Lauren Jones has been a leader, influencer, and innovator in the staffing industry for just over 22 years. Lauren's love and obsession for technology has helped shaped her career and provided a stellar reputation as a tech stack expert, industry trail blazer and business operations guru. She talks about:
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Jan Jedlinski: All right, I'll do a quick intro. So thank you. Thanks so much, Lauren. It's a real pressure pleasure to have you here today. We've been in touch for a while back and forth on different occasions. And you also joined through World Staffing Summit early this year. So we are very happy to have you back and host a session.
So for a quick intro Lauren is in staffing industry experts and is currently also consulting specifically around digital transformation for staffing companies. So she's really well known already in the industry for her expertise. So I'm really excited specific people the session today, as I think it's super important and critical for every staffing and recruiting company out there to think about digital transformation and how the next couple of years in staffing will look like. So Lauren will give you all her insights. And, uh, yeah. I'll be back later on with a little bit of a you know, insight around Candidately, which is our new product.
We call it the digital storefront for staffing and recruiting companies. So I'll do a quick presentation afterwards. But for now I will hand over to Lauren to host the session and then I'll be back later on. Thank you so much, everybody for joining. And again, if you have questions, feel free to put them into the chat.
Lauren B. Jones: Yes. Thank you so much, Jan. I'm so excited to be here. I'm so grateful to be here. I loved the World Staffing Summit. I could not believe how much activity, how much excitement you were able to draw in that event. And so just building on top of that hat and I just feel so grateful that that you've had me back to talk about a topic that I feel like I talk about almost every day.
Probably not with this much structure around it. But as a consultant, these are conversations that I'm having every day. And I want you to think about, so I've tried to narrow it down because I think that this could be an overwhelming top overwhelming topic. If you look at HR tech investment, we're going to get to that.
I mean, it's grown, so, so. In, in such a large way that it could feel like we're swimming and technology and making your way through that. So let's narrow it down to five critical considerations to a successful transformation. We're going to talk a lot about change management and, and how you can gracefully make your way through it.
So who the heck am I? Who do I think I am. Why do I think I'm qualified to support you? I've got 23 years in the staffing and recruiting industry in almost every role. I mean, I started as a temp fresh out of school. So I feel like I have this really unique viewpoint that considers everybody in the process.
I've carried a bag. I've been a sales person I've carried I've led a sales team. I've led a recruiting team, have led call centers. I've led operations. I I've even, led, uh, back office operations, if you can believe it for those that know me back office, isn't always my favorite. I've been on site VMS, MSP.
So I feel like I've done everything and have a real. Really, really cool viewpoint on technology, how I think it should be consumed. I'm a creative, you know, I was a musician, so I feel like I look at it really differently. I have almost 10 years dedicated to building HR tech stacks, and helping organizations with change management and adoption.
And was part of the impact just to me opening my firm as I started having really, really strong opinions. I know for those of you that know me really, really strong opinions about the way we were leveraging technology in good and bad ways. Some of the pitfalls that we can uncover as we're going through a transformation.
And I have a special affinity to the small and mid-sized firm that I feel like are underrepresented, sometimes priced out of innovation. And part of opening, my firm was to help those organizations make really intelligent decisions. And, and my firm helps in three areas.
The first is expeditious and informed acquisition of technology. So meaning. I'm going to help you, wave the waters of this giant HR tech ocean and make expeditious buying decisions. We, in the staffing industry, haven't been known for our expeditious or expeditious process, and I want to help move that along because we have a lot of change coming. It's only going to get broader.
It's only going to get bigger and we have to have a really good process for, for doing this as we move forward, I'm completely and totally obsessed with technology. I think in 2020, I did almost a demo a day. And I don't just look at a technology once I will go back and revisit any upgrades enhancements, do integrations.
I'm obsessed with figuring out how it all works. Together the best, which technologies compliment one another, which ones have meaningful integrations outside of core product products. And I am just obsessed and fascinated by the whole ecosystem. I am a change advocate. I love helping organizations through change and helping them realize the ROI because there's something really valuable in all of it.
And we're, we're working towards we're. We're always working towards this beautiful utopia and, and partnering with organizations helping them become their own change advocate, changing the attitude about change. And the resistance that inherently comes with talking about change. It is one of my passions.
As it is goats. Uh, so you know, the goat leadership is a double entendre you know, greatest of all time. And of course I live on a farm, many of you know, who follow me on LinkedIn. I have a couple of hashtags that are popular, farm and follow being one of them. And we have 20, 20 years. So I look out onto the farm.
As I'm speaking to you have 20, some odd goats, 20 some odd sheep, lots of chickens, ducks, geese, you know, all the, all the normal stuff a technologist should have. I'm a voracious reader con trying to continue to improve myself and those around me. And if you haven't followed my woman crush Wednesday, you know, I am a fierce advocate for women in our industry and partnering with them to rise one another.
And I would be remiss if I didn't talk about my 20, 21 commitment. And that was, one deliberate act a day to rise another woman up. So ladies, I got your back. All right.
So understanding disruption, I look at it in two different silos. We have organizational disruption and we have disrupting through innovation.
So, you know, disruptive change occurs because innovation in an industry change in a company structure or transformation of business models. You know, I've been a part of organizational change and disruption that could be really, really beneficial. And then others that where it's just really a distraction and these fundamental changes disrupt the way that the organization traditionally conducts business.
