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Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, recruitment agencies have been tasked with not only maintaining their own businesses but also helping their candidates and clients navigate the changing landscape and industry shifts. Not only do agencies need to worry about their teams and the safety of their employees, but also how clients are doing and what their needs are while the landscape continuously changes.
To better understand how a recruitment agency can maintain and even grow their business during a pandemic, we sat down (virtually, of course) with Simon Dealy from HIRE Technologies. As the CEO, Simon provided great advice and insight into how he’s helped his team navigate these uncharted waters and how businesses can come out of the pandemic stronger than ever.
Read on for Simon’s top tips for maintaining (and maybe even growing) your business during a pandemic:
Understand your clients’ needs and do market research
In a pandemic, day to day operations are anything but business as usual, and as such, your firm needs to reevaluate its approach every day. According to Simon, it’s important to get in touch with your clients to understand what they’re doing, what their needs are, and how those needs may have changed.
Once you know their needs, you can adjust your business to meet them. For example, the team at HIRE observed that data scientists and credit collections were becoming more prevalent, so Simon’s team preemptively lined up candidates for those roles. Between speaking directly to your clients and doing market research to see where the industry is developing and shifting, your firm can get ahead of hiring trends and be prepared with a shortlist of qualified candidates.
Simon added that “traditionally, the client would require candidates to be within a certain radius of their business. Now that we’re getting more used to remote work, we’re able to expand that search and focus more client skills over their location, allowing us to provide better candidates for them and also provide candidates who are much more willing to be flexible in that work environment.”
Enable a flexible workforce
As HIRE expands its footprint from Canada into the United States and beyond, enabling a flexible workforce through hardware—as well as software—is increasingly important. Between acquiring a company that used exclusively desktop computers and the shift to remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it became increasingly clear that HIRE needed an agile and flexible workforce.
You can’t just pick up a desktop computer and walk out the door with it and start doing work somewhere else. And we knew that before the pandemic hit but it became very, very obvious that we weren’t buying desktops anymore. We’re gonna do more with less. We are a cellphone, laptop company, that’s how we operate now and we don’t need all the other infrastructure around.
Simon Dealy HIRE Technologies
Instead of face to face meetings, uplevel your digital marketing
If you can’t see your clients face-to-face, the next best thing is to create quality digital content, Simon explained. “Digital marketing is a very big thing and it’s important to make sure you’ve got a good system for producing good content, getting out in front of clients, and talking to clients on the digital media side of things frequently to keep that connection and keep the brand awareness out there, as well,” Simon noted.
Implement a scalable, cloud-based tech stack
A key ingredient in any company’s growth plans is a scalable tech stack that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. This has never been more vital than during the COVID-19 pandemic when Simon’s workforce transitioned to working remotely.
“I’ve got recruiters all over the place, not in the office, and all have been able to maintain their process and have access to their data which has been huge for us,” Simon explained, adding that when his team decided to close their offices early in the pandemic, they saw a bump in productivity as a result of his team being even more dialed-in to their technology systems.
In addition to a cloud-based tech stack, Simon suggests implementing a recruitment platform that is scalable to allow for organizational growth. “We needed to have scalability so we didn’t have to reinvent the wheel every time we introduced a new company [via acquisition]. We could leverage what was already in the system – all the processes, data points, KPIs are already there. It became a lot easier to see the path forward.”
Don’t be afraid of change
After successfully acquiring three companies, HIRE is no stranger to change. But the massive industry shift that occurred at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was unprecedented even for Simon’s team. Simon suggests openly communicating key goals and KPIs with your entire team to make sure everyone is on board.
Getting people to embrace new technology and processes can have an amount of friction to it. Change can be painful and difficult. We strongly communicated the importance of KPIs and when our team saw how the data was tracked in the system, it gave them a reason to enter information in a timely and accurate manner.
Simon Dealy HIRE Technologies
After a smooth transition to remote work, the HIRE team started to see gains in their productivity and increases in other key KPIs, some specifically because of the shift towards remote work. “We’ve seen improvements when it comes to how we’re presenting candidates to clients. We’ve seen increases in efficiency because the candidate doesn’t have to leave their current job or have interviews during work hours,” Simon added, explaining that they’ve learned to pivot and shift their focus to match what their clients’ needs are.
Keep planning for the future
As the industry moves into a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, Simon has a few suggestions for how to continue to move your team forward. “This is a good opportunity to look at the cost base of the company and work out where efficiencies can be gained. We implemented and leaned heavily on systems that we use to try and have reduced costs in other areas.”
And there are other key questions you should be asking during this time, according to Simon, adding, “We’re asking ‘how much will [the industry] bounce back to how it was before?’ and ‘what are the unknowns with shifting back to how things were before?’ We’re delivering candidates much faster because of the simplicity of getting a candidate in front of a client, so what comes next?”
But, Simon agrees, there are still positives amidst the unknowns: “There are all these other benefits that come from working from home – no commuting time, more flexible hours – so we want to continue to evaluate all of that.”
HIRE is building a network of staffing, IT, and HR consulting firms. We help our partners navigate the changing world through growth solutions, focusing on digital transformation. Our partnership model emphasizes the identity and independence of our brands and provides the resources, support, and expertise to take their businesses further. We offer valuable advice and insights to our clients while delivering innovative solutions, enhancing their HR teams, and connecting them with the best people for their business.
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