Three reasons why investing in staffing software or recruiting software will enable you to establish leadership in today’s economy.
A long time ago, I worked for a fast growing design and printing firm that prized both the quality of its work and its salesmanship. Prominently displayed in the sales bullpen as an encouragement to not wait for the phone to ring with an order was a large, framed poster, a cartoon of two buzzards sitting in a tree. The caption read, “I’m tired of waiting, I’m going to go kill something.” The same could be said about the value of NOT waiting-out today’s business uncertainties.
First, some background. According to the NBER, the most recent recession, the longest since the Great Depression of the early twentieth century, ended 18 months after it began, in June of 2009. At that time the “official” unemployment rate hit 9.5 percent. Today there are nearly 25 million underemployed and unemployed in the U.S., where the “real” unemployment rate in June of 2012 is still an alarming 14.9 percent. In fact, some economic observers make a convincing argument that we are “halfway to a lost decade.”
Sounds like way too much gloom and doom, right? Not so fast.
In the latest underwhelming jobs report for June, 2012 where only 80,000 non-farm jobs were created, one bright fact jumped out. About a third of those newly created jobs (25,000) were temporary in nature. it would seem that the still challenging economy and uncertain business picture has been really good for all of you in the business of finding and placing people in contingent assignments.
“During the last 12 months, privately held employment service firms have seen their revenues grow by almost 20 percent annually, which far outpaces the average annual growth of around 10 percent for private companies across all industries,” said Sageworks analyst Libby Bierman. “That sales growth validates what the employment numbers released this morning showed — the economy has recently been adding a lot of temporary jobs, which are positions that employment service firms routinely fill.”
Wait and See, or Forge Ahead?
So, your business is probably pretty good now, right? Sure, there’s a lot of uncertainty and you, like many business owners, may be reluctant to make any capital expenditures (just like a lot of businesses are not hiring FTE’s) because of that uncertainty. However, in the face of continued uncertainty, now is really the perfect time to re-visit your business plan (you do have one, right?) and determine what steps you can take to help set your business apart from your competitors and better serve your clients, candidates and contingent employees.
At the top of the list for review should be your most critical working tool, your staffing software and/or recruiting software. Here then are three reasons why investing in updating your software will enable you to establish business leadership in today’s economy.
First, Drive Actionable Knowledge to Reduce Uncertainties
Your staffing software should enable you to better know your business, your market, your friends, and your enemies. Detailed management reporting from your staffing and recruiting software can give you insightful analysis of sales, client trends, operational costs, most profitable clients and segments, and wins/losses versus your competition. As business guru Peter Drucker once said, “The basic economic resource… is and will be knowledge.” The more you know, the more effectively you can act to wring every penny of profit out of every business transaction.
Second, Improve Your Ability to Attract and Retain Your Own Top Talent
Chances are you too are hiring members of the “Millennial Generation” to staff your own business. This generation, and the X Generation that precedes it, are among the most “connected” ever. They’ve got their smart phones, tablets, laptops and always-on connections. They get technology and use it daily. Your staffing software and recruiting software tells your own employees whether or not you and your business “gets it” as well. Their expectations are high, and well-designed, user-friendly software will enable them to be trained easier and faster and so deliver greater productivity (that is, profits) to your business over a shorter period of time.
Third, Improve Your Competitive Advantage and Leadership
Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and Chief Executive of General Electric Co., made a point of GE’s continuing technology investments during the recession, saying, “If you keep investing in technology and innovation in the worst of times, your competitive advantage grows.” Immelt’s statement is backed-up by a survey by the American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor. It’s based on a sample of more than 700 business owners/managers of companies with fewer than 100 employees. “Technology can dramatically increase your productivity, resulting in more output without necessarily adding to your staffing expense,” said Anita Campbell, Editor and Founder of Small Business Trends, LLC. “It’s no coincidence that of companies that plan to spend, technology is the biggest category of planned investment expense (39 percent).”
Equally important, the staffing software and recruiting software available to you right now is much improved over the software you may have purchased five or more years ago. In the competitive software market, developers like Microsoft Corporation and Bond International Software have the size, scale, innovativeness and financial resources needed to invest in development – and have continued to do so. That means that your team will have access to software tools that enable greater efficiency, are easier than ever to use, and are more cost-effective to deploy. All of these are potential competitive leadership advantages.
A final thought. Salesman, engineer, and auto executive Lee Iacocca once said, “So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we just don’t sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.” I would suggest that, in today’s business climate, waiting is losing to those who forge ahead.