5 tips for rolling out a new ATS to your team

You’ve done the research, made the pitch to your team, and are finally ready for a new applicant tracking system (ATS). You might have even already taken the plunge and purchased the perfect ATS for your company. Now it’s time to introduce the software to your team and start reaping the benefits of your new hiring system.

Adopting a new ATS can positively impact not just the hiring team but everyone who is involved in the hiring process. This is a great opportunity to refine your workflow, consider ways to improve the candidate experience, and set measurable goals for the future.

Whether you are adopting an ATS for the first time or are switching from one system to another, we’ve put together a list of our top change-management tips you can use to help your employees get excited and prepared to work with your new software.

1. Get your team on board

Transitioning to a new ATS is much easier if your team feels confident and enthusiastic about the change. You need buy-in not just from the hiring team, but from everyone that will be working in the system. Employees who are resistant to the change or hesitant to switch off of outdated tools can cause compatibility issues and bottlenecks in the hiring process. If your team rejects your ATS choice, you won’t be able to take advantage of the many benefits that you already know an ATS can deliver.

The easiest way to get employees on board with change is to give them some agency over the decision. When employees are involved in decision-making, it improves morale and makes them feel more empowered and likely to embrace change. Getting your team involved can also increase the likelihood that you select the ATS that best meets the needs of your staff.

Ask your hiring managers what is and isn't working with their current system. What features and functionality do they need? Let your hiring team get involved in the process by test-driving different software. If possible, give them several options, and let them decide what best meets their needs.

Most importantly, frame this change positively. Yes, there will be growing pains as everyone learns a new system. But this is also an exciting opportunity to make the hiring process better and more efficient.

2. Set goals for ATS adoption

Once you've settled on an ATS, but before you start the onboarding process, consider how this new system will fit into your company. Identify what you hope to achieve with your new ATS and how you plan to get there. Setting goals will help you stay on track as you deploy new processes and will help you evaluate your success later on.

Typically, companies sign a one-year contract with their ATS provider. Plan your goals around that one-year mark, noting the metrics you will use in your evaluation. What are you hoping the new ATS will help you achieve? Your goals may include, but are not limited to, the following:

Focusing on your goals can help avoid the temptation of scope creep. It can be tempting to go overboard with new features and employ all of your new system's bells and whistles at once, but such massive change can be overwhelming. Limit functionality to the features that will help you achieve your goals.

3. Create an implementation plan

After you've clearly mapped out your goals, plan for the new software rollout. The key to successful ATS implementation is an intentional plan of action that accounts for everybody's roles in the intended workflow, among other things.

Roles

Most ATSs have varying user roles, with different permissions and access to user data. Designate who will be assigned to each role in the system, starting with the administrators and working downward. Appoint one person who will “own” the system during the implementation period and become the expert and point of contact for questions and issues related to the ATS. As time goes on, that person can train one or more other people to help manage the system.

Workflows

In your plan, map out the workflow for each part of the hiring process, from posting a job to sending out job offers. Include as many details as possible for each step of the process, including which role is responsible for each action. As you progress with implementation, this master workflow sheet will be essential for making sure everyone knows their responsibilities and how to perform them.

While mapping this out, try to keep any changes to your process small. It will be much easier to build your ATS into your existing hiring workflow, rather than starting over from scratch.

Timing

The start of the new year might seem like a good time to start with a new system, but Q1 is usually one of the busiest times of the year for hiring managers. Rolling out a new system when the staff is already slammed will likely add to the stress and lead to mistakes. Instead, schedule your transition to coincide with a quiet time in the hiring cycle.

Data transfer

Remember to include a plan for transitioning your data to the new system. Your data is one of your most important assets, and you have a responsibility to protect the data of your applicants. Find out if the ATS will migrate your data for you, or if it will need to be manually reentered into the new system. Either way, make sure all of your data is backed up before you make the switch. If you are moving from another ATS, you should be able to get a hard-copy archive of that data.

4. Reach out for support

As you tackle the nuts and bolts of onboarding, remember that you aren't alone. A quality ATS should come with customer support resources to help answer questions, get your team set up, and troubleshoot any issues that arise. It’s important to know that some companies are better at advertising their support offerings than others, so it's always a good idea to ask what is available to you.

Most ATS partners offer educational materials to help you learn about your new system on your own time. Encourage your employees to review any available webinars, help center articles, or pre-recorded demos that are relevant to them. Make sure that everyone knows where to find the resources they need to be properly trained, and check in on their progress.

Some companies also offer personalized onboarding support, giving you access to a customer success professional to help ensure your team gets up and running smoothly. Others offer access to a fully staffed support team through channels like email, phone, or live chat. Make sure to take advantage of the resources that are available to you as your team is ramping up.

5. View change as an opportunity

Moving to a new system can seem daunting, but it's also an opportunity to take a look at your hiring process and remove any inefficiencies.

If you're new to using an ATS, this transition is a great opportunity to put your hiring process under a microscope. What's working for you and what isn't? How are you currently structuring and measuring data?

Teams that have had to scale quickly can often find themselves operating under a scattered Frankenstein-like approach, where multiple tools are cobbled together into a workable, if not preferable, system. Consolidating your hiring tools into an ATS is a great opportunity to clean up convoluted processes and make the entire process more efficient.

If you're replacing your existing ATS, this is the best time to update and reorganize your database. What data do you actually need to transfer over into the new system, and what can you leave behind? Is there a better way to organize your information? Changing your ATS is a great opportunity to improve your processes and make sure you don't bring organizational and operational issues over into the new system.

Keep building on your healthy foundation

It's okay to take a moment to celebrate your successful ATS rollout and shiny new system. Remember, though: This is only the beginning of your company's (hopefully) long relationship with your new ATS. Don’t just set and forget your ATS! Continue to check for updates and new features, adapt to feedback from staff and candidates, and take advantage of new training materials. Keep pushing for excellence and you will be rewarded with a seamless hiring system that helps you attract, hire, and retain top talent.

About Hire by Google

Hire is a recruiting app by Google that uses AI to make the hiring process faster and simpler. Because it is designed specifically for G Suite users, with Gmail, Google Calendar and other G Suite integrations, Hire streamlines administrative tasks so that your team can hire the best people, faster.