When I tell people that I work in staffing, it is not uncommon for me to receive one of the following responses: ‘wow, that’s a tough industry,’ ‘I did that for six months, and it was too stressful,’ or ‘that must be so hard.’ Moreover, the truth is, they are right. The work is very challenging, but isn’t anything in life that reaps a great reward? So, for all my fellow crazy, insane work ethic, persevering, staffing superheroes, I put together a feel-good list of five things I love about staffing.
- ‘The greatest thing you can give someone is an opportunity’ – Shawna Echebelem (that’s me)! Anyone who has worked for me knows this is something I believe wholeheartedly and have repeated a multitude of times. There are thousands of great companies seeking talent who are willing and eager to invest in that talent to yield a mutually beneficial relationship. It warms my heart and builds my faith in people when I speak to someone in a leadership position who started as an entry-level employee through a staffing agency, then turned that opportunity into a successful and rewarding career. Workbox Staffing created a series titled ‘Workbox Success Stories’ highlighting some of our very own employees who have done the same thing. Here are a couple of my favorites: Jeff Karnatz, Jonathan Solomon.
- We fuel the American workforce. According to the American Staffing Association (ASA), ‘during a year, America’s staffing companies hire nearly 16 million temporary and contract employees‘. I become incredibly proud and excited when I see clients’ trucks on the road, their products on display or in use, or stop in to visit a client, only to be greeted by the warm smiling face of one of our receptionists. Contributing to something more significant is incredibly rewarding. Most people would probably never connect a finished product or good to the team of individuals who worked remarkably hard to source and recruit the employees who did the work to make it all happen. I am grateful for the perspective this industry has given me.
- I get to play what I call ‘third-grade science.’ Remember, in elementary school, learning about the industry, and watching some film about ‘jobs,’ which typically included an assembly line? Well, I loved that day. We take for granted and do not understand the complexities and brilliance that goes into the creation of a single product. Take a packaged cookie, for example. Because I have been exposed to how things work in a variety of industries, I no longer see a single cookie. I see a package, which was designed, printed, measured, cut, assembled, counted, packaged, shipped, stocked, scanned, and the eventual home of its chocolate chip contents. The cookie itself was formed through a detailed process of development, followed by purchasing of products, which are received, stored, pulled and transported to a mixer, and manufactured, checked, rechecked, inspected, etc. Then, there are salespeople, support staff, supervisors, managers, and the list goes on and on. The point is there is an amazing amount of hard work, ingenuity, and teamwork that goes into the products you and I enjoy on an everyday basis, and I have had the pleasure of seeing it firsthand. As quoted by Steve Jobs, ‘Some people can do one thing magnificently, like Michelangelo, and others make things like semiconductors or build 747 airplanes -- that type of work requires legions of people. In order to do things well, that can't be done by one person; you must find extraordinary people.’
- It’s the people. Human beings are both the most difficult and most rewarding aspect of the staffing industry. The reality is that no matter how much screening, interviewing, and reference checking is done; an employee makes the ultimate decision to fulfill the obligation he/she has accepted, or not to. Between the time an employee accepts an assignment and reports to work, a thousand decisions are made, one of which is showing up as instructed (on time, dress code compliant, etc.). When a person chooses not to do so, it is incredibly frustrating, and unfortunately, happens to the best of us for a variety of reasons. On the other hand, the most valuable asset a business has is its people. Consequently, there is a sort of magic that happens when a perfect employee-client match is made. Being able to find that ‘A player’(as we call it at Workbox) that the client so desperately needs is immensely rewarding, and much appreciated by the employee and the client. Also, when I speak with owners, managers, and HR representatives, I like to ask ‘What do you enjoy the most about this company/ your role?’ Time after time, I receive the same response – it’s the people. Having a role in that is awesome!
- Development - I saved this one for last, but it is indeed my personal favorite. Sadly, some people become defeated by the work of this industry – long hours, emotional highs and lows. Then, there are others who flourish, rise to the occasion, dig in, and experience real growth. Coaching and mentoring these folks has been and continues to be the most rewarding aspect of the job for me. Working in staffing requires grit, tenacity, and strength of character. Witnessing the emergence of these characteristics and the realization of the beholder that they are in possession of them is a feeling I cannot describe. I have worked side by side with some of the smartest, hardest working, overall best people I have ever known, and we are all here to do whatever it takes!
If you or your team are experiencing challenges attracting or retaining talent, Workbox Staffing has a team of staffing superheroes on deck! Check us out at www.workboxstaffing.com.