The Staffing Show - Todd Duclos

What lessons has a seasoned staffing professional learned from almost 20 years in the industry? Todd Duclos, VP of marketing at Loyal Source, shares his insights on dealing with the staffing shortage as well as his thoughts on the changing needs and desires of today’s workforce. He also talks about the importance of staying resilient in the face of challenges and growing strengths around “what makes you, you.”

 

David Folwell: Hello, everyone, and thank you again for joining another episode of The Staffing Show. Super excited to be joined today with Todd Duclos, who is the vice president of marketing with Loyal Source. Todd, to kick things off, why don’t you go ahead and give a little intro on your background and how you got into staffing?

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Todd Duclos:  Sure. So I’m Todd Duclos, as you said, and I actually started in staffing almost 20 years ago. I was hired by Kforce to come in and help run or help to grow their proposal department, and from there it just kind of stuck. I went from there to Randstad to Bullhorn to Lucas Group to Optomi, and now I’m at Loyal Source. So it’s been a little bit of a crazy journey, but like everyone in staffing, that’s what happens.

Folwell: I love it. You’ve got a great background, well-rounded. And also, I think it’s interesting you have the supplier side having worked at Bullhorn as well. Jumping in a little bit, why don’t you tell me a little bit about who Loyal Source is and where you guys are at in terms of the size of the company right now and your growth over the last couple years?

Duclos: Yeah. I mean, I just joined Loyal Source in December, and one of the reasons I joined is because of that growth. They are government healthcare solutions and other healthcare groups. They have a travel nurse and some other things. And they really focus on that healthcare space. And I think what they do best is they’re able to go to the government and say, “We can start up, staff, source, run, and take down your healthcare needs as required.”

So during the pandemic, they saw explosive growth not only from COVID-related activities, but also from humanitarian side activities and from activities to make sure that people were immunized, and do drug testing and all kinds of different medical needs. And being able to find that staff and run that from within the company is I think what really makes them a little bit different. Their growth has been really phenomenal over the last couple of years. Two years ago, they were at about 200 million, and today they are approaching 750.

Folwell: Wow.

Duclos: So you’ve seen dramatic growth in that space, and they continue to grow as their reputation grows in the space as well.

Folwell: And I know healthcare staffing as a whole over the last couple of years, everybody’s seen pretty significant growth. I imagine this outpaces the industry benchmarks. I’m not sure how it compares directly, but that is pretty significant at 750 million. One of the things that you and I talked about a little bit previously is just the ongoing nursing shortage. And I know since you guys are growing at this rate, you’ve obviously found some ways to find people to get on an assignment. How does Loyal Source approach this? What do you guys do differently when it comes to handling and kind of working through the nursing shortage?

Duclos: Yeah, I think it’s a growing challenge. It reminds me a lot of in the early 2000s or so when people were really seeking development help in IT and really pounding on developers, both on their LinkedIn profiles and through Dice and other things, and really making it unattractive to work with staffing because you were getting bombarded all the time. And so one of the things that we’ve tried to do at Loyal Source is really measure the amount of communication we send out to nursing. Just because they’re available 24 hours a day because of their shift doesn’t mean they need to be approached 24 hours a day.

The other big problem on the nursing side is just the growing retirement rates. It’s an industry that is not fulfilling supply and demand. The demand for nurses far outweighs the supply, and that supply is shrinking constantly. And so one of the things I think you have to do as a provider is really start to build longer-lasting interactions and customer experiences for those nurses, and also begin to show them that there’s a career beyond just that particular project with our company. And so that they can see that we’re not just passing you off to the next provider and taking off the top, we’re asking you to work with us on these important solutions provided to various people in times of trouble, and you can come in and do that and continue to do that as a role.

Folwell: It’s interesting you brought up the nurses quitting as well and the fact that there’s…and I think I saw a stat the other day that a third of nurses say that they plan to quit or retire or change jobs this year, and we already have a nursing shortage right now. So it sounds like you guys are focused on, how do you make it kind of a better experience for them? Are you guys offering any different benefits than other…what other activities do you guys put in place?

Duclos: We do offer per diems and other things, and for travel nurses, it’s a highly competitive market, and so you’re always trying to find the best solutions for them. And that’s a job that’s just terribly difficult. Can you just imagine walking into a corporate office where everyone knows you’re getting paid almost twice as much for doing the exact same job, and you have to separate from your family for months at a time? And on top of that, add the pandemic and the stresses that come from that environment where it’s just constantly busy and constantly dealing with not just typical ailments, but actual mortality rates that are rising faster than anything.

I think it’s clear why nurses are leaving. They’re just stressed. And I think it’s a blank check that as a country, we really haven’t signed. We talked a lot about our heroes during the pandemic, and then I think we kind of left them high and dry at the end by saying, “We’re not going to try and change much, but thanks for what you did.” And fundamentally, there has to be dramatic changes to make this a more attractive role as our populations age and as we have fewer and fewer nurses available. So we just try and be as empathetic as we can for the people that work with us and really try and give them all the benefits and support that they require.

Folwell: That makes sense. And are you seeing any changes within what hospitals’ expectations are with the…I mean, rates have gone through the roof over the last couple years, and is that relationship changing? Are there any major shifts that you guys are noticing on that front?

Duclos: Yeah. I think hospitals are really starting to understand how hard it is to run staffing at such a large environment. They’re basically little cities put into your city, and they run 24 hours a day. And what they’re discovering is that as there’s been additional consolidation in this industry where hospitals have merged together to form giant networks, they’re discovering just like corporations did that an RPO process isn’t a bad thing.

And so they’re going to companies and saying, “We want you to run all of our staffing because we just can’t handle it anymore. There’s too much turnover. There’s too much admin work. There’s too much difficulty. We need someone to do this for us.” And because of the breadth that they have as these networks have formed, they have the ability to offer an enticing opportunity for people to lower their rates and do things at volume that they weren’t able to do previously. So I think hospitals are changing their approach, and as a result, our industry is changing its approach to work with it.

Folwell: I heard you bring up the RPO thing. I’ve heard that there’s been a lot of traction on that front of like, “Hey, how do we work with somebody that actually knows how to do this,” and seeing more movement on that front from a growth perspective. One thing you brought up earlier was the fact that Loyal Source’s government healthcare solution…and I know a lot of the listeners do this and a lot of the healthcare staffing agencies that we have in our audience are, I think, more focused on the non-government sector. Could you explain a little bit more about how that works and what’s different about it?

Duclos: Yeah, I think the biggest difference is, A: rates are sort of set, so there’s not a commercial environment where every provider is offering a different rate. They’re kind of set as grades within the government, and that’s where things land. And so you’re not looking at a constituency of candidates who are looking to make the most dollars. You’re looking at a constituency of candidates that is looking to either continue their service to the country, because a lot of them come from military backgrounds and from previous experience in the government, or you’re looking at people that are really looking to help that community in some way. Maybe they have a family relationship or other things.

So the driving forces for our business are very different than a commercial business. We find that people are very interested in who we are as a company. And many companies focus on corporate social responsibility and humanitarian efforts and do a lot of the great things in the community, just like Loyal Source does. I think one of the things that separates us from that is how we’re able to do it at scale and really help the people that we’re doing the work for. As an example, in a couple weeks, we have a Derby Day charity event that will raise a couple hundred thousand dollars for autism.

On top of that, a lot of the work we do is to help humanitarian efforts. So it might be with refugees from the Ukraine. It might be from refugees from Afghan. It might be from people at the border coming into the country on either side. It could be numerous things that just help the government deal with populations that they haven’t really accounted for. And so they come to us and ask us to suggest a solution and come in and help do that. So we might come in and provide vaccinations for kids or make sure that everyone has all the right vaccinations coming in. We might help with just general healthcare at a base to assist that.

There’s numerous places that the government has increasing healthcare needs as those veterans come back from the wars that we’ve participated in, and they really need constant information around, what’s their mental health, what’s their physical health, and what does that mean for the benefits they should get? And as a result, they’re looking to stand up more and more temporary clinics or full-time clinics to really help the veteran population get what they are owed, and to do that in an effective way with the taxpayer money.

And so that’s how we help, is we come in and run those exercises until they’re no longer needed, and that way they can be just a way to gain efficiencies when throughput is needed.

Folwell:  Yeah. And it sounds like you’re more of a solution partner than simply, “Hey, we need these positions filled.”

Duclos: It’s been a dramatic shift for Loyal Source. I think that initially, they did a lot of work with the government where they did just traditional staffing. We get a rec, we give it to you, we pay the uptick and we make something in between. I think all over time, they’ve realized that their real strengths are not only in staffing, but in logistics and in being able to manage scheduling and the details around 24-hour facilities.

And being able to go in and staff those type of facilities and provide the equipment and the tents and the PBD and everything that’s needed and have our team there to manage it makes it so it is sort of a one-stop shop for the government to be able to solve these very challenging problems and alleviate some backlogs that may have existed to help get people the help they need. And we’re very happy to help participate in that. We do some mundane things. We do drug testing. We do COVID things that aren’t super exciting. But all of those things involve challenges with schedules, rural areas, all kinds of different attributes that have caused the government to say, “We just don’t have enough staff to do this properly,” and so we come in and run those for them for however long they would like us to.

Folwell:  No, that’s really incredible. And with that, kind of shifting gears a little bit, what are some of the kind of bigger changes that you’re seeing impact the staffing industry right now, and where do you see it going over the next few years?

Duclos: I think there’s a dramatic shift happening in the staffing world. I think that beginning with probably the retail apocalypse where stores started to close and people started to lose jobs that were middle class, high-paying roles, into the pandemic where whole industries were dramatically impacted around the service industry and other things, and the growth of gig economy for people to be able to work when they want to and with what fits for their family needs and for their lifestyle needs, you’re seeing a dramatic shift where candidates have more power and control than they’ve ever had before.

That’s being propped up by the availability of non-job-related healthcare at reasonable costs. So many states are providing healthcare services where you can get insurance and be a contract worker and do very well for yourself. And so candidates have gained a power within the marketplace that they haven’t had in quite a long time. I just spoke at a leadership conference for our company, and I showed a picture of The Rock and I said, “This is what candidates are today. They’re strong, they’re powerful, and they’re driven. And if you don’t meet those needs, they’re going to go somewhere else.”

And I think that having the ability to work from home and to have some flexibility and be treated like adults have shifted the way that people view work, and they now view it as something that should be more flexible. And companies are trying to adapt to that. It’s a growing challenge, and that’s why you’re seeing people leave work in places that typically didn’t have high turnover rates and seek better options through getting more of what they’re looking for for their lives than what they’re looking for from their work. And that’s the big shift, is that I think people used to make decisions around income and the type of work, and now they’re making decisions around family and their lifestyle over that.

Folwell:  And to that point, I was just talking about this the other day, and it’s not only it’s income. It used to be income and commute. And now the idea of commuting to a job five days a week for many of us is not a reality, and I don’t think will be. There might be some times where you’ll be going into the office, but it’s definitely shifted pretty drastically, it seems. I mean, it’s easier than ever to change jobs. You don’t have to do an in-person interview. You can get on Zoom. You can do it all from your living room.

Duclos: It’s also easier because it’s not on the timeframe where you have to go hide in a conference room to do an interview….

Folwell:  Yeah, exactly.

Duclos: …for your next job. You can do it at six o’clock at night or seven o’clock at night without much challenge. And so I think the other piece is also that people are moving from those bigger cities where the pay was better and realizing, “I can work somewhere with a lower cost of living, and my life is better even if I’m not making as much.” And so you’re seeing mass exoduses of California, Chicago, Boston is having some of that, and they’re moving to areas of the country that are more rural and more affordable. But with telecommuting and the rise of the web, they’re able to find great jobs and not have to commute.

Folwell:  I think Denver is one of those spots where many people are moving. We’re getting a lot of people from California out here. So with that, one of the things that you’ve always kind of been ahead of the game on and very strategic thinker around is the digital transformation and how you approach technology. I know as you’re coming into Loyal Source, you probably have some big plans, but can you kind of tell me where you think things are in terms of digital transformation, how you approach it, what you see happening with that going forward?

