Sponsored: Reflect, Reset, Rebuild: How Recruitment Agencies Can Navigate Out Of Ongoing Uncertainties


The COVID pandemic, subsequently paving the way for complete global lockdown, has brought an unprecedented, rapid change to the employment landscape in 2020. Businesses that were part of industries taking big hits and other SMEs found themselves laying off or furloughing their employees. Most companies were struggling to survive, let alone thrive, amidst this COVID storm and simply aimed to navigate through to the other side on safe shores.

One year on, as we enter the year 2021, the uncertainty still prevails as the UK goes into the lockdown (again) because of detection of the new strain of the COVID virus. Will this ever end? How do we handle such uncertainty? Business can’t stay closed forever, can they? 

As staffing agencies ride out the storm of recession, weak market, and lockdowns, visionary recruitment business leaders understand that they must start making moves to thrive, and not just survive, amidst the new wave of challenges that will succeed the coronavirus pandemic. Recruitment companies must prepare for the new normal, press the reset button, revisit and rebuild the business strategies and processes, gain the capability to weather any potential storm and scale up swiftly.

Read below to understand the points agencies must take into consideration before going through a process reset and how QX morphed its operations and repositioned its brand to operate efficiently in the new normal – As the dynamic of the industry was changed by the pandemic, we, at QX Limited, unified all our domains and came up with a new, unique website with an aim to reset and rebuild, and become QX Global Group.

Pressing the Reset Button

While planning the strategic reset, the major challenge for recruitment businesses is to ensure the employees continue to work in a safe environment, whether at home or workplace, and keep the business moving forward unhindered. Another challenge is gaining flexibility and cost-efficient, rapid scalability in order to combat market volatility and meet high-volume staffing demands of their customers post-COVID. The COVID lockdown pushed business leaders to shift to a flexible remote working model and new ways of working, compelling them to revisit and review their operating fundamentals revolving around organisational agility, collaborative culture, and increased process efficiency.

Delivering fine candidate and customer support, maintaining high-touch engagement and ensuring positive candidate and recruitment experience – these have been part of the core values of HR teams pre-COVID. Yet, amidst this uncertainty, these are now more important than ever.

So press that reset button, revisit and review your process fundamentals, identify the gaps, adapt to fill the gaps, identify and integrate a system that brings in increased agility and scalability to your staffing business, and set yourself up for success for the future, no matter how uncertain the present looks.

When QX Pressed the Reset Button

At QX Limited, as soon as the news of increased COVID cases and potential lockdown in India loomed about, our BCP team started making proactive plans around making a shift from work-from-office model to the work-from-home model. We leaned towards technology to ensure our service delivery capability remained unhindered by this shift while facilitating a collaborative culture even though 1300 employees worked from home. The clients were contacted for WFH consent, and their concerns around data privacy and GDPR compliance were addressed adequately.

Before resetting our operating model, we:

  • Gained client consent for WFH implementation 
  • Identified business-critical processes and prioritised them for reset 
  • Identified steps to ensure client, candidate, and team communication remain unhindered
  • Recognised need for an increased collaborative approach for remote workforce success
  • Took steps to address client concerns data privacy, security and compliance
  • Introduced support to ensure employee well-being and safety 
  • Identified need to lean more on technology and adapt to a new way of working

QX RPO also helped the UK recruitment agencies gain added organisational agility and flexibility during uncertain times of the COVID lockdown, enabling them to ramp up and down swiftly without incurring a hefty cost, and empowering them to scale up exponentially to meet the demands that accompany market recovery.

Closing in on one year of adapting the WFH model, we are making permanent structural changes to our operating model to continue thriving amidst any future crisis, ensuring employee safety and well-being, and helping our clients. QX Limited is rebuilding its brand to become QX Global Group.

Rebuild to navigate through the sea of uncertainties

People often resist change, but change is a necessity, one that can be ignored only for so long. Businesses learned that the hard way. It has become imperative to change and rebuild, not just to navigate through the prevalent crisis, but also to safeguard against any potential crisis.

HR business leaders have realised: 

  • they need to embrace change and operate with a workforce that can work from anywhere,
  • the need to build growth strategies to thrive in uncertain times and build a scalable value centre,
  • the importance of organisational agility and flexibility,
  • the importance of maintaining cash flow and liquidity (and not just p&l),
  • they need to adopt digitalisation and drive innovation to stand out from their competitors,
  • the need to revisit and review prevalent operating models for business transformation, operating efficiency and cost arbitrage. 

Here are a few points that recruitment agencies must take into consideration while planning a rebuild:

  • Continually revisit and re-evaluate your business strategy and goals. Make amendments and pivot your plans based on market changes.
  • Identify and address process gaps. Continuous optimisation is the key.
  • Lean on recruitment technology stack for support and growth. E.g., ATS, AI, Automation.
  • Always exercise the high-touch approach in your engagements with candidates and customers.
  • Ensure delivery of great recruitment and candidate experience.
  • Be data-driven; be KPI-driven.
  • Promote transparent, collaborative culture internally (and externally).
  • Take external offshore RPO support to give your business required agility and scalability.

How QX evolved to help recruitment agencies

As stated earlier, continuous optimisation is the key, and that is precisely what the leadership team directed their focus towards the previous year the great Work-from-Home experiment commenced for 1300+ employees. 

  • More than 100 clients were contacted via calls and emails to gain their express consent before shifting to WFH model. Their concerns around data privacy, security and compliance were addressed and only after their consent was the remote transition implemented.
  • Adequate tools and technology were provided to the remote team to ensure data security and swift workflow.
  • Project management and team communication tools were integrated to facilitate a more collaborative approach and maintain team communication.
  • Business-centric processes were revisited and renewed to cope with the current market situation, helping employees and customers operate through the new way of working.
  • Our offshore out-of-hours solutions, including 24x7 candidate sourcing service and booking management support, helped recruitment businesses expand their staffing capability and scale back from the hit that they have taken due to the pandemic.
  • New service offerings were introduced in order to provide adequate support to our current and prospective customers to navigate through the uncertainty created by the COVID pandemic. For instance, the QX Accounting Services division provided specialised support around the UK government’s COVID schemes to accounting firms and bookkeepers. QX RPO UK division provided bespoke recruitment services at reduced rates or deferred payment terms to staffing firms to help them cope with the pandemic. 
  • Digital Marketing strategies were repurposed – a shift from marketing sales-driven content to informative content that could help businesses during COVID. Our divisions collaborated with several influencers such as Ian Knowlson, Kevin Green, Carl Reader, Lucy Cohen and many more who provided valuable insights to recruitment and accounting businesses in the UK.
  • Reflecting on the great Work-from-Home experiment after about 6 months, the leadership team embraced the WFH model as part of the future, rather than a contingency plan. A new working model was introduced for employees, which allowed them to operate from a remote location, office, or a bit of both. Of course, this was also subject to client consent and criticality of the process.
  • To better serve the recruitment industry and our clients throughout the UK, US, Australia, Canada, and EU countries - we have merged the websites and remodelled ourselves as one strong brand – QX Global Group.

RPO – A solution to help you navigate through the uncertainties

Partnership with an offshore RPO agency gives your recruiting firm enhanced agility and flexibility; you can ramp up or down your team to meet volatile market demands. It also allows you to scale up quickly once the market recovery begins. RPO partnership enables you to access the latest recruitment tech and work with a dedicated team of offshore experts without incurring expensive overheads. To sum it up, RPO is one of the most excellent solutions that can help you navigate through uncertainties and set your recruitment business up for long-term success.

QX Global Group offers recruiting, finance, accounting, IT and advisory services to businesses in the UK, US, Canada and several other geographies. The offshore team operates from India delivering bespoke solutions through the dedicated and shared model, catering to recruitment, healthcare, finance, manufacturing, student accommodation and several other industries.

Sponsored: Lessons learned: candidate support in the education sector

Many recruiters have reported a drop in full-time teacher vacancy advertising over the summer mon

17 August 2021

The Last Word July/August 2021: Alan Furley

It’s a funny old world, recruitment.

27 July 2021

Viewpoint: All take and no give

As search consultants, we do our best work when we’re allowed to be partners – rather than just s

27 July 2021