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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Spice Up Your Staffing Business by Leveraging Online Staffing Trends

Online Staffing is the talk of employment. It’s a lot like watching Formula 1 car race. There are over 150 online staffing platforms entering the field, zooming past in a cloud of smoke and dust. As a staffing company you may be wondering exactly the best way to enter the race. 

But change is hard, and making change a part of your core business model may be more than a little terrifying. 

With all of the different online staffing options your instinct might be to avoid them all. On the other hand, with a little investment you can learn from these trends and create a customized solution based on your clients, services, and candidates. With your new model you can decide the level of control you can give each portal. And online staffing can work with your business regardless of the systems you use. 

NextCrew offers 4 different ways you can plug-in online staffing without making a major overhaul. 

  • Talent Explorer:  Market your talent more proactively and efficiently
Allows your clients to search and explore your available candidates, or Talent, online and simply request an interview which is then facilitated by your recruiter. Talent names are not fully displayed and you can provide the level of access to each of your clients. The profiles can be managed directly by candidates or by your agency. You can even decide which of your talent can be searchable by all or specific clients.

  • On-Demand Workforce Management: Decrease the cost of staffing and streamline your operation
You can manage talents efficiently in a fast-moving and high-transaction staffing vertical with a fully integrated scheduling system. The service offers the flexibility of specifying bill rates by client and skill set. There are privacy controls for who can see and apply to jobs, and a built in SMS and GPS check-in function. There is also timesheet approval by clients and staff, and the ability for clients to post jobs.

  • Private Talent Pool: On-demand talent access for your clients

You can empower your trusted clients to directly access your preferred crew for urgent jobs. You can decide which crew can be seen by specific clients, provide controlled access with information tracking, and integrate payroll and billing into your existing processes. This will expedite regular projects with immediate needs so your recruiters can concentrate on sourcing new talent

  • Online Staffing Marketplace:  Create an innovative online staffing solution to connect talent with service buyers directly 

This is the ultimate solution to allow potential employers to connect directly with crew members. It can be set up with PayPal or any other 3rd party payment gateway integration. You can choose to implement either a transactional or subscription fee model. Our robust platform is built with open API architecture. It is white labeled and fully customizable and a 100% cloud based solution. It also has apps for iOS and Android devices.
We understand that it isn’t easy to create a strategy to offer new services, but we are here to help and answer any of your questions. Contact NextCrew today!
If you’re planning to attend the Staffing World Expo and Convention this week, please say hello to us at booth #524. 

We are also conducting a webinar next month, so let us know if you would like to join in!  Contact or call us at (312) 219-2288. 

Webinar Dates
Industry Focus
Business Model
Nov 10th 1 PM

Light Industrial and Hospitality Staffing
On-demand workforce management 
Dec 1st at 1 PM
Healthcare staffing
On-demand workforce management with private Talent Pool

Dec 9th at 1 PM
All Industries
Talent Explorer

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Can Your Candidates Go Viral?

You may have been reading about the upswing in freelance and project workers in the last few years. Many formerly traditional workers are switching gears and starting their own businesses or working short term projects instead of aiming for a job in the workplace. There is a huge rise in on-demand staffing. Websites such as eLance or oDesk offer services to connect workers to short term projects. 

What if you could tap into that market without any additional work? 

When working with a client who has a specific staffing need, a recruiter may source dozens of candidates. The next step is to review the resumes and determine which of these candidates best match the job requirements. Then three to five resumes are submitted to the client for consideration. The client only has one open position. What started as twenty or thirty, or more, candidates becomes just one hire. What happens to the remainder of the qualified and pre-screened candidates?
There is already a stigma among job seekers that staffing agencies only collect applications or post fake jobs to lure candidates in to reach some sort of quota. This is patently false, but from the job seekers perspective they feel like they are wasting their time with the application process when they aren't placed. 

Could the percentage of placed employees increase significantly if we just began to rethink the way staffing works? 

The on-demand workforce is happening with or without the help of temporary staffing so why not tap into it with your already pre-screened base of candidates. 

