It is hard to believe that a second wave of COVID-19 cases is on the rise. This week alone, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients increased 5% in 36 states. Additionally, this week the US reported an average of nearly 70,000 new cases every day (from October 20 to October 27). This has been the highest seven-day average so far, according to a CNBC analysis. And in Chicago, where I live, indoor dining at restaurants will once again be suspended.
All of this feels like we’re right back where we started in March. In fact, it resembles the movie Groundhog Day, where Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, wakes up and relives the same day. While a second wave is not good news, the good news is that we have experienced this before and have learned from it. Below are 7 tips staffing businesses need to remember to stay on top and succeed as we head into the winter months.
- Switch to a cloud-based staffing software solution
If you don’t already have a cloud-based workforce software solution, now is the time to make the switch. One of the main reasons is so that your staffing business can operate safely and productively from home. Even if your business goes into the office now, it’s critical to be prepared in case it’s no longer safe to have the entire team in the office. As we know from last time, the situation changed quickly like the switch of a button. One minute our team was in the office and the next minute we were gone and wouldn’t be back for months.
Cloud-based staffing software gives your team the ability to work from anywhere. While this is important during current times, in normal times it is also a huge benefit as recruiters are on the go visiting clients. They can easily enter their notes while jumping between clients.
Another important benefit is the security aspect. There has been an increase in compromised data during the pandemic. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, hackers are on the prowl. They have been targeting remote workers as they know companies had to fight and implement patchy security protocols. A good cloud-based staffing software solution will invest in high-level data security. However, it is extremely important to note that not all staffing software vendors invest in the same amount of security. It is essential to ask yourself how secure your data will be when you switch to a cloud solution. Never assume your data is secure. Characteristics of a secure cloud solution include:
The data is stored in a high-level data center. Tier 3 and 4 data centers provide the highest security with approximately 99.982% and 99.995% uptime, respectively.
Cloud data is stored in multiple data centers, so in the event that “the cloud goes down”, your data will still be backed up and safe in another.
There are multiple security protocols in the data center itself, including extensive backup power sources, fingerprint access between rooms, locked cages, 24-hour monitoring, and armed guards. Only a few key IT people at the software company should have access to physical data.
Backups run daily. Ideally, incremental backups are done throughout the day with a full backup at the end of each day.
Multiple layers of firewall protection are in place.
- Invest in the right technology for interviews
If your staff is working from home, candidates will also not be able to attend an interview. Find the right interview platform for your company. Whether it’s simply through a webinar platform or professional video interview software. Finding the right solution for your company is imperative so recruiters can continue conducting interviews without missing a beat. Investing in the right interview technology is important not only to keep your business running smoothly, but also to look professional from a candidate’s perspective during an interview.
- Partner with high-demand industries
This may mean the need to venture into new lines of business that you have never worked in before. If you haven’t already tapped into high-demand industries during the pandemic, now is the time to get into these lines of business. Some of the industries with high demand include: food/alcohol/grocery, medical personnel/devices, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, delivery services, trucking/rail, paper products, antibacterial/cleaning products, and more. These are all industries worth targeting to keep your business going. Having a diversified portfolio in difficult times is more important than ever.
You should also look for companies that hire in large numbers. Every day in LinkedIn News, LinkedIn updates its “Here’s Who’s Hiring Right Now” list. It’s a list worth checking every morning to see if there are any companies you could partner with.
- Use the capabilities of your ATS/CRM
The data stored in your ATS/CRM is more valuable than you think. Think of all the clients and candidates you have stored in your database. You may have hundreds or even thousands of clients and candidates. You can find new business and candidates right in front of you! The key is knowing how to look.
Looking for Clients
Searching by industry, state, and customer location is the most basic, yet powerful search. If you’re trying to target those industries with high demand, it would be helpful to search by industry, location (start with businesses near you), and an inactive status (meaning you’re not currently doing business with them). A “full text search” is another powerful search feature that allows you to search for key terms in each customer profile. If you want to search for “doctor”, it will search for all customers who have the word “doctor” somewhere in their profile, be it in an email, a text message, a note, a comment, etc. Not all ATS/CRM solutions have “full text search”, but if yours does, you’ll want to be sure you’re taking advantage of it.
Searching by Last Contact, Job Orders, and Candidate Employment History are also unique searches that may be of value to you. Last contacted, would allow you to search for companies that you have not worked with recently, eliminating companies that you have recently contacted and that did not need services. Searching by work order is beneficial because it can identify companies you have worked with in the past. There may be clients on the list that you haven’t contacted in a while who could use your services. Searching for Candidate Employment History is a unique search that may not immediately come to mind. This allows you to search a candidate’s profile for companies they have worked for in the past. It is a way to find new customers that are not yet in your system.
As you find customers you want to communicate with, be sure to add them to a pipeline. This is an efficient way to track the businesses you found in your search so you can start connecting with them.
Looking for Candidates
Similarly, you can use the search features of your staffing software to find candidates. Searching by position, skills, and industry is a good basic search to start with. One thing you might consider is looking for candidates who work in industries that are not doing well. They may be looking for work or even out of work. You may find an overlap in their skills or employment history that would qualify them to be placed in a different industry that is in higher demand. As with clients, searching by Date of Last Contact is also a valuable search to identify candidates you haven’t contacted in some time. As you find candidates you want to contact, be sure to also create a candidate pipeline, so you can easily review the list when you’re ready to contact them.
- Continuous communication with customers
Remember to maintain frequent communication with clients, even if they don’t have staffing needs. Keep relationships with your clients strong by communicating and being a resource to them, so when they’re ready to hire again, you’ll be top of mind. Businesses can simply send resources to clients every other week, such as blog articles, ebooks, information on industry webinars, webinars you’re hosting, and more. These are all ways to continue building relationships with your customers in a long-term partnership.
- keep marketing
The marketing budget is often the first item cut in tough times. If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic and past recessions, cutting back on your marketing resources may be the worst thing you can do. Marketing your business in tough times is crucial for a couple of reasons:
Clients and candidates know that you are still in business.
Your company looks strong.
If a prospect or client visits your website or social media pages, you want them to know right away that you’re in business. If you stay quiet and they don’t see activity, they may assume you’re no longer in business. This also applies to email marketing. If customers, prospects, and candidates don’t see email communication during these times, they’ll quickly forget about you. Don’t forget or get lost in the shuffle. Keep communicating and promoting your company!
By communicating through social media, emails, and other marketing channels, your business looks strong too. Candidates and clients will see that you are still an active company and will see you as an industry leader they can turn to.
- stay positive
Perhaps the last and most important tip (perhaps the hardest tip) is stay positive. The idea of going backwards instead of forwards with the state of the COVID-19 pandemic can be difficult, but you have to keep your head up and put in the effort. Maintaining a positive attitude will help you succeed and will also help your team members stay motivated. Also make sure you find time to do the things that make you happy and relax, whether it’s cooking, doing yoga, going for a walk, watching shows on Netflix, etc. Taking the time to do the things you love will help you stay positive!