If a company has 10 employees and loses one, its employee expense is reduced by 10% (assuming equal pay).
For a staffing firm deploying 10 contractors, however, losing one of those contractors means revenue is down 10%. For an industry that is compensated based on the number of workers it employs, retention is not just important, it’s essential.
Enter San Francisco-based Sense, a candidate engagement platform founded by software whizzes and veterans of the IT staffing industry. The firm hopes it can help staffing companies increase revenue by keeping more workers for longer, and delighting them in the process.
“My experience running an IT staffing company was that consultant loyalty and engagement in the industry is broken,” says Pankaj Jindal, co-founder of Sense. “People change jobs quickly, and employers don’t have a pulse on how their consultants are feeling.” Jindal believes this lack of loyalty is responsible for the high number of candidates that lose interest in assignments, leave an assignment early, or, in some cases, never even show up to an assignment at all after being hired.
Sense’s solution is essentially a candidate email and text messaging service built on top of staffing firms’ system of record (e.g., ATS or CRM) platform. Workflows are custom built around “events” in the candidate lifecycle, helping staffing firms keep their candidates engaged when they are at the most vulnerable moments of disengagement, or during other meaningful points, such as on the first day of a new job.
“Right now, staffing companies spend a significant amount on employees just focused on consultant care, but that’s a manual process, and we think we do it better,” Jindal explains. “We are seeing clients’ drop-off rates go from 30% to 10%, and redeployment double from 20% to 40%.” And it goes beyond the employees you place, he says. “It’s about making sure even if you don’t hire them, they still have a great experience.”
While messaging services are not new, the intense focus on the staffing industry and the fact the firm integrates directly with systems of record to automate the engagement process makes the firm unique in the space. The firm charges a fee based on billable consultants per month.
Keeping consultants happy seems to be good business. The company, founded December 2015, now boasts more than 60 customers, engages with more than 100,000 contractors a day, and has raised funding from the likes of Google Ventures and Khosla.
In an industry where turnover is so high just maintaining last year’s revenue can be challenging, Sense offers staffing firms a unique way to stay ahead of the game. Happy and engaged consultants aren’t just a feel-good gimmick, they’re a serious competitive advantage.