The Staffing Executives’ Greatest Asset

A strong management team is the most important asset for the executive focused on growth.  Strong staffing managers build, develop and motivate top producers, manage the day-to-day operations, and drive critical improvements.   All of these elements are crucial for productive operations.  In addition, a strong management team combined with a focused and driven executive provides strategic flexibility which can lead to additional service offerings, geographical expansion, acquisitions, and succession planning.  Each of these strategic decisions has a high cost of failure and a high return on success.  Oftentimes, success or failure is determined by the abilities of the management team. Too often the importance of the capabilities of the management team is simply overlooked. I witnessed a great example of this when I was eating lunch at a conference.   An owner of a mid-sized staffing firm had just acquired a smaller staffing company and was concerned about how the acquisition has negatively impacted the production of both operations.   He insisted he had a strong management team and they would figure out how to turn things around even though they were relatively young and none of them had experienced the complexities a merger creates. No more than five minutes later, he … Read More

Webinar: Metrics for the Staffing Industry

On Thursday, July 26, I will be hosting a webinar sponsored by eRecruit on Metrics for the Staffing Industry. In this webinar, I will discuss how the right metrics portfolio can empower management decision making to ensure both short and long term competitiveness. It is important to understand that the right metric portfolio can help executives and leaders Measure Results Provide a Leading Indicator Identify Operational Weaknesses Reveal Investment Opportunites Drive Individual Accountability Measure Change In this webinar, we will discuss Financial Metrics as well as Personnel Metrics and Operational Metrics. The Operational Metrics will include both the Sales and Delivery Model. Once the right metrics portfolio is in place, the metrics can help quantify change, determine if change is feasible, provide data for effective change management and hold all levels of the organization accountable. I look forward to having you join us on this Metrics Webinar. Mike Cleland President, Charted Path

SIA Executive Forum: The Most Direct Path to Greater Profits

On Wednesday March 14th, I will be presenting at the SIA Executive Forum on aligning your recruiting organization with your client buying patterns to improve profitability. The impact of effective alignment can be quickly realized in the bottom line results and are typically of a substantial scale. Why is the impact of improving operations so significant? Well, because delivery issues are oftentimes driven by self imposed process inefficiencies. Yes, the talent pool may be tightening, but don’t fool yourself that the lack of productivity is out of your control. Spend the time to drill down into your delivery organization and honestly evaluate whether it is truly aligned with your current client base. I have worked with client’s who are married to old processes because they worked in the past. However, this is an expensive mistake. Managers must look at their processes in relation to their account base and customize their delivery accordingly. The good news is that these types of improvements can lead to stunning results. I have seen results increase by over 40% and will present these case studies during my presentation at the SIA Executive Forum. In contrast, addressing bottlenecks in the sales strategy takes longer and typically … Read More

Is Intuition Enough in the Staffing Industry?

Most successful executives I have worked with have an indefinable intuition for the business that drives their decision making. This ability presents itself in a variety of ways, but is best revealed when they are forced to make decisions for which there is no clear right direction. In those cases, the executive uses their best judgment and hopes for the best. Executives that are able to make the right judgments continue to see their firm grow, while others are left stagnant repairing the repercussions of poor decision making. But what happens when a staffing company grows and decision making becomes more and more complex? Can intuition effectively guide decision making? While I don’t completely disregard the role of intuition, a common mistake I see owners make is to believe that their intuition is a unique gift that shouldn’t be challenged even as their operational knowledge wanes. This perspective is often justified by the book Blink by Malcom Gladwell. In this book, Gladwell discusses rapid cognition or the thinking that happens in the first two seconds when placed in a new situation. Many people walk away from Blink with a higher regard for instincts as the key driver of decision making rather than fact based … Read More

Art of the Sale – Staffing Industry Review

Sales management is as much art as science. But there are three principles of sales management that can make your sales team more effective and help ensure you get the most from outside investments when you do decide to make them. The principles are sales strategy, the sales-focused organization and effective performance management.

Strong Managers Have a Balanced Perspective

Article Two in a Five Part Series: Several years ago I had a new recruiting manager come to me complaining that they couldn’t get their work done because they kept getting interrupted. In an attempt to learn more about the predicament, I asked for more details. He then began to craft for me a laundry list of fires he had to put out from addressing conflicts between team members to listening to employees discuss personal issues. Of course, he was disappointed to hear that addressing these daily interruptions is part of management. Too often, however, these interruptions can drive a manager to only think reflexively, to only worry about the next immediate problem and forget about one of the most important responsibilities of the job: Improving the Organization. This limited perspective of the job responsibilities is completely natural for a manager who must constantly address internal issues that come to their desk day in and day out. However, the question remains if management is solely focused on the present, then who is preparing for the future? The answer is “no one”. It is for this reason that managers must work to pull themselves out of the day-to-day and become more externally … Read More

Why the Status Quo Isn’t Good Enough

If you don’t like change, you will like irrelevance even less. General Erick Shinseki An organization’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive advantage. Jack Welch The majority of people hate change.  Change increases uncertainty, impacts trust, challenges relationships, and if poorly implemented can make people fearful of the future.  It is these potential consequences that make managers advocate the status quo, and look at change and innovation with a skeptical eye.  When you consider the potential negative consequences along with the amount of work necessary to define and implement change initiatives, it is no wonder that many managers opt for the status quo. However, the staffing industry is continuously changing and if managers do not learn to adapt to those changes, their company will invariably become less and less competitive.  Take for example the continuous improvements of applicant tracking systems.  From social media integration to more effective CRM capabilities, these directly impact the productivity of the production team as well as management assuming effective implementation.  It does not stretch the imagination to realize that managers who enable their team to leverage these capabilities will have a competitive advantage over ones who choose … Read More

Building a Balanced Metrics Portfolio

As a staffing organization grows, management relies on metrics to provide the visibility necessary to ensure the company is staying on the right track.  How effectively an organization develops these metrics has a direct impact on critical management decisions, and thereby, on company performance in both the short and long term.  Because the staffing industry relies on individual performance, most staffing companies have a system of metrics in place.  However, having an incomplete portfolio of metrics can undermine growth since it can misdirect management on solving the wrong problems which can further undermine performance. The metrics we use act as the lens in which we view the business, so it’s important to ask ourselves does the lens we use accurately represent reality?  Too often the answer is no. Of all the assessments I have done there is always one common theme, the problems I am asked to evaluate are often not the key issues that need to be addressed.  These disconnects between perceived and real problems stem from either a lack of correct metrics or inaccurate interpretation of what the metrics are saying.  Common sources of a poor metrics portfolio include: Not Aligning Metrics to the Company Strategy:  Many companies … Read More

In Case You Missed It: Metrics that Matter

A couple months ago I was given the opportunity to present on metrics at the SIA conference in Miami.  I have had several requests for the presentation, so it is now available on the website.  You can listen to the presentation or view in pdf format here. Some of the topics covered in the Metrics that Matter presentation are: The role of metrics in managing a high performance organization The different types of metrics that provide a properly balanced perspective The role of company strategy in effectively defining your metrics You can also view two TechServe Alliance webinars on our website as well. Strategy Simplified : Understanding strategy and its role in building an exceptional staffing organization. This presentation is tailored to the executive who must define and implement the company’s long term growth strategy. Drivers of a Successful Sales Organization : Building and managing a strong sales organization includes mastering these drivers. This presentation is a must for executives and line level sales managers Upcoming: For IT staffing companies I also encourage you to sign up for the SIA webinar “Making IT Solutions Work for your IT Staffing Firm” on May 24, 2011. I will be presenting the key success factors to consider … Read More