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In our years of working with hundreds of staffing companies, one of the first and most enduring lessons we learned is this: there is never enough time. Every team has stories about being too busy. In terms of our bread and butter, analytics, teams are sometimes too busy to properly collect data, let alone delve into analyzing their numbers. So how can staffing companies go about recouping this precious commodity?

1. Excel is a huge time waster

Let’s face it, just about every company has a huge Excel file shared on DropBox or, even worse, emailed around as needed, that holds important (yet outdated) metrics, account information, goals, financials, lunch orders, you name it. Everyone hates it, but there’s really no way to avoid it, right?

Well, you can read more in-depth about our feelings on Excel, but the gist is that the less you’re tied up in Excel, the more time you have to be productive. “Automating” in Excel is complicated and still a manual process to refresh the data each time you need it. For this reason, Excel is also rarely up-to-date, so not only are you spending time manipulating cells, your data is old.

The best solution for this time sink is to invest in truly automated software that will pull and process your data for you, but in the meantime, see how you can use Excel less. For example, you may not need to track every activity such as Emails Sent. Do an audit on what you really need to be tracking. Whittle down your need for Excel and you’ll see your free time increase.

2. Don’t go overboard with training new hires.

How to Train Your Dragon is a fun time. How to train your new staffing rep isn’t. A lot of time goes into getting this, and with some staffing agencies seeing a decent amount of turnover, this quickly adds up. But perhaps walking them through all the nuances of your organization is being counterproductive.

An in-depth MIT Sloan School analysis showed that getting new hires up to speed fast ultimately was more about establishing good vertical (manager/employee) and horizontal (co-worker) relationships quickly, instead of getting them as much data as possible.

So a better strategy might be to give them unrestricted access to the company’s past and present data, but to focus more on making sure they are comfortable enough to ask questions to you and to their co-workers when they need it. Spend your time working on the relationship aspect and you’ll save time by not holding their hand and by developing a veteran worker quicker.

3. It’s not bad to pick the low hanging fruit.

A lot of time is wasted trying to stick square pegs in round holes in staffing. You will see time-to-fill grow longer because reps are working clients inefficiently or working inefficient clients. Job Orders languish for weeks or months. Close dates get pushed out. Before you know it, the quarter is over and numbers are low.

A big reason for this is that reps often chase the biggest deals because landing a whale is not only lucrative, but also narcotic. However, win rates for bigger deals are lower than smaller deals, and they take up much more time. A good manager needs to be aware of the intersection between win rate, revenue, and time-to-fill to gauge whether there is more money to be made by quickly picking off the low hanging fruit.

The name of the game is efficiency. If client X’s job orders are less valuable but client Y’s, but you can rapidly close more of them, it’s probably worth it (but do the math). How often is your company chasing big deals that never land? It can be a huge waste of resources and is something to watch out for.

Automated analytics can save your staffing team hours every single day. Find out more by trying a free trial of InsightSquared.

 

Samuel Clemens
Sam is founder and chief of product & marketing for InsightSquared. Previously, Sam was VP Product at HubSpot, VP Product at BzzAgent, and on the founding team at Elance.com. His background also includes venture capital with Greylock Partners, the Algorithms group at Amazon.com, and management consulting with Booz Allen Hamilton. Sam has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a B.S. in Applied Math from Yale. In his off time he dives shipwrecks in the New England area.
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