The 2016 Staffing Industry Analysts or SIA Executive Forum in Phoenix this year celebrated a huge milestone for the organization – their 25-year anniversary as a trusted advisor and resource for the staffing industry. While SIA President Barry Asin was quick with a quip when comparing SIA’s 1992 start to today’s staffing landscape, it was clear that the next 25 years are looking bright for the industry, with a global market worth $411 billion.
Throughout the conference, two themes were immediately evident: digitization and automation are imminent, and creating meaningful work experiences for employees through strong leadership continues to be a necessity. In case you were unable to catch this year’s event, or just spent too much time outside enjoying the beautiful weather on your way back from the networking breaks, we broke down some of the highlights for you.
Yes, the Robots are coming…and we should embrace them
Whether it was Harold Mills in the “25 Years of Staffing Industry Success” panel, Barry Asin’s opening keynote, or Neil Jacobstein’s session “The Rise of the Machines: Artificial Intelligence & the Future of Work” the future was clear – technology WILL have a massive impact on the staffing industry, and those who try to fight it will only miss out on positive results.
While Artificial Intelligence will likely disrupt many jobs, with its greatest impact projected to be on temporary workers, most speakers challenged industry leaders to see this as an opportunity, rather than a cause for concern.
Asin predicts that this shift in technology will both replace AND create jobs, allowing recruiters to act in a more advisory role, while Jacobstein thinks the benefits of a more automated systems – higher efficiency, lower cost, improved accuracy, to name a few – can be harnessed to create a more successful operation. The challenge truly lies in the implementation of, to ensure it is being implemented in the most humane and controlled way possible. Shifting the general acceptance of automated processes can create more time to focus on the engagement of your people.
Strong leaders build strong teams
Engaged teams don’t happen magically: It takes the dedication of a present leader to guide a team to success. Marcus Buckingham’s excellent keynote, “Strong Teams, Accelerated Performance” highlighted the importance of developing strengths to create a passionate workforce. He advised, many employers spend so much energy trying to “fix” employee weaknesses that they miss the opportunity to guide employees to roles that fit their natural strengths. The more an employee feels valued, and the more they can leverage their individual strengths each day, the greater their dedication to the common goal and organizational success.
Focusing on strengths alone is not enough: Both Buckingham and Jeremie Kubicek, author of “5 Gears: How to be Present and Productive When There is Never Enough Time,” emphasized that leaders need to be dialed into their team needs for maximum effectiveness. Buckingham recommended frequent check-ins, sometimes as little 10 minutes and “What can I do to help?” to keep teams encouraged. Kubicek echoed the sentiment, offering that if you are too focused on the tasks in front of you, you will fail to build relationships. Utilizing his unique “gear” theory, Kubicek noted the importance of communication, pointing out that the busier a leader becomes, the more disconnected they are from their team, leading to less efficiency for the individual and the whole. Focus and regular communication will create a better working environment and a stronger, more engaged unit.
Engagement really is key: Something that SIA took into account in their conference planning as well. The first ever Profitability Maximization Hackathon on Tuesday night split attendees into teams to create a compelling business case to improve profitability by coming up with innovative strategies to increase revenue, reduce costs, enter new markets (sectors/regions), or use technology for better efficiency. The winning group, Team Caribou — which included SkillSurvey’s own Tracy Dickerhoff! — created a well-rounded plan to remain a client’s top provider after this customer implemented a Vendor Management System. Congratulations again to the winning group, Team Caribou, and to SIA for a truly engaging conference!
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