Everyone is talking about relationships in 2016. From the relationships with candidates and clients, to those with suppliers and investors, organisations are taking a hard look at the role partners can play in business success this year. In my latest blog, I will explain how in the Year of the Partner the decisions recruitment companies make about strategic relationships are set to make a significant difference to business performance.

Business alignment

The shift in business model encouraged many organisations to refocus on technology in 2015 in a bid to streamline processes and increase agility. In addition to the core CRM solution, companies are exploring the power of mobile to enable faster response to candidates and clients; investing in better business intelligence to transform decision making and looking to leverage integrations with essential tools including LinkedIn and Broadbean to achieve a slick, end to end business process.

It has become clear, however, that not all business partnerships are created equal. From the depth and quality of the technical implementation to the relationship between ‘partner’ vendors, recruitment consultancies can experience very different outcomes that will have bottom line implications. To deliver value in 2016, a partnership needs to be based on far more than a verbal agreement; it should be underpinned by a measurable commitment between two synergistic organisations.

Someone for everyone?

So what differentiates the good partnerships from the rest? Recruiters need to look for business specific value. For example, many recruitment companies would consider an integration between the CRM and Broadbean as an essential requirement. But what is the benefit? A basic link between the two systems might deliver an overview of how many candidates have progressed through the application process; yet a more sophisticated integration enables a recruiter to effectively track an applicant all the way through from initial job advert – and where it was posted – to final placement.

By pulling the right data from Broadbean into the CRM, a company can gain essential insight into how many candidates were interviewed and how many placed from each specific job board. This depth of applicant tracking provides the essential conversion information required to inform on-going marketing strategy in a continually evolving marketplace.

There are so many technologies to consider, both innovative add-ons and core business integrations that it is important to prioritise in line with business needs. Integration with payroll and/or finance software may have a limited impact on the day to day recruiter experience, but reducing admin, improving the accuracy and timeliness of the billing process and ensuring salary payments are correct and on time can deliver a fast return on investment (ROI). The addition of business intelligence also provides managers with a chance to track Key Performance Indicators (KPI) – although the level of configuration available between the CRM and BI tool, such as cube19, will make a massive difference in terms of the depth of information that can be attained.

Joining forces

So how can a recruitment company identify those partnerships that will deliver true business value throughout 2016 and beyond? Longevity can be important; but in a fast changing market it is also important to ensure technology partners are committed to embracing innovations that can support business change. It is the degree of commitment and understanding demonstrated by technology partners that will be key to realising priority business objectives.

The challenges created by escalating client and candidate demands are not going to diminish and strategic partnerships are set to play a real differentiation role in 2016. Making the right partnership decisions is going to be key to achieving that essential agility and enabling business growth.

By James Payne, Head of Business Development at Bond International Software