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Want Happy Clients? Give Them Happy Candidates.
Everyone loves happy clients, right? Staffing professionals across all disciplines put a heavy emphasis on building and maintaining productive relationships with their clients, built on professional needs and solutions and the ever-present knowledge that the staffing pro will bend over backwards to keep them happy and their needs met—literally, if necessary.
To be fair, it’s not just staffing and recruiting professionals who go to great lengths to make sure the customer is always right. Business development professionals of all types are aware that, to keep the business flowing, they need to consistently provide innovative solutions with exceptional customer service.
But staffing pros have a unique tool in their kit to help ensure that their clients are satisfied with their performance: the talent they send to work for clients.
For many firms, it’s easy to overlook the candidate experience. Team members typically deal with many more candidates than clients, making it more challenging to offer the hyper-personalized service they deserve. Often, the experience they have with a firm is poor from start to finish, thanks to poorly written job descriptions, lackluster digital experiences and more, leading to candidates that feel underwhelmed from the get-go. When these candidates are eventually placed into a job, they are going to a client’s facility to work feeling unsatisfied with their experience thus far, which can lead to less satisfaction at the actual place of work.
What happens when employees aren’t satisfied? Productivity drops. What happens when productivity drops? The client becomes unhappy, fast.
The good news is that, with a little planning and a couple of simple tools, you can take steps to improve the overall candidate experience and track what clients and candidates alike think of your performance, leading to greater satisfaction all around.
First, Evaluate How Things are Now
Take a good look at your candidate experience, from start to finish. Consider every interaction talent may have with your brand, from something as simple as an advertisement at the local ballpark to a multi-platform digital campaign. What’s your digital experience like? Are your website and information up to date and easy to find? What’s the process once a candidate finds a job and applies? And so on. The goal is to really get to know the experience from the job seeker’s perspective so that you may then identify ways in which you can improve.
Then, Take Action
Once you’ve identified ways in which you can improve your processes and the overall candidate experience, take action! Here are some potential action items you may consider along the way:
Make Orientation Count: Putting candidates to work is great, but the experience isn’t over just because you found them a job. Make it a point to communicate both verbally and through email and text communications throughout the onboarding process, keeping the candidate updated on progress and setting clear expectations for the assignment (where to park, what to wear, who to report to, etc.). Doing so will show the candidate that you are invested in their success.
Follow Up: Again, the candidate experience doesn’t end with the first day on assignment, and many employees return to staffing agencies for different jobs in the future, so you want to continue to prove that you’re committed to the candidate. Following up after the first shift worked is a good start but should be followed by regular check-ins every month or so thereafter. This is not only a great way to show your commitment, but to also gauge what new skills the candidate may have picked up that might allow you to find an even better assignment for them.
Incentive Plans: People love getting a little something extra, be it recognition for a job well done, a bonus, or some other perk. Working within your budget, develop a simple plan to incentivize behaviors such as good attendance, good reviews from clients, etc. This encourages talent to perform at a higher level, while making them feel rewarded for the effort.
Create a Great Digital Experience: From the first time a job seeker sees an ad for your office, or sees you pop up in a local search, they are forming their opinion of your brand. If they encounter a poorly worded or unattractively designed ad, or if they suffer through a poor web experience, their opinion of your brand is going to be tainted from the beginning. Like planting a seed and watching it grow, ill feelings over this seemingly small part of the job search experience could lead to greater feelings of discontent, especially if the experience is bad in other ways.
Ensure the In-Person Experience is Excellent: Though many in-person interactions are limited these days thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s still very important to ensure that all in-person experiences are professional, courteous, understanding, and, above all, productive for the job seeker. Regular meetings with team members in which expectations for client interactions are set are a good way to build a service-focused culture within your business, ensuring the experience is a good one for the candidate.
Boost Your Community Profile: A great way to endear your business to job seekers is to be an active participant within their communities. Sponsoring sports teams, regularly attending civic events, and donating to causes that benefit the entire public are great ways to show people that you care about them and you’re willing to support the community at large.
Finally, Track Your Results
As with any initiatives, it’s important to track the results of your efforts to ensure that your plan is working as designed. Though individual candidate satisfaction is very subjective, there are a couple of ways to consistently monitor how your brand is performing.
Reviews: Anyone marketing on the local level knows that reviews can make and break businesses. Of course, it is important to properly respond to your reviews to stay engaged with your audience which, for staffing firms, is most likely going to be job seekers on platforms such as Google, Facebook, Glassdoor, and Indeed. However, reading through reviews regularly and monitoring trends can also help you to see potential candidate satisfaction issues. Staying up to date on what people are saying about your brand is imperative to managing your digital reputation and ensuring maximum satisfaction.
Net Promoter Score Surveys: Net promoter score surveys are a simple way to gauge a candidate’s satisfaction on a 1-10 scale. The higher in the scale, the more satisfied, the lower…you get it. Consider surveying new candidates early in the process as well as when they are placed into a job to understand their satisfaction levels throughout the process. This will give you valuable information on how candidates feel about your brand, allowing you to hone your candidate-focused plan intelligently.
It’s easy to see the link between candidate and client satisfaction. Staffing firms that really want to go the extra mile for their clients should take pause and carefully consider the impact of a happier, more fulfilled workforce vs. an unimpressed, disconnected one.