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Case Study
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Case Study

How a simple tech intervention harmonized a complex hiring system

Rewiring existing processes and embracing simplicity through technology heralded a smarter way of working in EY Nordic Talent.


Processes are perfected over time. What’s your cue to improvise?

Nordic Tech Hub revised an age-old process of recruitment, to keep pace with the pursuit of new talent.

Until the year 2020, the Talent team at EY Nordics took a few days to send contracts to potential employees. Most delays stemmed from the numerous emails, forms, confirmations and approvals needed throughout the recruitment process.

In today’s world, speed is key to getting ahead. This is where Talent felt a need to bridge the gap in its legacy processes.

At EY Nordics, hiring a new candidate was a manual process with multiple parties involved in the recruitment — right from hiring managers to Talent. They received and passed on candidate information to each other at various stages of the hiring process, all via Microsoft Excel files and emails. Apart from the high administrative burden of filling out these documents, it was impossible to track the progress of the candidate in the hiring process; there was no transparency as to who approved a particular candidate, or whether the candidate had even opened their contract.

“In Talent, we often deal with a large number of candidates and contracts every day. When many of the processes involved are highly labor-intensive, it is inevitably prone to errors — be it while copying and pasting data to and from different documents or even saving data into the wrong folders. There is also the threat of overstepping data privacy when we deal with huge volumes of personal, often sensitive data, such as ID numbers, addresses and salaries, and the risk of these being sent to incorrect recipients within the firm,“ says Sandie Keng, Head of Talent Attraction and Acquisition, EY Nordics.

It was a web of organized chaos that was laborious and time-consuming. The consequence was a ticking clock, where delays in coordination translated to extended timelines for contract generation and onboarding new talent.

Talent realized that they needed to adapt and reinvent their hiring process. And what better way to do this than to harness the power of technology? The Nordic Tech Hub (NTH), the tech wing of the Nordic COO Office (an in-house consultancy), was brought onboard for this purpose; to address the question — how can we, at EY Nordics, create a balanced process of hiring that not only speeds up recruitment but is also secure, comprehensive and thorough? 

Aerial view of elevated road crossing reservoir in the mountains of Spain

Sometimes, less is more.

By simplifying processes, NTH helped Talent overcome one of its biggest and longest-running challenges.

NTH works to transform internal processes at EY Nordics and implements the digital transformation part of our global strategy. They do this by automating many of the manual, often painstaking processes that EY colleagues need to perform on a day-to-day basis. So, when Talent reached out, NTH immediately rose to the occasion.

On-ground research was the first step to figuring out where to begin. NTH proceeded to interview key stakeholders — all the people involved in the recruitment process to map out their pain points.

Two massive challenges were identified:

  • Real-time visibility of the candidate pipeline
  • Generating contracts for new hires

Building Harmony

NTH devised a solution named Harmony to tackle this.

From a minimum viable product (MVP) launched in the year 2021, to the version that is in use today, Harmony has come a long way. A stream of continuous interaction and seamless collaboration between end users and NTH has been key to help achieving the result that has been implemented across EY Nordics.

Harmony consists of the latest components from the Microsoft Creator Kit for Power Platform. It is designed to be responsive to Talent’s specific needs and ways of working; it is dynamic and customizable according to each country’s requirements.

But what really forms the crux of Harmony is the contract matrix. As more countries have adopted this solution, the more complex are the variations in contracts. Harmony stores every business rule, legislative and regulatory difference, and layout requirement in its database, both in the local language and English. Once a contract is initiated, the solution skims through and populates each variable in the document subject to pre-set rules and conditions. The resulting contract is then sent to the candidate. Once signed via a custom DocuSign connector, everyone involved in the recruitment process gets a notification from the application.

“Harmony marked the first of many associations with Microsoft. Not only do we try to keep up with updates and new releases; we also try to push boundaries and go beyond, using low-code, specifically, Power Platform for many of our solutions,” says Alex McCreary, Head of the Nordic Tech Hub, at EY Nordics.

Focus on continuous improvement

Harmony is a collection of effective practices, carefully collated by the Nordic Tech Hub (NTH) and Talent over three years. Continually enhanced after careful consideration of the feedback received for the previous versions, it is now an intuitive app with a great user interface and an improved process flow.

“Harmony — being a modern and digitalized solution — is the right step toward transforming Talent. It creates a better, streamlined process where everyone is updated along the way through a clear, automated audit trail, apart from automated contract creation. The best part is that it is super easy to use; NTH and Talent continue to work together to update and improve it on the go, even now, to perfect it even more,” says Filippa Wallin, Recruitment Manager at EY Nordics, Sweden.

Reduced the administrative burden on the EY Nordic Talent team by about


for contract creation

A story of exceptional collaboration

“A close-knit team of people from diverse nationalities and specialized competencies definitely enriched our ways of working. The smooth collaboration between NTH and Talent was critical to the growth of Harmony,“ says Josephine Sachse, Product Manager, NTH, at EY Nordics.

While Talent identified the problem and NTH developed a major part of the solution, rolling out the application to all four countries in the Nordics involved considerable effort when it came to change management and testing. This was largely driven by the Talent teams who had been working with the first version of Harmony. “The new platform required new ways of working, which needed to be communicated effectively. This involved training sessions, workshops, and documentation to help ensure that the new countries were equipped with the knowledge and skills they needed,” says Alex McCreary.

Sunlight ascending over Earth in outer space

Transforming recruitment across the Nordics

Automation has standardized and accelerated the hiring process in EY Talent teams across the Nordics, opening doors to new possibilities.
What’s even better is that hiring managers, recruitment and Talent have complete, real-time visibility on the candidate pipeline.
Sandie Keng
Head of EY Talent Attraction and Acquisition, Nordics

“With Harmony coming into the picture, not only do we save time and effort in coordination amounting to over 8,000 emails a day; we are also sure that only those who are privy to confidential information have access to it. In short, everything we need with regard to recruitment is on Harmony — not in emails, files or folders like before. What’s even better is that hiring managers, recruitment and Talent have complete, real-time visibility on the candidate pipeline,” says Sandie Keng.

Contract details are automatically populated with the candidate's information, reducing the likelihood of errors in contracts. The solution is integrated with DocuSign to help enable a secure digital signature process. What’s more, all these steps are captured in a detailed audit trail.

With contract generation at the click of a button now becoming a reality, Harmony has reduced the administrative burden on the Talent team for contract creation by about 70%, leading to a more efficient hiring process.

“The collaboration with NTH has been especially great from a project management perspective, as many people in Talent, especially those engaged in the more manual, hands-on work in the recruitment process, have had the privilege of equipping themselves with new tech skills and pride in the fact that they were a crucial part of building a new system in Talent,” adds Sandie Keng.

Apart from enhancing candidate experience and enabling the business to onboard new hires even more quickly, Harmony has helped uphold the reputation of EY Nordics as a sought-after employer.

“Harmony has been a great example of digital transformation — being a key platform that has helped Talent teams across the different countries in the Nordics come together to learn, improve and standardize the process of recruitment. Technology in this case has greatly enhanced ways of working by streamlining priorities, allowing the recruitment team to pick up new skills, collaborate across borders and focus on more critical tasks,” says Josephine Sachse.

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