Putting the “human” back into higher volume workforce environments in tight talent markets.


Adam Thompson: Welcome Chris. 

Adam Thompson: I thought before starting we're going to be talking today quite a lot about technology funnily enough. And I know that may sound like a contradiction.

Adam Thompson: We're talking about the human putting the human back into what can be a very mechanistic process, but actually both Chris and I are firm believers in the power of technology to personalize to provide choice. And really to allow candidates and employees to maybe do away with some of the more boring, repetitive side of traditional recruitment.

Adam Thompson: And we'll be talking about it a little bit about that today. But before we start. I thought it would be worthwhile. Just one minute on Stafflines, Staffline, UK is a say one of the largest cyber recruiters in the UK, something like one and a half billion dollars a year. But Chris, 30 seconds from you just in the background, just. The kind of organization you come from. 

Chris Gleed: Thank you. Well, Staffline is probably one of the largest recruiters in the UK by volume of workers, day data work. Just start with numbers. There's always good to see. Cause obviously the larger the numbers you kind have authority to talk about this subject and I think we've done 12 million shifts in the last 24 months on the platform.

Chris Gleed: We put over 40,000 people a day to work at any one time and we have over 1.2 million candidates and workers are on the database at the moment. And that kind of boils down to like 5 million individual time sheets. And that's a large volume, but numbers is one thing I think we're trying to talk about the humanization of Staffline.

Chris Gleed: And I guess we talk about our purpose here is that we, our purpose is to enable people into good work and good work for us is work where the person is having respect for the job they do. They turn up and they want to work there. That leads us on to our vision, which is quite unique in industry. It's really the case, the most trusted recruitment business.

Chris Gleed: And for us, that's a very pivotal point because when we're dealing with the workforce is that we do at the scale and minimum wage. We want to make sure that we can do everything we can to find the best experience. Also the safeguarding we can do around that. Just a bit about Staffline, primarily a workforce providing, let's say, large-scale recruitment, but we also do a lot of other things.

Chris Gleed: So we have a special division that does technical engineering to support the workforce or just permanent recruitment. We have an RPO business called Datum that does VMS and Master Bench stuff. We have individual businesses in Scotland called Brightwork that does great work with the Scottish government around recruitment.

Chris Gleed: And I guess we also have. Assist the company in our group or people plus, and they're a leading organization with a mission to help improve people's lives through giving them the skills and the confidence to secure and sustain employment. It's not only who we are. Putting people to work and getting in and enabling it that side, but we're also training and giving the provider the skills to match the requirements needed.

Chris Gleed: That's enough in short about Staffline. What aboutJoinedup?. 

Adam Thompson: Thanks for essentially people having a slightly better idea of stuff. So yeah, Joined Up. Let me figure it out here just on the screen, but we are a platform that is intended to kind of bring together the three parties of the high volume transaction. The people that need the agency labor.

Adam Thompson: The providers themselves, either MSP or integral agencies and the workers and title together in a real time vibe you know, apps and our platform essentially, so we're automating a lot of the process that would traditionally have taken place on spreadsheets. So that's certainly kind of more than enough on our backgrounds.

Adam Thompson: Let's get into the meat of it. What I'd like to do today is I know that you guys at star flying, they've undergone a brief, fascinating journey over the last three or four years in taking what was a very traditional sector and a way of doing things let's say predominantly to do with spreadsheets and lots of data silos.

Adam Thompson: And lots of boring, repetitive administrative tasks and really digitizing that entire journey. So we'll go into that and how that enables kind of the human touch. But before we do, I thought, you know, everyone is talking about digitalization and there's a lot of different players out there and I thought it might be helpful to have a conversation as to who they are.

Adam Thompson: So I wonder if you could talk Chris about you know your sense as to where staffline is, but I know we talk about legacy peers, pure play marketplaces, digitally enabled staffing businesses, as well as some SaaS tools like Joinedup. Where do you think Staffline isn't? Are there any comments you'd like to make about those different business model.?

Chris Gleed: Yeah, I know there is a to say there's been an absolute explosion of recruitment technology within this space. I mean, it's always been very buoyant within the marketplace, but that's been traditionally around, you know, the white collar or the, know, the perm based recruitment, but within say the large-scale workforce is technology is taking quite a while to catch up.

Chris Gleed: I think it's because it's quite a complex beast when you really drill down to it. And I think you've got. Two ends of the spectrum. I think they are drastically different. There's still a lot of legacy peers, which are still working around on the spreadsheets. As you mentioned, they are, you know, ringing everybody.

Chris Gleed: They are trying to get bits and pieces together and they are getting into a very complex spiral of complexity cost. And it's, you can see they're only going in one direction and then you're on the other side. You've got this. New breed of disruptors. I'm guessing. And you know, in the marketplace they are trying to match candidates in an app and a portal.

Chris Gleed: The digital only realistically the Staffline sits in the middle because you can't keep on going by legacies and you can't be on spreadsheets. And another side. With dealing with people, you know, humans, you're not, we're not ordering a takeaway or taxi. We are our own personal shift in their livelihood for a production, for a client that needs eight or 12 hours or 10 hours or 3 hours of work.

Chris Gleed: It's a people business. People need people, especially when you're doing the most emotive subject, which is work. So we sit really in the middle of a people led business. 

Chris Gleed: That's digitally enabled. So it, you know, there's, so there's so many very high industrial tasks that have very low value that just eating and eating time away from our consultants and does not give it enough touch points.

