Automating Your Staffing Business


Maurice Fuller: Hello everyone. Let me pull up some slides and we'll get started.

Maurice Fuller: All right. Welcome everyone to the World Staffing Summit. Today is a technology day brought to you by Talent Tech Labs.

Maurice Fuller: Well, this is one of the final sessions of the World Staffing Summit. This topic of automation is certainly one of the most important subjects in the staffing industry today. Hello, I'm Maurice Fuller and I'm. Founder of StaffingTec, I work with staffing firms to help select ATS systems, to build high-performance tech stacks and to help staffing firms get maximum value from their existing technology.

Maurice Fuller: And I'm super passionate about automation because I experienced it every single day. Just how manually intensive our industry is. Every day, millions of hours worldwide are spent pushing manual processes forward. This is slow. It's inefficient and it's extremely expensive. Internal. Labor costs is the single largest category of expense on our P&L statements.

Maurice Fuller: And so there's tremendous opportunity to automate and save costs. But in fact, with all the technology that we have at our disposal today, less than 5% of the processes that we perform are automated. So there's a tremendous opportunity to automate. Everybody sees this opportunity. That's why more than 80% of companies have top level digital transformation and automation initiatives.

Maurice Fuller: But here's the challenge is that only a small percentage of these companies that are pursuing these initiatives are achieving their targeted outcomes. So that's what we want to explore today in our session. How do you build a successful automation program? What technologies should you use? Where should you prioritize your investments?

Maurice Fuller: How do we lead, govern, manage and measure our impact so we can have meaningful improvements in our financial results. And with me to answer these questions are some top experts

Maurice Fuller: Mitchell Martin director of recruiting, Matthew Franklin. Catalytic, regional director, Michael Barney. And Sense co-founder Pankaj Jindal. Welcome everybody. I'm thrilled to be with you today.

Maurice Fuller: Let's start with introductions starting with Matt. 

Matt Franklin: Hey everybody. Thanks for the introduction Maurice. Matt Franklin has been in the industry for nearly 25 years. I'm very passionate about technology and its impact on our industry. Been at the forefront through ATS selection, tool, selection, et cetera.

Matt Franklin: And I work very closely with our CTO, making sure that we have all the right tools being put in place and utilization etc. And I think this is a great topic and one, that's a lot of buzz in the industry and I'm looking forward to sharing some of our experience with you all on the program. 

Maurice Fuller: All right.

Maurice Fuller: Fantastic. Michael. 

Michael Barney: Oh, hi everybody. I'm Michael Barney with Catalytic. Nice to be hanging out with you today and looking forward to the discussion. Like you I've spent the majority of my career in this industry sector, but for me, this, from the technology side Combined 15 years in the vendor management or VMS space specifically started out initially with IQ navigator.

Michael Barney: But most of it was actually spent with Fieldglass back in those early startup days, right on through to the acquisition in the past with SAP. I've joined the chief technology officer and co-founder of Fieldglass, who started Catalytic here three, three and a half years ago. And it's just a perfect spot for me because it combined my passion for non-employee labor technology and then the new frontier of AI and machine learning and automation and all that fun stuff.

Michael Barney: We'll talk about today. So, thanks. 

Maurice Fuller: All right. Fantastic and Pankaj. 

Pankaj Jindal: Hi. Hello everybody. And I'll round up this board and beautiful panel here. My name is Pankaj. I'm one of the founders of Sense. We are a talent engagement platform started about six years ago. And before that I spent 15 years running staffing companies, started them, built them, operated them, sold them.

Pankaj Jindal: So I've been an operator and. In space and very passionate about the industry and very passionate about how we can automate this industry to make every staffing company and every recruiter, a best version of themselves. So looking forward to the conversation, thank you for having me. 

Maurice Fuller: All right. Thank you so much. All right. Question for all of you to kick things off, automation's being enabled through a wide range of technologies, including robotic process automation, tools, chatbots, onboarding tools, mobile apps, and even Zapier integrations. How should staffing firm leaders think about automation in a broad sense?

Maurice Fuller: Let's start with you Pankaj. 

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah, I can kick us off. I mean, you know, from when I talk to CEOs in the staffing industry, I think the number one thing we hear a lot about, and the number one thing we prescribe a lot is anything that you're currently doing repetitively, there is a potential to automate that. So when you are thinking about automation, there are probably two ways to think about it.

Pankaj Jindal: One is to take any repetitive tasks that a recruiter is doing more than three or four times in a month in a week in a day, and automate that. So you absolutely improve recruiter productivity. And then secondly, how do you take sort of revenue generating tasks, your best salesperson, your best recruiter, everybody that is doing exactly what you want your company to do, and then make sure that is replicated across every single human being.

Pankaj Jindal: You know, can you take the best practices that you want and make sure that they become table stakes for your company? The two other things I would add to this is it's very important that as you think about automation, you still keep your recruiters within your system of record. So you don't choose something that actually integrates with your platform, and it's not actually bifurcating your people into many different tools and so on.

Pankaj Jindal: And so forth. And lastly, when you think about automation, make sure it is measurable. You just don't do it because it is the sexy new thing you do it simply because it's actually measurable. It improves the metrics that you care about, whether it is recruiter, productivity, whether it is more redeployment, whether it is number of hires, whether it is candidate sourced, whatever you care about, those are the metrics that automation needs to enable.

Maurice Fuller: Okay, fantastic. Michael, same question. How should staffing firm leaders think about automation in a broad sense? 

