ScaleneWorks: New Face of Innovation in Talent Acquisition

Date:   Tuesday , May 03, 2011

For most organizations today, Talent Acquisition is synonym to Recruitment. But the term has much more layers of complexity than what most organizations understand today.
Gone are the days when a handful of the progressive heads of Talent Acquisition implemented a simple Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) model and claim victory. The talent market especially post-recession has taken on a new dimension altogether. If organizations have to grow rapidly their need for innovative solutions has become urgent and seeking out-of-the-box solutions to seemingly insatiable business demand for talent, has become critical.

The most surprising fact is that though most IT/ITeS companies leverage the use of technology in every other business process practiced today, recruitment is one space that still waits to see the light of a truly end-to-end automated process. Either the will is not there or simply put, there seems to be a serious vacuum of thought-leadership. It is this challenge that Sanjay Shelvankar, Ashish Tiwari and Sharon George hope to address with their entrepreneurial venture ScaleneWorks.

Founded in April 2010, Bangalore headquartered ScaleneWorks is an end-to-end Talent Acquisition Solutions organization that with its two decades of IT Corporate expertise in Technology Consulting and Talent Acquisition areas looks to usher in a fundamental shift in the way Talent Acquisition is practiced in today’s ultra-demanding business environs.

The company not only advises its customers on where their Talent Acquisition practices are today, but also recommends & implements individually tailored, viable solutions to make them state-of-the-art. “We engage with organizations, find the flaw in the process and consult them on the best possible solution to rectify it. But more than consulting, our long term goal is to transform the entire Talent Acquisition process by leveraging it on a technology platform and automating it,” says Sanjay Shelvankar, Founder and CEO, ScaleneWorks. From transforming the Talent Acquisiton process to consolidating all the vendors under one umbrella to helping choose the right tool and technology, ScaleneWorks takes care of an organization’s needs end to end.

The Idea
Prior to starting ScaleneWorks, Shelvankar along with Tiwari and Sharon, headed the Talent Acquisition function at MindTree for several years. During this stint in Talent Acquisition, they went on to revolutionize the way recruitment was viewed within the industry. From setting up multiple Recruitment Process Outsouring teams, to managing a unified vendor ecosystem and bringing in technology and processes, they transformed the Talent Acquisition practice within MindTree and won their team five out of six award categories in the RASBIC (Recruitment and Staffing Best in Class) awards of 2008-2009 for use of cutting-edge innovation, technology, processes and more. , During the heights of the 2008-09 recession, when most organizations faced downsizing pressures, Shelvankar proposed to the MindTree management to setup a talent acquisition consulting practice and offer the innovation,cutting edge technology and processes that he had engineered within the organization. “From a cost-centre he took talent acquisition to a profit centre by providing Talent Acquisition Consulting to MindTree’s clients, something that no one had ever attempted” adds his co-founder and Vice President, Ashish Tiwari. The consulting practice was quiet a successful one with Volvo being its first customer.

Despite its success as a business arm, Shelvankar was asked to shelve the consulting practice when the economy bounced back and MindTree wanted to bring back its focus to its own growth. Having seen a large opportunity that Talent Acquisition Consulting presented in the disarrayed HR practice followed in organizations across the industry, Shelvankar, with the blessings of his mentors in MindTree, along with Tiwari and Sharon left MindTree to set up ScaleneWorks. Today, Volvo continues to be their customer and it was the success at Volvo that has helped it secure its other clients on a purely referral basis.

Today with their in-depth domain and technology expertise, Shelvankar and team are set to change the way organizations look at Talent Acquision.

Revolutionizing Talent Acquisition
“Talent Acquisition processes are usually a collection of sub-processes and tasks that are carried out by several specialized functional teams, but often the overall performance of the entire Talent Acquisition process becomes nobody’s responsibility. Simply optimizing the performance of sub-processes can result in some benefits, but cannot yield dramatic improvements if the process itself is fundamentally inefficient and outmoded,” says Shelvankar. “Hence, we focus our re-engineering efforts on redesigning the Talent Acquisition process as a whole in order to achieve the greatest possible benefits to our customers. While the process as a whole is being rethought – simultaneously the customer’s Talent Acquisition process is deconstructed into specific activities, measured, base-lined, re-modeled and improved using our best practices recommendations,” adds he.

