Automation in the staffing industry

RPA offers many opportunities in many industries to automate administrative processes in a cost-effective, efficient way. In this blog, we zoom in on the staffing industry, also known as the flex market.

Challenges in the staffing industry

The staffing industry has grown significantly over the past 10 years. More and more companies are trying to fill part of their vacancies flexibly in order to be able to ramp up or down more easily. But the laws and regulations governing the staffing industry have also changed a lot. These are challenges that allow temporary employment agencies to grow on the one hand, but also more and more work in managing the large number of clients and candidates, and especially the administration around it.

Decentralized vs. centralized view of administration

In staffing agencies, you traditionally encounter many processes that are still mostly done by hand. There are two ways in which these are carried out, namely decentralized vs. centralized. At staffing organizations that have decentralized administrative processes, the branches and intermediaries themselves are responsible for administrative operations. The advantage is that they have more specific knowledge about the client or candidate in question, the only question is to what extent this is really important for the administration. With a centralized approach, a central back office is created that takes the administrative actions away from the branches and the intermediaries as much as possible. The advantage is that this leaves them more time to spend on the clients and candidates, which is where the focus should be.

Main processes

There are some administrative processes that are crucial to the smooth running of an employment process. One of these is the maintenance of candidate and placement contracts. These must be correct at all times and renewed or terminated at the appropriate time. The hours worked must also be checked, processed and remunerated, often on a weekly basis. In addition, there are always several loose lists that must be followed up. Are there any candidates whose birthday is near and to whom a new minimum wage is applicable? Or is there a candidate whose phase is about to expire and needs a new contract? These are examples of processes that disrupt work and can be forgotten when busy. It is also nice to get quick insight into who is sick and who is better again so that these individuals can be reinstated as soon as possible.

RPA as a tool for automating processes

There are multiple ways to automate processes, and many software packages offer good solutions to automate certain flows. However, these are all limited in capabilities within a single package. Often processes touch multiple packages or have a communication aspect via mail or chat. For these processes, RPA offers a good solution. 

RPA stands for Robotic Process Automation, and what it actually does is mimic a user's actions to complete processes. The biggest advantages are that these work quickly and flawlessly whenever you want. In addition, they are cheaper than an employee and quickly implemented.

An example of an RPA robot already running at a VionA customer is used to check daily which candidates need a new contract. The robot then logs into the customer's system to retrieve all the relevant information and then emails the appropriate contact person asking what needs to be done with this contract. The response is then automatically processed and the new contract is created and sent to the candidate for signing. Once the new contract has actually started, the robot can terminate the old one for you, without you having to think about it. Bas Schoorl of Uitzendbureau Luba says the following: "For Luba it is a great time saver that the contract extensions are carried out by the robot. This leaves us time to match our clients and candidates even faster."

"For Luba, it is a great time saver that the contract extensions are performed by the robot. This leaves us time to match our clients and candidates even faster."

Robots can also be used, for example, to calculate bonuses for employees, synchronize sick reports between different systems, process wage and rate changes in the event of changes, or "scrape" websites for specific candidates or job openings.

Implementing RPA

RPA is becoming increasingly common in staffing organizations. In this, you can choose to purchase software yourself and hire someone with knowledge of it to build and maintain the robots. A new, interesting alternative is to start with automation as a service, with the robots running in the cloud (Cloud RPA). Here the entire process, from assessing which processes are suitable, drawing them up, building the robot and maintaining it, is offered as a service for a fixed monthly fee. This can be easily offset against the savings that it provides.

Automating with VionA

As a Virtual Assistant, VionA offers automation as a service. To do so, it uses RPA, among other technologies. She already does this for several staffing organizations, giving her a good idea of the issues at hand and where the biggest savings and benefits can be found for the organization.

Check out the following case studies for more inspiration: