Another year, another set of problems? Or can we really grow?

Happy 2021! As we move into this new year, here are a few predictions (or maybe not predictions as much as obvious statements!) about where we are headed as an industry. Let’s get started. The staffing industry is going to experience double digit growth in 2021. Borrowing money is not only going to be accessible, but interest rates are going to remain low. The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine will increase consumer confidence and hopefully will allow us to open more doors to dining, schools, and back to the office.  

These are all great signs for us in the staffing industry. But, how do we take advantage of these opportunities? What key initiatives should we be focusing on to put us on a path for growth? And finally, how do we avoid our past mistakes we’ve made as it relates to our business planning? Trust me, these are common questions all staffing owners and leaders ask themselves each year. Here are my top recommendations to avoid perennial pitfalls:

Refine Your Hiring Methodology to a Science

Many staffing firms struggle hiring new employees. Staffing firms that succeed in this area execute on several components: 

  • First, they have a proven hiring process, and they DO NOT vary from this process.
  • Second, they have a very strict hiring profile. You guessed it, they don’t vary from this hiring profile.
  • Third, they use a valid and reliable personality survey tool. 
  • Fourth, they know how to interview or they should, after all, they are a staffing company! There is an art to networking and building businesses, there is a science to interviewing and the best staffing firms have become experts at this process for their internal hiring

Faulty hires cost staffing firms millions in lost revenue through poor culture fits or lack of production. Refine your hiring methodology to a science to take advantage of the pending growth opportunity. 

Understand Your Culture

It is not uncommon to see 20% of a staffing firm’s sales reps generating 80% of the revenue.  What if a staffing business owner or manager can figure out how to hire “A” players? You can!  This is where cultural awareness and matching come into play. Your company has a very specific “culture”. For example, collaborative versus independent, or entrepreneurial versus highly structured, or authoritative decision making versus collaborative decision making. These are just a few cultural preferences. There is a way to understand your firm’s cultural preferences and then discover the cultural preferences of candidates your firm is recruiting and interviewing. This is the secret sauce to hiring “A” players that fit and thrive in your organization.  But remember, Sticking to a great hiring process and a culture match is one thing – but also ensuring we have a rock solid training program in place that is scalable and knows it works is critical. As leaders / managers of an organization, we have to ‘create the opening’ and provide all the necessary resources to set our people up for success. That all said, getting them in the door is one thing, ensuring we set them on a proper development path is critical as well versus the ‘sink or swim’ mentality.

Don’t Get Crazy with Remote Work

There is a lot of talk in the industry about staffing firms retaining a 80% virtual business model.  The data is starting to come in. Sales teams that are working in an office environment where they can easily collaborate are more successful over sales teams that are working remotely meeting on zoom a couple of times of week. Ethan Mollick, Associate Professor at Wharton, recently conducted a study on the productivity of remote working versus in the office working.  Mollick states, “A downside of remote work is that we can’t casually learn from each other the way we can in an office. The effects of such interactions are huge: Lunch meetings between two salespeople where they discussed sales approach boosted revenues for both by 24% four months after”!   

The fact of the matter is that most people cannot reach their full potential working remotely.  Throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, it has been easier working from home with restaurants and bars and a lot of other venues closed. Once the economy really opens, we are going to see how effective the work from home model works. The organizational behaviorists suggest the 80/20 rule. 80% working from the office and 20% working remote.      

Double Down on Your Sales Strategy

This is a big one for staffing firms that will succeed as the economy comes back. You can hire great employees, but if your sales strategy is lacking or non-existent the probability of success will decrease radically. What is included in a strong well-functioning sales strategy? A well-defined ideal client profile for one. A client profile that not only outlines the demographic characteristics of a great client, but the psychographics and geographic characteristics as well. Account planning that has names of decision makers, total contingent spend, percentage your firm has, action steps and such that is the tactical steps your staffing firms needs to execute upon to obtain high quality business and develop sustainable relationships.  

As mentioned, we just outlined a few key initiatives to focus on in this year to take advantage of the projected industry growth, but there are many more. The Visus Group has become the Resource Hub to the staffing industry from an organizational development and growth strategy perspective. Whether it is business planning, financial planning and analysis, compensation analysis and design, sales execution, leadership development and much more the Visus Group is here to help. And our Presidents RoundTable has become a fantastic resource for many business owners in the staffing industry. At the end of the day, success is all about forging ahead, not looking back.

Check us out at  I wish you all the best of success in 2021.