7 ways to transform your staffing agency
Time and time again leaders in the staffing industry talk about the same problems. Some transform themselves using technology, others battle on. I’m still surprised by the number of staffing firms not leveraging the right technology. Some are stuck on the hamster wheel and they face a world where:
- Recruitment teams are spending too much time on compliance and onboarding
- Growth in sales translates to difficulty recruiting and growth in back office support
- Sales teams are trying to remain competitive and need to be precise on real margins. Mistakes can be costly.
- Finance teams are spending too much time entering data, sometimes once, sometimes twice, sometimes thrice – which leads inevitably to errors on invoices and the need for adjustments; exacerbating cash flow issues with delays in payment.
- Silos of systems and data make collaboration difficult and reporting and analysis of data to support better decision making almost impossible.
And the list goes on.
Whilst some leaders see the above problems as a necessary by-product of business growth, others want their teams to be working in different ways to achieve better results.
How do they do it?
Below are the top 7 ways staffing firms are transforming their business.
- Setting a vision for business transformation
Your vision needs to explore what the business would look like:
- With laborious tasks eliminated
- If root causes of problems were identified and intercepted early
- When experiencing growth
The vision for transformation needs to be shared within your business. Staff need to own the vision and understand the benefits to working towards the vision. Read more about how to impart your vision.
- Challenge your status quo
Once you have identified your vision for transformation, you need to understand what needs transforming. “We’ve always done it this way” is a very dangerous mantra to behold, so challenge it by identifying:
- Tasks completed by each of your teams. Separate the tasks into those which need human intervention like relationship building, decision making, recruiting, from those which are arduous, and prone to error. With the arduous and prone to error tasks, find out why they are that way. What if once data was captured, it could automatically be fed into your system and it didn’t need to be handled after that point? After all, we live in the information age. Surely, there are ways to increase efficiency?
- Where and why problems have occurred in the past. Find the root cause and follow the repercussions. This will help you understand gaps in communication and processes.
- The business benefits of automating tasks and eliminating errors and business problems.
Now you have the details for the type of change you require to achieve your vision of transformation.
Leaders who encourage teams to challenge the status quo start to benefit from more innovation. Teams feel encouraged to think outside the square in a safe environment within a culture of listening to different perspectives. Every leader in any organization requires innovation.
- Streamline processes
During the ‘challenge the status quo’ stage you examine tasks which could be automated and the implications of non-automation. During this stage you need to search for and identify systems which can help you integrate your systems and streamline your processes. Integrating your front and back office as part of the streamlining process further reduces the number of times data is handled.
There is no reason for your teams to be double handling data, regardless of where the data sits.
- Improve collaboration
If problems in business arise due to a lack of collaboration between teams, what could happen to your company if collaboration improved?
Create a culture of collaboration by:
- Everybody in your business knowing they are working together towards a common goal and vision, and each of them form very important parts of the business.
- Team leaders working together and modeling collaboration
- Celebrating successes in your business due to collaboration
Team members need to know and see the benefits of collaboration and feel safe in the process.
- Increase visibility
Visibility within your business is important for decision making on all levels. Dashboards and reports are important for decision makers to keep their finger on the pulse of the business and remain pro-active in their actions. And providing teams the ability to see what each other are doing can assist with collaboration and put an end to problems due to appropriate interventions. Just imagine what it would be like if your finance team can see sales proposals before they are sent to clients and ensure sales are taking into consideration company margins when quoting work. In what ways could that improve your business?
- Do not invest in rigid technology
Transformation requires companies to be nimble. Growth should be supported by flexible technology which grows when you grow. When assessing technology take your growth into consideration. Ask questions like, how will our system cope if we acquire a new agency and need all data to be presented to us in an integrated fashion? Or, how does our system handle new users? Or how easy is it for me to add and remove users to the system? Make sure you invest in technology designed to help you grow and not limit it.
Once your organization has transformed by streamlining processes, improving collaboration and increasing visibility, you should devote effort to improvements.
- Ensure you manage change from the beginning
When change is introduced into your organization you will not be greeted by a cheer squad ready to embrace and support the change. Some of your organization will naturally be excited about change and some of your organization will naturally feel threatened by the change. Successful business transformation requires a well-thought out change management plan which is implemented as early in the process as possible. Stakeholders need to be ready, willing and able to accept the transformation and not introduced to it just prior to its implementation. Read here for more details.
Once you’ve worked on transforming your business, what should you expect? What type of results should you see?
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