It may feel like the whole world is talking data-driven decision making and analytics. But awareness around the benefits for so many industries keeps growing. This was certainly the case when we attended the UK Recruiter Directors’ event earlier this month, which looked at the subject of growth within the recruitment sector and how to take the leap into the next stage of development for a consultancy.
As one of the main sponsors of the event, we were keen to hear from the two key speakers, Toby Babb, Founder and Managing Director of Harrington Starr, and Mark Znowski, Founder of Staffgroup, to get the inside track on their growth stories. Toby Babb described how he transformed his business from a permanent only recruitment company to a firm which manages both contract and interim recruitment – opening up new markets and revenue streams. With over 20 years’ experience building Staffgroup, Mark Znowski shared how he successfully sold his company to the Cordant Group, the second largest, privately owned recruitment company in the UK. Both speakers identified the ability to make insightful decisions based on their business’ financial data – combined with data-driven analysis around the growth and development of strong people – were undoubtedly key factors in the growth of their respective organisations. The key to these insightful decisions was access to up-to-date, meaningful data – and the ability to interrogate through the latest data how the business was performing and where resource and effort needed to be focused.
So how can other UK recruiters learn from these successful operators? What are the future challenges and barriers to growth? Most would argue that the challenges remain the same; how to do more for less in an increasingly competitive market, and ideally more profitably. The smart operators are moving to data-driven decision making, recognising that business intelligence (BI) and analytics tools are critical in delivering greater visibility across their whole business. What does this deliver? Feedback from the sessions highlighted how an investment in the right technologies such as effective dashboards help recruiters assess the effectiveness of their processes and having an integrated view of their data, combined with ease of access to this real-time, is taking the guess work out of core recruitment operations. But what are the real business gains from this? Big Data is making it far easier to plan ahead and prioritise. By gaining a single reporting view (the much reported “one version of the truth” concept), recruiters are able to take a more analytical and informed approach to appointing the right staff, confident that the data is accurate and hence unlocking the value back to the organisations, subsequently delivering increases in revenues. Technology is also proving to be an invaluable tool for staff benchmarking. Using data to analyse and compare the productivity and success of consultants across branches, sectors or regions, for example, enable firms to set a gold standard for consultants to aspire to.
Thankfully, the ability to pull data from various sources across the business and understand it better – recruitment analytics – is enabling professionals to have more power over their operations than ever before.
These are the key take-outs from the session we highlighted:
Recruiters need to ensure their data systems have the flexibility to connect and sync data from a wide range of information sources e.g. social media, Google analytics, finance systems etc.
These data systems also need to operate in real-time so that all data, across all sources, is live and up to date in order to be able to make decisions based on the latest available information.
They also need access to tools which will aid with the interpretation of that data, to be able to identify trends and gaps.
The opportunity for growth undoubtedly lies in using low-cost yet effective business intelligence tools, such as dashboards to gain the holy grail of the connected recruitment consultancy. For smart recruiters investing now in the tools to deliver business insight, there are certainly exciting opportunities to get one step ahead of what is a highly competitive market.