The Full Desk Experience

In this episode, Joshua Smith sheds light on the transformative power of technology in recruitment—from the use of mobile recruiting vans to the ethical implementation of AI and data analytics that are redefining industry practices. We'll explore how investing in both candidates and clients through training and upskilling is not just important but essential for thriving in tomorrow's job market.

In this episode, Joshua reminds us of the enduring importance of human connections in a tech-driven world and shares his valuable insights on evolving workforce dynamics, the impact of COVID-19, and the emerging trends shaping the future of work.

So, prepare to challenge the status quo with us as we discuss compliance, governance, and safeguarding information, and delve into the vital role of collaboration and innovation in steering the staffing and recruiting industry forward.

Join us for an exciting journey towards understanding how the staffing and recruiting landscape is not just adapting but also anticipating the shifts in a complex economy, catering to a market that values stability, flexibility, and the developmental potential of talent.

Joshua Smith is currently on the Adecco US Leadership Team serving as Senior Vice President of the West Region, as well as leading their national MSP practice. With nearly two decades of experience in the staffing and workforce solutions industry, Joshua is renowned for his track record in building top-performing leadership teams, fostering winning cultures, and guiding organizational vision.

During his previous tenure with another staffing group, Joshua consistently exceeded growth targets, including a remarkable increase in profitability by over 200% in a four-year period. His pragmatic and people-first approach to leadership has been observed firsthand, driving teams to reach their fullest potential through cross-functional collaboration and customer-focused growth strategies.

Joshua's leadership ethos centers on fostering a collaborative environment where innovation thrives and individuals are empowered to realize their true potential. His charismatic and strategic leadership style inspires teams to overcome challenges and achieve greatness together, consistently pushing boundaries and pursuing groundbreaking solutions. With a relentless pursuit of excellence, Joshua is committed to fostering a shared purpose and empowering each team member to contribute their best.

Residing in Arlington, Texas, with his wife and four children, Joshua's career is defined by his deep understanding of the power of people and purpose. He believes that true success extends beyond numbers, emphasizing the profound impact on individuals and businesses alike.

What is The Full Desk Experience?

Welcome to The Full Desk Experience, a podcast for leaders in the staffing and recruiting industry. Hosted by Kortney Harmon, Director of Industry Relations at Crelate, this show is designed to provide insights and tips from a highly knowledgeable consultant in the field.

Join us live (or catch the replay) in our Workshop series, where Kortney delivers expert advice and actionable tips for you to take to your firms immediately.

In the Industry Spotlight series, Kortney interviews industry experts and leaders, highlighting their journeys to success and key insights into the staffing and recruiting industry.

Don't have an hour to dedicate to a podcast? Listen in to our FDE Express - where you'll get quick-hit insights and tips in 10 minutes or less.

With new episodes dropping weekly, this is the perfect opportunity to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices in the industry. Don't miss out - join us for The Full Desk Experience today! If you'd like to attend the live session, be sure to visit our website for more information.

Joshua Smith [00:00:00]:
But the human to human component of recruitment and staffing and just relationships in general, I think will always remain as is. That's something that gives me confidence. It makes me feel less concerned about the potential takeover of AI, displacing the recruiting industry as a whole, because I just don't see a world where that exists knowing that human to human connection is so very important.

Kortney Harmon [00:00:23]:
Hi, I'm Kortney Harmon, director of industry relations at Crelate. This is the industry Spotlight, a series of the full Desk Experience, a Crelate original podcast. In this series, we will talk with top leaders and influencers who are shaping the talent industry, shining a light on popular trends, the latest news and the stories that laid the groundwork for their success. Welcome back to another episode of the full Desk Experience. Industry Spotlight welcome to another episode of the full desk experience industry Spotlight. I'm your host, Kortney Harmon and I am so excited today to have Joshua Smith. He's our senior vp at Adecco Group. They're one of the leading staffing and recruiting firms in the industry.

Kortney Harmon [00:01:11]:
Joshua has had nearly 20 years of experience spanning executive leadership, revenue growth, profitability, digital transformation and he's going to be sharing his insights on the state of recruiting and maybe where we're heading into 2024, the trends, the challenges and opportunities really shaping our industry. We may even touch on how data and AI are transforming our industry and what it takes to meet the rising candidate expectations and strategies for companies to adapt in this ever evolving talent landscape. It's a critical moment for recruiters and staffing professionals as we pivot to remain effective in our markets. I'm looking forward to this super insightful discussion and the future of our industry. So Joshua, thank you so much for joining me today. Do me a favor, tell our listeners a little bit more about you, your journey to how you got to where you are today, and maybe more about your role here at Adecco.

Joshua Smith [00:02:09]:

Joshua Smith [00:02:09]:
Thank you, Kortney. And I just want to start by saying thank you for having me on.

Joshua Smith [00:02:12]:
It's great to be here with you.

Joshua Smith [00:02:13]:
And I look forward to our discussion today.

Joshua Smith [00:02:16]:
As you mentioned, working for Adecco, we.

