Welcome to the summer of 2021. We have turned the pandemic corner. Over half of the US population is vaccinated and on the move. For the first time since March 2020, the US Transportation Security Administration recently recorded more than 2 million screens in a single day. And data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows evidence of massive job openings and once again, talent availability is a major challenge, across the board.
Many of you have returned to offices where face masks are no longer required. Restaurants are open, company lunches and outings are being planned and like in years past, you are balancing the summer vacation needs of your internal teams with those of taking care of your customers and growing your staffing business. It’s beginning to sound normal.
While returning to normal feels exhilarating, is a return to normal what you want in your business? This is a pivotal time to drive change in your organization. While you move forward, take the opportunity to focus on lessons learned and silver linings from the pandemic that have had a positive impact on your people, culture and business overall. Will you let everything go back to the way it was or will you take this opportunity to evolve?
In a broader sense, some of the effects of the pandemic resulted in major shifts in everyday living. Cashless currency took a major shift as people moved to online purchasing, tele-health surged, technology tools crept into the workplace with incredible ease and adoption, and, of course, remote work became commonplace.
From where people work, to how people work, there is no doubt your business evolved, too, as the mindsets, perceptions and needs of the people you work with have shifted. Some people are energized by the “opening up” of the world; others not so much. People fall into different categories, which poses a challenge and opportunity to staffing leaders. You have an opportunity to build back a stronger, more engaged, effective workforce and business.
Engagement breeds commitment. Work with your managers and teams in creating your company’s post-pandemic road map. As you do so, consider the following critical areas of your business:
People. Consider everyone from your internal staff, to your assigned talent, to the talent you are recruiting and the hiring managers/clients you are working with. For each, tease out the silver linings of the pandemic and how you will integrate those outcomes permanently into your business to retain and attract great employees, who in turn will deliver your value proposition to your external talent and clients.
Processes. Lack of clarity among your team regarding processes and their changes poses a business risk and will be a drain on your productivity, employee satisfaction, customer service and business growth. Explore everything the business did differently during the pandemic and confirm what will remain going forward. Take the time to document and ensure everyone understands and is committed to the change.
Technology. The spectrum of changes staffing firms experienced over the last 18 months ranges from adopting and embracing new technologies to becoming even more vigilant in using the technology currently in place to becoming lenient and allowing shortcuts during the pandemic, for “survival purposes.” Use this time to conduct a technology assessment and to recommit to your technology stack and roadmap. Assess what you have in place now, where your internal team tech IQ or adoption is and what you need going forward.
Remember, the staffing industry has withstood many challenges: job boards, vendor managements systems, managed service programs — and more than a handful of recessions. We have proven ourselves to be adaptable time and again. This time is no different. While the industry fell 11% amid the pandemic, it is projected to grow 12% in 2021 and another 3% next year. We are in recovery mode.
And it’s time to rise in a new world of work.