Andrew Karpie's Blog

"Driving Excellence in Staffing Operations:" Mike Cleland “writes the book” on the business of staffing

Even with all the talk of “technology, disruption, and disintermediation,” we all know -- to evoke Mark Twain -- that the reports of the demise of the staffing industry “have been greatly exaggerated.”   On the contrary, the staffing/work-arrangement intermediation industry is thriving, innovating, and will likely be a beneficiary of the changing needs of business, the shifting workforce demographics, the technology-based innovation—even the tectonic shifting of the regulatory landscape (IRS crackdown on ICs, Obamacare, et al).

That said, adapting to change will be critical to the success of individual firms, and staffing firm owners and managers will need to be super smart and agile in coming years.

For that reason, SIA has recently introduced its top-rated, comprehensive CCWP certification course. Still, besides this comprehensive course, staffing firm managers probably won't find any "compact,"  "off-the-shelf" educational reference, designed to help the managers and entrepreneurs of (supplier) staffing firms to understand what it takes to operate a staffing intermediary/supplier business in 2013 and way beyond.   That is, until now. 

 I recently finished reading Behind the Wheel: Driving Excellence in Staffing Operations, published this spring by staffing firm consultant and repeat SIA conference speaker, Mike Cleland.  I don’t believe there is a book like this—something that could be read as anything from a “staffing business 101” to a seasoned staffing manager’s "cockpit checklist."  The rendering of what it takes to successfully operate a staffing business in 2013 and going forward (“behind the wheel”) is both rigorous and easy to read and digest.  The treatment is also comprehensive, ranging from "strategic considerations" to "tactical specifics" such as “SG&A Costs,”  “Build Your Metrics Portfolio,” Develop the Governance Plan,” etc..

My favorite chapters are the early ones that are more strategic, but the majority of more tactical operational chapters completely held my interest (and from reading them, I learned an enormous amount about staffing operations). 

What I like most about the book is that it is not (not at all) just a dry “handbook” filled with noteworthy facts and details.  On the contrary, like Mike’s own sessions, it is a carefully-designed "informational/educational journey" for serious readers who want to come away more knowledgeable and capable as staffing firm managers in 2013.

But that’s not all:  the book is even more compelling and engaging because it is very clearly produced from the perspective of an experienced staffing professional who sees what changes are occurring and lie ahead for the industry and the operators in it.  And this is, in addition to all the above, what makes Behind The Wheel a “must read.” 

Drive forward, don’t spend too much time looking in the rear view mirror--keep your eye on the road, the dashboard, how the car is running.. While the future of the staffing industry is looking very bright indeed, there will certainly be winners and losers.

 BTW-The book can be obtained at Amazon, Google, or directly from the author's website:


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