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Steve Isenberg

Game Changers for 2021 Staffing Industry: Diversity and Personal Connections

Posted on: March 25, 2021

By: Steve Isenberg

It’s game on for the staffing industry. As the U.S. economy continues to open and unemployment rates trend downward, a whole lot is going on in the hiring world. Displaced workers seek new or better jobs, often in a different field than where they worked pre-pandemic. Employers “stocking up” in some departments while going lean in other areas, due to the pandemic’s impact on their products or services.

Every recruiter in the industry has buckled in for the ride ahead. So, what will make your staffing firm stand out among a sea of hardworking, determined recruiters as we forge ahead in 2021?

Two key areas come to mind as we navigate the wake of 2020’s choppy waters: a focus on diversity in the workplace and the importance of making personal connections.

The COVID-19 outbreak rocked people’s lives to the core, leaving both individuals and families vulnerable, hurting, and yearning for personal connections. The social justice movements that swept across our country throughout 2020 heightened our collective awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace.

So, let’s dive in for a check-up of these key components as they relate to your staffing firm’s marketing strategy, to ratchet up your standings in the competitive staffing climate of 2021.


Now more than ever, the name of the game is connections, for both candidates and clients trying to navigate through the waves of change pounding nearly every industry.

For candidates trying to embrace an upside-down workplace or struggling to fit their skillset into an entirely different industry, your firm can be the beacon that guides their new career path. That guidance may well require a listening ear and a sympathetic shoulder, a firm but friendly nudge to grasp a new opportunity and inspiration to strike out boldly, or in many instances, a combination of these personal-connection type encounters. Encouragement to brush up on skills or seek additional training. An affirmation that he/she has what it takes to succeed in this ever-changing employment landscape. Your personal connection can make a world of difference.

Your marketing efforts must leave folks believing that you appreciate what they are going through. And because you grasp their situation, you will put in the time to understand their specific needs. The bottom-line message your marketing must convey is that they can trust you at this critical juncture in their life, in the life of their business. And then, of course, it’s up to your A+ customer service, attention to detail, and second-to-none follow-through to assure them they are indeed in capable hands.


Research is increasingly noting the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace among today’s job seekers. A growing number of people have indicated they would turn down a job offer from a company whose culture did not support a diverse workforce. Not surprisingly, Millennials and Gen Xers place a higher value on workplace diversity than any other generation.

“There will be a continued focus on DEI in 2021 – no change there,” predicts Tony Lee, VP of editorial at SHRM. “People who may not have been considered before, such as people with physical disabilities, criminal histories, those without a college degree,” says Lee. “Broadening the definition of what an effective, successful candidate looks like can help make sure you’re more inclusive.”

These “untapped talent” sources can be utilized to fill positions in sectors challenged to find enough workers—if staffing firms initiate strategies to scope out these too often overlooked candidates.

Research also reveals that a diverse workforce is good for business as it boosts innovation and creativity, engagement, and productivity. Problem-solving also gets a shot in the arm, as does overall productivity.

McKinsey‘s 2019 “Diversity Wins” report found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile—up from 21 percent in 2017 and 15 percent in 2014. For ethnic and cultural diversity, top-quartile companies were 36% more profitable.

All of this means staffing firms must review their marketing efforts with a critical eye if they want to help clients achieve greater diversity across their workforce. Check language, images, perceptions, and overall messages for a vibe that celebrates equality and inclusivity rather than gender, age, or ethnic biases. This review process should also include the avenues a firm uses for sourcing candidates. How do your regular haunts measure up? And are these familiar, go-to sourcing avenues helping or hindering your opportunities to connect with a diverse talent pool? Engaging with people from a variety of backgrounds is key to greater diversity within your talent pool.

Standing out amongst the crowd takes a consistent, well-crafted marketing strategy, one that pivots when needed, put together by a forward-looking, trend-tracking team. And that’s where ASJ Partners can assist. We take the time to get to know your company, to determine how our expertise can be put to work for you. Our team is standing by, so why not give us a call or contact us via our website today?



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