Business Process Re-engineering with its three tenets People Capability, Process Maturity and Technology Adoption form the core of the company’s ability to provide its customers with an enterprise-class customized solution to address their Talent Acquisition challenges. Its deep domain knowledge of how Talent Acquisition happens in corporate helps it do a quick benchmarking study, prepare a maturity map, identify the gaps and provide viable recommendations to its customers.

The company’s reengineering efforts start with a high-level assessment of its client’s mission, strategic goals, and needs for their Talent Acquisition function. It conducts deep-dive interviews with all key stakeholders of the Talent Acquisition function and the goal during the diagnosis phase is to ascertain if a customer is operating on questionable assumptions, particularly in terms of the wants, needs and challenges of their internal stakeholders. Only after completing this 1-2 week diagnostic study does the company set forth in implementing its recommendations with the help of the customer’s team. To ensure predictable program execution with emphasis on positive outcomes, we use a proven proprietary diagnosis-to-implementation methodology.

“Currently many of the customers seek out our expertise to recommend the right recruitment team structure for them and also engineer an outcomes-based commercial model around it,” explains Ashish Tiwari. Whether it be a leveraged vendor model (PEO) working in tandem with in-house recruiters, Vendor on Premise (VOP), Master Services Provider (MSP), Vendor Management Services (VMS) or the Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) and its variants, ScaleneWorks has conceptualized, designed and implemented recruitment models that is unique to every customer’s need.

In the last one year, the company has seen tremendous success with its re-engineering model and has seen increasing adoption amongst a wide array of organizations such as Volvo, HCL, Geometric, Exilant, Sasken, AkshayaPatra, Siemens, Feedback and many others who aim at achieving a lean HR practice.

“ScaleneWorks was engaged for a Business Transformation project in Talent Acquisition at Sasken in 2010. They were able to do a good diagnostic study on the function & provide us various benchmarking practices as interventions. The company then used metrics based evaluation in the decision making process. Sasken has also empanelled them for managed recruitment under the Vendor Management Services portfolio. The team at ScaleneWorks brings in good process knowledge in recruitment to build world class software tools using innovative frameworks,” testifies George Abraham, GM & Head Talent Acquisition Sasken Communication Technologies.

Managed Recruitment: One stop shop for all Talent Acquisition Needs
Corporates usually deal with dozens of sourcing agencies and other ancillary suppliers of talent. Many a time this becomes the biggest bottle-neck to find the right talent. These large numbers of disparate sourcing recruitment partners only exasperate the Hiring Managers and the Corporate Talent Acquisition team by placing an additional burden on their already limited bandwidth.

“We found that many corporate clients would love for a neutral party to represent a group of sourcing recruitment partners and be the spokesperson to both the client-side stakeholders as well as for the recruitment partner group. This gave us the inspiration to gather different vendors under our roof and provide our customers all the different services as a single solution offering,” says Shelvankar.

The company’s Managed Recruitment Model is the next natural progression of the Master Vendor on Premises concept. In this model, the company directly enters into subcontractor agreements with client empanelled recruitment partners. The main advantage of this model is that the client is able to channel all new requisitions to one source – ScaleneWorks - and, in turn, drastically simplify the payment process. In effect, the client only has to write one cheque and not dozens of them to each recruitment partner.

How does it work? After receiving the requisitions from the customer the company’s team works with the Hiring managers to understand and perform Job Description deconstruction. Its onsite Account Managers perform a Talent Mapping exercise to categorize all the requisition families based on associated hiring difficulty index. Once this is done, the Account Managers prepare a Hiring Strategy and Hiring Plan for the requisitions. Simultaneously, it performs simulation training with the Sourcing Partner’s recruiters and Hiring Mangers to ensure that the former understands the nuances of the particular requisition and also equips them with Client collaterals that can be used in correctly positioning the Client to the candidates
The next step is to evaluate the need for Screening and Selection best-practices like written-tests/e-Assessments and Pre-Selection interviewing techniques to ensure that the load on Corporate Clients’ internal interviewers is minimized and that quality of sourcing is maintained. The company supervises and coordinates the sourcing of resumes and subsequent processing of the same with the help of Clients in-house recruitment team. Feedback mechanisms are managed by the company’s onsite team.

