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February 22, 2021

Automation and On-Demand: COVID Solutions and Strategies That Are Here to Stay

This is the third in a four part series on the trends, solutions, and strategies that have proven themselves to be far more than Band-Aid solutions to many of the challenges faced in the year 2020, and continue to face into the future.

Here we’ll be taking a look at why the future of the staffing industry is undoubtedly an automated one, and why on-demand technology is the obvious next step down this path.


‘Do we really need to automate?’

Perhaps it’s a desire for the industry to retain its all-important humanity. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of firms getting comfortable in their niche, and wanting to maintain the status quo. Whatever the case, staffing has never been an industry known for early adoption. While other sectors have embraced new tech, staffing firms have by and large resisted it. As it stands, just one in 20 staffing firms is currently making use of automation.

It may have been that the resistance was coming from within. For many recruiters, the word ‘automation’ brings up thoughts of factory workers being replaced by hydraulic arms. They understandably didn’t want to find themselves out of a job, so many told their leaders that they were doing just fine without automation, thank you very much.

Things began to change in 2020, as the industry was faced with the challenges presented by COVID-19. Forced to consider ways and means to carry on, technology offered a number of convenient and effective solutions. Conference rooms were replaced with Zoom and team huddles with Slack. Client visits, candidate interviews, and a number of other traditionally in-person tasks were replaced with virtual equivalents. 

In the process, much of the industry’s resistance to technology, and being on camera, began to melt away. It became clear that the purpose of technology wasn’t to replace the human - it was to make our lives easier. And this is the core argument for automation.


Doing less with more

Ask a group of recruiters about their least favorite parts of the job, and you’ll hear the same answers over and over again - data entry, ATS maintenance, cold emails, credentialing. This is the laborious and the monotonous; the low value work that drains time and resources, leaving little left over for higher value work, like building relationships and connections.

Happily, it’s these low value tasks that staffing automation technologies have been designed to take care of. It turns out that bots are quite good at the monotonous and laborious. Automation technology can enter and maintain data. It can handle the basic communication involved in things like onboarding and redeployment, and do so in a surprisingly human and personalized way. Automation tech is even capable of taking care of the entire placement process, if you so choose. From sending out customized onboarding packets based on specified criteria, to sending out auto-reminders that push candidates through the onboarding process faster and with less missing/inaccurate data. 

Freed from the more robotic parts of the job, recruiters can concentrate on the human. They can build connections and relationships with more clients and candidates. They can elevate the experiences they deliver. Perhaps most importantly, to them at least, they can make more money.

“It’s not about killing all of your recruiters or CS teams just because you’ve now got chatbots. I think the key is, it’s saying how do we now redistribute this person so that they become more effective as we move things?” states Matt Comber, Strategic Director at Volcanic. Learn more about how to align your internal staff with your tech stack here.

Staffing automation technology won’t replace recruiters because it can’t. Staffing is the most human of industries - one that demands an ability to understand the needs and wants of clients and candidates. One thing bots aren’t known for is their elite soft skills.

Automation technology can instead be thought of as a recruiter’s assistant, taking care of the stuff that they’d rather not do, and allowing them to concentrate on the more valuable aspects of the job. When done well, a team of 10 can do work that would traditionally require a team of 100.

With numbers like that, it’s little wonder that automation is becoming less of a plus, and more of a must for forward-thinking firms.


COVID Recovery Strategy Guide


The journey to on-demand staffing

Having understood the potential of automation, innovative staffing firms are pressing forward with its adoption, many with incredible results.

Imagine measuring your time-to-fill not in days or weeks, but in seconds. That’s the promise of on-demand staffing software like WorkN, a concept that brings together many different automated technologies to deliver an incredible experience to both client and candidate. 

It is one in which a job opening can be communicated by the client, before being checked over by artificial intelligence, sent out to relevant jobseekers via a proprietary app, and accepted by a candidate who fits the bill - a process that is almost instantaneous. It delivers good work to the jobseekers who want it, and fills openings efficiently and effectively for employers. It also frees the recruiter from data entry, red tape and other admin, leaving them to create new relationships and nurture current ones.

There are obviously many steps to take on the road to this on-demand Utopia. The first of these, and to many the most challenging, is to recognize that automation is the future of staffing. 

From there you can begin to grow your capabilities. Perhaps start with something as simple as using automated onboarding software like Able, or sending out an automated email to long lost candidates. Your efforts will grow surprisingly organically, and before long you and your team will feel quite a bit of weight being lifted from your shoulders.


Your staffing future is in your hands

Automation is the future of staffing. To say otherwise is to deny the truth. And with COVID helping to demonstrate just how useful technology can be, more and more staffing firms are committing to an automated future.

One question remains: will yours be one of them?

Join us for the final installment of this four-part series, where we’ll be taking a closer look at what it means to be a staffing leader post-COVID.

To check out previous posts in this series, see the links below: