[Podcast] Industry Spotlight | Lauren Jones – CEO and Founder of Leap Consulting – The Magic of Digital Transformation in Staffing and Recruiting

Industry Spotlight with Lauren Jones

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Show notes

Lauren Jones, CEO and Founder of Leap Consulting and Co-Host of You Own the Experience podcast, joins Kortney Harmon to discuss her expertise as a tech stack expert, business operations guru, and industry trailblazer. In this episode, Lauren and Kortney talk about:
  • Emphasizing the mindful use of technology in the staffing and recruiting industry
  • How Lauren helps businesses align their future aspirations with technology
  • The importance of establishing a well-defined process before implementing technology
  • Lauren speaks about her experience advocating for and elevating women in business
  • How to stay ahead in the staffing industry through continuously embracing digital transformation and selecting purpose-built solutions for your tech stack
To purchase Lauren’s book, please click here.


Lauren Jones, Guest: Technology is not the answer to everything, the application of the technology is where the magic is. And so how you apply it, how you configure it, and that means you need to know what you want the technology to do and you need to have your process ironed out. If you don’t have your process ironed out, spend time doing that first before you go out and start shopping for technology that you think is going to be the unicorn of all things that will now make you a profitable business because I assure you that’s too much pressure to put on one level technology. 

Hi, I’m Kortney Harmon, staffing and recruiting industry principal at Crelate. This is the full desk experiences industry spotlight series, where we are talking with the top leaders and influencers who are shaping the talent industry. In this series, we’ll be shining a light on popular trends, the latest news, and the stories that lead the groundwork for their success. 

On today’s episode, we’re going to be talking with Lauren Jones. Lauren is the founder of Leap Consulting, co-host of You Own the Experience podcast, author, speaker, and tech stack expert. With over 24 years of experience, Lauren has established herself as a leader, an influencer, and an innovator. Her passion for technology has earned her a reputation as a tech stack expert, industry trailblazer and business operations guru. I love that. Really emphasizing the mindful and responsible use of technology in the human capital industry. Lauren is helping businesses align their future aspirations and driving success through their technologies. Thank you, Lauren, so much for joining us. We’re so excited to have you. 

Lauren Jones, G…: I’m so tickled to be here, so thank you for having me. 

Kortney Harmon,…: Absolutely. Now for our listeners, today we’re going to be discussing digital transformation and your organization’s tech stack. But remember that establishing a clear and purposeful process for your organization should come first. I’m sure Lauren and I’ll get to that today as well. But before implementing technology for increased efficiency and scale, it’s critical to lay down the strong foundation through well-defined processes. A solid process really lays the foundation for successful digital transformation and makes technology integration smoother. So keep that in mind as Lauren and I dive into the conversations today. So Lauren, I know I’ve gotten the privilege to learn more about you from our conversations and through the ASA Women and Leadership Council, but can you elaborate a little bit more about you and what your company does for our listeners? 

Lauren Jones, G…: So my name is Lauren Jones. You gave me such a gracious introduction, thank you so much. I’m the CEO and founder of Loop Consulting Solutions, and we are good at three things, and I try and keep it just three things only because there are a million things I want to do and I have the tendency to want to do all of them at the same time. So we have our three pillars to keep us laser focused on delivering the highest value back to our customers. So our three pillars are build, change, adopt, and I’ll explain each one. Build, we will help businesses build out their ecosystem or tech stack or whatever new buzz phrase they want to call it. We will help you build out your ecosystem, but we do it, as you so eloquently put it, very pragmatically in that we’re looking at the business requirements and process first. 

Do you have those things established? As a matter of fact, the first question we ask is, what are your mission, vision, and values? We want to know who you are first so that we can align technology to who you are and actually what you need and let the logos go away. We act as an agnostic partner to help you build out a tech stack that is most applicable to your mission, your vision and your values, the resources you have, the time you have, all of those good things. We have many considerations when we’re looking at building out a tech stack. And then secondly, we help them with the business process change management. You can’t take an old broken process, apply new technology to it and go, oh my gosh, it’s still broken, it’ll still be broken. I assure you that, it may be broken faster, it’ll still be broken. 

Kortney Harmon,…: Not prettier. 