Chris Gleed: So we sit in that real middle of way beyond the last two years, three years of Where we were spreadsheets paper, bits of paper, onboarding through paper journeys, but we're also not the most tech savvy app only because we realized that people need. 

Adam Thompson: So, would you describe yourself as sort of a digitally enabled staffing business?

Adam Thompson: Is that the right terminology? I'm not quite sure. 

Chris Gleed: I mean, digital lead workforce business, I would say we provide workforce labor. Flexible workforce labor is what we really do get, but recruitment is the common term, but yes, we're definitely enabled and then not led, we're enabled. 

Adam Thompson: Right. So it was interesting.

Adam Thompson: Next, I guess when I look at the sector, what's happened since I've been involved with it. I think. There seems to now be a lot of common agreement on what some of the traditional challenges were. Spreadsheets, data silos, non real time information, lots of rallying about what the truth is.

Adam Thompson: Cause people got different numbers. So most people tend to agree with that. I think increasingly people understand that whilst it's critical to have that human touch, there is low, there have been loads of boring tasks that are not really value add that are better done by technology. I guess, where I see the difference, which is quite interesting is what people do about that.

Adam Thompson: So, you know, we touched on the legacy players who still are waking up and smelling the coffee. There are those certainly we'll see how long they are around for whether they're still here with us in a few years. You then have I think businesses like yourselves. So I think you're one of the prime examples who kind of get that.

Adam Thompson: You can do lots of good stuff with technology, but you still need people to make it a very personal journey. And you also, but you also get another sector which are these kinds of pure play marketplaces which certainly in the white collar world, I think we've seen that can be very effective. So there are people like Upwork, for example.

Adam Thompson: But the idea of. Taking technology, but layering it on top of that kind of human touch. It feels to me where you guys are, and maybe we can get into that when we look at your process in a bit, but 

Chris Gleed: yeah, exactly that it's in that middle ground of enablement. And I come back to that word, always a new one because it is people that, and it will always be people that cause you need people to be able to do the D you know, the appraisals and the market changes so fast, the demand on flexible labor in our industry compete control for a 

Chris Gleed: Moment.

Adam Thompson: Yeah. 

Adam Thompson: Okay. And again, before kicking off, looking at the process and how you kind of seek to make things more human could you just give a couple of minutes? I'm just intrigued. We talk about a tight labor market at the moment. Do you have any general points about what the implications of that are in terms of organizing one staffing business?

Adam Thompson: Well, maybe two seconds on the reasons, but slightly which I guess is a barrier, but also what that means. 

Chris Gleed: Yeah. I won't touch too much on the reasons because they're so documented. This is more about the human and technology, but. I think that the technology and the human part of it is winning that race.

Chris Gleed: It is how we personalize and how we hyper target the people that we need. And we're also a big part. Our people directorate Staffline is champion and the whole management team, senior management team is. This perception of high volume, this perception of what blue collar work actually is.

Chris Gleed: And I think we've seen so much within probably the last two years with the pandemic that's been going on is the absolute need for this layer of workforce. Yeah. They were often coated with the central services. You know, they are the ones that are delivering your food, packing your food, making your food distribution, the holiest.

Chris Gleed: They're the ones that were keeping us going during this side. You know, I'm not talking about, you know, we're talking about the traditional blue level here. And I think for me that word blue, I've used that autonomy. You know, they are an absolute workforce that we need to trust to empower and really move rather than take away from that number on a spreadsheet, which they've been so long, know, was just you know, a person need to 500 people or a thousand or 250 people that person now needs to be treated with the absolute utmost hyper-relevant in hypercare.

Chris Gleed: So we can find them, we win the race. So for me, The part around, we're talking about a tight labor market. Yes. But now that all that's going to do is drive is a candidate. That market is kind of short, candidate led, so ever happens. We have to make sure that we are giving them the option that they want, the delivery mechanism they want at work when and where they want.

Chris Gleed: And I think for me, it's all around that. Personalization and moving away from numbers, which we don't need. Hence the reason we changed our vision and purpose around these, the same things now, all around that absolute personal care. 

Adam Thompson: Right. Okay. So, in your view, the pandemic has meant that everyone has a far greater appreciation of those kinds of roles and resource types that typically people sort of root off as unimportant.

Adam Thompson: Now, everyone accepts that the people who keep the streets clean and look after us are actually critically important. So you think that's just to a new sense that these people need to be looked after, and that needs to be part of the recruitment process. 

Chris Gleed: It's given us the right that we can champion it and we will make sure that we do.

Chris Gleed: But there are 40,000 to 60,000 people a day working across the UK, shows us that. And we're going to get into the experiential data points later on of how we survey, how we understand, but for us it's we want to be that single destination for the best work. The good word, our providers by our clients that we want to attract people that want the clients that want to work with us and workers that want to stay with us because we give them the option to work at the best locations.

Chris Gleed: And that can only drive by giving that absolutely concierge that personal experience and targeted to them and taken away from just a number on the spreadsheet. 

Adam Thompson: Right. Okay. So in terms of the general themes, we're going to explore. We talked about why a tight labor market and maybe how attitudes have changed and how important it is now to kind of personalize the journey, et cetera.

Adam Thompson: Are there any more kind of general themes that will underpin when we look at the functional steps of your process in a minute? I don't know, things like work, life balance and speed to hire, and those sorts of things. Are there any general themes you draw out before we dive into the details? 

Chris Gleed: But we'll start with a work-life balance.

