Bonus | The Future of Staffing: Trends, Technologies, and Challenges Explored at Staffing World

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Show notes

In this episode, we dive into the exciting world of staffing and manufacturing, exploring the trends, challenges, and innovations discussed at the recent Staffing World conference. Katie Jones, Podcast Producer, hosts a panel discussion with Kortney Harmon, Director of Industry Relations at Crelate and Host of The Full Desk Experience, Tom Hunley, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Crelate, and Chris Hesson, Manager of Professional Service at Crelate about what they learned at Staffing World.

From the intriguing concept of “getting over ghosting” to the impact of AI on the industry, we cover it all. We also uncover the recurring struggle of finding the right talent and the concerns about a possible economic downturn. Our panel shares their insights on optimizing the workforce, leveraging AI, and the importance of understanding different generations’ perspectives.

Additionally, we explore fascinating technologies like Fireflies AI and Hire Easy, and discuss the need for creativity and adaptability to navigate the ever-changing landscape of the industry. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this enlightening conversation with our esteemed guests as we uncover the valuable takeaways from the Staffing World exhibition.


Chris Hesson [00:00:00]:

When things get bad, it’s the firms that don’t have a good process, that don’t have good teams that are just taking an order instead of actually really building those relationships with their clients. They’re not going to be here anymore, which means when things rebound, you have a whole lot less competition, and especially the type of competition that is selling on price alone, you’re able to really find that success. So take this time to come out big or better, faster, stronger, on the other side.

Kortney Harmon [00:00:28]:

Hi. I’m Kortney Harmon, director of industry relations at Crelate. Over the past decade, I’ve trained thousands of frontline recruiters and have worked with hundreds of business owners and executives to help their firms and agencies grow. This is The Full Desk Experience, a Crelate original podcast where we will be talking about growth blockers across your people, processes, and technologies. Welcome to another episode of The Full Desk Experience.

Katie Jones [00:01:04]:

Welcome to another episode of The Full Desk Experience. I’m Katie Jones. I’m the producer of the podcast. And I know you’re not used to normally hearing my voice at the beginning of every episode, but today we’re going to be doing something a little bit different. So I have with me today Kortney Harmon. Our host and director of industry relations, tom Hunley, senior Product Marketing Manager and Chris Hesson, manager of Professional Services. Recently, kortney, Tom, Chris and myself all attended Staffing World out in North Carolina. And so today we’re actually having a panel discussion about what everybody has taken away from the show and just give you some insight of what’s going on in the industry.

Katie Jones [00:01:45]:

So with that said, welcome everybody. Kortney, Tom, Chris, thank you all so much for being here with us today.

Kortney Harmon [00:01:51]:

Thanks for having me so excited. This is like the group I like to talk to. So this is up my alley. Oh, yes.

Katie Jones [00:01:57]:

This is going to be great. So we’re just going to dive right in, guys. My first question for you all, and Tom, I’m going to have you kick it off is what major trends did you observe at Staffing World that you think will shape the future of the staffing industry and why are they significant?

Tom Hunley [00:02:13]:

That’s a great question. There’s a lot of stuff talked about through the whole conference, but as far as trends that I saw not only in the breakout sessions, but also just conversations on the floor, there’s about three or four themes that I see. One and I think Kortney might disagree with me on, this is not really a trend. Just something that always happens with our industry is finding know it’s a struggle right now, but there’s always ebbs and flows. It’s always a struggle. So it’s how to find the right talent because of the issues at hand. There’s three others, one more of a short term, two that I think are more of a long term. Everybody’s talking about possible downturn in the economy, right? And it is scary, but I think that’s more of a short term issue and trend than a long term.

Tom Hunley [00:02:58]:

I don’t think it’s going to be a yearly thing. I’ve seen a few of these and I had a conversation with a customer and she said they’re actually ramping up right now because they’re getting a bunch of orders. But I’ve seen that before. Corporate recruiters and HR staff freak out because they’re not going to have budget next year. So they really push everything to the end of the year. And then there’s drought, especially for staffing after that, about July or August. There’s going to be that moment in corporate recruiting where they’re going to have a need. They might have laid off too many people there’s.

