It’s tough to believe it’s already been a couple of weeks since Staffing World 2021, and the parade of Q4 staffing events continues. For us at Able, this was our first big in-person show since our rebrand in 2020. It meant breaking out a brand new booth, getting a huge chunk of our team on the floor for the first time (some for their first staffing industry event ever, myself included), and reconnecting with our customers and the entire community.
But, of course, one of the best outcomes from any major event like Staffing World doesn’t come from us talking or hocking our wares — it comes from listening. It’s what we learn about the community, and what’s impacting it the most. This year’s event had the theme of “Better Together, Stronger Ahead,” so here are the top takeaways we left with from coming together and listening.
Attendance was certainly low at the event, but that was expected due to COVID. However, the folks that did show up at Staffing World this year really showed up. The energy and liveliness on the floor was palpable. Even if you didn’t have a network of peers built in to reconnect with, seeing the reconnections happening across Staffing World was infectious. It’s been a challenging year-and-a-half for all of us, especially those whose businesses are built around human capital, so a collective sigh of appreciation for being able to come together was necessary.
From sessions about allyship to including team members with disabilities to applied DEI initiatives at your organization, there was talk about DEI during almost every session slot at Staffing World. It’s top of mind as a global issue, but an acute concern when it comes to hiring and creating a welcoming environment.
In the session “Tackling Business Growth Through Applied DEI Initiatives,” the idea was posited that “If data is the new oil, then diversity is the refinery; you can’t be in the people business driving growth and transformation without it.” It’s definitely true, and going beyond the concept to actually applying initiatives well can be a competitive advantage — staffing firms that have proven they can deliver diversity are in demand.
Turnover is at an all-time high (still) and recruiters are some of the most affected. Some studies have shown that the recruitment sector has one of the highest turnover rates of any industry, at around 43 percent. Because of that, staffing firms are asking themselves if they’re doing a good enough job managing and retaining culture, as well as providing a place where top talent can thrive.
Throughout Staffing World, it was inspiring to see all the Game Changers presentations in the expo hall, many of which consisted of staffing firms sharing stories about how vendors or consultants have helped them out. In most cases, this meant using technology or outside support to make team members happier, allow recruiters to focus on their jobs instead of administrative work, or simply improving results. Intended or not, when you talk about the livelihood of our business, it all points back to culture and retention. In fact, Able is hosting an encore presentation of the Tech Talk Using Technology to Build a Stong Office Culture (With or Without an Office). Check it out here.
Think about it: before the pandemic, most companies didn’t care too much about Zoom. If you had it and it worked, that was good enough. No one was talking about touching up their appearance. Now, after spending months upon months living in technology, it’s hard not to become critical about the systems that are driving your day-to-day livelihood.
It was clear that a critical eye was coming down across the staffing industry. Hiring technology is powering the lives of staffing professionals and allowing all of us in the community to still do our necessary jobs, albeit more remotely. There weren’t too many attendees we talked to that weren’t evaluating or re-evaluating their key systems — ATS’s, payroll providers, project management tools, etc. Fortunately, we like to focus on a connected experience to help staffing firms build their ideal tech stack, and it’s clear the community’s looking more deeply at what’s out there.
The expo hall was hopping throughout the show and the traffic didn’t really let up — except from 10 am to 12 pm on Thursday when ASA Cares brought in a host of puppies through Pawvana. The best speakers and tech in the staffing world couldn’t compete with a few doe-eyed pups.
In the end, no matter what trends you picked up at the show — whether attending in-person or virtually — there’s a lot to talk about in the world of human capital, and it’s great having events like Staffing World back on the calendar to facilitate.