Company strategies are funny things. So much work can go into their development, only to have them sit on a shelf and never be implemented. Or, they can be so vague that no one really knows what to do with them. Worse, they can be talked about and pointed to, with no real effort to turn the strategy into execution, especially at the local, branch-office level.

Over the years, I’ve learned that in order for any strategy to work, particularly in staffing, it has to have a certain “stickiness.” This means that at some level — arguably, at all levels — the strategy has to have relevance and make sense to those implementing the strategy and thus, is easy to stick with.

Of course, it also has to be connected to a greater purpose and the real operations of the business, but in my mind, the key is the connection to the day-to-day operations. And in staffing, sometimes the operations at a local level can greatly affect the execution of the overall strategy. For example, is it OK if one office is working differently — or just two offices, or … what’s the breaking point? And when is a local strategy a better option and more acceptable than your overall company strategy?

Staff Buy-In

The key is that the strategy has to make sense all the way down to the people on the phones and the administrative help in the front office. Whether you have an operation that relies solely on metrics like the number of daily calls, or has a more results-oriented focus on the dollars generated, all staff must understand and buy into the strategy.

I’ve led local, regional and global organizations. Even with small groups of people, the local execution has a great impact on the strategy. Here are a few thoughts on how to increase the stickiness of your strategy in staffing, especially locally.

  • Localize your strategy. Within the guardrails of your larger strategy, create a local strategy that makes sense for your market. But don’t let them outside or even near the guardrails for any purpose. Once outside, it’s difficult to get them back in.
  • Or don’t localize your strategy. Conversely, you can let the strategy be the only strategy. This can work too, if you want to go the Starbucks route and create clones of your offices. But your strategy will have to be super sticky and easy to understand.
  • Understand the local impact, but don’t let it change your strategy. Be prepared to hear feedback, understand local impacts, but don’t let it sway you from your strategy. Be devoted to helping your people, but stay committed to the strategy.

In staffing, it’s particularly challenging to find a strategy and stick to it. Or, make it sticky for the organization at all levels. But, as with any other business, it’s critical to have a strategy that can actually be accomplished. Making it sticky, or one that people can stick to, is both art and science. But it’s the key to a healthy, profitable staffing business.