Tom Hunley [00:03:29]:

Something happened that actually goes and they’re going to get caught with their pants down. I mean, corporate recruiters during hiring freezes don’t recruit. So that’s going to be a main thing. If you and your team keep moving forward and we’ll talk about that later then. Lastly, the major trend obviously is AI.

Kortney Harmon [00:03:45]:


Tom Hunley [00:03:45]:

AI, AI. Even the breakout sessions that didn’t have AI in their title talked about AI. So that’s a huge trend. Now they’re positive and negative on both. We can dive into. But that’s some of the major things that I saw.

Kortney Harmon [00:03:57]:

I love that. Katie, I’m going to jump in. I don’t necessarily know if you’re going to call on us or what. I agree. A lot of the conversation that I heard, we heard reoccurring themes from clients prospects. I hear it across the board is maybe we’re down year over year. Tommy said something that is very real in our industry is really the idea of an overcorrection. We get to the point we react so quickly, there’s an overcorrection.

Kortney Harmon [00:04:22]:

Tom Herb said that on the industry spotlight that we talked, and it’s very true. And we feel the pain point of that very frequently in our industry. Still hearing the same theme. We kind of talked about this. Last year was the start of this. Sales is maybe a muscle they haven’t had to flex or haven’t had to use in a long time. So it was getting back into sales best practices. There was a lot of breakout sessions around that.

Kortney Harmon [00:04:45]:

There was a lot of breakout sessions around talent shortage or talent gap. Yes, it’s something that happens in our industry, but I think there’s a different twist to it, to how to be creative approaching this in the near future. And then, yep, we heard AI. I don’t even tell him. What was his name? What was the guy that did the AI talk? You already just said it.

Tom Hunley [00:05:04]:

Paul Zacopoulos.

Kortney Harmon [00:05:06]:

Paul Zacopoulos. He had made a comment and it’s really stuck in my brain since that talk. It was the idea of artificial intelligence. It’s not necessarily artificial. It’s almost ambient. Think about ambient light. It’s around us all the time. It’s just how we’re collecting data.

Kortney Harmon [00:05:23]:

We’re in a perpetual state of data collection. Now we know so much data. What are we doing with that data? How are we reacting? So AI and Platform really was a common theme that we heard. I heard on the Show Floor, as we did podcasts on the show Floor was we’re here to see what talks to our platform, to make our lives easier for better reporting, better metrics. And I think the last thing I heard was kind of goes along with what Tom said was mindset. Coach K obviously one of my favorite speakers of the entire time there, but it was really about mindset. Your mindset matters. Mindset matters going into the R word, the recession word, but we are going into an election year looking how our industry is going to react to that.

Kortney Harmon [00:06:06]:

Last week alone, we saw big players like Bullhorn lay off 9% of their workforce LinkedIn major banks. It’s happening. But how are we able to shift in a time of adversity to make us better going into this so we can rebound quicker? So I think those were the main themes that I heard.

Chris Hesson [00:06:22]:

There were 22 tech talks at Staffing World if you didn’t have a chance to attend it. Tech talks are amazing. It’s a great way to interact directly with some of the kind of top staffing firms as well as vendors in the space of them. Ten sessions alone were on AI and automation. There were two of them on texting, two of them on economic data trends. My favorite tech talk, and the title just, I think, jumps out was don’t let Shiny Tech lead you away from Solid Process, which I will have to give full credit to Tom on that, because anytime we look at tech. I think often it’s very easy to get caught up in that flashy, shiny new thing and you go to something like Staffing World and there’s all these new bells and whistles and things that look amazing. Tom, I think you really said it.

Chris Hesson [00:07:06]:

You nailed it in. Your approach is tech can take a good process and take it to the next level, but it cannot replace a bad process. So keep in mind that when you’re attending Staffing World or other events, really use that time to evaluate how are you operating, what are you doing, what are other firms leveraging from a process standpoint, give yourself a strong and solid foundation to build upon.

