The art of automation in staffing and why it's important. A case-study to take home.


Pankaj Jindal: Okay. It sounds like we are live. Thank you, James Anderson for letting us know why don't we get started? So folks, thank you so much for taking the time to join us today, to learn a little bit more about automation. My name is Pankaj. I am one of the founders of Sense, Sense is an engagement platform.

We started the company about five years. Dedicated to the staffing industry. And today we have over 400 customers that we will. I am delighted today to be joined by Ron Washburn and Scott Gordon. Both industry veterans and friends of mine. I will let them introduce themselves for a second. And then we get kicked off or Ron.

Ron Washburn: Yeah. Sure. Great. Thanks for guys. I I'm, I'm one of the vice-presidents of Soliant Health. We're a healthcare staffing company and we've been around for a little more than 28 years. Also oversee some of the initiatives in our company and spend most of my time working with our nursing and allied health teams.

Pankaj Jindal: Awesome. Thank you. Scott

Scott Gordon: Hi, I'm Scott Gordon. I'm the vice president of the TALENT SOLUTIONS and partner with Vaco based out of Nashville, Tennessee. We've been in the market evident in market for well over 18 years focused specifically on the county finance healthcare technology, staffing solutions, general tech solutions now globally.

Pankaj Jindal: Awesome. Thank you, Scott. Thank you, Ron. You know, what we wanted to talk about today is why should you, you know, why should you even care about automation? And when you think about automation, the first thing I wanted to start by is something that, you know, hopefully most of you will agree with on what the staffing companies or staffing operations of today look like.

And you know, the thing that I didn't mention in my introduction was before I started, since I ran staffing companies for 15 years, So, this is something that I actually witnessed firsthand. Staffing operations have a lot of inefficiency. This is what, you know, a typical candidate or a talent pipeline funnel looks like.

If you look at this funnel, if you partnered with a thousand candidates, you will be lucky. If you got to a point that a hundred of those people got job offers. So you want to lose 90% of the people right at the top of the funnel. Off the hundred people who get a job offer again, you'll be lucky if 80 of them actually show up and start work.

This is what we now typically call, offer to start drop off or just drop off ratios. Right? So there are about 20% of the people who drop off there. And then off the folks who start, there's going to be other people who leave in the middle of the assignment, which is essentially turnover. And then off the people who finished that assignment dismiss the small percentage of those people.

Oftentimes three to 5% of those people actually get redeployed on a subsequent assignment. So this is what our staffing funnel today looks like. You know, the staffing industry spends over $60 billion a year in acquiring candidates. And actually then ends up based in $24 billion in turnover. So, you know, can automation help you with essentially increasing the efficiency during this funnel?

That's majority of what we want to talk about today. And then what you see on the right hand side is what the life of a recruiter looks like. This is a day in the life of a recruiter. A typical recruiter spends no more than a code of his or her time in actually doing what we call human stuff. Either talking to a candidate or talking to a customer and convincing them to work together with each other, the rest of their time is either spent on prospecting, upkeeping, the ATS, entering data, all the stuff that can actually be automated.

So this is, you know, essentially the principle problem statement that I think automation can solve. Ron Scott, I'll turn this back to you guys because you know, obviously you are much closer to this than I am. But if you have any comments on what you guys see in your businesses around around this funnel, that would be super helpful.

Ron Washburn: Yeah. I totally agree with you. But I don't know if our stats, our percentages are exactly the same, but we see a lot of people fall out of the funnel at historically. That's because despite some of the tools that we have really, our recruiters rely on what's on their mind, what's in their brain and tend to miss a lot of things because there is so much busy work that comes along with staffing.

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah.

Scott Gordon: Yeah. Yeah. I agree with that. I think it's I, I look at some things that, you know, your brain is, your brain is geographic and it just depends on what geographic region you're in at the time. It depends on who's standing. Who's standing over you screaming with more orders and more orders.

So it is, it's constantly split up with like, like pocket sheds. It just depends on the time of day.

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah. Yeah. And so, you know, I mean, I think we're all in a world now that automation it's something that you absolutely have to think about. But yeah, when I think about automation, I almost think that automate it's table stakes now, you know, partly because of the pandemic that we went through are still going through.

Absolutely. It's absolutely accelerated digital transformation. Everybody had to figure out how to use technology to run their business, you know, Your, your employees were remote. Your talent was remote. You couldn't meet with your hiring managers. So, you know, a lot of, a lot of automation has started already and it is now constantly evolving.

The way we think about automation is there are actually two different classes of automated. You absolutely need both of them. There is no question about that. One is just what you would call, just maintenance and data cleaning, just hygiene, making sure that your ATS is clean, making sure that your ATS have up-to-date data and making sure that it becomes the first source of information that your recruiters go to.

I cannot tell you how many companies I've talked to, where people will tell us they've been collecting candidates in their database for thousands of years, you know, now they have a million people, but they have no clue. If that data is gold, it is absolutely stale. And they're still spending tons and tons of money on job boards.

And then of course there is the more sophisticated event triggered automation, you know, automation that kind of goes up. Happened. Somebody started, somebody ended, somebody had a work anniversary. Somebody sent you a photo. A lot of those things that are very personal because they happen based on an event they happen exactly when they should have.

