May 8, 2023

Client experience: The key to future success for your staffing business

Jan Jedlinski

Co-Founder & CEO,

Providing jobseekers with an outstanding user experience has long been a top priority for staffing firms, helping attract top talent for their clients. However, the staffing industry has changed in recent years, with clients expecting outstanding service that embraces technology and puts them in the driving seat when it comes to selecting candidates. If you want your staffing firm to stay competitive in the coming decade, you’ll need to adapt to the following trends:

  1. The rise of millennial managers desiring maximum control over the candidate selection process.
  2. The rise of online staffing platforms and an increasingly saturated staffing market.
  3. The increasing pressure to drive digital transformation following the onset of COVID-19. 

If the above sounds a little daunting, don’t panic! There are plenty of options available for traditional staffing companies to keep pace with competitors without losing their human touch. To help you navigate the current staffing landscape, we’ll discuss why now is the perfect time to start crafting the perfect client experience strategy and how you can maintain your competitive edge, all compiled in the Client Experience Framework. Let’s start with some facts and analyze what’s changing.

1. The generational shift

While client experience has always been a top priority for successful staffing businesses, a new cohort of millennial managers expect increasingly tailored services that meet their needs as digital natives. These digital natives aren't just future business leaders – they are already running the show as decision-makers and have high expectations about the kinds of services staffing firms offer. 

In fact, more than 60% of millennials now have direct reports, allowing them to drive real cultural and operational change within their roles. Millennials tend to avoid purchasing goods and services in person or over the phone, having grown up with the convenience of online shopping. Nearly 86% were digital buyers in 2020, a digital behaviour that applies to both their personal and professional lives. With many millennials hooked on the convenience of online services, they expect workplace buying processes to be as seamless as ordering groceries on Instacart, booking a trip on Airbnb, hailing an Uber, or scheduling a doctor's appointment with Oscar.

2. The growing competitive landscape

While traditional staffing firms hold a larger market share than their online equivalents, the digital staffing sector is growing 18 times faster and setting new client experience standards. Today’s online staffing businesses offer a wide range of premium features, including seamless digital interfaces, simple and intuitive onboarding processes for clients and candidates, close digital collaboration during the candidate selection stage, and automated, personalized candidate re-engagement tools.

You can find online firms in every staffing and recruitment vertical that differ vastly from their traditional competitors when it comes to providing excellent client experiences. In the blue-collar segment, Wonolo, Bluecrew, and Temper are leading the way in digital innovation. In the engineering and skilled trades segment, Workrise is showing others how it’s done. For companies on the hunt for IT professionals, services like Hired, Upwork, or Toptal offer excellent bespoke experiences. Finally, Trusted Health is a go-to provider in the healthcare segment, while Dover and Talentful are top of the retained search and RPO segment. As a traditional staffing firm, it’s vital you understand this large pool of new providers is competing for your clients, as well as your candidates. 

What does this mean for your staffing business? As the new wave of online staffing providers navigates the complexities of the staffing market, it’s time for your staffing business to leverage its years-long industry expertise while adopting a digital-first approach to the client experience. Personalization and automation are the buzzwords of the market and will help you stay ahead of the curve. If you haven’t already, we recommend you learn from online staffing marketplaces by creating and launching engagement strategies that borrow from their strongest features. You may also wish to partner with digital firms that can help you achieve stellar results.  

To quote Bullhorn CEO Art Papas, to move up to the right is much easier for incumbent staffing providers than for the new age staffing businesses.

3. The digital transformation

Digital transformation evolved from an abstract buzzword to a critical and accelerating fact for the staffing industry. A research report from Bullhorn found that 43% of staffing agencies are now implementing a digital transformation strategy — a 72 percent increase from 2020.

Nowadays, every staffing and recruiting business appreciates the need to deliver digital-first candidate experiences. However, developing a strong client experience is equally vital and will equip your clients with the tools they need to facilitate seamless and collaborative candidate selection processes. Pairing these tools with automation technologies and new digital marketing strategies will also help your team match clients with top talent.

Many industries have already gone through a digital transformation phase and may provide helpful inspiration for making the most of new technologies. For example, the real estate market contains an array of companies that have excelled in delivering incredible client experiences. Compass, for example, combines traditional real estate processes with state-of-the-art technology to provide a seamless digital homebuying experience and a high-touch service. 

Ultimately, the staffing and recruiting firms destined to win in this new world of work are those willing to invest in developing and maintaining a future-focused digital client experience. If you’re wondering how to achieve this feat, you must meet the client where they are and give them what they want – autonomy, near-instant responsiveness, and a streamlined experience before, during, and after they hire an employee. 

A strong client experience requires more than cutting-edge technology. It’s about combining the power of technology with the right engagement strategies and industry best practices to maximize the client experience at every stage of the life cycle.

While the changes we’ve described may seem challenging, you don’t have to move heaven and earth to deliver top-notch client experiences. If you need help implementing the right processes, technologies, and services to build a personalized and automated client experience and maintain a loyal client community, you’ll find all the information you need in our Client Experience Playbook.

Join the waitlist to receive your copy of the client experience playbook in January 2023 and register for the World Staffing Summit 2023 to learn more about why client experience will be key to your success in 2023.