Lauren Jones, G…: It’d be prettier to look at, but it’s still going to be crappy. So let’s look at those things and we guide the customer through the, okay, so I’m the first person as a technologist to say, technology is not always the answer. Sometimes it’s innovating through new process, new considerations, new resources, those types of things. And then finally, where I think we have the biggest opportunity to improve as an industry is on the adoption and training side. People think it’s a one and done. When I implement my technology, I give them two weeks of training and then I’m like, “Peace.” And that’s just not how it should work. It’s an ongoing commitment. You’ve made this ginormous investment and you need to take care of it. 

You would not buy this beautiful car and not put the best gas and oil in it or not go and have the tires rotated and balanced, would you? And yet that’s so often what happens when people make these quarter of a million dollar investments in their technology infrastructure and the technologies that’s going to support their mission, their vision and their values, and then they just don’t nurture and take care of it. So our job is to help you build change and adopt the right way. 

Kortney Harmon,…: I love those and those are foundational for every business. And anybody in this business. This is something that they have to stop to think about and have that honest assessment of, is it working? So thank you. I love it. Now, when we talked last week, you were telling me about how you got started into staffing at Kelly after college. And selfishly, I was checking out the same story here in your book this morning, but I’d love to know, how did working with one of the nation’s top firms really help shape your career, get you into this being a Kelly girl? 

Lauren Jones, G…: Yeah, a Kelly girl, my meemaw fresh out of school and I’m a classically trained musician, and so I was kicking at night and so my meemaw said, “Well, you could do something productive during the day and get yourself a job, a real job.” And so she was a Kelly girl, the only job she ever had. And so she said, why don’t you go be a Kelly girl? And so I did. And quite frankly, I didn’t know Kelly from a deco, from Manpower, from anything. I didn’t know they were the best or the biggest or that or anything. I just knew they were at one point called Kelly Girl and then they transitioned their name to Kelly Services. So I really had no idea. It wasn’t until I went to a small retail firm here in northern California about 15 years later that I realized that not every firm has all of those resources. 

And one of the best things about working for Star, which is a small local firm here in Northern California, was how many understanding and being totally empathetic to how many hats small business owners have to, small agency owners have to wear. And it gave me an enormous amount of respect for the Hill that they have to climb in being in the business and on the business and the pressure to innovate and advance in all of these things. But I just have 50 people on staff and they’re either sales or recruiting. And so often that’s where people are. 

So anyway, the start to my career, I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. And so it’s this journey that I’ve had over the last now 25 years. I add on another year. They keep adding, I don’t know what’s happening. I guess it’s better than the alternative. 

Kortney Harmon,…: That’s good. Absolutely. 

Lauren Jones, G…: But to watch it all come together now and have this enterprise vantage point, this small business vantage point, and then being able to put that together to now have a business offering that meets both of the needs of those customers. 

Kortney Harmon,…: I love that. I think I got to see that too from the aspect when I joined MRI network, I was working with all new franchise owners and it’s like there are these onesie twosies. Yeah, I did great. Now I want to be on my own. I no longer want to work for the man. And it’s just like, well, you’re now the narrator, you’re now the accountant, you’re now the bookkeeper. And they’re like, wait a minute, I don’t know how to do all these things. And it’s like, well, we’re going to learn. We’re going to figure that out. So I love that you brought that up because you’re right, not everybody has all of those resources. 

Lauren Jones, G…: I was so spoiled at Kelly. I look back and I’m like, oh my gosh, I had an entire team to help me with unemployment, an entire team to help me with my onsite and I just had to call a branch to get some orders filled and it’s not like that. 

Kortney Harmon,…: I understand. I love that and that’s really good insight. Now, I know you already talked about this and you like me, are very passionate about a learning and development. I’m a big sucker, that’s the way to my heart. But what do you think staffing firms miss most whenever they think about the learning aspect? I know you already hit on the idea that job’s not ever done, but what else are firms and agencies missing when it comes to training and teaching and really keeping their companies going short? 

Lauren Jones, G…: If there’s a one size fits all, that they can go and buy something and it’s just going to train their people. And it’s just not that way. And software hasn’t done a great job of putting really good tools. Because look, the reality is once we are done making the system look the way the customer wants it to look, once we’re done with configuration and we have all their nomenclature in there and we have all their workflows, it ends up looking remarkably different than the generic system that’s used in the generic library where people get trained. So that’s first not understanding that learning is also a visual sport and that having that alignment to having it be your system and your workflows. And so we do all of these bespoke training offerings where we’re taking your system after your configuration is done and creating your content based on that. 

Furthermore, many of those videos are an hour long or even in a half an hour long. And we’re not honoring the fact that people don’t learn that way anymore. When you want to go learn how to do something, what do you, you go to YouTube and you’re like winged eyeliner and you want to learn how to do winged eyeliner. Or if you’re me, you want to learn how to trim your chicken’s feathers. And that’s where I learned how to trim my girls’ wings to keep them from flying. And so people are like, they’re tactile. They want two minute videos on how to do something and it’s democratization of learning and information. And we have to honor the way that people are learning now and change the way that we’re training them with these small bite size pieces because that’s how people are consuming information today. 

And I think what agencies and software get wrong are those two things. Understanding that this is a visual sport and we just can’t throw generic content in front of the end user and think they’re going to bridge the gap. And understanding that you and I, because we understand technology, know that the action of a placement, even if it’s labeled something different, is still the action of a placement, your end user doesn’t. And so we take a lot for granted in that way. And so understanding that some customization needs to happen there and that means time and care. And then just like you have to have a technology roadmap, you also have a training roadmap that’s aligned to it because the technology isn’t going to sit still. You don’t just buy it and it stops getting developed and it stops getting worked on. And that’s the other thing that mystifies me. And then the other is the duration. We’ve got to have these, honor the way that people learn today and make it really accessible and easy. 

Kortney Harmon,…: Absolutely. So now firms that work with you, you help build that up. Is that something that they see the value in and they maybe don’t have L&D person or they don’t have a trainer? Is that something that maybe they develop someone into that or operational that they see the focus after you work with them and they put someone like that in place has that? 

Lauren Jones, G…: We are a huge teach you how to fish firm. I don’t want to do your videos forever, I’ll teach you how to do them. I can, we certainly are, but I’d rather teach you how to create your own world and empower you to continue to build out your content and to continue to build out your training because I tell you, it’s not as hard as we make it. We love to make things complicated in staffing. We’re like, this is the most complex thing ever. And you’re like, not really. 

But I’m special, my process is special. Are you still putting great people with great jobs? That’s what we do here. And it’s all the same. And so yeah, we miss a lot there. And so we have an opportunity I think. 

Kortney Harmon,…: And I don’t think people realize the impact that good training can have. Even at my past job at Talent Launch, they didn’t have a consistent way of doing things. And even within developing that training, we literally increased revenue 142% within the first six months of all new hires coming on. Who doesn’t want that success? Who doesn’t want their people to be up to speed faster in making money off of them quickly? 

Lauren Jones, G…: 84% of recruiters that are looking in our industry are looking at the firm’s tech stack as either an attractor or detractor. But here’s the painful part of those 84% of recruiters that are looking at your tech stack to make a determination as to whether or not they want to work for your agency. Once they start working for your agency, half of them don’t feel like they understand the system that they’re working in. So they were looking to you and excited about your tech stack and then they got there and you gave them their logins. 

Kortney Harmon,…: Absolutely. 

Lauren Jones, G…: They need more than that. 

Kortney Harmon,…: They do. I love it. And I could talk about this topic all day. I love that. Thank you very much for your insights. Now I’m going to switch topics on you for mis-speech. This Bad Boy right here. Can you tell me a little bit about the Together We Rise and your experience writing a book and the stories that you learned from the other women through this process? I love this. This is something that’s been on my desk, so give me your insight. 

Lauren Jones, G…: Yeah, that makes me happy in my heart to see the book in somebody else’s lap, it just does. It will never get old ever. And I feel this whole little warmth full of gratitude every time I see it, just doesn’t get old. So thank you for that. This book was definitely a labor of love, but I think it’s a representation of so much more than people think. So first and foremost, I opened my firm on March 2nd, 2020 and being an entrepreneur is a very lonely game. Joyce Russell was also releasing her book, Put A Cherry on top around the same time. We were all going to meet down at SIA in Florida on March 9th, 2020. So I opened my firm March 2nd. I had 18 appointments. I was like, nobody’s going to see me coming. It’s going to be amazing. I just was so pumped up on my own juice, I was just ready to rock and roll. 

Well, we all know what happened after that. The entire world shut down. I spent all of March drilling on myself in a bottle of tears and it took me a hot minute to get over March of 2020 just like everybody else. But then we put our big girl pants on and we decided to do what everybody else was doing. We decided to have a Zoom call. And so we had that Zoom call to celebrate Joyce and her book. And then somebody said, well this is pretty cool to have a book club where the authors come. And so not to be outdone because we’re 15 high performing women, we ended up having Gay Gaddis, Heather Monahan, Erica Keswin, Dr. Stephanie Johnson. We have had some of the most amazing women. I don’t even know how we did it, but we just went around asking any author, any female author, to just come talk to us for free. And they did. 

And then we started doing more meaningful things together because we were all stuck at home. We cooked together, we did yoga together, and then we started supporting one another. There were some lady leaders looking for executive positions, how do we help them rise? And then my first three customers were lady leaders. So here I was a brand new baby bird entrepreneur and those women started buying from me. And we saw this connective tissue that we were creating in helping one another just get better and bigger and more visible just through the actions of supporting one another. And we were like, there’s something here. And Michelle Prince, who is an author herself of many books but also owns Performance Publishing, came to a lady leaders we had her on as an author and she said, “You guys have such an amazing story. You should write a book.” 

And we laughed it off at first and then we looked at each other and we were like, “We should.” And so we said yes. And many of us had not ever met in person. Some of us had forged relationships, Leslie and I have known each other for almost a decade. And she and I wrote the Forward Together. But there were other relationships that were just brand baby new. I didn’t know Kim Pope and I had never met her in person. And so we came together remotely, forged these deep, deep bonds. I’d take a bullet for any one of those women and I know they would do the same. I’ve sent my daughter down with Anna to go see Harry Styles. I trust these women with my children. 

And so we’ve just forged this connection that we feel like could be infectious and we want, whenever we’re speaking, everybody takes the pledge. I commit to one deliberate act today to help another woman rise because we believe if we stick together, we can overcome the chasm that we have to overcome in equality in pay and the disparity that we have in women participating in the workforce right now. We’re back to the eighties, that’s not okay. And so we want to wrap our arms around every woman, help her rise and make our voices be heard. 

Kortney Harmon,…: You obviously do a lot of work to elevate women in our industry. Obviously you can tell your passion and how you’re talking about this now. I’ve been able to see it just in our short time in the ASA Council. Tell us any more experiences about being an advocate and elevating women. You talked about that being infectious with your group. How does that bleed out or how does someone start when they don’t have a group that you have? 

Lauren Jones, G…: You need to find your group. It took me 46 years, I’m not kidding. I didn’t start a business until I was 46. I’m almost 50. I’ll be 49 in just a couple months here. I didn’t know that there could be this type of love from another woman. And I share, I talked about it and I was very scared to talk about it in my chapter because I didn’t always have the best experience with women. I had the experience where, well, it took me 12 years, so it’s going to take you, I’m going to make it take 14. And whatever pain they endured, I need to endure double. I don’t think that way. If I had to endure something, I need to clear the way for the next woman. And I don’t want any woman to go through some of the stuff I had to go through some of the stuff our other lady leaders had to go through, whether it was man or woman. 

I in particular highlighted the female friction that happens. And I just think, I also put a post out yesterday that about Jamie and Michelle at the Golden Globes. And Jamie Lee Curtis cheering her, it gives me gooses when I see that picture and she is on fire for Michelle, she’s so excited for her. That’s what I think that we need to be doing. And so this idea that you don’t have another female advocate, I just know you need to be careful about who you’re choosing to be in your inner circle. But get that inner circle squared away. Pick your women wisely. I would just say don’t leave it to somebody else. Obviously there are groups out there. I think a ASA has done an amazing job of bringing a collaborative, communicative, empathetic group of women together. And so I’m really excited. I’m cheering thrive this year, as you know. 

And I love so many ideas. Of course, my word vomit, you see all the emails too that have gone back and forth and I’m just so excited to see… We’ve even talked about our second book being Raising up the Next Generation of Women In Our Chapters. And there are a lot of ideas flowing around right now. We’ve got ideas on another book about allyship and mentorship. Anyway, there will be a second book, just putting that out into the universe. Yeah, we’re already into that. But what I want women to hear more than anything is there are women out there that will support you no matter what. We need to find them and we need to wrap our arms around them and then keep them very, very close. I’m super selfish about my Lady Leaders book club group because I feel very protective of it. 

Kortney Harmon,…: It’s amazing and it’s infectious just to see your smile and your passion that you talk about it. So I love it. I love it. I’m excited to see more emails come across. As you have worked with companies through Leap Consulting. By the way, I did not understand that Leap was all of your children and your husband’s name until this morning whenever I read it. And I don’t think I processed that, but I love that. What mistakes do you see firms making most with their technologies through working with them through your business Leap? 

Lauren Jones, G…: I get a lot of people that, well there’s a couple good examples. The first is the last three out of five customers that have come to us and said, “We need a digital transformation consult. All of this technology has to go.” They actually ended up being optimization projects. I also have a fiduciary responsibility to the agencies that we work with to ensure that they maximize or optimize what they’re doing with the technology that they already have. So three out of five of those requests of, “It’s all got to go because none of it works,” was really just relearning the technology. They had perfectly capable tech stacks, they just needed to know how to use it and how to use it in a meaningful way. And so we went back, did an entirely new training cadence. We did new workflows, some new configuration. Because really what I see, and that I tell you that story because one of the big problems is thinking that technology’s going to fix all things. 

Technology is not the answer to everything. The application of the technology is where the magic is. And so how you apply it, how you configure it. And that means you need to know what you want the technology to do and you need to have your process ironed out. If you don’t have your process ironed out, spend time doing that first before you go out and start shopping for technology that you think is going to be the unicorn of all things that will now make you a profitable business. Because I assure you, that’s too much pressure to put on one level technology. There’s the rub right there, is just this misnomer that technology will fix all woes without… And I see a lot of bandaid buying where, ouch, I have a pain. And this happens when we don’t have interdepartmental communication going on. So marketing’s like, “Well, we’re going to go get HubSpot.” 

And you’re like, “Okay, well we need PieSync That means we need PieSync if we’re going to create an integration there. And you want that.” “So what’s going to happen with the leads once they come into HubSpot?” “Oh, that means that we need an integration. Oh wait, no, so you’re going to turn that HubSpot into a CRM so we’re going to have two CRMs?” And you can see where this is going. And then you end up with two CRMs. Nobody’s really owning the lead. And then you have no workflow, you have no process, you have no completion, you have no infinity band. We don’t think of this as a whole life cycle as it pertains to the customer and the candidate. And so we’ve got to change our mindset there. So you got to put in the work. The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary. That’s Vince Lombardi quote. There you go. 

Kortney Harmon,…: Absolutely. And honestly, when you get all that chaos, then you as an operations leader or as the leader that’s making business decisions, you don’t know where to go because who knows where the data is. How are you making your business decisions with the holistic view because you don’t have- 

Lauren Jones, G…: Yeah, and I have companies that have too much tech. And I’m walking in and then they got a bot for this and a bot for that. And they got this and that and all of the things. And they’re walking around with bling rings of all the technology. None of it’s being adopted, none of it’s being leveraged appropriately. None of it’s integrated. And that’s one that I get a lot with the front and the back office completely disparit and we’ve got fat fingering going on and invoicing problems and timekeeping issues. And it’s just, there is no transformation without integration. You have to put in the work, period. And you’ve got to train your people to use it appropriately. 

Kortney Harmon,…: Now we talked about there’s people that like, “The hair is on fire, we need to drop everything. We need to change everything.” Do you think there are other people in the business that really undervalue the process of digital transformation and the adoption in the staffing industry? 

Lauren Jones, G…: Yes. They’re all the people that tell me that my rate, they’re too expensive. Our rates are very fair. But yeah, I think there’s a huge undervalue of the work that it takes an SI, system integration partner, data migration is no joke. You’re essentially asking strangers to take all your digital content. Now let’s ask if we had asked movers to come into our home and move all of our home without ever labeling boxes appropriate. That is your data. And then customers get mad when bathroom boxes end up in the kitchen. But data is the root of all evils when it comes to the digital transformation and understanding that there is complexity and a process that vendors, suppliers have to go through to make sure that your data is moved and all of your boxes go to the right rooms. And there’s a ton of undervaluing that goes on from customers. 

And I think probably because it’s just not explained to them. And I think that that’s also another disservice, is there’s so much taken for granted on the customer side that we think they know about implementation, about data migration, and we just can’t take any of that for granted. I like to start with the glossary of terms. Let’s get right on what we’re talking about here so that we’re speaking the same language. And let’s understand all of the moving pieces of a digital transformation. I don’t want anything to do with data migration. No, thank you. But I absolutely know that it’s a huge, huge part of the whole thing and a part that continues to get undervalued. Data migration is expensive, period. Or it can be, let’s put it that way. 

Kortney Harmon,…: Can be. And I think whenever someone says the word digital transformation, I think there’s the other half of that pie that is the process of fear just comes over them. They’re like, “Nope. I’m good where I am.” I hate to say this, but I thought as I read your book, you are not a proponent of change based on what I saw from your book. And I love that you said, I’m a safety Sally, but your husband’s a build wings on the way down. But I thought that was- 

Lauren Jones, G…: Yeah, I love change, but in my heart I thought that I loved change. I understand now. And one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is that action over perfection always. And I’ve gotten really good at putting something out. My husband just did a podcast and I was like, “You need to pick a go live date and do that first episode.” Even if the first episode sucks and the first episode did suck, production wasn’t great, there’s sound stuff going on. But what did it do? Lit the fire to get episode number two and lit the fire to get episode number three and have these stacks of content. 

So all of that to say is, I think that I used to be very rigid in the way that I approached change, and now I understand that it’s more about looking at all of it and then just jumping in on the meaningful things that you can take and change, and you can take and apply and take and navigate whatever that action is going to be. And so now I eat change for breakfast. And now I could put out an imperfect product and be totally fine with it. And it’s not that it’s lazy or anything, I just know that the difference that we make is that we will take action and we will do the best job that we can, but we will meet the dang deadline. 

Kortney Harmon,…: I love. And also you said it was like the Wizard of Oz, it’s black and white to see the transition into color. And I’m not you, but I know whenever I worked with my offices, it was like, I don’t think that’s a value. But as we started down that road, it was like, “Oh, you’re right. I needed to be doing this all along.” So I’m sure you see those aha moments, the black and white to color very frequently when you’re working with a client. 

Lauren Jones, G…: Yes. The whole story of Leap is this dynamic between my husband and I. He is the build your wings on the way down and I am more like where is all the… And I’m still very, where is all the safety equipment? I will take a good long jump, but I still want to be wearing the hat and the helmet and that I want to be tethered to something, harness, whatever that that’s going to be. I want all the safety equipment. My husband just wants to jump. And so he said to me when I was going to go out of my own. He said to me, “Just take the leap.” For whatever reason, I don’t know why a frog came to mind. And then I realized our initials were Lauren, Emily, Alison, and Peter. It could be PALE, but I chose Leap. I play way too much Wordle clearly because I can make a word of our names, many words of all our names. But yeah, that whole idea that we can just take action and have it not be so scary. 

Kortney Harmon,…: I love it. That’s such a great story. I love it very much. So as we talked about those people in the clients that you’re working with, taking the jump, moving into technology, you mentioned before that AI and automations are really huge helpers at accelerators in staffing. How do you see AI and automation impacting the staffing industry and what do you wish more staffing firms knew about automations and AI? 

Lauren Jones, G…: This is the cape. Automation is the cape that you’re going to give your recruiter to turn them into superhero recruiters. I have a course now that we’ve built out that is really two recruiters. It’s a love letter. Two recruiters to say, don’t be afraid of automation or AI. What AI has done for me, like ChatGPT, I don’t think I’ve been on a podcast the last 12 times without talking about ChatGPT, but it’s turned me into a super consumer of content that I can summarize really easily. So Rob and I did that whole predictions, but we had 15 pages of input data that the Keith Whitemans and Adam Sprecher had all given us. They’d all this beautiful content, Rob and I are looking at each other going, “Okay, how are we going to summarize all of this?” And so I copied all of it, threw it in ChatGPT, and we had our 11 predictions for the year. 

So ChatGPT can help you consume a ton of data, summarize it appropriately. Obviously it’s going to be a huge search tool. I’ve used it in a meaningful way to help make larger projects shorter. But automation, that’s the cape for your recruiter and salespeople and I want to teach recruiters and salespeople not to be afraid of either one of these. They are both just enablement to help enable you to be a superhuman recruiter, to help enable you to be the superhuman salesperson. Imagine a world where you don’t have to do an arrival call. You don’t have to do 27. I came from the high volume world where in the morning I was smiling and dialing for the 30 people that I had assigned sitting at a desk calling my 30 people or I was on site checking in those 30 people. 

We have technology to enable us in these super meaningful ways where we can automate those things. And then where we need to spend when I want to go and connect with that customer and I want to go and do something meaningful for those employees on site, I can do that. But I can do it without it being a, I’m checking you in robot la la la, that I can go and deliver a referral bonus or I can go and get them excited about a pizza party that we’re having and I can go and spend time talking to my customer as opposed to checking in 30 people and not even get to talk to my customer. 

So I think that technology like automation and AI are going to allow us to do the meaningful things that keep this industry alive. And so you just can’t be afraid of it. Stop being afraid of it. 