And why is it such a big deal? You know, our digital age that we are in has accelerated to the degree where you have HR, the HR tech industry, that's gone from, you know, a little over a billion to $3 billion to now almost $5 billion in investment in 2020. And so. This acceleration that we're feeling this innovation and disruption will be an ongoing discussion.
And we're going to talk a little bit more about that later, but this conversation isn't going away and it's not slowing down. And as a matter of fact, there are more HR tech or, uh, apps, that are coming to the marketplace in new and really cool ways. And so it's, how do you make sense of all of that?
And I see this a lot when I'm talking to this is a visual from customers that I talked to are just overwhelmed by the amount of technology that is there and really understanding throughout this conversation. I would love it if you put questions in the chats, because I want them to be top of mind as I'm talking, I won't be able to see them, but they'll be, they'll be queued up for me at the end of this, because I want to leave plenty of room for discussion yesterday, I did a webinar and we ended up with like 30, some odd unanswered questions.
And so I just want to make sure that we leave enough room for us to have this discussion in regards to disrupting and disruption and offer the opportunity to give you some free advice while I'm here. So there'll be plenty of time for conversation as I move my way through this, but. Again, go in, in this HR tech industry where we see this massive acceleration, this really broadening marketplace, you have consumers who are asking for more end users who want a better experience brand, brand, brand, brand, brand.
And so how do you honor your agency? How do you honor your culture? How do you do all of those things and innovate all at the same time? It's like, you know, patting your tummy in your head. And it feels like something that's really overwhelming. And again, I'll call out the small and midsize firms. You know what, I didn't know when I opened my, my organization was that that not everyone could afford a Chief Digital Transformation officer, but everybody needed a fractional one.
And that's where consultants like myself and, and, and, and Maurice Fuller. And, and some of the other resources that are out there for you can, can help us is, is guide you through that. Organizational disruption, you know, this, the stats are, are, are against you here. According to Forbes, 70% of businesses will fail at change change, but one of the cool things coming out of the pandemic, and I say that very loosely, because I know, you know, we had a lot of zoom, fatigue and teams, fatigue and a global pandemic.
But I do think that there were some valuable lessons learned as it pertains to organizational disruption and some of the things that we might be able to leverage and carry forward. The first one. We were able to buy an implement so quickly because we had to, and in order to do our business and continue to keep our doors, you know, our proverbial online doors open, we had to change and we had to change quickly.
And this showed me that we have the capacity. We have the capability to change, to acquire technology and change really quickly. And so my desire and my hope and everything that I, I work, you know, my strategies around is carrying that momentum and that strategic mindset forward. Because now we know we can do it.
So how do we take what we did in 2020 outside of, you know, sleepless nights and working too many days a week to make it happen? How do we balance that out? Work more expeditiously, no more year long RFP processes, no more steering committees and guidance committees to the nth degree. How do we learn from what 2020 taught us and that's that, you know, and maybe not every meeting requires a in-person face-to-face, we can do this digitally and we can adopt and adapt and over overcome and implement really, really quickly and expeditiously.
So, you know, I think that. While businesses you know, the statistics are against us. I think that there are some valuable lessons out of 2020 that we can carry forward to put a dent in that number. Now I want to change, I want to talk about some organizations and you may recognize some of these that have sort of failed miserably at change.
Obviously the most, the biggest one they're being blockbuster. And for those of you who watched blockbuster on Netflix, if that wasn't irony I think, yeah. Blockbuster in particular was process efficiency at the expense of innovation I'm looking to do more and more and more and more and more at the expense when given the opportunity to buy Netflix of innovation.
There are some other brands here at Kodak always makes me giggle a little bit because my dad worked for Fujita. Would you film on the medical side and Kodak dominated the industry for decades. But you know, they've sort of slipped away slipped out of relevance by failing to transform its business.
They made billions selling analog cameras and film cartridges. But when smartphones transformed the way that people were sharing photos through social media versus prints They stubbornly stuck to that, like out dated strategy of pushing for print and as a result they, uh, filed for bankruptcy in 2012.
And so, you know, blockbuster and Kodak failed to, to. To really look at look internally and externally at Convert Kit is another good one and they spent a half, a million dollars on a rebrand, half, a million dollars on a rebrand not taking into consideration. The new name that they were working towards Siva, uh, was actually a wholly concept for the Sikh religion.
And so doing no outward, taking no outward consideration, only focused on one thing. And there's a scene throughout most of these and it's this myopic focus as opposed to taking many things into consideration Borders always kind of gets my giggle a little bit because I, as a consumer, I. window shop at Borders, but I would buy my books on Amazon and you know, Borders you know, you've heard keep your friends close, but your enemies closer and Borders declared bankruptcy and liquidated all of their assets because people were buying their books on Amazon and Borders just failed to keep their business model agile, to create more of a digital experience.
And they did not do a detailed planning or risk assessment to these potential changes. And these are just a few examples of organizations. And I think that the one lesson, oh gosh, the United States postal service is not even up there. I mean, they struggle to change all the time and I feel like the us postal service has their issue is communication.
They're, they're just not telling their end users what's happening or their consumers what's happening. And that's often when you find this resistance to change or to adopt is because I don't know what's happening. I fear what's happening cause you're not telling me what's happening. And so these brands that have, have failed to change at, at great cost.
And so, you know, what should we be considering as we look to disrupt, you know, and innovate without disruption of our business. So I want to give you five considerations, then there's a bonus consideration in there for you as well. About what you should be looking at as it pertains to. Disrupting without disruption.
