Thor has his magical hammer, Mjölnir, which gives him control over thunder and lightning. Batman has a wealth of tools and gadgets to combat his adversaries. Captain America has his indestructible shield. And, well, you get the idea.
Torn from the pages of comic books and adolescent-oriented novels, a multitude of super heroes and heroines have been at the center of many block-buster movies recently. They each have an edge that, as special or as powerful as it may be, is less important than the superhero’s indomitable spirit and the manner in which they use their edge.
But you and I are not superheroes. As much as we might want to be. Yet that does not stop us from wanting, and needing, a powerful edge when doing business.
In business, we should always be on the lookout for a similarly potent edge. I imagine that right now you’re wishing you could wave a magic wand like Harry Potter and make something happen to aid your success. Or at least turn your competitors into frogs. Wishful thinking perhaps, but there is no reason that you can’t find, develop and implement your own, very special, edge.
The staffing and recruiting industry is full of entrepreneurs. They have built their business on delivering superior customer service while putting people to work. The challenge comes when your business is seen as a commodity. When customer perception is that every staffing and recruiting company comes to it claiming “…we deliver super customer service,” the obvious response is, “prove it.”
Can you prove your superiority?
One edge you may have is a means to measure and report on every aspect of your business performance that demonstrates quantifiable standards of customer service performance. Does your staffing and recruiting software enable you to measure all of your critical Key Performance Indicators at every level? With that information in hand, it becomes not just a good sales tool, but a means for the entire organization to perform at higher levels of efficiency and profitability. The test – the big one that sets superheroes apart from merely adequate performers – is to have the discipline and will to use those measurements. You must apply them every day to your business, your candidates, employees, and, yes, your customers.
But what do you do when everyone else claims to have metrics proving their performance? Are you doomed to remain a commoditized, non-very-super, service?
No. In my opinion, metrics (or analytics) when used to define, enhance, and assure levels of performance are a foundational building block critical to the success of any business. In fact, top performing companies are three times more likely to be leading users of metrics and analysis than their intuition according to a report by IBM Institute for Business Value and MIT Sloan Management Review.
But they are not in and of themselves the only edge that you may have to become a superhero. Peter Drucker, a leading business management guru, once quoted Czech author Milan Kundera, saying, “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.” Please note that he did NOT say “measure and sell.” Good metrics and sales skills will get you in the game, it may make you highly competitive, but it probably will not make you THE go-to staffing and recruiting firm in your space.
To be a superhero to your customers, candidates and employees, you need a better edge. Or edges. How? Integrate your metrics with a strong service differentiator, a specific focus that you can excel at and outperform your competition at on a consistent basis. Your edge then becomes uniquely yours. That makes you powerful. Unbeatable. A superhero.
For example, many industry experts point to the value of focusing on a specific staffing or recruiting niche. Then you could add even more value to your service offering by thoroughly testing every candidate/employee to assure your customers that the employees offered would meet their skills requirements AND were a high-performing good cultural fit with the organization.
Or perhaps you could take your metrics to really dig deep and analyze your customer’s staffing and recruiting needs. A Vulcan mind meld of sorts for you Trekkies out there. With that data you could show them what may be a better, more efficient and cost effective means to handle their talent. And thus become a strategic super partner instead of a vendor. Another metrics-based edge may be to use feedback from your staff, employees and customers to find areas of your business that can be improved. A one percent improvement in your processes here or there will lead to significant compounded profits over time.
There are many unique edges that you may exploit. But they take effort to find, develop and fit within your business. And there’s no doubt that it takes perseverance to practice them day in and day out. But those edges, when you master them, become powerful tools that give you the ability to compete, win, and be a world-class superhero.
So, what’s your edge?