How to improve performance with desk-level insights

desk-level insights

Amidst tight talent pools and a highly competitive market, the state of the staffing industry demands high performance. Though recruitment is full of driven high achievers, there are only so many hours a day to acquire and place candidates, build client relationships, and accomplish everything needed to help your organization grow. 

How can you focus your team’s efforts and improve performance to reach your business’s goals? The answer lies in your data.

To unpack the difference that data and analytics can make, from the desk level all the way to your bottom line, Laura Bumby, Senior Manager, Automation and Analytics at Bullhorn, sat down with Kyle Allen, Executive Vice President, Sales and Recruiting at Vaco in a packed discussion at Engage Boston 2023. In their conversation, they touched on the approaches firms can use to drive new business development and acquire more candidates and how leveraging data can help firms reach their goals, no matter the circumstances.

A fresh approach

The current climate calls for going beyond a traditional approach. To stay ahead of the competition, businesses need to think strategically about how they can best direct their efforts. “What I challenge you to think about today is that there are other ways to impact your clients, to impact how much business you’re bringing in,” Bumby said.

When it comes to business development, Allen suggests working to reduce client churn. “Consider the low-hanging fruit. Look at your previous big buyers and re-engage with them,” he said. 

As for candidate acquisition, redeployment has been a critical focus for Vaco. Rather than focusing all your energy on acquiring new candidates, continue engaging those you’ve already worked with. “Marketing your current candidates to your clients is a no-brainer way to increase redeployment,” Allen added.

When it comes to shaping your strategy, there are many fresh approaches you can take. But how can you know you’re making the right decisions for your business? 

Leveraging data to help drive your decisions, even when it comes to guiding your team’s day-to-day operations, can make all the difference in ensuring you’re doing what it takes today to see success in the future.

Building a data-driven culture

Building a data-driven culture is crucial in making the right strategic decisions and driving performance, but getting there can be a journey. 

Bumby broke the data journey into four distinct stages:

  • Flying blind: These companies don’t use data at all when guiding their decisions.
  • Hindsight: Companies in this stage have incorporated data into their decisions, but their reports only use past data and are often manually generated. 70% of Bullhorn customers identify themselves as being in the hindsight stage.
  • Oversight: By the time companies have reached the oversight stage, reports are now automatically generated, but they’re still only considering retrospective, volume-based metrics. Additionally, access to reports is limited, often only to leadership and upper management.
  • Foresight: In this stage, real-time, actionable, desk-level insights are on the dashboards of salespeople and recruiters, driving them to the behavior that you want to see them achieve.

For the last two years, Vaco has embarked on this data journey. Though it hasn’t always been the smoothest road, Allen says the results have been worth it. Access to metrics and insights has given his team a sense of ownership and accountability: “From a producer standpoint, it’s empowered them to let the data work for them.”

Vaco’s results speak for themselves. Before leveraging Bullhorn Analytics, Vaco’s redeployment was 8%; now, it’s doubled to 16%, all by driving performance at the desk level. Additionally, before Bullhorn Analytics, Vaco’s client retention rate was 39%; in 2022, it increased to 48%. And they’re just getting started; Allen hopes to see even more growth down the road, he says, “simply by understanding the data and using those insights.”

Driving behavioral change

How did Vaco achieve these results? The key is through actionable insights. Traditional analytics looks backward, and while this knowledge is helpful, it can only take your team so far. Actionable insights use your data to provide your team with actions they can take today to succeed tomorrow.

These desk-level insights can help your team know exactly where to focus their efforts, for example, by providing a list of which clients to contact or prospects to follow up with. As Bumby said, “If we think about being that recruiter on the desk, rather than show them the redeployment percentage, what if we showed them all those candidates who are coming off an assignment in the next 30 days who haven’t been put in a job workflow, who haven’t been submitted to a job, or who haven’t been submitted to an interview? We’re showing them what they need to do.” 

Ultimately, these actionable insights can help drive behavioral change and empower your team to work more strategically. It’s one thing to decide on a strategy across your team; it’s another to activate it on the individual level. Actionable insights help empower your recruiters and salespeople to contribute to your team’s overall strategy so that their goals align with your bottom line. These goals can always be customized to suit an individual’s strengths or even to align with the changing goals of the business as the market shifts. 

Setting up for success

Embarking on the data journey can be a challenging process. Working with actionable insights and forward-looking data requires a shift in mindset. For Vaco, that required openness across teams, cross-collaboration, and accountability. “If your leadership team isn’t bought into this, you will fail,” Allen said. “The change management piece and buy-in need to be top-down.” Once Allen’s team started asking questions and working cross-functionally, “all of a sudden, we became better together instead of just in our own silos.”

Bumby also emphasized the importance of democratizing your data. “Put data in the hands of your people. You will be amazed at how your business evolves, how the conversations change, and how the questions you get from people completely change,” she said. Once you broaden access to information, she added, that’s where you’ll start to drive behavioral change.

Allen’s final advice: “Don’t try to measure everything.” He advised to pick the core four to six metrics you’re trying to improve and focus on doing those well. Once you get into the flow of leveraging actionable, desk-level insights, you can scale up your usage and incorporate more metrics to measure.

No matter what goals your team is looking to achieve, and no matter the circumstances of the market, leveraging desk-level actionable insights can help your team – and ultimately, your business – to see incredible growth. “It’s empowering,” said Allen. “Instead of using metrics as a weapon, it’s really empowered our people.”

Want to learn more about how real-time reporting and desk-level insights can help your business drive highly scalable growth? Check out our Bullhorn Analytics product page.

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