Kortney Harmon,…: Stop being afraid of it. I love it. And you also gave some options like hey, do arrival calls automation. So if you had to say, I’m your client right now and we’re talking about three processes to automate, I have no automation whatsoever. What would be the first three processes you would do? 

Lauren Jones, G…: We have five Rs. So five Rs. So if you don’t know where to start with automation and you’re just scared. That’s okay, you can be scared. I’m going to say, “Don’t be scared. We got these five for you to start with.” So there’s referrals, say easy automation to do, birds of a feather flock together, we want to know who else you know. And you can’t break anything with that one. We’re just sending out an automated campaign to say, “We think you’re amazing. Who else do you know?” The first time we did one of these with one of our customers, that is 65% response rate. So referrals is a huge one. So if you’re short on talent, go out and do a referral campaign. 

Kortney Harmon,…: And that’s the last thing that gets done. How many times we’re all too busy, we don’t have time to do referrals, we don’t have times to do references, whatever those things are, but now they don’t have to be by the way. 

Lauren Jones, G…: You can automate references. 

Kortney Harmon,…: There you go. [inaudible 00:32:36]. 

Lauren Jones, G…: So referrals, references, redeployment, right? So what do we do? We set up an automation 45 days before their assignment’s supposed to end. Which, “Hey, your assignment’s going to end. Don’t be scared. We’re going to take all the skills that you’ve learned at this new assignment and add them to your new resume and then you and I are going to work together for your next gig.” And then at 30 days we check in again and then at 15 days. And then when the assignment’s at, there’s no fear. People go to another brand or leave your brand because they fear something’s going to happen. So what we have to do is leverage automation to show them there’s nothing to be afraid of. We’ve got your back. And we have your next assignment too. So don’t go to the next agency. So you’ve got references, referrals, re-deployments, re-activations and re-engagements and the only difference between those two are the duration of time that the person has been away from the brand. 

And so I like to separate them because re-activations, the ones who have been away from the brand longer, those can be a longer cycle. But re-engagements, like somebody who just hasn’t done business with you in six months, that could be a quick win. “Hey, we’re just checking in with you. We haven’t heard from you in a little while. We want to know are you still looking for work? We’ve got some great opportunities available.” And so those are a safe place to start. If you don’t know where to start with automations and you’re overwhelmed by the ideas, we say start with the five Rs because they don’t hurt anything, you’re not manipulating any statuses. Because we can get pretty involved with automations nowadays and if the status equals this, I can create a task or I can create… If you’re afraid of the this, then that endless universe, that can be overwhelming. And I think that agency owners get stagnation because they’re just overwhelmed by the process. And so I say, don’t worry about all the other journeys or blueprints, just start with these five and they don’t hurt. 

Kortney Harmon,…: I love it. That is such great insight and such a good starter point for so many firms. You already answered this, but I’m going to re-ask this. Maybe it’ll come off differently, but what steps do you recommend for businesses looking to digitally transform their operations? 

Lauren Jones, G…: Oh my goodness. Oh, that’s a biggie. So we have what is called the five considerations of digital transformation. And what I want people to look at is, I want people to look at timing and tolerance. Is your agency ready for this digital transformation? Because timing and tolerance is a big one. If you have already gone through a tremendous amount of change, you might have bad timing for it yet another change. If you haven’t created a culture of change, you need to go and do the work first and get people excited about the change. Tolerance is inclusive of lead time. Maybe we’re trying to do something in too much of a short period of time or we haven’t communicated and now we’ve scared everybody and nobody wants anything and they’re all revolting, So timing and tolerance and having a checklist there. Ensuring you have enough resources, that’s consideration number two, and that means with digital transformation must come structural transformation, you have to have departmental collaboration. 

We talked about that. You can end up with double buying, duplicative process, duplicative technology. And so we need to understand, is our roadmap set up for all departments for the short term and for the long term? Then we look at process. You and I have talked about this. Are your current processes working? Who do they work for? Because if they work for one person, they don’t work. Are we looking at the experience as a whole? What’s in it for everyone? So looking at your process from a macro perspective is really important. And then do you have your metrics and rewards? That’s the other consideration when embarking upon a digital transformation. Do you have ROI? Do you have accountability? Are you rewarding for good behavior? Are you creating a culture of learning? Because in combination with a culture of change, you must have a culture of embracing learning. 