So what is your tolerance? I was just having a conversation with a, I was doing a discovery call tonight and I said, okay, let's talk about what the pain threshold is. How much change have you already been through? Are we going to have a little bit of fatigue? I always believed that. Change management should lead with empathy, understanding having some semblance of, of, of understanding and empathy towards the end user and what they may be feeling as we're going through this change.
So understanding tolerance and timing, what have they already consumed? What does the rest of the year look like? What is your culture? If you don't traditionally have a culture of change, change, change, and this is a complete disruption to your culture. We need to take that into consideration and we probably need to do a couple of coats of paint, of preparing people for the change and helping them understand and what is coming.
So it's not like a tidal wave that slaps them in the side of the face. When it, when it does that's happen. So taking your culture into consideration taking it, your roadmap and alignment into consideration, I'm oftentimes called in. When they've purchased a technology and it's completely misaligned with where we're going in the roadmap, and then it does become a disruption and a distraction.
And we, we end up having to either move it down the way to where it makes more sense in the roadmap or in the strategic process. Sometimes we have to table it all together. And you end up with a wasted investment on realized ROI because, you know, we bought something as a band-aid lead time to create buy-in.
So again, that whole culture and change fatigue, how much time is required. My best practice recommendation is a minimum of four weeks of evangelizing a message. This is what's coming. This is the why this is what's in it for you. And helping people really understand what the changes and you'll notice that these are all very.
Uh, behavioral sort of the, the, the soft skill types of things, as opposed to just talking about technology, like I'm a technologist, I want to get into the technology, but there were so many things to consider before we do that. And then scope is the other one. And this is where I have a, I had a great project this year with a very cool organization.
That's bringing. A brand new tool. And we looked at the scope of the project and we determined that we didn't need to have this giant technical scope, that there were a few things operationally we could do to bridge the gaps. So we didn't have this massive mammoth, scope of a project that was, you know, expensive, probably unnecessarily.
And we could we could get the same result if we did it in a more deliberate way. So looking at the totality or the entirety of the scope of the project and the change is, is
Consideration number one, tolerance and time.
Consideration number two is your resources, who is the on your team? You know, ideally and, uh, we, we have just a little, a little preview we've, I'm working with a couple partners on an ebook.
That's a representation of what I think is kind of like the ideal team. You should have a diverse team. And what I mean obviously, I mean, diversity, equity and inclusion, but I also mean operations, marketing you know, I, I'm a big fan of Balance. So we, we don't want to take everything out to Jerry, but we do want to have enough members on the team where you have representation, you, your recruiters want to feel represented.
Your salespeople want to be represented and, and just dependent upon the scope of the project will help us hone in on the type of team that you should create. We have to take into consideration your team resources. So your people technologies that we may be implementing and, or moving around, we have to take budgets.
And we have to take the brand, everything into consideration, the interdepartmental relationships and in sort of public relations, you know, internally and externally, can't be, I can't, I can't overstate this. And that's that, you know, perception is reality both internally and externally. And if you are implementing technology with, this is what we're doing, and this is how we're going to do it it will be met with resistance.
Period end and so resources and getting, you know, some early evangelists, some early subject matter experts, those that, you know, are going to play a vital role in getting other people excited. Are it's it it's, it's a foundational part of great change management is having the right evangelists at the table.
So that, uh, we can, we can create this innovative disruption without a attitude. Disruption. If, if that's, that's probably a good way to put it.
Consideration number three, and this is a meaty topic, and this is one where I probably spend the most amount of my consulting time. You know, I do a lot in change management. The tech stack, I feel like is, is almost the easy part. You know, acquiring technology, putting it together, collaborating with partners that that's, that's the easier part than your buying a technology to really fix a problem or make something better and processes play an equally important role.
When the organization is facing, you know, technology, disruption, you know, where you want to do some disrupting and the type of business processes in place and looking at the entirety of it. And there are some good examples of that, where I had a customer, that I was working with last year, where they bought multiple contract management tools.
And for whatever reason they, they bought it to fix the problem. And, and then as I came in and was kind of looking at everything, we realized there's some unused technology here. And what had happened is they're looking to buy a technology that it's going to fix the problem. We have to look at the whole process and determine.
Is the contract either the way that your, your sales are coming in, the way that you're navigating the app, the operation of, you know, converting a lead to a client to then an opportunity are, is that process clean? Is it broken? Does it have too many fingers in it? Is it touching too many humans?
Is it not touching enough humans? Is it going to a black hole? Do we have some, you know, I see this a lot tool, where we have, we have an email address for that, you know, where all of these inquiries go to, to kind of die. And so we have to look at the total process formal or informal and determine is this the right process?
Is it properly documented and defined? Do we know where everything is going? And I look at process kind of like a river, so. For those of you that are just kind of getting to know me. So my husband is an adrenaline junkie. I either the race cars and I will, I am just a willing, or sometimes unwilling participant in all of his shenanigans.
One of the sports that he wanted to partake in was whitewater kayaking. And I'm, I am a water baby, but like, I'd rather just be on a sea kayak, just chilling out. But my husband has to add, uh, adrenaline to all things, sports and things that we do. So whitewater kayaking. And but what I learned in whitewater kayaking was that your boat would go where you were looking.
And oftentimes I might've been looking at a big, giant rock that I didn't want to hit. And if I was looking at it. Certainly was going to hit it. And so I very quickly learned that where I wanted to go, my boat was going to take me because you know, you're strapped, you're strapped in and, and you know, if you, if you've got a roll, you gotta be ready to roll.