Duclos: Yeah. I think that people looked at what happened during the pandemic and said, “This is great for working from home. Look at all that we’ve gained in Zoom and being able to have scheduling options and things that work.” The challenge there is, it was also the worst time to work from home. I’ve worked from home for 20 years, and it was by far the worst period to be at home. And so I think from a digital transformation point, there are a few things impacting staffing specifically. One is, the majority of staffing companies that I’ve worked for have been basically built around the ATS platform, whether that be Bullhorn or their own or something from Microsoft or something from Salesforce or whatever.

Those ATS programs are less valuable because we’re not collecting candidates in the same way we did in 2010 when Indeed started to flood our ATS systems with thousands of candidates a day. We’re now looking at it and saying, “That way of collecting candidates isn’t working.” And even the candidates aren’t going to those sites as frequently as they used to. So you’re seeing a change from the source of those candidates being Monster, Career Builder, Dice, LinkedIn, and Indeed, to still being some of those, but at a much lower percentage. And as a result, you’re seeing a shift, I think, into more of a B2C model where you’re really concerned about the customer experience than we’ve ever been before. Staffing has never been a great customer experience, but we always said, “We own the jobs and it won’t matter.”

Well, guess what? It’s finally starting to matter, and as a result, our technology stack is going to start to look a lot different. We’re going to see a lot more experienced technologies like Qualtrics and other companies like that. You’re going to see a lot more sort of rate the behavior of your company abound further beyond what started with Glassdoor and has evolved into a much more nuanced conversation than that original all bad and no good. I think that the tech stack in all staffing companies is going to become much more automated and relationship-based, and you’re going to see a real focus on the journey of those candidates and what’s happening to them, and more transparency of where they are in the process and keeping them warm for their next thing, and building better relationships is what I hope comes out of that.

Folwell:  And with all of that, are you able to share any of your strategic, where you guys are going from a tech stack perspective, or any advice for anybody that’s listening in terms of what they should be thinking about, or products, tools, anything specific?

Duclos: Yeah. I mean, I will say even coming into the role at Loyal Source, they had a very strong technology stack. Adam DeMarco, who I work for, has done a great job of building a really world-class technology stack. And they were one of the first people to really grow their automation team to really manage the relationship with candidates in an automated way. And as a result, they’ve been using Herefish. We are making changes to our technology stack to allow us to scale better and moving into a more wider technology than just staffing-specific tools. So while Herefish is a great tool, we’re moving to Salesforce as a platform and using more Marketing Cloud and the platform tools that are available within Salesforce, and then adding on top of that to continue that automation push forward.

And I think that more and more people are going to be following in that same vein of no longer allowing communication to come from their recruiting teams and making it be very much a planned customer journey that you’re adding people into and having them follow that specific plan of discourse. And you’re going to see more and more of that. And so I think that the need to create relationships and provide real information, not just white papers and things that do SEO well for you, but to really answer the pain points of your company are going to become a much stronger presence within tech. And I know we’re looking at full platforms to measure that. We’re looking at how to have more analytics. We do not have enough analytics.

A lot of my career has been built on building analytic teams and trying to measure the complexity of staffing. You never have a single source in staffing. It’s never this call to action led to this placing of the shopping cart, and we’re good to go. It has always been multiple sources at multiple times led people to you, and how you interacted with them would lead to what happened at the end. And so you would have five or seven initial sources and then maybe a final source at the last minute that is that specific job, but attribution was a challenge as a result. And I think that more and more, it’s going to be less about attribution of where we started to more attribution about what made a difference and what turned them from being somewhat, and I hate the term passive or active, but turned them into being much more active with you as a company versus not.

And so I think everyone’s always in a state of some form of passive recruiting. You run Google today. If someone bigger called and said you could run that, you may consider that. So everyone’s in some state of looking. And so relationships that you can build and the journey that is valuable to the people you’re sending it to will help attract the right kind of employee and who are attracted to the work you do and will help you grow at a time where this is becoming more disparate than ever before.

