By Marc Poirier, General Manager of Abbey Placements LLC
What a year! The year 2015 was full of transition and professional growth for Abbey Placements. We sought sales advice from successful peers. We learned better ways of recruiting from our associates around North America. I had the privilege of joining several local business fraternities as I increased my outside sales efforts. And we saw the end of an era for Bloomington/Normal’s largest manufacturer. By sharing our story this year, I hope to show you what we see as trends in our local job market, current best practices for recruiting, and the important contributions of our staff.
Let’s start with some highlights from 2015:
- Client Relationships: We have seen a 73% increase in new client proposals and a 28% increase in our overall number of clients. Also, we continued to work with all of our long-term clients. We have several exciting prospects to follow-up with in January and every reason to believe sales will increase in 2016.
- Marketing: New strategies include increased visibility on Google, a better user experience for job applicants on mobile devices, and a robust flow of attractive content extending from our website into social media and a new newsletter.
- Applicants: Interview numbers each week are stronger than ever. We have several new recruiting techniques that we have learned from our associated staffing agencies at TempNet and our interviews in December are at record highs.
- Office Staff Development: After a restructuring mid-year, our personnel have all taken on new responsibilities. We are a year more experienced and have done well with the changes. As the saying goes, “It takes a year to get a year’s experience.”
In July, we asked Jerome Gerber, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at Award Staffing in Minneapolis, Minnesota and John Hayes, President of B. Loehr Staffing in St. Louis, Missouri to visit our office for several days and provide feedback in the form of a TempNet peer review. They made several important recommendations including becoming active in the McLean County Chamber of Commerce and local networking groups; making outside sales at least 50 percent of my role; moving Clif Schuh, our most experienced recruiter, away from payroll to focus more on recruiting; and providing our new web content to existing online networking groups within Facebook and LinkedIn. Their recommendations and advice have been foundational to much of what we have done since, and we are very grateful for their assistance.
Memphis and New Recruiting Techniques
In September, my father Ken and I attended the Fall 2015 TempNet conference in Memphis, Tennessee. I had the privilege of presenting a class on Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and more importantly we came away with several recruiting ideas that have proven effective over the past three months. Among our takeaways, we started aggressively pursuing referrals for job seekers, a technique often overlooked in the modern age of online job boards and social media. Job seekers migrate, so we are adapting and responding to their movements using both old and new methods. As my friend Justin Boyd would say, “Go to the people.”
A Year of Personal Growth
My outside sales efforts increased significantly, beginning in August. I joined the Bloomington-Normal Sunrise Rotary, NEXT Professionals, and BNI Bloomington Normal Integrators shortly thereafter. Abbey Placements also joined the McLean County Chamber of Commerce and I was asked to be an Ambassador in 2016.
Getting out of the office each day and focusing so much on direct outside sales has taught me a lot about myself and about sales. I am grateful for this experience and for all the wonderful people I have met in the process.
End of the Mitsubishi Era
With the closing of Mitsubishi in November, the labor market is shifting. We predicted that the supply of skilled laborers would greatly increase in Central Illinois by the beginning of 2016 and the demand would decrease, resulting in an employers’ market for skilled labor.
We have already seen this change start to become a reality as our interviews have increased by 50 percent in the month of December, compared to the previous three months. The long-term impact of Mitsubishi’s closing is still to be seen, but as unemployment benefits for former Mitsubishi employees end, we expect to see another wave of job seekers hit the market by summer 2016.
To our staff, I want to say thank you for your daily dedication. You are a dependable and honest group of people who have worked hard to adapt during this year of transition. I want to give a special thanks to Clif for keeping our operations running so consistently day-in and day-out and for working through the difficulty of changing roles this year. I also want to thank Sheryll for being willing to take over payroll, Sandra for developing an effective data-driven advertising program, and McLean for his consistent and efficient interviewing, as well as learning how to run new hire orientations this year.
To our clients, thank you for your continued partnership. We strive to recruit and keep quality employees for you because we greatly value your business and your loyalty.
To our workers, thank you for all your hard work and growth. It means so much that you get up each day and do your job well. We support you as you support us.
To my father Ken, the owner of Abbey Placements, thank you for your guidance and your continued belief in our staff and in me. This business represents a labor of love developed over many years and I am grateful that you have made me a part of it. And to my mother Julie, thank you for always being there to help in any way needed, both personally and professionally. To refer to you as a great asset is an understatement.
Finally, to God, thank you for your providence. We have prospered through almost 34 years of constant change with you protecting us at every stage of the journey in ways we will never understand.
We look back on the year 2015 and see transition and growth. In the year to come, we believe 2016 will be the continuation of many years of prosperity to everyone associated with this company!