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Software Best Practices

At times you may wonder what could be done to capitalize on the investment that was made in staffing and recruiting software for your organization. When you installed your software, something was supposed to happen that didn’t. You thought that it would change the way business was managed and yield all sorts of efficiencies and additional revenue to the company. What went wrong – or did it?

Sometimes it’s best to look at what areas may have improved. The ideal way to analyze this is to compare how the process was handled before vs. now. You may find some new golden gems within the mix of processes that make up the day-to-day activities within the company. Just because you did not see a dramatic increase in your bottom-line does not necessarily mean that your software is not successful. You could be keeping customers that you may have otherwise lost. Business may be strong compared to what it “may have been” had you not implemented the solution. Plus, you may be building relationships with prospects and customers that will eventually produce high returns.

Perhaps your software has some strong features that you are not using. Do you have an ongoing software training program? Initial training generally covers the basics. Advanced training covers more but should be performed after users are familiar with the system. You may have new people that are attempting to teach themselves how to use the software. Formal training by someone that knows the application well is always the best option if you want users to benefit.

Once you have analyzed what you are doing with your software and what you would like to do, get some help from your software vendor so that you can reach the next level of use. Following are some ideas on how other staffing and recruiting organizations are using software tools which model either “best practices” use or a feature they simply would not want to be without that has helped them in their business.

Drew Golin, Partner, at Intersolutions, Inc. in Washington, D.C. had this to say when asked about a software feature that has helped him with his business. “We use a feature in our software called the “M” Search and scheduler that is amazing. We have a line in our business that does shift work. We were doing around 1200 hours per week and had a difficult time managing 7 days a week at 3 shifts per day. 60 to 70% of our clients need someone tomorrow or tonight. We would randomly call individuals checking for availability to work. This was such a tedious and time-consuming process that we almost eliminated the line. Then we started using the “M” Search and scheduler. First, we would check availability of individuals and document it on the scheduling and preferences calendar. This gave us a “hot list” of who was available and when. We were then able to search and call a targeted list of “ready to go” people that said they were available to work a specific day and shift. The speed is incredible. We can fill shifts within seconds! In addition, there is no double booking as the feature aids with that also. We were able to double our hours to 2400 hours per week and have plans to grow to 3000 hours.”

Cory Lynch, President, Team Personnel Services, Inc., in St. Paul, MN remarks, “Since we implemented our staffing software years ago, we have become a completely software driven staffing company. We are able to view our employee’s history of assignments, payroll records, test scores, and attach any resumes or other pertinent information to their file at a moment’s notice. When you have a database of over 45,000 applicants, this is essential for our staffing specialists to remain productive at what they do best, filling jobs.”

Lynch further states, “Every morning, the first thing our sales force does is check all of our new starts for the day and sort them by client name. We can quickly check the notes documented by our staffing specialists and acknowledge or follow-up on the good or bad news of the morning. If something did not go as well as we would have liked, we can alert the customer that we are aware of the issue and inform them of how we are going to solve or avoid the issue from occurring again.”

“We have a web-portal feature that allows our clients and employees to view their records twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. We can assign a username and password and they can view items such as their invoice history, assigned employee records, payroll history and open orders with our service,” explains Lynch.

Lynch also shares, “We recently began utilizing a bulk email feature that allows us to keep our name and message in front of hundreds of clients at the click of a button. With it getting tougher and tougher to get in front of new prospects, this feature has helped open the door a little bit easier.”

Brenda A. Carbone, President and CEO of Strategic Staffing Inc., in San Clemente, CA comments, “Our software has changed the way we do business. In particular, the bulk email function has proven to be a tool we cannot live without. Aside from the obvious benefits: Instantaneous client updates, Immediate notification to applicants of open job orders, sending newsletters, etc.; the bulk email function has provided us a way to obtain invaluable input from our clients and applicants.”

Carbone details, “When designing any type of marketing or promotional program, Strategic Staffing has always relied on the recommendations of the people we service. Thanks to the bulk email tool, we are able to get real time feedback on the most important questions: what do our clients and applicants need, will they be able to take advantage of programs we are considering implementing, do they see it as an added value, etc.”

More specifically, we utilized our software’s capabilities when doing a recent revamping of our website. Rather than gearing it towards what WE thought the users wanted, we were able to develop the website with the content THEY ACTUALLY WANTED. With a click of a send button, we received feedback from hundreds of contacts in our database. This allowed us to save a significant amount of time and money while also giving the people who matter most, our clients and applicants, what they wanted,” advises Carbone.

Lexi Dixon, Human Resources Coordinator/CSP, of UniQue Personnel Consultants, in Springfield, IL, states, “Our software allows us to have a strong marketing program in which we can provide excellent service to our existing clients and effectively gain new clients. We are able to document every marketing call and plan ahead for future calls. We keep track of the date of each call and what type of call it was. After each contact with a client we enter a follow up date and call reason, which shows up on a daily planner. We keep detailed notes on each client interaction, which allows us to see the history we have had with each of our clients and continually plan for the future. We are able to acknowledge client birthdays and special occasions. Our software allows us to have a comprehensive marketing strategy while establishing long term business relationships with our clients.”

Gary Johnson, Executive Vice President, Bear Staffing Services, Inc., Pennsauken, NJ talks about the power of doing payroll in-house. Johnson maintains, “The ability to do payroll in house is key for us. If a client misses a timecard or forgets to turn one in, having the ability to cut a paycheck right out of the system, is a way to stand by our claim that we are more flexible and accommodating than our competitors. Our clients know that if we have an unhappy employee working at their facility, that person will not be as productive. Our software helps us keep our employees happy and productive.”

Sandrine M. Steaffens, Assistant Controller/IT, at TLC Transportation Logistics, LLC., points out, “At TLC, the software we use enables us to make the right dispatch decisions for both our clients and our drivers, and supports our ‘best practice’ of meeting client-specific criteria every time.”

The bottom-line is that if you feel that you are not getting the most out of your software investment, review the aspects of the software that you are using and assess for effectiveness. It is important to be open to changing any processes that can be improved. Next, explore additional ways that you can use your software for marketing, sales, staffing and recruiting operations and back office (full CRM). It is important to create a processes document for your users so that everyone is clear on how the software should be used. Consistent use across users is as critical as capturing your processes in an automated fashion. In order to create a positive experience for your users, make sure everyone is trained to use the software and clear on internal software guidelines. Provide an opportunity for users to participate in discussions on how the software may be used to help them with their day to day activities. Through all of this, keep in mind that the primary reason we all use software is to acquire new customers and to improve service to our existing customers. Software aids in developing long-term relationships with our clients. What we can offer our clients is what makes us as a corporation unique. In today’s business environment, software tools are what make this all possible.

This article made an appearance in the October 2008 issue of staffdigest Magazine. www.staffdigest.com

Terri Roeslmeier is President of Automated Business Designs, Inc., software developer of Ultra-Staff software for the staffing and direct hire industry. Ultra-Staff is a staffing software business solution with components for front office, back office and the web. Terri’s email address is TAR@abd.net or for more information on Ultra-Staff go to www.abd.net

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