Your applicants are tapping into multiple resources to help them find temporary, contract, and permanent positions. Rather than allowing your competition and the freelance marketplace to have control, offer online staffing resources as an option for businesses in your area and nationwide. Your employees will be satisfied and grateful that you are helping them find employment in every way possible.

Recruiters are generally seeking candidates with specific skills in order to submit them to a specific job. Each of these candidates is a complete person with a number of skills, abilities, and interests. Maybe someone who is looking for a permanent accounts payable position is also has an experience as a teacher and would consider working at schools to make extra money on the side. Maybe a graphic designer would take on short term projects to design logos for small businesses. 

NextCrew can design a solution that can integrate with your current systems to facilitate connections with employers looking for short term or contract workers with the skilled and pre-screened pool of candidates you already have. This can open entirely new lines of revenue and satisfy both customers and employees.

Contact us to discuss ways to market your talent and which online staffing business model might work for your business.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Could Your Staffing Firm be a “Burning Platform?”

The agency temp model has been the tried and true mainstay of the staffing industry for many decades.  The client needs a contingent worker, the staffing firm finds and supplies the right one while serving as employer of record.  The machinery for executing this process has not changed that much—automation has been introduced to optimize here and there—but all the basic steps have remained the same, like an old dance that everyone knows and loves to do.

Or maybe not everyone is loving it:  dances change over time—for example, from a minuet to a hot cha-cha-cha.

And staffing firms may be starting to feel the heat these days.  BLS data suggest that a cyclical peak may have been reached heading into 2015, perhaps signaling an end to the “post-recession recovery temp staffing party.” 

But deeper changes may also be at work.  Staffing Industry Analysts recently published these staffing firm survey results, indicating that even some large percent  of staffing firms were expecting to generate less revenue from conventional temporary help services and more from SOW and online staffing.

Other studies, including one by Ardent Partners, basically mirror these findings--except they anticipate changes occurring within a shorter time frame (in coming years, not over the next ten years). 

The bottom line is that the staffing business is changing—service models and processes are changing with technology and changes in client/candidate expectations and behaviors. 

Most staffing firms and analysts have been mesmerized by one new, fast-growing services model called  SOW.  But SOW is just the first visible signal of changing models—it is not the end-all.  At the same time, SOW is showing many staffing firms how difficult it is to adopt and perform new service processes and delivery successfully to customers with new business models (e.g., for fee by completed project vs. a % of ongoing temp billings). 
More changes are coming, including “workers on-demand” and “specialized, short-burst talent-as-a-service.”  Customers and candidates want to engage in processes that offer them control, visibility, and speed (patience is waning for the service time frames and practices of traditional middlemen). 

Staffing firms that are fully locked into their traditional temporary help business models, processes, and technology may not be able to change and adapt to new processes and models as demand for temporary help services begins to recede in favor of other workforce services and solutions.  For firms like these, the flames may not be visible and there may not be any smell of smoke, but their businesses may be turning into “burning platforms.”

The way to avoid becoming a “burning platform” is to start making small changes and to start innovating NOW—begin to introduce new digitized processes and service offerings.  This does not mean that you should shift your focus away from your core business and try to substitute a new innovative one.  It means that on a small scale you should start making changes, getting accustomed to changes, trying to make changes work (some will, some won’t).

NextCrew is the ideal platform for pursuing this process—complete with capabilities that can be used to digitize and start to transform the way you engage with clients and candidates and how you deliver your staffing services to them.  It is economical and easy to deploy, complementing and integrating with your existing technology.  Moreover, you control how much and what change you want to try, and the NextCrew platform will support your doing so.  NextCrew even offers pre-developed service processes and models for you to try out (like Talent Showcase, Private Talent Pools, et al).

Closing questions:  Are you and your staffing firm going to be doing the same things you've done for years when the music starts and there is smoke rising in the air?  Or are you and your business going to face the music now and start to dance?  

 Guest Blogger, Andrew Karpie, is Principal Analyst at The Research Platform and a recognized expert on emerging online work intermediation platforms as well as their impact on the staffing industry.  Over the past three years, he has produced and published numerous research reports and articles on these subjects with Staffing Industry Analysts.  He has also produced research and published content for a number of major staffing firms and online staffing platform businesses, and he serves on the Advisory Board of The Rise of the Platform Economy research program, a joint initiative of Stanford University Business School and The Center for the Global Enterprise.  Andrew holds an MS in Policy Analysis from Carnegie Mellon University, and he lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Will You Be A Hybrid Staffing Firm?

