweak, and tweak again

How do you think tech/ B2B firms can leverage their HRTech Stack to create a more engaging culture and workforce?

With the advent of engagement tools, the employee experience has become one of the leading factors in selecting the HCM tool for the future. Systems that used to be tightly controlled with selective access to data are now much more ubiquitous, and yet need to be controlled via security to manage privacy concerns. Sensitivity to these concerns is critical to delivering HCM tools to the masses whether it be via a desktop computer or a smartphone. Tools to simplify the means for staff to interact, recognize achievements of their peers, and encourage engagement with each other are powerful tools that today’s workforce demands.

Any parting thoughts that you’d like to share? It could be on anything, a motivational tip, work-life balance, etc.

Never stop improving! Every organization must keep innovating and second-guessing their current state. Existing systems, operational processes and practices should be questioned and automated where and whenever possible. New tools and methods provide an opportunity to reinvent, renovate and reengineer the way we do business today. Don’t get stagnate. 😊

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PDS is obsessed with caring for your human capital management needs on a granular level. Whether you need an end-to-end recruiting, human resources, benefits, and payroll solution, or a full range of other HR services, PDS builds technology to match your specific needs in a personalized manner.

Patricia (or Pat, for short) has been an integral part of PDS since joining the firm in 1984. Her experience and skills encompass a wide range including development, consulting services, sales and marketing. During her tenure, Pat has been part of the PDS senior management team for more than 30 years. Since joining PDS, Pat has been a member of the PDS User Group Association Steering Committee, which helps to coordinate customer communications, user group conference events and collaborates on product planning. Unlike many executives, Pat’s passion to innovate on product and service solutions keeps her involved with customers and she remains a driving force for product improvements.