chapter 1


The business world is changing fast, and so is the world of staffing. HR concepts in circulation only a few years ago have been carried away, replaced by new ideas, like upskilling, the Millennial Shift and leading toward decompression.


so if you think you know staffing, think again.


In the next decade alone, new business demands will call for new skill sets, new types of workers and even new job titles, many of which will represent roles that don't even exist yet. That's going to be a challenge for employers, but it's also an amazing opportunity — an outlook, by the way, shared by almost three quarters of workers globally, according to a recent Randstad study.

Capitalizing on this opportunity, even amidst all the uncertainty, starts with your people — and that's why we've compiled this comprehensive staffing guide.

In it, you'll find everything you need, from the latest trends and insights to benchmarks and pain points (as well as how to overcome them), to transform your approach to staffing and realize your business goals — in 2019 and beyond. Dig in.

chapter 2

essential concepts

First things first: In order to give you expert insights into all things staffing, we need to unpack the term a bit. Specifically, staffing can be viewed as consisting of five distinct — and at times overlapping — focus areas: hiring strategy, talent acquisition, employee retention, employee engagement and workforce management.




hiring_strategy talent_acquisition employee_retention employee_engagement workforce_ management


Let's examine each of these focus areas in greater detail.


hiring strategy

Hiring strategy refers to how companies go about sourcing, recruiting, screening and ultimately hiring talent. Indirectly, your hiring strategy impacts many other aspects of staffing, like employee engagement and retention. More directly, it impacts core HR processes like onboarding. For example, if part of your hiring strategy is to interview candidates who have the core requirements for a given role but lack previous experience in the field, then you'll need to modify your onboarding and training processes accordingly.


talent acquisition

Talent acquisition is an ongoing and proactive practice, as much about finding talent today as it is nurturing relationships with skilled candidates — and building your talent pipeline — to meet the business goals of tomorrow. As such, the right approach to talent acquisition is one that carefully considers long-term business plans, identifies potential skills gaps and takes steps ahead of time to address them.


employee retention

Simply put, employee retention measures how successful companies are at keeping their employees. As a metric, it also indexes the effectiveness of the strategies used to achieve desired retention outcomes.


One thing to note is that this metric is often expressed as a rate — a percentage that reflects net employee turnover during a given period. Think of it as the flip-side of turnover. In a given year, for example, if a company started with 100 employees and ended with 80, that company had a one-year retention rate of 80 percent.


employee engagement

Not to be confused with employee happiness or satisfaction — both of which are usually measured through surveys — employee engagement refers to a broader constellation of factors. Think of it as a measure of employees' overall emotional investment in their work. Engaged employees have a high level of emotional investment in achieving organizational goals. Disengaged employees, on the other hand, do not.


Why is this important? For starters, engaged employees tend to be loyal employees, which means that engagement and retention are critically linked. Plus, these are often your most driven, hardest working team players. They're always eager to take initiative and introduce new ideas. And when problems do arise, they have no problem working overtime — or doing whatever else it takes to get the job done right.


workforce management

Your people are your best asset — and workforce management solutions are the tools and resources you make available to help them perform their best every day. From automating tasks like scheduling and reporting or empowering teams with valuable resources to maximize productivity, workforce management solutions can transform how work gets done, and in turn deliver critical gains in mission-critical areas of your business.



These are the core building blocks of an effective approach to staffing, and we'll be referencing them throughout this ebook as we dig into benchmarks, ROI, strategic partners and more, so it's important to have a firm grasp on each of these concepts.


Got it all down pat? Great! Now, let's turn to some common staffing pain points — and how you can overcome them.

chapter 3

common staffing pain points

Now that you understand all of the different pieces that go into staffing, let's examine some common pain points associated with each of them. Notice that, for each, we've included a list of bullet-pointed symptoms to help you recognize the signs that you may have a problem. After all, the right diagnosis always makes it easier to find a cure!


hiring strategy

When attempting to make a new hire, perhaps you've had the experience of being inundated with hundreds of resumes without finding a single candidate who seemed like the right fit. Worse yet, maybe you've posted on multiple job boards, waited a week — and wound up getting no resumes at all. Either way, it's a pain. So if you're struggling to find the right people, without suffering lengthy and expensive searches, it's a telltale sign that you need to rethink your hiring strategy.


