As president and CEO of Acloch LLC, the sixth-largest woman-owned businesses in Ohio, Bobbie Ruch has been playing matchmaker for 30 years.
Acloche provides temporary and contract staffing, and contingency search and human research consulting, focusing on placements for finance, banking and distribution companies.
Ruch’s parents founded Acloch in 1968, and joined the company in 1978, taking over with the title of vice president when her mother retired in 1986. And with decades of experience has come Ruch’s keen ability for matching the right person with the right job.
“We will process approximately 15,000 W-2s for last year,” she says. “The future looks bright for the staffing industry, and we are carefully positioned to meet the demands of employers in Ohio. We love doing business in this state and plan to continue focusing our efforts locally.”
Ruch’s optimism is well-founded. Although Sept. 11 created a significant setback for the staffing industry, it recovered in 2004, ending the year with accelerating double-digit annual growth rates.
Smart Business spoke with Ruch about how she keeps her clients happy and her staff motivated.
How do you keep clients happy?
Acloch has strict performance metrics for all major clients on which we hold ourselves accountable. Items such as service delivery, performance, fulfillment ratios and overall satisfaction are monitored.
I am a firm believer in the saying that if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. And if you are not in control, you have big problems ahead.
How do you keep staff motivated?
I foster a warm and supportive culture with a strong focus on keeping things fun and providing ongoing learning opportunities for our 70 full-time, permanent employees. Businesses run by women might be different than those led by men, but I think Acloch greatly benefits from this gender difference.
I put a lot of effort into keeping momentum going and the creative juices flowing. For example, we have contests among staff with business-related goals. The prize is a set of tickets to Blue Jackets games.
How do you find the right employees to grow your company?
We have a saying that our employees live our brand. I need staff members who embrace this concept and take pride in representing Acloch.
I don’t apologize for the fact our standards are quite high. For every five people we interview for a job, we hire one. It’s interesting we tend to see the same people again through the years. Some staffing companies get upset when one of their temporary staff members is hired by the company they have worked with. However, we consider this a sign of success.
Obviously, we made a great placement. When the individual has worked with the hiring company a few years and is ready for a career change, they tend to come back to Acloch to pursue new opportunities.
How do you remain competitive?
The staffing business is highly competitive with incredibly thin margins. For this reason, we are careful when taking jobs. If we don’t think we can do it well, we won’t take the job.
Also, we look for long-term payoffs to large investments. For example, we recently upgraded our technology by installing a Voice over IP phone system. Although we will not see an immediate payoff, there is no doubt that it is a good long-term decision which will allow us to operated more efficiently and provide more state-of-the-art service to our clients.
How will you continue to grow Acloch?
We want to expand in Ohio and continue diversifying. We do more than find X person for X job. We also provide a wide range of HR consulting services, including recruitment, training, succession planning and orientations for new employees. This allows us to have a broader scope than most staffing companies and truly serve as business partners to our clients.
How to reach: Acloche, (614) 416-5600, www.acloche.com