Do you remember when you saw the first Prius?  

Let me prime you your memory with some facts from Wikipedia:
  •  The Prius was introduced worldwide in 2000.
  • Global cumulative Prius sales reached the milestone 1 million vehicle mark in May 2008,] 2 million in September 2010, and passed the 3 million mark in June 2013.
  • The Prius family reached global cumulative sales of 4.8 million units by September 2014, representing 67.7% of the 7 million hybrids sold worldwide by Toyota Motor Company since 1997.
Today, almost every automobile manufacturer sells hybrids:

There are even hybrid trucks and buses today!
Why has this happened?  “Value to customers.”
Customers didn't want “a gasoline combustion”  ride.
They wanted a ride that was economical and sustainable.

Staffing customers are no different. Staffing customers want value, and they expect their suppliers to deliver it. 

Staffing customers want:
·         The right labor/talent when they need it.
·         Low overhead (cost and cycle time) in getting it
·         Control (they want to step on the gas and get the performance)

Many staffing firms have been trying to meet customer expectations by putting their “pedal to the metal” and driving up RPMs to unsustainable rates.  They have not stopped to think about innovation (the way Toyota did some time back). 

Tried and true “staffing engines” can only be driven so hard, can only perform so far.  Innovation is the answer to getting to the next level… “Jumping the curve,” as Guy Kawasaki said at the 2014 SIA Executive Forum.

NextCrew is a platform that will allow a staffing firm to pursue an innovation path.  Starting with the basic development of a Talent Showcase, expanding it to a customer’s private Talent Community, or unleashing the power of an online marketplace and self-service for customers and candidates—

NextCrew is an engine that that can transform a gasoline-only-driven, commodity staffing supplier into a multi-dimensional workforce solution provider that can meet customer needs for staffing/workforce in many more ways than the traditional staffing model allows.

Hybrid cars have two engines—the gasoline one, and the electric one.  For “hybrid” staffing firms it is similar -- they have their traditional “agency temp” engine and the new electronic engine of NextCrew that can perform for customers in ways that meet new needs and do so in highly efficient ways. 

NextCrew is the second engine and the enabler of the next generation of hybrid staffing models.  And the future of staffing is hybrid:  the temp agency engine will run on, and the electric engine will run in tandem, delivering new innovative workforce solutions to customers.

As more and more hybrid staffing firms appear on the road, providing customers with the cleaner and more efficient rides they want, where will you be?

Will you be left behind?  Or will you be racing ahead?

Contact us today to learn more! 

 Guest Blogger, Andrew Karpie, is Principal Analyst at The Research Platform and a recognized expert on emerging online work intermediation platforms as well as their impact on the staffing industry.  Over the past three years, he has produced and published numerous research reports and articles on these subjects with Staffing Industry Analysts.  He has also produced research and published content for a number of major staffing firms and online staffing platform businesses, and he serves on the Advisory Board of The Rise of the Platform Economy research program, a joint initiative of Stanford University Business School and The Center for the Global Enterprise.  Andrew holds an MS in Policy Analysis from Carnegie Mellon University, and he lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Staffing Industry Transitions in 2015

In 2008 many staffing businesses began to feel the pressure of the economic down turn that started with the collapse of the subprime mortgage industry in 2007. Some agencies may have even been working with these types of companies and felt the effects immediately. Over the last 7 years, the economy has improved and staffing, as always, has been at the forefront of that change. 

Staffing, as we all know, is an indicator industry. When staffing picks up, other businesses can expect growth as well. It makes sense. Companies are less confident about their hiring options since many had to go through several rounds of layoffs as the recession hit. Staffing becomes the perfect answer.
While the economy has been slow to recover this time, the important take away is that it is recovering and temporary staffing, of all varieties, is riding the crest of that wave. 

Let's take a look at some of the numbers from 2014. 

