Why aren’t more staffing companies doing this?

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Staffing firms can choose to help HR be more strategicI just read a great blog post from Harvard Business Review: IBM Focuses HR on Change.

As you might guess, the post was about IBM’s HR department, and how they have evolved to be a strategic change leader driving radical improvements in technology, culture and performance.

While most big corporate HR departments tend to be administrators who react to the business units they support, IBM’s HR department has been “instrumental in the $100 billion company’s metamorphosis from a floundering computer manufacturer in the 1990s to a prosperous software and consulting company today.”

So what does this have to do with staffing?

As the article points out, most HR departments are not change agents. They don’t hire strategically, redefine culture, drive innovation, and improve business performance.

But YOU can help them get there.

As a staffing professional, you can help your clients manage HR more effectively. In the process, you can become a stronger partner in your clients’ success.  How?

Consider these ideas:

  1. Workforce Planning. Help your clients develop proactive plans for hiring, training, succession planning and staff augmentation.
  2. Share Best Practices. You work with lots of employers–learn from them! Spend more time discovering your clients’ strategies for hiring, managing, motivating and retaining talent. And then become a conduit for sharing what you learn.
  3. Get Closer to Your Clients. Learn their business and their industry better than their own people know it. Get to understand their profit and performance drivers, industry issues, HR challenges and opportunities for growth. Once you really understand how each client’s business works, you can make more intelligent staffing recommendations.
  4. Elevate Your Role. If you’re fed up with the commodity pressures in the staffing game, go find a new ball field. By learning to think more strategically, and possibly even developing new services to offer consultative advice, you can reposition your firm as strategic advisor and make employers more eager to work with you.

A word of caution…

This concept won’t work for every employer. Some companies with large HR departments will believe “they know more than you” and not trust your ideas.  Others simply won’t be open to change.

But for smaller, more entrepreneurial firms–those committed to constant improvement and seeking ways to innovate, you can become a driver of change. You can help those clients to achieve the same kinds of HR driven results that IBM accomplished…and in the process create more opportunities to sell staffing services!

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