SI Review: August 2011

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Center Stage

At Your Service

SearchPros Staffing gives individualized attention

By Subadhra R. Sriram

Center Stage features SearchPros Staffing, an under-$15 million firm headquartered in Sacramento, Calif. Through seven offices nationwide, the company staffs workers ranging from administrative assistants and receptionists to nuclear physicists and aerospace engineers. Recently, the company was named the U.S. Small Business Administration small business subcontractor of the year for California. Staffing Industry Analysts spoke with Myla Ramos, director of SearchPros Staffing.

Q: Describe what SearchPros does.

A: SearchPros is a full-service human capital solution company. We staff all kinds of categories of workers.

Q: What do you think helps set your firm apart from other staffing firms?

A: Many people say it is service that sets them apart. We are unique, however, because we are able to service our clients individually. Our size helps, but we can also scale quickly to be large. We have tailored every location or every client that we’ve worked with specific to their needs. So it’s creating that individualized relationship that has allowed us to grow in this economy. And along the way, we received many, many accolades including awards nationwide.

Q: Let’s talk about what helped you get these awards.

A: It’s a very involved process. First of all, you have to be nominated by your clients. You don’t self-nominate for the SBA award. Actually, Lockheed Martin nominated us. In fact, the director we worked with said that in 25 years of doing this job, this is the first time he has ever taken the time to go through this process.

Q: Why do you think that is?

A: He felt that we’ve excelled in all areas of the criteria of the award: overall management of their contract labor, our delivery performance, the technical capabilities that we brought to the table, the cost performance, etc. We’ve made recommendations that they’ve never even considered and put them into effect. We’ve brought a lot of value to the table.

Q: Like what?

A: An example is tracking retired employees. It’s a very difficult market for what they (Lockheed Martin) do because they’re so specialized. They recruit for nuclear physicists, etc., and there are very small groups of people that can do that. We created a CW system to help them retain those people who are either semi-retired or have worked with them in the past.

Q: Let’s talk about company culture.

A: We take the time to listen to what is important — both our customers as well as our employees benefit because we listen to them. And we actually can act on it. We’re still small enough that we can turn on a dime. We are a persuasive, young team. Our goal is to have everyone on the same page and educated about what is required.

Lockheed Martin is a $6 billion dollar company, with hundreds of thousands of employees. We needed to be able to communicate the same language to every single person across the board. It was a daunting task, especially given our size. Being able to do that was what set us apart. And then of course there were the financial gains. We were able to deliver the promises of savings nationwide.

Q: Tell me a little bit more about your team.

A: Our team is young entrepreneurs at heart. They are not set in their ways. They are passionate and open-minded. What we’ve location, each department, each unit needs to be handled in the way that will make sense to them. It’s all a matter of perspective.

Q: What do you do in terms of innovation?

A: Innovation. I think it goes back to what I was talking about being proactive and resourceful. Each company, each location has a different definition of innovation. So our innovation is specific truly to the individual client and location. We look at what’s important to them. And deliver what they need to be more competitive.

It’s personal for us. For starters, we don’t take on a client or try to staff positions unless we’ve actually met the customer. I’m normally traveling at least once a week because we won’t start a new engagement unless I’ve met the decision makers and have shaken their hand and heard from them personally.

Q: How has the economy affected you?

A: I think it’s made us stronger. What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger, right? As a small business, it’s been very challenging to mobilize funds. But we’ve learned to be very resourceful in how we utilize our resources, and that has made us stronger.

Q: What are your future plans?

A: Growth. We hope for more growth. We hope for more exposure in the marketplace. We want to help potential candidates find new opportunities and help our clients utilize the resources that are available.

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