February 29th, 2024 | Sterling

Professional Services and the Change Journey for Global Organizations (Part 2)

This is the second part of our series interviewing Jacqui Knight, Head of Professional Services, Tech and Business Services, on Sterling’s implementation process. We will cover the intricacies of training, go-live strategies, post-launch, and beyond. In the first part (LINK), we cover initial engagement with clients, key considerations in global programs, and how we set up new clients to form long-lasting partnerships.

Question: Can you shed some light on our testing procedures prior to going live?

We take a proactive approach to testing, preparing detailed testing plans, and guiding clients through the entire process to ensure a thorough and successful evaluation before the system goes live.

Our testing approach is comprehensive and involves participation from Sterling and the client. We test internally first and evaluate the program workflow ensuring it aligns with client requirements and expectations at every step—from placing an order to evaluating the candidate experience, navigating the adjudication process, and reviewing the Sterling dashboard.

Client involvement is crucial, especially when managing an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) integration. Since orders are triggered directly from the ATS, it’s essential that the client actively participates in the testing phase. This not only ensures the seamless functionality of the integrated system but also contributes to effective change management. Allowing clients to engage with the end-to-end process before going live often helps identify areas of change and plan for additional conversations or training.

Question: Can you guide us through the training process for a client who is new to Sterling?

Our approach to training new clients is highly adaptable and can be tailored to the unique structure and preferences of each client. There are a few different approaches that I commonly see: 

  • Typically, clients prefer Sterling to facilitate the training sessions as we are highly experienced in navigating the Sterling Platform and reviewing the product and services. These can be conducted on a regional or team level, depending on how their recruitment workflow is structured. This could look like team-based sessions focused on the part of the workflow that is relevant to the audience, such as ordering for the recruiters, and reviewing background reports and adjudication for the adjudicators.  
  • If a client prefers their end-users to be trained by their internal learning & development group, we offer “train the trainer” sessions. In these sessions, we empower client training teams with the necessary materials, allowing for co-branding or professional training directly with the client. These sessions are particularly exciting as we get to be in the room, discussing policies, procedures, and the end-to-end process. We seamlessly integrate and demonstrate how to effectively use Sterling’s system.
  • Alternatively, we offer co-facilitated sessions where both the client and Sterling will train the end users in a single session. The benefit of this approach is that the client can cover internal policies and procedures, at the same time as being trained on the Sterling platform. These sessions are particularly exciting as we get to be in the room, discussing policies, procedures, and the end-to-end process, giving us a unique perspective on the entire program. 

With the permission from the client, we often record the training sessions, providing the client with the option to host these recordings on their internal systems for future use. Additionally, we offer user guides and materials to support ongoing learning. Our client success team remains in partnership with the client, offering ad hoc or annual training sessions for new employees, ensuring flexibility and ongoing support.

We are very flexible and will work with a particular client to devevop the best training approach. We don’t adhere to a one-size-fits-all model. Every client is unique, and we strive to balance flexibility with our expertise, ensuring a successful training process. Our goal is to collaborate closely with each client to find a training solution that perfectly aligns with their needs.

Question: Can you provide an example of how your team handles training for a client on a large global scale?

We are currently managing a comprehensive training initiative spanning across Asia Pacific  , the Americas, and Europe. They client has regional nuances and teams that are on different time zones.

We are conducting open sessions tailored to local time zones, ensuring that the content is structured to align with the specific program requirements of each region. For instance, we recognize variations in background screening regulations in India and ensure our training addresses these specifics. This way, when we showcase the ordering process or the candidate experience, participants are witnessing the relevant procedures for their part of the world, accounting for regional service requirements.

Beyond training, we are equally committed to providing the necessary support structures tailored to meet regional needs. This adaptability ensures that our training not only covers the diverse aspects of the program but also supports its seamless execution on a global scale.

Question: Can you elaborate on the go-live process and its significance in the client relationship?

The go-live phase marks an exciting beginning and sets the stage for a long-term relationship with the client. It’s not merely a conclusion but rather the foundation for ongoing collaboration. Successful go-lives are all about meticulous preparation, recognizing that any change, whether small or substantial, can be accompanied by a level of apprehension. There is a lot of prep work that happens leading up to the go-live date depending on the program.

In the final days preceding the go-live, we conduct crucial “go/, no- go” decision meetings to ensure everyone is aligned and prepared. Users need to be well-informed and have a channel of communication into the project team to raise risks or concerns. Post-go-live, we schedule checkpoint meetings for the following days and weeks to address any unforeseen challenges, questions, or client preferences for adjustments.

To talk through an example, we recently had a large US client go-live with over 200 internal users. We set up daily open office hour sessions where anyone could dial into the meeting room and just ask questions. These hour-long virtual sessions allowed any user to dial in and ask questions, whether about logging in, accessing user guides, or seeking assistance with specific tasks. This proactive approach, rooted in thorough preparation, contributes to the success of our go-lives, ensuring they are smooth and well-received by clients.

Q: What role does your team play post-go-live, and how do you ensure program stability and client satisfaction during this phase?

Following the go-live phase, our team transitions into a role we term “monitoring” or “stabilization”. This crucial phase is dedicated to ensuring that the client’s program operates as anticipated. We meticulously track various aspects, including the team’s ability to place orders, adherence to turnaround times, and accuracy in invoicing.

In a proactive stance, we may initiate discussions with the client. For instance, if we notice that candidates are consistently providing incorrect information in a specific area, we might suggest adding additional instructions within our Candidate Hub to streamline the process. These recommendations for tweaks aim to enhance the overall efficiency of the client’s program.. Simultaneously, as clients become more familiar with all of the services and technology-enabled tools that Sterling offers or encounter questions from candidates or employees, we remain readily available to assist with any necessary adjustments to the client’s account.

The client success team, having been an integral part of the entire project, continues to be a supportive presence for the duration of the client’s relationship with Sterling. Once we collectively determine that the program has achieved stability, the professional services team can take a step back. However, this doesn’t imply a disengagement from our end. We stay connected and responsive, ensuring that our clients always have the assistance they need.

The advantage of having our teams centralized by industries, rather than being in a separate professional services entity, is that we maintain close proximity to the client. This proximity allows us to promptly respond to evolving client needs and provide ongoing support, making adjustments and improvements whenever necessary.

New program implementations can significantly impact the efficiency and success of your hiring operations. In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the right implementation approach can be the key to staying ahead of the curve. If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about our implementation process, you can contact us here.

Sterling is not a law firm. This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be construed as legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out this information. We encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.