The future of employment services technology
The New Employment Services Model will see a large number of future jobseekers serviced digitally, with employment services providers supporting cohorts that require face-to-face Enhanced Services. With an expected 80:1 ratio of jobseekers to consultants under the new model, the expectation is licensed providers will be able to invest the time and resources they need to progress these jobseekers towards work readiness and employment.
But how? While there are a range of challenges in adapting to the New Employment Services Model, it's clear that technology will play a core role in enabling providers to make the most of their engagement with job seekers. Through intelligent application of technologies, from data centralisation to predictive analytics, they will be able to be much more effective and efficient in achieving a high performance service offering that achieves outcomes.
5 technology certainties in the future of employment services
How can we be ready for what’s next? Here are five certainties we believe can be used as guidestones in preparing our employment services value proposition for the future under NESM. Like landmarks that show us we’re on the right path, these themes and their practical applications can support us as we get ready for the future.
1. The triumph of analytics
We believe the future will see analytics make providers more efficient operators and more effective businesses. Data is no longer the elephant in the room. Instead, it’s the intelligence opportunity everyone is considering. Our sector will make use of more use of the many data points available.
For example, analytics can teach us lessons on everything from the most appropriate direction for a consultant to take a jobseeker, to who is the most at risk of dropping out of employment, the barriers individual participants are facing and the ways we can make our service more personalised and tailored to each individual. We’ll even be able to continuously machine learn which questions, conversations and interventions deliver the most sustained outcomes in each circumstance.
The latest in behavioural science and prescriptive analytics is just one example. Today, employment services providers are able to ascertain a participant’s attitude to employment using a short survey delivered online and then triage them into the services or interventions that both match their mindset and maximise their chances of finding and sustaining employment.
Using services like those of behavioural science, technology and analytics firm Esher House, prescriptive analytics algorithms can recommend approaches and techniques for consultants to coach individual participants - and only get better over time through machine learning. In future, a range of analytics technologies like these will likely bring about a step-change in service.
2. The mastery of efficiency
High value activities. Low value activities. While we may understand the difference, the reality for providers and their consultants is all too often being caught up in data entry, paperwork, compliance and low value manual interactions. This leaves less time for the high value face-to-face interactions with participants or employers that can result in the faster and more effective outcomes they need, and also creates a system with less human characteristics than we may desire or expect.
We believe the future will mean less of the former and more of the latter. By using technology for lower value activities, providers will increasingly be able to automate the time consuming ‘donkey work’ and make room for the components of a work day that make the things that matter happen. Taking lower value processes off the table, they will be able to focus on creating more human services more likely to resemble the ‘concierge’ makeover that banks have undertaken in the last decade.
Post-placement support is critical to sustaining participant outcomes through their first weeks and months of employment. But is there a way we can transform it into a less intensive process? In today’s market, providers in practice often reach out to their placements every week or fortnight for the first six months by phone in a ‘blanket call’ process. While this is well received by participants in many cases and results in stronger outcomes, there may be ways to fine tune it through technology.
Thinking more efficiently will allow providers to automate aspects of post-placement support, or outsource it to participants themselves. For example, just by sending a scheduled SMS contact every fortnight and using online resources to support clients throughout their employment journey, the phone could become the exception in this process rather than the rule.
3. The empowerment of the customer
Do you think of jobseekers and employers as your customers? If not, it’s time to start now. The future of employment services will mean marketing your services to a pool of jobseekers and employers who will expect more of a bank-style service from their employment services provider, and more of a say in that service.
With the likes of advanced CRM technology, providers will be better able to engage and retain jobseeker or employer customers through more targeted service. They will be able to individualise their service by better understanding job seekers through the likes of assessments, and better map out journeys towards work. By designing interactions for a new contingent of empowered customers, providers will be able to succeed in future-proofing their businesses.
Are you serious about enhancing your customer experience to keep participants on your caseload? If so, have you considered a meaningful customer experience survey as part of your business model?
With participants certain to be given more of an opportunity to shape their employment services journey under the NESM, in ways that have already been made clear in the Transition to Work program, from a provider perspective it makes sense to get to know customers better, to know whether they are happy with their service and why. Just like the bank or energy company your participants interact with, treating them like a genuine customer with opportunities to provide feedback could be the difference that sets your service apart from other providers in the market.
4. The ubiquity of digital self-service
Self-service will become the default experience for a large pool of participants in the new era of jobactive, who theoretically will find work online all by themselves with minimal support.
However, jobseekers with deeper needs will also require the ability to do things on their own via the digital self-service facilities provided by their employment services providers. The smart employment service providers of the future will be enthusiastic about the possibility of more self-service activity in areas in which these candidates want a digital service and filling in the gaps where they don’t.
Could the future of participant intervention and support services be online? While many interventions today involve in-person support, one future option to augment these services will be the delivery of comprehensive course-like material online rather than in face-to-face workshops.
By making these resources available through self-service, employment services providers will be able to expand the reach and cost efficiency of the services they provide and make use of the technology participants are carrying with them in their homes and in their pockets - their mobile phones. In doing so, they’ll take away the need for having to attend the office on every occasion.
5. The expansion of data intelligence
Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in our own industry bubble. However in the future, information and data from a variety of sources outside of our regular sphere of concern will become more important and more readily available to employment services providers.
This will create new opportunities to improve business processes and make decision making more strategic. It will also improve the way providers are able to intelligently service and progress participants from unemployment towards meaningful work
Heard of Single Touch Payroll? It’s the change that recently revolutionised the payroll industry, when it required employers to report employee payroll data to the ATO with every single pay cycle.
While one of the big tasks employment services providers now face is capturing wage evidence after placement - often by calling those participants and prompting them to supply payslips - with STP that task has effectively been made pointless. Why is it necessary if the data is already held by the ATO?
The question will be why can’t that data be automatically obtained and utilised in future? This is just one example where looking outside our bubble can create new opportunities for our market.