Michael Barney: It's kind of ironic because I think that the answer is actually in your question, which is exactly that more broadly. I mean, if you think about what's going on right now with automation in general.

Michael Barney: There's like a tsunami of point solutions that are coming on the market. I mean, it's overwhelming. And I don't know how you know, a small, medium, or even large sized staffing firm can kind of get their head around it. So when I think we just need to leave the, leave this era of automation as a feature driven point solution and start thinking about it far more broadly.

Michael Barney: About where it can be applied, not just to point solutions like applications to offer reading resumes, but where can it be applied across the entire business? Outside of just recruiting, outside of just talent acquisition, front office, back office procurement. I mean that, that is a different way to think of automation, but then here's the deal.

Michael Barney: If you're going to do that, the only way you'll ever get that accomplished is if you lower the bar bear or the bar to entry and eliminate the requirement for technical developers in it to build and stand up the automations, you gotta be able to put the automation capability in the hands of the business.

Michael Barney: The non-techies. The business owners. And when you do that, you know, beautiful things can happen in terms of scaling. And this is an extreme example, but it makes the point, our biggest customers Bosch, they just passed the 2000th process automated on our platform. And the point of that is it shows. Enabling the citizen developer on the average, you know, a process owner is very possible and I think really important.

Maurice Fuller: Alright. That sounds great. Matt, tell me how you think about how the leadership team Mitchell Martin thinks about automation. 

Matt Franklin: Yeah, so I'll dovetail of what both gentlemen just said. And I think this is where the most successful staffing firms should be asking themselves right now.

Matt Franklin: First of all automation is not going away. It's not a, it's not a staffing issue. It's across any issue. And it's particularly prevalent in the professional services space, which we all sit in. So the questions you asked you should be asking yourself internally, how is automation going to enhance my service offering both internally and externally.

Matt Franklin: Not if it's going to, the answer is how is it going to, right. And if you're struggling with that, I'll give you another follow-up. And I think Pankaj touched on it in his remarks. What processes do we have in our current companies right now that are constant areas of frustration, criticism and inefficiencies.

Matt Franklin: And as a business leader I am responsible for over a hundred resources globally. If you're not sure if you have inefficient or processes that are broken, then you're really not doing a good job and you really need to find out what is the source of pain. And I don't mean finding Java candidates for Silicon valley.

Matt Franklin: That's not a process problem. That's a world problem. What are your people that you're spending good money for everyday? Frustrated when they go home or log off for the day saying, man, I wish we could figure out how to do a better job doing X, Y, and Z Mitchell Martin.

Matt Franklin: We're a fairly large company. We have a list of about 90 things that we would like to solve. Are we going to get to all of them? No, but they're, you know, the question really is, do we know where the issue are? And what, if any, can automation, you know, what parking automation plays in overcoming some of these obstacles?

Matt Franklin: Not only is it not only critical for business, but it's critical for retention of your employees. If people feel like they're not being enabled. And if they're doing tasks that are not really high enough function for them, ultimately they're going to find a place that has found a way to make those tasks more palatable.

Matt Franklin: So right there very important that we stay cutting. 

Maurice Fuller: Matt. So you've been at this for a while. Tell us about the automation journey you've been on at Mitchell Martin, how you got started and where you are today. 

Matt Franklin: Yeah, I'll be as brief as possible. Here started down this path 4 or 5 years ago.

Matt Franklin: A lot of buzz at that time. I think there's still a lot of buzz. The automation companies are very good at sales and marketing. Messaging I think has changed. I think it's actually gotten more actually more relevant, which is good. We started, we set forth really with some basic stuff.

Matt Franklin: We had a lot of success around the operation. And onboarding and time collection which is really not that exciting. But when you look at your processes, if you take six people to collect time and automation, you can cut it down to two. Well, you've just become pretty, you know, more efficient. So that was our initial stance.

Matt Franklin: Then we saw some early wins and some workflows around our consultant population. We call those our inflight people. So, you know, we have a couple thousand people that work for us everyday. Touching base with them in an automated fashion. It was a, it was falling between the cracks of our salespeople and recruiters.

Matt Franklin: Will you do it? Will you do it? I don't want to do it. I forgot to do it. So we saw some small wins around that and really we now we're starting to use automation to help us build more of these talent pools, talent funnels, alumni networks, where we're able to stay in touch with people without really having to have a lot of man hours dedicated to it.

Matt Franklin: Lastly our belief in automation was so strong about 20 months ago, we actually hired our first CTO of Mitchell Martin. And he came out of one of the big five companies with a background in RPA, which is robotic process automation. And we believe that, you know, staffing firms they're gonna, they're gonna enable and take in automation, whether they do at home grown with were packaged solution or a little bit.

Matt Franklin: We'll be the ones that will be able to be standing well into the future. So. Yeah, 

Maurice Fuller: That makes sense. How about the impact that automation has had on your operations? Have you been able to measure the impact through the lens of your KPIs and financial indicators and which departments and functions at Mitchell Martin, would you say have had the highest ROI as a result of these automation initiatives?

Matt Franklin: Again, initial wins were probably more onboarding and back office based. Our second stage was really more consultant care consultant. And we've had tremendous success identifying issues with people in flight getting in front of them. And really it's actually taught us volumes about how we handle our people.

Matt Franklin: Sometimes just asking people if they're happy, seems so obvious, but we were doing a pretty poor job of it. So that's been a, that's been a nice win for us going forward though. We're really focusing more now on talent and lead-generation from both our candidates and our existing clients.