It provides transparency, timely reports and maintains a risk register to provide adequate contingencies in the event that the partner group is unable to procure the right number of candidates to fulfill the requirements in time. It also deploys its Managed Recruitment technology platform that enables seamless interface of all the partners with the onsite team and subsequently with the Clients in-house recruiters that process the resumes to its final closure state.

By deploying Managed Recruitment a company is assured of an efficient and hassle free recruitment process due to reduced sourcing risks, lesser transactions with Recruitment Partners, reduced administrative load and cost transfers, single point of contact for both delivery and billing, consolidated reporting, access to more quality Recruitment Partners, reduced mismatches/wasted interviewing time and more. Most importantly, the solution sees to it that in the long-term, productivity is improved.

Technology: The Back Bone to every Solution
Having seen much success in its Managed Recruitment Model, the company driven by its desire to improve the Talent Acquisition Industry and infuse thought-leadership into technology interventions is going one step ahead by building ReSOLUTE — its Technology Platform.

“ReSOLUTE is a tool built by recruiters for recruiters. It is a dashboard backwards driven Recruitment Solution Exchange which we envision will help recruitment teams and its vendor ecosystem in strategic planning and working in a more efficient way than before. It is built using the latest Dot Net 4.0 platform and our portals are built on the latest SilverLight technology,” explains Sharon George, Co-Founder and Head – Product Development, ScaleneWorks.

“Many a time organizations are faced with tough decisions and a myriad of technology choices and products. It is a tough task to choose and decide on such an important investment and this is where as good consultants,ScaleneWorks helps in decision making by providing data and analysis on the various tools in the market that give better understanding and grasp of the competitive advantages of each”, adds Sharon. Also, designing a new process and implementing the same through technology is never an easy task. From conducting structured interviews to diagnosing the challenges and creating requirement briefs and design, ReSOLUTE can help in mapping the current processes to the new ones and implementing the same through technology.

Currently used as a part of its Managed Recruitment Solution, the company plans to soon launch it as a standalone offering.

Consulting in Education: A new opportunity
With its strength in consulting, services and technology offering, ScaleneWorks today finds itself in a sweet spot by being one of a kind player offering 360 degree view on the different Talent needs of an organization. But Shelvankar understands that in order to transform the Talent Acquisition practice as a whole, the change needs to begin from the grassroot level.

Thus ScaleneWorks decided to participate in the MHRD and World Bank’s Millenium Development Plan initiative, Technical Education Quality Improvement Program (TEQIP). TEQIP was envisaged in 2003 as a long-term Program of about 10-12 year duration to be implemented in three phases for transformation of the Technical Education System in India. As per TEQIP concept and design, each phase is required to be designed on the basis of lessons learnt from implementation of an earlier phase. TEQIP-I started a reform process in 127 institutions. To continue the development activities initiated through TEQIP-I, a sequel project is planned as TEQIP-II. The Project duration shall be for four years (2010-2014). Funding of up to Rs 20 crores can be sought by each participating Educational Institution.

“The goal of TEQIP is to scale-up and support ongoing efforts of the Government of India to improve quality of Technical Education and enhance existing capacities of the institutions to become dynamic, demand-driven, quality conscious, efficient and forward looking. They will also need to be responsive to rapid economic and technological developments occurring at the local, State, National and International levels. It has a clear focus on the objectives to improve the overall quality of existing Engineering Education,” explains Shelvankar. To help educational institutions scale up and be infrastructure ready to make use of the TEQIP fund, ScaleneWorks has partnered with them and consults them to restructure their institutions using best-practices from the Corporates.