symptoms of a lackluster hiring strategy include:
  • positions that remain open for far too long
  • lack of qualified candidates for critical roles
  • limited success sourcing candidates via job boards


talent acquisition

Simply put, talent acquisition is a way for you to prepare ahead of time for talent needs. Moreover, by ensuring that talent teams are aligned with future business goals, talent acquisition can make the end-to-end staffing process a far more seamless experience. But if you find that your recruiting team is constantly scrambling to put out one fire or another, chances are you have a talent acquisition problem.


signs there may be kinks in your talent acquisition process include:
  • frequent and unforeseen talent requests
  • an insufficient talent pipeline
  • poor or limited employer branding


employee engagement

Beware engagement — it can be something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, engaged employees tend to be among your most productive contributors. They're always willing to go that extra mile to support their colleagues and ensure that deliverables arrive on time. But on the other, academic studies show that highly engaged employees are also at greater risk of burnout. And if you think about it, that makes a lot of sense. Add up hard work, long hours and a high level of emotional involvement, and you have an equation for serious fatigue over the long run.


But too many companies today struggle to see that they have an employee engagement problem in the first place.


think your employees may be at risk of burnout? Look for the following symptoms:
  • inadequate communication
  • declining productivity
  • employees avoiding work
  • rising turnover


Chapter 3 Burnout engaged employees may be your most productive contributors, but studies show they’re also at a greater risk of burnout.


employee retention

If employee retention is a major challenge at your company today, the reality is you certainly aren't alone. In 2018, in fact, according to a recent large-scale survey, retention was the number-one organizational challenge HR leaders foresaw for the future. Plus, with unemployment levels continuing to hover around historic lows in virtually every industry, backfilling for critical roles is harder and more expensive than ever before. At many companies, these factors mean that short-term vacancies are calcifying into long-term woes.


HR foresee employee retention was the number-one organizational challenge HR leaders foresaw for the future.


Of course, employee retention rates vary by company and industry. However, if your company is scrambling to cover for a constant stream of departures — or if HR is being forced to roll out the same training and onboarding programs again and again to get new hires up to speed — it's a good bet that your company has an employee retention problem.


what are some of the signs that you're struggling with employee retention?
  • high turnover
  • employee tenure is shrinking
  • negative online reviews
  • your top performers are leaving


workforce management

You want to enable your employees to perform their very best every day. Sometimes, unfortunately, new workforce technologies and other so-called "resources" that are supposed to help your team actually wind up holding them back — and that's a problem. After all, the whole point of workforce management is to increase productivity and make everyone's life a little bit easier.


signs you may have a workforce management problem include:
  • heavy administrative and reporting burdens for team members
  • employees unable to locate key resources and assets
  • lack of accountability or ownership for processes



After reading this chapter, you should have a clear sense of some of the most common pain points associated with each of the staffing building blocks. Next, we'll look at some hard numbers — and empower you with diagnostic tools to help you see how your company truly stacks up.

chapter 4

key staffing benchmarks

In this chapter, we're digging into the hard stuff: numbers. These benchmarks, which draw on Randstad's deep domain expertise and diverse experience with clients across industries, should help give you insights into the state of staffing at your company today.


staffing benchmarks at a glance:


Chapter 4 - Staffing Benchmark“ width=


In this chapter, as in the previous three chapters, we'll be using the five focus areas of staffing — hiring strategy, talent acquisition, employee retention, employee engagement and workforce management — as reference points to sharpen the focus of our analysis. At the end of the chapter, you'll find a handy diagnostic quiz to help you better understand potential problem areas within your organization.


hiring strategy

Evidence of a successful hiring strategy is fairly easy to spot. After all, the proof is in the pudding: When openings become available, are the right candidates — those who not only have the core credentials, but are also a good fit for the culture of your organization — being interviewed and hired?


Hopefully, the answer is yes. But if not, you'll know right away. Something's clearly gone awry when new hires jump ship within three months of walking in the door, which is what happens an astonishing 16 percent of the time.


