Using Technology to Engage and Develop a Disparate Workforce

workers teamIn my last post, I recapped the sessions at the Staffing Industry Executive Forum that focused on engagement. The discussions I had at the event furthered my thinking that there are a few interesting ways that staffing firms, MSPs and RPO providers can leverage a technology platform to engage and develop their employees and the workers they place. Here are some examples.

Overhaul the internal employee review process. When I asked people how their firms manage performance reviews internally, I was met with an outcry of distain for the process. Your sales and recruiting teams are being measured by the new business won and the requisitions placed. That is happening day in and day out. Instead of force-fitting into a tired once-a-year review cycle, give your managers easy to use, mobile-friendly coaching tools. Let your staff set agile quarterly goals that align with greater business objectives. Managers can quickly check-in with their teams to track goal progress or have a skills discussion. Throw the traditional annual review out the window and alternatively, use the record of the coaching conversations as a year in review and forward-looking discussion.

Build a stronger workplace culture through social recognition and rewards. Trying to compete in the war for talent requires building strong company cultures and brands. Many staffing firms have disparate workforces with multiple branches and mergers and acquisitions are not uncommon. With a powerful social platform where employees can recognize one another for their accomplishments, you can align teams to the overall mission, vision and values of your business. Integrate it with your CRM and recruitment tools so that new wins and placements automatically appear in the feed, building a stronger sense of team unity. You can also automate your existing rewards programs or modify them to incorporate regionally based experience awards or wellness programs.

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Capture employee, worker and client sentiment more frequently. Most staffing firms conduct some sort of an annual employee survey to get an understanding of the overall sentiment and examine more granular data to make workplace decisions. Today’s workplace is moving at a rapid clip, making the annual survey less valid and effective.

Using more frequent pulse surveys to listen to the voice of the employee on a more frequent cadence is powerful. It gives you the ability to monitor the overall health of your organization trending over time and find inefficiencies, roadblocks and blind spots before they happen. Guarantee anonymity to give your employees the security to make their voice heard, which gives you access to totally candid, genuine feedback. Not only can you do this with your own organization, but consider including your worker populations and customers as a way to compare feedback from your clients with how the people you place feel about the assignments.

Go a step further and gather external feedback. There was a lot of talk about public reviews on sites such as Glassdoor and Yelp having an impact on the company brand and recruiting efforts. I got the impression that most firms are passively monitoring these channels. But, what if you could encourage your happy clients, workers and employees to provide feedback to you during the course of day-to-day operations? Include a branded call to action button in your team’s email signatures that asks, “How am I doing?” You could gather all of that feedback and share the positive comments on the public sites of your choice (through an integration) and quickly address the constructive criticisms behind the scenes.

Propel your business forward with “people” data. And, most importantly, executive teams can get unprecedented insights into their workforce. A people platform can bring together a history of your employee and manager interactions and merge that with your HRIS data. This gives you an opportunity to have a real dialog with your data, to build a highly valuable (almost priceless) repository about what your people are doing, their history and experiences at work and how they progress in their careers. This can be used to address specific business problems, such as how to improve sales productivity, increase the leadership pipeline and improve employee and customer retention.

In closing, staffing firms face a unique challenge in engaging not only its employees but also the workers they place. However it’s possible to build a high-performing organizational culture cultivated by real-time, continuous feedback and engagement.

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Anna Burke

Anna Burke
Anna Burke is VP of marketing and communications for HighGround, an employee engagement software solution.

Anna Burke

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