For the past few years, I have been hearing the question, “When is a staffing company going to become a technology company?” How about NEVER! I attended a lot of the national staffing conferences, and the technology messaging over the past few years has been consistent. Technology is the future. If a staffing firm does not integrate this technology or that technology into their business practices, they will not be able to compete.
I am an organizational development professional. And I am somewhat fortunate because my company runs a peer RoundTable program in the staffing industry that consists of over 100 senior-level staffing executives. These executives get together every four months to help one another grow their businesses, make better decisions, learn from one another what is working and what is not. This is not theory. This is boots on the ground, what is working, what is not working. Technology and the money being spent on technology tools gets on the agenda of every RoundTable we facilitate. This is what I am hearing.
Production Increases Are Not There
Staffing firms are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase and implement a whole host of technologies. The only measure that matters as to if the spend was good or poor is the increase in “Gross Profit Production” per internal producer. For the most part, it is not happening. This is to say that after spending thousands and thousands of dollars, the average gross profit production per recruiter or sales rep is not increasing. In fact, many times, gross profit production decreases.
There is a production dynamic with organizational change that can be tracked and measured. Typically, when an organization makes a major change, employee production will decrease for a certain number of months. However, as the members of the organization learn the new system and adopt the new technology, production will increase beyond previously accepted performance levels. For most staffing firms, this positive gross profit production increase is not being realized.
There is a Smarter Way to Make Technology Decisions
Staffing Executives, Vice Presidents, and Regional Managers attend the national staffing conferences, and they get enamored by the shiny dimes. Someone sells a decision maker on a technology that is the future and guaranteed to revolutionize the firm’s recruiting process and solve tons of problems. Prudent staffing executives never get enamored by the shiny dime.
The best way to make a technology buying decision is to (1) fully and totally know and understand your staffing business model. Not one technology is a match for all staffing firms. The business needs a technology that will best assist it in taking the staffing business model to the marketplace. An on-demand staffing platform may or may not be a match for the business model. (2) The technologies really need to be integrated. Do I have some clients that have a CRM that is not integrated into the ATS? Sure. Not ideal and it will hinder growth. An integrated tech platform is typically superior.
Learn to Manage Your Technology Fatigue
The industry has made some great technological strides. When I first started servicing the staffing industry, we had couriers in downtown Chicago that would courier resumes to hiring managers. Couriers to fax machines to email to texting has been a gift. Think about going from paper resumes to applicant tracking systems. Think about time capture and payroll from electronic time clocks to cash cards or direct deposit. Think about the weekend newspaper ads to job boards and postings. All great stuff that has made our industry better. Today, however, technology fatigue is real. There’s just too much technology and technological change coming at us every day.
Utilizing an “agile methodology” is a fantastic way to manage technology fatigue. This is a very simple, down to earth, hands on approach ensuring that the technologies your company has purchased are improving performance and delivering true return on investment week over week. It is a methodology that moves from generating a host of improvement ideas, to selecting a few to pilot small changes, to implementing successful changes to the entire operations and thus delivering improved production results and return on investment.
Technology is here to stay. We are not going backwards. But my goodness, there sure is a lot of wasted dollars on bad technology decisions. And more wasted dollars on technologies that never get fully implemented. We at the Visus Group can help drive productivity and dollars to the bottom line. Check us out at www.visusgroup.com.