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Digital Attackers in Staffing

Digital Attackers in Staffing

Over the last 5-15 years, the proliferation of the internet and the popularity of mobile phones providing easy access to information spawned a whole new type of worker: The Gig Worker. The desire of Gig for flexibility and willingness is to work with short notice in contract roles. A number of new ventures were started to cater to this type of worker, and thus the Gig Economy began.

Fast forward to 2020, and a number of leaders have emerged in this space, including Wonolo, Care.com, Upwork, and others. The name “digital attacker” applies to these companies, because they were created with the value proposition that their digital platforms would be the differentiator in the temporary staffing services they offered. The use cases supported by the digital platforms drove an easy transition into the industrial staffing market. Now the digital attackers are disrupting the staffing industry by providing employers with new tools and new ways of working. The disruption is large enough that more outsiders with deep pockets are investing in the digital attackers, including Google, Microsoft, Coca Cola, and IBM.

As a result of the competition from the digital attackers, institutional companies within the industry are beginning to develop their own digital capabilities to compete. Allegis, Adecco, and Robert Half have all created their own digital platforms. In 2019, Robert Half’s “RH Direct” low touch recruitment service. While it is not clear how successful these platforms will be, automation brought by these digital platforms is the new field of competition for the industry. This will impact every part of the staffing market, from Gig Economy workers through industrial staffing to high-end medical and technical fields as well.

So where and how does a staffing company begin to compete in this age of the digital platform innovation? There are three areas to focus:

Digital Strategy – a staffing company needs to have a plan of action and a roadmap of what to do. There are many directions that a company can take to develop a digital platform, and many questions that must be answered before the right direction is identified. Headstorm has its own methodology called the Strategic Approach and Roadmap (or “STAR”), which guides a client through the steps to connect a business plan and corporate objectives with a roadmap to go forward.

Enablement – once a strategy and roadmap exist, it becomes necessary to prepare the organization deliver on these major initiatives. A lot of companies start with some minor changes and an incremental budget for the IT organization; however, moving to a new digital product mindset requires a new way of thinking and involvement from every functional area of a company. Headstorm provides leaders that can partner with company management to help stand up the right programs to teach new skills, stand up new processes, and implement new tools and technologies that will lead to the development of the digital platform. As a company develops the muscle memory to be agile and work in nimble ways, the company learns to work on its own, and Headstorm involvement eventually phases out.

Digital Product Engineering – as a company enables the ability to develop digital products, there are certain milestones that may require external expertise and/or additional capacity. Headstorm provides small digital product teams to as a “north star”, bringing the right mix of product knowledge, team management, and technical expertise to rapidly and effectively deliver a digital product. Our teams utilize cloud platforms such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure to swiftly stand up develop tool chains and continuous deployment methods using the latest technologies. The result is a path to rapid competitiveness in your industry with digital products that meet your customer needs.

The staffing industry will continue to rapidly evolve with new types of digital services provided to employers and temp associates. The digital attackers have the digital platforms but are still learning the industry in general. While they accumulate that industry knowledge, the institutional staffing companies should seek the partnership of a company like Headstorm to provide digital product strategy, enablement, and engineering capabilities. The result of this partnership is the development of a digital platform that increases the competitiveness of your services in the industrial staffing industry.


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