Tom Hunley [00:07:27]:

So Blatant plug for me, if people didn’t get to see those tech talks, any of them, I know as a presenter, they asked us to upload recordings and those should be on the Staffing World website, I think, by the end of the week. So you can see mine as well as a ton of others.

Katie Jones [00:07:43]:

Yeah, and we’ll definitely link that in the show notes, too. Tom, good thought, just kind of adding in on the AI discussion too. He’s called it AI plus instead of plus AI. Right, Kort. Am I saying that the right way? And so it’s kind of taking this idea of using AI to exactly what you just said, Tom, with the technology pieces just to augment your processes, not to replace them.

Chris Hesson [00:08:06]:


Tom Hunley [00:08:07]:

One thing Paul said that I loved was Human in the Loop, which I’m a huge fan of. I mean, technology is great, and I’m a fanboy of all technology, but it’s that human interaction and oversight is more important to make sure that you’re not getting biases, you’re not getting hallucinations, you’re not getting all the manner of risk that comes along with any kind of AI. But that being said, it’s a great tool to use. Just be really mindful of it.

Kortney Harmon [00:08:34]:

I love that. I think it’s really important. Chris has talked about this on our podcast many times, but I really think he said something that, are you spending money to save money or are you spending money to make money? And we’ve heard this a thousand times over. AI is not going to replace recruiters, but it will replace recruiters who don’t use AI. So if you’re spending this money to invest in something, are you spending money to save money or spending money to make money? Are you going to help it have this process, help your people do things that are closer to the money to be able to move things forward or do the basic interactions or automations, as Chris likes to say. We’re in a state. We talked about that perpetual data cleanup, but also we now have digital body language. He talked about digital body language, and I was mesmerized by that.

Kortney Harmon [00:09:21]:

I’m like, how’s like, is it me on a zoom call right now? But it’s like the swiping, the tapping, the liking, the Harding. I’m not on any dating apps by any means, but swipe left, swipe right. But it’s literally leaving a digital footprint of where we are and where we’re going. It’s just so fascinating. I love this conversation. Absolutely.

Katie Jones [00:09:39]:

So kind of leaning into the AI a little bit. What other technologies did you guys or innovations that you saw at the Expo that you think could improve operations or maybe even boost productivity for these staffing firms?

Chris Hesson [00:09:51]:

There were a couple of cool things I looked at that was using AI to take unstructured data and make it usable. So when we talk about data, what we’re really saying is, you’ve got all this information. Now. Structured data is probably what exists for most of you in a CRM, in an ATS. I have a first name field. I have a title field. That data is very cleanly, organized. You know where to go and what to search for.

Chris Hesson [00:10:17]:

Where AI, I think will begin to come in, in the future is how do we leverage unstructured data? So we have just masses and blobs of text or notes or crazy things that are all over the map, and you don’t know what you have or where it is or how it’s structured, how it’s organized. It doesn’t have a rhyme or reason. There’s not a field to search on. There’s not a specific data point. There were a couple technologies I looked at that were looking to take some general unstructured data across the industry to provide insights, especially around economic trends, looking at that tailored specifically to your industry or your location or your job market, even looking around as far as wages and compensation. So I think there’s so much information available now. I mean, we are in this phase of information overload. We get information and data blasted at us from every possible angle, but so much of it is not usable and is not actionable.

Chris Hesson [00:11:14]:

So I think where I am most excited for AI is seeing that trend continue. I think we’re still in the infancy in the recruiting world, being able to have this concept of leveraging unstructured data. But I think we’re going to see that start to get a little bit better and better over time, give you as a staffing firm better insights into how you can run your business or have a predictive analytical thought process as you start to envision. What are the next six months look like? Where do we need to pivot? Where do we need to double down or increase our efforts?

Tom Hunley [00:11:45]:

Yeah, I agree totally with Chris on that. I saw some really cool tech, too. Saw some of our partners, like Hire Easy. They’ve got their free chat, GPT, email generator, which is really pretty solid if you have not seen it yet. And they also have a free job description, you know, from that to like, seek outs, copilot or even senses conversational, chat, know, all that stuff is just really doing well right now, even though the technology is in infancy. But there’s some stuff that I saw. I don’t know if you caught this Kortney as Fireflies AI, and if anybody’s ever used gong or I even do it kind of in teams, but it takes the notes. It listens to you transcribes and takes notes from your meetings and then summarizes it for you, which I thought was really cool.

Tom Hunley [00:12:29]:

Not going to lie, I do that with teams and just throw it through Claude. But Fireflies is a great thing too. And then converge AI. I really had an in depth conversation with them over there. That was the one. I walked into the breakout session late, but then I ultimately talked to him at the booth. It’s for mass recruiting, and it’s a voice virtual recruiter. So think AI chat bot, but with a voice simulator.

Tom Hunley [00:12:54]:

And so it will actually call people qualify. Your first candidates get the basic stuff out of the way, are you interested, are you available, are you qualified? Type of thing. That way you can push it to your recruiters and have those more meaningful conversations. So I think across the board, that’s what AI is going to get really interesting, too, is reducing that cold calling smile and dial 100 calls, 100 resume stuff, and really get to the relationship building. And I’m really looking forward to that.

Kortney Harmon [00:13:20]:

Tom, the converge AI, was that the people that left the lemons on the tables? No, that was different. That was lunch. Okay, I’m going to piggyback off of something kind of that was similar to what Tom was saying, but it was the people who left the lemons on the lunch tables. It was really the concept of get over ghosting. It was the idea, like we have so many times in staffing and light industrial manufacturing, we have people that don’t show up, but AI has given them a platform to say, this is what the day in the life of this job looks like. It was a virtual simulator to say, this is what your production line looks like. This is what you would be doing daily. Is this something that interests you? I was literally mesmerized by this because years ago, sometimes you had videos or you talked about you do a video ad about the job.

Kortney Harmon [00:14:07]:

But this literally put them in the day and the life of so they could see what it looked like whenever you walked in. They could see what their production line looked like. They could experience the same task that they would be doing. Would this interest you? They got a much better feel for the job itself versus, Are you interested in this? Yes or no? Or they might be half paying attention because they’re chasing their kid or running somewhere else, but it was much more in depth to what they could be doing. So I was really enthralled by the AI and the virtual environment that it was putting them in. So I was super excited about that piece of technology.

Katie Jones [00:14:42]:

Yeah, that was really cool. I think that seeing what AI can do and then pairing it with Paul’s Talk as the opener, or maybe Paul’s the Closer, but was just kind of put a bow on everything AI. For me, it was just awesome. So we’ve kind of talked about the technology pieces, we’ve talked about major trends, and now I want to kind of shift our focus to what key insights around hiring, retaining or managing talent you may have gained from the sessions and how they might be applied by other staffing professionals. I know I’m speaking Kort’s language.

Kortney Harmon [00:15:20]:

I’m going to get to this before Tom did. Tom already threw me under the bus, like, two minutes in that we’re going to disagree on something, so I’m going to go right to it. A lot of the common theme that I heard, and you might be hearing this and now I agree with Tom, this is nothing new in our industry, the concept of a talent shortage or talent gap. Right. I was surprised by how many people we talked to on the show floor. We at least talked to, I believe, 15 people for podcast from the show floor, what they were there for, what challenges they had prior to coming to the show. I was still amazed that there were so many people that said, talent gap, talent shortage. But I think this is something, this is no different.

Kortney Harmon [00:15:56]:

If you’ve been in our industry, you’ve gone through a recession, you’ve gone through a downturn, it is ebb and flow. It is something that we’ve experienced. But I think what’s different and what I heard out of this is we’re going to have to be creative in our solutions going forward. It’s not that we haven’t had to be in the past, but we’re at record setting number of boomers that are retiring on a daily basis. They were the largest percentage of our workforce, and they are retiring by the thousands daily. Right? So it’s really getting to the point that those older generations could contributing to our talent shortage. So there’s the concept of offshoring and reshoring, as well as the whole middle generations maybe not wanting to or needing the same kind of work that our industries have traditionally offered. So there’s gig work, there’s fractional employment, there’s so many things that are contributing to this uncharted territory.

Kortney Harmon [00:16:49]:

So there were solutions that were talking about upskilling and reskilling talent. It was talking about being flexible in your work days. This is nothing new, but it’s probably newer conversations that we have to have with our clients to say, have you thought about doing this or offering this solution, whether it’s four day a week, work weeks, whether it’s 30 hours a week. If you were at Thrive, you heard about Rushma’s mom’s first initiative. I love this, being a mom of two, but really, not only does the American workday not support moms in any way, shape or form because it’s eight to five and our kids go to school nine to three. But there’s also the conversation about pay discrepancies. And I don’t want to toot this horn a lot because I get it, but I learned a stat that I didn’t know. Men get paid 6% more with every kid, while a woman gets paid 4% less with every child.

Kortney Harmon [00:17:43]:

And I was blown away by that. I was like, what? So really, using this Mom’s First initiative to say whether it’s in manufacturing, have you thought about creating a shift from nine to two? You’re going to get so much more qualified talent. You’re going to eliminate Ghosting, you’re going to have retention within your organization. But being creative in this solution, I think, was one of the largest conversations that I heard out of so many people.

Tom Hunley [00:18:08]:

It’s funny that you mentioned that because I was thinking something really similar. I was in a couple of breakout sessions. One was actually on neurodiversity in the workforce, and the other was about digitization. But a subset of that was talking about the different ways, different generations, millennials, gen, z and boomers all look at the workforce. And it made me think a thing that people have to think about is optimizing your workforce. And it’s very similar to what you were talking about. But know what people’s weaknesses are, know what their strengths are. Don’t just hire the person that’s like you, hire the person that ultimately is like you about trustworthiness and meeting their goals, but it doesn’t matter how they get to the work or when do they get to the work.

Tom Hunley [00:18:50]:

Just the work gets done. Some people look at things differently because of certain mindsets they have and so forth. I Laugh my wife and I decided years ago never to work on a project together because she does things one way, I do one way. Mine not that either are bad or worse, but the job gets done. It’s just job gets done differently. So when you’re setting up your team and your processes, think about not the way it gets done, but how it gets done. You got to call it allocate and trust allocate the work and trust it’s going to get done. Not worry about how it’s going to.

Kortney Harmon [00:19:19]:

Get done, not stand over each other and cuss at each other, because I think that’s how our home projects go.

Tom Hunley [00:19:25]:

I wasn’t going to put that out there, but yeah, very similar. But yeah, I mean, technology and people moving forward, you’re going to have to hire for and bring processes and technology that are adaptable, things that can handle switches. Just like you said. Sales is going to be a big thing in 2024 because we’re going from a, oh, we’ve got so many acquisitions coming into we got to beat the pavement to get new clients. Can your technology and your workforce handle that? If your workforce isn’t more salespeople, are they sourcers? Can they find those diamonds in the rough on prospecting tools and things like that? So it’s all about allocation and trust.

Kortney Harmon [00:20:01]:

Chris, anything from you?

Chris Hesson [00:20:03]:

I think from a process standpoint, being nimble. I mean, you talk about the gap that’s not going away. This is not temporary. Even look at population trends over the last 20 years, this is only going to be expounded. So much economic growth over the last 150 years has been driven by population booms. There’s more people who need to buy more things, which means you need to make more things. You need people to do that. Well.

Chris Hesson [00:20:26]:

As things start to trend the other direction, it’s where do efficiencies come into play? I think process and internal operations is just going to be even more important. So both Kortney and Tom love it’s. It’s really it’s adaptability, it’s flexibility and it’s really hiring based into the market. You know, as recruiters both for yourself as well as your clients, you don’t get to design and manufacture the candidates in the manufacturing site in the back. You don’t get to make the product. You have to take what exists and what’s there. And I think it’s understanding what that market looks like and how can you internally, for yourself or even for your clients, really become a consultant in the space and what is the ultimate goal that your clients are looking to solve for? Let’s get creative on how we can do that. The solution may not be what they’re asking for.

