Three Ways to Build Staffing and Recruiting Agency Value by Doing More with Less

You feel like a one-man band.

It’s time to take stock. Right now. It doesn’t matter if you’re a front-line recruiter, a sales representative, a staffing manager or the owner of a recruitment agency — it seems like you have too much to do and not enough time to do it in. All of which contributes to a level of anxiety and pressure to ‘get it done’ that you know has a negative impact on the quality of your work. Despite the many external pressures you face, the truth is that your attitude, preparation and actions will determine your ability to succeed.

While attitude arguably plays the most important role in your success, here I’ll focus on three areas you can take action on that should enable you to do more with less. They are almost sure to help your recuiting and staffing business regardless of what direction the economy takes. In Bond’s forty years of providing the staffing and recruiting industry with software tools, we have seen these axioms – consistently applied – lead to exceptional profitability.

ONE: Build Efficiency into Your Operations

When times are good it’s easy to tolerate business practices and workflows that deliver only marginal profitability. But when job orders slow, you must reduce or eliminate those practices so that you can get more done with less effort. Building efficiency into your staffing and recruitment organization is an ongoing process. A regular re-appraisal of your operations focused on how you might be able to tighten up your practices can help wring more profit out of every transaction.

You should make it a practice to get your team together on a recurring basis to review the steps of successful sales and order transactions.

Believe it or not, your sales process is probably the first place to look for inefficiencies. Dave Stein, CEO and Founder, ES Research Group, Inc., which specializes in sales training selection, says that his research indicates that many firms have as many sales methodologies in place as the number of sales people in their organization. If your staffing and recruiting firm has similar inefficiencies, figure out how to streamline the process in such a way that it is consistently followed. That means you will close more deals.

Another area where saving time equals profits is in your recruitment processes. For example, Tom Porter, CEO and Founder of Marquee Staffing was able to reduce the time it took his recruiters to qualify candidates by 75 percent by having every candidate apply through a Web portal integrated to their staffing and recruitment software. The time saved goes to revenue generation, not data entry.

Similarly, a staffing-specific integrated payroll/billing system will reduce or eliminate back office workflow inefficiencies saving you both time and money. John Porrello, CEO of Priority Business Services, found such a system would; “…enable us to double our growth without having to hire a new back office employee.”

Finally, run your business ‘by the numbers.’ Your key performance indicators for your operations and your staff members should be measurable and actionable. This is the difference between so-so and stellar performance. As one CEO of a multi-office staffing firm once told me, “Instead of seeing a report of the business metrics which are a week old due to a manual, time-intensive process, we see what is happening right now.”

TWO: Build Long-Term Value

Building a staffing or recruiting company is somewhat like building a well-performing stock portfolio for your retirement. Strategically, you don’t focus on next month; you focus on consistent performance over a long period. By making your portfolio choices based on that, odds are that you can rest easy in its long-term performance.

Likewise, your staffing and recruiting “portfolio” should focus on delivering similar long-term performance and value. Jim Childs, Partner of Childs Company, a long-term veteran of the staffing industry as a CEO and investment banker, has five strategies for value building:

  1. Develop niche leadership. “Niche staffing and recruiting companies are always more valuable than generalist companies,” Childs says. Niche leadership means that your business is the “go-to” business in its service area or specialty.
  2. Focus on specialties and higher gross margins. Childs points out that, “The specialty players can have gross margins well over 30 percent due to their specialty focus and their mix of permanent placement revenue.”
  3. Avoid customer concentration. Childs notes that having a big account can be “a high-class problem to have. The trick is to create urgency in the organization to build around this anchor account.”
  4. Build a deep management team. Drive customer decisions as far down the chain-of-command as possible. Childs says, “It’s vital to build a deep management team that can drive the business so that it is not overly dependent on one or two people, including the owner.”
  5. Keep building real client relationships. Childs suggests that you avoid indirect business such as being a second-source supplier. “Over time, your model needs to have deep, long-term client relationships to really get a premium in the marketplace.”

THREE: Stick to Your Business and Invest in Your Staff

What, exactly, is your business? Nothing is more important than how you clearly define the very specific core competencies that are at the heart of why you are in the staffing and recruiting business. Yes, you can say with pride that your core business is ‘finding and putting people to work.’ But there should be more specificity to it.

If you haven’t done so already, write down your business purpose – your mission. Analyze what it means and what it takes to support your staffing and recruitment mission successfully. Let’s say that your mission statement is “We find and place financially trained and skilled employees into temporary contract assignments and direct-hire placements with Fortune 1000-level businesses.”

You would then list everything you must do to support your mission. Things like recruiting financial talent through the best college and university accounting programs and networking with local financial associations. Then make a second list that includes everything else you have to do that doesn’t really support the mission; like cleaning the office or doing data backups.

