Have a recruiting or staffing agency employee retention problem? Here are four tips to help solve it.

Reducing your agency employee turnover is a leadership responsibility.

reduce employee turnover with Bond Adapt recruiting softwareEarly in November I had the opportunity to facilitate a roundtable discussion on staffing and recruiting agency salesperson retention and development at the TechServe Alliance Conference in Las Vegas. Needless to say, my inner nerd was pretty stoked about the opportunity considering that my dissertation topic is on salesperson retention and training in the staffing industry. I came ready to discuss four key areas on the topic but the discussion was so vibrant that our table never made it past the first area of discussion. Before we knew it, our table was the last one left in the room and we had to get back to the convention. Given the passionate discussion, I thought it would be a great idea to share the “rest of the story” with you.

When looking at the issue of voluntary turnover (where your people leave your organization), the associated costs are stark. Depending on where you look, the cost of turnover can be two to three times the annual salary of the person you hired. Data from various industry sources indicates that staffing industry show turnover ranges from 30-60%. Those numbers, even on the low end, represent a huge waste of resources. In the face of such high turnover, many staffing and recruiting agencies have implemented initiatives to fix the problem. While implementing these initiatives is a good idea, they must address the following four core areas in order to be effective: managerial/leadership training, proper candidate selection, employee empowerment, and employee development.

First, focus on staffing and recruiting leadership and management.

If your staffing or recruiting agency has a turnover problem, perhaps the most cost effective way to fix it is to focus on the leadership/management tier. As the saying goes, people join companies and leave their managers. That saying is backed up by research which points to managerial issues being ranked as two of the top five reasons an employee leaves a firm. Additionally, research has shown that leadership training pays huge dividends when it comes to employee retention. I’ve been lucky in my career not to have to deal with poor leadership but the vast majority of employees don’t have that luxury. Employees rely on their managers to provide the vision and live the mission and values of the company. A critical component of your turnover mitigation initiatives has to focus on making sure your leadership is armed with the tools to retain your best people. Focusing on training at the leadership level is among the most consequential investments you can make and one of the most likely to dramatically change the direction of your organization.

Second, select staffing and recruiting employees systematically.

A second piece of the “solving turnover” puzzle has to do with employee selection. When it comes to selecting recruiters or staffing and recruiting salespeople, it is critical that companies use a systematic approach to selection. Whether you are looking for a hunter or farmer personality, you must understand the core skills and competencies of each role and evaluate that throughout the interview process. Additionally, incorporating a diagnostic tool like the Predictive Index, LSI, or other personality assessment should be a central element of your selection process. Furthermore, it is crucial that you use a team/panel interview format AND that one person on the team is tasked with putting the candidate on the spot in order to assess how well they perform under pressure. Lastly, there needs to be consensus on the team. Before bringing someone into the team, you should have wide agreement on the panel that the candidate fits your organization from both a competency and cultural standpoint.

Third, empower your employees to solve business problems.

A third and often forgotten element of the “solving turnover” puzzle is the issue of employee empowerment. The level of employee empowerment is directly related to leadership style. The amount of freedom that an employee has on the team depends on the level of control exercised by the leadership. This is where leadership training can play an important role in empowering employees. Team leads should always be looking at how they can get the most out of their people and the best way to get positive results is to get out of the way. If the goal is to retain top talent, leaders must recognize that the team they put together must be given the freedom to reach goals their own way. No top-tier employee will want to stay with a team where there is no freedom to be creative in solving business problems. Similarly, it’s up to leaders to empower employees with the facilities, resources, and tools – such as world-class staffing and recruiting software – necessary to perform their jobs. This reinforces to employees the importance and value of their contributions to solving business problems successfully.

Fourth, don’t neglect employee development.

Lastly, once you have the three other pieces in place, you need to make sure that the people you have within your staffing or recruiting agency are being developed. Employee development isn’t just about having a career path; it’s about creating and giving opportunities to move a person’s career forward. In a very general sense, it means creating the opportunity for the employee to drive the direction of the company. In order to do this effectively, you must first know what the employee is passionate about and then empower them to come up with ideas that improve the company from a systems or processes. In the process of doing this, you’re assessing their ability to influence and lead and preparing them for the next step in their career. Even if you don’t have a defined career path, increasing the responsibilities the employee has goes a long way in developing them for future leadership.

Employee turnover, and more specifically voluntary turnover of your top talent, is a crushing problem to deal with. The most critical element of solving the problem is to be honest about addressing the core issues. When you look at organizations with high turnover, you can almost always find significant challenges at the managerial and leadership levels. Fixing problems at the leadership level and then working down from there provides a workable roadmap for turnaround.


Staffing and recruiting sales growing faster than the economy

The staffing and recruiting industry is in the midst of many changes.

The introduction of the Affordable Care Act and relatively steady, but slow, economic growth over the past few years is creating an interesting landscape on which recruiters are having to traverse. As a result, professionals are having to count on more operationally efficient tools like recruiting software and staffing software to appropriately deal with increases in contingent hiring and employment ups and downs.