Joshua Smith [00:02:19]:
Are one of the largest workforce solutions providers in the world and part of the Adecco group. I have been in the industry for 20 years is something that I'm super.

Joshua Smith [00:02:29]:
Passionate about and love so much right now.

Joshua Smith [00:02:33]:
Today I'm the leader of our west region for Adecco North America and that means nothing to you.

Joshua Smith [00:02:39]:
So I'll tell you what that actually means to me.

Joshua Smith [00:02:41]:
I manage our on sites and branch network our sales, service and delivery from Texas up to the Dakotas and everything west to the California coastline. And I also have the good fortune of leading our Adecco MSP group, our.

Joshua Smith [00:02:55]:
Managed services division, where we provide MSP.

Joshua Smith [00:02:58]:
Solutions to our customers that are looking.

Joshua Smith [00:03:00]:
To consolidate vendors into a managed ecosystem.

Joshua Smith [00:03:03]:
Where we have a tremendous amount of success. I started in this industry in 2004, and like most people who ended up in this industry, I did not have ambition to become a staffing industry career consultant.

Joshua Smith [00:03:16]:
However, I was introduced to a personal.

Joshua Smith [00:03:20]:
Friend of mine today and someone that I respect and seen very highly. I was a young college kid, didn't really know what I wanted to do with my life.

Joshua Smith [00:03:27]:
I graduated and she said, hey, have.

Joshua Smith [00:03:30]:
You ever considered becoming a contractor? I'm like, what does that mean? Tell me more about that. And so after several conversations and walking through the process of preparing myself to go into a corporate environment, I actually became a temporary employee for a large cosmetics company. My first professional job out of college, I went to work in a brand development department of marketing for a cosmetics company in Dallas, where I stayed for a few months.

Joshua Smith [00:03:55]:
And then after that period of time, I was actually approached by the agency at the time pro staff and said.

Joshua Smith [00:04:01]:
Hey, why don't you come work for us full time as a recruiter? I'm like, huh, that sounds interesting. Tell me more about that. And little did I know it would be something that I would fall deeply in love with.

Joshua Smith [00:04:11]:
And over the next 20 years, I.

Joshua Smith [00:04:13]:
Would have the opportunity to work on a recruiting capacity, in a sales capacity, and a leadership capacity. I've been able to touch all different aspects of this industry, working with thousands of different customers across thousands of different.

Joshua Smith [00:04:27]:
Industry verticals, and working with just so many wonderful people.

Joshua Smith [00:04:30]:
And until I'm here today with you, and I'm so excited to be able to talk about some of the things that are relevant in today's marketplace.

Kortney Harmon [00:04:37]:
I love that it never seems like any of us get into this industry intentionally. Like, hey, I want to grow up to be a recruiter, but those of us who are here are lifers. We're stuck, and we truly have the passion for helping people, and I think that's why we're all here. Sounds like that was the same with you.

Joshua Smith [00:04:53]:

Kortney Harmon [00:04:54]:
I love it.

Joshua Smith [00:04:55]:

Kortney Harmon [00:04:56]:
I know you've seen a lot of things in this industry, so kind of, let's start with, give me an overview of the landscape, the recruiting and staffing landscape as we head into 2024. So what does that look like? And are you, are you seeing any trends are you seeing it? I'm obviously, I've seen each other at a lot of conferences. Talk to me about, like, the things that are going through your head and trends that you're seeing in this industry.

Joshua Smith [00:05:20]:
Yeah, I mean, this is something that's.

Joshua Smith [00:05:22]:
Why I love this industry so much.

Joshua Smith [00:05:23]:
Kortney, is that we've always got a.

Joshua Smith [00:05:25]:
New challenge that we're trying to face.

Joshua Smith [00:05:26]:
And I'll start off by saying that I'm really poised and positive on the state of the economy. I think that we've overcome some headwinds.

Joshua Smith [00:05:35]:
As an economy over the past couple of years coming out of COVID and I think we've been very resilient and dynamic.

Joshua Smith [00:05:41]:
And so what we've seen is just a very strong participation rate by the workforce. I think that what we're going to see this year is there's a few things that I think will stand out that will really define this year.

Joshua Smith [00:05:51]:
So I think the first thing is we're probably going to see a bit.

Joshua Smith [00:05:54]:
More stability in the workforce where historically we've seen individuals leaving for opportunity on.

Joshua Smith [00:06:01]:
A more advanced basis. I think that with some of the economic uncertainty that presented itself last year.

Joshua Smith [00:06:08]:
And carrying into this year, employees are.

Joshua Smith [00:06:10]:
Going to be just probably less inclined to want to leave for new opportunities.

Joshua Smith [00:06:15]:
I think at the same time, job.

Joshua Smith [00:06:16]:
Seekers are actually going to seek out.

Joshua Smith [00:06:18]:
Companies that can offer that stability. So where we saw over the last.

Joshua Smith [00:06:23]:
24 months, we saw a lot of.

Joshua Smith [00:06:24]:
Job movement for financial opportunity.

Joshua Smith [00:06:27]:
I think what we're going to see now is more movement around stability and feeling that element of safety.

