I’ve been in staffing long enough to know that, for a number of reasons, we’re not always great at implementing technology. There’s a lot of inertia in the status quo. We deal in human capital, which requires understanding one another at a human level.
But as the world shifts to be more digital and more remote, we have to adapt. We have to be agile and thoughtful in improving the way things are — keeping the good while upgrading the mediocre.
Lauren Jones has seen the good and bad as staffing firms transform. She’s been a leader, influencer, and innovator in the staffing industry for more than 22 years, and most recently founded Leap Consulting Solutions, which specializes in helping staffing firms streamline their operations through the mindful and responsible use of technology.
From Lauren’s perspective, it is possible to approach technology in the right way while retaining the humanity of the profession. Leap helps their clients create efficiencies with their current stack, develop new tech stacks, and importantly, make sure those tech stacks are effective with a focus on adoption.
“You could buy all the beautiful technology in the world,” said Lauren. “But if your employees aren’t adopting it and using it appropriately, it’s just pretty jewelry.”
Lauren calls this thoughtful approach to optimizing, building, and adopting your tech stack “mindful implementation.” It’s about starting with the end in mind. She recommends thinking about what you want to accomplish and taking the price tag out of it.
“If you start with the end in mind, you’ll be able to work backwards in an organized and pragmatic way, which directly relates to better implementation and adoption,” said Lauren. “It means the team will get on board and you’ll have the resources to move forward the right way.”
What does that mean in execution? It can be as easy as creating a problem statement — specifically one that involves comes straight from the field.
“If you’re not buying based on your front-line individuals, you’re doing them a disservice,” said Lauren.
At one point in her career, Lauren was seeing that, from view to apply, she had a 70 percent drop-off and her recruiters were noticing a lack of applications. She rapidly assessed how to solve that problem with technology, brought in Chat Recruit, and cut that drop-off rate in half.
Similarly, when Lauren implemented EmployStream, it was based on the fact that she could take approximately 50 headcount and point them toward revenue-generating activities, as opposed to front-line workers processing paper applications.
Of course, not every leader listens to their front-line, and Lauren has observed the employee turnover that results. Not only does listening to your employees create advocates for the technology you’re bringing in, it helps them feel heard and that action was taken on their behalf.
The Importance of a Roadmap
In any case, whether or not you have advocates in your front-line team, adding an internal marketing coat of paint to the technology you’re bringing in should be step one of actual implementation. “People thrive when they know what’s going to happen next,” said Lauren. “Change can be scary, but if you give a step-by-step guide of what’s next, fear won’t take over and you won’t see that impact adoption.”
A good implementation plan has that internal marketing element baked in, and it includes not just what’s coming immediately, but what’s coming next. Think a roadmap for how you plan to continue expanding the use of a tool — getting the most out of it and seeing real adoption.
“You’re not going to leverage everything about a piece of technology out of the gate,” said Lauren. “You need slow, methodical growth to leverage all of the efficiencies any one solution offers.”
In that vein, Lauren explained that any IT group that doesn’t have system upgrades as part of their annual roadmap is doing their organization a disservice. Similarly, Lauren has experience seeing organizations buy technology with no expectation or roadmap for upkeep — no intention to keep growing the software once it’s purchased, which leads to investment and opportunity being wasted.
Impact on Candidate Experience
Staffing firms have their own unique relationships and levels of service that they sell and use to differentiate. To that end, mindful implementation of technology can be much more than a way to make good use of resources, but to improve the experience your candidates have working with you.
“We need to be extremely mindful of first impressions,” said Lauren. “It’s not easy being a job seeker. You’re looking for acceptance, for someone to say ‘yes’ to you, and we need to be very cognizant of that feeling and put technology or a UI in front of that is acknowledging that. I get excited about any technology that’s creating a human-to-human connection faster, like WorkN.”
Of course, it will all be about what the candidate wants in the end. “Experts are saying that Gen Z wants a little more hand-holding, so we need to be careful not to let bots take over the world,” said Lauren. “We need to be mindful of every experiential choice to be ready for future generations.”
For more tips and tricks from Lauren on practicing mindful implementation, check out episode five of the You Own the Experience podcast.