Article: Fit to Scale: Where are you taking your staffing business?

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Fit to Scale: Where are you taking your staffing business?

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Heres a look at some of the trends that will determine what it will take to scale a staffing organization.
Fit to Scale: Where are you taking your staffing business?

Organizations today have an undeniable need to focus on innovation, maintain an unwavering commitment to achieving results and all this while creating a positive workplace culture. With these aspects in focus, the staffing industry has been undergoing changes and the idea, process and roadblocks with regard to scaling these people-businesses have evolved as well. 

Rituparna Chakraborty , Co-Founder and Executive Vice President at HR solutions company, TeamLease says, “We had set ourselves the vision of putting India to work and it was that vision that took us from being just a company to becoming a cause”. With India getting younger day by day, there seems to be a growing need for jobs and “not just any other job but a job of dignity”, says Rituparna.

But there seems to be a lack for formal jobs in India and thus the demand-supply hiatus remains agape. 

Heading a firm that provides HR solutions and seeks to make staffing efficient, effective and relevant to the present (and future) scenario, Rituparna’s insight into scaling a staffing business is realistic, helpful and practical. She says that the learning phase for TeamLease began after 8 years of exponential growth when they were severely hit by the Lehman Brothers crisis. The 50% slash in business that they faced compelled them to relook at their holistic functioning. As she says, “it is difficult to change the wheels in a moving car”, that pause helped them to restructure their business and lead to a 25% growth YoY thereon. Maybe it’s our turn to pause and restructure our thoughts on scaling staffing as a function and a business. 

With regard to growing any business, one has to keep an eye out for trends that characterize and will characterize the sector. So with staffing, here are four trends to bear in mind:

Market outlook: Economic indicators are crucial because they help one understand where the industries are headed and thus make informed decisions, prioritize goals and align resources. Rituparna says that the market looks positive for this business year in terms of hiring and business outlook and is set to record the highest numbers for revenue generation. The Employment Outlook Report denotes that the market in Asia seems the most optimistic with a lot of the movement to be driven by India. Bombay, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Pune appear to be great markets for demand generation and there is a steady build-up of positive drive and sentiment in these cities. Sectors that seem to be getting ready for mammoth hiring drives are e-commerce, tech-startup ecosystems, financial services, media, retail construction and real estate. 

Technology interventions: As with most sectors, in staffing too, technology will take precedence and determine the success of any direct or direct interactions with candidates or customers. Staffing companies thus cannot be seen as falling back with regard to tech-evolution and hope to scale up. There is a need to incorporate technology into every step of the staffing process and as a business, focusing on leveraging technology would help to acquire, engage and manage customers more efficiently. 

Candidate experience: The high level of dropouts in the staffing process demands a glance at understanding what it is that is going wrong with certain process points with regard to the candidate. A candidate once placed, could prove to be a lifelong resource but if the relationship is not encouraged or added value to, it becomes nothing more than an opportunity lost.  Candidates need to feel empathy and that they are cared for. Ironic though it may be, technology can actually help in adding back the human touch to the largely mechanical staffing industry since it has the power to tackle large volumes of data and keep interaction factual with a touch of personalization. An important point in the staffing process that is often overlooked is rejection. Companies need to be able to help candidates handle rejection and provide adequate feedback to help them prepare better for their next job application.

Leveraging referrals:  Referrals are ready to become the key to growing business not just in terms of candidate referrals but from the customer perspective as well. Referrals help circulate information and knowledge within a specific group and provide access to high-quality talent through cost-effective methods. With an abundance of referral tools now available it is not just possibility but a more simplified process to strike the often elusive person-organization fit.

Bharath Jayaprakash, Senior Director, Indeed India says, “On the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale of Life Events, a change to a different line of work is scored at 36 which is really close to pregnancy, that’s scored at 40”. This enumerates the importance most people attach to a job change and the essential realignment that comes with it. Thus, for organizations in general and staffing companies in particular, it is crucial to understand how to increase mobile visibility, promote job security and maximize time and revenue all in the context of what makes people click on a job or hit the “apply” button.

Going forward, companies revving up to scale themselves need to keep in mind metric that they are measured in terms of:

Fill rate – This is the time taken to fill any position. Technology has spoilt us a bit and raised our expectations. Clients today expect the shortest TATs and continually seem to be in need of deliverables yesterday. Considering the leaps in technology, however, this hardly seems to be an unjust demand.

Hit rate: This denotes the number of successful closures against the total number of open positions. Evolving client expectations and job roles come with the need to tick off very specific requirements in candidates and there’s very little room for blunders since with the advancement of technology and processes, there appears to have been a regression in patience.

Client satisfaction: This is probably the most crucial of the three since this is subjective and dynamic. Even with your hit and fill rates right on target (or even exceeding targets), if your perceived value in the eyes of the customers is low, it would be a deterrent to the growth of your business. Customer happiness is, after all, the key that opens many doors in your company’s journey ahead. Recruiters have an immense responsibility to solve the people puzzle and since it is a people puzzle and not a process puzzle, it is a requisite for any staffing company to understand the people aspects behind a job-search:

Sociology of job-search: To validate the commonly held idea that 80% talent is passive, Indeed, with FocusVision conducted a survey with a sample of 4000 individuals in India and stumbled upon very surprising data. It turns out that 97% of the sample claimed to be actively looking for a job while only 3% were happy in their current jobs and did not want to look at other opportunities. This majority actively seeking a change might not necessarily be unhappy at their current jobs but would want to remain open to better options. They tend to be younger and better educated and their first job-search action would be to visit a job search site. Therefore, it is an absolute necessity for staffing firms to have flawless and functional digital pipelines to help recruit the right talent.

Psychology of job search: It is necessary to understand the decision-making process an individual goes through while looking for a new job. There appear to be 7 major decisions a person must make in order to switch from being a happy employee at company A to becoming an employee of company B. Thus, staffing companies looking to scale need to understand what a person thinks, how they feel and what leads them to act while they consider a change, consider his/her present company, ponder a position, apply, commit to the process, accept the offer and appear on their first day at the new job.

While companies are rightly focusing on becoming mobile-friendly, comprehensive and making it easy to apply, understanding the people behind the resumes (and the companies looking for these people), their motivations, expectations, and frustrations might help to crack the people code better. 


This article is part of our “Redefine Staffing” campaign in collaboration with Indeed. To know more about how to deal with challenges in staffing, click here to register for our Masterclass series.

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Topics: Staffing Recruitment, #Redefine Staffing, #HRIndustry

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