Chris Gleed: I mean, our industry at the height, you know, at the large workforce provider, it's a hard industry. It's a long hours, you know, you're your demand. You're changing the client's demands continuously. They're not, you know, a shift that lasts eight weeks and then you go it's daily changes and shift patterns.

Chris Gleed: So they have to do a lot and they're not just running, they're not trying a desk. They're running, you know, the recruitment, the attraction that doing the payroll query, the disciplinaries. There's so much that they have to do on site on, on, on a word that all the technology we're trying to do, enable and all these processes that we're trying to drive the efficiency fruit to give our consultants, our onsite guys, the time.

Chris Gleed: Right back is for two things. It's one that is work-life balance. They're having a great experience when they work for us and want to work for us. But on the other side, it's given that time back. We'll allow them to give them a more personal experience back to that worker. So they're not bringing them to find out about the shift.

Chris Gleed: Can they do it tomorrow? Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, there, they're finding out how they are. What, how many hours do they want to work next week? When do they want to have any holidays? If they've got any problems, if you want to go and work elsewhere at another site, cause we haven't given you enough hours, it's all back to that personal experience.

Chris Gleed: And then that's us. And most importantly I'll ask our internal guys. Yeah. And then I guess then we went back to, you know, the general terms around personalization is around attraction or candidates. You know, how do we win the race for these people? How do we run the race to get that candidate through our channels for our stages as fast as possible in the most efficient way that they want to deal with.

Chris Gleed: And then again, I work. How do we give you all our colleagues that are in the actual workforce that we provide flexibly? How do we make sure that they are getting enough hours? They're getting what they want? There's no problem. That experience again, is what we're trying to enable. Buy, get land contact to us again, how, when they want, but all three of these really do one thing, which is productivity for our client, you know, happy workforce, a trained workforce.

Chris Gleed: That they have, that we keep in retained is far more efficient than someone that's on that learning curve on the new start. And that keeps going for a churn. So keeping our clients involved and understanding the process of all three of those ones, being our clients, our end, you know, their end hires are so much more now.

Adam Thompson: Great. Okay. Now I think that's really clear. Thank you for that. Well, so we've kindly looked a little bit at some of the players in the markets within high volume. We'd looked at some of the causes, not so much time, but of kind of labor shortage and why you know, some of the general themes as regards to humanizing the process.

Adam Thompson: I thought it'd be helpful. Unknown, suddenly the UK market for having a really invested very deeply in a platform which has overhauled your whole business over the last three, four years. I thought it'd be interesting, you know, beginning with clients putting requirements into you. Just to hear you talk through each of the functional kind of process steps. And how you're using technology to underpin each 

Adam Thompson: of those steps to make the process more human. Does that sound like a reasonable kind of structure? 

Chris Gleed: Cause that's a good place to start and I guess for me, it's, you know, we've been working with you now for about four years and I guess for us, it's.

Chris Gleed: All around having that data in one location for us was so paramount because you can't really start making those trigger points and the transformational journey that we've gone on. So I think when we started working with you and we started working with your platform, we started incorporating all of our, all of the, you know, the core parts into one location.

Chris Gleed: I saw that as much more of a digital stabilization. Rather than the digital transformation. So what we've really done for the last two and a half years is digital stabilization. And then the last 18 months have been a true transformation where we've taken your core platform and then we've built our own technologies all around that to cater for the bespoken exact needs.

Chris Gleed: Of the personalization. So I don't know if that makes it, but yeah, let's go through the journey. 

Adam Thompson: Yeah. So just before we do, I think you're ready to reduce points. So the first point, and I see this time and time again, when we go into clients, is. If you're looking to do interesting things with technology to help personalize the journey.

Adam Thompson: The first step is the most thankless one that takes 90% of the effort with the smallest amount of immediate benefits. And it's exactly what you're talking about. When you talk about your stabilization phase, like in my experience, going into an organization and getting them to. Put away 10, 15 different places.

Adam Thompson: They hold data and the different tools and applications, whatever. And getting that data in a single place is extremely unglamorous, heavy lifting for at least a year's worth of effort and hearts and minds and change management, all that kind of stuff. But the good stuff. It doesn't really happen until after you've got that done.

Adam Thompson: Which I quite like, because I hadn't heard that before, but I quite like that idea about stabilization is kind of step one. And step two, the transformation doesn't really happen until you've got that single database with all of that good stuff in it. 

Chris Gleed: Yeah. I mean, you know, anything that's in the marketplace that you can buy off the shelf and I'm not knocking your product, but your core platform you can, that allows a company to go unstable.

Chris Gleed: Yeah, that they are bringing them what they need into one location one time, and they can run their business on a digital platform. That's not transformation. That's just stabilization. What you do after two it's either for me, it's again, inspiring thing is that if you're doing advancements, you're doing something new in the market.

Chris Gleed: You're pushing a boundary or you're changing. How multiple that's. I used to have an Excel spreadsheet that had 25 different macros on it. That was it. If you now move it into a dashboard, that's then combining new sets of data, all you're doing is automated and you'll then transform. And that's where we really are now.

Chris Gleed: But three we've got to go on the journey. I kind of guess it really brings it to life a little bit from this is 

Adam Thompson: If you've got a couple of slides on that'd be great to have a look at this. 

Chris Gleed: This brings it from a worker journey all the way through to payroll. So it kind of shows our high level. Should we say it is very high level?

