Innovative digital products are helping companies to attract and retain staff in the new era of remote and hybrid working.

This article is authored by Teppo Paavola, Chief Digital Officer, The Adecco Group


The COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionised the way the world works. Since 2020, remote and hybrid working have become the norm for millions of people. And according to the findings of Resetting Normal, The Adecco Group's report aiming to define this new era of work, the trend is set to continue, with the average worker wanting to spend at least half of their work time (53%) working remotely. Both workers and leaders see the positives of this shift, with 8 in 10 respondents agreeing that both businesses and employees will benefit from the improved flexibility.


If hybrid working is indeed the ‘new normal’, technology is a vital factor in making it a success. Almost every modern business now benefits from technologies like instant messaging and video conferencing. But at The Adecco Group, we also see the benefits that digital innovation and transformation can play in talent solutions and HR – both in supporting remote working and in addressing the labour shortages and staff retention issues that have affected a number of sectors since the start of the pandemic. 


Guiding the first step


The Adecco Group’s strategy for developing new HR solutions is to combine world-class data science with market-leading digital product innovation. Adecco Connect, our digitally guided recruitment experience, uses AI algorithms to screen and qualify job applicants at scale, delivering the best candidates in a more efficient and cost-effective way. Recruitment Connect has helped one of our clients, the Tour de France, process more than 10,000 applicants in half of the time it would have taken using traditional methods.


Innovative digital products can benefit candidates, too. Career Assistant, The Adecco Group's intelligent career chat-bot, is already helping millions of candidates in more than 30 countries to engage with prospective employers. For another of our clients, one of the world's largest online retailers, Career Assistant enabled 86% of applicants to schedule their own interviews. This streamlined the recruitment experience for candidates while also freeing recruiters’ time to invest in more valuable tasks, such as building relationships with candidates by answering more in-depth questions. There are many similar examples, where the efficiency savings are over 50% for all parties, and the recruitment process cycle-times are cut by 50-80%.


Adopting this digital-first approach to recruitment improves candidate selection and boosts efficiency, while also enabling companies to reach a wider and more diverse pool of candidates. Using digital products also makes it easier for businesses to engage with the growing gig and platform economy, by automating the administrative processes required to hire staff on a short-term or flexible basis.


Source: Pexels

A conduit to coaching


Beyond recruitment and onboarding, HR technology can play a similarly constructive role in supporting employees through the lifecycle of their careers. According to the OECD, more than a billion people around the world will need to retrain and reskill by 2030. A related skills and training issue was highlighted by our Resetting Normal research, which found that although 66% of workers believe they need to gain new skills to stay employable, only 37% of non-managers feel their company is investing in their skills development. 


One example of how The Adecco Group’s digital products can address this staff development gap is EZRA, our virtual coaching platform. By offering leadership and management coaching via video conferencing, EZRA makes the benefits of our world-class coaching infrastructure accessible and affordable to companies everywhere, allowing them to offer coaching to a higher percentage of their teams. This digital, scalable approach benefits everyone: participants using EZRA are 11% more likely to be promoted, while companies that use the platform have seen employee retention rates rise by 14%. 



A flexible way forward


Across all these areas, The Adecco Group’s approach is to treat HR services like a tech company. This starts with owning and leveraging the data, giving us sight over each aspect of the client and candidate experience. The data allows us to iterate and improve our digital products continuously. 

Developing our HR products in a data-driven way responds to emerging trends – like people's desire for a more personalised, human-centric approach – by allowing us to focus more closely on each customer and client’s individual needs, both now and as they change in the future. 

And while The Adecco Group partners with leading technology companies to incorporate specific digital capabilities within our products – such as video conferencing or a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system – we also believe in building and owning most of the technology ourselves. This allows us to embed digital knowledge, skills and learnings within our company and foster a digital-first culture. A good example is our recently expanded Technology Center in Berlin, which brings together more than 100 experts from 37 nationalities who specialise in product, design, data and AI, and IT to accelerate innovation and drive The Adecco Group’s ongoing digital transformation. 

It's important to understand the distinction between traditional Information Technology (IT) services and true digitisation, which, in the case of The Adecco Group, involves marketing, selling, recruiting and engaging candidates and delivering to our clients in an entirely new way. By fully embracing our digital transformation – and creating innovative digital products to enhance every aspect of HR – The Adecco Group is helping our clients stay agile and ready for the unexpected. Given the current economic and geopolitical uncertainty and the profound changes we are seeing in both working patterns and the labour market, this flexibility will be a key factor in delivering future success.

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