Musings from the 2019 RCSA World Employment Conference (part 2): recommendations

In last week’s blog I offered my musings from the 2019 RCSA World Employment Conference. I summarised these musings under the structure I borrowed from presenter, Peter William’s concluding slide:

  • Think ahead
  • Orient towards partnerships
  • It’s people with technology
  • Learn faster to move faster

Based on these musings I offer the following recommendations to recruitment agency owners who want to get, and stay, ahead in this rapidly changing world of work.

  1. Get better before you get bigger:

Staffing Industry Metrics’ Nigel Harse is a relentless promotor of this concept for the simple reason that he witnesses, through the data his business collects, that too often agencies grow head count and sales without growing profit; sometimes profit even declines.

Productivity growth through a smarter use of existing resources is absolutely critical to your business’s long term health.

I’ve written about productivity a few times before so you can access a longer version of my views and recommendations here, here and here.

Here’s three things that are easy to implement:

  • Run a project to cut your job board spend immediately 75% but allocating each consultant a quota of two jobs each month for the next three months. Instead launch a project to proactively call not-spoken-to-in-at-least six-months high rating candidates, registered on your database, to make up any shortfall in candidates. You’ll both save money and improve your candidate relationships and referrals.
  • Stop working on any jobs where the client is treating you like a low-value resume source rather than as a recruitment partner.
  • Any client requests for a discount are simply responded with: ”No. We only provide discounts for poor service – if at the end of the process you believe my service was poor we can have a discount discussion then.”

The three most important productivity measures are:

  • Job fill rate
  • Candidate utilisation rate
  • Average time to fill

(My take on these three topics, and how they relate to the impact that AI and machine learning will have on recruitment, can be read here).

  1. Build skills

Skills matter. Skills are a foundation stone of driving improved productivity.

Building the capability of any employee can either happen slowly, through trial and error, or quickly, through skill development.

Skill development is best if it combines clear objectives, formal training, on-the-job coaching, agreed measures and regular accountability; for all employees, regardless of their level of performance.

Weekly in-house training sessions for 60 to 90 minutes are a no-cost way to leverage the skills and knowledge of existing high –performing employees for the benefit of all employees.

  1. Get involved with your industry

The RCSA and APSCo are the two local recruitment industry associations that exist to represent and further the interest of their members. They also provide any industry conferences and other professional development events that will help you think objectively about the changes in our industry and the wider economy, and how best to respond to them.

As a very fragmented industry dominated, in number, by very small agencies we are vulnerable to the market power, and related political influence of a small number of very large companies who promote themselves as ‘tech platforms’ rather than as providers of on-hire labour.

As traditional suppliers of on-hire labour, recruitment agencies are required to abide by the relevant workplace and employment laws. It’s not obvious that competing tech platforms take this same obligation as seriously.

Your interests are best represented by an industry association and if you are not a member of either APSCo or the RCSA then please consider joining. A better resourced association is one more able to effectively represent your interests in the corridors of power.

Competition doesn’t threaten our industry but an uneven playing field does.

  1. Stop ‘doing’ and take time to simply think

Recruitment agency owners become successful because they are extraordinarily effective at doing lots of important stuff, consistently.

As an agency owner it’s critical that you carve out time to simply think about your business – what’s working well (so you can leverage it further) and what’s not working so well (so you can fix it or stop doing it).

Shut down your computer, turn off your phone, ignore distractions and simply think about what’s important for the long term health of your business.

The 2020 RCSA Conference location is yet to be officially announced but I can give you a little teaser by saying that the rumour file tells me it’s being held at a warm-climate venue that has never hosted an RCSA conference previously.

Watch out for an officially announcement in the coming weeks.

 

Related blogs

What Rob Davidson, Stuart Freeman, Daniel Mundy and other successful recruitment entrepreneurs have in common

2017 ATC Summary: How to avoid being AI-ed out of your job or career 

In defence of KPIs (and what the evidence suggests)

The ‘gravity of success’ prevents innovation: Summary of the 2011 RCSA Conference

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