Simplicity image

How staffing firms can help simplify work

Jeremy Staffing

Technology is supposed to make our lives simpler, but too often the opposite is true. The new tools we create to streamline business require more processes for employees to learn. In addition, the procedures we implement to strengthen business practices lead to more time, paperwork and tasks. Digital communications were a giant step forward, leading to real-time delivery of crucial messages. However, now employees spend their entire workdays (and even evenings) glued to their inboxes. Expanding business globally leads to greater opportunities, but significantly complicates workflow and supply chains. As a result of all this innovation and growth, companies are setting their sights on the next step: making things simple again.

Overwhelmed businesses and employees
Overly complicated business environments lead to stressed out, overwhelmed staff. According to a 2014 report from Deloitte, 65 percent of executives called the problem of the overwhelmed employee an "urgent" or "important trend." Now, in Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends report for 2015, more than 70 percent of organizations indicated the need to simplify work is an "important problem." One-quarter of businesses ranked it as "very important."

The always-on capacity of work is just one reason employees are stressed out. Another is the complexity of systems they are required to use and how long these tools take to master. This can also lead to increased turnover, leaving employers scrambling to fill open positions. Overall, complexity is just bad for business. It wastes employee time and energy. Instead, companies need to focus on cleaning house.

One of the ways Deloitte suggested accomplishing this is through "design thinking."

Design thinking imageCompanies should embrace design thinking to simplify processes.

Design thinking and the staffing advantage
According to global design firm IDEO President and CEO Tim Brown, design thinking is "a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success." Often, design thinking encourages people to focus on the solution instead of the process of getting there. It means focusing on what the user needs, supplying the most simplistic method of achieving it and eliminating anything unnecessary.

Here's where staffing and other service-oriented firms can make a difference. To help companies simplify their own processes, staffing firms can sell themselves as solutions to the hiring problem. In a recruiting environment where there are infinite tools and processes to choose from, in-house recruiting teams may lack the resources to sort through the complexity and focus on the task at hand: finding awesome talent. While staffing firms are technically a service, they can think of themselves as highly-adaptable, streamlined hiring tools companies can turn to when they need candidates.

Staffing firms can help companies simplify one crucial aspect of business: their hiring process.

"Staffing firms aren't immune to complexity."

The need for great staffing software
However, it's important to note that staffing firms aren't immune to business complexity. Placement agencies face the same issues as other companies in this complex, global economy. Applicant tracking systems can be overly complicated, leading users to revert back to their preferred ways of doing things, whether that means spreadsheets or even handwritten notes. This is the wrong kind of simplicity. While these methods are familiar in ways that cloud-based software isn't, they lead to data silos that hold your business back.

Another crucial element of design thinking is embracing better technology solutions. Staffing firms need to invest in user-friendly applicant tracking tools that encourage user adoption. Interfaces need to be uncluttered and friendly. Processes should never take more than a few clicks to complete. In addition, companies should attempt to find solutions that reduce the need to constantly click between different screens.

Another element of design thinking is providing just enough to allow employees to do their jobs. Great staffing software will enable this as well. Depending on the users' needs, a good platform will allow you to eliminate fields, options and windows that various employees don't need to use. This declutters their interfaces and simplifies their lives a little bit at a time.

Staffing firms can help businesses simplify their processes, but it helps if these placement agencies are already using best-in-class recruiting systems. Then staffing agencies will truly be able to support companies in the mission to simplify work.