Change. Like death or taxes, it’s one of the few true constants in life. And the more effectively your staffing firm manages the changes we’re experiencing in economic and talent market conditions, the better equipped you’ll be to fuel long-term, profitable growth.
At PrideStaff, we’re always looking around the next corner, anticipating the shifts that will have the biggest impact on our industry. Today, I’m sharing the top three changes your business should be prepared to deal with this year:
Greater Internal Turnover. I said this in an earlier post, but it bears repeating: Every time you lose a high performer, you lose money right off your bottom line.
Prospects are improving for your best employees. Pastures are becoming greener. If your biggest competitors haven’t already tried to recruit your key staff away, chances are they’ll try to in the near future.
Tips for managing internal turnover:
- Be honest about the situation. Address the elephant in the room and open the lines of communication. Tell employees that you’re aware they may be approached by other staffing firms, and that you’d like to know if and when it happens (realistically, they may or may not bring you into the loop, but it doesn’t hurt to ask). If a key employee is courted by a competitor, you may get the opportunity to try and retain him, if you decide it’s in your company’s best interest.
- Examine your corporate culture. If you’re already losing employees, could your environment be to blame? Opportunities will be plentiful for your star performers – don’t give them a reason to look elsewhere for employment. Survey your staff so that they can provide anonymous feedback about your culture. If you identify problems, bring the team together to get buy-in on potential solutions.
- Provide the rewards your top performers want. Beyond competitive compensation, entice your best people to stay with you by offering: well-defined career paths; recognition for their accomplishments; opportunities for professional growth and development; a healthy work/life balance; and autonomy.
- Welcome healthy churn. A certain amount of turnover is actually beneficial to your organization, especially if you’re “dropping dead weight.” Spend the majority of our time hiring, developing and retaining top talent, while simultaneously releasing below-average employees. Over time, this strategy will decrease turnover among your high performers and increase your firm’s performance exponentially.
Increased Competition. According to the American Staffing Association:
- The U.S. staffing and recruiting industry has added 763,000 employees to its payroll in the first three years of recovery from the Great Recession.
- Our industry has created more jobs than any other single industry during this period.
- Staffing employment following the end of the Great Recession has also far outpaced its growth during the same period following the last recession.
Translation? It’s a great time to get into the staffing industry! Barriers to entry in our industry are relatively low right now, especially for start-ups with fewer than 50 employees. New firms are being born every day as the recovery continues – and they’re preparing to take your business.
To manage this increased competition:
- Fuel innovation. Build a culture that thinks big and focuses on the transformative trends that will impact your ability to grow over the next five to 10 years. Encourage your staff to share their ideas for capitalizing on these trends. Then, give individuals the resources to explore, test and build on promising innovations.
- Diversify. While specialization can be a very profitable strategy for some firms, especially those in IT or healthcare staffing, long-term competitive advantage is predicated on staying ahead of the innovation curve. When you serve diverse clients in a wide range of functional areas, however, you may be poised to handle a broader range of economic conditions.
- Focus on service. Your account managers may spend hours, days or even months landing new staffing customers. And just how long does it take to lose one of those customers? Even a simple service slip-up creates an opportunity for the competition – so don’t give it to them. Implement the processes needed to take great care of your clients at every stage of the customer experience.
Renewed Focus on Recruiting. The way we recruit has changed dramatically over the last five years – and the pace of that change is likely to accelerate. To compound the problem, unemployment has been creeping downward. More people are going back to work, making recruiting top talent more challenging than ever.
As talent pools in certain positions and geographic areas dries up, competition for the best candidates will continue to heat up. To stay ahead of clients’ demand, you must renew your focus on recruiting.
Tips for improving your recruiting efforts:
- Hire better staff. We help our clients do this all the time, yet sometimes we fail to follow our own best practices. Use the same disciplined approach you bring to clients’ searches when hiring internal recruiters. Benchmark your best performers. Hire for performance and culture fit (not just skills and experience).
- Hone passive candidate recruiting techniques. Many of your best job prospects are gainfully employed right now. It’s your job to find better ways to convince them to jump ship. Actively sell the upsides of your opportunities; train interviewers to handle common objections passive candidates raise; do whatever you can to stream your hiring process (so that it’s candidate-friendly), without sacrificing quality.
- Commit to ongoing training. Invest in helping your staffing and recruiting personnel achieve CTS and CPC certifications. These designations are more than just fancy titles; they ensure your employees have a solid foundation to recruit and place top talent effectively and ethically. In addition, regularly send your recruiting staff to industry conferences and seminars. Attendance allows them to stay on top of the latest trends in recruiting and exchange best practices with non-competitors.
- Consider hiring outside consultants. If you lack the internal expertise, don’t be afraid to get outside assistance. Bring in technology and/or marketing experts to help you increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your recruiting and talent management efforts – and keep a leg up on the competition.