Joshua Smith [00:06:33]:
I think we're also going to see.

Joshua Smith [00:06:34]:
That flexibility will continue to be key, whether it's professional roles that require or have a high desired appetite for remote.

Joshua Smith [00:06:42]:
Work or hybrid work, where we have.

Joshua Smith [00:06:45]:
On premise models where individuals are coming.

Joshua Smith [00:06:47]:
Into offices or work sites where there's.

Joshua Smith [00:06:49]:
Flexibility in scheduling that allows the employee to really have control, potentially over some.

Joshua Smith [00:06:56]:
Of the scheduling nuances and variation that.

Joshua Smith [00:06:59]:
Might need to be able to meet the needs of their personal lives, their families, etcetera. I think we're also going to see retirees returning into the workplace.

Joshua Smith [00:07:07]:
And so inflation is something that's real.

Joshua Smith [00:07:10]:
And it's hit a lot of people.

Joshua Smith [00:07:11]:
And as a result, we've got individuals.

Joshua Smith [00:07:14]:
That may consider coming back into the workplace because they need to have additional opportunity to earn financial opportunity. And quite frankly, there's a need for.

Joshua Smith [00:07:21]:
That in the market. We're in a really dynamic point in.

Joshua Smith [00:07:24]:
Time this year, and I don't know if you've heard of peak 65 have you heard of peak 65, Kortney?

Kortney Harmon [00:07:28]:
I have.

Joshua Smith [00:07:29]:

Joshua Smith [00:07:30]:
So for those that are listening, in.

Joshua Smith [00:07:32]:
Today, peak 65, we will have the.

Joshua Smith [00:07:35]:
Largest percentage or largest number of volume of individuals retiring from the workforce.

Joshua Smith [00:07:41]:
About 4.1 million will retire from the.

Joshua Smith [00:07:44]:
Workforce, from the baby builder generation between now and 2024.

Joshua Smith [00:07:48]:
And so that's going to create, obviously.

Joshua Smith [00:07:50]:
A lot of ripple effect inside of the industry. It's also going to create a lot of opportunity that we'll talk about as we look at kind of a future.

Joshua Smith [00:07:57]:
State and challenges that are facing the.

Joshua Smith [00:07:59]:
Dynamics of recruitment today.

Joshua Smith [00:08:01]:
And then the last thing I think is just AI. I know you've heard of AI.

Joshua Smith [00:08:05]:
Everybody has. It's a big buzzword. And so what does that look like in the workplace? How's it going to impact our day to day jobs? Are we all going to be replaced by robots and machines? No, I'm here to tell you we won't be. You and I both know that we're in this industry because it's a people first industry. And so I think that's rooted in foundation for staffing and recruitment.

Joshua Smith [00:08:23]:
It's a people first business. And so I think AI and its.

Joshua Smith [00:08:26]:
Use will be complimentary and will act as an enablement function to the work that we do to make us more efficient and more impactful in some instances. But that's another big thing that I think we'll see a continuation of development discussion around.

Kortney Harmon [00:08:39]:
I love that I had some recent conversations with some people that have been in the industry for a very long time. And they are like, the phone was the first thing that people were like. I remember the push, like the call, long distance call button, and then they're like, LinkedIn. It was going to destroy our industry. And then job boards, we've kind of all been through this. It's kind of like the greater evil. And we're here again. I think it's going to be interesting to see where the next year takes us because I think it's going to be fast.

Kortney Harmon [00:09:05]:
We've seen AI be very fast thus far, so I'm excited. We'll dive in more with AI and kind of what you guys are doing here in a minute. But I love those insights. The peak 65. The numbers are astounding to me.

Joshua Smith [00:09:18]:
It's incredible.

Joshua Smith [00:09:19]:
It's going to be something really fun.

Joshua Smith [00:09:21]:
To be a part of, and so.

Joshua Smith [00:09:23]:
We'Ll be ready to go. And I think that what I love about all this, Kortney, is we're at a place where we've never been before as an economy and as an where we can truly become pioneers for how we move forward into what the new era of employment recruitment collectively look like for not only people looking for work, but also for companies that are looking to hire talented associates.

Kortney Harmon [00:09:44]:
I love that you talked a little bit about challenges. I really want to dive into that. So what are the, some of the biggest challenges, Adecco, your organization, what they're facing today, and maybe how are you helping your teams overcome those hurdles? Because if you're facing them, I know everyone's facing them. So talk to me a little bit about those.

Joshua Smith [00:10:02]:
Yeah, I mean, I think that, again.

Joshua Smith [00:10:04]:
We'Re in a really strong, resilient economy that has faced a lot of headwinds, but we're starting to build momentum and we're getting to a place where I think there's a bit more confidence. I'd say the biggest challenge that really everybody still faces, from my perspective, when we talk to customers, when we talk to other companies inside of our industry, it's talent shortage. And the simple math behind that is that we still have more jobs than job seekers. About 1.3 jobs available for every job seeker. We continue to see unemployment at record lows. Employers are still challenged on finding and retaining top talent, and due to talent scarcity. I think it's important that employers understand.

