Welcome back to the RecruitingDaily Podcast! Today, we have special guest Todd Bavol of Integrity Staffing with us. We’ll discuss TLC for your employees and the benefits it brings.
Todd is the CEO and co-founder of Integrity Staffing Solutions, where he considers himself a servant leader. Fundamentally, his job is to remove barriers for his teams across the country, ensuring they’re successful in fulfilling the company’s mission and vision. This helps teams strive to truly live up to organizational values, as well as look into the future and set strategies.
Integrity Staffing Solutions focuses mainly on high-volume staffing engagements in eCommerce logistics. Most importantly, an associate-first approach ensures that the people, businesses and communities they serve have ample chance to grow and thrive. This advocacy on behalf of their allies has created consistently high performance and delivery.
A few questions we answer today: What are some examples of employee TLC? In what ways has this been rewarding, either pre-pandemic or during the pandemic? What does the future of TLC look like for Integrity Staffing?
There’s more, of course! You’ll have to tune in to find out. Make sure to drop your thoughts in the comments.
Listening Time: 27 minutes
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As the CEO of Integrity Staffing Solutions, my focus is on providing the leadership necessary to help the company fulfill its mission of generating opportunities for everyone to thrive. This includes our associates, clients and internal employees.Follow Follow
This is RecruitingDaily’s, Recruiting Live Podcast. Where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week we take one overcomplicated topic, and break it down so that your three-year-old can understand it. Make sense? Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
Ladies and gentlemen, this William Tincup. And you are listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. We have Todd on from Integrity Staffing. And we’ve got a great topic today, and can’t wait to explore it with him. It’s TLC for your employees, the benefits it brings. So we’re going to just jump right into it. Todd, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and introduce Integrity Staffing?
Absolutely! Thanks for having me, William.
I really appreciate the opportunity. So I’m Todd Bavol, I’m the CEO and co-founder of Integrity Staffing Solutions. So my role in the organization is really as I see it, I really view myself as a servant leader. And so my job is to really remove barriers for my teams across the country, to ensure that they’re able to be successful in fulfilling our mission and vision. And really living up to our values, as well as looking into the future, and setting strategy for the organization.
Integrity Staffing, we’ve been in business since 1997. It’s actually started the company with the premise, and the focus on creating a different kind of staffing agency. That was really an associate first company. So we really began what we call our associate first concept back in 1997. And we’ve specialize as an organization on high volume staffing engagements in the eCommerce logistics, like industrial, call center areas. So that’s really the focus. So our role is to generate opportunities, find good clients that have what we find as good cultures, good opportunity for our employees. And then we connect the two together, and really create launch pads of opportunity for people in the future. That’s what we’re up to.
I love that! Without looking at your LinkedIn profile, most great staffing firms like yours they come out of larger staffing firms where people have left.
And we won’t name names, but when someone starts at a large staffing firm, global staffing firm. And then says, “Yeah, there’s a better way.” And then they go off and create something. And I’m glad y’all did. And I love the premise of being associate first, employee first. And just, again the job’s the job, you still got to fulfill. You still got to do all the other stuff. But just treating people more humanely. I love that!
What’s the, Go ahead.
I was going to say William, a really interesting tidbit. Is that I actually started not just working for a staffing agency. But I started as a temporary employee in the city of Philadelphia.
Oh, [inaudible 00:03:38].
So it is really from the start-
… of working for the agency. And so understanding it from both perspectives was really pivotal in really setting the vision for our organization.
So I just thought that’s a neat, yeah.
Wow! You get to see the treatment, both the treatment on the candidate side, and the temp worker side. You also got to see it from the agency side. But that’s fantastic! So let’s talk a little bit about TLC, and the things that you’re thinking about. The things that you’ve done. Obviously COVID is probably ramped up certain things, and ramped down certain things. So let’s just jump into TLC, Tender Loving Care, for those that are acronym challenged. What are some examples of TLC for y’all, for integrity now?
Well, so when we think about TLC and we think about that from an organization. It really starts with making that right impression, in having ensuring that our teams are really making the best fits for our employees. So, because I believe that retention starts with making a good hiring decision, not just for the person, but for the organization as well. So there’s duality there. So from the minute we engage, it’s our commitment to be the best in applicant and employee experience. So to do that, we want to make sure that we respond quickly when people apply. To us, that’s really important. One of the things you’ll hear from a lot of people who are applying for jobs, especially during COVID. Is they go into the black hole. There’s nothing worse, especially when you are in crisis mode, between jobs, feeling vulnerable already. And then posting your resume out there to a number of companies, and not hearing anything back.
So we start there. We start with the very, very basics. And then when folks come into our office, we make sure that they’re greeted well. That they’re treated like they should be, which is a customer. To us our applicants are customers. And so we want to make sure that we engage with them in that way. And I suggest any company do that, because especially in a war for talent. People that are applying for jobs, I don’t know if you remember what it was like on your first day of school, or going into high school for the first time, or starting a new job. That’s really intimidating. And so the more that we can make that initial experience a good one, the better we’re going to do creating that relationship from the get go. So we really believe that it starts before the person even goes to work for us. So right up to that first day, we’re providing little steps in the journey along the way that are special. And so that’s really where TLC starts with us.
It’s interesting, because you started in the recruiting phase, and then you bring that into onboarding, and then you carry it through. So it’s almost, it doesn’t stop, right? So the idea is that you’re constantly helping them with wherever they need, wherever they need it. If it’s in the recruiting process, you’re communicating, maybe you’re over communicating where you’re there at in the process, et cetera. To ease some of that anxiety, but also just way finding. I mean, FedEx can tell you where your package is, we should be able to tell our candidates where they are in their journey in terms of applying. But I love that you carry that forth into the onboarding experience, but also into their employment experience as well.
Yeah, absolutely. And So once we get through that onboarding experience in getting to that first day. It’s also important to make sure that they understand the scope of benefits that we offer. We offer a wide scope of benefits to our workforce. And in our industry, we would say that we’re at that premium level.
And so we start not just with the medical, dental, and the basics in terms of insurance coverage, but then we have additional things. And we really identify these through, we do consistent feedback loops with our associates. Finding out what’s important to them. What are the things that they value? It’s the old with them, what’s in it for them? What’s important? Because we can choose a benefit, but it might not be met with great enthusiasm from the very people that we’re trying to retain, motivate, and engage with, right? And so over the past year implemented our Next Step U education benefit. Which we found that folks were really looking for ways to improve their career.
And a lot of folks come to us, William, who are mid jobs. So they’re between jobs. So they’re using us as a safety net, or a stepping stone. And others choose our type of employment, because it’s flexibility in their lives. But every one of them for the most part is looking for some way to improve. And we offer education opportunities through our partnership with Penn Foster at no charge for our associates. So as long as they’re working for us, they have opportunities to gain certifications in things like if you’re a warehouse associate, blueprint reading. Well, that’s a valuable skill. Machine operation, et cetera. If you are in call center, it might be supervisory skills. So that when that next step comes available, they can add these things to their resume as opportunities to give them an edge in their employment.
We also add in benefits like PayActiv, for hourly workers, sub $20 an hour workforce, in the country. The average person pays over 200 plus dollars in late fees and penalties, because they’re paid weekly to buy weekly, generally. So one of the things that we found was very, very important to our employees, was access to the wages that they’ve actually earned. You think about it, in most transactions I pay for something and I get it in return. In our country, you go to work, right? You go to work, you work for a week, the company holds onto your wages and pays you in one or two weeks, right? So, we really listen to our associates and looked for opportunities of different ways to pay them. So we found a company called PayActiv, that does earned wage access. Which for $3, the employee can get access to up to 50% of their wages that they’ve already earned, twice during a weekly pay period. So they don’t have to worry about payday loans, which are really predatory [crosstalk 00:11:22].
So these are some of the things that we’ve implemented really by listening to our employees, and understanding what the motivators are to them, and what’s important in their lives.
What’s great about this. Todd is it’s a constant the feedback, right? You’ve got your finger on the pulse. You’re asking them, they’re coming up with what’s important to them, and that changes. And I think that’s one of the things that company owners and founders sometimes get wrong, is that what was important, let’s say pet insurance. We’ll just use something arbitrary. What was important two years ago, not as important today. And so understanding that every year when you re-up and go through your benefits package, that you have an idea of what they care out at that moment.