  • Unemployment at 5.8%: as of November, the unemployment rate was holding steady at 5.8%, the lowest since May, 2008.
  •  Payroll increases: According to the same Department of Labor report, wages have increased by 9 cents in November. This is a difficult stat to track since wages are so reliant on location, production, and experience. 
  •  Increased staffing index: In 2006, the American Staffing Association launched an index to track the growth of the staffing industry. It was set at 100 when it was released and during the recession dipped as low as 66 in 2009. In 2014 it remains comfortably above 100.
  • 11 million temporary employees: Back in 2013, the staffing industry reported that it had hired over 11 million temporary and contract employees across all specializations.
  • Sales at $122 billion: In the same report, the ASA indicated that staffing sales had also reached an all-time high.

So, what's in store for 2015? 

The staffing industry is continuing to experience growth and at the same time technologies are changing the game to allow for more opportunities including online staffing. What can you do to keep the momentum for the New Year? 

  1. Consider online staffing: Offering the ability for your pool of candidates to connect directly with hiring managers can bring in more revenue this year.
  2.  Streamline technology: Automating processes, connecting current systems, and allowing candidates and clients to have access to self-directed portals can also increase your company's ability to source and place talent.
  3. Improve on-boarding procedures: It is currently believed that up to 20% of new employees will quit before their first 90 days is complete. This is a horrifying statistic and many businesses are turning to staffing and temp-to-hire options to help with the onboarding process. Your business can become a bridge to success for both clients and candidates.

Take your staffing business to the next level today! 

NextCrew can help you customize online staffing solutions and better technology integration for your specific business needs. Contact us today!  

Image by wackystuff via Flickr

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Staffing firms, don’t be confused -- NOW IS THE TIME to begin your Online Staffing journey!

Guest Blogger, Andrew Karpie, is Principal Analyst at The Research Platform and a recognized expert on emerging online work intermediation platforms as well as their impact on the staffing industry.  Over the past three years, he has produced and published numerous research reports and articles on these subjects with Staffing Industry Analysts.  He has also produced research and published content for a number of major staffing firms and online staffing platform businesses, and he serves on the Advisory Board of The Rise of the Platform Economy research program, a joint initiative of Stanford University Business School and The Center for the Global Enterprise.  Andrew holds an MS in Policy Analysis from Carnegie Mellon University, and he lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The trend toward the use of “contingent workforce” is clearly on the rise.  In 2012, per Staffing Industry Analysts, the worldwide staffing industry supported spend of about $350B on just “temporary staffing” contingent workforce, and the total global contingent workforce spend numbers (including SOW, ICs, freelancers) was several multiples larger.  There are now numerous forecasts that point to on-going growth in contingent workforce in future years, and it is not uncommon to find growth rates of 10% or more.  Certainly, this continuing growth is being driven by a number of factors, including the development of new ways of procuring and providing contingent workforce in different forms (i.e., not just continuing to do things only in the same way as was done before).

Over the past three years, my research and analysis has been highly focused on the emergence of so called “online staffing” and other “human cloud” platforms--and their development alongside and within the established staffing industry.  While many in the staffing industry have reacted to online platforms with concerns about “disruption,” I have tended to expect the impact and change to more of a “transformation” of the industry, as more and more staffing firms adopt “digital platform models” in some way and use them to innovate their staffing business models. 

In the past year, I developed the Staffing Industry Analysts 2020 forecast of the aggregate worldwide contingent workforce spend that would be enabled by “online staffing” types of platforms (whether they were platforms of new, free-standing platform-based businesses like Elance-oDesk, Field Nation, etc. or they were “digital platforms” that staffing firms adopted to innovate and evolve in different directions from the traditional staffing business model). 

In one article about that 2020 forecast (which ranged as high $46B in “online staffing-based spend”), I shared my perspective on how “online staffing” and the established staffing industry might “co-evolve:”

“To forecast to 2020 and create a few plausible scenarios, we considered a range of potential drivers and constraints,” …“It’s hard to build anything other than expansive scenarios. The big questions seem to be how fast, in what forms and to what extent. I think two of the big wildcards here are the pace of larger enterprise adoption and to what degree staffing firms (and managed service providers/vendor management systems) start to adopt and leverage these models. By 2020, my guess is that the staffing business will be much more hybridized, similar in some ways to what happened with retail and online shopping.”

