How to Solve Back Office Dysfunction

Alastair Murray Products & Technology, Staffing

Much of the discussion of automating back-office functions has targeted the financial sector. McKinsey & Company wrote that many banks have transformed their customer-facing technologies to integrate solutions that reduce waste and inefficiency, but the back office remains almost wholly unchanged. Manual processes abound and create an environment that leads to inconsistency and a greater opportunity for errors. Staffing agencies face a similar challenge in making certain the capabilities and convenience afforded to their clients are extended to internal staff to create an environment that is fully integrated.

A lesson in lean operations
According to McKinsey, back-office automation can help financial institutions improve key performance indicators like productivity and customer service by more than 50 percent. Going further, some banks that have realized that as much as 85 percent of their operations could be partially automated, but organizations are taking the necessary steps to create a leaner environment that allows staff members to focus on their core duties and perform at a higher level.

While staffing agencies and financial services providers provide different products and functions for their clients, there are similar issues in the back office. Paperwork related to billing, invoicing, compliance and human resources management creates a complicated scenario that contributes to siloing of these organizations. To effectively keep track of each component and all of the data related to it, individual team members or departments are responsible for management – and rarely share it across the organization.

What are the biggest challenges?
One of the most difficult obstacles that staffing agencies must overcome to achieve an efficient, automated back office is the existing IT setup. TechRepublic explained that there are many similarities between the Industrial Revolution and the current situation in most back offices. Around the turn of the century, many manufacturing operations were performed manually, and mechanization of most processes allowed for a giant leap forward in efficiency.

Staffing agencies need a similar push forward in back-office functionality to eliminate redundancy and cut waste. TechRepublic asserted a single platform is the ideal that organizations should aim for because it can often be a challenge to integrate disparate systems and upgrades only add complexity. For instance, if a staffing agency uses one systems for processing payroll and another for billing and invoicing, issues often arise when trying to make these distinct types of software work together seamlessly.

The ideal setup
In effect, a Software-as-a-Service platform represents the solution with the most promise. In a staffing agency, the priority is ensuring clients are pleased with each candidate, but managing a variety of back office operations deserves nearly equal attention. For instance, the best staffing software is an end-to-end solution that aggregates all data into a single unified system. Organizations can track contractors as they are onboarded and complete the terms of their service. It should also allow for direct data export to monitor progress on the necessary forms for new hires and make placement a smooth process.

Staffing agencies should make use of back-office software that automates processes to create more efficient environments. In doing so, they can reduce manual errors and build stronger client relationships.