And again, being flexible enough, because y’all built like the Cadillac plant. And so y’all are always going to want, because you’re using benefits, and I believe the most appropriate way is as an engagement and retention tool, you want to retain talent. So you also care about them, you want them to have a good life. So there’s multiple reasons. But it’s got to hit. And then the way that this hits is the benefits that are put in front of folks, they’ve got to be consumed. They’ve got to be adopted. They’ve got to be used. If they’re not, then it’s not really a benefit.
Bingo! Absolutely! It’s interesting that you say that, William. Because one of the things that happened during COVID, is we look at our workforce and it’s a temporary workforce, right?
And so now our internal employees, you have a different percentage of people participating in benefits. But we have 50 to 60% of our workforce participating in our benefits plans. So COVID strikes. Imagine the horror for employees that are going through symptoms, and not having access to medical benefits. So we immediately looked for how can we get a medical benefit to our employees at no cost to them that gives them access to immediate information?
So we implemented our telemedicine program free to all our associates across the country, immediately. And we had such a high participation rate. And the feedback from our employees was, thank you, I was able to not have to take my child to urgent care in the middle of the pandemic. I was able to call a doctor and get peace of mind that it was probably just the common, cold and not COVID. And that was a big deal to our workforce.
I love that! I love that! So we wonder on the flip side of this, is talk about the outcomes, and talk about the benefit it brings to the organization. One of the things we’ve already touched on is loyalty, engagement, retention. I’m assuming that there’s probably other things that you’ve seen with just the benefits that you’ve put in front of your folks. And the TLC that you obviously care about them as people. What else have you seen, either pre-pandemic or through the pandemic that have been rewarding for you?
So, well, it’s interesting. So for me, the most rewarding thing in our organization is watching when benefits that we provide that are more resources that we provide. So we have a program called Project Home. And Project Home was actually created years ago. I got a phone call from an employee who said “Look, we’re an associate first company. And one of our core values is to advocate for the success of our employees. And we have this great worker, and he’s living in his car. And I just don’t feel good about that. What can we do?” And that’s where Project Home began.
Project Home started with the goal of eradicating homelessness in our worker population, then became so much more. So these are one of those benefits of working for our organization, when you talk about rewarding. Something that we’ve watched happen is the good will among our internal workforce. They feel empowered to make a difference, and to really fulfill upon being associate first. Our clients will see someone who maybe their home, we had an employee who’s home burned down. And we put them up in temporary housing, so that they weren’t left. And they didn’t have appropriate insurance to get the temporary housing, so we helped get them into temporary housing.
The feedback from our clients was amazing, and the goodwill that it did. And to me, those are the rewards that we see that aren’t tangible, in terms of an immediate financial impact. But boy, in terms of a fulfillment of our vision, mission values, impact. It’s immediate. On the flip side of that, from a financial impact perspective, we’ve seen our referrals increase through our employee referrals. So in a very tightly labor market, where it’s tough to find people. We are seeing people referring their friends and family to our organization. We’ve seen the impact in our NPS score, both internal and external NPS. Our client NPS has ended up in the high 60s to 70s. Which is similar to, and I’m not going to compare us from a service perspective to these companies. But you’re looking at that Netflix level, Apple level NPS scores. And to us that feels rewarding to our organization. Because it really matches with our intention, our mission, vision, and values.
Well, it’s also your name. I mean, Integrity Staffing, you could have named the staffing company back in 97. You could have named it anything, and you chose Integrity Staffing. Which people sometimes choose words like that, like integrity. And they don’t really necessarily either look it up in the dictionary or live by it, and you’re living by it. So you’ve put it out there, and in front of people as integrity staffing. So, you’re living your values, you’re also living your name. Which I love. I wanted to ask about clients, and what they’ve seen from the way that you treat your workforce, and then the way that they go out represent you with your clients. What if your clients, what have they said about, either directly or indirectly to you about the way that you treat your associates?
We get incredible feedback from our clients. In fact, our clients look to us because we’re constantly reaching out. We reach out once a week to our workforce, that’s working out across organizations. And we say, “Hey, we’re just checking it. How are things going?” If we start to see a negative trend or feedback in a certain department or area. We’ll go to our client and say, “Hey, we’re starting to see shifts, attendance going down, and attrition going up in this area. Let’s uncover that, let’s partner together. To really work on what’s going on.” And we can really uncover a lot. I think from our client’s perspective, they also want to partner with an organization that’s providing a good experience for their workforce. Because we are in many ways, an extension of their brand.
