What are the Main Areas of Focus for the Staffing Industry in 2018?

What are the Main Areas of Focus for the Staffing Industry in 2018?

Key Highlights & Takeaways from ASA Staffing World 2018

Staffing World 2018 Logo
ASA Staffing World 2018, which took place October 16 – 18 in metropolitan Washington, DC, was chockfull of motivational keynotes, informative workshops, and attendees from all corners of the industry.

While there, People 2.0 exhibited on the tradeshow floor and attended various sessions. Here’s an overview of some key highlights and takeaways from the conference:

General Sessions, Awards, and Nominations

ASA President and CEO Richard Wahlquist opened the general session with an astonishing statistic: there are currently 7.1M open jobs in the U.S., but only about 6.2M people looking for work. Additionally, while last year’s themes of technology and innovation remained a central focus this year, relationship building between staffing/recruiting firms and their clients and candidates received equal notoriety across the open remarks, keynote sessions, and workshops.

What’s more, as a part of the general sessions, ASA took the time to recognize numerous individuals—both inside ASA and in the industry. Congratulations from People 2.0 to these individuals recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to the staffing industry:

  • Leadership Hall of Fame 2018 Inductee: Linda Carchidi
  • ASA 2018 Volunteer of the Year: John A. Thomas, CSP, CSC
  • 2019 National Staffing Employee of the Year: Violeta “Shaya” De Oleo Medina
  • ASA 2018 Chairman of the Board of Directors: Karenjo Goodwin

Keynote Presentations

Staffing World featured four world-renowned, inspirational keynote speakers—each of which delivered a powerful message for the staffing industry in a unique way.

On the first day, TrendHunter.com CEO, innovative expert, and author Jeremy Gusche argued that innovation and success are derived from a mix of hard work and overlooked opportunity. Throughout his presentation, Gusche leveraged the business ventures of his late father (former Calgary Stampeders owner, Sig Gusche), examples from different innovators and disruptors (e.g. Zara and Tesla), and his work for big brands like NASA, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft to drive home the point that when things are going well in a business, people don’t look to connect the dots—missing opportunities and potentially damaging their business. Further, Gusche highlighted the traps of the “farmer” mentality most businesses and people possess (complacency, repetitiveness, and protectiveness), and urged the audience to transition into more “hunter”-esque instincts (being insatiable, curious, and willing to destroy) to capture new business opportunities.

The second day’s keynote speaker, author and former sports agent Molly Fletcher, was equally hilarious and thought-provoking, as she explained how her career highs and lows taught her to be a fearless negotiator. While she utilized numerous personal experiences to provide larger staffing-related takeaways, in perhaps her most notable story, Fletcher recounted a time when she had signed a candidate on a multi-million dollar coaching deal with the NBA. While the candidate had met the team, conducted a media press conference, and recommended someone to be his assistance coach, he ultimately ended up coming back to Molly and asking her to get him out of the deal. While completely shocked, Fletcher noted that her failure to ask the tough questions and build a real relationship with her candidate are likely why she didn’t see the dropout coming. Fletcher rounded out her presentation by reminding the audience the importance of being relational over transactional—especially in an industry that is ultimately all about relationships.

The final day’s morning speaker, futurist and innovative strategist Anders Sorman-Nilsson, argued the importance of maintaining the “analog” (personal connection) in a digital space. Poking fun at his own mother’s hatred towards technology and blaming it for the issues her suit businesses was experiencing, Sorman-Nilsson noted that change is always going to happen without our permission. Going against the grain of most futurists, Sorman-Nilsson claimed that we are all now technology companies with a staffing or recruiting license, and that we have to find the right balance of digitizing the recruitment process to increase efficiency and eliminate bias, while not dehumanizing or fully eliminating human touch.

Rounding out the conference’s keynote addresses was author and entrepreneur Mel Robbins. Focusing on the selling cycle, client psyche, and the effectiveness of today’s sales strategies, Mel argued that if you have the instinct to act on a goal, you must start making a move within five seconds, or your brain will kill it. In doing so, you can interrupt stagnating sales habits, prevent the perils of overthinking, and awaken the prefrontal cortex–making change and influence easier to accomplish.

Notable Workshops

This year’s Staffing World conference offered dozens of hard-hitting information sessions on numerous industry topics. The following were a couple of workshops we found particularly noteworthy, and plan to cover in more detail in upcoming blogs:

  • “Manage and Lead a Top-Performing Sales Team.” Impacting Leader’s CEO Linda Sasser focused on one key ingredient for developing a strong sales team: leadership. Speaking directly to sales team leaders, Sasser reviewed the key frustrations often felt by sales team advisors, the top three mistakes they often make, what qualities a successful sales team possesses, and what a sales team needs from their leader, even if they won’t outright say it.
  • “If You’re Selling, You’re Doing It All Wrong—Focus on What You Control.” Industry trainer and author John Ruffini provided an engaging session under the premise that the most successful in the recruiting industry never sell. In addition to providing the answers to what recruiters actually have control over, as well as seven key steps needed to close the deal, Ruffini’s session evoked real-life scenario questions from the audience—all of whom worked together, with Ruffini, to provide valid solutions when dealing with a difficult client.
  • “Voice of the Client.” Lead by ASA, this Q&A-style sessions invited a panel of clients, coming from various industries that currently utilize staffing company services, to answer questions you might be afraid to ask your own customers! In addition to uncovering their take on the market and how it’s impacting their business, the panel shed insight into what makes for a valued partnership, how to build trust, and things they’d like staffing companies to stop doing.


People 2.0 was honored to serve as an exhibitor at Staffing World, and applauds the extraordinary effort ASA put into offering inspirational speakers, as well as great learning, networking, and development for all involved. Visit our events page to see where People 2.0 will be next!