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How industry giant Staffmark Group embraced change and grew engagement

Placed candidates influenced by Sense
Candidates and contractors reached in one month
Touch points within 90 days, between personalized emails and SMS
Recruiting hours saved with Sense

Uncovering a challenge

Staffmark Group is a family of specialty staffing and recruiting brands that together place more than 245,000 contractors annually. Organized into three major operating units, the company has over 3,000 employees across 400+ branches nationally. About 65% of Staffmark’s business falls under administrative and light industrial work, with the remaining 35% made up of everything from automotive to creative to accounting and finance. Needless to say, their operations are expansive and complex.

As a premier national staffing firm, Staffmark has long been at the forefront of industry trends. Tools like automation and artificial intelligence have long been on their radar, thanks to the message being hammered home at every industry event. “There’s a strong awareness of ‘you better get with it, or you’re going to be running to catch up,’” said Kris Stipp, Director of Operations Support at Staffmark.

Before partnering with Sense, though, Staffmark hadn’t yet found and implemented an automation technology solution that truly met their unique needs. Talent communication was primarily handled by the firm’s Candidate Engagement Center, a team dedicated to engaging and onboarding new hires. The team at the Center takes on tasks like reminding new contractors to complete paperwork, sending out appointment reminders, and making sure candidates have all of the info they need to successfully kick off an assignment.

But once a hire was made, communication dropped off. Contractor care was left to the individual recruiters’ responsibility, and little structure was in place to enforce best practices and track follow-up. Contractors took notice. The firm’s main source of feedback — an annual NPS survey — showed that contractors were feeling abandoned after being placed, noting a distinct lack of communication during and after assignments.

Of course, this challenge won’t be surprising to most staffing firms; it’s a familiar problem. Recruiters’ primary role is to hire and place great candidates. So, when time is short — and when is it not? — the first thing to go is the task with seemingly no immediately measurable impact. In this case, contractor care. Follow-up with placed employees was falling to the wayside, and satisfaction among contractors was dropping. The Staffmark team knew it was time to do something about it.

Implementing the right solution

Solving an engagement problem for a firm of Staffmark’s size is no small feat. At the time they came to Sense, the company was also in the midst of a massive project to get all of their nearly 20 brands on the same page operationally — a necessary but time-consuming endeavor. The tipping point in the move toward tech finally came when Staffmark had more open roles than they could fill, and they were beginning to fall behind their financial forecasts as a business. Labor hours were tapped out, and they knew it was time to turn to technology to free up their recruiters’ time and get back on track.

That’s when they decided to partner with Sense. First on the list of “pros” for Staffmark? The ease of the connection between Sense and Erecruit (their ATS) and the ability to customize the tool to meet their needs. “Our business isn’t the same as everyone else’s,” says Shannon Ronspies, Manager of Operations Support at Staffmark. “We loved that we didn’t have to just open the box and use the platform as-is. We continue to adjust and customize what we’re doing based on what’s working and what’s not.”

Given their size, Staffmark opted to start with a pilot program, rolling out Sense in phases across the business. The implementation was quick and easy — a pleasant surprise for Stipp and her team. And when they decided to roll out the program on a larger scale, they had the strategic support they needed to make it happen seamlessly. Sense provided the Staffmark team with training materials for their field teams and sample templates based on their unique business needs.

“We had an extremely high level of support — the commitment level was impressive,” said Stipp. “The Sense team anticipated what we would need and really helped give us a successful and well-received rollout.”

Seeing the results

Since implementing Sense several months ago, Staffmark Group has placed 1,750 candidates that have been influenced by these new automated workflows. In August alone, they reached more than 20,000 candidates and contractors through Sense. And over the course of 90 days, they surpassed 100,000 touch points between personalized email and SMS messages. The increase in automated communications has not only helped better engage contractors, but it has also provided the Staffmark team with a strong foundation for measuring results.

“With Sense, a huge selling point for us was the wealth of analytics we would able to gather,” said Ronspies. “Being able to connect the dots and pinpoint certain issues — that definitely stood out with Sense.”

Staffmark’s annual NPS survey has been replaced with more timely, consistent surveys and requests for feedback — a change that has given them a 43.6% email open rate and a 21.1% response rate. Compared to industry benchmarks, these numbers are outstanding.

“Sense has resulted in almost double the open rate on email messages over the industry standard,” notes Emily Giltner, Sr. Vice President of Enterprise Operations at Staffmark.

Just months prior, Staffmark didn’t have the means to automate and measure these surveys, meaning they also weren’t hearing this valuable feedback from their talent. Today, they’re able to receive feedback in real time, and their recruiters now have the bandwidth to take action on those comments. In fact, they’ve gotten back thousands of hours previously spent on manual tasks. The average corporate employee spends 1.1 minutes on an email. By that estimate, Sense has saved the Staffmark team 180,400 minutes — or 3,006 hours of their recruiters’ time!

Beyond making data like this more accessible, Sense is helping Staffmark decipher it all. Our team breaks down the numbers, helping to identify what’s working (and why!) and where there’s still room for improvement. Stellar email open rates and quantifiable feedback don’t just earn bragging rights — they’re helping craft an engagement strategy that will keep Staffmark at the forefront of the staffing world.

The path forward

The Staffmark recruiting team has seen the impact of implementing Sense into their day-to-day work. The team has come to trust in the experience their contractors will receive, knowing that Sense automated touch points will happen reliably and consistently. Adding these communications into their workflows has alleviated the manual, repetitive tasks that previously bogged them down, and their roles are now re-focused where they should be — on revenue-generating activities, like filling orders and building relationships.

The many brands across Staffmark Group have also seen the value in unifying their engagement efforts, ensuring that no matter where a candidate comes in, they’re going to receive a high-quality, uniform experience.

“The functionality that Sense offers us reduces administrative time for our recruiters, boosts engagement with our applicants and employees, and improves the consistency of communication with our talent,” says Giltner.

The possibilities are endless for Staffmark. While they’ve accomplished a lot in a short amount of time, they’ve only just scratched the surface. They’re looking forward to evolving their business in 2020 and beyond, and Sense will be there to support them along the way.

Want to create phenomenal experiences for your candidates, employees, and partners? Talk to a Sense representative to understand how our automation & communication solutions can seamlessly do this for you.

Want to create phenomenal experiences for your candidates, employees, and partners? Talk to a Sense representative to understand how our automation & communication solutions can seamlessly do this for you.