This rapid scaling has also produced some interesting cultural and organizational challenges. Finding the right management team to run a plant or facility can take time; in the meantime, Effex has to ensure that its most talented workers don’t get burned out.
And then there’s making sure that when the management team is in place in a new market, the company is able to maintain the same high levels of service seen at other sites.
Flory approaches his company’s relationship with clients as a partnership, as eschews micromanagement.
“Though we’re in the staffing industry, we’re not a temporary staffing company by any means,” he says. To that end, when the company enters into a new market, it embeds an on-site implementation team, which is then tasked with assessing needs, hiring management and overseeing training.
“I have a team of people — they’re kind of our best of breed, if you will,” he says. “They’re very, very good at what they do. They go into the new markets (and) they’re actually running that new partnership. The clients get the benefit of the absolute best staff members that Effex has to offer running their facility.”
To ensure quality control as the implementation team helps the facility learn how to refine its workforce, Effex has devised the Strategic Alliance Program. Containing a battery of training programs — from workforce staffing and retention to on-site management protocol — the Strategic Alliance Program ensures that clients have a tangible blueprint and robust toolkit to use after the Effex team departs.
Even after they leave, Flory and his team continue to work closely with clients, tracking progress with weekly reports and visiting quarterly for an on-site review. In this way, they mitigate any disconnect because of distance.
Hire, train and retain the right talent
Flory is mindful that the wrong hire can be devastating to progress. He preaches hiring smarter, not faster.
“Sometimes it takes us longer than we’d like — sometimes we may end up being there three months before we have the right team in place to run that facility, long term,” he says.
Flory designed Effex so that it only has one client company in a given market. In other words, it’s recruiting and training employees only for one client — and not diluting the available talent pool by sending these temporary employees to multiple businesses.
“We are in a proactive position,” Flory says. “We have the best qualified people, and we’re waiting for our client to request them in that market.”
Effex also invests in the workers it recruits — it offers a rigorous training program for promising employees — and has a formal structure of financial perks to reward top achievers.
For example, each of the company’s locations has opportunities for quarterly financial bonuses; each of these on-sites also competes against one another annually in categories such as best overall attendance or lowest turnover rate.
At Effex’s Houston headquarters, Flory applies a similar approach to building a strong team to handle the company’s growth. While he notes that there is no one right answer to hiring talent — “My product is people, the most unpredictable, unreliable thing on the face of the planet,” he laughs — he hits upon some specific advice.
“You really have to know your business, and know what type of aptitude it’s going to take, what type of mindset it’s going to take to be successful and fill in the roles that you’re hiring for in your business,” he says. “It really does come down to your instincts with people.”
Once he finds these employees, Flory aims to retain them by investing in their growth and development; in fact, Effex has paid for graduate degrees so employees could rise up the company ranks from within.
But Flory is also a firm believer that inspiring buy-in — and making workers feel like a valued part of something bigger than themselves — is crucial to long-term success and employee retention. As a result, he holds a yearly companywide Christmas party, with public recognition of award-winning employees.
“The whole point is to bring everyone together, discuss what we’ve achieved that year and where the company’s at, because I want them all to understand what we’re working towards, what they’re a part of,” Flory says. “It’s my opportunity to thank them and remind them how much I appreciate what they’ve done for us, to get us where we’re at.”