…today’s secret…Mona Lisa and the staffing world.

People have speculated why Mona Lisa is the world’s most famous painting…is it her steady gaze, restrained smile, mysterious background?

I think her fameosity comes from her knowing the answer to any question asked of her.

Go ahead. Look at her and ask a question. Any question. And then look at her again and tell me she doesn’t know your answer.

You can see she knows. She’s just not telling you.

However, surprisingly, she did answer my question. Yes, I had to put my ear close to that smirky little smile of hers. Must be my personality.

I asked Mona, “What’s the staffing world gonna look like when this COVID pandemic catastrophe clears.” I was more curious about the staffing world that helps people with compromised backgrounds.

“Willie,” she said. “Everyone pretty much knows what a disruption this little virus brought us. Labor markets. Supply chains. How we work. Where we work. When we work.”

“But,” she continued, “this pandemic accelerated the use of work technology tenfold. In about 8-10 years or so today’s technology will look like a horse and buggy compared to the automation and artificial intelligence that’s coming. Yes, the ‘bots’ are on their way! See Domino’s self-driving delivery car.”

How did she know that?

Mona paused for a second. “E-commerce. Remote work. Virtual meetings. Less corporate office space. Less business travel. All will grow…they are not going away.”

Mona paused for another second. “You’re starting to quantify work into groups that need to provide human interaction and groups whose work can be automated. You’re learning exactly where to use software and where to use people.”

“Willie,” she said, still smiling, “The pot of gold for your staffing agencies who work with the marginalized is to recruit, hire, and train them into hard-working, hands-on service workers.”

“If applicants are reliable, conscientious, have good attitudes, are willing to be trained, and then work…they can write their own ticket anywhere in America…now and in the future.”

“Who is going to erect frames, pour foundations, build cabinets, hang sheetrock, lay flooring, and install roofing? Who is going to fix plumbing, run wiring, repair air conditioning, paint walls, clean gutters, trim trees, or do the power-washing?”

Mona chuckled as she told me on a side note that successful service companies of the future will answer their phone, “Yes we can and we are on our way.”

Mona told me that staffing agencies that help service agencies answer their phone this way will leapfrog ahead of the competition. These agencies will need to become more involved into the lives of the people they are trying to help than they are doing today.

Here’s one real-world example of how Mona may be right. Departments of Corrections used to routinely parole inmates to half-way houses that would try and find their new residents menial work. Ex-offenders did, after all, have a prison record. Tsk. Tsk.

Half-way houses today are starting to restructure their operations to not only house ex-offenders, but to train them in skills determined by area service employers eagerly awaiting to hire them upon completion of that training.

While we are picking up the pieces of this last COVID year, we might want to start looking a little further down the road.

Yo Mona. Thanks for hanging with me!