Folwell:  And to your point, though, on that everybody’s always potentially open, there was a stat, it was a couple years ago in HBR about…I think it was something around the lines of up to 85% of your LinkedIn network is open to a new job opportunity if the offer is right, which blew my mind because it’s like, basically…. And if you think about it, it makes sense. If somebody comes in with the right offer, who knows, right? Identifying those people can be pretty difficult.

Duclos: I know for me, I was just out of work for an extended period of time. I did not work for a year or so. And as a result, what I discovered is that I had sort of outgrown the job board market. I couldn’t find roles through there. Networking and doing things like that were helpful, and everyone wants to really help, but it’s not their job to help you. And so there’s this gap between being able to find the role that you’re seeking and being able to actually do something that gives you traction there. And I think that that experience has really led me to think through more about these processes in my current role to say, “Okay, how are we dealing with succession planning? How are we making sure that people that work with us don’t feel like they’re being stepped on all the time by new people coming in above them? What are we doing to ensure that we’re creating an environment that’s a good place to work?”

And I will say, Loyal Source, because they’ve hired some thought leadership around the mental health side and around the way that we should be treating employees, has done a much better job over the last couple years of really focusing on that and making it so that the whole aspect of your life is under consideration, and with helping to show where you can grow within the company. And I think if you continue to show your teams, “Here’s where you are, here’s where you’re headed, and here are the skills you need,” and help them develop those skills, they may not stay with you because something could be blocking them for the role they want, but they’re always going to feel better about being there while you can keep them. And if you continue to treat them like adults and give them the skills to help them grow within your company, your retention rates will get higher as well.

Folwell:  And so it sounds like you guys are focused on retention internally, as well as for all of the travel nurses and healthcare providers as well. You’re implementing these on both fronts.

Duclos: Absolutely. I think one of the things in staffing that has cracked me up since I’ve joined it, is the idea that, let’s go fix redeployment because it’s a simple fix. Most companies redeploy less than 10% of their staff when you’re in staffing, because the end dates are flexible. It’s not something you can automate real easily. And it’s something recruiters don’t feel adds real value to them even wanting to keep people on staff. And so they always flutter around seven to 10%, let’s say. My point is, that is not an easy fix because that’s where it stayed.

And so if you can really fix redeployment and make it so that people want to stay with you and continue to work with you, in these shrinking constituencies that we’re going after, that is highly beneficial because you have someone that knows your process, knows what’s expected, and can continue to grow with you. Whereas getting someone new is good in the sense that you can train them how you want, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t have other habits and things you don’t want them doing. And so we’re also opening up the lower end of our jobs to allow for people that don’t have as much experience, with the idea being that if they can do those jobs with limited experience, let’s train them up the right way and give them that experience to then grow themselves.

And so I’ve seen other companies do great jobs with education and offering classes and ability to grow into a degree kind of programs. And I think more and more people are looking at the available workers in the U.S. especially, and saying, “Let’s look at some of these groups that are being neglected and agree to work with them, and grow our ability to hire as a result because our constituency base grows as a result.” So I think you’re seeing more and more people be willing to say, “Is that degree really part of this need, or is it just a want?” And really stretching out the ability to hire people with the talent you require.

Folwell:  As you’re kind of taking that approach, are you guys looking at, and this might be a broader question, but specific KPIs? I was thinking about that from a culture standpoint or retention. I imagine you have quite a few, but do you have three to five that you think would be valuable for people that are either getting into staffing or are new and thinking about what should be our North Star?

Duclos: Yeah, I think KPIs to me are another highly sort of landmine kind of area. Often, KPIs can be highly beneficial. A great example of those is how many people have you spoken to, those kind of things.

Folwell:  Yeah. How many cold calls did you make this week?

Duclos: Correct. There have to be some metrics that help new people get better, right?

Folwell: Yeah.

Duclos: But at the same time, staffing is still very fixated on how many calls. And I’m always like, “Why is it KPI phone call? Shouldn’t it be some kind of touch?” Whether it’s phone or not…

Folwell: Yeah, like conversations.