And then the fifth thing that we tell customers is, just do it. The years of the year long RFP are gone, technology is moving way too quick. You cannot take a year to make this type of buying decision because are you assure you your competitors have bought it, implemented it, trained on it, and are using it successfully. So you just got to do it. So those are our five considerations for digital transformation. 

Kortney Harmon,…: You just gave us 10 amazing things all in that short little time. Thank you. Very insightful. I only have one more question, actually I have pertains to your book, but last question I have is, there’s so many businesses that they want to grow right now but don’t know where to start. What’s one suggestion or tip you would have for these business leaders as it pertains to their tech stack through a period of growth? 

Lauren Jones, G…: Looking at their tech stack through a period of growth. When we’re working with a couple firms right now, and again, as you grow in scale, your processes can become more complex. And so are you growing and scaling your processes with your existing technology? Because if you’re not, it can make it seem like your existing technology doesn’t work. Well, it’s just that you are growing and scaling and your processes are getting more complex or you’re adding more layers. So you’ve got to make sure that you honor that with assistance that you’re using because otherwise you’re going to be in that, “Everything’s broken and I hate it, light it all on fire.” And yeah, exactly. Just throw the baby out with a bath water. If you’ve got somebody that is completely overwhelmed by the thought of a digital transformation, break it down to the ridiculous, what is it that they’re really trying to change? 

What is the impetus behind this digital transformation desire? Then when you get to that answer, you can make a determination as to what their next step is because scaling an organization with an existing tech stack is pretty easy if we maintain the workflows that correspond with that. Now, with some technologies you will reach a point where the apples start falling off of the apple cart. You can’t run $200 million worth of payroll through QuickBooks. It’s just not a thing. And if you are, you’re probably burning it up. I’ve got a couple businesses that are burning through a couple hundred million dollars through QuickBooks and it’s just wasn’t meant to do that. If you are starting to get the in between pants sizes, there might be some considerations that you need to look at. Again, everything is individual. I have a lot of people come to me and say, “What should my tech stack be?” And I have 40 questions for them before I can answer that. 

Kortney Harmon,…: There’s no one fits all answer. 

Lauren Jones, G…: No one size fits all. This is a bespoke type of thing and what fits one may not fit the other. 

Kortney Harmon,…: Great insight. My only other question pertains to this. If there are people that are listening want to buy this wonderful book, Together We Rise, where would we buy that? And we’re going to make sure we put that in our show notes as well. But where would people buy that if they were looking to buy? 

Lauren Jones, G…: You can find that on Amazon. You can find the link on leapconsulting.com. So just Together We Rise on Amazon’s first book that comes up. You can go to www.leapconsulting.com, you’ll see the book everywhere on every page, and you can click there, it’ll take you right to Amazon. We point you to Amazon because the retail price allows us to make a donation. So we were able to sponsor six scholarships last year through the proceeds of the book. A 100% of the proceeds go to the ASA Women and scholarship fund. And so that’s why we point you to Amazon because the retail price allows us to get those donations to ASA. 

Kortney Harmon,…: That’s truly amazing. Thank you so much for all that you do. Lauren, thank you so much for joining us today. This was fantastic. I hope we can do it again in the future, but thank you so much. 

Lauren Jones, G…: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. 

Kortney Harmon,…: Absolutely. Now for everyone else, Lauren gave us some key information to show what good looks like when assessing your tech stack, as well as talking digital transformation. As you’re having your conversations and leading your teams into the new year with the new technologies, be sure to have deliberate and established foundational processes before your firms and agencies are sprinting for scale and recruiting operations leaders. It’s critical to maintain and a key understanding for your organization’s pulse and continuing to embrace digital transformation as our industry is going to truly evolve. Stay ahead of the curve, select a platform that is purpose-built solution that really serves as a foundational for your overall tech stack and this will continue to give and provide a clear road back for success. So keep an eye out for our next industry spotlight releasing in March as we get a chance to sit down with Joel Lalgee. I think his tagline is, nearly everyone’s favorite recruiter from Hirewell. So thanks again, Lauren, for joining us. And this is The Industry Spotlight and have a 

Lauren Jones, G…: Thank you, the same. 

Kortney Harmon,…: I’m Kortney Harmon with Crelate. Thanks for joining us for this episode of Industry Spotlight, a new series from the Full Desk Experience. New episodes will be dropping monthly. Be sure you’re subscribed to our podcast so you can catch the next Industry Spotlight episode and all episodes of the Full Desk Experience here or wherever you listen. 


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