Joshua Smith [00:10:44]:
That getting individuals in the door is.

Joshua Smith [00:10:47]:
Phase one, how they keep them there and grow them, to develop them so that they're not interested in leading to find opportunity for advancement or growth. That's very important.

Joshua Smith [00:10:55]:
But also we have to recognize that.

Joshua Smith [00:10:57]:
Again, going back to peak 65, we're.

Joshua Smith [00:10:59]:
Talking about 16 million people approximately exiting.

Joshua Smith [00:11:03]:
The workforce from the baby boomer generation.

Joshua Smith [00:11:06]:
And inside of that 16 million people.

Joshua Smith [00:11:08]:
There'S a tremendous amount of intellectual knowledge, of skill that simply may not exist in today's environment with some of the younger generations.

Joshua Smith [00:11:17]:
And so what we really see is.

Joshua Smith [00:11:18]:
An opportunity for employers and companies to change the way they hire. And because this continues to be a talent driven market, I think one of.

Joshua Smith [00:11:27]:
The big things that presents itself as.

Joshua Smith [00:11:29]:
Probably the greatest opportunity to the challenge is building employability. So how do we take an individual that has a tremendous amount of potential, they have an appetite for growth and development. How do we put that individual into an environment where we can invest in them through a variety of different means to develop their skills, to prepare them for the role that ultimately they want to have, and that requires work from organizations and that requires investment. I think that as we continue on those conversations and building awareness around the importance of building employability versus looking for a specific job title or experience track on a resume. We have to challenge ourselves as an organization and as an industry to be able to create that new narrative on how we find and identify talent for businesses.

Kortney Harmon [00:12:16]:
Absolutely. I think many people are seeing that across the industry. Are you seeing any? I mean, obviously talent shortage is one. It's probably one of the highest ones. Is there any other challenges you guys are seeing in the industry or in your organization?

Joshua Smith [00:12:30]:
Yeah, I mean, I think, look, it's, we have the consumer base.

Joshua Smith [00:12:35]:
They have an appetite for fast. They have an appetite for right now. You think about how we buy as an economy, we want things to come quick. It's how we shop, it's how we order food, etcetera. So I think one of the other.

Joshua Smith [00:12:46]:
Big things that I'm seeing is we.

Joshua Smith [00:12:48]:
Have to find workers where they are. So we have to bring the work to them. We have to create, we have to create a process that isn't clunky or bogged down. And what I hear time and time again from the perspective of employees is trying to find a job is the worst thing ever. It's a laborious process. Half the time I don't get calls back. Of course, these individuals are never talking about Adecko because we're very proud of the work we do in this area. But just in general, I think the process of trying to find a new job, number one, it's uncertain, it's scary.

Joshua Smith [00:13:22]:
There's a lot of emotional feeling that's tied into the process of being without a job or the process of looking to leave a job, to move to a new job, that's a very emotional process. And so if you take that and sprinkle in the fact that it's clunky and it's blocky in a lot of ways, we have to try to solve for that and not, and when I say we, I mean us as a society, as organizations, as practitioners and recruitment. And so I think that's a big thing that we're seeing, is just a continued advancement in how we leverage the latest technologies to really drive great value through digital capabilities that allow us to really act swiftly and give not only our potential hires, our candidates, our associates.

Joshua Smith [00:14:03]:
Opportunity quickly, but also to better meet.

Joshua Smith [00:14:05]:
The needs of our customers because they.

Joshua Smith [00:14:06]:
Too have the same desire for time. Speed.

Joshua Smith [00:14:10]:
Those are paramount of the utmost importance.

Kortney Harmon [00:14:13]:
Speed. And the idea of the talent shortage, they go hand in hand. Talk to me about maybe some strategies. So obviously, this talent shortage has impacted businesses and approach for our entire industry. Clients want things faster. There's less people to find we don't have that magic drawer that people think we have to pull out the golden resume just to hand them. Talk to me about strategies you guys have implemented to help attract top talent.

Joshua Smith [00:14:39]:

Joshua Smith [00:14:39]:
And I'm going to stick in the vein of building employability because that's something that we consider to be an anchor and something that we're very passionate about, not only in North America, but globally within the Adecco group, is that employability aspect. And so how do we take an individual and leverage their talents and their capabilities? And so we put a lot of work and investment into upskilling and reskilling. Upskilling being how do we graduate someone from a position they're in today into a position that requires a broader base range of skill sets? And how do we equip them with the resources and the tooling to be.

Joshua Smith [00:15:11]:
Able to do that effectively without having.

Joshua Smith [00:15:13]:
To completely exit the workforce? The next thing is reskilling.

Joshua Smith [00:15:17]:
And that's actually somebody making potentially a.

Joshua Smith [00:15:20]:
Dynamic move from one job to something completely different. And so how do we retool and help them reskill again while they're remaining gainfully employed so they can move and advance in the direction they want to see themselves go.

Joshua Smith [00:15:31]:
So I think that there's a lot.