Chris Hesson [00:21:12]:

So it’s where can you deliver what is needed, not necessarily what is just requested.

Kortney Harmon [00:21:17]:

I think that something that you guys.

Katie Jones [00:21:18]:

Are all saying that it’s kind of coming full circle for me. So I don’t know if our audience or you guys are thinking this also, but you’re talking about talent shortage and then we’re also talking about core processes, but then we’re talking about the way that technology can kind of almost bridge that gap, right? We’ve got this talent shortage, but there’s other tools and processes through automation, AI, tightening up your processes, taking a look at your foundational processes, really figuring out what’s working and tuning that. And I think that the merriment of all of that together is kind of how we might be able to solve this.

Kortney Harmon [00:21:52]:

And I know we’ve said it on the podcast before, Katie, but downturns and slowdowns are great times for you to evaluate these processes. When we had Jen Meyer on the podcast last year or January of this year, she’s like we would have never been able to even move ATSs during our busiest time because our team didn’t have the time to train, didn’t have the time to understand. But that goes with your processes too. It’s really your time to maybe do some time studies in your branches to understand what’s going on so you can truly lead through. If it’s better KPIs, if it’s better understanding if you want to change to a call center branches to be able to adapt differently so your recruiters are doing more high value work. So now is the time for you to address those things and look at those things if you do have a moment.

Chris Hesson [00:22:42]:

Fortunes are made in down economies. It’s who is going to not only survive but thrive. Every time I look at this natural cycle, which this is not the last time it’s going to happen, not the first time it’s happened, you’re going to see trends up and down when things get bad. It’s the firms that don’t have a good process, that don’t have good teams that are just taking an order instead of actually really building those relationships with their clients. They’re not going to be here anymore, which means when things rebound, you have a whole lot less competition, and especially the type of competition that is selling on price alone, you’re able to really find that success. So take this time to come out bigger, better, faster, stronger on the other side.

Kortney Harmon [00:23:25]:


Katie Jones [00:23:26]:

All right, guys, so we’ve kind of talked a little bit about Kortney’s, referenced a few conversations or connections that she heard on the shelf floor. What do you think were most meaningful as far as learning from peers about what’s going on in the industry or maybe the ways that people are approaching this business development piece?

Chris Hesson [00:23:46]:

I think it’s doubling down and getting back to basics for a lot. Anytime I think I’ve gone to a conference ever, I love the fact that it really reinforces that you guys know what the keys to success are. The ways to be successful in the recruiting industry. It hasn’t changed a ton. The core building blocks, the blocking and tackling, those are still absolutely fundamental. There’s things where if you have those down, you can use to build upon and take things to the next level, but you have to have those core things in place. And so many times, both in conversations as well as different sessions, I think that’s really, for me, it’s reminding you of the things you know, you were supposed to do the whole time. The last couple of years was very easy, especially on the business development end, to get away.

Chris Hesson [00:24:35]:

It was almost too easy for too long. So for some firms, it’s going to be getting back to those basics, re committing to having a solid business development and sales process, recommitting to a recruiting process, because things are going to get challenging. But again, it’s so often it’s not the new thing that is really most valuable. It’s hearing that old thing that you really have gotten away from.

Kortney Harmon [00:24:58]:

I just go back to he talks about getting back to basics, but a reoccurring theme in the conversations I had honestly goes back to what Coach K was talking about. It’s really your mindset. It’s your mindset over the next six to twelve months. Yes. Right now, historically, year to year, I’ve heard the numbers vary from I’m 15% down year over year to I’m 30% down year over year. Regardless, Coach K, obviously, I mean, made it kind of normal that he was like, playing middleman between Kobe and LeBron, was kind of like surreal, like hearing the story, but he really focused on as he was recruiting talent across the country. It was really he focused on three things. I love this.

Kortney Harmon [00:25:38]:

He recruited talent, yes. But he recruited good culture and good character. And really, this comes down to our teams, too. As you’re driving this bus or you have this company, right, you want to let good people on your bus. That’s what he talked about. So as we get to the point that we’re developing these teams, we’re working together, it’s really about rowing in the right direction, the same direction we’re getting on different pages that maybe we haven’t been all year because we haven’t had time to do that. He also said two is better than one if they can act like one. Katie, I look at you and I all the time like you’re the left side of my brain.

