Technology In the Staffing Industry: Hindrance Or Help?
ASA-certified staffing professional and Registered Nurse (RN), Cathy Vollmer is Vice President of Operations at international healthcare staffing agency, Conexus Medstaff. Here, Cathy explores the role of technology in today’s staffing industry and questions whether it takes away more than it adds.
Ever-changing and advancing technology is undoubtedly great news for the future of staffing in terms of streamlining processes, increasing efficiency, and gathering valuable data. However, in an industry defined by building meaningful connections and partnerships, there’s a concern that such technology ‘disruption’ will undermine the traditional staffing model by shifting the emphasis to speed and costs over quality of service.
The staffing industry, in particular, has been highly receptive to technology innovation from the launch of the internet, through to the arrival of job boards and, critically, CRM systems. Today, developments in data analytics, AI, and machine learning continue to transform established staffing processes.
One such technological development is automation. Technology platforms are taking over the management of essential but repetitive back-office tasks, enabling staff to focus on more valuable activities like finding candidates and building relationships.
Additionally, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is driving significant advances in the search for talent, helping recruiters to pair strong candidates with the right opportunities. AI has been particularly revolutionary in the staffing industry as a method to eliminate unconscious bias in the application selection process. It can search candidate CVs for keywords related to their skills and experience to generate a shortlist of the right people.
One of the most groundbreaking aspects of AI in staffing is its learning capability. So, the more data that AI technology processes, the better it becomes at understanding its actions and, in turn, the better results it generates. This means that the more AI solutions are implemented, the more effective they will become at finding the right people for the right roles.
Despite such advancements benefiting the day-to-day operations of businesses, many are concerned that the digitization of staffing could completely eradicate the personal touch, making it harder and even obstructive for candidates to find a role that suits their needs. In other words, a computer program is yet to be invented that can replace the human touch or gauge candidates from a cultural perspective.
Conexus, for example, works with international nurses and graduates to help them to find work and start a new life in the US. As a former RN and member of the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL), I can appreciate the importance of regular human interaction and round-the-clock availability for vulnerable candidates who are about to make a life-changing career move.
For us, technology is crucial at the beginning of the process to screen candidates who apply from countries across the globe, ensuring they have the right credentials, experience, and qualifications to start the process. Beyond this, technology’s primary role for us is immigration case management and as an added communication tool that complements face-to-face meetings, i.e., Skype, Facetime, online chat tools, etc.
To me, this highlights the importance of assessing the value of technology implementation in the staffing industry on a case-by-case basis. The need for automation in the candidate journey will vary depending on the level of human interaction and support that’s required at each stage of the process for both candidates and clients. However, regardless of the level of digital adoption, it’s clear that technology will continue to play a crucial role within talent acquisition for all organizations and staffing businesses long into the future.