Staffing Industry’s Journey to Digital Transformation

Digital transformation – the integration of digital technology into every part of a company – is not just a fundamental technological and cultural change for organizations. Nor is it a single endeavor; it’s an ongoing journey. Through a continuous evolution of digital transformation, staffing and recruiting firms can address the new ways people are finding work while remaining nimble and competitive.

Do staffing agencies need a digital transformation strategy? The rise of vertical talent pools and gig economy jobs are just two signs of the changing talent landscape. Uber’s trial launch of Uber Works to place gig workers via staffing firms is one example of technology introducing new models for connecting talent with jobs. Digital transformation is necessary not only to stay competitive, but as a way to adapt to the new world of work. Do staffing professionals see this necessity? Our Global Recruitment and Insights Data (GRID) report earlier this year showed an overwhelming 80% surveyed see digital transformation as a positive for their business. On the other hand, our more recent survey shows only 25% currently have a digital transformation strategy in place.

How do we grow from seeing the benefit of digital transformation to putting an actual strategy in place? The first step is to see the need for offering more flexible services to clients and finding new ways of tapping into diverse talent pools. This type of operational adaptability requires a fully-digitized technology infrastructure, one that can be rapidly configured.

PREMIUM CONTENT: Human cloud/online staffing, and use of automation in traditional staffing

What are the challenges to implementing a digital transformation strategy? Part of the digital transformation journey is recognizing the obstacles. A big problem is disparate legacy systems. Many companies implement technologies over time in a siloed manner, resulting in disconnected data structures. For example, a staffing agency’s contact, talent, time tracking, and billing data may already be digitized, but live in separate databases. The next stage is to unify these databases so that they work together, filling the gaps to connect talent to jobs.

Another obstacle is determining how to make sense of unstructured data. Much of the information recruiting professionals collect in relationship building, with both clients and candidates, is text, audio, images, emails, and other input data that does not fit neatly into a database as they enter them. Digital solutions make sense of the data to associate candidates with skills and jobs, notes with actions, or images with work samples, and create a more efficient workflow for the entire talent procurement process. One example: recorded calls can not only be transferred to text for easier data capture, but can also be integrated with candidate records, used to define next steps, and even used for training purposes.

A digital transformation strategy is in place; now what? Once staffing agencies implement a digital transformation strategy, they can look to improve operational efficiency and productivity in areas like:

  • Candidate qualification, where recruiters can more quickly identify new candidates and match skills and qualifications with open jobs;
  • Connecting the business development and recruiting sides of the organization, simplifying the handoff from job requisition to talent sourcing;
  • Automated communication, speeding up the process of moving candidates through screening, interviewing, and hiring.

When a digital transformation strategy is in place, these advantages and others will improve margins, keep firms competitive, and increase recruiter retention.

The continuing journey of digital transformation. The digital transformation journey is already well underway, dating back to the first digital databases and workstations, and will benefit from new technology enhancements and additions beyond the foreseeable future. This realization underscores the long view companies must take, always considering not just what technology to implement, but why. For example: an oil company acquires a new field, creating an immediate need for engineers, rig managers, drillers, and more. With a thorough digital infrastructure, the staffing agency meets the urgency to fill specific roles rapidly, with recruiters able to identify qualified workers more quickly from a nurtured talent pool, expedite the hiring process through mobile engagement, and onboard hired workers more efficiently with digitized document management. The result? Satisfied customers, happier candidates, and high-performing recruiters. Tangible results like these are what makes the continuous investment in digital transformation a worthwhile necessity.


Gordon Burnes

Gordon Burnes
Gordon Burnes directs Bullhorn's marketing and business development efforts, including product marketing, demand generation, PR, branding, creative, and Bullhorn Marketplace.

Gordon Burnes

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