The point is that you must focus yourself and your team on your core competencies. That means that everything not central to the success of your business – that second list – are things that you should eliminate, streamline or outsource.

For example, you can outsource areas of your business operations such as your information technology infrastructure — your staffing or recruiting software. This is gaining growing acceptance with Software as a Service (SaaS) subscription-based services or Managed Services Programs (MSP). Pam Plasky, Vice President of Operations for Ryan Alternative Staffing, observed that, “Traditionally, we’re ‘old school’ in that we wanted complete control over our data. Now, in retrospect, I’d say that MSP is the only way to go. It cuts IT costs and many of the headaches of IT management for us – while handing over accountability for our bread-and-butter software and servers to a trusted partner, Bond. Most importantly, MSP gives us more freedom to do what we do best, helping our customers and putting people to work.”

Similarly, you could also outsource staffing operational activities such as payroll and W2 forms processing. While not every such strategic initiative may be right for your business, it pays to look at the potential opportunities to reduce your operating costs while maintaining or improving service delivery.

Finally, recognize that your own staff members are looking to you for leadership.

That’s right, your staffing and recruiting team is looking to YOU for reasons to out-perform the competition. According to surveys by the American Staffing Association, the average turnover of staffing firm staff personnel is nearly 50 percent. Yet reducing your own internal staff turnover and increasing their level of satisfaction can generate big returns.

How much of a return? One survey conducted by the Gallup organization found that business organizations where employees have high satisfaction rates delivered 38% higher customer satisfaction scores, 22% higher productivity, and 27% higher profits.

What can you do to improve your own staff’s satisfaction-based performance?

First, develop a strong staff employee retention program around continuous training and other tactics that generate one response from your employees, “The pay ain’t bad, and they treat me great!”

In many workplace surveys done the past several decades, it was shown that employees placed a higher value on appreciation for their work and feeling that their work and role was important than on real wages. Thus, the training and retention program you put into practice reveals the value you place on your own staff. Your investment in their careers and development creates a sense of appreciation, motivation, loyalty, and understanding of their importance to the success of the firm that delivers huge paybacks.


Continuous improvement at both the organizational and personal level is the key to efficient profitability in your staffing and recruitment businss. To building value by doing more with less. So that you and your team members aren’t each feeling like a one man band.

W. Edwards Deming, the statistician credited for helping Japanese businesses become world leaders in quality, performance and profitability, once said, “Long-term commitment to new learning and new philosophy is required of any management that seeks transformation. The timid and the fainthearted, and the people that expect quick results, are doomed to disappointment.” (READ MORE>)

Perceptive staffing and recruiting agency business owners and managers will take those words to heart and reap both financial and satisfaction rewards.


If you would like to talk to Bond about how our solutions can improve your business value, CLICK or give us a call at 800-318-4983 today. We’re here to help you succeed.

Is The Facebook Job Board The End Of Staffing As We Know It?

REM sings “It’s the End of the World as We Know It.” Depending upon whom you ask, it’s an appropriate song for both staffing agencies slow to adapt to social media, and competing social platforms, to listen to while pondering the recent launch of Facebook’s new job board, the Social Jobs Partnership.

For most agencies, the adoption of social media – in some capacity – is already part of staffing efforts.  The Social Jobs Partnership will likely have only moderate impact, as savvy agencies look for any edge they can to create better connections within a network of nearly 900 billion potential candidates.

Significantly impacted, however, will be those staffing agencies that have made minimal strides into social media.  These agencies, some of whom may not even yet have a dedicated Facebook page, will likely feel the ground move beneath their feet as they must take the advice to ‘get started with social media yesterday’ almost literally.

Another organization that will likely feel the world they know start to end, again – dependent on whom you ask – is LinkedIn.  As staffing agencies optimize their Facebook presence, questions surrounding LinkedIn’s relevance are beginning to surface.   LinkedIn’s base of 175 million college educated users varies significantly from Facebook.  However Facebook’s voluminous user base allows an almost unprecedented ability for demographic segmentation.

For example, even though only 22 percent of Facebook’s members are older than 45 years of age it equates to nearly 220 million people – more than LinkedIn’s entire network. Facebook’s Social Jobs Partnership is also proving initially successful at recruiting lower-skilled workers.  This could be a starting point for Facebook’s eventual movement upstream, which may reduce LinkedIn’s market share in the process.  Note that LinkedIn’s distinct advantage, ie, its ability to support connections with more highly educated job candidates, is unlikely to change.

