For years, I worked for staffing agencies. I worked for one of the largest, Manpower; then switching gears, I then worked for a small local agency, and finished up my staffing career with a private national agency. I truly enjoyed the work; it allowed me to really get to know employees and companies.
I was hired out of staffing by a client and developed a wonderful relationship with the internal employees and customers. I discovered a whole new level of satisfaction getting to know my colleagues, their needs, and their frustrations.
I love working in HR. Best move I ever made. And I am grateful for the experience of working in staffing. There are a number of lessons learned, on both sides of the desk. Thought I would share my staffing lessons. There were plenty.
From the staffing side, examples of working with what I thought to be painfully unreasonable people:
1. Client companies call in a panic, usually two minutes before close, for someone for the next day. I would spend my evening trying to track down help only to have my employee sent home that morning. Another agency’s employee got there first.
2. Client company decides to end an employee’s assignment. Instead of allowing the person the opportunity to hear the information during the business day, would have one of our staffing specialists contact that person at home, at night.
3. Client companies would do annual RFPs. Only the client had no intention of dropping their current provider. Instead, they would have all the competing agencies leap through significant hoops, invest hours of work and personal time, only to have their work used to lower current provider’s rates.
4. Clients call with incredibly unreasonable demands, paying nothing per hour, and demanding to know what our markup was. I never worked in an industry where our customers decided to determine our profits.
5. We would diligently with our client companies, faxing over resumes (yes, the days of faxes), sending people for interviews, following up … only to hear … CRICKETS. Nothing.
Until I sat on the other side of the desk.
1. An employee would bring in a vacation requisition, signed at five minutes to five. The vacation day had been approved weeks before but sat on the manager’s desk. As the employee turns it in, flippantly says, “oh, and Manager needs someone to cover the front desk while I am off tomorrow.” So I call staffing company, most probably interfering with someone’s evening while they set up the employee … only to discover the Manager has his neighbor’s daughter fill on while she is home from college.
2. Manager walks into my office at the end of the day and announces that Employee Smith isn’t working out. He doesn’t want her back in the morning. No reason. No feedback. No opportunity to resolve the issue.
3. There is no excuse for this one.
4. Or this one.
5. Or this one.
I did love my clients who were true partners – gave me feedback to help me improve, learn their business, their idiosyncrasies, their needs. I really loved helping people connect – great employees with great companies. Honest, transparent, direct. Loved it. And that’s how I work now. WYSIWYG. Makes it better for all of us.