The negative hiring effects of the recession are decreasing

Economic indicators are showing that the negative effects of the recession are slowly receding. The unemployment rate has declined about 2.5 percentage points since its peak during 2009 and other economic cycles are showing signs of a jobs recovery, according to Monster. While there is still political gridlock and economic conditions keeping hiring at low rate of growth, productivity games have been made.

“The huge productivity gains we were seeing a year or two ago have pretty much evaporated,” said Bernard Weinstein, an economist at Southern Methodist University’s Cox School of Business in Dallas, according to the source. “If we can’t squeeze much more productivity out of current workers, then we have to hire more workers.”

Changes in the marketplace will have a positive impact on the economy in the future. Current conditions are indicating to economists that hiring will pick up soon and recent interviews of large employers in the U.S. confer. According to a Yoh survey, four out of five large organizations plan to hire as many or more new workers in 2013 as they did in 2012. Out of those who reported that they would be hiring in 2013, 50 percent expect to increase their workforce between 3 and 5 percent. Another 22 percent of companies are planning to increase the number of workers they have on the payroll between 6 and 9 percent.

“The economy was depressed for a long time, so the potential is there for hiring,” said Farrokh Hormozi, an economist and chair of the Public Administration Department at Pace University in New York City.

Changing sales picture in the staffing industry

The recession seemed to have had one positive outcome – sales in the staffing industry picked up. According to the American Staffing Association, the industry’s sales losses in 2009 were the largest ever – despite increases in temporary and contract employment in some sectors. However, this quickly turned around in 2010, when companies begun implementing more strategic hiring plans to deal with the effects of the recession, instead of simply reacting and using mass layoffs to control the budget.

In 2010, sales increased 21.3 percent to $87.4 billion and by 2011 sales rose another 12.4 percent – bringing industry sales to $98.3 billion. Just a year later, staffing and recruiting professionals were able to celebrate a good year once again when sales in 2012 increased by 6.6 percent in a year-over-year comparison to $104.8 billion.

According to Staffing Industry Analysts, growth did slow down in some sectors, yet search and placement peaked and continued to grow. U.S. staffing industry sales reached $117 billion in 2012 – a 6.5 percent increase in a year-over-year comparison. As the economy has improved , the staffing and recruiting industry has met each positive movement two-fold. Temporary and contract positions are being offered at increased rates, which is leading many staffing professionals scrambling to implement new procedures to deal with the workflow. This trend is expected to continue in the next few years, which is why it’s crucial for professionals to invest in the staffing software made to handle the influx.

How Mobile Technology is Changing the Staffing and Recruiting Industry

The world of mobile technology has taken off, which is impacting a wide variety of industries.

how-mobile-technology-is-changing-the-staffing-and-recruiting-industry_897_521258_0_14089939_500-150x150According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, 91 percent of adults own a cell phone, 56 percent of Americans own a smartphone and 34 percent own a tablet computer. Another 26 percent of American adults own an e-reader. It’s easy to say that mobile technology is taking off, but how is this change impacting the staffing and recruiting industry?

Introduction of mobile-ready technology solutions

More staffing and recruiting firms are beginning to support the inclusion of mobile-ready recruiting software and practices in everyday ways. The faux pas of keeping a cell phone out during a meeting or on a desk has been erased in many work environments. According to a 2012 survey from CareerXroads titled, “The Evolving World of Mobile Recruiting,” more than half (about 54 percent) of staffing companies are now providing or subsidizing their recruiters and hiring managers’ mobile phones as an important business expense. In addition, nearly four in five (79 percent) of recruiting companies are conducting mobile-related staffing practices to better connect with job seekers – prospects and candidates. That’s up from 68 percent in the first CareerXroads mobile recruiting survey conducted in December 2011.

Other recruiting software technologies are becoming mobile accessible to better promote efficient practices. Staffing and recruiting software is now being made to promote greater usability with an intuitive web-browser interface which is mobile accessible. Staffing professionals can target the recruiting software solutions they want to access with a few finger swipes and a click of a button on a smartphone or tablet for streamlined production. Increase productivity and boost success with a variety of mobile-ready tools that are designed with a staffing professional’s responsibilities in mind.

Making job posts accessible to mobile users

Staffing and recruiting professionals are hardly blind to the growing mobile trend, which is why more and more jobs are being posted online on mobile-friendly sites and applications. Developers are creating mobile applications that make it easy for users to search and apply for jobs from their smartphones or tablets.

“Job searching is very ‘transactional,” said Vasu Nagalingam, senior product director for Consumer at Monster. “Job seekers typically visit job boards at frequent intervals for new jobs. The mobile-savvy audience is discovering their mobile phone to be the perfect channel for this type of behavior. Supporting these changes is critical to maintaining a healthy candidate pipeline.”