Joshua Smith [00:15:33]:
Of focus around upskilling and reskilling. The challenge that we have there is time and money. They're seen as barriers. Right. Organizations we just talked about speed is so important. We know that the economy, there's pricing pressures. We know inflation had an impact on that. Fortunately, we're seeing some positive indications there.

Joshua Smith [00:15:52]:
But time and money are typically the greatest barriers.

Joshua Smith [00:15:56]:
But organizations will need to make that.

Joshua Smith [00:15:59]:
A priority because if they don't, we just talked about it, 16 million people exiting the workforce over the next four years.

Joshua Smith [00:16:05]:
And that's in addition to anything else.

Joshua Smith [00:16:07]:
That may be on top of that. And so it's going to be really important that organizations make that investment and make that a priority. And if they don't know how, it's going to be really important that they find a partner. They can help guide them and walk them through that process, because you don't.

Joshua Smith [00:16:20]:
Have to know it all. You don't have to be an expert.

Joshua Smith [00:16:22]:
In the art of upskilling and reskilling, but you should have a friend viz.

Joshua Smith [00:16:26]:
And that's going to be very important for organizations. In that same vein, it's really important to understand that it's not a one size fits all.

Joshua Smith [00:16:34]:
You can't take reskilling and upskilling. It's like fitting a square peg into a round hole.

Joshua Smith [00:16:39]:
It doesn't work.

Joshua Smith [00:16:40]:
I think different people learn best in.

Joshua Smith [00:16:42]:
Different ways, and so you have to.

Joshua Smith [00:16:43]:
Be adaptable in how you bring that opportunity to individuals. Retention being kind of the goldmine. Right. So it's more valuable to keep people that you have and to reinvest in those people, to have them continue to provide benefit to the organization. It provides them with a greater level of job satisfaction, and it feels as though the companies are investing, and so they're important, they're valuable.

Joshua Smith [00:17:05]:
But organizations have to realize that there's.

Joshua Smith [00:17:08]:
A number of different ways that you can do that. So as an example, do you offer instructor led training, or do you offer self paced training, or do you offer a combination of both? Should programs be more casual? Should they be more intensive and rigorous? So there's a number of things that organizations can look at. But again, I go back to, I see this as such a tremendous opportunity for the industry as a whole where we can truly evolve and we can change the way that we put people to work. And I think that that really touches.

Joshua Smith [00:17:36]:
On another big area, which is how.

Joshua Smith [00:17:39]:
Do we move people from that underemployed opportunity where they have so much potential, they just don't know how to get to that next step and provide them that platform to do so, which helps.

Joshua Smith [00:17:49]:
Us in our mission to make the.

Joshua Smith [00:17:51]:
Future work for everyone. So I think that that's really incredibly important for us. Kortney, and I'm glad we talked about it.

Kortney Harmon [00:17:56]:
I love that. And oftentimes we always talk about being, having the investment in our clients, make sure that that gives us revenue. But I love this flip side of the coin. It's the investment in the candidates, the talent. It's why we got into this industry in the first place. And you spoke to my l and D heart when you just said training, understanding how people are learning how to upskill them. I think that's a really valuable thing that's sometimes often overlooked because we're too busy. We're too busy in our cycles.

Kortney Harmon [00:18:23]:
And I don't mean this in a bad way, but when we get into these cycles of filling a job, needing a job, making sure we're doing everything we can, it's moving at such a fast pace, and we often miss the engagement part, we miss the human part. So I love that you touched on that. I do absolutely agree with you. It's something that's going to be huge in the future. I just talked to Joanne Bailey about the same thing and what they do at employee bridge and the programs that investing, and it's really showing the value of giving back and going beyond the transactional in our business. I love it. We talked about it. You kind of talked about it in the, in the intro.

Kortney Harmon [00:18:57]:
Let's talk about AI. I mean, it's everywhere. It is every person's conversation right now. So talk to me about maybe some ways that your organization is leveraging technology, like AI and or automations to improve recruiting efficiencies and outcomes. And maybe have they had an impact on your roles within your organization.

Joshua Smith [00:19:17]:
Sure. Yeah. I mean, look, I love the discussion. I love innovation.

Joshua Smith [00:19:21]:
I love technology. I love when we can think about doing things better and faster.

Joshua Smith [00:19:26]:
I love how AI came on the.

Joshua Smith [00:19:29]:
Scene last year and everybody thought jobs were going to be eliminated and oh my gosh, nobody's going to be working. It's going to be taken over by AI and robots. And the reality is we're still in the same place. We're probably actually in a place where we're a bit more conservative about the use of AI, simply because we know more now than we did when this really rushed onto the sea with GPT and generative AI functions. And so I would say for us.

Joshua Smith [00:19:52]:
As the Adecco group, we don't plan.

Joshua Smith [00:19:54]:
To simply take the technology and put it in the hands of our recruiters. I think we want to infuse our own capabilities and business processes with technology to determine, like where is the best use case for generative AI. And right now we have over 50 different use cases that we're evaluating on where we could be purposeful and intentional with the use of AI. I think that the most important thing about AI, though, is discipline around compliance and governance.