If the number at your company is anywhere above 16 percent, that's crazy. You need to take action right away.


ebook-ch 4 image 1-1 new hires leave their positions within their first three months 16% of the time.


As we outlined in chapter two, talent acquisition is a forward-thinking model that aligns talent with business strategy. Its effectiveness, therefore, can be measured by the availability of qualified talent in your pipeline.


Expressed as a number, that availability is reflected in average time-to-fill — or how long it takes your organization, on average, to fill roles. After all, if you've foreseen a key business need, finding the right talent to fill the role shouldn't take forever.


What number should you look to hit? Anything over 38 days, which is the average time-to-fill across roles and industries today, is a sure sign that your approach to talent acquisition isn't delivering maximum value.


ebook ch 4 image 2 if it takes you more than 38 days to fill a vacancy then you may be hampering your ability to attract top talent.


employee engagement

According to Gallup's annual engagement survey, the percentage of employees in the U.S. workforce who are actively engaged has recently shot up to 34 percent. That's the highest level of engagement since Gallup began reporting on it in 2000. That's good news — but since just over a third of employees are engaged, it's also pretty bad news.


Meanwhile, 16.5 percent of employees are classified as "actively disengaged," with "miserable" day-to-day experiences at work. And arguably worse still, the majority of workers (53%) are classified as simply "not engaged." These people do the absolute minimum at work — and they're always ready to explore opportunities elsewhere.


The takeaway is that, even if the ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees has recently risen to roughly two-to-one, there remains a lot of room for improvement. However you measure engagement and disengagement at your organization, that ratio should be regarded as table stakes.


ebook pie chart 53 while employee engagement has improved over the years, the majority of workers (53%) still remain not engaged.


employee retention

While employees leave their jobs for any number of different reasons, we might nonetheless simply be able to classify these reasons into one of two categories: pushes and pulls. Included in the former are toxic workplace culture, lack of work-life balance, poor leadership and all of the other factors that might "push" someone to quit. The latter encompasses factors like higher salary or more learning and development opportunities that could "pull" someone toward a role with a new company.


But the reason behind a given resignation aside, you simply can't afford to be leaking valuable talent to your competitors. If the turnover rate at your organization tops 15 percent a year, there are holes that need to be plugged.


workforce management

Implementing best-in-class workforce management tools and practices is a great way to maximize the value of your existing workforce. What's more, doing so should lead to great opportunities for employees to learn, develop and continue to grow.


Right now, according to Randstad's research, 82 percent of employees say that lifelong learning is important to them, and 60 percent of employees say their current employers provide upskilling opportunities. So it's an important benchmark to bear in mind, in 2019 and beyond. Organizations that aren't among that 60 percent will likely struggle to attract and retain talent down the line.


takeaways (and your assessment toolkit)

In reviewing these numbers, where do you think your organization stacks up? Are you ahead of your competitors, on par with them — or potentially falling behind when it comes to staffing?


If you're ready to find out, take our fun quiz. It's a useful tool to help you get a handle on where you stand today, and where you can make improvements in the future in order to better support business needs.



In chapter five, we'll move on to discuss simple ways you can connect your approach to staffing to bottom-line business impact.

chapter 5

connecting staffing to ROI

Benchmarks can help you assess the "as-is" state of staffing at your company today, but what about the "to-be" state? That's coming. First, before you can take action and transform your approach to staffing, you'll have to put together a compelling business case.


In this chapter, we'll give you tools, ideas and insights to do exactly that.


hiring strategy

Your hiring strategy needs to be on point, and here's the proof: It costs more than $4,000, on average, to make a single new hire today. So you simply can't afford to get it wrong. But if your hiring strategy isn't attracting the right candidates — right away, when you need them — you're far more likely to wind up making a bad hire. And that's surely going to make a dent on the balance sheet.


ebook-ch 5 image 1 $4,000: the average cost of making a new hire today.


talent acquisition

Talent acquisition is all about proactively preparing for the future by aligning your staffing practices with your company's long-range vision. And given that, by some estimates, as many as 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 don't exist today, that kind of preparation is something you should take very seriously. As it is right now, coveted data science and analytics jobs remain open an average of 45 days, which is significantly longer than the market average — and competition for candidates with these skills is likely only going to intensify in the future. So if you aren't prepared to attract and hire tomorrow's top digital talent, your business is liable to get left behind today.


