Retaining workers in a fickle (gig) labor market sounds like an oxymoron right? Not so fast. Let’s zoom out for a second. With over 20,000 staffing and recruiting firms in the U.S., these “giggers” (or as the Bureau of Labor Statistics likes to call them, “contingent workers”) have a lot of options, and a majority of those options remain outside of staffing services. Those employed through staffing agencies (which consist of both contingent and permanent-placement employees) make up around 2% of U.S. nonfarm workforce. Although that number indicates how small staffing is in the grand scheme of the U.S. economy, it’s still a massive amount of individuals—close to 15 million. Nevertheless, the staffing segment of the economy continues to grow year over year, and is on an upward trend, almost doubling its annual growth since the recession.
So, what does this mean for the staffing scene? Well, with myriad options out there for giggers, staffing firms are vying for talent attraction and retention. Here’s where technology comes in. In our modern era, where most individuals are walking around with mini-computers in their pockets (i.e., smartphones), companies in all sectors have a tremendous opportunity to attract and retain customers. In a gig economy, where companies are hiring less full-time workers and creating unique contract opportunities, many are turning to staffing firms to not only find talent, but develop talent pools they can draw from as new and different gig placements arise. And for staffing companies competing to create these talent pools, utilizing powerful software is now essential, especially when it comes to talent retention. So, are you where you need to be from a software perspective to retain talent? Here are three questions to ask yourself:
Is it fast?
For candidates and recruiters, anything that decreases the time spent on tedious administrative tasks—like processing new hire paperwork—will have a big impact. It will decrease costs and increase the number of candidates you can reach and place, and in a gig economy, speed is a big deal. Jobs requests are constantly changing, which means staffing firms need to be able place candidates fast and efficiently; otherwise, companies and candidates will look elsewhere. Finding technology that automates workflows and traditional placement processes will set staffing companies apart.
Is it flexible?
Does the software have the ability to adapt to the demands of a complex and ever-changing workforce? Again, as the gig economy continues to expand, new industries and assignments are born. This creates challenges for recruiters to constantly modify/add new workflows. To keep up with the constant changes, utilizing technology that adapts and makes work life easier for recruiters will trickle down to the candidate experience, which can encourage your talent to keep coming back.
It is user-friendly?
Effective software makes life easier for all users. Companies and candidates are constantly interfacing with technology, and particularly via their smartphones. Implementing mobile platforms that are engaging and intuitive will go a long way in attracting and retaining gig talent. An additional question to ask here is, Does the software make you feel like it was designed with the user experience in mind? If the answer to that question is unclear within a few minutes of interacting with it, then you should probably look elsewhere. If the technology is user-friendly, it’s usually palpable right away. Staffing software that is easy to navigate—while offering ongoing engagement—creates a pleasant and memorable experience for candidates and recruiters. Moreover, adopting user-friendly technology is a key advantage in enabling staffing companies to stand out in a crowded market.
Let’s face it, the gig economy is here to stay. It’s expanding quickly and radically changing the landscape of our modern-day workforce. According to Intuit, the gig economy will make up more than 43% of the U.S. workforce by 2020. This is good news for staffing firms around the U.S., but to maintain growth and a competitive edge in a crowded staffing industry, staffing firms need to prioritize talent retention strategies. At the end of the day, technology that is fast, flexible, and user-friendly can play a crucial role in empowering staffing companies to remain competitive and ultimately keep giggers coming back again and again for future gigs.