So this is how I think this is, I think about the paradigm of automation. I obviously want to get Scott and Ron's thoughts on this structured. The conversation today is right after this, we'll get into. Here are the three or four. If you think about the talent life cycle and break that into three or four steps here is every place that you can use automation and how, but before we get there, I wanted to get, get some quotes from Braun in spark.

So Ron Scott, I mean, you know, one, one thing that I'd asked you, because it's probably on everybody's mind as we're starting this new year, you know, if you if you were to think about 2020, you know, which was an extraordinary year, we just coming off of 2020. I, I was curious to ask you both, you know, what's the one word that you would think would describe 2020, you know, what's that word and why do you, why do you think that's what 2020 was?

Scott Gordon: I'll start. I think uh, my work for 2020 is absolutely unique. It's, it's, we've all gone through. If you've been in this industry for a while, you went through the recession, you understood the recession. You came out of our recession, much strong. And when they started to lock things down and things started to get a little weird.

We all wondered if it was going to be like in a recessionagain. And it was the money didn't disappear. The money was still there and it still is there. And we we've all been in definitely unique situations where we're working remotely missing loved ones and friends but also how that applies to the work.

You're, you're definitely seeing unique situations, unique hiring situations. Pop up left and right. And every day is a learning opportunity. So unique is my word. Okay.

Pankaj Jindal: Got it. Very cool. Ron. That's great.

Ron Washburn: Scott, my word would be hectic as you might imagine in healthcare staffing it's just to spend a frenetic pace for us around here, we're placing clinicians literally on the front lines of some of the hotspots really high demand, really worn out clinicians and worn out recruiters as well.

Just trying to keep pace to get nurses where they need to be around the country. So while it's been hectic and everybody's worn out, it's also been one of those years, or it was one of those years where it was really easy to tie purpose to work for us. So we're really proud of what our clinicians have done, what our recruiters have done to help get the country of the hospitals in the country, where they need to get to.

Pankaj Jindal: Yep. Nope. You're absolutely spot on.

Scott Gordon: Well, thank you for the work that you're doing. So that's, that's it's my, our hats are off to you.

Ron Washburn: I appreciate it. Especially our nurses. They are a really getting it donefor us.

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah. So Ron, given what you just said and how you think about, you know, what these workers are doing at the frontline.

I mean, why is, you know, from, from your vantage point, why is automation important? I mean, why should anybody bother about that at all?

Ron Washburn: Yeah. You know, when I think about automation, we, we tend to think of it in a few different areas. One is. Yeah, how do we help our colleagues become more efficient? How do we create better experiences, more consistent experiences for our candidates and our clients.

And then how do we just improve that idea of engagement and re-engagement and I think automation really hits home on all three of those areas for us. And we're, we're kind of at the beginning of stages of really taking advantage of it. But for us, it's an opportunity to get better at all of those areas.

Pankaj Jindal: Fair enough. Scott, any thoughts on that?

Scott Gordon: You know, I, I've always been a fan of automation. I tried to automate when I first started recruiting 40 years ago, back in the ISA. Now you get so many products that are available. You get so many candidates that are available and it's adjusted time model. We all have to adjust to people are, are ,they want feedback instantly. It's just like, I just ordered lunch or what it meant from across town. It's there. The same can be said. And I want to know where my food is when it's going to be here so I can eat the same could be said for candidates. I want to know where my job is and when can I start?

And I'd rather, in some cases not talk to a human being, then I just do it through an app some way. So, it's, it's, it's realizing that that's most important to me. But it's just absolutely necessary that automation has to come into play somewhere. And not only have you used the tool, but to be the managing information's coming through.

Pankaj Jindal: Got it. Got it. So, Scott, let me ask you this thing. I mean, so clearly, you know, you've been an automation expert. You've been a fan of that forever, but in your head, What are some of the challenges that automation can solve for you? I mean, you guys are a big sort of, you know, big company. You've got, you know, dozens of offices across the country.

Like, are there any particular metrics you're trying to move or are there any particular challenges you're trying to solve with automation? How do you think about it?

Scott Gordon: Well, we obviously talk about redeployment which is a huge issue. We talk about a limited, a limited number of employees or a limited number of people that are considered experts in their field.

I had a conversation with a recruiter this morning that was having difficulty maintaining a relationship with 60 different people that she had ongoing city. And that's hard to do when you're trying to manage your existing book of business all the while trying to bring in new business and to make your business development people satisfy.

So th that's that's certainly the biggest challenge in time is money. You can't get time back, so you need to definitely. Monopolize their time. That's where automation has definitely helped.

Pankaj Jindal: Got it. Ron, how about you? I mean, I know you just said that you were at the beginning stages of automation, but you know, what would be your north star? What would be, Hey, I wish automation would solve these challenges for us.

Ron Washburn: Yeah. I mean, I think everything Scott said and so many more things than I'll answer, but one of the big things for us is just finding talented recruiters. It's just, it's been harder and harder for us to do that through the years, pandemic uh, pre pandemic. That is but we, we know just the war for talent is going to continue. So for me, if I can take a successful recruiter, a talented recruiter and free up their time by dropping some automations that allow them to do away with some busy work and focus on the more important relationship building between candidates and clients. That for me, that's an opportunity for us to grow without having to add head count.

