10 Practices of the Most Successful Staffing Companies

In the very unique and challenging world of temporary staffing, staying at the top of your market requires much more than just great people and strong relationships. It requires a commitment to maintain focus on the following practices that alone will give you an edge but when combined they will help you solidify your place as a market leader.

1. They build and maintain a sales culture.

Although staffing companies provide a tremendous service for the public by putting people to work, at their core they are sales organizations. The best staffing companies realize that in order to survive—and thrive—they need to build and maintain a culture in which everyone in the organization focuses on growing the business.

2. They use an integrated sales, recruitment, and marketing strategy.

Building and maintaining a culture is only half of the battle. The best staffing companies fully integrate the three pillars of staffing-revenue generation to blur the lines between sales, recruitment, and marketing. Recruiters generate leads during their interviews, for example. Happy temporary employees sing the agencies’ praises, resulting in stronger client relationships. And the sales teams stay involved in the entire recruiting process to make sure their clients’ needs and expectations are met.

3. They hire slow and fire fast.

It’s ironic when a company whose primary function is to staff employees with clients struggles with its own internal hires. People are the most valuable asset of any organization, and the best staffing companies understand that perfectly. Rather than cut corners just to put a warm body in an empty seat, they clearly define their ideal candidate profiles and use validated assessments in their screening process in order to obtain top-notch hires.

4. They create compensation plans that drive performance.

In such a complex industry in which sales are tied to billable hours, it can be easy to lose sight of the long-term benefits of client retention. Successful staffing agencies link the compensation plans for the sales and recruiting teams to elements that go beyond gross margins. These companies understand that quality of hire, employee retention and conversion, and client retention separate them from their competitors—and they compensate their teams accordingly.

5. They understand that their product is complex and unpredictable.

Successful staffing companies aren’t afraid to tell a client that they’re unable to find the right person for the job instead of rolling the dice with a mismatch. Integrity and the persistent pursuit of quality help those firms build good reputations that go a long way toward landing and keeping clients.

6. They recognize that selling people is much different from selling copiers, cars, or software.

And they keep this in mind with every hire they make and every training program they implement. The best staffing firms understand that their success hinges on hiring internal candidates that fit their ideal candidate profile, not on simply moving “products” (people) out the door or into a seat.

7. They know the importance of adding value to client relationships.

To stand out from their competitors on the crowded playing field, successful staffing firms continually add value to their services and thus avoid becoming mere commodities.

8. They realize that training never ends.

There’s always something new to learn, especially for companies that want to get a leg up on their competition and offer the top services to their clients. The best staffing companies make training—whether it’s a quick roleplaying session or a formal class—part of their weekly (if not daily) routines.

9. They forge a culture of accountability.

The best staffing companies have high expectations of the hires they send to clients and of their own internal staff as well. They work hard to provide the best services they can, quickly fix problems when they arise, and do whatever it takes to meet their clients’ needs. A reputation for quality and accountability helps the those firms attract and retain both clients and top hires.

10. They run their business by the numbers.

Remember, above all else staffing companies are sales organizations. The best ones know their numbers (e.g., presentation-to-close ratios, cost per hire, time to fill, interview-to-hire ratios) and consider these metrics in everything they do to grow and manage the business.


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