Nagalingam went on to say that the next generation of workers will find the ability to apply for jobs or research potential positions right from their mobile devices especially appealing.

“The emerging workforce is a popular group of mobile Internet users,” he said. “Employers who want to target this emergent workforce should review their recruitment plans and incorporate mobile recruitment strategies to increase their recruiting efficiency.”

Mobile recruiting is changing everything about the way staffing professionals find and research qualified candidates for positions. Candidates can fill out portfolio questions, take personality questionnaires for preemptive testing and provide sample work right from their mobile devices. Smartphones and tablets even allow for recruiters to use video conferencing and recorded interviews to be embedded in staffing software and recruiting software personnel databases for later review. Recruiting software and technology is continuing to advance and change the way recruiters handle day-to-day tasks; a professional needs to stay mindful of this, while remembering key drivers behind the industry – strategic and personable staffing that achieves results.

Part-time hiring increases

Staffing and recruiting professionals who are examining the job market may want to consider the various factors impacting the nation’s economy before becoming disheartened.

There has been a lot of news lately about the negative or lackluster jobs report that was released just last week. Yet, it’s important to consider the various conditions that are slowing the hiring market. After all, simply paying attention to the symptoms and ignoring the causes will hardly allow a staffing professional to remain ahead of the curve, invest in proper systems like staffing software and recruiting software and stay aware of the factors that could impact their job.

Part-time work increases

Many people are unaware that businesses are hiring at a robust rate. Unfortunately, 75 percent of the nearly 1 million hires made this year are for part-time jobs and many of these jobs are low paying, reported NBS News. This lack of robust hiring often makes workers question whether the market will ever recover or if this is the new market they will have to traverse to find work.

Industries that traditionally pay their workers less or rely on part-time employees, like retail and food services, are driving most of the hiring. Some employers, regardless of industry, believe that the reliance on part-time workers is the new trend because it offers greater flexibility. If the economy picks up, then employers are able to increase the number of full-time workers on the payroll. However, if the economy remains sluggish, then keeping a staff comprised of mostly part-time workers will decrease operational costs.

“Us and other people are hiring part-time because we don’t know what the costs are going to be to hire full-time,” said Steven Raz, founder of Cornerstone Search Group, a staffing firm in Parsippany, New Jersey, according to the news source. “We are being cautious.”

One of the major operational costs that has employers concerned is healthcare. The Affordable Healthcare Act has many employers waiting to see what costs are going to be added to their budgets before hiring anymore employees. Many staffing firms serving a wide range of industries have seen this trend. Raz told NBC News that his company started seeing a rise in the number of part-time positions it was filling in late 2012. Over the past year, his firm has seen an increase between 10 and 15 percent in a year-over-year comparison.

“They have put some of the full-time positions on hold and are hiring part-time employees so they won’t have to pay out the benefits,” said Client Staffing Solutions’ Darin Hovendick, according to the news source. “There is so much uncertainty. It’s really tough to design a budget when you don’t know the final cost involved.”

Employers use caution in hiring

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people working part-time involuntarily – because their hours were cut or they can’t find full-time jobs – is 7.9 million. That is an increase of 75 percent from 4.5 million in August of 2007. Employers are cautious about increasing the number of full-time workers they have on staff. Recent research suggests that by creatively using a combination of full-time and part-time staff, a business can thrive and even the part-time workers may be able to succeed. The difference between successful part-time worker implementation and an unhappy staff is the creation of flexible scheduling that allows for the hours on the clock to work within a person’s other jobs. The Daily Beast reported that capacity is still required to conduct business, which is why many offices are relying on a patchwork of part-time workers.

“As organizations and companies reduce the hours of part-time workers, they still have to replace the capacity, so they go out and hire additional part-time workers,” said Philip Noftsinger, president of CBIZ Payroll in Roanoke, Virginia, which manages payroll for more than 5,000 small businesses, according to NBC News.

Employers who have been focused on supporting employee financial health, yet are not hiring full-time workers, are often using creative scheduling to allow individuals the ability to hold second jobs. After all, it’s difficult to support a family on a single part-time paycheck.

“The difference between 30 and 40 hours can be the difference between being able to make ends meet month-to-month,” Heidi Shierholz, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, told the news source. “That contributes to reduced living standards for American families and translates into having less income to spend on goods and services, which holds back the economy.”

Weak economy hinders hiring

Many employers report that when the nation’s economy returns to pre-recession levels they will increase hiring and switch back to a greater full-time staff, according to The Daily Beast. But until that happens, staffing professionals will be increasingly working to fill part-time or contract work roles. To manage the different scheduling and placement of part-time workers, the right recruiting software will need to be utilized while uncertainty remains.

Business owners like Jason Holstine, who owns a building supply store in Baltimore, Maryland, are reluctant to take on full-time staff when the economy is so uncertain.

“We are still working in an environment that is very hard to forecast the near future and remains very cash-constrained,” said Holstine, according to the news source. “We were always nimble, but we had to become more reactive. Using part-timers gives us more flexibility.”

Employers learned during the recession that those companies with lean operations were the ones that were better able to withstand the perils of a weak economy. By creating a workforce comprised of part-time workers, companies are better able to increase and decrease staff numbers depending on their needs during a given quarter. A nimble staffing and recruiting software solution will allow recruiters to adjust to client needs.

“Private employers are either able to make more money with fewer employees or have been able to make more money without hiring additional employees,” said Sageworks analyst Libby Bierman. “The lesson learned for businesses during the recession was to have lean operations.”

Weak Jobs Report Not the End of the World for Motivated Staffing and Recruiting Professionals

For motivated staffing and recruiting professionals, a weak job market may make the hiring and candidate sourcing process a bit more bumpy, but hardly impossible.

Those professionals who are outfitted with the latest in efficient staffing software and recruiting software solutions will be able to leverage traditional skills and digital tools to locate and promote the best candidates for clients.

After three weeks, the federal government’s shutdown finally ended. Now, reports and data that were stalled due to furloughed employees and decreased operations are out. The latest jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor paints a less than stellar picture of the current economy. However, market experts believe that all this should turn around now that the confusion and worries revolving around the threat of a government shutdown dissipate.

Employment numbers still moving forward

According to September’s jobs report, which was delayed two weeks because of the government shutdown, total nonfarm employment increased by 148,000 for the month and the unemployment rate remained relatively unchanged at 7.2 percent. The industries with the greatest growth for the month of September were construction, wholesale trade, and transportation and warehousing.

Despite grumblings about disappointing employment growth by many, it’s important to note that jobs are being added each month. This is positive news, while the number of jobs available is not growing by leaps and bounds, it is still moving in a positive direction. The unemployment rate may have changed little in a month-over-month comparison, but it has decreased 0.4 percentage points since June of this year.

Most of the disappointment from the jobs report seems to stem from greater expectations, as economists surveyed by Bloomberg News believed that 180,000 jobs would have been added during September.

“The employment report released this morning showed that the economic recovery continued its moderate pace during September,” said Robert Murphy, associate professor of economics, Boston College, according to ABC News. “Of course, the latest report is based on data from before the government shutdown and debt-crisis brinkmanship, and so to gauge any possible fallout from those events we must await the October numbers.”

Sectors with the greatest increases in employment included construction, which added 20,000 jobs, wholesale trade, which rose by 16,000 and transportation and warehousing, which added 23,000 jobs during the month of September, according to the jobs report. Both the civilian labor force participation rate, at 63.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio at 58.6 percent, were unchanged in September. Over the course of the year, the labor force participation rate has declined by 0.4 percentage points, while the employment-population ratio has changed very little overall.

Employment in professional and business services also improved. The jobs report shows that positions that fit within this sector rose by 32,000 in September. This is a slight decrease from its average monthly growth of 52,000 over the previous 12 months.

Lindsey Piegza, chief economist for Sterne Agee, believes that the delayed release date of the jobs report makes the information a lot less meaningful, reported ABC News.

“Of course, an outsized decline will almost certainly be blamed on the government shutdown, but the jobs market has been losing steam since the start of the year, well before the government shutdown was even being considered,” Piegza said.

Jobs data may impact feds stimulus

The weakness seen in the September hiring figures and the complications from the federal government shutdown are expected to further delay the Federal Reserve’s decision to adjust the stimulus programs, reported The New York Times.

“The labor market lost, rather than gained, momentum over the summer, leaving us with less than a desirable cushion just as the government was shuttered in response to political shenanigans,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, according to the news source.

The Fed has been attempting to stimulate the economy the past few years with a variety of tactics. The New York Times reported that most of the fiscal policies have had little positive effect, which is why the agency was waiting for a positive jobs report.

“The Fed’s core criteria to change policy is clear evidence of a sustained improvement in the labor market outlook,” Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, wrote in a note to clients, according to the news source. “Such evidence will not be available this year because the shutdown depressed employment in October and then probably caused a corresponding bounce back in November.”

What does this mean for staffing and recruiting professionals?

With the pace of employment growth in September slower than the average rate experienced over the course of the previous year, which was 185,000 jobs per month, staffing and recruiting professionals may find themselves being inundated with resumes from workers and clients looking to use contract employees or temps to fill roles. The job market has hardly demonstrated stability, yet the slight and steady growth does provide some hope. Recruiting professionals must use this time to demonstrate to clients that they understand the market pressures and can use creative staffing solutions to meet needs. Recruiters may find themselves working hard to demonstrate the operational efficiency of their services and how professional staffing solutions are cost effective than in-house hiring.

By leveraging the use of staffing and recruiting software with traditional industry skills, a staffing professional will be better able to demonstrate to clients that he or she is the answer to many hiring problems. As the federal government works to create new stimulus programs and increase jobs with its tools, staffing professionals can boost the economy as well by promoting the use of creative staffing solutions to meet clients’ needs. After all, happy clients that are showing positive growth will require more workers in the future.

