It seems like many industries are in fast forward—things are moving quickly, and exciting developments are happening every day. The talent management industry is no exception—it’s an exciting time to be in our sector! But keeping up with the latest developments can seem a bit tricky. However, here at ClearEdge, we are always focused on staying ahead of trends impacting the space. Our team has conversations daily with talent management companies, from global staffing organizations to fast-growing HR tech firms, and we’ve filtered down hundreds of conversations to common themes that we’re seeing and hearing right now. Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest trends affecting talent management as we kick off 2015:
- Employment Branding – Competition is heating up for internal talent as most staffing and recruiting companies experienced breakthrough years in 2014. Almost every firm we talk to is hiring recruiters and salespeople—but they’re just now taking steps to invest in these areas. As the industry saw its ups and downs, many didn’t previously build specific programs for recruiting and retaining internal staff. Right now, the average firm is applying for Best Places to Work awards and promoting their referral program internally—but not much else. In 2015, we anticipate seeing more specific marketing campaigns targeted at staffing firm employees, not just clients or candidates. Creative approaches to employment branding are already being adopted on the enterprise side, with HR tech companies like QUESocial (which uses gamification and social recruiting to mobilize your employee base to share relevant content) and Brand Amper (a tool to crowdsource your employment brand and elevate the voices of your employees). It will be interesting to see how tools like this adapt for staffing.
- Consultant Engagement – Showing value throughout the lifecycle will continue to be a significant opportunity in 2015. Staffing firms invest heavily in acquiring in-demand skill sets, and often times move on to the next req once that candidate is placed. If you think about it, you spend time recruiting, interviewing, vetting with the client and facilitating onboarding—this is a known asset and is more likely to remain loyal and be placed again on assignment. So why do staffing firms often “move on” so to speak once hired, versus nurture this proven asset? This could be a game-changer recruitment- and retention-wise for smart staffing firms. For example, once someone is on an assignment, what are you doing to connect with that candidate after the 1st week? Midway through the assignment? With three weeks left? Research from Inavero shows that most firms are missing these opportunities to stay engaged. Meanwhile, their contractors on assignment are open to talking to other companies as they start thinking about their next roles almost immediately after accepting the contract. Firms are looking at more serious nurturing and engagement programs for their current contractors.
- Internal Communications – As noted above, many firms had a huge 2014 and are moving forward with their expansion plans (usually launching into new geographies). Some companies are experiencing the cons of this rapid growth with internal confusion inhibiting the ability to mobilize their internal teams around a single mission and company message. We’ve talked to companies that admit they’re not communicating well with internal teams on the company vision, milestones, expectations, etcetera, due to the rapid pace of expansion and client demands. Internal communications is a crucial area to consider for firms to present one cohesive message/face across different markets. Consider starting with a quarterly presentation where the CEO provides a “state of the union” address and different markets share recent successes. You can extend this to a monthly email sharing successes. The goal is to stay in front of employees so they see opportunities for growth and know management has a plan—it’s key to a strong retention program.
- Major Investments in Technology – Many IT staffing firms are getting serious about how technology integrates into their processes to help them get smarter, better and faster. Depending on the size of the company, we’ve seen people making significant investments in both the initial tools (like an overall shift to JobScience or erecruit) and the consultants and implementation specialists to make sure these major systems are set up effectively (example: growth of consultancies like 1218, Inc.). To revisit candidate engagement, video interviewing and candidate-screening technologies are being implemented more aggressively as well. For example, eTeki is a new screening solution that uses an online model to connect with technical interviewers. On the marketing side, firms of all sizes are considering and/or installing marketing automation and finding ways to expand their reach. The full adoption of these systems is still an opportunity; however, as many are only scratching the surface of what a marketing automation platform can do for them. In terms of reach, Audience Partners is being used by some global staffing organizations to provide robust targeting for display advertising, way beyond the capabilities of most ad platforms. On the theme of optimizing investments, analytics are becoming an even bigger part of the discussion overall. For example, Recruitics helps optimize PPC spend on sites like Indeed and SimplyHired and has gained a lot of traction with global staffing firms this year that want to optimize their spend down to the job level.
- Asking Questions about Online Staffing – The race to find an online staffing solution that supports a regular staffing model seems to be moving at a rapid pace. This was on display at the TechServe conference this year. People are looking for ways to differentiate, while simultaneously not falling behind. In years past, people weren’t necessarily even asking questions about these platforms as they watched their businesses continue to grow without them. With the emergence of online staffing platforms like NextCrew that create private talent pools and provide new communication methods for candidates, employers and staffing firms to interact within the system, staffing firms are perking up to ask how this could fit with their own model.
What trends and developments will the next few months bring? We’ll be checking in here on the ClearEdge Marketing blog to keep you up to date on the latest.