And Uh, and all of that to say, I look at processes like that river flow, right? We're, we're looking at every point of the candidate or customer experience or order, or the river. We wanna, we wanna have them come out to the Eddy, smooth it out and then go down the river. So what does that process look like?
And at every point, are we, are we editing out and then going back into the swim lane, as, as it, people will call it and making sure that those formal processes and informal process are commercialized internally, right? So I'm going through another exercise with the customer. And we have all of these user groups that we're engaging to make sure that they feel heard that we're solving problems at the field level.
And that's why that representation not only in your teams, but in your process is so wildly important. So that marketing coat of paint internally and externally through the teams, through the process, you have this opportunity to create this like drip campaign and get real, get people really excited about what's coming.
So evaluating the whole process is key to end users, understanding the why, how, and what's that it for them and the Wissam the whiskey, whatever you want on the Watson. It, for me, what's in it for you is wildly important to that. The attitude of change and, and then getting the adoption that you want.
Consideration number four, metrics and rewards. And this is one where I do a lot of work with organizations because I believe, and I really believe in my bones that every technology, you know, they, they have their they have their, their, their differentiator, their, their impact their organizational impact that they're going to make.
And so, defining how you're going to measure that is the only way you're going to get all of that meeting. ROI goodness out of that vendor. And I would encourage just like VMs and MSPs have report cards for the vendors that they manage. We want a report card for every vendor that we're partnered with.
We want to understand how they're going to what does, what metric represents the ROI or return on the investment that will be coming back to you? And if they can't define that, you need to go back to your vendor and ask them how they're going to be. And then, with metrics going back to your people and saying, All right.
People, this is the change that's coming. Here's how we're going to track it. Here's how we're going to track you. Here's how frequently we're tracking it. And if you're really good, we're going to incentivize this behavior. Gamifying anything is a great way to get people invested. Throwing out just little spiffs here and there.
And I'm working with a customer now who's done such an amazing job of creating just these little, these, these little milestone rewards for their people. Whether it's the number of logins into a tool the, if it's. We just implemented source breaker. And we're looking obviously at fulfillment and time to fill and number of logins, number of searches, you must, must, must look at every vendor and have a financial report card on them.
Are we breaking even with that vendor? And if we aren't, we need to, you know, you should be doing your, your quarterly business reviews and we need to have a plan of action, you know, put your vendor you're on a pit. Oh my goodness. We would do that for somebody working with, with us, that wasn't giving us the results that we had agreed to.
And in oftentimes you're spending tens of thousands. If not hundreds of thousands of dollars on these tools, we must have a report card uh, in partnership and any good technology vendor is going to be like, I am, I am here for it. So don't be afraid to ask.
Oh man, with a plan I have. So, let's see. Plan your work, work, your plan, proper planning, prevents poor performance. Thank you, dad. I cannot, again, understate enough. Having a well articulated and well, well thought out and well communicated plan, and I've actually, I'm going to run you through a couple of templates that I use that, uh, are, are easy, simple.
Fun. But have give you a lot of bang for your buck because it's again, that fear comes in change management or disruption. When people are being disrupted, their work is going to be disrupted. They may not be able to do things like they've always done them. And, and that can come with a significant amount of resistance.
And so if you're telling them when it's coming, how it's coming, why it's coming, helping them see that end picture, articulate what their part is going to be, how they're going to understand, and then how you're going to track, track it and improve upon it. You're going to get a much better and results. So I'm going to walk you through.
A couple of templates that I leveraged just at a very, very high level. You'll notice I use things that are really colorful. And then, the other tip that I have for you, I will use things that are really colorful because there's a science behind how people respond to the colors that you use.
And there is a science behind the language that you use. So if you are, if you have a sweeping change coming and you have the ability to use some older language, so maybe it's, you're adding some new statuses or, uh, you might be modifying some statuses leaning a little bit on some of your more traditional language will is, is fundamental to creating some adoption.
For example, we're going to change the, uh, lead. Entity in, in Bullhorn or excuse me, the opportunity entity to Bullhorn, to sales opportunit. But we're keeping the word opportunity because people recognize it. They know it, or just going to add sales opportunity seems like a small nuance, but those things are really important.
And people feeling like they're just a little bit more familiar and it doesn't overwhelm them. The change doesn't swallow them. And that's what we want to do or we don't want to do. So this is a colorful little sample plan that I will leverage for an eight week sort of communication cadence. The first four weeks are I will leverage for different avenues of communication.
So for example, week one could be your intranet week. Two could be. Email week three could be a text to everyone. And then week four could be a live meeting or vice versa, just depending upon the culture, depending upon where people go and how they consume it, where they consume it. We can move these cards around.
And it's always great to take each one of these and say, this is what we're going to do with it. It's, it's a, it's just a communication plan. This next month we are now executing. And week five, this is the first type of training that's happening in week six. This is the second. And I always like a couple coats of trainings so that, you know, your stragglers from week one might be able to do we to, to make, be able to go out with one.
You can do some crossover. And then we could seven and eight. This is what we call hypercare, where making video content available, reiterating where everything is, giving them a support team or resources that they can call, whether it's with the vendor or internally, and then week eight, we're surveying.
Tell us how it went. I want to know what did you think? We're always, always, always trying to get our consumer feedback because remember our end users, our consumers, and the way that we. Take in information today is in the small bite size pieces. I'm reading a book now where our attention span is now three to five seconds where I was reading a book a few years ago, where it was seven to 10 seconds.