Four Steps Proven to Bring in New Business

New client acquisition is the lifeblood of any business, but especially so for growing staffing and recruiting companies.

Research has shown that a 10% customer attrition rate is typical for most companies; most of that at no fault of the company. Over a ten year period, a company can stand to lose their entire client base if they choose to do nothing about it.

Considering that new client acquisition is such a critical component to the health of a business, what are some of the things you can do to insure that the pipeline of new clients continues to flow? Generally speaking, every company should utilize a combination of active and passive methods in generating new clients. Passive methods involve things like marketing and advertising that direct traffic to you. Unfortunately, passive efforts take time to generate results so there should always be an active component to your efforts at generating new business. This is where your sales team comes into play.

Here are some of the strategies and tactics that were effective for me in bringing new clients on board for the staffing and recruiting services we offered.

First, you need to be patient.

Taking the long view is critical when it comes to bringing new clients especially in staffing. Hiring managers get calls from account reps all day long so it’s going to take a while to get traction. Typically it took me 6-8 months to bring a client on from first contact. If you have an integrated marketing strategy, you may be able to shorten that time frame up a bit. In order to maximize your chances for success, you need to have a consistent strategy that incorporates both active and passive efforts. Here’s a great place to set up ticklers in your staffing and recruiting software to stay in touch.

Second, don’t be afraid to use “spies.”

Sun Tzu in the Art of War noted that what separated ordinary people from extraordinary people was the ability to cultivate information from their adversaries through the use of spies. Sun Tzu observed that if you were able to gain information about your adversaries’ motives, strategies, and tactics you held an advantage you could exploit. In staffing, your “spies” are the competitions’ working temps and consultants. Build strong relationships with them and they can often give you insights into new initiatives and projects. Being armed with the right candidate at the right time positions you to bring a new client into the fold before your competition is even aware of a role opening up.

Third, be asymmetrical in your approach to cold calling.

Every lesser competitor of yours is trying to work a 9-5 schedule. What you should do is concentrate your call blocks on “off” hours. I had the most success in getting my hiring managers on the phone from 7-8:15 am and after 5:30. If you can discipline yourself to call your key targets during those times, you should have excellent success in moving the ball forward and breaking accounts.

Lastly, take a marketers’ approach to your business.

What this means is that you have to think of multiple ways to get your name in front of a potential customer. You should be managing an active target list of at least 20 accounts and you should be reaching out to them consistently every 2-4 weeks. The all hands on deck approach works well here. Ideally, if you can combine marketing, with your calls, emails, and networking events, you should have a high degree of success.

When it comes to new client acquisition, there is a wealth of information out there on what your approach should be. Don’t be afraid to experiment and see what works. I consistently used these steps and it helped me bring on 19 clients in 27 months. An effective strategy paired with solid tactics and tools is a winning formula for success.


Bond’s new AdaptSuite Sales Studio can help your sales team perform better by helping them plan and execute winning sales strategies faster and easier!

Reserve your seat to attend a special AdaptSuite Sales Studio Webinar on December 4th at 2:00 PM EST


Improve staffing and recruiting efforts with key metrics tracked by recruiting software

Regardless of what industry you are in, you most likely understand that business is largely a numbers game. Numbers are everywhere, from tracking successes and failures to improving process operations and analyzing customer data. With all of these facts and figures running around, it would be foolhardy to think that the staffing and recruiting industry is no less a numbers game.

Now, with staffing and recruiting agencies that focus more on providing a consultative service rather than simply just access to a mass talent pool, the numbers become more critical. Successful staffing firms are tracking staffing metrics to understand a wide range of factors. The adoption of recruiting software has allowed recruiting professionals to gain access to necessary metrics faster than ever. Metrics allow staffing agencies to justify costs, show return on investments, predict hiring trends and even the potential success of certain candidates over others.

In the staffing industry, it’s hard to find anything more worth the recruiting software investment than hiring metrics. However, for the average staffing professional, it may be hard to truly understand where all these figures are coming from, how they are derived and what they mean.

Why should a staffing and recruiting firm use metrics?
Metrics in the staffing and recruiting industry can lead to a wide range of benefits. One of the greatest benefits is the advancement of the relationship between a recruiter and the hiring manager. Metrics and their proper application enable recruiters and hiring managers to align their objectives. In addition, figures allow for a staffing agency to prove credibility to current and potential clients. According to Qualigence International, recruiters are better able to display their understanding of an industry and whether they have appropriately achieved goals and objectives. With the help of recruiting software, a recruiter can enhance his or her ability to be actionable and effective in his or her role. Recruiting software and metrics allow an agency to generate internal benchmarks to better create performance standards and drive recruitment.

Three time periods most metrics cover in the staffing and recruiting industry
Understanding metrics begins at discovering what is being measured. According to, there are three time periods that metrics should cover so that staffing professionals get the most out of the numbers.