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah. I mean, that's, that's absolutely true. You know what I mean? When I talked to, when I talked to several CEOs, you know, they certainly talk about how automation is actually impacted.

How automation is actually impacting the bottom line. You know, they are we've now talked to companies where they had employee relations reps that were managing maybe a hundred contractors. Now those same people are able to manage three to three to 400 contractors. So, you know, certainly automation and human touch, you know, go hand in hand, but great to sort of hear from the trenches in terms of how you guys think about automation.

So, you know, for our listeners, for everybody, right. Who's listening. I think what we wanted to dive into today, just to give you some practical you know, practical sort of tips and tricks that you can take back from the session. I mean, we absolutely want to make sure that this is. Just, you know, part of it from a practitioner standpoint, what could you do right after this session?

So what we've tried to do here is, you know, think about four different areas on how the talent life cycle progresses and how automation can help in those areas. So we'll try and talk through them one by one. So first is, you know, your very basic, your database automated. So as far as database automation is concerned, there are two different kinds of automation that I think about a lot.

One is this whole idea of enrichment and orchestration. What does that mean? Well, you're sitting on top of a million people in your database or 10 million people, you know, database an automation platform can help you keep that database 100% sanitized at all times. You can ask hundreds of thousands of people at the same time.

Hey, are you looking for a job right now? People who say yes, you automatically move them to an active status within your applicant tracking system. People who say no, you move them to a passive status and you can nurture them differently. People who say yes, you can ask them exactly when you will you be available for your next job.

You know, February, March, April, whatever the case may be. You can also do database orchestration. What that means is a recruiter left your company today. This recruiter was working with 300 different candidates, had 300 candidates associated to his or her name. You can automatically keep your database sanitized by saying great.

This person left today. All of this person's people should be automatically assigned to this new recruiter. You know, Keith, Stephanie, John, whatever the case might be. So. You can just absolutely keep, make sure that nothing in your database ever breaks. So that's something that automation will do for you.

The second thing that automation will do for you is this reengaging with talent and your database. This is a, an a mind-blowing stat that we've now heard from our customers over and over. As it turns out about 50% of the placements that some of the largest staffing companies make today are made from candidates who already existed in your database.

Yet every one of your recruiters is first going to a job board before going to their ATS because they just don't trust the data and your ads. They don't trust if it is up to date, if you have the most recent resumes for one and so forth. So these two things work in tandem. If you are able to if you're able to keep your database standards, It'll probably become the first place your recruiters go to, because what better than actually going someplace, where you can find everything in one go and actually done a submittal process from there.

So that's how we think about automating, you know, the first part of your funnel, which is the top of the funnel, where do you get candidates from? So, you know, so as we talk about this, Ron, I'm going to throw this back at you. One of the things that we've seen is you know, this past year, like you talked about, you know, nursing healthcare, that's one industry that's just seen incredible growth.

So, and because of that, I mean, you know, the, the, the demand has skyrocketed. I know you talked about this a little bit. Can you fill us in on how automation may be, have impacted your ability to meet this demand? Or maybe even do some documentation automatically around when somebody's potentials are expiring or licenses?

You know, so on and so forth, or maybe he did a COVID questionnaire that they hear.

Ron Washburn: Yeah, absolutely. You know, again, we have all sorts of workflows built out, but a couple that are specific to some of the COVID work we've done. You know, we just had an automated weekly campaign that would push out COVID hotspot jobs to select types of candidates, ICU nurses, respiratory therapists, that sort of thing that would just automatically go out.

We would drop in the new hotspots, obviously that is a little bit manual, but that constant engagement with the candidates to help them see these new positions and, and bring them back to jump into one of these opportunities. Thinking about COVID to the, you know, we ended up doing a lot of health screening work over the course of last year.

And just one of the things we had to track was whether our health screeners were healthy. So we added this document that we you know, I have not been exposed to COVID or they had not been exposed to COVID. It does not have COVID obviously and we're able to automate that where they are, you know, on a weekly basis, completing questionnaires that you basically check all of their health and, and keep us documented for our clients.

And then again, you know, just the idea. Servicing clients that are in desperate need. We saw a lot of that with those two specific specialties, ICU and respiratory and continually engaging and re-engaging with them to, to, you know, keep them on the front lines.

Pankaj Jindal: Got it. Yeah. Super helpful. I mean, you know, one of the things that I keep hearing from our customers is nearly everybody was able to order it.

A COVID questionnaire or a COVID FAQ, you know, because they'll essentially ask their workers. Hey, have you had any symptoms in the past few days? Have you had this? Have you had that? And if the answers are, you know, what they were basically looking forward to watching for, then they will either sort of involve a contact tracer or ask somebody to we, you know, you know, go to a hospital, go see a doctor, but do not show up for work.

You know, God knows how many more other infections we were able to stop the of that. But that's a use case that I just feared a lot in the industry.

Ron Washburn: Yeah. That's exactly how we were using it.

Pankaj Jindal: All right. Got it. So you don't move forward from database automation. This is the area that we're quite passionate about, which is just recouping marketing.

You know, how do you give your recruiters and your marketers? You know, just automation superpowers. I'll talk through a couple of examples in here, but I really want to hear from our panelists on this. So the first thing that I want to talk about is you don't nurturing your database. So here's the big thing that you can do, or here's the big thing that sophisticated companies are now doing with their database.