It keeps getting smaller and smaller and smaller. So this is why you'll see some brevity in these plans. And it's, so it's small dices of information to get people engaged, excited, and give them resources, whether it's in video you know, however they're learning. If they're tactile auditory, Or the kinesthetic learner, however, the visual that we're giving them, all of those avenues use to support their learning behavior and how they learn in, in a really well, and again, for the small and midsize firms, this may seem overwhelming.
It's not, we can make it really, really easy. You know, tools like Vimeo, where you can cut little snippets of video have made it so easy for you to create your own guided video content for your end users. So it doesn't need to, there's so much technology out there to support this effort to make it easy for you and your end users.
And then you'll notice the I have these cars that are color-coded coded throughout the way. So, as week one, which we was just announcing the change, we I'll put a little sample text in there that tells them about what's coming, who's coming. Why it's coming, have them read a little bit about it, why this change is happening.
And then some executive sponsorship that third little square there is always reiterating my example. Sponsorship. I want my I want my end-users or I want my consumers to know that this is answered by the president of the company or the CEO of the company. And that's the fundamental mental part of getting people's attention.
Understanding the change is coming from the top down, getting that engagement and buy-in that you want that this isn't something that, you know, a one-off department is, is coming in and changing that there's, that this is a bigger thing that that's uniting the organization and has a little branding behind it.
You know, we are in the day and age where branding is everything okay. Technology driven as I, as I am. I'm also wild. We aware of this little marketing component and opportunity that we have throughout the process to, to make it be something that's really cool and ends up. Really cool. And yeah, here's the coolest thing if you do it right.
If you have the right people on your committee and I I have a great customer, a great example of this with a customer right now. As we were going through the process that we went through we pulled out a couple of things that were very specific to them that we wanted to continue to honor because man, we could trademark those as differentiators.
They could be something that helped your brand really stand out. So don't look at that. Defining the process, understanding the process, going through it as this arduous process. We want to go through that. Not only to make it more efficient and add automation where we can, but where do we have branding opportunities?
Where do we have the opportunity to go? Oh my goodness. You do an interview like that. I've never heard of that. I've been in staffing for 23 years and I've never heard that. Let's trademark that let's take that as an opportunity. Let's create it as a new status in bullhorn let's make something of it.
And then not only do you have it as a differentiator, you now have it as a hard internal process within your organization. And it just continues that cycle of your people evangelizing your differentiators. And so, you know, digital transformation and disruption can have some really cool side effects for your brand in a really positive way.
And you know, through these pilots, there were three of these change groups or through these change efforts, you can create your earlier, early testimonials. You know, if you have, if you I love big bang theory where, you know, we roll the whole thing out to the organization in one fell swoop. I probably am more inclined to do very systematic. Roll-outs just because, you know, errors happen, stuff happens, conversion issues happen. And to, to have those things not have exclamation points, how have those mistakes be so profound? As always, you know, that's always helpful. But the, those early groups that are the early adopters or early tests you're early, you know, you're a user acceptance test group or what have you, those are your early testimonials.
Get those testimonials out in these weekly communications so people can get excited. Oh, Sarah likes that. That's amazing. She didn't, she was not on board for this change coming. And so you just really have an opportunity throughout this entire process that had given you to find some of those differentiators to find ways to evangelize your, your brand internally and externally and get people saying that it's really important that everybody is talking about your differentiators in the same and or similar way.
Okay. Bonus consideration. So, uh, have Follow-ups ,Roadmaps, QBR, and I, I say this kind of ingests because it's not necessarily a consideration to, you know, whether or not to disrupt. It is really a part of the the transformation process. If you are not having a quarterly business reviews with your vendor partners, you must because it's going to help you understand what's on their roadmap.
What if you today are looking for a potential enhancement that they have coming tomorrow. And that is oftentimes where I see a lot of overbuying happen is where they want this functionality. They think they must have it today. They go out and they buy it, and then they find out that their vendor partner, it was on their roadmap all along and it's coming in 90 days.
And, and so those quarterly business reviews as you're going through this transformation asking that of your vendor partners is such a brilliant way to stay on track with where they're going, where you're going, understanding if those two things are aligned and understanding what's the, what is the, what is the health check going to be?
So if you're not asking your vendors or your technology partners right up front is what is your what is your post-implementation support and follow up look like? How are you following up on me, up with me? How do you show me in a monthly meeting or weekly meeting that, you know, your tool is working.
They need to be able to answer those questions, and then it becomes this. If you're following those five considerations that we have this rinse and repeat opportunity, we can put this in a box and to my vendor partner, my technology vendor partners, We have to get to a point where We're not showing up on day one of implementation going okay, Mr. Customer, what do you want? Right. They want what they saw in the demo. We need to make sure we've got technology in a box as much as possible. And then anything beyond a certain point is that professional services or configuration hours. But, uh, we can get to a point if we do it right where we can implement expeditiously, we can have the least amount of pain to your end users.
We can take their considerations. In, or we can take their concerns into consideration. One, uh, one piece of advice. I'll leave you with here as an additional, a bonus bonus consideration is a town hall. If you think you as particularly for the small and midsize firms they typically have really, really invested cultures, a really, really engaged workforce, just to asking the question of your end users of what's in your way today.
I mean, if you, if you could make more money what do you think would power that? Or what do you think is in your way of making more commission? And even though you might have something in your mind already, because you're an executive or you're a technologist or a CIO, or what have you, even though you may already have a solution in mind, simply asking the question of your potential end users and consumers is going to make them feel like they're involved in the process.