85 percent 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 don't exist today.


employee engagement

The ramifications of having employees who aren't engaged are virtually endless — and all of them are bad. Let's start with intangibles: morale suffers. That's the kind of thing candidates can pick up on, which in turn might cost you valuable talent. Of course, there's also a clear bottom-line impact: Research shows that companies with highly engaged employees not only experience less turnover, but have earnings-per-share levels more than twice that of companies with less engagement employees.


three times faster businesses with engaged employees can increase profits up to 3 times faster than their competitors.


employee retention

Securing the right candidates is only one component of an effective staffing strategy — after all, what good are your great new hires if you don't retain them down the line? Indeed, the breadth of knowledge and skills that seasoned employees acquire over time have quantifiable business value. For example, one study found that the difference between retaining a sales person for three years versus two was tantamount to $1.3 million in additional value for the employer.


cost of turnover the cost of turnover for most roles is 21% of the employee’s annual salary.


workforce management

The goal of workforce management solutions like automation and machine learning tools is to make workers more efficient and productive. Minimizing or eliminating mundane administrative tasks liberates your team to pursue higher-value activities. So it isn't hard to see how implementing new workforce management tools could be tied back to serious ROI.


Automating your onboarding processes — in whole or in part — is a good example. By doing so, you can not only unburden hiring managers, who tend to be swamped as it is, but also increase the productivity of your new hires. What's the ROI? One study found that automating the onboarding process led to productivity gains of as much as 18 percent, along with a 16 percent increased retention rate for new hires.



At the end of the day, ROI is always top-of-mind for business leaders — it's what they'll be looking for before they green-light any kind of organizational change initiative. Armed with the insights from this chapter, thankfully, you should be more than capable of demonstrating why revamping your company's approach to staffing is a solid investment. And to further solidify your case, let's take a look at some case studies in the following chapter.

chapter 6

case studies

So far, we've broken down staffing into its constituent parts, dissected common pain points, spotlighted some industry benchmarks and talked ROI. Now let's bring it all together with real-world examples. In these case studies, you'll see how some of today's leading companies, faced with challenges that may be similar to your own, leveraged strategic partnerships to surmount staffing-related obstacles and achieve wide-ranging business goals.


badging and hiring talent rapidly and at scale

The client, an American multinational bank and Fortune 50 company, needed to hire more than 800 new staff members for 20-plus unique positions across multiple departments — and needed to do so on an extremely tight time frame. That's when the client sought out Randstad. In addition to rapidly sourcing, screening and badging new hires, we also rolled out flexible scheduling tools and introduced best-in-class staffing practices to help the client grow.


key outcomes included:
  • successfully screening and badging 497 new hires within a three-month period
  • achieving an astonishing 139 percent fill rate


Chapter 6 Fortune 500 achieved a 139% fill rate and successfully screened and badged 497 new hires in 3 months for Fortune 50 company.


staffing senior-level scientific experts on demand

The client, a top-10 global pharma giant, needed a partner to provide early phase site monitoring services across multiple, geographically distributed locations. Since that meant quickly hiring and onboarding a team of highly experienced, senior-level research associates, the client turned to Randstad for support.


key outcomes included:
  • providing a team of senior-level CRAs with an average of 15 years’ monitoring experience
  • successfully conducting more than 50 studies for the client
  • lowering onsite monitoring fees by an average of 41 percent
  • maintaining an exceptionally high retention rate across all studies


medal reduced onsite monitoring fees by an average of 41% and kept retention rates high across all 50 studies for top-10 pharma giant.


improving engagement for big performance gains

The client — a large group of insurance and financial services companies with over 70,000 employees in the U.S. — relied largely on a single campus to receive, process, scan and index insurance documents. But limited working stations on the campus, together with the need for more in-depth employee training, were putting operations at risk. And so the client turned to Randstad for help as a trusted talent partner.