Duclos: I think the way that we’ve approached it, and my thought process around this actually started when Google for Jobs started. When Google for Jobs started, the one good thing that it did to the marketplace was say, “Job descriptions matter, and the clarity of those job descriptions of what’s expected should be important.” And they ranked good job descriptions higher. And so that has led a thinking on my part and on others’ parts that job descriptions really do need to be used throughout the lifecycle. So it’s not only an entry point or a passport into your company. It should also be how you’re measuring their first year performance around the capabilities within the job description….

Folwell: Makes sense.

Duclos: …and then carrying that forward to say, “As you progress and as the next step’s available to you, here are the skills we’d like you to have, and we’re going to give you opportunities to gain those skills in your current role so when the next role opens up, you’ll be ready for that.” There is a shift between the idea of KPIs morphing into more of a, “Here’s the job, here’s the true capabilities we want to see as you gain expertise in that role, and here are the skills that are coming next so that you can start to build some of those as well.” And that naturally lends itself to some of the things we’ve already talked about in terms of succession planning and redeployment, because now you’re helping guide them through that process.

So I think we’re taking a harder look at job descriptions and really trying to standardize those and make those so they become a bigger part of how we market our roles externally and internally. And with that, I think, is the other big factor that I think’s changed, is that we no longer market to candidates any differently than we market to clients or anyone else, that we need to show who we are as a company across all of our constituencies the exact same way. Because people don’t want to hear that as a candidate we told you this thing, and then as a client we’re telling you this thing. Let’s make that consistent so that you understand where we are from a corporate social responsibility side, from a benefits and costs side, from a long-term career planning side, and from just an overall culture that you’re looking to join. And I think if you manage those well and maintain that messaging across those three criteria, you’ll continue to attract better candidates than if you don’t.

Folwell:  Could you give me an example of that when you talk about using the same messaging across all constituents? Is it more of just the, “Hey, these are our values and principles,” or are you using similar marketing journeys? Can you just elaborate a little?

Duclos: Yeah, similar journeys, but more that the messaging components aren’t changing.

Folwell:  Got it.

Duclos: Right? That they are really the same across all three. They just might morph slightly. And so I call it a Russian nesting doll approach, where you start with a big idea of, let’s say, we’re big in corporate social responsibility and humanitarian efforts. And then you shrink that down into a white paper that explains how we help on the humanitarian side for clients, and then a social post about how we help our community as a whole around our local offices, and then a tweet about those articles, right? And you sort of continue that messaging across all constituencies so that they feel like they get a more complete idea of who you are as a company. And I think that that’s what people are looking for and why you’re seeing so much movement. It’s part of that component of, “I want my life and job to mesh better.” And if you can help show how that can happen, that messaging will help with that.

Folwell:  That’s really great, and good insights on…I feel like a lot of staffing firms don’t even have the marketing resources or kind of thoughtfulness to have different messaging, period, across the different platforms or have the journeys in place. That’s awesome that you guys are doing that. That’s really cool. So jumping in kind of the second part of the podcast today, have a couple fun questions to ask that are a little bit more personal. Wanted to start off by asking if you had any advice you wish you were given before entering the staffing industry.

Duclos: Yeah. I say this to people all the time, is that staffing compared to other industries has a much higher learning curve than you would expect, because there’s nuance to staffing that doesn’t exist in a lot of other business cycles. And so even if you just think about the ways that staffing work with their constituencies, whether it’s RPO or straight staffing or a single desk or split desk or with VMS or with different methods of go to market, the learning curve around staffing is a bit longer than you would expect for such a transactional business, and it’s very personal in nature in that you’re helping someone change an element of their life.

And those big behaviors always have some guidance. If you think of when you buy a house, there’s always a realtor present. If you move, you’re using both the job and the realtor. If you have a child, you’re looking for insurance and other agents to help you understand that process. And so I think it’s very much an agency-driven business and one where you have to give yourself some time to really become expert in it. And if you put in that time, the good news about staffing is it’s one of the most equality-based industries I’ve ever worked in. I’ve worked with more female and minority CEOs in this business than I ever have in any of my other roles. So I think, put in the work and you can get great work out of it.

