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May 13, 2021

Staffing Tech Stacks: Common Fears, Frustrations, and FAQs

The concept of a staffing tech stack is simple enough. It’s the collective term for all of your firm’s tech tools and software, which have been integrated together to form a single, universal solution. Your ATS, your CRM, your onboarding solution, and your marketing tools all form a part of your tech stack, and when it’s constructed well, they’ll work together seamlessly.

But intricacies, complexities, and unknowns lurk beneath the surface of this simple concept. And the fear of these unknowns can result in staffing firms being hesitant to take the tech stack leap.

Lauren B. Jones of Leap Consulting Solutions makes a living out lighting the staffing tech stack darkness, as demonstrated in the Ask Lauren segment of the You Own The Experience podcast and now as a co-host. Let’s take a look at a few of the common fears, frustrations, and FAQs that Jones has heard regarding the construction of staffing firm tech stacks, and her responses.


Do I have to integrate my tools?

Stitching together the different tools used by your organization can feel like an overwhelming task – the sort that many would rather not spend their time on. But when you realize how much easier an integrated life can be, this effort quickly transforms from an expense to an investment.

A modern staffing organization simply can’t evolve if it has a bunch of unintegrated tools. There is no transformation without integration, as Jones has been heard shouting from rooftops.

What’s more, you can’t force your teams to use multiple disparate systems, consigning them to a life of copy-paste and double data entry. If your ATS isn’t speaking to onboarding, you’re going to end up with huge inefficiencies and a lot of data entry errors from all the manual work. In fact, unintegrated systems are often less efficient than the paper-based processes of 40 years ago.

If you’re investing in technology, ask yourself: do the systems speak to one another? Do they have integration capability? If your ATS, your CRM, and your onboarding tool can’t speak to one another, the investment won’t offer any real return.

The whole point of technology is to streamline and become more efficient, and in staffing we can underestimate how profound the efficiencies of integration can be. Integration is what makes the Bullhorn Marketplace so great (which Able is an official partner of). You know that every solution has the potential to integrate, so each represents a true value add to your business, rather than a potential risk.

When speaking to a technology vendor, ask them:

  • Will your solution integrate with my ATS?
  • Have you successfully completed this integration before? (No matter how confident the vendor might seem, you never want to be the guinea pig.)

What is the easiest way to ensure my team adopts a new tool?

If you commit to adopting technology, be it a single solution or an entire stack, how do you ensure your team is as committed as you are?

This can be a complex question. Change management depends on the complexity of the change: adopting a tech stack might demand a complete cultural shift, while a new tool might need a simpler process shift. But no matter the change, the bare bones of the process will remain the same:

  • Communicate: Prepare your team for the change with comprehensive communication.
  • Train: Give your team access to all the resources they need to adapt to the change: live training, video training, how-to documents, etc.
  • Track: Identify and communicate your metrics for success, track them, and share the results with your team.
  • Support: Provide ‘critical care’ – the all-important post-change support that ensures the tech is adopted.

Tech Stack 101 worksheet

Can I just get one software for all the things?

On the surface it makes sense. Why try to stitch a tech stack together? Why not just get one universal solution: a software that can do ALL the things?

Two problems:

  • This software doesn’t exist.
  • Even if it did, you wouldn’t want it.

The likes of automation, onboarding, and on-demand are all complex and nuanced things… things that you don’t want to use a ‘jack of all trades’ software for, but the best solution you can find. That’s what tech stacks are about – finding the best of the best, and integrating these amazing tools so they work amazingly together.

There is no one solution that does all the things. It doesn’t exist, so stop looking for it. Instead, leverage the very best technology in each respective niche, and enjoy far better results than you would’ve ever realized from a doer of all, but a master of none.


Do I need a systems integration (SI) partner?

Systems integration (SI) partners are professionals who help you augment your tech stack as you work through big implementations.

Such is the intricacy, complexity, and individuality of a tech stack that yes, you will more than likely need an SI partner, particularly if you are embarking on a large-scale implementation. They’re not only experts, but also an objective party in your corner. There’s no need to blindly trust the vendor selling you the software, as the SI partner will hold them accountable, and ensure everything works as the vendor said it would.

You probably need one, so what makes a good one?

  • Transparency: The SI partner works for you, so there should be total transparency.
  • They are an extension of your firm: They shouldn’t see themselves as a supplier to your firm, but a partner in it.
  • No custom development: If an SI partner creates custom code for you, you’re beholden to them forever. ‘Custom’ is a bad word. A good SI partner will use ‘configuration’ instead. Custom development is an absolute last resort, when all other options have been exhausted.

Able Integrations Hub

How do we adopt technology while honoring our brand?

The fear of digitization and automation is something that many staffing firms feel. ‘If we replace humans with robots, won’t our firm lose its uniqueness?’

In short, no. Staffing is the most human of industries, so all of its tools and automations are there to enhance recruiters, not replace them. Realizing this, forward-thinking firms are losing the fear, and instead choosing to honor their brands with technology.

How do you use tech to get better, faster, and stronger, while still retaining the things that make your firm unique? There’s nothing to fear, as long as you’re clear; clear about who you are as an organization, and about what sets you apart. If you know that, you have every opportunity to use technology to enhance your proposition. Every organization brings its own individual value, and by understanding what that is, you can use technology to put exclamation points around it.

Technology doesn’t give you less control. It gives you more. You more precisely target the right people. You better convey your message. You provide more efficient, more comprehensive, and more human service.

It’s time to lose the fear, to see the opportunity, and to make decisions based in fact.


How do I measure the ROI of tech solutions?

Any staffing firm worth its salt will want to ensure that they’re seeing a return on their tech investment. But many will ask this question after a solution has been bought and implemented, which is a real problem if it turns out that you bet on the wrong horse.

The question of ROI should be asked when you’re initially shopping for technology. You should look inward to establish what your desired outcomes are, then work with possible vendors to identify metrics and analytics that can track your journey toward them.

Ask a tech vendor:

  • What are the key metrics that I can track to ensure that I'll get ROI from this tool?
  • How am I going to measure this within my organization?

If the vendor doesn’t have a clear answer to these questions or isn’t willing to work with you to find the answers, it’s a major red flag. You absolutely must have established metrics before you invest and implement. It’s the only way to ensure that you get a return on your tech investment.

Interested in learning more about the wonderful world of staffing tech stacks? Be sure to check out the You Own The Experience podcast.