1) Historical metrics. Too often when a staffing company is talking about metrics, it is focusing on historical metrics. According to Dr. John Sullivan at, relying solely on historical metrics is a recipe for disaster. These metrics measure the events and data accrued in the last year and should not be used for real-time decision making because everything they tell a staffing professional has already occurred. These metrics are better used for trend analysis.

2) Real-time metrics. This type of metric allows a staffing professional to see what is going on as it is happening. This is helpful but could also cause potential problems. According to Sullivan, because real-time metrics occur for the most recent month or quarter, the figures could give a skewed glimpse of how the agency is performing. It’s best to remain aware, make slight adjustments and possibly look over how any changes in the economy or processes could be impacting the results.

3) Predictive metrics. Sullivan told, that although predictive metrics are very rarely used in the staffing industry, these figures could be the most important of all. By using these figures, a staffing agency may be able to determine what challenges it could face in the future or whether an opportunity is on the horizon. Staffing and recruiting professionals seeking to work proactively versus reactively should consider the merits of using predictive metrics in decision making.

Key staffing and recruiting metrics to track

1) Number of positions filled. This figure tracks the number of candidate applications accepted for a position by a client during a fiscal year. This number falls under the historical metrics category and often helps recruiting professionals determine employee turnover and total costs spent annually on new workers. A recruiting software system put in place can help track this process easily and help professionals determine how best to improve performance.

2) Retention. Depending on the staffing and recruiting organization you are working for and what part of the industry it services, it could be important to track employee retention for replacements. How long are workers placed at agencies staying? This is of course less applicable to recruiters who are providing professionals who work in contract positions with a set end date. However, if retention is a figure being used by your firm, make sure that it also includes voluntary versus involuntary talent turnover for workers on assignment that takes the month, quarter and year into account. In addition, measure average overall time of employment, average number of talent on site, and whether the number of onsite talent appreciates over time.

3) Position vacancy rates. Staffing and recruiting professionals are often used to find a worker for a position faster and cheaper than an in-house human resource office. This means that every day a position is left unfilled an agency may be losing future orders from the client. Vacancies impact corporate revenue for a staffing and recruiting firm as well as the client. As a result, it’s imperative to find a person for the position in a timely manner and to ensure that the average vacancy time is not lengthy. reported that it is a good idea to consider creating a standard vacancy rate so that recruiters have goals and benchmarks to measure their performance against.

At the end of the day staffing and recruiting professionals know that he/she who gets there first (with the right candidate/employee) – wins. Wisely using the reports and metrics possible through an advanced staffing and recruiting software system plays a crucial role in understanding and running operations that are consistently first.

Staffing Insights: Jon Osborne, VP of Research, Staffing Industry Analysts, on Key Staffing and Recruiting Trends

The staffing and recruiting industry seems to get hotter with each passing day. New reports and changing hiring trends show staffing and recruiting professionals servicing nearly every industry. From the rising percentage of contingent labor to businesses preparing for the Affordable Care Act, to increased automation and improved usage of recruiting software and staffing software, the staffing and recruiting industry is rapidly adapting to changing market dynamics in order to succeed.

Jon Osborne, Vice President of Research & Editorial at Staffing Industry Analysts, sat down with us recently to talk about current trends and the future of the industry. At Staffing Industry Analysts, Osborne leads a team of research analysts who create thoughtful insight into the staffing industry and provide access to market research. Let’s see what he has to say about key trends impacting the staffing and recruiting industry, and how recruiting and staffing software fits with key trends.

What’s a key trend impacting the staffing industry?
“Within the last several months, the proportion of jobs that are part time has spiked enormously. So far, 77 percent of jobs created this year were part time and that’s what making all the news. However, when we look at that [figure] over a longer period of time, while it’s still elevated, it’s hardly as impressive,” said Osborne. “More broadly, we have the lowest ratio of full-time employment as a percent of population since 1983, at about 47 percent, and the low-point then was only temporary. We’ve been at the 47 percent level for a few years now, since 2010, and I don’t know another period that it has been like that for as long.  All this may affect the types of assignments requested by buyers and generally is indicative of continued weakness in the job market.”

What are the benefits of a contingent labor force for businesses? 
Contingent labor provides flexibility to a business so that it may scale up or down as needed. This flexibility allows the company to make effective changes to the size of its labor force depending on the strength of the economy and market demands for its products and/or services. In fact, there are trend watchers who predict that by 2020, 40 percent of the U.S. population will be  acting as free agents.

“This last recession was a bit of a learning experience for a lot of companies,” said Osborne. “If a buyer had a significant portion of contingent labor then they were well able to absorb the shock of the economic downturn. Organizations that typically only employ full-time, salaried workers found it much more difficult to adjust as necessary and had to turn to layoffs. This is very disruptive to your labor force and to cut, for example, 5 percent of staff is demoralizing and also results in high outplacement costs. Having a small layer of contingent workers, even 5 to 10 percent, allows a business to protect its permanent layer of workers. Contingent workers don’t have an expectation of long-term employment. As a result, no one [in this employment situation] bets the farm on a contingent job and so there’s much less damage to morale if the economy takes a downturn and cuts to contingent staff have to occur.”