Chris Gleed: So let me just share my screen. So, I guess it starts with our client putting on a shifter into our requirement, into our portal. Or our consultants, our onsite staff, he rules can put it into and it's all standardized across the board. So this kind of jump into a bit of a deep dive into our client portal and this kind of a springboard off really.

Chris Gleed: So the client portal sits around and they can put their own chefs. They can see shifts that we've added. They can do analysis and they start to stop the clock. They can approve weekly peril, all the standard stuff you would expect from them. But for me, that's talk about more than this at this moment.

Chris Gleed: Let's talk about shift planning. You know, that there's no need for a spreadsheet anymore of these 15 workers starting at four o'clock. They start at six o'clock. Everything is at this touch of a button. Now you put a shift on for 15 people, 20 people. You want to have days, nights, all of this sits inside.

Chris Gleed: For us, for all of our own sites to see a exactly every single job is doing what rate cards associated with it. What matrix is it? Because I know this is it's core that you built the platform for was that time interpretation. But do you want to talk anything more around? 

Adam Thompson: Well, I guess, yeah. I mean, I guess I would say, you know, when we've already commented that humanizing, the high volume workflow process is not just about offering options to candidates and workers, there is all of that, but I think also.

Adam Thompson: Trying to make the lives easier at the people who need the temp labor, as well as the providers, you know, the consultants. So, yeah, I think an interesting part here is where traditionally and end hire would stick a bunch of requirements into a spreadsheet and ping them over to a supplier or a collection of suppliers wait till the 11th hour and then possibly be let down by, by people not turning up.

Adam Thompson: And I guess what technology now allows us to do is to give the and hire a real time view of the plan as it builds. So, you know, if the staffing business is using the same set of tools on the same screens to auto allocate workers and the workers themselves are responding to shift notifications, asking them to turn up at a site accepting or not accepting, it means that everyone's.

Adam Thompson: Gets to see in real time what's happening. And I, you my experience certainly is that can lead to fall kinds of collaborative ways of working between everyone rather than the sorts of data side, though. God, the homework it's like the thing that used to happen historically. 

Chris Gleed: I think that transparency is a big part, you know, is everybody knowing where we are, you know, exactly that good work for us is operating, you know, partnerships with our clients, partnerships with our workers, so that everyone can see in one place what's happening.

Chris Gleed: But this is really just talking about getting that shift on and that's the most crucial part. And at that point, you know, we've agreed the correct pricing. We've agreed to create this model. The worker knows what they're being paid, that the client is what they're being billed and our consultants know how many that are filling against it or not fulfilling them in the case.

Chris Gleed: Maybe that. But this, then I come for me, then come start into our transformation, pointing out 0.3 and 0.4. So this is where, you know, you hold the core requirements in the Joinedup system that then transfers into, you know, into our staff on a world now where we. Take all the shifts, those that sit there, we take all the workers that are associated with it.

Chris Gleed: And we then Do all the matching ourselves. Now you have that capabilities within the platform, but we've taken those capabilities. And then we've had that for our personalization needs. And what this happens is there's been a lot about chatbots. You know, they've been there for the good and the bad that they are around, but they're very useful if you use them in the right way.

Chris Gleed: They're one of the most powerful tools. And if you take it that they are just eating a ferry, just a conversation you're driving through. Once we've matched our workers. Once we've matched them to the right shifts to the right times. We then communicate about the worker. And I guess we communicate with our work at first platform which is.

Adam Thompson: Can I just sort of off of a challenging question, you've kind of touched on it, but I think it might be something for people to hear what you have to say about it. So, know, I think we're talking about humanizing a high volume process, and yet I suspect that a lot of people's kind of experience with chat bots.

Adam Thompson: Is to sometimes liken them to endless endlessly sitting in a queue on the phone or to sort of slightly suboptimal experiences interacting with them. So, yeah, I guess my challenge would be, why should people think that a chatbot can help humanize a process that is otherwise thought of as a mechanism?

Chris Gleed: Yeah. I mean, that's a good question. And chatbots on ground biking, are they using them? You know, Maya, but being bought by teller jobs upon their liner by window wait, and Wendy there's loads of them around, but what ours does and what is different is it's a communication method to gig to allow our workers to communicate when and where they want to us.

Chris Gleed: So we are talking to them. Traditionally, if you take a telephone or you take an onsite where they go into the room, you have to rely on that person answering that phone when and where they want. You know, if they're at the dentist, they're at the school drop off, or they're working at our sites where there is another site, you can't get hold of them.

Chris Gleed: The bot allows us to communicate in a community in a conversational way to say hi, I've got shifts for you. And then they can go and have a look at what shifts we have. You know, what different availability in different sites they can have then. And so that on a multitude of platforms right now, they can do it by SMS one.

Chris Gleed: Now they can do it by web so they can click on a web link and a full-scale conversational bot turns up, you can, we can do it. And this year in an app and WhatsApp, the next two ones were moving to doing it into their own individual channel because we have such a diverse work that the technology needs is so different.

Chris Gleed: Some people will not have a database. So to taper off a hotspot, some will not have enough space on their phones for an app. So we're making sure we don't divert them down. One route. We give them the route that allows them to touch points when and where they want. And more importantly, and that is, we also talk in translated languages.

Chris Gleed: So we can talk to them. And if English isn't their first line, we can talk to them in their language so that they can feel included and they can get the best work experience they want. So this bot is really unique because it talks about the core system in life, real time information.