Folwell:  Awesome. Great advice. And in the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

Duclos: I would have to say for me in particular, I used to overdress and wear a bow tie all the time and suits.

Folwell:  A bow tie. I remember the bow ties.

Duclos: And I really enjoyed it. But after a while, that became how people were seeing me, and not for the work I was doing. And fundamentally, we all want to know that we’re at the job because of our brain power, not because of our accessorizing power. And so I’ve moved away from, as many have in the pandemic, moved away from dressing up all the time, but I’ve done it purposefully with the idea to show, let’s focus on the skills and background I have versus what I look like while I’m doing those things.

Folwell:  I remember your bow tie. And for those of you that can’t see him today, he’s sitting here in a hoodie today.

Duclos: Right.

Folwell:  Awesome. What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? Could be an investment of money, time, energy, et cetera.

Duclos: When I was 24 years old, I got married, and that was probably it. I’ve been married to the same person for over 25 years now. And through the ups and downs of life that come, that person has helped me through that process and made it so that there’s always someone there with me. And so I would say getting married to my wife and having her provide the guidance she has over these 25 years has really turned me into a much better person than I was when we first met.

Folwell:  That’s incredible and very sweet. What are the bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

Duclos: I would say that all job boards are the same. I think that people don’t understand that marketing in general is less about the particular role you have or the particular thing you’re trying to solve as much as it is making people aware that you’re seeking that answer. And as a result, there’s different constituencies across all types of products. Indeed can’t solve everything. LinkedIn can’t either. You have to understand the type of candidates and constituencies you’re trying to market to and make sure that that’s where you’re spending the majority of your money, rather than trying to say, “They’re all the same. Just buy them all, and it will all work out.” I think that you have to be very demographic-specific and very constituent-specific in the way you spend your money so that you get the best results on the other side, and track all of that with the best analytics you can so that things that don’t work can be turned off quickly and things that do work can be fed more money.

Folwell: I love that. And I’m always preaching, measure costs per higher by source.

Duclos: Yeah.

Folwell: What is the book or books that you’ve given most as a gift, and why?

Duclos: Oh, without a doubt, it’s The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen. I went and got a master’s in technology and innovation management, and that book enabled a goofball like me from Boston to put all my past experience sort of in an understanding around what drives innovation and how innovation can be successful. And so I share it with people constantly, just because I think the CliffsNotes version of what innovation is isn’t really what it is, and by reading that book, you get a very clear sense of it. And that’s followed closely by…well, we’ll just leave it at that one.

Folwell:  That works. That’s a great recommendation. And how has a failure or apparent failure set you up for later success?

Duclos: Oh, that’s happened so many times. I always say to people that I started my career thinking there’d be a career ladder and discovered that there’s a career tornado, that you don’t necessarily get to pick the times that you enter and leave the building for a company. And as a result, you should always be ready to take that next step, whether it’s on your terms or not. And so I think understanding that even if you do your best, it still may not work someplace, and not to beat yourself up about it, and to just move on and learn from it and take on the next role and just try and do it better, is the big takeaway there, is to just stay focused on what makes you, you, and try and grow those strengths around what makes you, you. And if it doesn’t work at one place, it will likely work at the next.

Folwell:  Great advice. And with that, that’s all I’ve got for the questions. Are there any closing comments that you’d like to share with the audience?

Duclos: I would just say, if you’re in staffing today, make sure that you’re trying to look out two or three years or five years beyond what you’re just currently doing. We’re so focused on the here and now and the projects at hand and the delivery mechanism and all the things that staffing has to go through to make money and to run their companies, that we need to also allow for time to look forward and say, “What are candidates and clients going to need from us in the next five years, and how do we get there first?” And if you do that, companies like AMN and other large companies have done a great job of keeping it very simple and just looking five years ahead and meeting the clients where they are. And I think we all as an industry need to be doing more of that.

Folwell:  I couldn’t agree more. And Todd, so great having you on today. Really enjoyed the conversation. Good to see you. And thank you all for listening.