The staffing experts were out in full force at CareerBuilder’s inaugural customer event, Empower, and we were lucky enough to snag six of them for a panel discussion on where they see staffing headed in the next 20 years, and what staffing and recruiting pros need to know now to prepare for the road ahead.
The session was opened by ASA president and CEO Richard Wahlquist, who gave insight into upcoming staffing market trends, while stressing that the workforce is rapidly changing, and we still have a lot of work to do to catch up.
In his words:
Just 34 percent of executives feel that they’ve made progress in building a workforce that can move future business goals. Eighty-three percent of executives say they’ll increase the use of contingent, intermittent or consultant employees.“
Since so many staffing and recruiting firms believe they haven’t made progress in building the right workforce, what can experts in the industry tell us about how to remedy their wrongs and successfully prepare for the future of staffing?
To delve deeper into what executives in the staffing industry are seeing, Jon Maly, national account director at CareerBuilder, moderated the panel discussion that followed, with six esteemed panelists sharing wisdom from their very varied experiences.
Glen Cathey: Senior Vice President, Talent Strategy and Innovation at Kforce
Cynthia Futvoye: Vice President, Enterprise Development at Appleone Employment Services
Kelly VanAken: Director of Recruiting at Aerotek
Dennis Masel: COO at Creative Circle/On Assignment
Jeff Bowling: CEO, The Delta Companies
Kelly Kudola: Sourcing & Recruiting Partnership Manager at Kelly Services
What our panelists had to say about what recruiting and staffing professionals need to know about the biggest issues facing firms today:
Candidate experience is crucial in our current environment. From recent research we are learning that more and more often candidates are expecting a personal experience. For example, according to the 2015 Opportunities in Staffing, 42 percent of candidates feel the amount of human contact has decreased.
On how their firm has found ways to improve the candidate experience without decreasing efficiency:
Cynthia: “The candidate is the center of the universe. Operating with that principle in mind has continued to help guide our success. You need to think, “What does it take for candidates to rush to be your best reference?”
Kelly V.: “No matter what a candidate is calling about, you should give them something of value so they walk away with a positive impression of you.”
On the importance of candidate communication:
Glen: “People will remember if your company is sending them messages about jobs that are irrelevant to them.”
Kelly V.: “We’ve worked to reset the mindset of recruiters to teach them to engage passive candidates and provide value in each interaction.” She adds that when approaching a passive candidate, it’s important not to just approach them with a motive; you must network with them and build that relationship.
Glen: “Technology can do more damage than good because of the lack of customization and personalization. We need to take more care in our interactions. I prefer smaller group messages that are more personalized – it’s more effective this way.” The alternative? “It’s risking your reputation.”
On the importance of treating employees well:
Jeff: Know that employees are going to make mistakes and let you down. It’s important to have the mindset that you’ll love them anyway and help them get where they need to be. Start by expecting and embracing the imperfections.”
Dennis: “Your most valuable asset is your employees, and they need to know you care about them and that you want to make their lives as balanced as you can.”
Jeff: “Build trust by always being completely honest with people, but make sure that comes from a place of care and concern.
According to the most recent Opportunities in Staffing findings, 1 in 3 staffing employees are not comfortable using recruitment technology. Most agree, though, that adapting to new technology will set the best staffing firms apart. Staffing firm employees need to have access to the best tools you can provide. You also need to ensure they are using these tools to their greatest advantage.
On successfully using data and tech in recruitment:
Glen: “We have more data about more people than we’ve ever had in history — how do we harness that? We need tech and solutions that get out of the way of the recruiter, is intuitive and easy, and lets them spend the majority of their time recruiting people.”
On what makes a company’s culture successful:
Dennis: “If you want to empower people, give and take to give them better work/life balance. For example, if you expect them to do work at home, let them do home at work. It’s about how you take that word ‘flexible’ and continue to expand on it.” He adds that his team implemented Summer Fridays, and that they now allow employees to sometimes work from home – and that they’ll keep expanding their idea of flexibility to adapt to a changing workforce.
Jeff: “It often seems as a company you can be high-performing or kind and loving, when in fact one gives rise to another.”
Dennis’s three tips for a successful culture: Pay, structure and good leadership. Structure is very important: “If you don’t have it, people tend to feel lost and not know what to do.” He adds that having a leader who shows consistency “is crucial,” and that you have to pay your people well.
On the secret to making great hires:
Dennis: “Always hire people smarter than you.”
Kelly K.: On how she assess someone when looking to hire them – “That heart; that drive. That wanting to do something more.”
Want more tips on how you can be successful in the staffing industry for the next 20 years? Check out the 10 lessons we’ve learned from our latest staffing study.