“Too Small” for Tech Strategy? There’s No Such Thing!

Technology enables today’s staffing firms to survive and thrive

Are the days of starting a staffing firm with one person, one phone number, and one email address over? No. Can that one firm compete? Also, no—unless it has a robust technology stack. That’s because:

  • Finding and engaging talent is tougher than ever. Recruiting, especially sourcing and engagement, requires automation.
  • Communication requires multiple systems. Selling and recruiting must work seamlessly across phone calls, texts, emails, and internal chats.
  • Speed is essential in responding, submitting candidates, onboarding and the pay/bill process. Tech will always be faster than manual tasks.

In previous blog posts, we discussed the huge number of third-party tech solutions and how to find the right ones for you. It’s true: Some staffing firms have more tech solutions than personnel! We observed this recently when conducting a tech strategy project for a high-margin boutique staffing firm—it employed more tools and apps than people.

Tech stack table stakes are evolving even for the smallest staffing agencies—and firms of all sizes can benefit from tech-driven innovation and efficiency.

Scalability = Success

Quickly scaling up capacity in sales, recruiting, and the back office is critical for organic growth. The situation gets worse if your only scale-up strategy is adding internal staff—especially in this candidate-tight market. If you can find new staff, onboarding them causes more delays.

Staffing technology is the superior scalability solution:

  • Tech gives you capacity that can be quickly ramped up.
  • If you do add staff, tech can speed their training.
  • If business slows down, some software contracts let you reduce user count. Similarly, some vendors allow agreements to be renegotiated—or subscriptions to be placed on hold—until business picks up again.

Cloud-based tech levels the playing field

In the past, only the largest staffing firms with the biggest IT budgets could innovate with tech. Now, multi-tenant, cloud-based tools give software providers the economies of scale they need to offer powerful tech solutions to firms of any size.

Many tech providers also offer no- or low-cost implementations, making cloud-based products even more compelling. Integrations are easier than ever, with more solutions having pre-integrated partners that can be quickly turned on. Some integrations do have set-up or transaction fees—but in most cases, pre-built integrations are included with your subscription cost.

It all means more tech opportunities you can put to work faster, easier, and cheaper.

Planning your tech strategy is planning to succeed

Staffing companies of any size can innovate by choosing the right technology—then configuring, customizing, and integrating their tech stacks to automate their business process.
A good tech strategy plan includes:

  • A high-level review of your firm’s scope, scale, goals, and differentiators.
  • Brainstorming ways technology could innovate and differentiate your firm even more.
  • Reviewing your business process for automation opportunities. Consider technology that’s pre-integrated with your CRM, ATS, onboarding, and accounting software—and focus on tool categories with the greatest value-add. Don’t forget data and reporting gaps and needs!
  • Reviewing, sequencing, and prioritizing technology and data investment opportunities.

After you’ve drafted your technology strategy and 12- to 24-month roadmap, add up the one-time and ongoing costs—then review your total estimated future state investment. Be sure to consider the costs of:

  • Process/technology optimization projects
  • Implementing new tools, reports, and dashboards
  • Integrations, training, user adoption, and managing change

Finally, don’t hinder your firm’s ability to compete and scale with an underfunded plan. If the tech budget is less than 1–2% of revenue, you’re underinvesting.

Small in size? Use it to your technological advantage!

Sure, large staffing firms have IT departments with experts in infrastructure, applications, security, support, training, operations, reporting, and software development. But smaller staffing companies have the agility advantage! They can quickly identify requirements, pilot potential solutions, make decisions, roll out new technology, realign business processes and training—and more.

Whatever your firm’s size, monitor the tech solution marketplace: It changes often. Know which tech could move the needle for your organization, estimate ROI, and systematically invest in solutions that help you scale and beat the competition.

Most of all, remember: If you don’t have the skillset to drive your technology strategy … partner with a consulting firm that does!

Sara Moss is the vice president of Newbury Partner’s Technology Advisory group. Her team helps staffing companies of all sizes tailor their tech stack for their unique needs, plan technology investments by crafting a technology roadmap, facilitate rapid vendor selections and helps automate end-to-end staffing business processes.

Email Sara (sara.moss@newburypartners.com) to learn more about how her team can help your organization navigate the staffing tech landscape to identify the solutions that will have the biggest impact to your business.

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