Eaton: Closing talent gaps faster with AI-powered talent acquisition

Global power management company Eaton needed to streamline and modernize its hiring processes — and looked to AI to help.

Eaton: Closing talent gaps faster with AI-powered talent acquisition

The process of finding new talent in the manufacturing industry continues to be a massive challenge. And solving the talent gap can be a complex endeavor, especially when your organization is a large multinational company with 90,000 employees in 60 countries. 

That’s why global power management company Eaton was looking for a new way to modernize its talent acquisition process. Hiring nearly 15,000 people a year, Eaton’s TA teams needed a way to streamline dozens of systems and processes to better support its hiring process — and that’s why their talent leaders turned to a solution powered by AI.  

At Cultivate, we had the opportunity to hear from Jackie Morgan, Vice President of Talent Acquisition at Eaton, and her team on how they simplified and modernized their TA processes with AI to ensure the best candidate experience and quickly identify talent. Here are key takeaways from the panel discussion

Related content: Eaton’s Jackie Morgan, Vice President of Talent Acquisition, talks about their skills-based approach to TA strategy at Cultivate.

Realizing the potential of AI-powered talent acquisition

Many organizations are trying to solve the big challenge of not enough available talent for the workload demand. This was Morgan and her team’s North Star as they began to survey the TA landscape at Eaton. 

“We started with the candidate experience, and really it kind of bled into the experience for everybody: candidates, hiring managers, and recruiters,” Morgan said. “We really wanted to hyper-focus on a technology that allowed us to deliver a seamless relationship and interaction between the recruiter, the candidate, and the hiring team.”

With the candidate experience as a guide, Morgan looked to Sai Patel, Director of Global HR Technology at Eaton, to help determine the right technology to support the initiative. Interestingly, he commented that AI wasn’t even a consideration in the beginning. 

“We went out there and looked at about five or six ATS vendors. Eightfold was not one of them because it didn’t fall under the ATS category,” Patel said. “This is where we brought in a trusted partner to give us a larger view of the technology landscape. Once we realized the power of AI when it comes to talent acquisition, we moved forward with it.”

Eaton worked with SAP SuccessFactors to assess the potential of AI to augment its TA processes and bridge talent gaps. Michael Pawlyszyn, Senior Vice President and General Manager of North America SAP SuccessFactors, said that there is immense potential to use AI technologies in industries like manufacturing.

“We’ve been talking about skill gaps for decades, reskilling internally, acquiring talent, and creating opportunities inside of organizations. But how do you do that?” Pawlyszyn said. “Here’s an example: my COO has responsibility for hundreds of millions of dollars here in North America from a business perspective. She was a barista at Starbucks then went on to work for Bain & Company and worked her way up from there. What a wonderful talent resource! But she could have been overlooked. HR professionals have all missed those talent resources, but we don’t need to miss out anymore with the technology available today.”

Related content: Eaton’s Jackie Morgan, Vice President of Talent Acquisition, talks about the importance of making the business case for better technology at Cultivate

Ensuring organizational readiness

Gone are the days of implementations that take up to a year or longer. With the changes that happen in today’s business environment, initiatives would be out of date before they go live. But in an industry like manufacturing, change is often harder to roll out since existing processes and workflows can be deeply ingrained.

Morgan and team knew they’d have to rely on proactive and constant communication to ensure that the entire organization was ready to make necessary changes. They also knew this was an opportunity to refine TA at Eaton. 

“We looked at simplifying and modernizing the entire TA program. It helped us make sure that we were not only implementing a technology that was going to help us meet our goals, but that we were also advancing the program itself at the same time,” Morgan explained.

Another key to success was the partnership among Deloitte, SAP SuccessFactors, and Eightfold. Morgan said that the competitive intelligence from Deloitte, and the technical expertise from SAP SuccessFactors and Eightfold contributed to Eaton being able to implement best practices and avoid common pitfalls along the way. 

Patel added that educating Eaton constituents on agile change management helped the implementation move faster. 

“It’s very common in the software business with implementations to crawl, walk, and then run. It’s agile. We know all about it,” Patel said. “But in the manufacturing industry, this idea is not as familiar. They are used to implementations running 100% from day one. But we had to educate them on the idea of having 80% of it running and getting value out of it while we fine tune the last 20%.”

Moving toward skills-based talent acquisition

One of the biggest challenges at Eaton is internal mobility. Morgan sees the new SAP SuccessFactors/Eightfold solution as a way to evolve toward skills-based talent acquisition, which will enable Eaton to tap into the skills of existing talent to fill gaps. The team plans to mine the data and intelligence generated from Eightfold to understand the skills of its employees and build a foundational layer to standardize across the entire organization on skills. 

“We have an aerospace business. We have electrical businesses. And we actually own a golf-grip company. But in order for us to get at this diverse talent and really solve the internal mobility issue that we have, we have to take it down to skills,” Morgan said. “Because if we’re just looking at experiences on a résumé, we’re going to miss a big part of our employee population. We’re two and a half months into our life with Eightfold and SAP SuccessFactors and things are going well. So, we’re excited about the future.”

Watch the full panel conversation on “AI-powered talent acquisition: Manufacturing a transformation” from the Cultivate now on demand.

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