Kortney Harmon [00:26:13]:

Most. Days. And same goes for Chris and Tom. I can work with both of all of us, and I really think that we really complete each other in our sentences, but it’s really about getting back to basics. He didn’t talk about four A’s, which I really think we need to look at in business. He talked about agility, which is the ability to pivot, adaptability, adapt to people. They keep changing. And then accountability.

Kortney Harmon [00:26:35]:

We talk about KPIs all the time in our industry, but really having a winning attitude, your attitude and your mindset changes everything for this. And if you have the mindset, I can go into this to say, well, it doesn’t matter if I failed today. I still have to get job orders tomorrow. I still have to make phone calls to talent tomorrow. My actions aren’t changing. I am trugging forward. I am doing the things that I need to do because I know those are the things that make money, that those are the things that have the best outcome. I’m not wavering away from them and sulking in my misery.

Tom Hunley [00:27:05]:

No what got me and I was going to say that I love talking to customers and new clients because I’ve been in this industry like all of us have for a bit, and you keep thinking that it’s the same, all processes are the same. Staffing and staffing and recruiting. Recruiting, even though I know better, because even between me, Chris and Kortney, we all have different flavors of things we’ve done and we all have different perspectives. But just talking to the different clients and how their business models are slightly different or largely different, and it really gets me thinking, it’s like, yeah, those processes that you have done, keep doing those in a bad down economy, keep chugging away. Don’t not recruit because you don’t have recruiting openings, because you might have one tomorrow, but also think outside the box a little bit. There’s a lot of people doing some innovations that one in particular that I heard could possibly change the industry. And I love that. And even if it’s that changing your model, changing the business model, changing the niche that you go for, there’s always innovation, not only in tech, but in people and process, but just have those right people in place that they can adapt and change to our previous discussion and pivot to whatever needs to be done.

Tom Hunley [00:28:12]:

And really think about your process in a holistic. Don’t do it this way because we’ve always done it this way. Do it this way because it’s the right way to be done and gets the thing done, but be open to other paths to success.

Katie Jones [00:28:23]:

So we have kind of broadly talked about getting back to basics and generalizations about best practices of the industry, how that applies, especially in an economic downturn or the R word, the recession, whatever it is that we’re experiencing right now and have really been experiencing for the past year. But I guess this next question is what best practices and staffing did you see highlighted at the event? And how can more firms implement these to elevate not only their business, but the industry as a whole?

Chris Hesson [00:28:54]:

Kortney, I feel like this is a great one for you to lead on.

Kortney Harmon [00:28:56]:

Yeah, well, Katie, I actually drugged Katie to this session, ironically. It was a panel with Tom Cosnick. It was about know, we’re talking about getting back to the basics, but I think everyone’s questioning what does good look like right now? And I mean, it was full. It was strictly staffing professionals, really light industrial. But they were literally talking about what metrics that they look at. What are the things that you look at every single week? Is it what type of activities are they fill times? Is it turnover? Is it calls to fill whatever it is? I know this sounds stupid, but it’s like keep it simple stupid. You can’t measure more things because you’re in a down economy. You need to measure simple things.

Kortney Harmon [00:29:40]:

You need to make sure that you have three to five metrics. You need to have trust and integrity. Nothing else matters if you can’t have that. Ironically, right before I got on this call, there’s so many people that are in this frenzy of a do more mentality. And Katie and I talk about it all the time on the podcast, but it was a really full circle with two calls I’ve had this week. But they were measuring somebody on their activity and their call time, but their fill time was awful. It really comes down to the quality of those metrics. In reality, they’re like, OK, we need to figure this out.

