TimeSaved sat down with a panel of staffing industry veterans to learn about how they responded to COVID-19, and the strategies they put in place for the future as a result.
Here is some of what we learned:
Plan now for the next time
When we talked to staffing industry veterans we quickly uncovered a major theme: a big part of being able to navigate the current situation effectively came from strategies developed after the last major recession in 2008. Cultivating customer relationships in recession-proof industries, like healthcare and automotive manufacturing, and diversifying even within a single vertical like light industrial can help insulate you from economic downturn.
For more insight on essential services you can reference the Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During Covid-19 Response.
Flexibility is—and will remain—key
Time is a luxury many firms don’t have right now, so using lessons learned to plan for the “next time” is only part of the strategy. Flexibility in how we respond to fluctuating market demands is and will continue to be key. So look for processes and technology that help you be agile so that if demand has dried up in one area of your business you can quickly ramp up to meet demand in another.
This can mean technology that makes it easier to get candidates or clients signed on and ready to work with your agency. To make this process more efficient, look for tools that allow candidates and clients to input their own information. This could be mobile technology that allows workers to update their own preferences, or portals where clients can submit their own job orders.
Read more about how one agency quickly pivoted to address an entirely new vertical at the height of the pandemic.
Cultivate better relationships through increased communication
Everyone we interviewed underscored the importance of maintaining their client and customer relationships now more than ever. It’s especially important to make everyone feel valued and listened to during a time like this, and a big part of that is keeping up increased cadences of communication.
Some of the key considerations for worker communication touch points would include:
• How and when to communicate during onboarding
• How and when to communicate before and after placement
• How does your talent want to engage with you? Most want remote access from mobile devices.
• Do you understand where your processes fail or bottleneck and can they be automated?
Use automation to help avoid burnout
Recruiters, who need to rebuild their portfolios, are burnt out. Workers, especially in the healthcare space, are burnout. Business owners, who continue to face demand fluctuation, are burnt out. So how can we possibly be mindful of that while simultaneously ramping up the communication between all parties? Keeping up preferred cadences of communication can, at times, feel impossible.
This is a great place to start with automation tools for your agency. Consider implementing tools that make it easier for your workers to reach you, allow you to schedule engagements ahead of time, and send reminders or real-time notifications to help you keep on top of it all.
Redeployment = profitability
Finding new talent is time and cost consuming and those are scarce resources right now. It also costs a lot of time and money to get a candidate from sourcing/vetting all the way through the finish line of a completed job, not to mention a second, third, or fourth job. Imagine the boon to profitability if you could get even 10% more of your workers deployed on another assignment?
It seems straightforward that agencies should be focused on improving this, but recent research by Able revealed that only 5% of recruiters polled used redeployment as a metric.
With COVID making it even more expensive to get people tested and certified, particularly in healthcare, this metric should become even more important to your agency in 2021. It’s going to be key to profitability and something you should start working towards by improving your candidate experience.
Read more about key performance indicators that your agency should be tracking.
For more insights from these panelists on lessons from 2020 the future of staffing, download our free e-book.