Chris Gleed: So it's not a, you know, we've sent 15 links out and we filled these locations up. And actually then that's a dead link because 

Adam Thompson: can you bring this to life a bit Chris, as to how it works? So, are you saying that you are a worker? Interacts with your bot says, you know, I'm looking for work on these days and there'll be some sort of conversation with bottom pay rates. And what's going on behind the scenes is that bot is interrogating the database that's on theJoinedup platform and where it's coming from. With those responses. Is that the kind of picture? 

Chris Gleed: Yeah. In real time, we get a few of your, of all the chefs inJoinedup into our platform. And real time is these chefs and these are workers.

Chris Gleed: I've worked in registers. They're not counted as they are workers at this point. And we go off and we communicate in real time. We say, right, you're looking for work. We know that you're a worker. We got this shift, that shift and this shift, which ones you want to take and they can click days. They can pick, they want, and again, this is no different. There's loads of apps that allow you to do this, but this comes back to, we are handing it back to allowing that work, to have multiple choices.

Chris Gleed: Right, but they want to communicate, so do they want to talk on WhatsApp? Do they want to talk on an app? Do they want to talk on Facebook messenger? Do they want to talk in SMS or do they want to click a link or do they want to go into the portal now? That sounds very confusing to say, well, you've got eight different ways to do one.

Chris Gleed: Question: do you want to work tomorrow? But it gives that power back to the worker to allow them to communicate when and where they want. So we get the highest level of fulfillment that we can. So, and what happens as soon as they've agreed that we then save it back into the joined-up system, into our universe platform, which then goes real time into the plan.

Chris Gleed: The client sees that. Being booked in and turned up and then they get their various, you know, reminders to turn up for the shift. 

Adam Thompson: So the key point then is, so in terms of kind of humanizing process, it's about giving choice using technology. To give choice back to the individual, which we, because yeah, just back to initially that it can sound contradictory, but the chatbot is doing that.

Adam Thompson: But I think you're right. As you described, I think you're absolutely right. Because I found out years ago when I worked in the states, I was number five with a company called open table, which is online restaurant reservations. And when we first started out, people would say, oh, this is the hospitality industry, because people want to speak to people when.

Adam Thompson: Some people do want to speak to people and other people just think of us as some kind of snobby entity whenever they thought of phoning up for a reservation and would far prefer to do it on their phone. So it's that same concept. Isn't it like offering choice because it's kind of like horses for courses and.

Chris Gleed: It's offering. Correct choice. That's life. It's not offering a retro, it's not taking data out of one system, loading it into another, then sending it off and then taking that data back out and saving it back to the truth. It's joining them all up end to end. And it's very rare that we've seen this within that whole process.

Chris Gleed: That it's, there's no intervention from the onsite guys. You know, they put, I want 20 shifts next Wednesday, and then we're automatically booking as many as we can. Now that the onsite still may go ahead and put in the five shifts. Because they know that person can do it because they talk to that person on the day.

Chris Gleed: But again, it gives time back to our onsite guys, to be able to do the experience stuff. They're not having to do that repetitive task. You know, how many times do they have to ring to get hold of someone and say, can you work next? You know, and we're seeing that 60 or 70% of our conversations right now happening outside of hours, you know, by, you know, the core work hours.

Chris Gleed: So they are, it means that our guys haven't got to work on site and cool, and not getting texts. They're, you know, everyone's much more happy in the balance of it. 

Adam Thompson: So that's really interesting cause I, you know, obviously I'm on a different side of the whole game from you and that my job is selling technology.

Adam Thompson: But we always have conversations internally. About I always try and remind people just how tough that on-site recruiter job is. Cause I will always say they're being often screamed at, by their customers who are under tight deadlines and shortages from the top down. And they're also being shouted out from the bottom up by often low wage workers you know, doing difficult jobs and it's an impossible position.

Adam Thompson: So, yeah, that, that idea that using automation. Not only does it give or can, when it's properly implemented, give great choices to candidates because it's everything you just talked about in terms of offering different channels to communicate with you. But at the same time, it's freeing up your internal people to have slightly more decent lives.

Chris Gleed: And it's you're right. It does seem very weird. And you look at the automation of humanization, but it's true. And it's trying to offer them as many shifts as they possibly can to hit their requirements. And there's loads of Pico to load of technical stuff about shift, matching time, matching going about the available shift patterns they want, you know, go in and work out what they want next week.

Chris Gleed: All of that's great. But the end of it is just serving up to the question we don't need right now. NLU NLP, I don't think is quite where it needs to be in multiple languages, that multiple conversations and multiple times I can't wait till it is. It's a great, exciting space. But I think right now for us, it's.

Chris Gleed: Keep it very simple, keep it very repetitive and get value for everyone. I mean, there's 

Adam Thompson: enough about, so where we got to in the process, just to remind everyone, so we've got the requirements onto the system. We've gone through a matching process. We've offered our existing workers the ability to communicate with you guys down any channel they want.

Adam Thompson: So this whole kind of choice theme, but I guess. Quite frequently and more and more in today's environment, you won't necessarily have the right work available at the right time out of your existing data or at least your existing workers. And you'll have to go and look elsewhere. How'd you go about doing that in a human way?

Chris Gleed: Again, it's, it goes down to the choice, the archive for it. So the requirement comes in again. We've worked out the two weeks. We need a hundred people. There's 50 in the worker pool, which we calculate automatically from our database and our system. We can see that there's an interview schedule in our core platform that says, I need to interview 50, 50, 50 people for the next three days or five days.