They are, first of all, segmenting it into the kind of constituents that you want to talk about. So for example, you may send a very different message to a candidate. Then you might send it to an alumni. Then of course, something that you might send to an active contractor. You might also nurture your silver medalists very differently.

So we talk about silver medalists a lot. You don't hit a 10 people who interviewed for a job. Obviously one person bought that job and the other nine didn't. The nine people that did not get a job, but did get great, fantastic feedback from the hiring manager, you know, that they will get placed someplace else really quickly.

So you have to keep engaged with them. You have to over engage with them over, communicate with them because they're a hot commodity. And if you are the ones who would engage with them more, they will probably be more beholden to you. They'll probably think this company will probably take better care of us.

So there's this whole idea of first of all, just nurturing your database. So you always have a pipeline of. The second is this idea of how do you pair automation with AI? You don't actually use a chat bot, which is popularly known as now, or a conversational assistant. That way you can enrich your database at scale, you might have 10,000 people coming to your website every single month or a hundred thousand, right?

You can actually engage with every single one of those people. I'll tell you some of the top use cases that our customers have now talked about from an automation standpoint. Number one, they're engaging with a hundred percent of the people who come to the webside. And this was a big pain point that people have been solved, trying to solve for years or, or, or whoever applies to your job would be LinkedIn career builder, monster, wherever.

If somebody applies to a job you will always hear in our industry. People saying, well, I never heard back. But with a chat. It will automatically engage with every single person. And you will either get passed on to a recruiter because you're a great candidate. Or if you're not a good fit, you will at least get some sort of a closure and say, please apply for other job.

We'll stay in touch with you with this. One's not good for you. The second thing that we hear is you can prescreen people. If you're looking for, you know, what Ron just talked about or in the light industrial world, if you're looking for a certain skill set of forklift operator, I pick her back. You might as well ask them right up front, will you lift 50 pounds a day?

Can you stand on your feet, eight hours a day? You know, so on and so forth and people who say all of that, you can just screen them out. The third thing is diversity and inclusion. It removes all conscious and unconscious bias. A chat bot will talk to anybody. It will not be biased based on race or gender or name or ethnicity.

You remove that bias, which means you're going to get better candidate. And even talent that you will have potentially lost out on. One example, that's one of my favorites right now who runs groans world, many of the nurses and the healthcare workers that are on the frontline. It turns out that the only time they can get a break is at midnight.

And that's the only time they can actually go to a website or browse something and say, I'm looking for a job. Well, they're not going to find a recruiter at that point, but they will find a board. They will have a natural language conversation. And if this screening. That they're a good fit for. They can schedule a conversation at a time that works for them.

And then the third thing that you can automate from a recoup and marketing standpoint is your brand. I mean, this has become increasingly important with everybody. What is your NPS score? What is your Glassdoor scores? You can use automation to make sure that, first of all, you are asking this question to everybody.

And secondly, people who are responding and saying. Yeah. You know, we love your company. You are 10 on 10. Those are the people you immediately redirect to social media. Those are the people you give some sort of incentive to, to say these fillers or review, we'll send you a, you know, sort of, uh, a Starbucks gift card or something just to thank you for your time, because you want people who like you to also say that publicly, because more often than not only people who don't like you take the time to write those reviews.

So here are two or three examples. On things that you can do, you know, on the recruitment marketing side, but this has been, we'll have a ton of questions for, you know, drawn in spot. So spot I'll throw this one at you. I mean, you know, it's no secret. I mean, you know, we've worked with you for a number of years and we see that you're probably one of the best companies when it comes to sending out communication that has extremely high open rates.

Like 70, 75% of your communications are open over 40% of any communication that you send is a respondent. I mean, what is your, what is your secret?

Scott Gordon: It's all robots. It's all, it's all robots and diesel fuel is what it is now. Seriously. I think when anybody hears the term automation or artificial intelligence and all of that, you automatically assume that it's it's robots and robots are gonna take over the world.

And if the candidate feels like they get something like that, the most that it sounds. And it can be robotic and that's what we wanted to avoid. So the culture is the cornerstone of our entire company, but it's also communication. It's how you communicate effectively with someone else. If we know that, and we knew that we were going to implement some sort of AI solution or an automated solution, it's not that we just flipped the switch and turned it on and not all of our consultants and community clients just started getting bot related messages. If you didn't touch home, it's a way of saying, look, here's what we're doing. We are implementing something like this. You may get messages from time to time that scene automated or they mix it. You know, you may hear a few click your beats in the back. From the robot, but it's coming from me.

If you apply to that, it's coming directly to me. And what that does is that helps me stay in touch with you when I may have a fire over there that I've got to deal with. But I think the biggest piece is, is communicating and over communicating with your talent and with your clients and letting them know, look, we're implementing the solution to be able to serve you better.

We also took a very hard look at what those messages. Yeah. If they were, if they contain if I said, dear Mr. Dear Mr. Jindal, hello, this is Scott. That's just not my style. And it's not how I would ever text you or send you a note. Look at those and look at a real language behind that. We suggested to them and it's worked really, really well.

Pankaj Jindal: Super helpful. Those are, those are some really practical tips and tricks. I can tell you that, you know, if you make automated messages as close to your personal sort of tone, people just absolutely end up responding to it. How would you guys, I mean, how do you leverage recruitment marketing?

