Finding and retaining temporary workers are increasingly difficult for staffing agencies. The result is a lot of expensive recruitment efforts and difficult planning due to constant shortages. Temporary employment group People21 has a fresh vision of these challenges and wanted to do something about them. The question: How do we increase the job satisfaction of our temporary employees in order to bind them and how can we manage this in the future?
By using prototyping, the organization transformed step by step to a data-driven focus on job happiness among temporary workers. Using the Prototyping Work methodology provided a process, a method of continuous discovery and experimentation. Within six months, they achieved an increase in the NPS (Net Promoter Score) of 59% among the temporary workers.
“Prototyping heeft ons een nieuwe basis voor vernieuwing gegeven, waarbij daadwerkelijk iedereen op zijn eigen kracht kan deelnemen”
The challenge: Staff turnover is too high and difficulty looking ahead
The pressure on the entire staffing market is incredibly high in the Netherlands. For every 100 unemployed people, there are now 126 vacancies, the Central Bureau of Statistics calculates (Q3 2021). And especially for the so-called ‘blue-collar’ workers, with a lot of and sometimes heavy physical work. There is more demand than people available. Temporary employment agencies can’t find the people needed with existing clients, let alone new ones.
In addition, turnover is high: after the first month, on average 25% of temporary workers already leave again, the average length of stay of a temporary worker is 12 weeks. Considering the cost of recruitment and selection, these are expensive figures. And the wishes and requirements of temporary workers are increasing, so matching them with an assignment is also becoming increasingly difficult.
So it is for the staffing labels of People 21. The group has been active in the temporary employment industry for more than 25 years. The temporary employment companies are mainly active in sectors related to the first necessity of life (mostly in the supply of the food chain). With multiple offices across the country, they work every day to provide the best possible service to their colleagues and clients. And thus experience the challenges on a daily basis.
The vision of People 21 is very progressive in the staffing market. Financial figures say everything about the past and the present. Work happiness of the temporary workers is for them the most important predictive factor for the future of their temporary employment agency. People 21 therefore asked Prototyping Work to help with a culture change within the organization that would lead to a structural management and increase in job satisfaction of the temporary workers, measured by the NPS (Net Promoter Score). At the same time, this process had to be in line with the hectic daily reality in the temporary agency sector.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) indicates how likely it is that people will recommend your company to friends and acquaintances. It can be between -100 and +100. The more people are positive about you and recommend you, the more positive the score. In the Dutch staffing industry, the NPS among newly hired staff is +21*. People21 came up with an NPS of +27 in the baseline measurement among all temporary agency workers, well above average. A great value and an awesome challenge to increase this score even further.
The solution: data-driven innovation combined with a short cyclical approach to increase NPS
We tackled this challenge with a combination of workforce analytics and a cultural shift within the organization to bring about structural change. It’s like a rowboat, you need both oars to move forward. Data alone provides insight, but does not yet change anything directly. You row with 1 belt. Only when you add the culture change and change approach as a second belt, will you actually make rapid progress.
Together with People21, we developed surveys in 10 languages for the most important moments in the employee journey of the temporary workers. The surveys are automatically sent to the temps at these key moments, and the survey data is automatically processed in the organization’s BI Dashboard. In this way, the teams at People21 have continuous and real-time insight into the development of satisfaction among temporary employees and they can actively manage it. For the first time, the temporary worker’s experience is in sight.
In order to use the insights from the data for actual changes, we used prototyping. The method: Many small changes together create a big impact. Four teams from People21 searched the survey data for concrete challenges to job satisfaction in their branch. Using the Prototyping Work methodology, they learned to spot the challenges (opportunities), understand them better and tackle them directly. This is done with a so-called prototype: an experiment that you immediately put into practice, in a short period of three weeks and for a small target group. After three weeks, the teams evaluated the impact of their experiment. Or they immediately improved it further and, if successful, scaled it up. Unlike a traditional approach, you have them make an immediate impact and learn from testing your assumptions at the same time.
The result: 59% increase in NPS score among agency employees
With an NPS of 27 from the baseline, People 21 is already well above the market average. Six months later the data shows an NPS of 43, an increase of 59%. A huge difference within a very short time! This can be attributed to the culture change and focus within the branches. The teams see their successes and are enthusiastic about making continuous, data-driven improvements to the happiness of the temporary workers. Raising the NPS by at least 1 point each period is now the route to even greater success for each location.
This increase in job satisfaction of temporary employees, from “above average” to “excellent” is unprecedented. It was only possible because of the combined approach of real-time data with the Prototyping Work method. Real-time data alone provides valuable insights but not yet change. Combined with the Prototyping Work method, the teams were able to translate the data into action. Through small, achievable experiments, the teams ended up making a huge impact for the temporary workers and People21. By integrating this into their daily work, they fully internalized the approach and focus on work happiness and the culture shift was achieved.
People21 is now able to steer on the work happiness of their temporary workers and predict, how their workforce will develop. By focusing on job satisfaction, they can better retain agency staff and attract new agency staff through ambassadors (NPS).