Barbara Bruno: Boosting Growth through Smart Staffing Solutions

Barbara Bruno
Barbara Bruno | Global Temporary & Permanent Staffing Senior Director | Gi Global

Achieving holistic growth in any organization requires sound planning, good quality production, timely service, and smartly executed staffing solutions. The right staffing solutions are necessary to ensure maximum productivity and higher performance. Leaders today need to focus and administer the right and timely staffing solutions to meet the organization’s goals and objectives.

Barbara Bruno, the Global Temporary & Permanent Staffing Senior Director of Gi Global, is one such leader who has guided the company to exponential growth. She implied her versatile analysis, customized design solutions, building skills with a high level of commitment.

CIO Look caught up with Barbara and talked about how Gi Global aims to support people at each professional career stage.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

Brief our audience about your journey as a business leader until your current position at Gi Group. What challenges do you have to overcome to reach where you are today?

I started my work in Gi Group as a recruitment consultant in a local branch in Northern Italy in 2002. Then, I moved on to positions managing staffing services, monitoring branch operations, and creating corporate customer solutions. First at a regional level in Lombardy, then at a national level in Italy, and eventually at a worldwide level, contributing immediately to the GI Group’s internationalization effort. The launch of the international department provided me with the opportunity of becoming Gi Group’s global point of contact for operations and solution design. From 2012 to 2017, I traveled worldwide, working on dedicated solutions for international corporate customers.

In 2013, I also took on the role of Head of Operations in Germany, and I was assigned the challenge of recovering the staffing business line. It was a great challenge, but eventually, I was successful, bringing the view and experience of many other countries as a benchmark but mixing this with the local market peculiarities. In 2018, I became Talent & Candidate Director, and since January 2019, I have been Head of Temp & Perm Staffing practice at the global level. This 20-year-long journey was not easy. The company has undergone a terrific change, from a small local staffing company in Northern Italy to a Multinational HR service with nearly 7000 employees in 28 countries. A very significant and quick growth means a lot of effort and pressure, on the one hand, a strong focus on purpose on the other hand, and the ability to fast recover from mistakes, taking all the lessons learned along with you. Furthermore, from a personal point of view, I am a woman and a mother with two little children, and combining family and professional life is a non-stop challenge.

Tell us something more about Gi Group, its mission and vision.

Gi Group is one of the world’s leading companies providing services for developing the labor market, supplying over 20,000 Client Companies Globally, with 2021 revenues of 3,3 Billion Euros. The group is active in temporary and permanent staffing, advanced outsourcing, search and selection, training, outplacement, HR consulting, and a variety of complementary activities. Thanks to its direct presence and strategic partnership, it operates in more than 57 countries across Europe, America, Asia, and Africa.

Able to serve all kinds of clients, the group has developed strong knowledge and expertise in global multinational staffing needs, for which it has implemented dedicated solutions and divisions. The mission of GI Group is to contribute to the evolution of the labor market and emphasize the personal and social value of work. We want to expand our presence, even more, covering a leading position in all the markets where we operate with the core business.

Gi Group is currently ranking globally as one of the largest staffing firms by Staffing Industry Analysts. It is also a global corporate member of the World Employment Confederation (formerly CIETT).

Enlighten us on how you have made an impact in the Staffing niche through your expertise in the market.

Temporary Staffing is mainly a commodity market, made of high volumes at a low price. In many countries, staffing companies are providers more than partners, and deals can move from one to another following pricing convenience. But our mission in GI Group is to contribute to the evolution of the labor market, and in this perspective, staffing can play an important role. We can change the value provided from staffing to clients and candidates only acting like a real HR business partner.

On the one hand, it is being able to analyze the customers’ needs and design solutions that answer the needs—on the other hand simplifying the job search and easing access to jobs as much as possible for candidates. This approach requires building skills within the organization, keeping a high level of focus and professionalism in the resources, and commitment.

Undeniably, technology is playing a significant role in almost every sector. How are you leveraging technological advancements to make your solutions resourceful?

Technology applied to HR services has changed the dynamics of our sector dramatically. If we look at the specific perimeter of staffing, technology plays a significant role in all perspectives. Just to mention some of the most relevant: digitalization of processes means being able to reduce time and cost of operations; digital sourcing has extended and deepened at the same time the ability to identify, attract, engage with candidates; workforce management systems are becoming more and more effective and user friendly and sustain the ability to manage most of the workforce-related tasks and relationship management remotely.

Suppose we overcome the incremental innovation and look at an exponential use of technology. In that case, there is much more that we should expect with the clever use of AI applied to our processes. In GI Group, we have strongly invested in this direction last year, first with the acquisition of Jobtome, a job aggregator and programmatic sourcing, then setting up a fully Digital & Innovation department to digitalize our company our solutions for candidates and customers.

Where do you envision yourself to be in the long run and what are your future goals for Gi Group?

I want to keep influencing the position of our core business in the market and support the ambitious plans for expansion of Gi Group in the next couple of years when we will be able to double our size. After that, it might be time for me for a new challenge, like opening a new market or a new business.