Maurice Fuller: Okay. Fantastic. All right. Let's take a look at some successes across the industry. Pankaj, some of your customers have seen significant improvements in operational efficiencies and speeds. I was wondering if you could share with us a before and after a success story. 

Pankaj Jindal: I can share with you several Maurice I'll, you know, in the interest of time, I'm going to walk the audience through two or three really quick examples and I'll try and touch all facets for our audience.

Pankaj Jindal: So, first, the first thing that comes to my mind is a billion dollar organization. They hired about 30 to 40,000 people a year staffing companies, mainly concentrated in commercial light industrial space. One of the things that they realized after they started using automation from Sense. And I'm specifically talking about the chat bot functionality, which is essentially a conversational recruiting assistant, if you will.

Pankaj Jindal: So natural language based chat bot some of the. You know, KPIs that they came up with literally three months into using their chat bot or things like a 263% increase in the number of candidates. They were screening at a 32 -80% decrease in the amount of time. It takes them to fill a job and saves over 800 hours of recruiter time while automatically scheduled twenty-five thousand meetings.

Pankaj Jindal: So this is a chatbot talking to you about, Hey, are you authorized to work in the US. How much money do you want? Have you ever gotten a felony? Are you know, will you subject yourself to a COVID screening every day? Can you lift 50 pounds a day? Can you stand on your feet for eight hours a day?

Pankaj Jindal: All of this works for us. Great. Automatically scheduling you with a recruiter. The meeting's already on the calendar of the recruiter for a time that works for you, the candidate, which means you're going to show up and they're reducing time to. The second thing I'm thinking about is another organization.

Pankaj Jindal: They're mainly IT focused again, over a billion dollars in revenue. And in the last three years that they've been working with us, they redeployed 36,000 people. Let's let that sink in for a second because when you talk to most staffing companies, they'll tell you that the redeployment rates are in the single digits.

Pankaj Jindal: You have in order in the low single digits, I'm sorry. So, you know, that's how bad redeployment is in our industry, but again, they were able to use, you know, part of our automation suite, they were able to use the job matching functionality, where they can automatically figure out if somebody is coming out of assignment, what are the five next best jobs to send them over to?

Pankaj Jindal: And they've now done over 36,000 redeployment. And then the last example, I was going to give us about a company that, and this happens all the time. Some, you know, especially with the last two years that we've been through in our life of a pandemic. When, you know, on Friday, you will get a message that says, Hey, we can use 50 more healthcare professionals in this. Hospital facility by Monday. 

Pankaj Jindal: And this is Friday. They want these people on a Monday, literally automation comes to their rescue where they're simply sending out a message to 10,000 people automatically screening them, using a chat bot automatically scheduling. Automatically verifying the credentials and essentially sending them a tentative offer letter and saying, you can start on Monday, once we've had a 32nd conversation with you, or once we've done a remote verification of your IDs.

Pankaj Jindal: So, you know, we are maniacal about ROI, and this is exactly where I think automation helps where you can actually come in and say these are. Key KPIs. These are your key metrics that we actually improve. Those are some examples that might resonate with our audience today. 

Maurice Fuller: Yeah. That's so exciting to hear what you've been able to accomplish.

Maurice Fuller: Pankaj, Michael, same question. Catalytics being used is being used by some of the largest enterprise staffing firms in the world. What are some use cases that Catalytics is addressing and what's the impact that Catalytic has had? 

Michael Barney: Yeah, that'd be happy to comment on that. You know, first of all, I mean, we can say hundreds of different use cases.

Michael Barney: Customers have been, which many are our peers, are the folks on the phone who are incredibly public about their use cases. So that's really fun to pick through them and kind of see what could be applicable. But one thing that comes to mind just right off the bat is when we talk about the benefit of a use.

Michael Barney: People I think are very singularly focused. When they talk about the ROI and that's hyper-focused on, you know, labor and time savings and efficiencies, and that's awesome. And for a lot of use cases that does carry the day of the business case, but just when you think about automating a process, that's not always what.

Michael Barney: Sometimes you can make an argument that automation is going to address a risk or a compliance or a data integrity, you know, concern. Often you can make an argument that automating the process improves the user experience. Maybe it has nothing to do with saving countless hours. Maybe it just makes a better experience, wherever is involved with the process.

Michael Barney: So I just like to throw that out there because I think it's always healthy. To remind yourself of the business consequences and why you would even venture down the road of automation in the first place. I I think there's an opportunity again, to change the narrative here, because again, people, when they think of automation, they often get very kind of siloed in their thinking.

Michael Barney: They get very point solution related and a lot of the use cases I mean, take a, take an example like the, in the application to offer process automating, getting an offer letter generated. There's a bunch of stuff that can be automated, right? It starts with fetching data from other systems. You might even want to layer in a little AI to help determine what the prevailing or the appropriate rate should be in the offer letter in the first place.

Michael Barney: There's all sorts of tedious manual tasks that can be automated, like assembling the document, like routing it internally from approval. Eventually you add workflow and send it to the applicant. The applicant, then you may want to invoke signatures. And that eventually you wrap more workflow about it, send it back to the staffing firm and then you may update other systems.

Michael Barney: My point is there's a lot of different sub-steps that can be automated, but the beauty, if you start thinking about automation as a platform, That can be applied broadly across your company, not just for saying this case, you know, recruiting you can start applying that those same fundamental building blocks that I just described in generating an offer letter to like invoice.

Michael Barney: You know, accruals for your finance department, it has to basically do the same stuff, but they're just doing it because they're trying to get an accruals report out at the end of the quarter. That's the part I wanted to leave everybody with is think bigger. Don't think so tactfully. I'm not saying point solution things aren't necessary.

Michael Barney: That's what you're going to start with, but there's a bigger opportunity. And then the proof point or example that I like to share, because you guys respect them, you know, it's guidance global in two quarters. They trained up 30 people. Those aren't developers, those are business owners.

Michael Barney: Those are, you know, people in the town acquisition department or in finance and Assesses had 14 stacked up in the queue and it impacted all across their business from town acquisition to billing to the VMS implementation team, SRM it service excellent and talent. I think that's cool. And again, the only way that's even possible is if you've done this technology way down, make it no code.

Michael Barney: So you don't need IT and developers, and I'll talk more about that later. You can put it in the hands of the business owner. 

Maurice Fuller: Amazing what you've been able to achieve. I want to get into some of the challenges and headwinds that we're experiencing in the industry. Pankaj. Staffing firms like Mitchell Martin have made tremendous progress with automation, but there are many that are making little headway.

Maurice Fuller: What is it that firms are doing differently? The ones that are succeeding why are they succeeding while others are not. 

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah, this is a great question, Maurice. I talk about this a lot. First of all, you know, you're going to get out of automation, what you put into it. I'll tell you some of our most successful customers, what they've done.

Pankaj Jindal: They've actually taken the time to do what they call a time study for about 30 days. They've literally taken the time to figure out, Hey, is every single one of our recruiters. This is what they've done for. Let's say 30 days straight or every single one. Salespeople. They're absolutely able to figure out and say, okay, you're spending 30% of your time prospecting.

Pankaj Jindal: You're spending 40% of your time in screening and scheduling candidates. You're spending 10% of your time interviewing people and 10% of your time in rolling out offers. So they actually start with the root cause of inner reputative things that we do want to automate. You know, automation in my mind is table stakes.

Pankaj Jindal: Today. There isn't any company that isn't using some form of automation, but the era of doing an automation that sends out a quick happy birthday message, or, you know, updates, a single field in your ATS, that's now table stakes. What people are looking for is how I can automate 30 to 50 to 60% of my recruiters' lives.

Pankaj Jindal: Secondly, when you work with, you know, a company that understands automation, like, you know, we would literally hand over a play book of 400 different automations that you can build in a typical staffing company. You can literally look at it as an LA carte menu and go, I'll take this, and this here's low hanging fruit.

Pankaj Jindal: Here are things that we will automate as well and so forth. And the last thing I'll tell you is. You obviously have to make people believers in it because this is somewhat of a change. So you have to do some change management. I think some companies that have done a better job at change management are those who've taken the low hanging fruit and shown those bins.

Pankaj Jindal: Like, for example, Hey, you no longer ever have to send an email, asking somebody for a referral it's happening automatically. You're no longer ever sending an email asking for an exit survey for an NPS survey. For telling somebody your job is finished. Just things that maybe even took you three minutes a day or 10 minutes a day.

Pankaj Jindal: They're just going away and actually creates happier recruiters and salespeople who can now make more money by doing more revenue generation activity. Yeah. 

Maurice Fuller: Okay, great. I love your point about that time study. Matt, I wanted to get into some of the challenges that you and your team over at Mitchell Martin faced with your automation programs and how did you overcome those challenges?

Matt Franklin: Trying to get off mute. All right. Yeah, I think I did it. So it's very interesting. How do I just come out and say that people hate change, right? This is there's been countless books written about it. Leadership books, management books people really hate change when it, when they perceive it's going to impact their jobs.

Matt Franklin: Or their career prospects. Right. So I think we'll throw that as like a, you know, that's pretty obvious to everyone on this call. And I think Frank conversations should be had at the leadership level to employees as you enter this automation journey, why you're doing it right. The big question, you're not doing it to eliminate someone's job.

Matt Franklin: Maybe you're doing it to actually elevate their jobs. You're not doing it to save money. Maybe you're actually doing it to invest money. You'll be able to make money and you'll invest in even more efficiencies. And what we found is we didn't do the best job up front, to be honest. A lot of the processes that you're trying to automate are held very close to the vest by some of your long-term employees.

Matt Franklin: That's what we found. And unless you're open and honest with them. Along the way they may be sabotaging progress. So I know that sounds dire and horrible, but lesson learned you know, and going back to my opening remarks, find the top five things that are going on in your company that people hate doing.

Matt Franklin: So you have some momentum behind it and say, as a company, we're trying to make these five things better. If someone is responsible for that process, don't make it there. Almost like being promoted. Like we're trying to find a way to make Sally's job better and this is how we're going to do it.

Matt Franklin: And I think if you approach it that way you'll have no problem with buy-in, but I think if you're going to get people to change and embrace new things, everyone always asks why and what's in it for me. So I think looking back on it, we could have done a better job on that front. 

Maurice Fuller: I love the point about delegating tasks to an automation, which enables you to elevate that person to a higher level of value added. 

Matt Franklin: Yeah. That, to me, that's the, it's not a line it's reality, right? If someone doesn't have those higher functioning skills, then yes, they may ultimately not exist with your organization in the future.

Matt Franklin: But the assumption is most of us have done a good job upscaling our people to begin with and that person can be repurpose. 

Maurice Fuller: Okay, fantastic. Michael, could you briefly talk to us about the digital transformation gap and why so many firms are falling short of expectations in pursuit of their automation goals?

Michael Barney: Yeah, I'm actually kind of smiling and I'm referring. I think that the first slide you brought up, Maurice, that should be pretty shocking actually. And it's credible. I think the stats on that if I recall, or were by a Gartner Boston consulting group in vain, so pretty believable. And I think what the headline is saying is, look, it's no mystery that people need to digitize and automate their business. And Mean, you need to look no further than Amazon for an example of a business that was digital, you know, ground up. So I think we have Alliance on that or alignment on that issue. But the dirty little secret and the headline is it's not going very well.

Michael Barney: I think the number you cited in that slide was like 8%. That's single digit pathetic. That's not anything to brag about so that it begs the question. Why? Why are these companies struggling with automating to scale and the answer quite honestly, and this is super simplistic is because its requires developers it's expensive and hard to find, or you have to go lean on IT. And it's not like your IT team that has a bunch of developers lying around and looking for things to do. So. It's really important to spend time learning about this new emerging concept called no code, and don't confuse that with low code, but No code is the ability to put these, this, these platforms and technology in the hands of the business owners.

Michael Barney: I mentioned it earlier, cause that is the game changer. If you're not dependent on IT and you can put it in the hands of the people on your team, we just know the process. It helps that they're not freaked out by a macro, but they don't have to be programmers. They don't have to be techies. And they can not only automate and stand up automations, but remember these automations, they change a lot.

Michael Barney: They're a reflection of your business. Looking at any staffing process like onboarding, it changes all the time. It's supposed to, again, if were to hold on to it, to make those changes and tweaks, that's a problem. But if the business owner can make those changes, that's really, you know, quite special.

Michael Barney: So, you know, this is a bit self-serving because at Catalytic we've built a truly no code technology and all the examples I've been citing. Or trying to prove that you know, I'll sprinkle a little bit of love around. I talked about guidance, but pontoons, a client of ours, Lee as a client. People 2.O. They literally stood up amongst them, hundreds of automations.

Michael Barney: And it's not limited to point solutions around just like an eight, how to enhance an ATS it's across the entire business in some of those products. Aren't even that exciting. They're just quick little workflow wins. Call it good. Move on. 

Maurice Fuller: It. Doesn't take much. And we're going to get into some of these points about managing lots of automations.

Maurice Fuller: When we talk about governance. I do want to get into keys to success. I think this is what everybody is interested in hearing about. If you're in the audience and you have questions, please type them into the chat function, and we'll be addressing those toward the end of the session. But we welcome your questions.

Maurice Fuller: Pankaj, if I'm the CEO of a staffing firm, and I want to make meaningful progress with automation to improve. Financial results and operational efficiencies. How do I build a successful automation program in terms of people, process technology and accountability. 

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah, no super interesting question, Maurice.

Pankaj Jindal: I mean, you know, we specifically talk to CEOs of all the customers that we work with because that's really where this whole automation journey starts from. You know, you mentioned four different things, people process technology and accountability, and I'll kind of go through all of them in 30 seconds each if I can.

Pankaj Jindal: You know, from a people standpoint I touched upon this a little bit. I think people are very open to automation, as long as you can. Up-level their job. This is exactly what Matt was talking about. You know, if you can give somebody 20% more time and that 20% is going to mean that they make three more placements and make 20% more commission, they are all about it every day long.

Pankaj Jindal: You know, so you just have to make sure you're helping people. This is not, automation is not about reducing jobs. I mean, I come across people all the time who think about it this way, but this is an idea of can your sources become recruiters? Can you recruiters become account managers? Can account managers become salespeople because you can keep upleveling their roles.

Pankaj Jindal: From a sort of accountability standpoint, we literally have created customers. I think now we're brand new positions and titles have been created. Director of candidate engagement, chief engagement officer, literally a CEO whose whole job or chief talent engagement officer. This is really your product now, right?

Pankaj Jindal: I mean, as a staffing company, we're talking about the staffing world as a staffing company, the war on talent is over. Talent has won, you know, that's what everybody wants. So essentially, can you give people the experience that they are looking for? Every candidate today expects a consumer like experience the same that they expect from

Pankaj Jindal: If I visit your website, remember my preferences. I wanted you to text me. Don't email me. I'm only to email me. Don't text me. I want to get in five minutes or 15 minutes to a point that I can go from hello to I have an interview or hello. I have been hired, you know, start there. So, you know, There's obviously accountability around which KPIs are improving.

Pankaj Jindal: We're going to baseline those KPIs. We're going to understand whether they are becoming better on a quarter after quarter basis. We're going to get to a point where the candidate experience is going to be consumerized. And we talk a lot about consumerization in staffing. And then lastly, you know, from a process standpoint, automation allows you to have a single brand.

Pankaj Jindal: We work with companies that'll have a hundred franchises and before they were automated, everybody's sending a different message and they come across as the sequestered, you know, tiny companies that are just, you know, working as one. Now, every single email that goes out has the same tone of voice, has the same message as the same brand color and has the same logo. You actually appear larger than you are.

Pankaj Jindal: You could be a hundred franchise companies and come across as sophisticated as a deck or an allegiance is as Michael was talking about. So, you know, if you're the CEO, these are, I think, some of the key aspects of what you think from a people process technology and accountability standpoint. 