100%, 100%, whether or not they know that, or whether or not the general public might know that, you are. I mean, I remember a staffing firm getting in trouble because they’d staffed, I think it was retail. It might have been Best Buy. And the Best Buy employee was on TikTok or Instagram doing all kind of inappropriate things. And it looked bad for the corporate brand, Best Buy. And that was a temporary staffing employee. But the general public didn’t know that, the press didn’t know that. They didn’t discern whether or not that was just a temporary person, or whether or not it was Best Buy full time employee. They just knew it’s Best Buy. And so your associates absolutely reflect the companies that they work for your clients, and the good and bad, right?
So hopefully with all the good in mind, what are some of the things that you’d like to do now knowing what you know? You’ve been doing this for a couple years now. Knowing what you know, where do you want to take this?
Well? So in terms of some of the things that we’re looking at from a TLC benefits perspective, we want to move to the ability to pay our associates on demand. So if you work half a day and you want to get that money.
Yeah, tap out.
[Crosstalk 00:21:31] apps, you can tap it, right? Now. We also are from a vision perspective, want to tie in some financial wellness tools that might say, “Hey, this is X percent of your wages for the week.” Right? Because you also want to make sure that you’re providing good guidance-
… and financial responsibility in that as well. So we’re really evaluating that. But that’s something that we believe is really important to us. The other thing that we’re looking to do is, continuing the impact work that we’re doing in terms of connecting and bringing together resources that people don’t even know that they have.
Bringing those together in what we’re calling an empowerment collective. And we’re rolling this out in Lancaster County in that area in Pennsylvania. And we’re starting small, and really testing how we can Connect with local resources, with our workforce so that it continues to remove barriers that stand in the way of people really moving forward. And one of the goals with the empowerment collective is to reduce the number of people living in poverty, in that Lancaster York County area of Pennsylvania. So we see this, if it’s successful, we want to be able to replicate this, and move this across the country. Because I believe that private, public partnership is so important to making the impact in, especially the workforce in the employee base that we work with. There is great opportunity to make some significant change.
First of all, I love that you’re thinking about financial wellness as part of the array of things that you can help people with. Because, pay day loans, as you mentioned, predatory kind of service. If we can get this workforce away from that, away from working check to check to check, and helping them both with their savings. Which I think is well, a wonderful thing to help with. But also credit, most people don’t understand credit. We didn’t learn credit in high school or personal finance in high school.
And so having people understand that, and so a great financial wellness package that can help them with the array of those things, I think is really smart. Have you seen anything? And I love that you’re starting small as you will, smarting in one area, piloting. And making sure that it works, and then you can roll it out across the country. You can do all the other things after that, but you want to make sure your model is spot on. Have you seen anything? And this could be a COVID related thing or not. But have you seen anything from your associates around mental health?
Absolutely! In fact, we have really done a lot of work with our EAP resources. Mental health awareness is something that we’re really focused on, in terms of ensuring that our associate base understands what are some of the more running signals of things like depression, anxiety, et cetera. And then what are those resources? Because EAPs, it’s interesting people don’t reach out for those services until it’s too late.
Right? Until they’re deep into. And we’re trying to get folks to really get engaged and involved with our EAP program, before it becomes a crisis.
And so by education and normalizing mental health as something that’s just as important as our other wellness focus [crosstalk 00:25:43], and making it part of our wellness program. We believe that that’ll be able to make a big impact.
Well, some of that’s just lessening to taboo, and talking more about it. And some of it’s EAPs historically, they’re great to have. But it’s almost like tuition reimbursement, people know that it’s there, but then they don’t take advantage of it for whatever reason. And so finding a way to then encourage them. I think proactively in the way that y’all are, is just it’s wonderful. Todd, we could talk about this all day long, because you’re running a wonderful company. And you’re doing it the right way. And I love it when people go about business the right way, and I want you to win. Because in my experience there’s a lot of folks that don’t run companies the right way. So kudos to you for treating your employee, putting your associates first, getting their feedback, fulfilling on their feedback. And creating a better experience for both your company, your associates, your clients, the whole ecosystem.
Thank you very much, William. It’s really been great to be with you today. And we are so grateful that we have a team of people that are committed to fulfilling on that mission.
A 100%. Well, thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast and thanks to Todd, until next time.
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William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.