To expedite the onboarding process and help the client achieve its goals, we sent an onsite team to lead orientation sessions for new hires, drive adoption and train small groups on new technologies. We also established an ongoing communication schedule with talent in order to keep the focus on achieving weekly goals.


key outcomes included:
  • improving overall production output by 26 percent
  • driving 50 percent employee participation in the first six weeks, and sustaining more than 70 percent employee participation from the 12-month mark onward
  • realizing an average attendance rate of 98 percent while cutting the average number of weekly absences in half


Chapter 6 Improved improved production output by 26%, increased employee participation by 70% and realized average attendance rate of 98% — all while cutting weekly absences in half.



These are only a few of the ways that staffing partners can help you transform your approach to staffing — and have clear bottom-line results to show for it. In the next chapter, we'll examine the value proposition of such a partnership in more granular detail.

chapter 7

how partners can help

If you're struggling to backfill for critical roles, you might be wondering if it makes sense to enlist the help of a staffing firm. After all, partnering with experts that have deep, broad-based talent networks available on demand could certainly save you time and money — while securing better candidates for your company, to boot.


Still not sure if partnering with a staffing firm is the right move for your company? In this chapter, we'll look at three major benefits of engaging a staffing partner, as well as some potential red flags to watch out for.


TwoPeopleTable_illustration_UseBackgroundBlue_RGB partnering with a staffing firm can save you time and money and deliver better candidates in the end.


shorter time to fill

Unemployment in the U.S. continues to be at a historic low, which means the shortage of qualified talent afflicting nearly every industry is becoming an entrenched fact of life. And it also means that partnering with a staffing firm, and gaining access to a large network of qualified talent, can be a huge advantage. As discussed in chapter four, the average time to fill at most organizations right now is north of 30 days — which is 30 days you don't have to spare. Hiring managers already have a lot on their plates, and each day they spend interviewing and vetting candidates is a day not spent generating revenue.


red flag
Beware of staffing firms that don't listen carefully to your needs. A firm that's willing to send you resumes after just reading a job description — without learning about your company culture, work style and specific requirements — is simply going to flood your inbox with the wrong candidates.


ClockHistory_illustration_UseBackgroundRed_RGB average time to fill at most organizations is over 30 days, putting a month-long strain on resources.


capacity to scale

Even the most steadfast companies can experience some level of variance in demand from one quarter to the next. When you partner with staffing firms that have global reach and deep rosters of qualified demand, that's not a problem. Staffing partners can flex and scale to meet your growth needs, ensuring that business continues as usual and that the quality of your services or products is not sacrificed when demand spikes.


red flag
There are many different types of staffing firms, and not all of them are well equipped to adapt to meet your needs. Most boutique or niche staffing firms, for example, won't be able to service multiple geographic locations or source qualified candidates for a wide range of different specialties.


on turquoise-1 a good staffing partner should be able to flex and scale to meet your growth needs.


cost savings

Somewhere between background checks and pre-employment screening, the hiring process can get expensive fast. Engaging a staffing partner can help you avoid these costs, reduce HR overhead and save money — both in the short and long run. Indeed, the best firms are able to deliver best-fit talent to businesses from day one. By sourcing superior candidates, moreover, they can help you select the perfect candidate for every role. And given that the cost of making a bad hire can be as much as 30 percent of that person's first-year earnings, getting it right the first time is essential. Plus, because these staffing experts will be well versed in the latest trends in your industry and market, they can also coach you on best practices across multiple areas of your operations.


red flag
Look out for staffing companies that are not transparent about their billing approach. The best won't try to charge hidden fees or tack on unnecessary services. Always inquire about billing practices before beginning an engagement with a staffing partner.


Ch7_30percent the cost of making a bad hire can be as much as 30% of an employee’s first-year salary.



Congratulations! You've made it this far — which means you're probably ready to take all of the insights you've learned and put them into practice. In the next chapter, we'll show you how.

take all of the insights you've learned and put them into practice. In the next chapter, we'll show you how.

chapter 8

next steps

data-driven, human-powered talent solutions tailored to your business

Staffing partners like Randstad leverage deep domain expertise, together with advanced technology capabilities, to create customized talent solutions for clients — and that should not only give you a leg up on the competition today, but help power the success of your business down the line.


are you ready?
Ready to find out how we can transform your approach to staffing? Your journey to best-in-class begins here.
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