The first staffing company I worked for was still relying on .xls files, faxes and phones for most of the business we did (I’m totally getting old). The only real tech we used was an Access database of candidates created by a developer friend of the owner and email. My how things have changed.
These days when I’m onsite at a staffing firm all we’re discussing is improving the tech that exists and bringing in even more. Improving the company website, developing a marketing strategy, or making a mobile site is just the start. Job warehouses, systems integrations, visual data displays, better candidate/job query tools and text messaging capabilities are where the real improvements are being made. Some companies are even investing in increasing the tech knowledge of their internal staff.
That said, from staffing firms small to large, it’s still rare to see enough concentration or enough of an investment in tech. Many company executives are still in a position where they view technology as a necessary evil for supporting their business, not an opportunity for advancing it. I’m actually shocked that I’ve yet to find even one staffing company with a tech R&D team. That has to change. The staffing companies that succeed in the near future will be those that make real investments in their technology today.
Give this recently published article by the SIA a read: What Will Happen to Staffing in 2018?
The article lists 18 predictions by Barry Asin as to what staffing will look like in 2018. That’s just a few short years away. Interestingly, almost every single prediction specifically lists or suggests that a strong investment in technology by staffing companies will be a necessary requisite for success by 2018.
Here are a few of the predictions I wanted to highlight:
Work will expand from “supply chain” to “human cloud” models. The human cloud includes online staffing as well as crowdsourcing where a large task is broken down into several smaller micro tasks that are farmed out to online workers.
What’s the tech investment needed? Better task management tools that get down to specific ‘to do’ levels and not just overall job assignments.
Online staffing will reach $5 billion in annual spend in 2018 from $1 billion in 2012. Online staffing includes firms such as Elance and oDesk. These firms connect staffing buyers with workers online — tasks are posted on a website and workers are engaged and paid via the platform. The workers are often independent contractors, but they can be W-2 employees as well. Often the staffing buyer and worker never meet face-to-face.
What’s the tech investment needed? As online staffing increases in popularity you’re going to need an answer for your clients about similar service offerings. The answer could be a streamlined, online ordering process for clients, or faster distribution of assignments to candidates. Whether we want to admit it or not in this ‘relationship business,’ speed and accuracy is proving more successful than face-to-face.
Total talent management will become ubiquitous by 2012. Total talent management refers to overall management of a workforce, both traditionally hired and contingent workers. It includes such aspects as designing benefits and compensation, measuring performance and planning for future workforce needs among other aspects. It involves both traditionally hired and contingent workers.
What’s the tech investment needed? Just as the prediction states, clients will begin looking at their overall workforce management to include both FTE and contractors. This means better staffing and workforce management tools will be needed and that managing these resources in separate databases/applications will end.
Maturing VMS, MSP and RPO models morph into the next big thing.
What’s the tech investment needed? VMS, MSP and RPO models are only going to gain traction. What’s the one thing all of these models need to be successful? Technology.
Staffing firms will be among the heaviest users of social media.
Big data and social media will dominate the skills needed in staffing.
What’s the tech investment needed? More and more staffing companies are quickly realizing their business lives and dies with the quality of and access to their business data. You need your data to be quick, accurate and simple to understand. The only way to ensure this is through technology.
New staffing operating models will roll out of the lab and into the mainstream. Examples include virtual and offshore recruiting and video interviewing.
What’s the tech investment needed? Communicating and working with offshore talent will be all about technology. And video interviewing? That’s all tech.
Technology choices and effective adoption practices will be critical to the success of staffing firms in 2018 like never before.
I saved the most important prediction for last. What Barry says here in this prediction is key. What’s the key? Check back next week and I’ll let you know. In the meantime, if you want to discuss fun stuff like systems architecture and integrations, data conversions, platform recommendations and even software application development contact us and let’s get a conversation started.