Silver Lining: How COVID-19 is Leading Staffing Industry into Future?
From speculating work-from-home trends to contributing to it, a lot has changed in a matter of months. Today all the workforce has gone virtual, whereas earlier only 3.4% of the U.S population participated in the remote workforce.
But these numbers have dramatically multiplied in the last one month during the COVID-19 crisis.
As per the recently released report, Microsoft Teams – communication and collaboration platform – marked a record high of 2.7 billion virtual meeting minutes on March 31, 2020. A whopping 200 percent increase from 900 million, registered on March 16, 2020 – when the gravity of the outbreak was yet in speculation.
The virtual shift is enormous and almost every industry is struggling to adapt and adjust to it. But amid all the uncertainties, technology has certainly come out as a winner.
Be it accessing all the office data, disseminating information, connecting to co-workers or tracing COVID data points, in these catastrophic times technology rose to the occasion and prevented the economy from falling flat on the face.
However, fitting into the new, technology-driven work culture was easier for some industries than others. Companies with basic remote work policies and task tracking tools already in place had a lot less on their plates to handle than the ones building the entire remote work infrastructure from scratch.
Staffing Industry: Stuck in the Middle of Technology Adoption Curve
Leisurely adapting technology, yet not a sluggard, staffing industry lied in the middle of the technology adoption curve before the pandemic. It had basic tech tools and measures in place to handle light industries. Yet, it wasn’t completely ready for this virtual transition.
Best described by Peter Reagan, Senior Director of Contingent Workforce Strategies & Research, SIA, before COVID-19, the staffing industry was stuck in the middle of the adoption gap on its way to the early majority phase in the typical technology adoption curve ranging from Innovators to Early Majority to Laggards.
‘Innovators’ are generally the first ones to try new technologies followed by ‘Early Adopters’. In most cases, these are the tech giants leading the tech trends. Except for tech pioneers, majority of businesses lie in the last three groups, ‘Early Majority’, ‘Late Majority’ and ‘Laggards’.
According to Peter’s prediction, staffing industry would have taken a minimum of five years to fully enter the early adapter phase. But the emergence of COVID-19 upturned all the trends and forecasts beyond expectations.
Propelled by pandemic impacts, staffing industry will now experience an unforeseen jump in the tech adoption curve. As a result, it will enter the phase of early adopters sooner than expected.
Outcomes that would have taken years to shape are now just a matter of months. The last two months have already transformed the functioning of the talent industry and the upcoming 12 months is set to further accelerate the process. Doing the years of works in months.
Factors Leading to the Silver Lining
Bridging the early adopter and early majority gap wouldn’t have been speedy under normal circumstances. But, COVID-19 is no normal situation. The extraordinary emergence and urgency of COVID-19 brought along a silver lining – speedy technological advancement and adoption – for the staffing industry.
Finding the silver lining was pushed by the need for survival. But, unexpectedly now this survival need is giving the much-needed acceleration to the staffing industry. In this unplanned scheme of sudden and rapid tech acceleration, the staffing industry will experience three major impacts which will set the staffing industry on a steep upward growth of tech.
1. Work from Home Setup
Many studies are suggesting that COVID-19 will change how we work permanently. And remote work culture might become the new norm. During the pandemic, companies have deftly experimented with the remote work culture. And majority of them are poised to adopt this new work culture once the dust settles.
Staffing industry being no exception will also adapt to this working culture and adjust to thrive into the new norm. Considering we are a few months away from normalcy, the staffing industry will utilize this time to equip its infrastructure and methodologies to completely embrace the remote culture.
2. Adapting Tech Tools
Technology has proved to be a life savior in these tumultuous times. From VPN, remote working tools, video conferencing, task tracking to conducting online conferences and developing healthcare solutions, technology has been at the forefront of all business, healthcare and personal activities.
This renewed importance of technology will thrust the staffing industry to adopt newer tech tools. Facilitating video interviews, conducting virtual onboarding and more, it will open the avenues for a new style of operation. Pushing staffing companies to function in a virtual yet collaborative environment.
3. Breaking Down IT Infrastructure Barriers
To keep the economy flowing, businesses are breaking down the IT infrastructural barriers. These barriers previously prevented the widespread adoption of the remote workforce model.
More and more companies are now focusing on revamping all their key operations around IT infrastructure. Staffing companies are also revamping and expanding their IT infrastructure, unifying siloed processes and bringing in new work portfolios.
For instance, currently, staffing companies have a condensed IT support team. However, they will now have to increase the quality and quantity of the IT resources to keep pace. This remodeling will not only strengthen the grip on existing IT infrastructure but will also introduce new technologies in the existing processes.
Summing it Up
In hindsight, COVID-19 will prove to be a tipping point for the technological adoptions and advancements.
While all the staffing trends and predictions have turned upside down. Yet, once this all ends the staffing industry will be in a much better place to harness technology and transition into a new and advanced work culture.
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