RIX speaks to Eric Gregg, Founder and CEO of Inavero. Inavero’s online satisfaction surveys and research projects for staffing firms provide insights on how to best service clients and talent. With nearly 15 years of research experience in the human capital and recruiting space, Eric and his team have analyzed more than 3 million surveys with the goal of determining what drives success for staffing and recruiting firms.
RIX: Inavero’s Best of Staffing awards were recently announced in North America. What are the main trends you see with firms that meet this threshold of a Net Promoter Score of 50% or higher?
Eric Gregg: We identified 4 main trends from this year’s group of winners, outlined below (and in detail here).
- They commit to exceptional service quality across all levels of the organization. With the industry average client NPS at just 9%, and placed talent at only 22% attaining a 50% NPS in this industry requires a firm-wide commitment to service quality. Some firms grow up this way, while others need to shift their culture a little to place the same emphasis on retaining clients and talent as they do on attracting them. It’s not just great people, but a great process that wins.
- They are obsessive about candidate fit. This means they consult through the job order, look beyond just a skills match and strive to provide strong matches with each and every submission
- They overcommunicate and are hyper-responsive. Both clients and candidates hunger for information and action. When they can trust their staffing firms to keep them in the loop and be there when they need them, the scores improve.
- They leverage technology without losing the human touch. Being technology-forward and investing in the “relationship” side of the business are not mutually exclusive. In fact, if done right, technology investment can help humanize the process, freeing up recruiter and account manager time to build the relationships and add value throughout the process.
RIX: How have these trends shifted since you launched Best of Staffing in 2010?
EG: Each year, we’ve seen the role of reputation (online and off) and service quality play a bigger and bigger role in how clients and job candidates select a staffing firm to partner with. Staffing firm executives are starting to see the ROI of high levels of client and talent satisfaction beyond simply turnover. They recognize that if they do it well, it can also power their marketing and sales and provide social proof of their value proposition. Technology continues to be crucial for staffing firms, and we see more strategic investment there as well. Recruiters and account managers need time to deliver high levels of service, which means that technology investments have to help them stay efficient and effective.
RIX: Were there any big surprises for you from the research this year?
EG: This year’s study included surveys sent to more than a million people who engage with staffing firms in thousands of branches across North America. What continues to surprise me is that despite all of the technological advancements and the core value that we provide to job candidates (helping them find a job), it is the emotional connections that drive the really high scores. We invest so much into our brands, and to the clients and job candidates, their lens into that brand is almost exclusively driven by the interaction they have with the person they work most closely with. This year’s study generated more than 150,000 testimonials for top staffing firms, and nearly all of them are really a testament to an individual who made a difference in that person’s job or career.
RIX: What are the pitfalls that firms continue to make year-over-year?
EG: The biggest mistakes are probably at the end of the assignment. We know that we need to take care of candidates until they accept the position and through the onboarding, but often we then let that relationship and satisfaction erode. In the worst cases, we see staffing firms undo weeks or months of positive interactions by not doing a good job of transitioning people at the end of their assignment. This also happens to be one of the areas where we’ve seen staffing firms dramatically increase their rehire rate, driving profit to the bottom line.
RIX: If you had to pick one piece of advice that will help staffing firms improve their NPS with candidates, what would it be?
EG: Train your recruiters that their mission is to help candidates find a job, not to find a job for their candidates. What I mean here is they should go beyond the immediate openings they have, get to know the people they are placing, help coach them on their resume, their skills, and their interviewing. Suggest ways they can increase their odds of finding the next job – even if that job isn’t with your firm. You’ll build a crowd of advocates and that will help with referrals and growth.
RIX: What about with clients?
EG: Set realistic expectations early in the process, as you consult around the job order. Leverage data and your expertise to add value and educate the client.