Good business performance is motivated by a desire to do things better than others, and sometimes a fear that somebody else is going to do a better job than you. But increasingly, recruitment agency owners and employees find themselves worrying about being replaced not just by other people, but by machines as well.
Automation is enabling huge change in the recruitment industry, but is it something that recruiters should fear – or does it present a lucrative growth opportunity? Nick Woodward, ETZ’s CEO, discussed this subject in a recent recruitment industry webcast, sharing some valuable opinions on the debate.
Anything you can do, machines can do better?
There’s no doubt that, across all sectors, machines have been slowly replacing people over the past two decades. This is understandably something that keeps employees awake at night – a recent Future Advocacy study predicted that automation will impact 1 in 5 jobs – but ETZ’s CEO believes this will actually benefit the workforce.
“Automation is a scary thing; people worry about their jobs,” he says. “But I’ve been in the industry a long time, and what tends to happen is that people augment technology, and it’s used to replace a lot of repetitive jobs.”
In the recruitment sector, one of the biggest places that automation can impact daily tasks is back-office operations. Managing staff timesheets and expense claim submissions is currently a very time-consuming task for many agencies, along with converting that data into invoices.
Automation can streamline these processes and put in place workflows for chasing up outstanding documents and payments, rather than relying on qualified staff to do simple (but essential) tasks.
And with automation technology in place to take care of the back-office, recruitment agency employees will be free to focus on client-facing tasks – making them even more valuable to businesses.
Let machines manage paperwork and people manage people
“Instead of being flat-out processing papers, automation means agencies will have time to engage with customers and talk to them more,” Nick notes. “In recruitment, it’s all about having a personal relationship with your candidates and clients.”
This is something that Nick understands first-hand, as ETZ has been following the same approach within its own business.
“There are a lot of similarities between what we do and what recruiters do,” he explains. “We have now taken on more support representatives to get feedback from our customers and find out what they’d like to get from our technology. We’re always looking at how we can improve the development process; it’s a continuous loop.”
Find the right technology partner to fuel change
But while automation can empower recruitment agencies to focus on clients, it’s important that you work with the right technology to fully realise its advantages. One key reason for this is the way in which automated software works to solve a challenge.
“If recruitment companies are finding a back-office job a real pain, their natural reaction is to centralise that task,” Nick conveys, “but when you have a centralise function handling hundreds of transactions, you actually make it more complicated.”
“Automation involves solving a problem once and then replicating that solution. It’s a much more efficient process.”
Working with a specialist recruitment technology partner will ensure the technical side of automation is in safe hands, so your agency can focus on the end benefits that it delivers. And by letting an expert set up your back-office automation software, you can spend more time with your valued clients.
Book a free ETZ demo to see the benefits of recruitment back-office automation first-hand.