Joshua Smith [00:20:22]:
There's a bit of a concern about.

Joshua Smith [00:20:23]:
The unregulated nature of generative AI and bias that exists inside of that platform. So we want to be very practical and pragmatic about how we look at leveraging technologies and how we equip our resources in the field to be able to leverage it. And so one of the first things we did as an organization is we put out guidelines on compliance and built parameters around the use of the free sites. You know, when we think about chat GPT and guidelines for compliant usage, we had to make sure we got out in front of that absolutely first and foremost, and put awareness around the benefits, but more importantly, the risks of leveraging chat GPT. Just so there was a general awareness and we always kept looping.

Joshua Smith [00:21:04]:
I think as we think about our.

Joshua Smith [00:21:06]:
Exploration of generative AI, it's really three main things I just talked about one, which was the use of public applications.

Joshua Smith [00:21:14]:
Like chat, GPT, we talked about that exist.

Joshua Smith [00:21:17]:
And so from an awareness standpoint, we had to make sure we were diligent.

Joshua Smith [00:21:20]:
Around building compliance to ensure that any.

Joshua Smith [00:21:23]:
Utilization was used in a compliant way.

Joshua Smith [00:21:25]:
The second thing is how do we.

Joshua Smith [00:21:27]:
Look at third party applications? And so working with all the major software platforms, working with our main members to understand what are they doing from an AI standpoint that can actually help solve for some of the things that we're considering as part of our ambition.

Joshua Smith [00:21:41]:
And then the third thing is, are.

Joshua Smith [00:21:43]:
There things that we can do directly? Can we establish a technical framework for high priority use cases where we actually build something internally that leverages the functionality of a generative AI ambition? And so I think that it's going to be really important, but we're not in a rush. We want to make the right moves and we want to make balanced moves that we know will have a high degree of impact. I think we've still got a lot of work to do as an industry to really define good and safe practices for generative AI. And I think we're doing all of those things.

Joshua Smith [00:22:13]:
It's going to be exciting to see.

Joshua Smith [00:22:14]:
Where this technology goes. The one thing I will say I feel the utmost certainty in is that the emotional aspect that comes with human to human contact, that will never, and I don't think it could ever be replaced. I'm not a technical expert, but I'm speaking from my perspective, is emotional intelligence that exists in humanity can never be replaced fully by technology. I think there's ways that we can leverage technology like generative AI to enable us to become more efficient in certain areas. But the human to human component of recruitment and staffing and just relationships in general, I think will always remain as it is. That's something that gives me confidence. It makes me feel less concerned about.

Joshua Smith [00:22:57]:
The potential takeover of AI, displacing the.

Joshua Smith [00:23:00]:
Recruiting industry as a whole, because I just don't see a world where that exists knowing that human to human connection is so very important.

Kortney Harmon [00:23:07]:
I love that, and that's so true. We're not living in what was the movie I robot with Will Smith. Yes, we're not there yet. It is really the idea of I love the precaution and the word of advice. Those things are amazing. But you have to watch what you're putting in. Is it your candidate's information? Is it your client's personal information that PII is so valuable and important and really having use cases around those is a great, great first step. So that is a wonderful piece of advice for any organizations that currently do not have that in check because that's step number one.

Kortney Harmon [00:23:39]:
And there's a lot of, there's a lot of legal cases going on. There's a lot to watch and there's going, this is going to develop much, much more in the upcoming months and of course years.

Joshua Smith [00:23:47]:
Absolutely. I want to go back to just.

Joshua Smith [00:23:50]:
Technology outside of AI, right.

Joshua Smith [00:23:52]:
And in the vein of consumer demand.

Joshua Smith [00:23:55]:
And really, I wouldn't say demand, it's just expectation at this point, right. We don't transact with places that take a long time to get stuff done. And so we have to treat our candidates and our customers in that same light where we need to act with the intent of quality but also speed. And so where we incorporate technology into our processes, on the recruitment, on the recruitment side, with sourcing and attraction, with our interview and assessment processes, onboarding and placement, any associate care or post hire engagement. And then lastly, I think this is so important is market intelligence and research. We have really robust awareness and governance around our technology and our digitalization strategy. And I think we've got among the best in the industry when it comes to that. Really it's from the mindset of how do we make it as easy as possible for someone who's considering work or looking for opportunity to find that work in the most accelerated and efficient manner.

Joshua Smith [00:24:48]:
And the same thing for our customers, we want to be very easy to work with. And so how can we enable technology to help create ease of relationship or partnership with our customers?

Joshua Smith [00:24:57]:
And then we're doing things like this.

Joshua Smith [00:24:59]:
Is something that isn't necessarily in the vein of technology, but it is in.

Joshua Smith [00:25:02]:
The vein of going to employees or.

Joshua Smith [00:25:05]:
Finding employees where they are. And so we have these really cool things called mobile recruiting vans, mobile recruiting units in the west region because we've got California, our van is affectionately known as Silicon Valley. So what that is, is that's a van that we take out and it's equipped and outfitted with workstations and terminals. We take it out for hiring events. We go to public events where there's large congregations of individuals that may be in need of work and we bring.