Chris Gleed: And we start matching candidates like we do with workers. We start matching candidates to these interview schedules that are available or we have them. The ability then to talk to them and we talk to them in the absolute best way we can. Again, what's their mean that they want to be communicated to in what language they want to be talked to?

Chris Gleed: What's how many times we contacted that person so we can start really drilling down on these preferences and then we target them by saying. Oh, we have work for you. Are you interested in and talk about this job, but you know, it's tied to our candidate. We send them the link or they can land on our website and find the job, or we can do it from an external source, which we're trialing at the moment.

Chris Gleed: We then go for a conversation again, where we tell them about the job, which we Howard, in our core system, we talked about the benefits, the pay rates. We then knocked them out in pre screening questions in real time to make sure that they're okay. And then we look back at the life database. Then one are the next available interview schedules, and then we put them onto those schedules.

Chris Gleed: Again, I'm talking about dynamic, 

Adam Thompson: what you've just been describing. You're talking about that. That's all supported by technology. 

Chris Gleed: Yes. Again, all of that, again takes away his choice. Again, they can have a conversation where they want to on the, you know, they can be on a sofa watching Netflix, having a conversation or a virtual conversation.

Chris Gleed: We say about jobs. Prescreening if they are relevant to the job and then booking themselves off in real time. I mean, we've been able to dynamically take that scale, you know, it's all well and good doing one or two or three jobs here and there. And you know, we're doing this at 2000 jobs at any one time with 10,000 interview schedules with 50,000 prescreen and knockout questions.

Chris Gleed: There's all dynamic at any one moment. And that's the real beauty of this is that we can take. What would you usually have been, you know, applying for a job. It goes into an ATS. Somebody rings them and then transfers an ATS into a CRM. The CRM then transfers into a workforce management solution. We can have those conversations when and where they want and book them into an interview scheduled in three minutes.

Adam Thompson: Wow. Wow. Okay. Okay. That's real. I mean, that's fascinating. Again, it's this kind of apparent contrast between on the one hand, what sounds like automation, which some people can think it's going to mess kinesthetic and opposite to human, but yet if you're able to go and say, we can take a process that would have been really difficult.

Adam Thompson: Often we might respond to it as we want at the time we would have wanted and drawn out for a prospective candidate and we can do that entire thing in three minutes. It's not hard to see how that is super appealing at a human level. 

Chris Gleed: And I think that's what, you know, stuff I'm really proud about is that, you know, it's a recruiting agency.

Chris Gleed: We gotta build that. So we built that in our own house. That's our own technology or an IP, but we then say it back to the core platform, which is yours. So for us, this is where we talk about taking a core system that holds the job advert. And then we talk about the personalization that you can do with the transformation or.

Chris Gleed: So that's how, know, for me is I've seen so many of these systems, but for us, we couldn't find anything in the marketplace that would allow us to have that many dynamic real-time conversation. Which is the real crux of it. And I'm sure short time. So first shift on at this point in time. So we basically, then we put people on and now we've gone in and we've done interview side of it so we can put, we can bolster up the worker pool to better.

Chris Gleed: Go ahead. We've done the dynamic stuff again. We've talked in their own language. We've talked to where they want to work. With the most efficient way we want to. 

Adam Thompson: So now it's about, it'd be good to understand how you're getting people into work and onboarding and all that kind of stuff. 

Chris Gleed: Exactly. That this is just a quick one, which we can go for another day and you can use on a website staff publicly.

Chris Gleed: Okay. It pops up and again, it's. Everything's in real full-size screens when we do it. So it's not apart from what our website is on smaller ever asked when we target them. When they click a link, it pops up in the full large-scale screen. So it's a completely immersive experience. And then we go and look at calculating our pipeline and our funnel to work out is, you know, we've done paid.

Chris Gleed: What, how much do we have to on. How much spend we have to do on paid advertising to bolster up the organic or the, all the stuff. And then I guess the next one would come on, tourism onboarding, excuse me. So they turn up to site and we, you know, we're completely paperless. We hand them a tablet.

Chris Gleed: We start again, it's our own. Onboarding mechanism, we build where they go through the, they give us all their details. We need to convert from a candidate to a worker. They sign the T's and C's again, in their own language, so it allows them to onboard. We're onboarding 50 to 250 people at a time at a session.

Chris Gleed: So it has to be the most efficient way possible, but because of all of the onboarding done by paper, sorry about paper and all the tablets. Okay. Staff can give that really nice experience and that touch point. So they get that first real touch point to make that connection with that person to get that we want to turn up, we want to work, but so again, all of these industrial tasks are taken away, say back to the core CRM.

Chris Gleed: So there's no data duplication anywhere else, which would give a bad experience to our actual employees. And it's that personal. We do all the right to work checks. Step 20 to have your say surveys. This, we spend some time on this one. If you want to talk about true experiences. Three years ago we worked out, we had so much operational data.

Chris Gleed: But what we didn't really have was any experiential or any real, you know, we did a few surveys here and there, but we didn't really understand what was going on with our, you know, Our workforce and our candidates. So we joined, we were one of the leading experience management platforms in the world, which is used by most of the footsie companies.

Chris Gleed: And we started looking at experiential data points to really embed that grow workforce, to give, to make sure we were treating every person individually. So after we did all this process, we survey them, we survey off, you know, and then we get the data back and. 

Chris Gleed: We ask them very few questions really? Are you okay with getting enough training?

