What I learned at Staffing World 2009

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With the state of the economy being strained throughout 2009, it didn’t come as a surprise that there were some initial concerns over attendance and participation at this year’s staffing world.

But a spark of hope and an undercurrent of guarded optimism had those in attendance gladly declaring the recession over and setting their sights on the future. Mindful that a number of these people have been on this roller-coaster ride before, there were those who mentioned that it should generate a different outcome this time through.

Those clients in attendance could easily be looked at as the benefactors of a “survival of the fittest” competition. A number of them did not sit on the sidelines throughout 2009 and do nothing. They adapted, changed, self-audited, re-focused, re-positioned themselves, marketed and survived. A number of clients were here at Staffing World to gain more insight and knowledge on helping them get stronger. These survivors acknowledged that the past year eliminated some of the weaker, smaller companies, and that there is now a larger pool of talent and business available to them. Now is an opportunity to get a larger share of the market and help themselves grow stronger than before.

The keynote featured speaker, Joe Calloway, addressed the audience with a matter-of-fact approach presentation geared toward basic common sense questions about one’s business. Some key questions and points that he had people in the audience ask themselves were as follows:

  1. The Commodity Trap – Complete this statement: Our unique, distinct differentiator – what clearly sets our company apart from our competition – is _________.
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  3. ” If you don’t have a sense of urgency now, you’d better get one fast.”
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  5. “For staffing companies, innovation is vitally important, especially now” – If you agree that innovation is important, how does your company encourage innovative thinking?
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  7. Constant improvement – “For my company to stay competitive, we have to be better tomorrow than we were today”
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  9. Focus on the basics
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  11. Relevance – “The ability to advance the client’s strategy is HUGE” – Are you aware of your client’s strategy? Are you a part of it?
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  13. The relationship between business & personal involvement – “Leadership has to be personally involved like never before”
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  15. Business development – “75% of your time should be spent on business development. You’ve got to come out of this recession with a broader base of clients.”

There is an offering of some free material at joecalloway.com.

Another point brought to light – now is the time to attract and retain the best talent. Clients now have access to a larger pool of talent today more than ever. It’s also important to self-audit the existing talent your company has to make improvements overall.

The industry as a whole is improving in people’s opinions, yet the talent has less favorable opinions of their employers. There needs to be some measuring tools implemented to access where companies can improve throughout their business. Aaron Green, CSP, president and founder of PSG Global Solutions and Professional Staffing Group, held a session addressing the use of Net Promoter Score to help measure some of the opinions of your clients and your talent to gain insight on how to increase the levels of your loyalty and level of satisfaction.

Other Perspectives
Speaking with a number of the staffing industry vendors at the show also brought to light that this year was a noted “quality over quantity” level of discussion and contact. More decision makers and high level positions were seen on the floor this year, and conversations were more focused on tactics and strategies for their companies.

I believe this is an exciting time for the staffing industry. It’s positioned some to become leaders post-recession, and to become stronger from lessons learned. The importance of being active and pushing your company forward will allow you to become stronger and increase revenues in the long term. I’m excited about the buzz going on in the staffing industry and look forward to contributing to its success.

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