It’s hard to believe a second wave of COVID-19 cases is on the rise. Just this week, the number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 rose by 5% in 36 states. Additionally, this week the U.S. reported an average of almost 70,000 new cases every day (October 20th-October 27th). This has been the highest seven-day average yet, according to a CNBC analysis. And in Chicago, where I live, indoor dining at restaurants is once again being suspended.
All of this feels as if we are right back where we started back in March. In fact, it feels kind of like the movie Groundhog’s day where Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, keeps waking up and reliving the same day! While a second wave isn’t good news, the one piece of good news is that we experienced this before and have learned from it. Below are 7 tips for staffing companies to remember in order to stay on top and be successful as we head into the winter months.
- Switch to a Cloud-Based Staffing Software Solution
If you aren’t on a cloud-based staffing software solution yet, now is the time to make the switch. One of the main reasons being is so your staffing company can safely and productively operate from home. Even if your company is going into the office now, it’s critical to be prepared incase it’s no longer safe to have the whole team in the office. As we know from last time, the situation quickly turned like the switch of a button. One minute our team was in the office and the next minute we were gone and wouldn’t return for months.
A cloud-based staffing software gives your team the ability to work from anywhere. While this is important during the current times, in normal times this is also a major benefit as recruiters are on the go visiting clients. They can easily enter in their notes as they hop between clients.
Another major benefit is the security aspect. There has been an increase in compromised data during the pandemic. As if we don’t have enough to worry about, hackers are on the prowl. They have been targeting remote workers, as they know companies were left to scramble and put in patchy security protocols. A good cloud-based staffing software solution will invest in high tier data security. It’s extremely important to note though that not all staffing software providers invest in the same amount of security. It’s essential to ask how secure your data will be when switching to a cloud solution. Never assume your data is safe. Characteristics of a secure cloud solution include:
- The data is stored in a high-tier Data Center. Tier 3 and 4 Data Centers provide the most security with an uptime of approximately 99.982% and 99.995% respectively.
- The cloud data is stored in multiple data centers so in the event “the cloud goes down”, your data is still backed up and secure in another one.
- Multiple security protocols are in place at the Data Center itself including a large quantity of backup power sources, fingerprint access between rooms, locked cages, 24-hour monitoring and armed guards. Only a few key IT people at the software company should have access to the physical data.
- Backups are run daily. Ideally, incremental backups are made throughout the day with one full backup done at the end of each day.
- Several layers of firewall protection are in place.
- Invest in the Right Technology for Interviewing
If your staff is working at home, candidates also won’t be able to come in for an interview. Find the right interviewing platform for your company. Whether that is simply through a webinar platform or a professional video interviewing software. It’s imperative to find the right solution for your company so recruiters can continue to conduct interviews without missing a beat. Investing in the right technology for interviewing is important not only so your company can continue to operate smoothly, but also so the company looks professional from the candidate’s perspective during an interview.
- Partner with Industries in High Demand
This may mean needing to venture out into new lines of business you never staffed in before. If you haven’t already taken advantage of the industries in high demand during the pandemic, now is the time to branch out into these lines of business. Some of the industries in high demand include: food/alcohol/grocery, medical staff/device, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, delivery services, trucking/railroad, paper products, antibacterial/cleaning products, and more. These are all industries worth targeting in order to keep your business going strong. Having a diversified portfolio in challenging times is more important than ever.
You should also search for companies that are hiring in mass quantities. Every day, under LinkedIn News, LinkedIn updates their list of “Here’s who’s hiring right now.” It’s a list that would be worth checking out every morning to see if there are any companies you could potentially partner with.
- Use the Capabilities of Your ATS/CRM
The data stored in your ATS/CRM is more valuable than you may think. Think of all of the clients and candidates you have stored in your database. You may have hundreds or even thousands of clients and candidates. New business and candidates can be found right in front of you! The key is knowing how to search.
Searching for Clients
Searching by Client Industry, Status, and Location is the most basic search, but a powerful one. If you are trying to target those industries in high demand, it would be useful to search by industry, location (start with companies near you), and an inactive status (meaning you aren’t currently doing business with them). A “full text search” is another powerful search feature that allows you to search for key terms in each client profile. If you want to search for “medical”, it will search all clients that have the word “medical” somewhere in their profile, whether that is in an email, a text message, a note, a comment, etc. Not all ATS/CRM solutions have a “full text search”, but if yours has that feature you want to be sure you are taking advantage of it.
Searching by Last Contacted, Job Orders, and Candidate Employment History are also unique searches that can be valuable to you. Last Contacted, would allow you to search for companies you haven’t worked with recently, eliminating companies you recently touched base with that weren’t in need of services. Searching by Job Order is beneficial because you can identify companies you worked with in the past. There may be clients on the list you haven’t touched base with in a while that could use your services. Searching by Candidate Employment History is a unique search that might not come to mind right away. This allows you to search a candidate’s profile for companies they have worked for in the past. It’s a way to find new clients that are not already in your system.
As you find clients you want to reach out to, be sure to add them to a pipeline. This is an efficient way to track the companies you found in your search so you can start connecting with them.
Searching for Candidates
Similarly, you can use the search capabilities in your staffing software to find candidates. Searching by Position, Skills, and Industry is a good basic search to start with. One thing you might consider, is searching for candidates working in industries that aren’t doing well. They may be looking for a job or are even out of a job. You might find overlapping in their skills or employment history that would qualify them to be placed in a different industry that is in higher demand. As with clients, searching by Date Last Contacted is also a valuable search to identify candidates you haven’t touched base with in sometime. As you find candidates you want to reach out to, be sure you are also creating a candidate pipeline, so you can easily go down the list when you are ready to contact them.
- Continue Communication with Clients
Remember to keep your communication frequent with clients, even if they don’t have staffing needs. Keep your client relationships strong by maintaining communication and being a resource to them, so when they are ready to hire again you will be at the top of their mind. Companies can simply send clients resources every couple of weeks such as blog articles, eBooks, information about industry webinars, webinars you are hosting, and more. These are all ways to continue to build your client relationships into a long-term partnership.
- Keep Marketing
Often times, the marketing budget is the first line item that is cut in challenging times. If we have learned anything from the pandemic and from previous recessions, cutting your marketing resources can be the worst thing to do. Marketing your company in challenging times is crucial for a couple of reasons:
- Clients and candidates know you are still in business.
- Your company looks strong.
If a candidate or client visits your website or social media pages, you want them to know right away that you are in business. If you go quiet and they see no activity, they may assume you are no longer in business. This applies to marketing emails as well. If clients, prospects, and candidates see no email communication during these times, they will quickly forget about you. Don’t be forgotten or get lost in the shuffle. Keep communicating and marketing your company!
By communicating through social media, in e-mails, and other marketing channels, your company also looks strong. Candidates and clients will see you are still an active company and will see you as a leader in the industry for them to turn to.
- Stay Positive
Perhaps the last and most important tip (perhaps the hardest tip) is to stay positive. The idea of moving backwards instead of forwards with the state of the COVID-19 pandemic can be hard, but you must keep your head held high and strive on. Keeping a positive attitude will help you be successful and will also help your team members stay motivated. Also be sure to find time to do the things that make you happy and decompress, whether that is cooking, yoga, going for a walk, binging shows on Netflix, etc. Taking time to do the things you love will help you stay positive!