Chris Gleed: Whether it was this, or I did the onsite Staffline about it. And we survey before work with day one day, three day, five day 30 day 40. And it all comes back into our experience platform. Where we can see trends, see what's happening across, you know, career with our operations. If there's a problem where a bad feedback given, or there's a issue during that, we get a ticket raise to the onsite so they can jump to that moment and fix it so far.

Chris Gleed: We've got 6 or 7 million pieces of experiential data that allows us to like the different story. A great example of that was We are wondering why we're having trouble fulfilling a site on a Sunday. And every time we served, they asked why you turn up or what's the problem was. Everyone said, well, actually between Monday and stuff today, the bus.

Chris Gleed: Drops me off at nine. O'clock is fine. But on Sunday it doesn't run the 10 o'clock and you'll be there at nine. I can't get there so we can have very educated conversations with our clients and say, this will change. If we do this change will make a big difference to your workforce. Or perhaps they say that we don't like the night shift because the canteen shut stuff that you wouldn't understand.

Chris Gleed: Usually about a journey or a journey because it's not seen in an EMI Capra KPI pack. It really allows us to drill into the experiential part of our workforce to not only look at them as a number, we look at them as a person, the person's lens. 

Adam Thompson: Fascinating. And do you have any? Are there particular triggers when you're sort of trying to uncover that human element through asking people how they're feeling or responding.

Adam Thompson: I mean, I'm just sort thinking back to my time in staffing and we always knew that when we looked at retention rates, if we could keep someone for the first kind of two months or something, when you inducted them or maybe three, then they tend to be there with you for a fair while. But the massive drop-off was in that first couple of weeks.

Adam Thompson: I mean, do you think. Trigger points to survey people. For example, I don't know when they're getting their first paycheck or how does, how do you automate some of those checkpoints. 

Chris Gleed: It's exactly right. The first four weeks are critical. So we have in our database that we, we have, we know in the shifts happening, we know it turned up and we know where the trigger points are.

Chris Gleed: So automatically a survey goes out to them saying, You know, again, it's in their channel, SMS, text, email, whatever they want to do. Can you just answer these three or four questions? And we find once they realize that it's completely anonymous, or if it's not, it's allowed, we encourage it. The data we get back, so enriching to be able to change and you completely, right.

Chris Gleed: It's all those trigger points that we go off and ask. I mean, we serve it up in their own things and again, everyone says, yeah, everyone's surveyed there, but for me, it's that full circle again? It's the data out of the trigger point. So it's consistent out of the shift. It then goes back in and we act on that feedback biotechnology and a ticketing system that goes to every person's, every consultant smartphone, to be able to pick it up and answer it.

Chris Gleed: To the two back into the VMI ports. And then the change reports and the change requests. It's all the way around. It's not just, again, nothing we do or we try not to is done in isolation. Yeah. It's not done for a sake of it. It's done because it has a need. 

Adam Thompson: Okay. Very good. Okay. Well, so I'm conscious.

Adam Thompson: We got 15 minutes and I think what would be nice to do would be to touch on. Yeah, that's time to capture stuff to do with getting people paid. Right. And then lastly, I'm going to ask you if you want to start thinking about it just a couple of takeaway things for people listening in that they can think about as they go and think about their own businesses and how to you know, raise the whole human touch in their businesses too. So yeah. How do you get, make sure that people get paid right? And that this boundless human a thing is I can imagine now, 

Chris Gleed: isn't it really? It's. It's what we all, it's all we do. It's what everyone's working towards. What are our main purpose is to Pain and purpose have given good work means that we need to make sure we pay everything we need to on time, accurately and correctly. And now by that mean, I mean, sometimes it's not always our fault that we're not paying the exact amount of money. So we then look at. They're going to start and they got to stop.

Chris Gleed: That means that it's not the time they would have done. So we now have facial recognition where there's tablets on that, you know, where you move in and the turnstiles. And we're very conscious to use lo-fi technology. We didn't want to have, you know, big, expensive scanners. We want to say, what could we deploy?

Chris Gleed: So we can deploy the technology around to tablets, which can see bolts to walk bolted to the walls. And we'll talk straight back again to the core system. And in facial recognition, they look at it, they, it starts their clock. And at the end of the day, it finishes the clock. And that seems every teenager, every system does that.

Chris Gleed: But again, this is facial recognition, so it stops. A couple of things. One is it stops inaccuracy in accuracy of pay auditability of pay. It's talk straight to our core systems. So we're starting to stopping the clock in, in real time. So we're now able to key in double entry again again, working with, you know, minimum wage and, you know, there is a lot of things we look at within making sure we're not, there's no gang master in our modern slavery.

Chris Gleed: So this really allows us to make sure there's no swapping crew turn up for a shift. You know, I'll say my mate, instead of me, or send someone who hasn't been compliance checked. So this allows us to make sure the right person at the right shift at the right time. And the big bonus is that let's say that Adam, you're working at one of our warehouses.

Chris Gleed: You start at six, as far as I'm concerned as an on-site. You should be finishing at, let's say four in the afternoon. What might happen is without my knowledge is the client might ask you to stay for another two hours and you say, yeah, I'll stay for those two hours of extra work, but that communication may not get round to the payroll day, those extra two hours, because no one's told or informed us at that person that actually two hours.

Chris Gleed: So what happens, we then purchased the pay. We purchase the pay for what we believe is right. Not what's happened. The TNA said. After two hours, we pay that extra time. And there's no having to then mop it up the week after which is, you know, Bad experience for our worker, but experience in loaded time taken for both our onsite team, our central payroll team.