And so, you know, all the. I think one of one of the things I'm so passionate, what about as it pertains to technology and it's, it's on my site over and over again is maintaining the humanity of our industry. And that goes not just for how we leverage the technology, but how we, how we implement it, how we treat our people throughout the process.
It's just so wildly important component of all of it, to make sure that you get all of that valuable. I found myself saying this, I put it in a LinkedIn post last night because I just keep repeating myself. Now, some of you who know me a little bit now that my father, my brother, my husband, and my father-in-law all race cars, my husband and my brother build them build race cars.
And so I find myself, I'm not a sports person, but racing is a sport. So I find myself making race car analogies all the time, or, or car analogies all the time. So you wouldn't buy race card and not change the oil or use the best fuel consider training your hot rods, ongoing maintenance for peak driving performance.
So like I said, the rinse and repeat, this is something that's going to go and go and go, hopefully, and then you get it down to a science and your people get used to consuming all of that technology and it becomes more fun. Okay. So I want to talk a little bit, and I'm very mindful of time. I wanted to leave enough time for questions.
So go ahead. One of the questions I get all the time is, but how do I innovate and disrupt on a budget? And so there are tons of different, you can be involved.in on a budget beta. I have been known for being beta, Betty. I will bait at anything ask Broadbean I, I will bait at anything because I want to try, there are going to be some things that fail, some things that go really white, right.
And when you get it right, oh man, you could be one step ahead of your competition. You can have an integration that nobody else has. So do not be afraid of beta. Start up to start up. If you're a small firm, if you're a, a small. Go find another small farm, taking a risk on one another. We'll help you shape the technology.
We can help you do some really cool things together cause you're equally and mutually invested in one another. And I don't care how big or small you are. There's always one person in your organization. That's a total closet nerd and you need to tap them on the shoulder and and, and ask them to lead the technology effort or, Hey, do it.
I'm kind of curious about you know, Y woodpecker or whatever it is. I'm, I'm kinda curious about here, fish or sons or, or source breaker. I'm a little a little curious about candidately I'm going to say it, right? Jan. So you can create a small team within any size organization that is your little innovation fund and beta, is a great way to, uh, and, and doing.
Proof of concepts with, with other vendor partners had discounted prices. You've got to try it proof of concept betas startups, can, can help you create a little innovation team within your organization. And I'm going to say this innovation without technology there, I set a, set it out loud.
Technology is not always the answer. And that's, I, I say this kind of at the end of the end of this because I, I love technology and I do think that there is, there are somebody asked me the question yesterday. Do you think there are any areas within our industry that won't be that, that won't have technology?
And I said, I sure hope not. Because it's, we're just a really cool world right now. And so me as a technology lover and a technologist, I am saying technology is not always the answer. Sometimes you've got to look at the process or the why, why do we do that? Maybe we don't even need to do that at all.
Like job postings. Good Lord. Have mercy. Why are we posting a job when we have 1.5 million people in our database? Right? So those are the questions I want you to ask yourself. It's not necessarily a technology is not always the answer.
Resources for you to, innovate and inform yourself. You've got Rob man, our podcasts that you only experienced podcasts, which I'm very, very fortunate that Rob likes me enough to co-host with me, Maurice Fuller staffing, stack vantage, where you can go in and build a stack.
You've got staffing hub where you've got a ton of industry information, talent tech labs has their 9.0 ecosystem. Obviously I put my logo there. It'd be silly if I didn't. But there are so many resources. If you don't know what these are, this is just a handful of them. If you don't know of, when you can always reach out to me, which leads me to this slide.
This is how you find me. Lauren@leapconsultingsolutions.com my website, leapconsultingsolutions.com. There's a little contact me now. And then I am the leader on LinkedIn. So please reach out. I want to help. I know I can always add value. So find me, and thank you so much to Jan to, to, I want to give you a moment to talk about candidately see there.
I said it, I'm going to stop sharing here and then open it up to questions
Jan Jedlinski: It was really great. I'm looking forward for some questions from the audience feel free to put it into the chat or the Q/A
section. If you have any, and also feel free to reach out to Laura at any time she will be happy to help and assist.
I know she's been helping many, many great staffing firms already with their processes. So, uh, yeah, you're, you'll be in good hands. When you, when you work with Lauren,
Lauren B. Jones: I think I saw some people that I recognize. Okay. Don't be shy.
Who else? Okay. I saw. Oh, Becky from forge. I think she's in here.
All right. Yeah. What questions do you have for me?
Jan Jedlinski: That's actually, I see one question from Phillip Miller. He's asking, let me see. Would you would you say new technology adoption is best when the executives are driving or the users are the push?
Lauren B. Jones: I think it's a healthy combination, you know, you always run the risk with executives, you know, they need to work on the business and not in the business.
Right. So we just want to know that there's that executive sponsorship, I think, as long as there's that executive sponsorship, your, your leaders and users can carry that message forward. But I do think that I, I do think that you need, I always have like two quotes from the CEO about what this change means.
And I carry those quotes with me throughout the transformation is kind of my, my beacon of this is coming from the top down. So I don't necessarily think your executive has to be in the weeds, driving the change. But I do think that they need to be invested enough that they give you those tangible talking points demonstrating their investment.
Jan Jedlinski: Perfect. Yeah, I agree. And did you lauren,, do you think this is this is also true for like LA, like, would you see a difference on smaller tools or like when you see some, for example, smaller SaaS tools where maybe the recruiter can sign up themselves and maybe start using it and then drive sort of the adoption and ask the executives for sponsorship.
