Staffing Industry Analysts President Barry Asin also sees the trend, recently stating, “Technology choices and effective adoption practices will be critical to the success of staffing firms in 2018 like never before.”
I agree. However, in my view the big push in staffing will be in mobile technology – not just any technology.
According to a new Pew Internet report, it’s estimated that more than 56 percent of Americans own a smartphone (totaling about 129 million Americans). And approximately 80 percent of those between ages 18-34 own a smartphone. Our largest employee sector is in that demographic, so it is not off-target to suggest that 80 percent of our staffing pool might carry a smartphone.
In addition, the trends show smartphone adoption increasing yearly in almost every age group. So how does that affect the staffing industry?
Smartphones are the computers and video cameras of the future, and as such, people are increasingly using them as mini-computers and mini-video cameras. And the smartphone manufacturers are creating more complex smartphones to keep up with the demand.
In the staffing industry I see smartphones being utilized not only in the conventional business development methods (sales staff researching and documenting from the road), but more importantly in the employee orientation and on-boarding arenas.
My firm has discussed moving towards a new program that will allow electronic orientations and job shadowing. In a nutshell it entails taking “video job descriptions” of key positions at our client partner’s facility (with the client’s permission of course). These job descriptions would then be used in the job offer and orientation stages to show the employee exactly what they would be doing on the job, the working conditions, environment, and more – all viewable on a smartphone from anywhere. This will help mitigate potential feelings of unpreparedness that your temporary employees may have before they start new assignments.
Another advantage in using a mobile smart device is access to Google Maps, Streetview and more, allowing virtual driving directions to the facility from the employee’s home. (Saving time, office phone calls, late employee arrivals and paper!)
Another prediction from Asin: “New staffing operating models will roll out of the lab and into the mainstream. Examples include virtual and offshore recruiting and video interviewing.”
There are even more trends, including virtual workers and completely online staffing agencies. We’ve seen oDesk and Elance (two virtual employment firms for temporary, part-time and contract workers) gain momentum in the last few years. In fact, according to Staffing Industry Analysts, employers spent $1 billion in 2012 on workers for short-term, temporary or contract projects through companies such as oDesk and Elance. That’s 67 percent more than in the previous year.
I think the take-away here is to take advantage of the technologies that are readily available to us now rather than later. Staffing firms need to think about creative “out of the box” ways to use this technology to benefit ourselves and our end clients. This technology will only enhance the level of service that we can provide individually, and increase our end clients perceived overall value of staffing services!
The reality is, if you don’t have a plan for using mobile technology in your staffing services now, you will be using it soon. Or you may be out of the loop before you blink.