Maurice Fuller: Okay. Excellent. And Michael, let's talk a little bit about automation program governance. What's the right governance model for an automation program and should automation initiatives across the company of the organizationally centralized silo to departments or some combination there. 

Michael Barney: Yeah, that's a great question.

Michael Barney: It's the overlooked hero in this whole process. And it's a real paradigm shift in my opinion, because the roles are now changing. So it starts with, as I mentioned before the actual automation is being built by the business by the process owners. And then you're thinking, well, then what happens to IT?

Michael Barney: And it, or somebody else needs to play the role. I call it a center of excellence. But somebody needs to be on point, not for toiling away, building bots and programming, but for governance, for evangelizing the program internally, for celebrating the success, for communicating it for assuring info security.

Michael Barney: When you talk about these automations, by the way, they touch other systems. Some of my clients, the automations touch their clients and their systems. That is a far more intellectual and better use of IT talent than I said before the building bots. And so that's a fundamental shift. So IT or whoever is chosen to play this role of the COE.

Michael Barney: I think the role gets elevated, but it's in a far more impactful role than again, doing development. So I think it's a hybrid. I think the business is doing their role with building out the automations and maintaining them and making sure that they reflect the way you guys want the business done.

Michael Barney: And then I think this, somebody needs to play this center of excellence role to assure governance and change management is intact. 

Maurice Fuller: Yeah. Let's talk about change management, such an important topic. Both Matt and Pankaj have discussed that. How do we successfully introduce automation initiatives and how do we overcome employees' fears?

Maurice Fuller: We talked about this delegate to automation and elevate concept. Do you have any thoughts on how to do this? 

Michael Barney: I can add my comments. I'm going to chunk it up, I guess, into two answers. I mean, the first is, well, how do you introduce automation in the first place? And that totally top starts top.

Michael Barney: It needs to be really identified and kind of evangelized internally as, Hey man, this is really important for our business. Not only for profitability or quality of service and everything else. And as I said before, it's super strategic for the company with big implications. You know, I think from the very first go live again, it needs to be communicated and kind of, you know, internalized in, within the company.

Michael Barney: I think it just has to be an integral part of the fabric of your company. I mean, that's philosophical, but man, is it important if you're going to have a deep bottom up, it's just gonna be another IT project. And I think it's, this is far more strategic and fundamental. The second thing is this whole idea of, you know, how do you position it with the employee again, back to where they are going to feel threatened by automation?

Michael Barney: And I've seen it very successfully positioned as a compliment to, you know, to the line worker, to the person who the automation is actually helping out. And if you're also honest about what processes or workflow you're going to automate most, not all still require a human being, being in the loop.

Michael Barney: Absolutely. We do see some processes. It can be completely end-to-end automated like, you know, finance transactional things, but particularly in the staffing world, you know, I don't see the role of the recruiter going away anytime soon. I think it should be elevated. I think let automation offload from all that low menial mind-numbing low value tedious work.

Michael Barney: Yeah. Like I spend more time on the phone with a candidate. You might want to have the automation sift through the 500 resumes so they can figure out the top five they should talk to, but then that conversation still has to occur. So I think it's really important. And then again, I'm also seeing a lot of companies really promote automation, particularly if it's no code.

Michael Barney: So, you know, the business owner can actually get involved with it. As a skills enhancer. You know, they're going all over the AI. They're getting everything with new innovation. I mean, that's a net add in my opinion. So. 

Maurice Fuller: Those are some really great points. And I completely agree with you on the role of the recruiter being elevated.

Maurice Fuller: It's just, it's really exciting. One of the most exciting things about automation is just the fact that the recruiters are gonna be able to add more and more value as we take away the lower level tasks. And they can really focus on bringing more value to all their stakeholders and. So I have a really important question.

Maurice Fuller: I want to run past Pankaj because I deal with this myself in all the consulting work I do, I'll go into a company and we'll quickly identify, you know, within an hour, we can put together a list of 50, to a 100 opportunities to automate, and then you have this gigantic list. How. Choose where to focus on like, what lenses should I use to prioritize automation investments?

Maurice Fuller: Which KPIs should we focus on first? 

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah, Maurice. I mean, the first thing I'll start by saying is start somewhere. You actually said this very well in the beginning of this presentation, that less than 5% of the processes are even automated today. So first of all, just the fundamental belief that there is a huge opportunity here now, depending on the kind of company you are, the KPI that is more important to you is going to differ.

Pankaj Jindal: I can tell you this. When we work with industrial commercial firms, their KPI tends to be. Hey, can we reduce our drop-off rates? Can we reduce our involuntary attrition? Can we increase our length of assignment? That seems to be, you know, their big focus. You have somebody working for you for two weeks.

Pankaj Jindal: Instead of one week, you have just doubled your gross margin. Our approach here is to baseline the metrics that you have today. And then every quarter, every month we will look at how many hard ROI dollars are being added here. When you work with an IT professional company, their approach, you know, is to think about Matt's company.

Pankaj Jindal: Sometimes their approach seems to be, Hey, can our NPS score get improved by 10 or 20 points? Can people start thinking of us as the first place that they need to come to? When they're looking for a job? Because we don't really have a problem with people walking off of their assignments. They wouldn't be working for nine months, 12 months.

Pankaj Jindal: They're probably going to be there, but can they be happier? So, you know, Then the one thing that is probably something we see across the board is this idea around database reactivation. Every staffing company is sitting on a million candidates and several of them that we work with are sitting on tens of millions of candidates.