Do you see some difference in like tool sizes or use cases where there might be a difference between, you know, executives buying in and then going into the, the sort of recruiter or account manager size sites to drive it or.
Lauren B. Jones: So, I've got Tom to Haleigh here. I see him. And we were partners in trying to wrap our arms around some of that rogue recruiter buy and spend, right?
So, for those small midsize and enterprise firms that can very quickly snowball and get away from you. Right. So that's why I always say. Create an innovation team. Those are the people that are going to be in charge, evangelize that team, regardless of the size of your organization. You can have three people, one person she's going to be looking at technology, taking your, so she's your suggestion box, you know, whatever he or she I have one person responsible for that.
So that you, as you scale and grow, you can still keep your arms around that. Cause it can, it can be a really dangerous thing to overcome once you get in the enterprise space, when that spend is out of control. And you know, I've been in situations where organizations are rogue spending half, half a million dollars or more.
And so I always, you know, want to have your arms wrapped around it. You want to identify, who's going to do. Oh, so that, you know, you could scale it. Let's see.
Hi Becky. She said hi back Ruben. What is the must have software ATS, AI that every staffing firm must look at. So this is, this is, this is, this is one.
Okay. So we're looking for speed to market. I'm excited about candidate.ly, right? So anything, whether it's automation or, you know, on demand where we are connecting the consumer to the job in a faster way. And so whether it's AI. Whether it's on-demand, whether it's something like candidately where you can give that immediate feedback, it's the immediacy.
I don't necessarily think it's the name of the technology. I really think it's. What problem are you trying to solve for? So the must have is where's the biggest gap in your business offering? Is it time to fill. So if it's time to fill, let's figure out how we impact that number and what technology would help us impact time to fill or time to submit.
And really looking at foundational questions. You know, I when, when we're looking at, you know, resume and interview and those types of tools, I'm like, why are we interviewing? Why is the customer they're paying us a 70% markup for some ridiculous markup? Why is the customer checking our work? You know, what process might be broken there?
Where we, we have to have an entirely new technology to to, uh, encourage customers interviewing 12 people. It, you know, for one executive role or, or what have you. And so I want you to ask her organizations, those questions must have right now that I'm nerded out about it. Oh, my goodness. I'm a big bot lover.
You know, I really think that bot can and I'm gonna, I'm gonna say this. And we were talking about this on the podcast yesterday with uh, Kim will, every couple from a staffing engine. And we were talking with him about a bot making the process more human, which seems like a total oxymoron.
But the, that automation the recruitment process acceleration, you know, where you can Really handhold a candidate when they're engaging with your brand. And I think it's that timeliness that's so important. You know, consumers engaging when they're in buying mode, job seekers engage with them when they're a job seeking mode, you know, it could be timing that is everything in that situation.
So the must have, for me, is anything that's going to connect person to job faster. And so whether it's AI bots, machine learning on demand those are just a couple of the ones that I'm super nerded out. I another one that I know area that's ripe for disruption right now is VMS and MSP. And there's some really cool things coming out from that space saying, you know what, field glass, we just need the orders.
We're going to figure the rest out. Because you're not making it easy. Or, you know, w what I enter in a VMS name. And so I do think that there's there that that is a an area right. For disruption and getting your arms around AVS, you know, which obviously Gustav up to do, but yeah, I mean, must have software is going to be whatever, whatever makes the bleeding stop.
But I am nerded out about bots right now. The Maya was just purchased. That's super exciting. Uh, T
om asked me. Yeah. What, yeah. What lessons can you share about how best to influence a tech decision when your Team is stuck on a given architecture, not fully knowledgeable about a specific and focused solution?
Hmm. Wonder why is that asking this? Well, okay, so, business case, right? If you have an it department that's kind of stuck maybe Dell doesn't have field level insight you know, that little innovation team, right? That little innovation team should have some field perspective in it. So that uh, business case, business, case, business case, it's the only way I was ever to get executives to buy what I was selling.
As far as, Uh, tech tech adoption and consumption creating a business, working with a vendor saying, here's, what's in it for you if we do it right. Here's what's in it for me is, you know, reduction of time to fill, give me 90 days at X, you know, discounted rate and work with me to create a business case for a broader implementation.
So if you have an it division that is kind of stuck in, in a process that's, that's a great way to get past that. If you're stuck in an architecture, you know, we're stuck in a version of a technology, you know, you can build the dream house while you're living in the rental. Maybe it's just a matter of starting over and I've had that conversation as well.
And you know, if you're in war, if you get stuck in one version of a technology, maybe it is best to kind of blow the whole thing up and start over. It can be done expeditiously and without, you know, you, you can't. Create savings over time.
Jan Jedlinski: I think the next question from John, I think he's from also is a good transition to the one you had today in terms of just right now in terms of older tech, tech stack and, and transitions.
Lauren B. Jones: Yeah. So transitioning the staffing firms from an older custom software or an older platform to a more modern tech stack is one of the most uniquely challenged engagements. Amen brother. And yet for hers in that position were often some of the most willing to evaluate other over the past year.
Do you find any new challenges from the older stock firms that want to modernize?
Yes. And they, what I find is a unique challenge is they're trying to make the new system look like their old system. But the old system doesn't work. And so my, my advice in that situation is have we rethought the process?
