The Experts: Michael Whitmer on Future-proofing Your Business Through Technology

Michael Whitmer

Global Chief Information Officer, RGF Staffing

Michael Whitmer (1964) has been a member of the Executive Management Team of Recruit Global Staffing since 1 April 2019. He has been the Global CIO of Recruit Global Staffing since 1 January 2018. Whitmer holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from the University of West Georgia.

He’s been with Recruit since 1 July 2012 as operational CIO for Staffmark Group/Advantage Group UK, which he held until 1 January 2019.

He started his career as a software engineer and has worked in technology for over 33 years, 17 in staffing. For the past 20 years, he gained strong business acumen while holding numerous roles managing Information Technology internationally. Michael holds American nationality.

Welcome to our video series, The Experts. In the series, we interview staffing and recruitment leaders to hear their perspectives on industry trends, lessons they’ve learned in the careers, and their leadership philosophies.

In this clip, Michael Whitmer, Global Chief Information Officer at RGF Staffing, explains how simplification, digitalization, and a best-in-class experience are the three keys to digital transformation.

What’s been your main focus in the recruitment industry?

For the past 19 years that I’ve been in the staffing industry, my focus has been on technology. I’ve certainly seen a lot of evolution of our industry from a more manual and process-driven industry to a very digitalized and more automated industry. But we still have a long way to go and I’m certainly driving that for our organization.

What can recruitment firms do today in order to future-proof their business?

Digital transformation. I know it can be very intimidating to a lot of organizations, but to me, I really look at things from a more pragmatic perspective. If you really break it down, its main focus is just automation. If you want to start a digital transformation program, first, just look for those areas in your organization that you can automate. It may be a simple manual process that requires automation, or it may be putting together two systems that don’t talk together, or it might even be looking at implementing a new technology that brings a digital experience to your users. You can do it in small steps, and then over time, you evolve into a broader program that you can then label digital transformation.

What are the keys to successful digital transformation?

We try to stay away from the word digital transformation. I change it more into simplification, digitalization, and best-in-class experience. When I talk about simplification, I’m really talking about taking your technology platform and making sure that you don’t have multiple components that do the same thing or overlap and do similar functions. But I’m also talking about ensuring that your processes within the organization are simplified. In the staffing industry, we often tend to overcomplicate things and create these very convoluted processes or we create multiple processes that weren’t designed to work together. So you’ve really got to start with a simplified approach.

How does digitalization play a role in digital transformation?

When it comes to digitalization, I’m really talking about automation. Today, we still have a lot of digital components in our footprints, but we need to spend more time automating a number of our manual processes. So if you focus on simplifying the environment and then digitalizing your various manual steps, you’ll really drive value, efficiency, and more productivity.

What role does technology play in providing a best-in-class experience?

We want to make sure we give the best possible experience for our customers, candidates, and internal employees. Staffing is a relationship-driven business and you’ve got to create that relationship. But in today’s world, you can maintain that relationship using technology. We like to call that a touch through tech, where we actually have constant integration, constant engagement, and constant managing of that relationship with our individual constituencies through technology.

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