As technology changes, the effects trickle into other areas of business: Relationships, funding, knowledge, and skills are all changed, too. Genevieve Bell, who works for Intel and studies the interaction between humans and machines, speaks about these changes. And she’s right: As society becomes more intimate with technology, and the latest gadgets rival James Bond’s digitized toys, we experience pushback. Technology continues to reshape all aspects of our lives, and it creates both excitement and fear.
Staffing will always be about relationships; without the constant nurturing of relationships with clients, business owners, candidates, business contacts, and other recruiting professionals, it wouldn’t survive. But now with technology, which has become a ubiquitous presence, staffing agencies have to adapt, change, and evolve. And participation is not an option. It is required.
This section could also be called “Why Change is Actually Really Hard.”
AugustTurak, author of Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity, writes in an article for Forbes that we have to suffer through four stages to undergo true change:
- Anticipation is the exciting stage of change where we anticipate benefits and make transformational plans.
- Regression is when things get worse before they get better.
- Breakthrough is when we finally see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
- Consolidation is when we turn the benefits of change into business as usual.
He explains that when we hit the second stage, regression, we get scared we’ll be stuck there. And this is why so many staffing firms remain in the technological dark ages. Growing pains, especially when introducing new software, hardware, apps, smartphones, gadgets, and the intimidating Internet of Things, are hard on companies, especially small businesses.
Staffing agencies need to push through to the fourth stage—consolidation—with technology. After all, to run efficiently, under the hood of every firm needs to be two key components: relationships and technology.
On CareerBuilder’s The Hiring Site, an article from Mary Lorenz discusses the seven habits of successful recruiters, which also translates to successful staffing firms.
The best recruiters, she says:
- Wear multiple hats
You have to spend the time and effort to do what’s best for your contacts.
- Stay ahead of trends
Recruiting and staffing requires the ability to see into the future to best serve both clients and candidates.
Your candidates may not know what it’s really like to work with a staffing firm: “Make sure you emphasize the benefits of nontraditional employment, such as freedom, flexibility, and the opportunity to turn temporary work into a full-time position.”
- Check in early and often
You need to be responsive and available.
- Don’t apologize for their success
If you have a reason to brag, do it. When your satisfaction scores are high and your clients are happy, let everyone know.
- Keep score
“Top staffing agencies are able to stay on top because they consistently measure their [quality control] processes and utilize client and candidate feedback to improve.” Because of this, Lorenz writes, “They are able to outpace the competition.”
- Go above and beyond
The extra mile matters. It’s what sets you apart from other firms.
From candidate tracking systems to targeted online advertising, today’s most successful staffing firms are reaching new clients and candidates by adapting to, and experimenting with, new solutions, channels, and methodologies.
Monster outlines a few ways staffing agencies are using staffing-focused technology and internet best practices to:
- Boost job postings with targeted advertising
- Reach the most mobile-savvy candidates
- Realize that search engines, including Google and Bing, aren’t built for what staffing and recruiting professionals need
- Meet your candidates wherever they are online
With all this—the knowledge of why adapting to technology is important, what makes a great staffing professional, and how staffing technology helps you succeed—you need to determine which solutions are right for you. After all, what works best for a 500-person company likely won’t work the same way for a five-person firm.
Chances are high that you need to invest in a number of different methods to accomplish each of the following steps. The right technology, however, is non-negotiable for a staffing agency to succeed.
It quantifies success.
Technology takes the guesswork out of how well your business operates. Through reports, online reviews, and social engagement, you get key data to help improve your success metrics and quantitatively see how you can improve.
It improves efficiency.
We all have a limited amount of time in the day. Technology enables candidates and employees to get what they need done, on their own time. Through the use of mobile apps, online apps, and other tools, businesses are making it easier to attract and retain customers and candidates.
It automates menial, time-consuming tasks.
You need to be able to focus on your relationships with clients and candidates. Data entry and manually creating reports takes time away from what’s most important.
Invest in software that frees up your time to focus on your growth, instead of your computer. And make sure your app and mobile site integrate with your other platforms for maximum efficiency. The more accurate your data, as entered directly by your clients and candidates, the more personalized of an experience you can create for everyone.
It enables one-to-one marketing.
It’s worth repeating: This industry is built on relationships. And those relationships need to be personalized, which means your every interaction needs to make your clients, candidates, and other contacts feel like a person, not a number in the system. Between social media, your candidate tracking platform, email, text messaging, and other technology, you have the most powerful tools to build a relationship.
What’s new today will be commonplace in five years, and during the next year our industry will see even more technological trends and advances. While the basis of what we do is the same as it’s always been, technology makes it easier to accomplish it, and do so faster. Even though it’s not easy, embrace change and gain a competitive advantage in the process.