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Our world changed significantly on Sept. 11, 2011. The attacks on that date had such a dramatic impact, we simply refer to it as 9/11. Fast forward to Covid-19 pandemic. It, too, had a dramatic impact, not only on the United States, but the entire world.

From Digital Evolution to Revolution

Prior to March 2020, the adoption of technology had been following the normal cycle with innovators and early adopters leading the way and late adopters lagging behind. But the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic changed all of that. The swift and sudden changes forced on the industry turned the slow and steady evolution into a digital revolution.

Do We Know Our Why?

The problem with this revolution is that technologies and automation are being adopted with little to no planning. And that’s what many staffing firms are beginning to experience. They’ve implemented automation tools that are too complex and difficult to understand. This is simply a result of jumping into the fray without truly understanding the why. Simon Sinek, author and business consultant, reminds us that we must always “Start With Why.” So how should today’s staffing firm go about introducing technology solutions into their organization? Here are seven factors to consider.

1. Be strategic. Adopting technology should not be driven by trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” Just because a competitor has a chatbot is not reason enough for you to add one. The process needs to start with clear thinking and planning. First, identify what your expectation is of the outcome that the resource will deliver. Then, work backward from there to identify and confirm the right automation solution for that particular need.

2. Have a champion. Once you have identified the strategy driving your technology plans, you need to identify someone who will lead the process of identifying, selecting, and implementing the s olution. They are knowledgeable of the strategy, have the skills necessary to lead the project, can bring people together from different functional areas or departments, and are passionate about making sure the solution is the right one.

3. Clean up your database. Many of the technology solutions that have been developed for the staffing industry integrate with the client and/or candidate database. The fact that such a critical source of business information is incomplete or corrupted is a problem all by itself, but when you couple it with the introduction of automation, the problem is immediately compounded.

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4. Does the solution fit the problem? Just because all you have is a hammer doesn’t mean that everything must be a nail. The right tool is necessary for the right outcome. Making sure that the (right) problem has been identified and then sourcing a technology solution that addresses that problem is critical.

5. Get everyone involved. Keeping the automation project in the hands of one person is risky. Everyone in the organization should be involved in the project, or at the very least, kept informed of key developments and milestones. Quite often, a task force is formed that works with the champion to help keep everyone informed and involved. Adopting new technology should not be kept a secret.

6. Do your homework. The automation highway is littered with solutions providers that want you to buy their software. Like any industry, some are better than others and have a reputation for delivering a quality product at a competitive price. Make sure you do your research and find out about all potential suppliers.

7. Use its full potential. I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had with staffing leaders who complain about how they are not fully utilizing their ATS or some other technology solution they have acquired and implemented. Making sure you are gaining all of the benefits of the automation you already have before adding more is a discipline that will put you head and shoulders above the majority of your competitors.

A Final Word

Technology, when used correctly and to its full potential, can boost a staffing firm’s efficiency while driving productivity. This will drive a robust bottom line, but even more importantly, will provide tangible benefits to the client and candidate – and that should be the real driving force behind automation.

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