UNLEASH America 2024 Takeaways: Tech Consolidation, Effective Leadership, and (Of Course) Artificial Intelligence

May 15, 2024 5 min read

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While we arrived at UNLEASH America with our own news (announcing our shift as a talent acquisition platform with sourcing, CRM, analytics, and automation), we were so excited to hear the latest from everyone in the talent acquisition industry.

Attending UNLEASH America this year was truly a deep dive into the latest trends and innovations shaping the future of work. From AI’s role in transforming business operations to the importance of consolidating tech stacks, here are the key takeaways for AI enthusiasts, TA leaders, and recruiters alike.

Embracing the AI Revolution: From Disruption to Opportunity

Ethan Mollick, Wharton School Professor

Ethan Mollick highlighted the transformative potential of integrating AI within business functions. Here are some of his critical insights:

  • Increased Work Performance: Usage of AI has been shown to increase work performance by 12.5%.
  • Changing Perspectives: Engaging in debates with AI makes individuals 87% more likely to change their views than with humans.
  • Resilient Professions: Despite AI’s sweeping influence, certain professions remain less affected, such as professional athletes, dancers, ditch diggers, and roofers.

Mollick emphasized, “The only way to figure out what AI is good and bad at is to use it.” This statement underscores the importance of practical experimentation with AI to uncover its strengths and limitations, especially in AI recruiting for talent acquisition.

Tech Stack Consolidation: Cutting Through the Noise

With $12 billion in VC dollars invested in TA tech startups, the interest in recruiting technology has never been higher. However, the sheer number of solutions—over 1,000—can lead to inefficiencies.

Key Strategies to Consolidate (shared by GEM):

  • Optimization: Companies like Dish found that despite having integrated tech solutions, they only utilized 20% of each tech piece. Simplifying the tech ecosystem is clearly a critical step in maximizing efficiency.
  • Vendor Selection: Mike Penny, Talent Acquisition Leader – Operations, High-Volume, and Analytics at Avery Dennison, highlighted the importance of involving multiple stakeholders in the vendor selection process to ensure comprehensive evaluation and suitability.

When consolidating, Jeff Moore, VP of TA at Toast, discussed the benefits of a CRM-centered approach over traditional ATS systems, focusing on engagement and relationship-building at every candidate touchpoint. In other words, instead of having the ATS as your tech stack centerpiece, a modern CRM should be the focal point with which things like analytics, sourcing, and more can run through (sound familiar to hireEZ at all?).

Tripling Candidate Response Rates and Reducing Tool Spend

Greg McKeown, Sr. Director of Innovation and Customer Success, took to the UNLEASH stage for the first time to share his team’s success with hireEZ.

He talked about the continual process of change management, the millions of candidates qualified through hireEZ, and ultimately the adoption of sequence messaging that allowed his team to triple candidate responses.

If you want to learn more about his team’s success, read his case study here.

Winning Strategies from Top Las Vegas Resorts: Nurturing and Retaining Talent

It isn’t Vegas if we didn’t shout out the accommodations. Fortunately, the leaders running the biggest hotels in Vegas got together to talk about nurturing and retaining talent.

Panelists:

  • Jyoti Chopra, Chief People, Inclusion & Sustainability Officer, MGM Resorts International
  • Stephanie Lepori, Chief Administrative & Accounting Officer, Caesars Entertainment
  • Matt Krystofiak, CHRO, The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
  • Nadine Jones, Senior Vice President, People & Culture, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority

Key Insights:

  • Jyoti Chopra: “Your talent attraction strategy should define what you stand for, and it takes time.” Emphasizing the importance of aligning the organization’s value proposition with market expectations to retain talent. Not to mention, quick wins only get you so far. It’s the patience to play the long game that seems to make the difference.
  • Matt Krystofiak: Stressed aligning everyone with a deep sense of purpose. At The Venetian, two core values stand out—being thoughtful and being generous. Everyone doesn’t have to share these core values at your organization, but it’s important that your purpose is clearly aligned.

Skills-First Hiring: A New Approach

“Skills-based hiring” seems like a non-stop topic at conferences, and UNLEASH America was no exception.

The biggest takeaway from Indeed’s session was around the reduced emphasis on education across industries.

  • Reduced Education Requirements: Employers increasingly omit education requirements in job postings, with bachelor’s degree requirements decreasing from 20.4% in 2019 to 17.8% in 2024.
  • Enhanced Retention: Hiring based on skills rather than degrees has been shown to enhance employee retention.

Leading Through Uncertainty: Strategizing Resilience & Navigating Economic Downturns

Panelists:

  • Jon Couture, EVP and CHRO, Principal Financial Group
  • Kate Zimberg, SVP, Global HR and interim CHRO
  • Chad Secrist, CHRO, Global Ops – International Medical Group
  • Matt Grove, Recruiting Toolbox

Key Strategies:

  • Change Management: Jon Couture emphasized prioritizing change management, supported by significant investment, to navigate uncertainty effectively.
  • Operational Focus: Active work management and focusing on what’s important can yield substantial returns on investment.

The Magic of Work Transformation: Insights from Magic Johnson

NBA legend and entrepreneur Magic Johnson made quite the appearance at UNLEASH America. In fact, he stepped into the crowd and gave his presentation from there (rather than walking back and forth on the main stage).

With immense success in the business and basketball world, he shared his wisdom on leadership and transformation in the workplace:

  • Proving Yourself: “People are always going to question your talent and who you are… you’re always going to have to prove yourself.”
  • Winning Mindset: “If you’re prepared and have a winning mindset… you can still win.”
  • Customer Focus: “When you know your customers and clients, you have to over-deliver to them… they become your brand ambassadors.”
  • Leadership: “The greatest leaders I know can also be led.” Johnson stressed the importance of being solution-driven and frequent communication.
Conclusion

UNLEASH America provided invaluable insights into how AI, tech consolidation, and effective leadership strategies can drive success in today’s dynamic business environment. As we move forward, leveraging these insights can help businesses harness the full potential of AI, optimize their tech stacks, and lead through uncertainty with resilience and strategic foresight.

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