“The number of contingent workers is growing, we have been surveying larger companies since 2005 and we are seeing that organizations are continuing to grow the number of contingent staff. When we first started tracking [the percentage of contingent staff, it] was around 10 percent and now it is 16 percent and expected to grow to 18 percent by next year.”

What are the benefits of the contingent labor trend for workers?
The growing percentage of contingent jobs being offered is not only beneficial for businesses. Workers in industries that fall under the professional sector, like finance, healthcare and tech, are demonstrating that the trend is providing a number of benefits.

“On the worker side, there is a demand in professional work for flexibility and also for higher wages. People who work on a contingent basis in IT or healthcare are typically doing it for lifestyle reasons. You can make $80 an hour for a few months and then live in Bali for a few months, and pick up another gig when you’re ready,” said Osborne.

Obviously, the perks of the contingent trend are felt by more in-demand professions. Fields that require expert understanding of niche practices like those in the technology and healthcare sectors are providing professionals with access to more competitive advantages. Osborne went on to provide us with an example of careers with high and low demand and how the contingent labor trend is impacting employment in those fields.

“Occupational therapists have a very low unemployment rate. Employers are having such a difficult time finding quality workers for this field that staffing firms are tracking them from the moment they get accepted into a training program—before they’ve even taken a class; the wages for this job are high and the occupational therapist is able to set the terms. They choose when to work and employers pay more per hour,” said Osborne. “On the other end, clerical and office workers experience a more ‘try before you buy’ situation as companies like to hire temp workers to see if they are a good overall fit for the position. It’s hard to tell in an interview if the person is right for the job. So a three- to- six month contract provides a period of time to test the person’s fit.”

Why hire a staffing firm?
It’s not uncommon to hear detractors ask “what’s the point?” or “why do you need to hire them?” in reference to staffing firms. People often pose the question of whether it would be cheaper to handle hiring internally. However, despite these questions, there are many sound reasons and benefits to hiring a staffing or recruiting agency, such as access to leading recruiting and staffing software, to fill one or more positions in a company, especially contract or contingent employment positions, according to Osborne.

“Have you ever bought a sandwich? That’s just outsourcing a meal. [Staffing] is no different – it’s outsourcing at its finest,” he said. “As consumers, we outsource almost everything. We don’t build our own car or our own house. With staffing agencies, companies are turning toward a specialist who has mastered employment, turned it into a science and has been trained for the job – making the entire employment process faster and cheaper.”

Staffing Insights: Industry Consultant Amy Bingham on Staffing and Recruiting Trends Driving Business Decisions

The latest numbers are in and everyone is talking: The use of contingent labor is growing in force and workers and their employers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the change. This trend is causing more businesses than ever to invest in the services of staffing professionals equipped with the most advanced recruiting software.

We have Amy Bingham, managing partner and staffing industry consultant for Bingham Consulting Professionals, LLC, speaking with us today about the recent developments in the sector.

The increasing trend of contingent labor
News reports celebrating the increase in hiring are common. However, unlike in previous decades when the nation was recovering from an economic slip, the positions being created are not necessarily permanent, salaried work. Reuters reported that three out of four of the nearly 1 million hires made in 2013 were for part-time positions. This number represents a great opportunity to ensure that recruiters are as efficient as possible with the right recruiting software.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of adults employed part-time was 8.2 million in July 2013. While part-time and contingent labor are different, the increases in both categories indicate a growing trend toward greater employment flexibility in the marketplace.

“I think that one trend [in the staffing industry] is the increased use of contingent labor. The increased adoption of contingent labor services by employers is the result of skittish hiring due to the economy. This has resulted in a sluggish jobs picture, unemployment rates that remain stubbornly high and consumer confidence levels that are up one month and down the next,” said Bingham. “The adoption of the ACA is also increasing costs associated with hiring. All of these factors weigh heavily on employers and when they have the option to shift those costs to staffing agencies they do so, which has boded well for the industry in the past few years.”

Bingham continued on to say that “the staffing industry remains strong, but it is moderating. Most of the national firms have announced their revenue increases over the prior year are down in the low single digits. There is some leveling off, but that is to be expected relative to the wave the industry has been riding for the past few years.”

The adoption of managed services impacts the recruiting industry 
The increased use of contingent labor is not the only trend Bingham sees impacting the staffing industry. According to her observations, the widespread use of management services is also changing how business is conducted and the staying power of the staffing industry.

“Another trend impacting the industry is the widespread adoption of managed services and vendor management services, which continues to exert downward pressure on industry margins,” Bingham said. “I think that employers will continue to rely on the staffing industry to manage their labor costs. [It could be more cost-effective], for example, for a company to break one full-time position into two part-time jobs. I believe businesses will look to creative solutions to manage rising labor costs.”

