Mike Flickinger is a Retail Area Manager for Integrity Staffing Solutions, having been with the company for three years and in the staffing industry for more than 20 years. We sat down with Mike to discuss what he believes are the keys to Integrity's success.
Q: What draws you to the staffing field?
Like most of us who have been in this industry for some time, I desire to help make a difference in people's lives — this is what continues to draw me to this field. I genuinely believe we help families, not just by finding them a job, but a job that can help them pay their bills, afford a new car or launch a career for themselves.
The satisfaction I get from helping people improve their individual situations is why I love what I do, and I love what this company stands for!
Q: What stands out about Integrity from a client's and associate's perspective?
Every company in this industry boasts about having the best employees, and that is their big differentiator. For Integrity Staffing, it's so much more than that. Yes, I do believe we have great, extremely passionate and brilliant individuals working for us, but what we do differently is this – we listen.
It's so easy to tell a job seeker why a client is the best for them, and vice versa; however, that's not always a good thing. We take it to the next level, and take the time to listen to each of their needs. Once we have a good understanding, we take our findings and present them with choices based on what is best for them or their organizations.
Too often in the staffing industry, I see people taking jobs they don't really want. What happens after that is generally not good. The associate often drops off an assignment, resulting in confusion and disappointment among customers.
This is why we are different. Our ability to take the time to truly understand a customer's needs as it relates to staffing and personnel, do the same with our associates, and marry those who have a common interest, is what sets us apart from other firms in the industry."
From my previous experience, clients generally want to work with staffing companies who can do three things:
1. Communicate — be honest, and tell them what we can do instead of leaving them surprised at the 11th hour.
2. Send individuals that have the proper skill sets.
3. Set up individuals to be successful — make sure they understand the job, their role and even what door to walk through.
When speaking with associates, they want something similar:
1. Set me up for success, tell me what I'm getting into and what to expect.
2. Communicate with me — if I have a question, help me; if I call, answer.
3. Please put me in a job that I qualify for and will be happy with and pay me a decent wage.
Understanding this is key to making that right match — it sounds so simple, but very few staffing firms do this.
As far as other things that make Integrity stand out out from other firms, most significant is that "we care." And not just some of us, it’s everyone from the top down. It starts with our leadership team and is part of our corporate culture at every level. It's important to listen, but if we listen and don't care about what we do, everything else is meaningless. That to me is the biggest differentiator for any of our clients or associates caring about what we do, and about your success.
Q: Could you speak to Integrity's consultative approach with clients?
Listening also means being prepared — prepared with questions that can help us get to the root of an issue so we can effectively problem-solve. Asking thought-provoking questions allows for a unique and open dialogue between the two parties to uncover what is going on. The idea is to build a plan to specifically target those issues and implement it to successfully overcome those obstacles.
Recently, I met with a customer who, based on their experience with several other staffing companies, thought that a 60% monthly turnover was normal. We partnered with them to look at not only the turnover data, but to take a deep dive and understand the root causes of the turnover.
We then had the same type of discussion with current and some former employees to get their perspective — who else does that? Based on the conversations, we were able to design a program to help reward (incentivize) the type of workers and worker productivity the client was looking for.
In turn, we were able to match interested workers, actually shrink the client's overall program size, and allow workers to earn more hourly pay based on their productivity. The effects were profound: turnover fell to less than 5%, and productivity rose by almost 33%. Results that would never have been possible had we not asked challenging questions and made the effort to truly understand what was going on.
Q: How do industry trends/business variables (like COVID-19) impact decisionmaking and staffing strategies?
On the surface, I would say variables such as COVID-19 make our job far more challenging. But when you take a step back and really think about it, we're simply applying our usual processes to different circumstances.
Sure, the way we go about our day-to-day may be more challenging, but not impossible. Using the COVID example, we are limited in the number of associates we can interview at any given time, or we may not be allowed to visit a client on-site. We have to adjust our business practices to accommodate trends or variables, but in the end, we are still doing what needs to happen for us, our clients and associates to be successful. We find a way to do the things that are important for all of us.
Our solutions might include having Zoom interviews instead of in person, or doing client meetings over the phone. At the same time that the variables change, the consistency needs to be maintained. At Integrity Staffing, we listen, we consult, implement an effective plan, and in the end, we should all be more successful.