Joshua Smith [00:25:33]:
The work to them.

Joshua Smith [00:25:34]:
We've got several of those throughout the US. And that's a really fun and effective way for us to go to where our candidates are.

Joshua Smith [00:25:39]:
And that's something that I think is.

Joshua Smith [00:25:41]:
Definite point of differentiation where we looked at how can we solve for a challenge of meeting people where they are well let's put a Silicon valley in.

Joshua Smith [00:25:48]:
That market and do just that.

Kortney Harmon [00:25:50]:
I love the name. That's more attractive than anything. That's too funny. I love that. I haven't heard of that yet. So that it's very unique. I mean, on my level, when I was running a desk, I was an it. So it was.

Kortney Harmon [00:26:03]:
I mean, we were a part of user groups, like meeting them where they were. That is so important. It's not just in the world of post and pray anymore. You have to go outside of it, outside of the norm. You can't just expect people to come knock on your door. But it's how can you stand out? How can you meet them where they are? And I love that. Yes, too funny. Okay, you mentioned just a smidge ago about analytics.

Kortney Harmon [00:26:26]:
Data and analytics is playing a bigger role in staffing and recruiting agencies. I know we talked before about, you guys have tremendous amount of data internally, obviously with our external sources as well. How is your firm utilizing data to gain insights to improve your overall results of Adecco?

Joshua Smith [00:26:47]:
I think that data acts as the source and the guide. We act on fact, not feel. And I think that that's so important. And fortunately for Adecco, we have one of the most robust and plentiful static stations in the world, simply because of who we are, operating in 60 different countries around the world, and employing over 600,000 people and our customers and job sites.

Joshua Smith [00:27:11]:
And so I think that gives us.

Joshua Smith [00:27:13]:
A really high capability to be able to pull data. And we also leverage third party, third party information where we marry together, a deco group data with industry market data.

Joshua Smith [00:27:24]:
And we make our decisions based off.

Joshua Smith [00:27:26]:
Of what that looks like. And I'll give an example of how we would use that in the business. When we talk with our customers, I think this becomes so beneficial. We all know that wage based inflation has been rampant over the last several years, and companies are really interested and keen to understand what is the market.

Joshua Smith [00:27:44]:
Saying about pay rates and opportunities to.

Joshua Smith [00:27:47]:
Try to make sure that we're at a baseline or that we're at a manageable level, because that tends to be a high impact cost on the business. And so leveraging guidance from wage analytics and labor analytics to be able to guide and provide information, not only internally for us to use with regard to how we assess talent and how we bring talent into our organization, but also externally with our customers doing that very same thing. And so I think that everything we do, every decision we make, is rooted.

Joshua Smith [00:28:12]:
In data, and that helps us to.

Joshua Smith [00:28:14]:
Have a confidence in what it is that we're doing in the direction that we're moving.

Kortney Harmon [00:28:17]:
It's amazing. Great advice and we oftentimes, again, we get so caught up in the day to day. To be able to step back and take a look at where we need to go is a great way to be able to make an assessment of what's next for your organization.

Joshua Smith [00:28:32]:

Kortney Harmon [00:28:34]:
What advice would you give companies who want to improve their recruiting in today's market? I know we talked about a few things already. Anything that you'd love to hone in on? Really give that piece of advice for. If they want to improve their recruiting of their organization in today's market, call the Adecko group.

Joshua Smith [00:28:52]:

Joshua Smith [00:28:54]:

Joshua Smith [00:28:55]:
I think that what I would say.

Joshua Smith [00:28:57]:
Is we're in a very dynamic and.

Joshua Smith [00:29:00]:
Pivotal point, I think, in the workforce. I think you need to be curious.

Joshua Smith [00:29:05]:
Curiosity can spark innovation.

Joshua Smith [00:29:07]:
So ask questions, challenge the status quo. If there are areas in the process that are clunky or that aren't working effectively, then challenge that outcome. And don't be afraid to make changes. I think that when you move yourself into a position of discomfort through change, that's typically when you see the most growth that occurs inside of organizations. So don't be afraid to try new things.

Joshua Smith [00:29:29]:
And at the end of the day.

Joshua Smith [00:29:30]:
Remember, you don't have to be an expert at recruitment and hiring. You can leverage an industry like ours, where it's full of experts, that this.

Joshua Smith [00:29:38]:
Is what we do for a living.

Joshua Smith [00:29:40]:
We can provide guidance and consultation to advise and direct and provide information that may help you solve for what it is you're looking to solve for. But just know that you don't have to go at it alone, ever.

Joshua Smith [00:29:51]:
We're at a point where we have.

Joshua Smith [00:29:52]:
Access to more data and information than ever before in history. And so there's a lot of it out there.

Joshua Smith [00:29:58]:
But I think that the main thing would be try new things.

Joshua Smith [00:30:01]:
Don't be afraid to change the process.

Joshua Smith [00:30:03]:
And to look at from a perspective.