Ultimately, Facebook’s Social Jobs Partnership is a game changer within the staffing industry that provides agencies and competing platforms with a tremendous opportunity to move their world ahead – or see their world start to end – depending on how they adapt. For staffing agencies, success, more than ever before, will be contingent on how one of the biggest social networks ever created is blended into a holistic and optimized recruitment strategy.

For more information on the battle between LinkedIn and Facebook I encourage you to read a white paper my company developed several weeks before the launch of the Facebook Social Jobs Partnership, LinkedIn Updates vs. Facebook’s Jobs Board: What You Need to Know.

Stop The Syncing – 5 Steps to Unplugging This Holiday Season

phonesI usually get a little sentimental around this time of year. I think about the days of having just one phone in the house, that was attached to the wall. My mother bought an egg timer to try and cut down on how long we would spend chatting with school friends we had just seen not 30 minutes prior in class. Moving in to adulthood, I swore off getting a cell phone for years. Why did someone need to get in touch with me no matter where I was? Why did I need to make myself that accessible I thought. It wasn’t until around 2003 that I begrudgingly move in to the world of mobile phones.

Think about how much phones have changed even in the last 10 years. A Blackberry was really the only device you could use in 2002 that you could also view your e-mails on. Never mind having apps of any kind! Now you can pretty much work from your phone should you need or choose too. I use my phone for e-mail, for my calendar, my shopping list, playing music and beating my family members in Wordfeud! I feel lost without it!

Being ‘in touch’ and accessible is great right? Or is it. If you are in business today you probably check your e-mails on your phone throughout the day. But do you ever truly switch off? Do those e-mails still coming through at 8, 9 or even 10 at night get checked and even responded to in your ‘off hours’? We all have deadlines to meet, and there are times when we might be expecting a critical e-mail, but all work and no LIFE makes Jack a dull boy.

Use your phone to your advantage. With the holiday season right around the corner, what better time is there to evaluate how much time you are spending with your device. Here are a few suggestions on how ease up on your cell phone usage and get back to what is important in life after work, your family and friends. I have an Android device, so any app suggestions are from Google Play, but no doubt you can find the same or similar in the iPhone app store, BlackBerry App World and other app libraries.

  1. E-mails: – yes, by all means set up your work e-mail to come through on your phone. Your job may even require it. But, if you work at your desktop or laptop all day, do you really need the notifications on your phone at the same time? It doesn’t make sense does it! Instead, set your sync schedule to manual so you are making a forced, conscious effort to check your e-mail each time. Alternatively you can set a peak schedule to only have your e-mail sync on certain days at certain times as needed. Great to have them stop in the evening so you can actually switch off, unwind and spend quality time at home.
  2. Silence Those Noises: – so let’s say you ignore my last suggestion. Megan you say, I can’t possibly NOT have my e-mails coming through. Or, you do make that change, but still have a million other things on your phone making notification noises (Twitter, Facebook, Games etc.). Sleep is the number 1 thing that can help us achieve great health, success and give us energy throughout the day. Make sure you have the sound turned down on your phone at night. A great app I use is Timeriffic. This allows me to set different profiles for when I am at home, working in the office, or at the weekends. You can also determine which sounds to turn up or down, which allows for important calls to make it through and ring, but all other notifications to remain silent. I can also turn Wifi on and off at certain times should I choose. Set it all once, and don’t think about it again!
  3. Leave Your Phone: – I am not talking about leaving it at the bar, just leave it in a different room every once in a while. If you have twitchy fingers and always want to be checking your phone, make a conscious effort to leave it upstairs while you are eating dinner or watching T.V. downstairs. How many times have you been out for a meal with someone that leaves their phone right next to them? Doesn’t make you feel all that important does it? Your partner or kids might be feeling the same. So, make an effort, even if it is just for an hour before you dash upstairs to check it again!
  4. Moderate The Notifications – moderate the number of apps that you set up to have notifications sent. Perhaps I need to heed my own advice on this one. I just checked and I have notifications for the following: TweetDeck, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, Wordfeud, Google Talk, WhatsApp, Skype, LinkedIn, Google+, Gmail and of course regular e-mail and calendar events. Ding, ding, ding! That is all I hear sometimes. So, be ruthless and decide which apps you NEED to get notifications from, and which you can live without.
  5. Implement a ‘no cell phone’ day in your house. Even if you turn off all apps, and only accept phone calls, the chance to un-chain yourself from the device can make a huge difference. Take out a board game, go see a movie, or heaven forbid – talk to someone face to face! 🙂

I think a time when I felt most liberated from my cell phone was during a week long cruise a few years ago. Both my husband and I turned off our phones as soon as we boarded the ship. It was fantastic! I hope during this holiday season you are able to relax, turn off your phone and just enjoy spending time with loved ones. Would love to hear your comments or any more ideas we can all implement. Share them below!