Kortney Harmon [00:30:14]:

Why does this fill time stink? But in reality, this person didn’t want to make calls and they were actually calling the Santa Claus hotline and they didn’t realize it until that they listened to the call to realize, oh my gosh, they were calling just hotlines to waste dials and to waste the time being on the phone. Because when owners have a do more mentality, people don’t want to do more. They’re trying to find a way around the metric. It’s going to come out in the wash. But how can you be more collaborative with your teams and coach better to get better outcomes, right, if you’re not getting the submissions you need? Is it based upon the emails that you’re writing? Is it based upon the verbiage that you’re saying about the job description? Is it the job is actually looking for a purple squirrel. But if you don’t know how to have those conversations as a leader to talk to your teams about, you’re just spinning cycles. So it’s not necessarily, I guess, Katie, it’s not anything that was best practices, but it goes back to holding your teams accountable in a positive way to get the best results for quality out of the metrics. And keep it simple within those metrics.

Tom Hunley [00:31:20]:

That’s a good point. I’m actually thinking I’m going to go the other way. You’re talking about people in metrics, I’m going to go tech, I’m going to go platforms. And when things change, you want that system that can do a lot more. Don’t buy the Ferrari because it looks cool. Buy the pickup truck because you can do a lot with it. It’s that Swiss Army knife mentality that if you got to do one thing now, it’s cool, but then you can do the other real quick. So just be mindful of what especially if you are looking at new tech, because you have the opportunity to kind of take a breath and not just be selling and placing and recruiting yet.

Tom Hunley [00:31:57]:

Think about that over the next long term. Because like Chris said, and I think I said it too, this isn’t the last time changes are going to happen. The only constant is change. I think that’s an old adage and we’ve all been here long enough to see it before, but then make sure that when you hire people, they can use that tech. I put a note in, make sure when you hire people, make sure that they’re technically advanced. And that doesn’t mean they’re right out of college or young and know all the hip things, but the ability to learn. I think my first technology advancement, I was coding on a Commodore 64, but I’ve also done AI, chat, Bots and everything in between. So think about that mentality when you hire people of adaptability, teachability, and being a learning environment.

Chris Hesson [00:32:40]:

Absolutely. And if you look at now, we’ve said it a little bit before, but now is the time to evaluate how do you operate? Take the time, look at your internal process. With tech, one thing I think that’s especially important is adding and increasing your tech stack is not just a technology initiative. It’s a culture initiative. It’s an operations initiative. So if you only look at it from that tech side, you’re missing how it actually works. When you have boots on the ground, how is your team operating, what do they do? What’s that culture you’ve built internally? Because that’s going to have to shift. It’s going to have to change.

Chris Hesson [00:33:19]:

Ideally, it’s changing for the better, but even change for the better can sometimes put some stress and tension on how your business is running. So I think being very deliberate in understanding where are you today and what are the tools that are going to get you to that place you need to be six months or a year from now. Hopefully your team are hitting your goals and exceeding them. But as things are slow, now is the time to get better, faster, stronger, smarter for the other side.

Kortney Harmon [00:33:47]:


Katie Jones [00:33:48]:

Chris I think it’s totally about everything that you guys said. It’s about being intentional and smart about A, what you’re tracking. Kortney’s point B, the tech that you’re using, and then to Chris’s point, how those processes fit into that tech, or vice versa. Tom’s tech talk said it great. Don’t go out there and buy the pretty tech because you think it’s going to solve your problems. And really, A, you’re probably not using the tech you have to the full capacity, and B, if you take a look at your processes and your people and the way that tech integrates with those things, you’ll be better off to solve your problems with what you have existing today. I love this conversation, guys. This was incredible.

Katie Jones [00:34:27]:

If you were able to join us at Staffing World and came by the booth and said, Hi, we enjoyed meeting all of our customers and the new prospects that we have out there. If you guys have any questions, feel free to email us at [email protected]. Otherwise, thank you guys for tuning in and listening, and we hope to see you next year at thanks Guys.

Kortney Harmon [00:34:50]:

I’m Kortney Harmon with Crelate. Thanks for joining the full Desk Experience. Please feel free to submit any questions for next session to Full [email protected] or ask us live next session. If you enjoyed our show, be sure to subscribe to our podcast wherever you listen and sign up to attend future events that happen once a month.

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