Change is one of the few constants in life. Like death and taxes, individuals and corporations can expect to experience cycles of change at some point. As a staffing agency, managing change effectively is essential for surviving talent market and economic conditions at the forefront of the industry. The better equipped you are, the better you will be able to fuel growth that is long-term and profitable.
To be a twenty-first century staffing agency, you must position the company to anticipate shifts. These will have the biggest impact on your local performance and on the industry as a whole. Below is a discussion on changes that your staffing agency should be prepared to mange this year.
Employment prospects are improving for the best talent, including those employed by your staffing agency. If your key staff have not already been approached by your biggest competitors, chances are good that they will try in the near future. Pastures might look greener for your high performers, but when they leave, money off your bottom line follows. Consider the following tips to manage internal turnover.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Tell employees that you are aware that other staffing firms may approach them and if it happens, ask that they let you know. Realistically, some employees may not tell you, but you may strengthen your position when/if they do. It might be in your company’s best interest to keep a key employee. If so, you could counter an offer made by a competitor before the employee decides to leave.
Examine Your Company Culture
Losing one key employee might not be a foreshadowing of internal problems. However, if several employees have already left, could the culture be the problem? Never give your top performers a reason to look elsewhere for employment; opportunities are already bountiful due to the increased demand for staffing services. Allow staff to provide anonymous feedback about the culture. Bring the team together and get buy-in for possible solutions to problems.
Reward Top Performers
Do not think of this as a bribe. Rather, this is an opportunity to entice your best employees to stay with you for something other than money. Competitive compensation matters, but offering recognitions for accomplishments, defined career paths, a healthy work/life balance and professional growth and development opportunities can go much farther.
Welcome Healthy Turnover
While you might want to avoid losing employees, the fact remains that some turnover can be beneficial to your agency. This is especially true if you are dropping dead weight. The majority of your time is best spent hiring, developing and retaining the top performers.
At the same time, you can release below-average employees. Over time, you will experience a decrease in turnover among top performers and increase performance at your agency exponentially.
According to the American Staffing Association, approximately 763,000 employees were added to the staffing and recruiting industry payroll from 2009 to 2012. Based on this number, more jobs were created by the staffing and recruiting industry in the first three years since the recovery began. Furthermore, employment for temporary staffing at the end of the Great Recession has outpaced its growth following the last recession in 2001.
What does this mean for the staffing industry? Right now, relatively low barriers to entry makes this a great time to enter the staffing industry. With this in mind, competition will increase and new firms are preparing to take your business. For you to manage the increase in competition, you must fuel innovation, diversify staffing positions and focus on quality service.
One way to manage increased competition is to fuel a culture where everyone believes in thinking outside the box. Keep the focus on transformative trends that will impact your staffing agency over the next five to 10 years. Use these trends to capitalize on innovative solutions for growth. Empower your employees with resources to explore promising innovations.
Diversify Staffing Services
Having a niche specialization such as healthcare or IT staffing is one way to set you apart from the competition. Another profitable strategy for your staffing agency is to serve diverse clients in a broad selection of functional areas. Doing so can position your company to handle a broader range of economic conditions. Diversifying is an additional step that can keep you ahead of the innovative curve.
Focus on Serving Clients
After spending days or months landing new staffing clients, you could lose one within a matter of minutes. A simple mistake can create an opportunity for the competition to step in and offer what you or your account manager overlooked. Refuse to give your clients away to the competition by focusing on serving their needs. Make sure processes are implemented that takes special care of your clients during each stage of their experience with your agency.
Recruiting expectations have changed dramatically over the past five years. The pace of these changes will probably accelerate as unemployment creeps downward and more people go back to work. Recruiting the best talent will present more challenges for your staffing agency unless you find suitable people to meet client needs.
Competition will increase as certain geographies and positions see talent pools dry up. Staying ahead requires a renewed focus on recruiting strategies.
Recruit Better Staff
One way to improve your recruiting efforts is to hire better employees. Use the same strategies for helping clients find the best talent to find your own. Follow your own best practices with a disciplined approach to hiring internal recruiters. Benchmark the best performers and use that as a model for hiring the best for skills, experience, performance and the right culture fit.
Hone Recruiting Techniques for Passive Candidates
Just as your competition is looking at your best performers, many of your best prospects are working for your competitors. Sell the upside of the opportunities to working for your agency. Handle common objections and find better ways to convince them to join your team. Stream the hiring process to make it candidate-friendly without sacrificing the quality and integrity of your staffing agency.
Provide Ongoing Training
Make investments to help your employees achieve certifications that give them a solid foundation in the staffing industry. This commitment provides more than just fancy titles or letters behind their name; it shows that you are interested in their professional growth. Additionally, send your recruiting staff to industry seminars and conferences in a regular basis. Attendance gives them an opportunity to stay abreast of industry changes and trends that can help your agency excel.
Changes in the staffing industry must accommodate the economic changes that corporations are facing. As many continue to expand and contract, staffing agencies must be ready with a sense of urgency to meet these needs. Rather than working against the industry, these changes are actually happening at a good time.
Notwithstanding research and preparation, much of what corporations are requiring in terms of staffing needs is something the industry has long been prepared to do. Flexible staffing services and recruiting solid talent are hallmarks of the industry. An aggressive response can position your staffing agency as a leader in obtaining client loyalty.
In some cases, your agency might also benefit from knowing what other staffing companies are doing. If you have not already done so, consider joining staffing associations and participate in events. Use insightful information gleaned from these functions to manage industry changes efficiently and effectively.