Jason and I went on the road again last week, visiting several Midwestern staffing companies. While both of us like to fly (I am a pilot), I also enjoy road trips. Road trips allow you to see a lot of different staffing agencies in places you might not otherwise go, as well as providing an opportunity to strategize and brainstorm during the car ride.
One of the themes for this trip (besides the humorous “Lessons for peeing while driving” – which we didn’t actually do), was leveraging technology in daily operations of a staffing agency.
Almost all of the companies we visited have experienced some growth this year; though, most have not started to add new staff. We often heard how busy their staff was and how thinly stretched they are. During our meetings, I would bring up the idea of using technology to reach out to the employees, especially for temp positions, in any or all of the main communication methods:
- Phone Message: plays a message (or leaves a message if the person doesn’t pick up) that has the recruiters voice talking about the job opening and if they are interested, please call. Position is being filled on a first come basis.
- Text Message: A brief text message sent, saying the same stuff
- Email: An email sent with the same information, potentially including links to apply online or search for other jobs.
For the most part, these ideas were met with a lukewarm response. The common concerns included:
- Text Messages – sometimes charges apply. My take – if the staffing company has a ‘release’ or signup sheet included in the on-boarding process, the employee has the option to receive the alerts or not. If they don’t want to – that’s OK!
- Not everyone has email. My take – A LOT more people have emails than we might want to acknowledge. And besides, the thought above still applies. If they have an email – great! If not – no worries.
- People’s cell phones change all the time. My take – um, you either have a current phone or wouldn’t it be kind of tough to get a hold of them anyway??
- Broadcasting the message to unqualified people. Need to look at each record to verify this is a qualified person. My take – No matter what staffing software system you are using, you should be able to refine your search to qualified people. If whether or not this candidate might be a good fit is hidden in notes, I think the agency is not using their system to the fullest. So, before you broadcast out the message, make sure to refine your search. In fact, even if you were manually calling out, I STILL think you should refine your search.
We also heard the concern of switching how the agency was running – that adding something new to the front office person might make their lives harder. These factors weren’t in all of our visits, nor did we talk about this specific topic with all of our visits. But, I was a bit disappointed to hear the objections that we did. It is very important to note, that any of the above methods would NOT have generated extra revenue for Avionte, so my suggestions were made purely in the spirit of helping out. I’m also not suggesting these options are perfect for everyone, but I sure think they are worth taking a hard look at.
Bottom line – if you are a staffing owner, your #1 job might be to break down your and your staff’s walls regarding change. I’m not talking about massive changes or even new software changes – just new processes. For every process, really make sure you are considering best practices, not just what is the easiest path.
Do you have any comments or ideas on how technology can save you time?