Staffing companies need to transform their delivery model to stay competitive in a post-pandemic landscape. The staffing model has become highly homogenized and ripe for disruption, while the rise of solopreneurs and workforce dispersal across multiple talent supply channels and on-demand platforms has given customers more options to find contractors.

Yet the sheer volume of choices of talent technology to source, engage, select and hire talent leaves the majority overwhelmed and indecisive as to the best path forward. The staffing provider that steps up to build a robust, integrated tech stack that delivers a seamless talent experience — the real secret sauce — will dominate.

The key to sourcing, engaging, hiring, developing and retaining high-quality, cost-effective talent is the right end-to-end technology ecosystem. We’ve been working with SASR Workforce Solutions (SASR), a retail staffing firm, on its own digital transformation from a heavily manual process technology stack to a truly automated process. I’d like to share some takeaways from the experience.

The Journey: Manual to Automated

Although the technology providers selected by SASR — Phenom People and Wurknow — are not integrated partners, they are collaborating extensively from discovery and solution design to custom APIs to ensure a seamless end-to-end solution. And with today’s exploding talent tech market, agility and customization often wins over a one-size-fits-all, out-of-the-box approach.

SASR’s goal is to cut through the noise of the “apply at volume approach” and deliver what job seekers want, when they want it, by using AI and technology to offer an intuitive, curated and dynamic experience to get the candidate to their next step as quickly as possible, explains Bradley Cooper, associate director for systems administration of SASR.

SASR’s transformation is complex. Moving from a fragmented technology stack that includes 10-plus different talent management/recruitment systems to an integrated digital solution without disrupting current clients and candidates requires unparalleled technology support and communication among stakeholders. Fortunately for SASR, this is an area both Phenom and Wurknow prioritize.

“SASR has long taken a tech-forward approach; they are betting on the fact that digital staffing and deployment platforms will be the future of how hourly is done,” says TJ Sehmi, co-founder and CTO of Wurknow.

A great talent experience translates to decreased time to fill as well as better employee engagement and retention rates. And whoever can consistently deliver high-quality, cost-effective talent on time — every time — wins.

“Companies that harness AI and automation to provide exceptional experiences throughout the talent lifecycle have a distinct advantage reaching and retaining top candidates today,” says Mahe Bayireddi, co-founder and CEO of Phenom. “The right technology can actually humanize the talent experience with more meaningful, personalized communication and opportunities.”

PREMIUM CONTENT: Workforce Solutions Ecosystem 2021 Update

Success Factors

For staffing providers looking to undergo their own digital transformation, here are some tips:

Prior technology. Recognize the value of the previous technology the company was successful with and is synonymous with through a transparent and regular communication strategy, Cooper says.

Seats at the table. From the outset, involve not only the key decision makers, but ask end users to participate and weigh in on those products as well. Regular involvement of the day-to-day users is critical in developing product champions within the peer groups in the organization.

Consider phased implementation. “Our phased implementation allows for smaller doses of change, which in turn makes it easier to communicate the value of these changes,” Cooper says.

Partnership. “Never underestimate the power of a true partnership,” Bayireddi says. “The vendors you’re working with should have a clear understanding of the problems you’re trying to solve and your ultimate vision for scalability and profitability. All parties must be willing to work together to create a holistic strategy that sees the project through onboarding, configuration, launch, user adoption and strategic iterations.”

Define “transformation.” Too often, staffing firms struggle with what the word “transformation” means to them. “Digital transformation doesn’t always mean a wholesale change in the way that you operate,” says Wurknow’s Sehmi. “It’s more about digitally ‘enhancing’ the way you operate so your team can provide the right level of personal touch to your employees and customers.”

The time is now to take more market share with the right strategy. The total non-traditional workforce (gig workers, IC, contractors) is a $4.3 trillion global industry with an expected growth rate of 38% over the next 10 years. The staffing providers that will thrive five years from now will be the ones who help customers adjust to this radically altered workforce landscape and provide comprehensive talent acquisition and management solutions with a seamless end-to-end experience.

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