Ask a Staffing Leader—5 Questions with Wendy Kennah
In today’s age, it’s not too difficult to find advice on any subject. Advice you can trust from a qualified expert in the subject?—now that’s a tall order. That’s why we’re thrilled to introduce our new series: Ask A Staffing Leader. We’ve assembled a group of the staffing industry’s most prominent thought leaders and experts, and picked their brain on some of the most pressing issues facing staffing firms in 2017. Check out the first two in the series.
Today’s expert—Wendy Kennah, Director of Recruiting for Procom.
Staffing firms cited the talent shortage as the number one challenge in the 2017 staffing and recruiting trends report. How does the talent shortage impact the way staffing firms should approach candidate engagement? What steps can staffing firms take to win candidates for difficult-to-place positions?
Staffing firms need to be in the market of cultivating relationships that go beyond job searches. Consider the value-add services you can provide to the talent pool. If you are only engaging in a reactive way with potential candidates, you won’t create the sense of loyalty that causes candidates to want to work with you again.
Engage with candidates not only when they are in job search mode but also when they are on assignment—even when this isn’t with you. This is what creates loyal candidates. Engage with talent throughout their career and provide valuable content and data to enable their career decisions. When you’ve cultivated deep relationships, your staffing firm’s name will be in their mind the next time they go into job search mode.
What is stopping most staffing firms from becoming more efficient? What actions should they take to correct this?
Staffing firms are very process-oriented by nature, and it’s these processes that cause inefficiencies. Changing the process to become more efficient takes technology and system changes that require training and management to change effectively.
Upheavals of systems and technology adjustments take time and money away from the core business. These changes can’t necessarily be tied back to known KPIs that drive profit dollars.
Don’t be afraid to challenge your tried and true processes, and remember that there are many measurements of success that go beyond the most basic KPIs. You can become more efficient by increasing productivity hours, improving employee engagement and work satisfaction, and establishing your brand in the marketplace, all of which may not immediately be reflected in your bottom line numbers.
What’s a common misconception about winning new business? What are staffing firms overlooking in their current approach to winning business?
The most common misconception that all business is good business. Staffing firms want to win new customers even if the business does not always fit their core business model.They think they will be able to create more opportunities within the client that do fit their business model.
This can often be a mistake. When the business doesn’t fit your core recruitment capabilities or it stretches your back office beyond its mean, it doesn’t always make financial sense.
The new business needs to be reviewed from a cost perspective. How does the cost of sales, cost of recruitment, and the cost to payroll the deal measure against the profitability of the new customer?
There can be short-term profitability decisions that may make sense to win new business but building your business without having profitability in mind will lead to long term problems that can impact the organization overall.
Productivity costs are often overlooked when reviewing a business. How many submissions did it take to win a new piece of business with a client? How much recruiting productivity time?
A placement for a client may look great on the surface but if it requires an extensive legal contract review, a large number of submitted candidates, and a payment that is 90 days from invoicing, the business may no longer be profitable. The process and costs need to be looked at as a whole and not on the surface level of one job and one close.
What will be the greatest challenge staffing firms face in the next five years? What will be key to overcoming this challenge?
The greatest challenge will be adapting to the technological advances that surface in the next 5 years. Staffing firms have access to an enormous amount of data. Successful firms will utilize data to run their businesses efficiently.
These technological changes impact the way staffing firms source candidates, but it will also heavily impact client relationships. Specifically, the type and level of candidates staffing clients will require may change, with an increased client demand for highly trained talent with specialized skills.
Firms must be open to rethinking the way they do business today. Twenty years ago, firms attracted talent through job fairs and newspapers. Now, recruitment has gravitated online and is most commonly done through job boards, social networks, and referrals. Two of these three methods were not even available in the 90’s.
There will be other significant changes in where and how talent will be sourced, and how much will be moved out of the hands of recruiters and replaced by artificial intelligence. The role of the recruiter will shift as technology is able to facilitate more parts of the process.
From a sales perspective, staffing firms must embark on a continuous effort to understand how clients are evolving, so they too can evolve to deliver to these new demands and expectations.
How can staffing leaders be innovative in the current landscape? What examples of innovation in staffing have you seen?
Staffing leaders need to listen to their staff, their clients, and the talent, and respond accordingly. There is an abundance of new information available, but it’s important to listen to those that are in the market on a daily basis to gain a true understanding of the industry landscape.
This understanding will give firms the knowledge they need to innovate. This may result in a completely overhauled process or it may lead to a few tweaks to an existing process. It may lead to a brand new process with no prior precedent.
Want more great insights from Wendy Kennah and other staffing leaders? Check out the new ebook, Staffing Speaks Out: Global Recruiting Leaders Share Their Best Candidate Engagement Advice.