ScaleneWorks helps engineering institutions to first do a self-diagnosis using SWOT and TOWS techniques. Once these are understood well, ScaleneWorks team takes them through a detailed prioritization workshop that at the end fetches crystal clear, viable and implementable action items and it handholds the institute right up to the planning for the budget, manpower etc., stages.

In addition to this, the company intends to use its vast corporate experience where it had played the role of a customer to the same engineering institutions, to provide its expertise in program managing the implementation of key interventions such as participating in curriculum design, curriculum implementation, student assessment, training of students, exposing students to new technologies, and providing experts for instructional sessions; providing opportunities for student groups to undertake problem-solving projects;, faculty recruitment,providing assistance for improving employability including entrepreneurial training, specialized skill training, and training in softer skills required by industry.

“As part of the TEQIP Phase II Institutional Development Plan (IDP) preparation, our institution had to complete an intense SWOT exercise. We invited ScaleneWorks to help us with this key activity. ScaleneWorks’ team not only interviewed all the 800 plus staff members but also introduced TOWS methodology to us and we were able to arrive at high-quality action items for the institution to justify funding from the TEQIP program. ScaleneWorks was instrumental in ensuring that our college got the best ranking amongst all IDPs received by TEQIP from other peer institutions. ScaleneWorks approach towards Consulting and Business Transformational services are best in class and we intend to use their services in our institution’s development in the months and years to come,” says Dr. B.G. Sangameshwara, Principal of Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering (SJCE).

In the next 5-10 years India will see unprecedented growth hence Talent Acquisition, Talent Transformation and Talent Retention will emerge as the biggest challenges for its industries. And traditional methods are completely inept at addressing this. The need of the hour is for innovative solution likes of which is brought by ScaleneWorks.

Today, the company is seeing a hockey stick growth, thanks to its strong vendor partnerships and steadily growing clientele that include Volvo IT, Volvo Business Services, Sasken, HCL, AkshayaPatra Foundation, Exilant Technologies, Feedback, Siemens among others. Currently 25 plus people strong the company hopes to leverage on its innovative bent of mind and cutting-edge technology and domain expertise to transform the way Talent Acquisition is approached. With its proven success, Shelvankar and team’s combined vision to build an organization of great value that it will be amongst the most respected Talent Acquisition Solutions provider globally in the next 5 years does not seem to be a distant dream.

What Clients have to say about ScaleneWorks

The management team of ScaleneWorks come from a solid IT corporate background and as such has very strong on-the-ground domain expertise. They also bring with them innate knowledge of how to structure high-performance recruitment teams, processes and technology coupled with some path breaking innovations for the Recruitment industry. My team at HCL has benefitted immensely by partnering with ScaleneWorks and we intend to explore other high-value innovations from them in the months and years to come. I see ScaleneWorks in a very unique spot and am sure that the larger industry needs their services
Saumen Bhattacharjee,
DGM & Head Talent Acquisition ERS Group HCL Technologies

ScaleneWorks is a great partner to have. They bring deep insight into the hiring process and are able to come out with solutions that are really long term oriented. Their ideas around deconstruction of Job Descriptions to bring a common understanding of the hiring specifications or doing salary fitment based on quality of candidate being hired and not what the candidate demands, are original thoughts. Sasken is adopting these processes in an extremely demanding supply environment and it is taking us on the right path.
Ramesh S, VP-HR
Sasken Communication Technologies

The experience I had in working as a co-consultant with ScaleneWorks represented by Sanjay Shelvankar, CEO, on assisting the staff, faculty and Principal of Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering, Mysore in planning and conducting a SWOT Analysis and preparation of the Institutional Development Proposal for the Government of India Project Technical Education Quality Improvement Program Phase II assisted by the World Bank was highly stimulating, educative and enjoyable. Equally enriching was the experience in assisting the staff, faculty and principal of the JSS Academy of Technical Education, Bengaluru in planning and conducting the SWOT Analysis for the Institutional Eligibility Proposal for the same project.
Prof. Ramanna, Ex-TTTC,
ex-Chief Technical Advisor UNESCO