Ron Washburn: Yeah, and I think one of the most popular workflows we use is along the new lead touchpoint that we have set up. So obviously all companies spend a lot of money to try and gather new leads. We want to make sure we're, we're taking advantage of those when they come through. So, you know, we have an automation that yeah. Tracks new leads that come into our system and tracks whether we have a note documented against that.

And if we don't, after a couple of days, they'll get a message from us asking if they're still interested in that job. And if they respond, yes, then that will, instead of going back to that same recruiter or go to a manager who can then go find a resource that has a little more free time to engage with that candidate.

And, you know, the statute gave for Scott, I would say, are very similar to ours, the high seventies for open rates on those types of message. Almost 60% on response rate. So obviously that's, that's keeping those candidates engaged that would otherwise. We would just never have reached out again to, or they'd be on an assignment with someone else by the time we reached back out to them.

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah.

Ron Washburn: Hey, I want to add you, you had mentioned that idea of sort of managing your social media presence earlier and that what you described as almost exactly one of the workflows we have where we'll ask them to rate us or survey us and the good scores. Yes. We're going to ask for a, an online review, which is great.

You know, the other half of that is if we're getting a bad score, that's going to trigger an event to a manager to go back and coach our recruiters. So it's also an opportunity to help our, our internal staff get better and understand why they're losing candidates.

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah, no, that's awesome. That's fantastic.

I will I will tell you what we've seen some of our other customers do, you know, they will immediately ask people at the end of their first day. How was your first day on a scale of one to five and people who respond four or five, they will immediately send them a second message and say, Hey, what's your address?

And what's your size. They're going to send you a company. T-shirt you know, their whole story there is. These guys like us already. Let's make them a brand ambassador without a paddle and walk around, just be our marketing guys. And if somebody wants with a one, two or three, they'll immediately send an alert to the recruiter and say, call this person now.

Because, you know, not only, you know, not only do you just absolutely from a good customer service standpoint, want to solve the issue that this person has. Those are exactly the kind of people who do not show up back on their second day. They only work for you for one day. They just figured out that they probably made a mistake.

This is not this company. You know, this company didn't turn out to be what they promise to be. And if they had another option, if they were interviewing someplace else, they just won't show up. And that's what leads to a lot of turnover. So, you know, you were just super spot on. Got it. Yeah. Scott, I was gonna, I was gonna ask you something else, you know, when it comes to recruitment and branding.

One of the other things that we talk with that we don't talk about a lot is just brand consistency, right? I mean, we've worked with companies that have 30 different offices, but every single office just uses their own style of communication. And over time, people can start thinking, this must be a Dallas based company.

This must be a Philly based company. You know, they're not using the same logos, the same colors, the same tone of voice. And oftentimes when a company starts doing that, because automation will help you do that. You actually start looking larger than you are your act, your actual message gets amplified now, in your case, that problem, right?

You know, even one step further because you guys acquire so many companies. So, you know, it'd be great to kind of get some pearls of wisdom from you on how you guys think about your brand.

Scott Gordon: You know, I, I think that our band I think that our brand is strong and I think any company automatically assumes that their brand is strong, but specifically when you start talking about acquisitions and in the, the difficulty of keeping that brand consistent.

I think that, and I'm on the outside looking in on some of these acquisitions that I think that using products like we are using them as kind of like in the cafeteria, like, yes, I like that. No, I don't like that. And I think the fact that we, that we've implemented some of these tools, I mean, have these tools available make it, make it more attractive, but it's never to the point.

If there's an acquisition that we just sort of crammed everything down, you know, like it, here's an acquisition that we've done. Like, you must use everything that we do. It's and I don't want to seem too corporate to even say that, you know, it's, it's come down to case studies or white papers or anything like that.

It's because we share these stories of success across our company in when our mains and partners get together and talk about it and we ask questions and how did that work for you? Oh, well then we might want to implement that right? But when you have 40 to 50 offices singing in concert, that it's so much easier to say, okay, then if it's worked for these 40 to 50, then it's going to work well for us.

It may not, it may not be a hundred percent from the get go, but it's, it's a, it's a layering in, of your brand and using different products that help that help, help propel it. Right.

Pankaj Jindal: That's amazing. That's awesome. I mean, and you know, we've seen you guys do regular acquisitions and grow both organically and inorganically.

So the fact that you can actually use technology to still keep that one cohesive brand and you know, you guys also do an incredible job of just talking about that over LinkedIn and social media. So you're certainly doing a bunch of things right here.

Scott Gordon: We empower all of our producers and everybody's free, free to do that.

And oh, you know, it's just, it's. It's like Ron was talking about when we're all talking about it. If you have a good experience, you're going to talk about it. If you had a bad experience, you're going to talk about it. And we all know companies where their own employees have had bad experiences. And they'll say that publicly, even on blast or even on LinkedIn, it's nice to see the things that are being said about your own company on those platforms or people that you work with and people that you sit next to you with the cube or some or somebody that you've met at, at, at your own account.

Six months ago that are talking about what a good experience they have as an internal employee of your own company. And then that's just, it it's trumpeted by other consultants that have worked for you that are on billing for you out there. So one that gets the other, so it's always good to be moving in that positive direction.

