You know the old saying “Think globally, act locally”? That works well when talking about taking action to save our planet. But a global—or even national—perspective doesn’t work always so well in staffing.
Rather than put lots of resources toward trying to compete on a huge stage, many local or regional firms would be better off playing up their unique strengths. Local staffing agencies have several distinct advantages over national firms and should draw on them as much as possible when working with current clients and courting new ones.
Consider market knowledge. Who’s going to understand a particular market better: an agency whose primary (or even sole) location is actually in that geographic area, or the branch office of a national firm that’s based on the other side of the country? Compared to an out-of-towner, a staffing or HR professional who’s lived in an area for a long time will have a deeper understanding of its history, its people, and its employment environment.
Companies that work with local staffing agencies gain two particularly useful benefits from those relationships: the companies have direct and easy access to the agencies’ owners, and the companies often enjoy greater flexibility in terms. Better access means better communication—which enables staffing firms to meet their clients’ needs with greater speed and efficiency.
And when companies deal with local agencies that are empowered to arrange their own terms and prices (rather than have to “check back with the home office” in another state), there’s a greater chance that the two parties will be able to build a mutually beneficial business relationship. Need to make an on-the-fly adjustment to a requisition? Or take an action that’s unique to a particular client? For local agencies that are their own bosses, taking such steps pose no problem at all.
If your firm is a local agency, don’t underestimate the power of your position! Rather than fret about how you’re “up against the big guys,” use your “little guy” status to your advantage. Make sure that your marketing materials highlight your knowledge, availability, and flexibility—and keep this perspective in mind when working to attract both clients and employees.