What I say in the last sentence about “hybridization” means two things (and refers to the retail industry as an analogy).  First, I mean the staffing industry will become more of a (hybridized) mix of different types of firms (so just as in retail today you find Amazon and Walmart, in staffing you will find something like an Elance-oDesk and a Manpower).  Second, I also mean that established staffing firms will adopt and adapt online staffing platforms into their own businesses (so just as today, Walmart and most retailers are also online, in the future most staffing firms--that are successful—will also have leveraged and integrated online staffing platforms into their business models). 

So in the future, many of the successful staffing firms will likely be “hybrid” staffing firms.  That does not mean that they will stop being staffing firms (doing some part of their staffing in the way they did before) or that they will start offering “wild west” open marketplaces that leave clients and themselves open to compliance and other risks.  What it really means is that staffing firms will appropriate and leverage digital online platforms to expand and innovate their businesses in many directions. 

Certainly, it is conceivable that a staffing firm in the future will offer its clients access to “online workers,” but those workers will be vetted and classified and paid properly just as they would be today.  By adopting and starting to leverage digital platforms, staffing firms will gradually discover that such models open up all kinds of innovative opportunities for serving their clients’ changing needs, improving staffing firm cost structure and service performance, attracting new worker populations in different ways, and most likely creating new revenue-generating lines of staffing services, etc. 

For the purposes of this blog post, it is important to make the point that successful staffing firms of the future are likely to be “hybridized” firms that have managed to leverage digital platforms to innovate their business models and services in a variety of ways, depending upon the staffing segment, the firm strategy, etc. 

At the beginning of this post I said that claims of “online staffing” suddenly “disrupting” the established staffing industry seem to me to be over-blown, and I have discussed what I foresee as an evolutionary process of “transformation” and “hybridization in the years to come. However, “transformation” and “hybridization” are not just buzzwords, they describe real, active developments and changes that have already started in some staffing firms today and will continue to develop in more and more staffing firms in future years. 

It is critical for staffing firm owners/executives, therefore, not to just think, “Ok, no disruption, just transformation…  I can relax, I’ll just sit tight and wait out the storm.”  That attitude could underpin a superlative strategy for “being left behind,” while other staffing firm competitors innovate and outflank you. 

I can assure you: “the time is now” to get started, to begin learning, and to put the investment of time into figuring out how to best innovate your business using a digital platform and keep your business at the front of the competitive pack. 

A recent report by research and advisory firm, Ardent Partners, (“The State of Contingent Workforce Management: The 2014-15 Guide for Managing Non-Traditional Talent”) reveals some eye-popping data from its survey of contingent workforce buyers.  Ardent asked those surveyed about what would be a source of contingent talent now in 2014 versus what would be a source in 2016.

  • 88% said Traditional Staffing Suppliers/Agencies for 2014, but for 2016 that % was only 78%! The way I interpret this is that fewer survey respondents (78%) will regard Traditional Staffing Suppliers as a source of contingent talent in 2016 than in 2014 (when 88% of the respondents consider Traditional Staffing Suppliers as a source).
  • Alternatively, it seems the use various “non-traditional” sources of contingent talent would be increasing -- for example, “Private talent pools/“known” networks [2014 45% versus 2016 61%] and Online labor marketplaces/freelancer networks [2014 23% versus 2016 46%].

Clearly, as the use of contingent workforce by businesses increases, change and innovation in procuring and providing contingent workforce “is happening now.”  Online staffing platforms are already beginning to transform the established staffing industry, and savvy innovative staffing firms are already taking actions to respond to these changes (figuring out how to innovate their businesses and compete and grow using digital platform-based capabilities).  These are the firms that are on their way to becoming the “hybridized” firms in what will be an increasingly “hybridized” staffing industry. 

To make this shift and not be left behind, it is important to start right now by adopting and starting to use an online staffing platform and beginning the learning process to eventually understand the best ways for your own staffing business to leverage this high-potential tool set with your target clients and workforce and find better, innovative ways to serve them both and stay competitive in the staffing game.