Pankaj Jindal: Yep. Yep. Fair enough. So, you know, this is probably a good segue into, so you know how we, we talked a little bit about how you sort of turbocharge your database. We talked about what you can do with recruitment marketing and your brand. Now let's get to our most important customer, which is the candidate.

I mean, you know, how do you engage with your candidates and how do you engage with your customers and how can automation help? This is an area that I, you know, we all can probably talk about for hours, but I'll give you two or three things to think about, you know, Obviously you can, automations can make your communication way more personal.

I'll give you an example of that. I mean, a lot of our customers, what they'll do is any time they submit a candidate, so, you know, they've done their due diligence, whatever they had to do. And now they're essentially saying, let's submit this candidate the moment they submit this candidate, because this person is now in play.

They might immediately get some sort of a welcome message from the CEO. I mean, imagine this is a single candidate in a sea of billion dollar company or a $50 million company. Now hearing from the CEO and save, you're super excited to work with you. You know, here's what our company stands for.

We'll always treat you with respect, look forward to the next steps. And then you carry that on by saying, all right, your resume has now been received by the client. Now you have an interview or, you know, we haven't gotten this information yet. Please hang. So the companies that are actually doing that work, keeping their candidates warm in the candidate pipeline are seeing up to 70% less candidate drop-off because those people are still there and saying, Nope, this company here is Alliant vehicle.

They're super engaged with me. I know that they're working on this. I will know exactly when this happens, when the interview comes up. So one, you know, the fact that you can just set it and forget it and give everybody the same consistent experience. Second, you can give them this experience, you know, over, over a mobile phone, everybody uses a mobile phone.

Now over an email, over a phone call, you can create all these experiences, mobile us. You know, we have customers who are encouraging people to use emoji's and JFS, and just making sure you keep it personal. You know, you, you are, when you send out a text message, there is information that is pulled directly from your ATS.

So if I send out a message to 300 people and it said, Hi, first name the message you're going to get is going to be hi Scott. Hi Ron. Just as I was thinking about you. Hi, Ron. I still haven't heard from your house. We're waiting to see what they come back with, but you're very much on my mind. Imagine how this makes the end candidate feel, but then at the same time, you can convert this communication into a one-on-one conversation.

Anytime somebody that's born. So this was an automation. I sent it to 300 people. Because I just wanted all these 300 people to have the same byte of experience. I did that, but three people actually wrote back to me because they had a question and that immediately converts into a one-on-one conversation seamlessly.

So it just allows you to be way more personal. And so, and you know, I mean, Why do we do automation? You know, we, there's a lot of talk about it improves profitability, it impacts, you know, productivity, but one of the things we miss out is on sometimes on how it impacts your candidate experience. So, you know, Scott, maybe I'll ask you that.

I mean, what's your thought on the importance of candidate experience and candidate care? Like, you know, I mean, I know automation helps you there, but you are a big proponent of that arn't you?.

Scott Gordon: Absolutely. I think that When you have a company that, that has, and you have those companies that have pulled that we have full desks where one person does both, they sell and they we have that, but we also have, we have units within our company where people that are responsible for business development, only focus on our clients.

And of course the recruiters are only focusing on the candidates. I came from a company, like I said, you know, 20 years ago, Salespeople were put up here and you have this army of recruiters that was below and the most important person. And it just depends on, and I'm saying this as a recruiter, the most important person for the business development person is their client look at the client.

That they're nothing. I came in and I'd like to say I shook things up a little bit by saying without my candidate we are nothing. The community has to have a good experience with me from, from that first phone call all the way through the process, through the, through the link of the, the their contract or their placement, how did they feel when they, you know, I'd like, I'd love to know what they thought after the first phone call with me after the first meeting, after meeting everyone on our team, during that contract during that engagement at the end of that engagement.

And I want to know what they're saying. Do they still feel the same way? Have they fallen out of love with me? Are they falling out of love with what they go? So I have always have always said since day one, that the candidate experience, if you don't have a good candidate experience and not perfect that experience, it's going to come back to bite you later on.

And I think that, I think that we can get from time to time we can get those priorities a little screwed up, honestly. I have the opportunity as a recruiter to talk to say 50 candidates a day where a salesperson may only have the opportunity to talk to four because they've got four clients.

But within that four clients, there may be a myriad of positions, but I've got the opportunity to talk about who I am and what I do and how I do it and how we do it. 40, 50, 60 times a day, just on the phone that doesn't include text messages and emails and LinkedIn. And, and, and other other experiences via social, the candidate experiences team.

If you mess it up, it's gonna, it's not gonna work well for you. If you perfected it.

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah. And Scott, I know you touched upon this already, but that's another sort of signature vehicle move. If you will. You are. You're one of the fewer companies that we've seen that actually are super involved with these touch points.

You know, you, you ask people after day one after day five after day 30. So you're, you really have a pulse on what's going on. How do you, I mean, first of all, You know, if you have more nuggets on what's the thinking behind that. But secondly, like how do you use this feedback? Does this ever get shared with, you know, the recuiters?

Like what happens there?

Scott Gordon: It should, it's shared immediately and much like Ron said, and Pompa Jude said as well. When, when we, when we get the survey results, we don't let it linger. It's something that has to happen immediately and take care of it that day immediately. It's not like, the eye of Sauron where everybody's saying, okay, you're doing bad.