Have we looked at why we're doing the things that we're doing? And the challenge John really is, how do we take the best, most juicy morsels of goodness out of, out of the box functionality of your technology, take it out of the box. How do we capture all, all as much goodness, as we can, before we get into configuration and then how do we maximize or minimize configuration?
So we don't, you know, go to the nth degree of configuration, but we, so we remained agile so that we can continue, you know, that extensibility, that, that, that um, upgradability. In an ongoing way and so really helping large firms. And I totally agree with you, John. These are the conversations I'm having as well, where you have these large, massive organizations that are looking at this disruption happening.
But the, the biggest concern I have is, well, this is the way we do it. And nobody's asking why. So I think we need to do that from an expense perspective. Is there any guidance on targets for total spend on tech software vendors as a percentage of gross profit or top line revenue? You know what I'll have that as a deliver uh, deliverable to get out to all of you there.
There, there is some percentage of revenue recommendations out there. I cannot remember of them off the top of my head. But, but yes, it's here. Here's the thing that makes. Challenging though is marketing and technology are typically the two departments that are cut when things aren't going great.
Which are the two things that you sort of need the most when things aren't going well. And so I, yeah, I, I think from a, I Raleigh, I think it's Hudson, um, I will make sure I get that out. There's a great article on it about, target targets for percentage of gross profit and how much you should be investing in your technology and marketing.
These need to be things that we talk about together.
Jan Jedlinski: Yeah. Makes sense. Yeah. And yeah, thanks so much, Lauren, for all of the you know, for answering all the questions and thanks for the audience for asking all those great questions. I think they're super valuable specifically. The uh, the John asked, I had a conversation with a staffing firm to that is struggling with.
Old system and they want to change, but it essentially takes a long time for them to, you know, and thinking, do we, you know, bring in a new, completely new ATS that maybe has a marketplace like bullhorn where we can plug in new solutions because the other old solution doesn't allow that right. Then it's it's a little bit of a struggle cause they sort of find themselves in a complete transformation of the, in their entire, you know, internal system which also is you know, holding them back because they can't implement the new solution, like candidate.ly or other tools that are out there that, you know, are not configurable or not uh, able to implement with their old solution.
So I think that's something that is super important that I think all of the staffing firms today need to think of how, you know, and, and court at the we'll be using that's. I think that's, yeah, that's super important. Right. Was there another question from Aman
Lauren B. Jones: Aman,. So hi Lauren, we are ed tech plus HR tech startup based in India and we are facing a problem in collaborating with companies which can hire our students. So I want to know what can be other message to reach out to companies other than calling mailing or reaching out to them over LinkedIn?
Well, I, you know what, my brand is a good example of, of that.Jan I think you would agree, right?
I went some about 1000 followers last year to 30, some odd thousand this year. And it was through consistently having my brand out there consistently having something uh, having, having something tangible for your end user to engage with. And so, uh, Aman, you know, this could be more of a Branding solution than anything and, um, in, in my first year, you know, I signed my first million dollar contract.
I, I replaced my corporate income. And I, uh, and I signed my first partnership. I say all of that, not to be braggardly what, what I, I say that because, I think it all happened because I made a very, very deliberate effort to have my brand front and center. And so when your brand is front and center, the kind of the rest follows it just like, you know, if, if you're an agency, you know, he who has the agency wins.
And, uh, so yeah, he who has the candidate wins, right? He, who has the candidate wins? That's that's it? Cause it doesn't matter if you've been in business for 25 years or one year, if you have the right candidate you'll win. And so the same thing, if you have the right content, you will.
Jan Jedlinski: Yeah, I think that's the, the the, the beauty, and that's what we saw with World Staffing Summit early this year or that, you know, powerful content can really help you know, drive engagement in the industry. And specifically in the staffing and recruiting industry, there is very little around, this is, you know, often really interesting people that are doing it really well, but I think there is a lot of opportunity specifically to stand out with good content and attract new customers, partners, and even candidates, with, uh, having, you know, building content and building a really good brand around yourself.
Lauren B. Jones: Yeah. I mean, World Staffing Summit came out. I came out of nowhere with 5,000 participants and Jan tells me that right before we go on stage, which I did not mean to know that there were that many people out there, but how exciting was that? And people were so hungry for, for content. And, and you answered that, that, that desire.
And I think I'm on that. That's more than anything, you know, that there's a need out there. You wouldn't have created a product around it. So now, now it's it's how, how do you create the content that will attract those that really need it?
Jan Jedlinski: Absolutely. Awesome. Yeah. Thank you so much, everybody for joining the session.
And Lauren, we'll maybe prepare some bonus material that she will attach in that email that will follow tomorrow with the recording or the day after. We'll see when that is ready, but you'll receive an email with the recording and with some bonus material that obviously Lauren's contact details.
So you can reach out to her anytime to ask more questions. If you have any afterwards or simply rewatch or you know, share the recording with your team with your peers that will be super helpful. And otherwise, yeah. Thank you so much, Lauren, for joining us today. It was really wonderful to have you we're excited to continue working with you on all fronts content and, yeah.
You know, co common customers and, you know, continue to innovate in the industry. And, uh, yeah, enjoy, enjoy the rest of your evening or day. And if, if somebody wants to stick around, we still have the networking session on the left-hand side, so you can join them. You'll get connected. One-on-one with other participants of the session.
If you want to do that, stick around. If not, then I wish you a wonderful evening or day wherever you are in the world. And thanks so much, Lauren, and see you soon.
Lauren B. Jones: Thank you so much. We'll see you soon. Thank you.
Jan Jedlinski: Bye-bye.