Generational reactions differ on the switch
Like many things regarding the workplace, the different generations will have mismatched opinions and reactions to the growing presence of contingent labor.

“We will likely see more work being parsed out in contract type positions and project roles, and an increase overall in part-time employment. For an employee that is accustomed to holding a full-time job, it could be challenging to adjust to the evolution to more part-time work,” said Bingham. “I think that generally, Gen Y is not skittish, they are typically very confident and they look to work as a series of experiences. Instead of expecting to hold one full-time job for 20 years – they are much more open and will embrace the changes associated with an increasingly contingent workforce. Aging baby boomers who are looking for more flexibility will embrace this type of work as well. Gen X could be challenged as this group is in the throes of raising families and therefore will be more inclined to seek the stability of full-time employment.”

Changes in the marketplace impact staffing firms
All of the trends previously mentioned are impacting staffing professionals, but mostly on the reactionary front toward employment. However, in the recruiting world, agencies are also changing processes by increasing consolidation. One of the best ways to consolidate is utilizing the right recruiting software.

“I think we are going to continue to see more consolidation among staffing firms and more short-lists of preferred suppliers within their customer base which will increase competition,” Bingham told us. “In the next few years, we will likely see margin compression in professional staffing sectors that haven’t experienced this to the same extent the commercial staffing sector has. We are already seeing this in healthcare, and in industries like accounting, finance and IT. As a result, staffing firms will have to get smarter about how they deliver their services, using technology for virtual delivery models so that they can drive down their costs and reduce delivery costs.”

She continued on to say that “within staffing organizations, more staff training will be required as the market continues to change and the way they talk to buyers of staffing services requires adjustments to effectively take their message to market.”

The importance of selling the staffing service
As employers continue to tighten their figurative belts, it’s important for staffing agencies to perfect sales and operations tactics to gain clients and prove to customers the value of the service. By implementing the right recruiting software, staffing agencies are able to create value to pass onto their customers.

“The staffing industry understands first-hand how the employment landscape is changing, and it is more expensive to employ people today than in the past,” said Bingham. “[It’s therefore important to] craft the right message on a sales campaign and package that message correctly. Staffing firms will need to package their value propositions and take the company message to market in a way that resonates with employers.”

The recession taught many businesses how to make do with less and how to increase efficiency. As a result, it is the job of a staffing agency to prove how services can reduce operational expenses in the long term and show a return on investment.

“A staffing firm can be a significant enabler of workforce management for employers – even more so today,” Bingham said.

Four Tips for Staffing and Recruiting Sales Team Success

Sales Teams benefit with Bond Staffing Software

How do you go about developing a high-performance sales team?

It’s a challenge that many team leads in staffing face on a regular basis. One solution to this issue is handled at the organizational level with seminars or workshops that produce short term results but may not deliver meaningful long-term change. What is often missed is the powerful long-term impact of a strong coaching culture.

The performance impacts of coaching are a well-researched topic across a number of functional areas. Studies have shown that a strong internal coaching culture will increase employee satisfaction, performance, and retention. Given all of the benefits, it’s surprising that many staffing and recruiting firms don’t spend more time coaching their sales teams.

So what can you do to create a strong coaching culture and in turn improve your teams’ performance? It’s easier than you think:

First, you need to have a PHD.

No, it’s not what you think. By PHD, I mean you need to have ‘pig-headed-discipline’. Whatever path or system you put into place, you need to have the discipline at the management level to remain consistent and follow through. There is nothing worse than getting your team fired up about a new initiative only to forget about it two weeks later.

Second, focus on the numbers.

Any coaching effort in the sales context has to focus on the internal metrics. Your sales metrics will provide the foundation for the discussion. Having that foundation allows you to have a conversation about how you can help your team reach their individual and team goals. That’s what a good coach does; they help put their team in a position to succeed.

Third, be careful with contests.

Often, we think that the best way to boost performance is to have a sales contest. There is a lot of evidence that creating a contest-driven culture actually diminishes teamwork and in the long run won’t improve aggregate performance. As contests that focus on individual results can often lead to conflicts, set up contests that encourage team goals and rewards.

Fourth, be opportunistic.

Don’t think in terms of once-a-week meetings. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to coach and lead every day. Your efforts to create a coaching culture should be both a planned and spontaneous exercise.

These are just four of the things that have been successful for me. There are tons of other ideas and approaches that could work for you. The key thing to remember is to be consistent and use an “all-hands-on- deck” approach. Make sure to incorporate both planned and unplanned methods and certainly leverage your staffing and recruiting software technology to help deliver the message and the metrics. What’s worked for you?


Bond’s new AdaptSuite Sales Studio can help your sales team perform better by helping them plan and execute winning sales strategies faster and easier!

RESERVE your seat to attend a special AdaptSuite Sales Studio Webinar on December 4th at 2:00 PM EST