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The Best Staffing Firms To Work For

(August 1, 2011) Top Traits: Transparency, company culture, hiring the right workers

One staffing firm brought in a guitar player from a local restaurant to serenade the office. Another firm, as a holiday treat, heads to the mall where employees get $100 to spend in an hour.

The top firms on this year's "Best Staffing Firms to Work For" lists had a variety of tactics for treating their employees well.

While some tactics were unorthodox, there were some common themes among the top firms: transparency with employees, hiring the right internal workers and maintaining a company culture.

But whatever the strategy, they all added up to great places to work.

This year's "Best Staffing Firms to Work For" lists include the top five firms to work for in small, medium and large firm categories based on the number of internal employees. The lists rank a total of 16 firms because there was a tie in one category.

A total of 118 firms took part in this year's program. Quantum Workplace, an Omaha, Neb.-based firm, conducted the research and rankings for Staffing Industry Analysts.

The highest-ranking small firm was LiquidAgents Healthcare. The highest-ranking midsize company was USr Healthcare. And the highest-ranking large firm was Signature Consultants.

The top firms provide several different types of staffing and come from across the United States. However, three of the 16 are based in Alpharetta, Ga.

Two of the best staffing firms to work for also ranked on Staffing Industry Analysts' 2010 list of fastest-growing staffing firms: Akraya Inc., No. 2 in the small firms category, and Accurate Personnel Services, No. 4 in the midsize firms category.


Below, are profiles of the winning companies, grouped by company size.

20 to 50 employees

Work Hard, Play Hard

#1 LiquidAgents Healthcare
At Plano, Texas-based LiquidAgents Healthcare, employees don't just work hard, they play hard. It's all about having a little fun during the work day. For example, they can play ping pong or pool in the company's Chi Lounge. "We decrease stress by creating a fun environment," says CEO Sheldon Arora. "We morphed an ordinary office into a colorful space where employees can learn, produce and interact." At LiquidAgents, when staff members notice one of their colleagues doing something great or perhaps having a challenging week they can nominate that person to spin the company's prize wheel.

Among the prizes that have been awarded are a free lunch, a "skip" pass that entitles the winner to leave work early, a car wash, a free tank of gas, cash, half a car payment and tickets to a concert.

Employees also appreciate LiquidAgents' "Free Lunch Fridays," which occur once a month.

Beyond the prizes and giveaways, the company maintains an open-door policy. "The staff feels comfortable approaching their leaders for help," Arora says. "We talk, discuss and debate to realize any challenges they may face. Input is important to our success. Everyone wants to do a good job and we make it easy for them."

Celebrating Success

#2 Akraya Inc.
There's a saying at Akraya that once you're an Akrayan, you're always an Akrayan.

The Sunnyvale, Calif., company boasts an internal turnover rate of 3 percent, says CEO Amar Panchal. The only reasons people have left Akraya are a career or life change, Panchal says, never for a competitor.

At Akraya, everyone has a say in who is hired. People interviewing for a sales position, for example, will meet with the sales team as well as people in recruiting, operations and human resources.

Communication also is very important to Akraya. The company regularly shares its financial information with employees, even if it's not all roses. Employees also learn how their work contributes to the company's bottom line, Panchal points out. "We share with everyone what our vision is," he says. "They know where we are going and how their work contributes to our getting there."

Akrayans also celebrate success. A bell is rung for any major achievement. And for a new employee's first major achievement, Panchal treats the office to ice cream.

During the holiday season, Akraya also gives employees $100 to spend at the local mall, which they can spend however they like. The only stipulation is that the money needs to be spent in an hour. "It's a fun afternoon," Panchal says.

Self-Starters flourish

#3 Hire Dynamics

At Hire Dynamics, the philosophy is to hire right and to do it the first time around. The company strongly believes in the concept of topgrading, an interview process that helps employers weed out the high achievers or "A Players" from the rest of the pack, according to CEO Dan Campbell. The Alpharetta, Ga.-based company hires self-starters who don't need to be micromanaged.

Every employee has three quarterly goals. The company also reimburses employees who want to take classes that will help them in their jobs. Additionally, Hire Dynamics surveys employees and then makes changes based on those surveys.

Hire Dynamics promotes from within. "We know that culturally they are a fit," Campbell says. "They are not as much of a risk. They have proven themselves."

The company has a deferred compensation plan that is based on its retention. The lower the turnover the company has, the more money there is in the plan. (read more)

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