You need to call it. I mean, it's, it's on everybody takes ownership of it. If you've had a bad experience with me, I'm going to nip it in the bottom. Let's talk about it and see what I could have done better immediately. I think that if you get if you get below average feedback and you let that below average feedback linger for 24 hours for 48 hours.

It's a nightmare. It, it it's, it's, it's it's a terrible feeling and it will only get worse because people are left to their own thoughts and well, they don't care about me and they grabbed that bag with you. And so I'm going to tell my six friends, you know, don't go work there. That that's the one thing.

But on the flip side that good feedback that's celebrated here. That's not only celebrated with the person that left the positive thing. But it's also celebrated with, with the recruiting. I mean, let's, let's put those recruiters on a pedestal and say, you know what, you've done a fantastic job, keep it up, keep doing what you're doing.

And that's not always celebrated across the, across the office. And then that way, you know, more pats on the back, I'm going to keep doing more of that. So because if you celebrate me, I'm going to keep, I'm going to wow wow every day.

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah, yeah. Super helpful. Ron Ron, Scott, I was going to touch on one more thing that the, you know, the title of this slide suggests here.

I mean, we obviously talk a lot about candidate experience as we should, but automation can certainly help you, you know, engage with your customers with your internal staff. I've got plenty of examples of that, but have you guys started thinking about where that might be helpful?

Ron Washburn: Yeah, I can't say that we've actually built some workflows in yet, but especially on the front end of attracting new talent, I think there are lots of opportunities to keep that, flow of communication going between us and the new kids. Just like we would for a contractor that we've put out in the field.

And internal hire is equally, if not more important to stay. And communication with given how competitive it is when it comes to finding recruiters. So I think we would have to go back and apply some of those same tools that we're using on the healthcare front to our internal teams as well.

Pankaj Jindal: Yeah. And you know, some of this is now becoming table stakes because I see people going pay. Let's go ask our customers. How's John working out for you after a month, you know, let's go ask our customers, Hey, when would you like to open a new position so we can start sourcing for you beforehand? So, you know, there is obviously, you know, multiple different ways to engage with customers, but I'll also tell you the some other interesting things that we've seen, which is staffing companies are now starting to use automation to drive sales.

You know, they will send out a message to every contractor and say, Hey, you've been on your job for 30, 60, 90 days. Now please keep your eyes and ears open. Let us know if anybody in your extended organization is hiring, send us that lead. We'll send you a further bonus, but we want to expand within the customer that we are already in.

So just, you know, I mean, you, you guys can clearly see why, you know, we think about this a lot because we absolutely think, you know, sky's the limit when it comes to all of this, but. I'm going to move on to essentially talk about the, the fourth and the last piece on this, which is around, you know, redeployment when candidates are actually on assignment you know, when they're, when they're actually working for you, what does that look like?

So, you know, let's talk about what happens when people are now finally your employees. So, you know, You turbo charged your database, you built your brand, you kept these candidates engaged. Now they start with, for you. This is one of those places where most people or most companies can still let this turn into a black hole.

Well, now this person's working for us end of story. So again, The things we talk about a lot is don't let it be a black hole. I mean, stay in touch with your people. Keep the dialogue open. These are the same people who are going to send you referrals. These are the same people who are going to send you sales leads.

These are the same people who will probably do six consecutive assignments with you. If their first one had a great experience. And that ultimately leads to redeployment, which I have to tell you is probably the number one place where our customers or staffing industry in general loses money. We've seen companies completely change completely change their profitability because they changed the redeployment.

And from 3% to 17%, you know, simply because they're getting out to people in time, they were letting them know that we're taking care of you. Don't worry about it. We're on top of this, because if you don't do that, a candidate is bound to get antsy. They're likely going to job boards, probably even to your conference.

Oh, so this little graph that I know is super small here that you're seeing here is a super easy way to track how many people are doing their first assignment with your company. How many are doing the second, the third, so on and so forth. And over time you want that bot dark orange to keep increasing because people should just keep coming back and dramatically keep reducing your cost per. So anyway, Ron I'll cycle back with you on this, you know, which is, you know, how do you guys think about candidate experience on assignment experience? I mean, I know you have some really great examples about personalizing this upscale.

Ron Washburn: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I think one of the examples that comes to mind when you talk about that is we have an education division and there's a period in the year where.

You know, obviously the schools are out of session in the summertime, so it's not uncommon for us to play somebody at the end of the school year, but they don't start again until school starts back up in the fall. So we had this really long period of time between signing to start and actually starting the assignment.

And we found that just we would lose touch with candidates in that process. They drop out of the process, they find that a better offer. And then we went back and. Created a workflow that automated communication between Canada and the recruiter or our credentialing team throughout the summer, they keep them focused on that assignment.

I don't actually have the numbers, but I know, and this was a couple of years ago that we implemented this, but we saw tremendous change in the number of people that were dropping out of the process, really just by continuing that communication on a weekly or every other week basis.

Pankaj Jindal: That's interesting. That's interesting because, so how, how, how long did these how long between, when you sort of hired these people and they actually started rolling. I mean, it could be like several months. Yeah.

Ron Washburn: It could be a couple of months, probably at the top. End of it. Anywhere between you know, two to eight weeks.