Chris Gleed: So it's trying to drive out those areas to drive the absolute best experience we can. And again, giving back to our consultants. 

Adam Thompson: Do you have any data on reduction in pay queries at those sites where you've implemented this kind of facial recognition time capture? 

Chris Gleed: I have and we've. It's just a weird bit of data that you is there enough?

Chris Gleed: Unbelievable. One of our sites, we were having a large proportion of payroll costs between 50 and a hundred a week. It's gone down to zero during one week that we have no payroll. And then that sounds like an unbelievable quote and everything, but it's, so it has to be used in the right way. So all of this is great.

Chris Gleed: But the the Underarmour thing is, as everyone say, people, tool process for people, processes tools have to go hand in hand because if people, even if our on-sites don't follow the process of real-time planning, don't do the right bets. The tools will fail. But if all three of those in absolute harmony, I need you, the change requests.

Chris Gleed: You do the change windows, you do the adoption and the engagement. That is when the real benefits start happening. But yeah, all we're doing is driving hour upon hour of efficiency within the business to really drive our client's productivity up. 

Adam Thompson: It's fascinating you say that. And the reason I asked is that obviously as a tech provider, we stick out facial recognition and the ability to do that by QR codes.

Adam Thompson: You know, to be honest, we were only redoing this early last year, so there's not that much data, but I have heard on more than once people now talking about 90 plus percent reductions in pay queries. So it's fascinating. And I don't know why I suspect somewhere. But who knows it's because people who are working and if they had known previously that they were kind of paper processes or that they were processes via systems that were coming out of one system and into another, and then present it to the agency and whatever, there's a sort of room for a lot of gray and doubts.

Adam Thompson: I suspect sometimes there's just the kind of, they relax when they feel like they're in the hands of kind of neat timestamp and a fair system. That means a lot of it goes away, but I don't know who knows. 

Chris Gleed: It's probably. I guess you, the, all this is about driving the efficiency up through that journey.

Chris Gleed: And every single point, looking at the journey, looking at the emotive side and the operational side, and trying to put them both together to give the best experience we can at every single layer we do. And I think we ended up as, you know, the time interpretation, the MRI reports are accurate. They go straight out that the clients lock in everything's completely transparent and.

Chris Gleed: We end up sending up a date and into our, into the payroll system, which then calculates all the paid charge and then jobs, the good and the last, that's probably a conversation for another day, but realistically that's our journey. And how, I guess every single point, my drive in our chat bots by driving the worker first by the WhatsApp integrations and keeping it so simple.

Chris Gleed: And just asking those simple questions about storing it back is really what's loudest in the UK to have some very great conversations with clients. 

Adam Thompson: Great. Well, listen, Chris, thank you very much. That was a fascinating conversation. As someone who has before we wrap up, and I know how these things work, everyone leaves a session like this and within five days, A lot of it's got straight out of people's heads.

Adam Thompson: So, before we go, I guess I'd just like to ask you as someone who's overseeing transformation, the business with about one and a half billion dollars a year of kind of high volume temp spend and try to put in an infrastructure that injects a bit of humanity into that process. Which even if it wasn't the right thing to do is critical in a tight labor market.

Adam Thompson: And it's both. Are there any sorts of two or three closing points that you would encourage people to think about as they go back to their own businesses? Yeah, just things to go away with, I guess.

Chris Gleed: I think the first one is definitely thinking about digital stabilization and they really work out what your core systems and the architecture is going to be to allow you to then to build off a look at what compliments you need.

Chris Gleed: Cause obviously you need to look at what systems you need to. You can't just put one system in ever, and it'd be, so you need to make sure that you've got all the component parts around it and you've got the team around it that you can build it. The team for us at staff flying, you know, our digital team, our shared service team, our operations are so pivotal to what we've just talked about is that you can't just buy that off the shelf.

Chris Gleed: You have to have the vision, then you have to have the delivery model. Then you have to have the buy-in from the PLC board to get the investment funding. It has to start with stabilization. And then show real transformation on the back of it. And I guess that one is removing away from the knowledge of those spreadsheets or the people would put numbers on it's just numbers and move them into that.

Chris Gleed: Everyone into that hypercare that you would do as a 360 desk, as a permanent recruiter, you know, the nurturing, the care, the conversations over a three month period, you have to condense that. Into a three-day period. So you have to really use your time wisely to build a bond and have someone want to turn up review and not move to a competitor.

Chris Gleed: Right next door for a very small amount extra. When actually you build that bond and you get more work, they'll get what they want and they get everything paid to them. And I think finally is, you know, We're not going to move away from this disruptive market for quite a while. So it's, how do we do risk mitigation within the supply chain?

Chris Gleed: So make sure that everything is as clean as it possibly can. Everything is compliant towards making sure everything we do drives that experience. And that's just make sure that you align your operational data to your experience or data to your environmental data, because all three of those are lenses that we need to look at when we're trying to alter or change.

Adam Thompson: Brilliant. Very insightful. Thank you, Chris. Well, to anyone who's listening, I hope I'm not overstepping Chris by offering up your email address to start with anyone has got any questions, but yeah. Chris.Gleed@Staffline.co.uk. But equally my name is Adam Thompson, so Adam.Thompson@joinedup.com.

Adam Thompson: And yet very happy to answer any questions I can if anyone has any follow up, but thank you very much for listening. Thank you.


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