If you spent five minutes in the exposition hall at the ASA's 2017 Staffing World Expo & Conference last month, you would very quickly get a sense of what products are being purchased by staffing firms.   

Throughout the hall, there was a cluster of background check companies, a pocket of drug testing companies, the major ATS players, the companies that make sure you're in compliance and, of course, the behemoths of sourcing occupying mammoth booths. Staffing, for the past 30 years, has remained simple in this way. Find candidates, make sure they check the boxes, place them, rinse, repeat. No fluff.  Nothing extraneous. No vendors selling flashy website upgrades, no internal talent profiling, even very few assessments.

But the world of tomorrow looks very different from the world of yesterday in staffing.  In an increasingly tight labor market, the war for talent being fought by staffing firms needs more than the traditional sourcing arrows. Staffing firms need to get into the game of attracting, retaining and developing talent in order to remain a destination and instill a greater deal of loyalty than "stay with us until you find something better."

There were a few vendors at the 2017 Staffing World trying to be a part of that future. If you looked hard enough, you could spot a true employee benefits/rewards platform (and no, insurance isn't that kind of benefit) or a feedback and surveys provider.  There was even one lone education provider that dared to challenge the notion that staffing firms don't need to, and can't afford to, educate and upskill their workforce. We believe that's the true future in terms of differentiating staffing firms and creating a positive employee culture.

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