Pankaj Jindal: You have paid so much money for these people to job boards, year after year, starting these people from the job boards into your ATS, but you no longer keep that information. Current. This is information that can work for you simply with some automation, you can know exactly who is available when, how much money they want.

Pankaj Jindal: When did they start working for you? You can literally. I won't name names, but we have companies that have saved 50% of their job board spend, simply because they've now made this database, their own database you know, exuberant living vibrant to a point that recruiters first search for candidates here.

Pankaj Jindal: So, I mean, I wish I had sort of a magic bullet answer to start here. Everybody's going to have a different priority, but you're absolutely going to know that if you see. A hundred percent measure the impact it has on your actual hard dollars. What actual bottom lies? 

Maurice Fuller: Okay. I love that answer. If you don't know where to start, just start somewhere.

Maurice Fuller: Before we get into the future of automation, I'd like to take this question from Lori, which I love and maybe Matt, you can address this. Do you recommend having someone dedicated to project management? For automation they've invested in technology, but they don't ever seem to realize the benefits due to poor implementation or execution on their part.

Maurice Fuller: So. They're super busy. Finding time to work on automation is a challenge. So, Matt, what are your thoughts on how to do this successfully and actually get real results? 

Matt Franklin: I will understand where Lori's coming from. It's the age old conundrum, right? If I only had more time to focus on tech, I'd be less busy.

Matt Franklin: Well, you know, right. So, so yeah, I mean, well, all joking aside, I think it comes down to a fundamental, you have to draw a line in the sand, right? If you're happy with the way your company is operating right now, then this is maybe like a nice to have. It's a shiny object out there that you're kind of looking at.

Matt Franklin: It's going car shopping, right. That's a really nice car, but I don't need a car. I just got a car 18 months ago versus my car is about to die. And if I don't get a new car, I can't get my kids to school. And that's a real problem. I'm a real buyer right now. So I think you have to have a self-assessment with, are you happy with the state of affairs or your company?

Matt Franklin: If the answer is yes. And everything's going great, then this may just be a shiny object. If the answer is I can't retain people or these processes I know are costing us money or I'm starting to lose my competitive advantage with other companies because they've invested in this and that, then I think you have to get off the spot and say, I need to make a commitment to change.

Matt Franklin: And if you're making a commitment to change again, I don't want to, I don't want to be too presumptuous, Lori, but then the answer is it someone's full-time job to be a change enabler here? The answer probably is it has to be and you know, to give it to your best recruiter or your best sales guy, or you're a guy that's a head of finance and say, Hey, do this.

Matt Franklin: I live down that road. It's not going to yield you the results that you want. It's never going to be first and foremost in their mind because staffing is a vicious game, right? Someone in finance and accounting is always worried about the next payroll. Someone in recruiting is really worried about the next placement and somebody in sales is worried about the next client meeting.

Matt Franklin: So I think it's how important is it to you? And if you think it's fairly important, then it's probably worth the seat in the organization. That's my. 

Maurice Fuller: All right. That's great insight, Matt and Lori. Thanks again for the question, Matt, let's stick with you. How do you see the role of the recruiter evolving with increasing levels of automation?

Matt Franklin: This is going to be funny. You guys touched on this. I actually think it's a, I actually think it's a journey back to the past. So I'll date myself a little bit. uncautious, probably the lap, but, you know, there was a time in place that we conducted our business in staffing with no apps and no websites and nothing more than a Manila folder of candidates that we would talk to on a green screen.

Matt Franklin: I want once upon a time, that was probably a DAS database. And, you know, the reality is who was, who would, which firms were winning back then. It was really the firms that had the most talent. And I don't mean talent in the database. It was individual differences who was a true recruiter who was able to spend 20 minutes with the candidate, the right candidate, and really put together a picture as to who they are.

Matt Franklin: And what's motivating him, she or he to change jobs. I think we've almost allowed all the repetitive and monotonous tasks as being a recruiter. You know, we spend more time now, you know, submitting candidates than we do as interviewing candidates. Well, that's a problem, right? We spend more time funneling.

Matt Franklin: I think someone said earlier, So to the right candidate, then we are actually talking to the right candidate. And I think bots and automation will help us become better recruiters and really more higher functioning recruiters. It's going to bring back the art and science of recruiting, interviewing, of building relationships and all that stuff I think has taken a back seat in the last decade or so with all of this new technology that we've really used.

Matt Franklin: But if you think about it, we've just, we just lumped it onto the recruiter. And you haven't really taken it away from them and said, this is a corporate function. I'm making it up. You're in a skillset vertical. And we have you know, a Sense bot or some other company bot. That's going to go out there and it's going to deliver you 15 iPhone developers every month.

Matt Franklin: Your job is not, your job is no longer to find those 15 it's to tell us which of the three are the right ones for us to represent. And I think that slight mind shift is a big deal. 

Maurice Fuller: All right. That's fantastic. So Pankaj, I'm very interested to get your views on this subject.

Maurice Fuller: Sense is at the absolute forefront of staffing from automation, and I'd like to learn how automated do you expect leading edge staffing firms to be five years from now? And can you paint a picture of what the future of highly automated staffing looks like from an operational point of view? 

Pankaj Jindal: Yes, absolutely.

Pankaj Jindal: I will give you, I'll give you an example of, I think there's some staffing firms that are going to be five months from now, let alone five years, because that's what they're challenging us to do. Now, what some of our customers have challenged us to do is go from hello to higher in five minutes. The very first time a candidate that you have never talked to before does not exist in your database.

Pankaj Jindal: You have no clue who this person is just happens to come to your website. Imagine that this person immediately gets intercepted by a chat bot by a conversational recruiting assistant. You immediately go through a conversation in 30 seconds. Are you here looking for a job? Yes. Great. What kind of job?

Pankaj Jindal: What do you want? Blah, blah, blah. I'm going to do a little pre-screening and instantly an integrated job matching solution comes into play and says, Hey, you're a great fit for three roles that we have open. Here are these roles one, two, and three. And all I need from you right now is look at these roles, read the job description, whatever you want.

Pankaj Jindal: And just tell me whether you want one or two or one or two or one or three. Just tell me the ones that you are willing to get submitted to. And maybe 30 seconds later, the candidate is saying, well, one in three and instantly you're going to get, and that's another automation, a text message saying confirmed.

Pankaj Jindal: You've been submitted to one and three. The recruiter will get that confirmation. There'll be automation with the VMS, MSP system. If you had a VMS MSP system where you literally can go submit this resume, and now you've been put into either a workflow that says, we'll keep you posted on when your interview is, or oftentimes when you're hiring folks in a commercial light, industrial establishment, like I want to hire a forklift operator.

Pankaj Jindal: I've asked you all the questions. Do you have a forklift operator license? Yes. You have the jobs. Hello to hire five minutes later, you have a job and maybe I will automatically schedule you with the recruiter to verify some information, or we can just verify that onsite and you can show up. So, I mean, we're not far from a world where people are going to.

Pankaj Jindal: Just as you can visit and five minutes later by the exact thing that you wanted, you could go to a staffing company's website and five minutes later have a job. Now I know it sounds a little provocative. It sounds like this will never happen. Never go. We have customers challenging us to do this today.

Pankaj Jindal: So, I mean, I feel like the future is already here. I completely believe that some firms will take five years to get there, but I will tell you that some firms are going to get there in five months and lead the way you know, to create this holistic sort of hello to higher experience. 

Maurice Fuller: Absolutely fascinating Pankaj.

Maurice Fuller: Hello, to hire in five minutes. It's. That's great. And you know, that's the thing, folks like yourself, think about this and you make it happen. So, I want to, in our last remaining three minutes, ask each of you to provide any sort of final words of advice on successfully automating a staffing firm, starting with Matt 60 seconds.

Matt Franklin: Put out a target in place where you want to have one process automated, have the whole company March towards it. If you're not going to hire someone individually, make someone responsible for it and make it an attainable goal and just do it. Just get started. 

Maurice Fuller: Excellent. Michael. 

Michael Barney: Yeah, echo the same.

Michael Barney: Just get started. All the, for those that haven't started the journey yet the benefit to you with the time that you bought yourself is all the speculations out of it. It's going on all around us. And you know, we try to make it really easy to educate your team. We consult every day with our customers on automation and the pitfalls, you know, pros and cons.

Michael Barney: And after those sessions, there's like, there's a whiteboard full of potential automated processes to go after. And you make it inclusive that you don't do it as it's an IT project. Do it top down and let the businesses all participate in this discussion. It's a bit of an ad, but it's sincere.

Michael Barney: We make it very easy to start by providing a no-cost trial. So you can stand a couple up, use the no-code capabilities and we provide all the training. And if it's as no code and as easy as we're saying, you know, this isn't months here in a couple of weeks, you should be able to stand up some processes and reach out to me.

Michael Barney: I'd love to help if you have interest. 

Maurice Fuller: All right. Thank you, Michael Pankaj. 

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah, Maurice. I was going to say, listen you know, in somebody of what I've been seeing in this conversation, automation is here to stay. First of all, I'll make peace with the heck. Secondly, you know, the digital transformation of a staffing company precipitated.

Pankaj Jindal: During the pandemic, most staffing companies, at some point in their technical journey and it got precipitated in a moment, you suddenly got to a point where you were no longer seeing the talent. You were no longer interacting with your own staff. You were no longer interacting with customers.

Pankaj Jindal: Everything became virtual and you absolutely had to depend on technology. You have positions open today. You know, nobody's applying because people are still unemployed or they're starting to think about changing their careers. And you had to cast a wider net. You had positions where 700 people were applying and you have to find the diamond in the rough, everything here points towards technology.

Pankaj Jindal: My belief is eventually with candidates and customers are going to become a commodity. You're going to know very much every single job that Google has opened. Every single job that general motors has opened. It's not a secret. You're probably going to know every single candidate that exists in the world because discoverability is an all time high.

Pankaj Jindal: You're no longer living in a world where I'm a recruiter. I only know these 20 people and nobody else knows these 20 people. Candidates and customers are going to be a commodity. What's going to matter is your operational efficiency linking these two together and the expedience that you provide both of these bodies.

Maurice Fuller: Okay. Thank you so much. All right. Thanks, Matt. Thanks Michael. Thanks Pankaj. This has been a phenomenal conversation. I've learned a lot in this conversation. I want to thank the World Staffing Summit for producing this event. Talent Tech Labs for producing today's sessions. And I hope everyone has a great remainder of this summit.

Pankaj Jindal: Thank you everyone. Thanks for having me have a great weekend. All right, 

Matt Franklin: Thanks guys. Appreciate it. Thanks.


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Michael Barney

Matt Franklin

Maurice Fuller

Pankaj Jindal




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