Whiteboards Should Be Outlawed!

Angela Pitts

Well that might be a little bit of an overreaction since they do have some use like leaving funny notes for your co-workers.  They are pretty good for brainstorming new ideas too.  However, they have lost their place at the table when it comes to tracking job orders.

It doesn’t surprise or even amaze me to hear that very successful staffing and recruiting companies are still using whiteboards to monitor jobs, candidates and statuses.  What does surprise me is the inability to even think about letting it go!  A few months back I was onsite with a company and spotted the whiteboard.  I had to fight the urge to walk over and erase the board with all of its detailed information.  Each of the staffing specialists and recruiters could find the exact same information on their computer screen.  So why is it so hard to let go?

Staffing, as any other industry has processes, procedures or even tools that have worked well in the past.  If something is working why change it?  Well how about productivity and profitability?  Yes I have touted both of these in many of my ramblings, but how productive is it for you or your staff to write or change information about a job order or a candidate on a board?    And how profitable is it for you to not know exactly what is going on with each order?  Can you track time to fill or sources methods from a board?  How about the dollars lost on duplication of work?  Unless you have an amazing white board that is linked to your staffing software, the information is going nowhere.  Just because it used to work does not mean there is a better way to do something.  Companies that have the ability to quickly change and adapt to new technology are generally the ones still standing during tough times because they have learned how to do more with less.

Cons of using a whiteboard:

  • Double work.  Writing it on a board and then entering it into your staffing software.
  • Time for someone to write it all out. (If you are still using this method, do a time study for one week how much time is being spent writing, erasing, adding, etc.)
  • Who else can see this information?  I certainly would not want my name being broadcast to everyone who walked into the office (most of the whiteboards I have seen are in plain view)
  • Divulging who your job orders are for.  I’ve mentioned before that applicants are smart, if they think they can go directly to the source, they will.
  • Difficult to get metrics and reports from a whiteboard.
  • No audit trail.

I could go on and on with the cons of using a whiteboard, but I think you get my point.  It’s a lot of work for something that really isn’t going to offer much in return.

Pros of using a whiteboard:

  • Everyone can see what orders you have, and I mean everyone.

I’m sure there are a few more pros, but I think our time will be better served talking about making the switch.

The biggest opposition that I have heard about letting go of the whiteboard is the motivation factor.  Many of the supporters state the whiteboard motivates them and it’s fun to get up and erase a job order that has been filled.  Or it’s exciting to see how many orders have come in during the day.  My response – dashboard.  With Avionté each user has counters to see new orders that have come in, new applicants or even applicants who are available today.  Want a little more information?  An integration with Qlikview offers a higher level dashboard to see in real time what is happening in each location.  Even better, reports can be generated in real time to fully understand what is going on with a specific branch or even customer.  Can your whiteboard do that?

Although I would like to see everyone who is reading this article jump up and remove their whiteboard, that simply is not going to happen.  When it comes to change management, baby steps are always best.  Talk with your staff as to why they are continuing to duplicate work.  You will then need to address their need to see a visual on the wall of this information.  Often times it is a lack of understanding of their software.  In the case of Avionté

it is very easy to see all the open job orders and who is available to fill them.  When a job order is filled, it simply drops off the list.  No need to get up and erase it (and risk getting marker on the side of your hand!)

One of the biggest hurdles will be the level of comfort.  Very few people embrace change quickly.  If they have worked in staffing for many years, this is comfortable to them.  Offer to have a push report created so each day at 4pm everyone in the branch or company receives an email with the key metrics for the day ie: new orders, new fills, resumes sent, interviews scheduled, etc.

Good luck to all in making the change! As always, I like to hear what is going on in your world.  Feel free to add a comment as to how you make the change over.


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