So as you know, I mean, it's easy for a candidate to lose attention. There's this big rush to find the job, get signed on it. It's, you know, start the credentialing process. Even the credentialing process for us is fairly elaborate, especially in our, our hospital setting. So it's not uncommon for someone to drop out of the process when they didn't quite have the right document or, or know how to get the right document.

So, and you know, recruiters and sales staff, Yeah, they've closed this deal and they're busy, focused on the next thing. And credentialing staff has a plate full of people they're trying to onboard. So, really a busy season for all of those resources and automations allow us to continue to communicate.

And like we've talked about before the communication looks like it's coming from the recruiter or the credentialer. Right. And so it is a real engagement.

Pankaj Jindal: Wonderful. Thank you. I mean, really. Thank you. Thank you. Both of you for all these wonderful examples. You know, I want to summarize by this one slide that, you know, hopefully hopefully everybody who's listening still can relate to, you know, please keep in mind that the whole idea behind this is that every single thing that you can do with automation is going to lead an impact on your P and L you know, this is exactly what it is about. Every single thing that you see on the slide, sourcing more candidates, profitability, reducing time to submit this profitability, increasing your fill rate is profitability, you know, reducing your drop-off, reducing your turnover, improving your referrals.

Every single thing has bottom line impact. So, I mean, I know this is something that the staffing industry is very much sort of running towards. Those of you who haven't seriously thought about automation or those of you who still have sort of questions that are on there, it, or, you know, how easy or hard it is going to be to do that.

I think it would be fantastic to start thinking about it now. Obviously, you know, we, we think of this all the time, so more than happy to have those conversations with all of you as well. But I also wanted to ask a couple of candid questions as we start wrapping up here too. You know, Ron and Scott you know, One is, you know, and this is your perspective here that I want Ron and Scott, which is, you know, obviously investing in technology is daunting, right?

I mean, you know, it's a whole new project. Why fix something? Why fix something that isn't broken? So, you know, how do you, I mean, can you sort of talk about, talk to us about how do you pick the right partner? How do you figure it out? How do you do what you did? You know, what would you have done differently?

Like what advice would you have for people who are listening to say, this is where you start?

Scott Gordon: I'll jump in with that. And I don't like, and I'll say this and I talk about references. Only because during the quarantine I've gotten heavily into Downton Abbey and, and have understood that the absolute value and the price put on a reference.

If someone else has had a good experience with it, Someone that we're partnered with. I want to hear about it. The same can be said for our own business. So the reference, if somebody else provides a good reference on some, on that, that goes a million miles. The second thing is the ease of the ease of implementation or change is hard.

And, and, and some companies have very poor change. They're very poor change management. So. Hold our hand and take us through it and make it seem like it's no big deal. And I like how, when you woke up and how was this so easy and wedding, they had this before or we don't want the color. We don't want this button blue.

We want an orange and not be a big deal, but understanding what we needed and why we needed it and why we wanted something to work a certain way, because. It's much like we approach our clients. It's not where we walking in with this big three ring binder of our methodology and say, this is the perfect way.

It's more of a true partnership, you know, let us hear how we work and then we want to hear how you work. And then we join hands and work together. That's so, so important. But you know, back to the original, the reference and the ease of implementation and the support. Th th the training that's, that's always involved and it's when it seem like it's not a big deal and absolutely we can drop everything and help a new, a new cohort employer, things like that.

I think that all of those are extremely important. And the last thing is always cost, cost cheaper, cheaper to better, bigger, faster, cheaper, though.

Pankaj Jindal: Fair enough, Ron, anything to add there?

Ron Washburn: I totally agree that the idea of the reference and just Yeah, chances are, you know, someone that's using one of these tools just to get that firsthand experience with it.

I was waiting for the cost comment there. Scott, I'm glad you added that in, but I would say

Scott Gordon: cost is always in there. I mean, I could lead off and say, well, it's cheap. It's probably okay.

Ron Washburn: I like the order you have. I wouldn't go for just cheap because there's certainly partners that are. More hands-on than others.

So I think just the idea of referencing and doing your homework, making sure I mean, there's lots of great partners out there, but some are a better fit for our company than others. So do your homework when it comes to getting down to the final selection.

Pankaj Jindal: Thank you. Thank you. Super helpful. Ron Scott, I want to thank both of you for making this time for us making this time for the audience.

I think, you know, both of you run really large businesses and you've been in the industry for donkey's years now. So, you know, it's amazing to sort of hear from the ground. You know, hopefully this added some value to all of our listeners. And you know, if you want to talk more about automation, if you want to learn more about, you know, how we do it, what our product is like, just head over to the polls, just let us know, and we'll follow back up with you, but thank you so much for hanging in there with us.

And with that I'll thank Ron and Scott once again and let you guys enjoy the next session. So thank you everyone.

Ron Washburn: Thank

Pankaj Jindal: Thank you and see you.

Why should you even care about automation?

Tune in and listen to staffing experts discussing their experience with automation.

Ron is vice president of Soliant Health and has been with the company for more than 28 years.

He talks about the tumultuous time during the pandemic and how automation helped.

Find out how automation can drive profitability and candidate experience in your company.

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Pankaj Jindal

Scott Gordon

Ron Washburn




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