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February 17, 2022

Sustainability has moved inward from the margins to become one of the key priorities for organizations today.

With human capital management at their core, staffing firms across the globe have begun to focus heavily on sustainability and aspire to conduct their business in a way that it creates a positive impact on the economy, society, and environment. Typically, the sustainability strategy of a staffing firm is linked to its contribution toward developing a fair labor market, sustainable employment, creating a sustainable economy, reducing the carbon footprint, among others.

Sustainable employment – the economic impact

Staffing firms focus on providing career opportunities to people worldwide and helping them develop the skills required to stay relevant in a competitive market. Similarly, they support enterprises in identifying and developing talent, in addition to upskilling and reskilling the workforce through career development programs to meet the industry’s current and future demands. By doing this, staffing firms help make people employable lifelong, thereby enabling sustainable employment.

Staffing firms can leverage online forums to connect with candidates proactively. Artificial intelligence-led personality assessments help identify improvement areas, interest areas, learning style, and the type of training program. Online learning platforms allow employees to advance their career by helping them get trained anytime, anywhere. Gamified systems use simulation to help employees to understand various scenarios better and learn faster.

The challenge that many companies are facing today is identifying, hiring, and retaining talent. Unfulfilled positions may lead to loss of business and impact the profitability of companies.  Staffing firms can use gamification to understand candidate response to a specific scenario, along with AI-enabled psychometric assessments and video interview analytics to understand a candidate’s personality traits. This information will help in placing the right candidate in the right profile at the right organization, leading to candidate satisfaction and retention.

Staffing firms can also leverage predictive analytics to generate future insights on the skills required, the geography with economic growth, the business sectors that need resources, and where to look for talent. This knowledge enables staffing firms to identify the requirements, plan proactively, and build a strong pipeline of candidates.

For corporate governance to be effective, a leader’s motivation and impulsion are key. With the right strategy, executive search firms can support organizations identify the best-fit profiles for top management roles.

Diversity and inclusion – the people impact

Considering the heightened focus on diversity and inclusion, staffing firms must ensure equal opportunities for candidates irrespective of race, color, sex, nationality, age, or disability. To address the diversity and inclusion requirements in the industry, staffing firms need to put a process in place to avoid any hiring bias. Although firms can leverage machine learning models to select profiles, these models are trained on historic data, which may have bias. Solutions such as workforce analytics will ensure there is no bias in the data that is used to train the models. Workforce analytics can also help organizations identify potential sources of bias, set rules and guidelines for accurate data selection, and monitor and review the model performance.

Go-green staffing – the environmental impact

Leveraging technology to reduce paperwork and travel related to the recruitment process can help staffing firms become environmentally friendly. An AI-powered recruiting platform can automate recruiting processes such as answering candidates, verifying qualifications, and updating documents throughout the hiring process. Staffing firms can use virtual reality (VR) and gamification solutions for skill assessment of the candidate, thereby improving the interview process and increasing the hiring efficiency. Blockchain technology can help maintain records of employment such as training, skills, work performance, and so on. This also ensures the security and confidentiality of candidate data and compliance with GDPR. Incorporating AI-enabled video interviewing can reduce traveling and create a greener recruitment process.

Staffing firms can play a big role in enabling the transition of their candidates to meet the green job requirements. Firms can also look at sectors where green jobs are growing in demand and proactively plan to meet the requirements.

Debating whether to include corporate sustainability in the organization’s strategy is not an option. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that 24 million jobs worldwide could be created by the green economy by 2030 alone. A shift toward a green economy is underway, and staffing firms are leveraging technology to achieve the sustainability objective more quickly and efficiently. 

Sheeba Kizhakkayil is part of the Operations and Delivery Excellence team within TCS’ HiTech business unit. With over 23 years of experience, she is responsible for maintaining a single global service standard across the business unit and ensuring that TCS' customers experience certainty and assured service delivery.

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