Joshua Smith [00:30:05]:
Of not, well, we've always done it this way, but we're going to do it this way going forward because we recognize that the workforce dynamic has changed so much. We have to in order to stay competitive amongst our peers and our competition.

Kortney Harmon [00:30:17]:
Growth does not come from a place of comfort. That's what one of my favorite people always, they tell me religiously, they think that's great advice. There's times that people, it's been a common theme with organizations, as I'm talking to them, to say, evaluate your process. Now's the time. If you have a lull in your business. Recruiting's not the same as it was five years ago. Yes, we have the ebbs and flows, but it's changed. And if you haven't taken a look at your processes on an annual basis, at least that's a red flag.

Kortney Harmon [00:30:48]:
You have to step back and you have to look at those at least one time a year minimum.

Joshua Smith [00:30:52]:
Absolutely. I 100% agree.

Kortney Harmon [00:30:54]:
I love that. I only one more question for you. I'll make this painless.

Joshua Smith [00:30:59]:

Kortney Harmon [00:30:59]:
You talked about your excitement for our industry. Talk to me about what makes you most excited and optimistic for the future of our industry in staffing and recruiting.

Joshua Smith [00:31:09]:
Well, I think that what I'm seeing.

Joshua Smith [00:31:12]:
And what gets me most excited is I think in the US we have an extremely strong knowledge base for contingent workforce. I think the way we utilize contingent workforce here, the level of sophistication at the client level and the buyer level is unlike any anywhere else. And I think that that's very positive for us. I think that what I'm most excited about is I am seeing more companies that are challenging the status quo. They're challenging the way they look at external workforce, they're challenging the way they look at recruitment. And really economic headwinds that have occurred.

Joshua Smith [00:31:45]:
Over the last, really since COVID have.

Joshua Smith [00:31:48]:
Forced a lot of companies to be able to look at that. I think that what I'm most excited about is our industry is being elevated and viewed as such a valuable part to the workforce ecosystem in the US and around the world, because we provide access to wonderful top level talent that help companies solve their problems. And we have a variety of ways of doing that. I think the industry is full of tremendously talented people that we're working diligently not to focus on necessarily just what's in it for us today, but what's it going to be like three years from now, five years from now? How can we begin now to have the discussion and start the work streams on ways that we're going to solve for a future of work in the future, so that we're always prepared, we always provide value.

Joshua Smith [00:32:36]:
And the last thing I'd say is.

Joshua Smith [00:32:37]:
There'S never a dull moment in our industry. And all the things we just talked.

Joshua Smith [00:32:41]:
About, Kortney, allow us to continue to.

Joshua Smith [00:32:44]:
Operate from a position of being curious and innovating and disrupting. And I think there's a stronger appetite for that now than there ever has been before. And that's what excites me the most.

Kortney Harmon [00:32:56]:
I love your optimism. I love your excitement. I think we're in a really unique situation that it's going to be a fun ride ahead. And you're absolutely right. There is lots of good things to come. Wow. Words are hard today. It is a Friday.

Kortney Harmon [00:33:10]:
My goodness. Any last words of advice for any of our organizations that are looking to grow, scale? Any one liners? Any words of wisdom? Because you've been there. You've been truly a pioneer in our industry and a great thought leader. Any other words of, words of wisdom?

Joshua Smith [00:33:28]:
Words of wisdom? I think that just have confidence.

Joshua Smith [00:33:34]:
Have confidence in what you're doing.

Joshua Smith [00:33:36]:
Have confidence in change.

Joshua Smith [00:33:38]:
Have confidence in being okay with not knowing all the answers. And have confidence in having the ability to reach out to individuals, industry colleagues, peers or services providers that can help you solve for the issues that you have available.

Joshua Smith [00:33:54]:
I think without that confidence, that can.

Joshua Smith [00:33:57]:
Be a scary journey. But if you operate from a place of confidence, then really everything will fall into place the way that it's supposed to.

Kortney Harmon [00:34:03]:
It takes a village. That's what they say about kids. We could say that about work too. At this rate. It takes a village. I love it. Joshua, thank you so much for joining me today. I appreciate your insights, sharing your outlook, your optimism, what 2024 and beyond brings, and how to best prepare for that for our staffing and recruiting organizations.

Kortney Harmon [00:34:23]:
So thank you very much for joining us.

Joshua Smith [00:34:24]:
It was great to be here.

Joshua Smith [00:34:25]:
Thanks for the exciting dialogue and I appreciate the opportunity to be here with you today.

Kortney Harmon [00:34:29]:
Kortney, I know our listeners absolutely took away some valuable insights with our rapidly changing industry and really can take a look in with their own organization to see what they can do differently for the future and what's to come. So have a wonderful day. Thank you to all our listeners and we'll see you in the next episode. I'm Kortney Harmon with Krilate. Thanks for joining us for this episode of Industry Spotlight, a new series from the full Desk experience. New episodes will be dropping monthly. Be sure you're subscribed to our podcast so you can catch the next industry spotlight episode and all episodes of the full desk experience here or wherever you listen.