The Consumerization of Talent: Why Mobile Technology is Essential to Becoming the Agency of Choice

“Talent is looking for us as an industry to mirror and match what they’re seeing or experiencing in the other parts of their lives, like with the apps. We need to simplify the process for them, because if we don’t do it as an industry or as a company, someone else will.”

James Windmiller
Co-founder and COO, Nextaff

Woman using mobile talent app for staffing
Transform the way talent interacts with your company using a well-designed mobile app

A Changing Power Dynamic: Winning the Talent War

Despite a slowing, post-pandemic economy, job growth remains strong. In September, the US unemployment rate sustained a 50 plus-year low of 3.5%, leading to approximately two job openings available for every one person unemployed. Based upon numbers alone, it’s a tough time to recruit talent.

But employee attitudes towards the entire experience of employment have also changed. Modern technology has revolutionized the way we shop, bank, travel, and dine with the anywhere anytime convenience of a smartphone. This same technology also powers the gig economy, forcing dramatic changes to traditional employment practices.

In this brave new world, talent has limited time and unlimited choices. Job candidates no longer have the patience to navigate a bureaucracy, and they expect their employer to offer the same empowerment, transparency, and convenience they experience in every other facet of their lives.

The advent of chronic labor shortages, mobile technology, and the rapid movement towards dynamic labor-on-demand employment models are driving a major power shift between the 21st century worker and employers. Taken together, these trends signify that the balance of power between employee and employer has reversed. For staffing, it used to be that if an agency had jobs, employees would come. Now, the opposite holds true. Staffing firms are competing for talent, not for new clients. And this trend will likely remain with us well into the future.

To Thrive, Treat Your Candidates Like Consumers

In this hyper-competitive world of work, think of your talent as your primary consumer. It’s difficult to win by out-recruiting your competitors, because everyone has access to the same job boards and talent pools. However, you can gain a substantial competitive advantage by making your agency easier for candidates to work and stay with. By doubling your redeployment rate and reactivating talent from your database, you can improve profitability and customer service while growing your business.

There is no mystery to customer loyalty. Each of us has distinct preferences for where we eat and shop, and successful businesses have loyal “regulars.” What brings regulars back is ease, consistency, comfort, and a personal connection. That same logic simply needs to be applied to staffing. Candidates will be more loyal to the agency that can deliver a compelling talent experience that delights them in the same way that other businesses delight their traditional consumers. A successful candidate journey is one which both engages and enables their workers, making it easier for employees to find jobs, select a shift, get onboarded, and paid — all in one convenient place.

For staffing, a well-designed mobile app is the fastest, most effective path to transform the way talent interacts with your company. By putting all critical, transactional functions from application and onboarding to timekeeping and pay in one place, employees will be motivated to work and stay with you over other agencies that don’t offer this convenience. There are currently more than 300 million smartphone users who spend over 5 hours a day managing daily tasks through their mobile devices. This makes the real estate on an employee’s phone incredibly valuable. By placing your brand on their touchscreen, you will give them one-touch access to your business. Now, working with your firm becomes routine. When you convert your talent into regulars, other agencies are locked out.

Mobile talent applications provide other surprising advantages. Early adopters of Avionté 24/7 mobile technology found that talent was more likely to show up when they were able pick their own assignments and schedules with daily reminders. In one case, an agency saw an almost 50% increase in show-up rates after deploying their new mobile app, with a dramatic material impact to customer satisfaction and profitability. Talent loyalty and redeployment rates also increased because workers were able to drive their own employment decisions and choose the jobs that were right for them.

Building a Total Talent Experience with Mobile Technology

The most successful mobile app will be the one that delivers an end-to-end candidate experience with an intuitive interface to support all workflows. Consider whether the app:

  • Removes all friction points across the entirety of the candidate journey from application to onboarding, time tracking to pay and re-deployment.
  • Empowers users to self-select and quickly apply to the jobs and shifts that best match their skills and preferred schedules.
  • Communicates daily – and in one convenient place – to keep talent engaged, and most importantly, coming back!
  • Includes easy-to-access referral options that transform loyal talent into advocates for the agency to help build a superior employment brand.

Recruiters can also improve redeployment rates by using the mobile app to more efficiently mine their database for qualified leads and reconnect with existing talent. Moreover, the app can automate all transactions that do not require a personal touch, freeing your recruiters to focus on delivering a more optimal candidate experience.

“The value isn’t in posting on job boards; the value comes from what you have done over time. When you truly engage candidates, you will shift your focus from new candidates to current employees already in your database. That will drive higher ROI.” 

Tom ErbPresident, Tallann Resources Inc.

What does the consumerization of talent mean for staffing agencies? It means rethinking how we use technology for day-to-day staffing operations. We are rapidly shifting from a singular focus on recruiter productivity to the broader objective of building and retaining a best-in-class pool of talent with high rates of engagement and redeployment. By creating a superior customer experience for talent, you can dramatically improve talent loyalty and reliability. Productivity and profitability will naturally follow.

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