SIDNEY — With the COVID-19 Delta variant in full force, employers continue to struggle to fill positions after employees left their jobs over health concerns across various industries nationally during the pandemic.
A Randstad USA survey of 1,227 people, conducted between August 23-25, found that 73 percent of workers have workplace safety concerns about returning to the office, and nearly one-in-four workers want employers to require proof of vaccination.
Express Employment Professionals, a leading staffing company in the U.S. and Canada that helps people find jobs and brings workforce solutions to businesses, arrived in Sidney in the middle of June 2020. “Since we’ve opened the office in the middle of the pandemic, we’ve gotten off to a really strong start,” said Sidney franchise owner Rob Albers.
He attributes his success, in part, to the fact he felt he was not alone when starting his business. He had the help of a large franchise that has been in operation since 1983, with its cadre of experienced leaders willing to share lessons learned.
“Express Employment, is one of the largest privately-owned, franchise-based employment agencies in the country. I liked the idea of opening my own business, but because I would be part of a franchise that provided the resources and information I needed, I believed I could be successful. After talking to franchise owners who have been doing this for many years, I learned that the last 18 months have been more challenging than any other time they’ve had to go through,” said Albers. “That’s because the way the business operates has had to change. Today, acquiring clients is more difficult because we are not always able to meet face-to-face.” At Express Employment, as with many other companies, Albers has adapted by relying more on telephone calls and video conferencing software like ZOOM. There are some hurdles to overcome, though, he explained. “Without in-person meetings, it’s been harder to develop relationships with our business clients.”
In addition to support from the franchise and technology changes, Albers attributes his success amid the pandemic to the six months spent pre-planning and the assistance of Jeff Rabel, director of the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re really excited to be working in Shelby County. The Chamber of Commerce has been helpful by providing invaluable insights into Shelby County businesses, and subsequently we’ve received a lot of support from the local business community.”
Albers also attributes his success to his ability to work close to his home in Minster, along with his many personal connections in Sidney which were gained during the 25 years he previously spent in the banking industry.
“I’ve found there are many parallels between the banking and staffing industries — like developing client relationships,” Albers said. “It’s about helping that client find the people they need — about meeting customer demand by providing those clients with a solution for their staffing needs to get their jobs done.
“We’re excited about our future in Shelby County. My long term goal is to become one of the premiere staffing companies in Shelby County (and four other counties) and by providing the highest level of service through good communication, follow-up, and just being a good business solution provider for the community. As a locally owned company, the business owner is here working day-to-day in this office.”
Last but not least, Albers found success was due to the hardworking employees at the Sidney office who have been tireless in their placement of associates for area businesses.
“Our clients consist of many regional manufacturing and service companies. We provide an ‘evaluation to hire’ service or ‘direct hire’ service for light industrial, office, and skilled trades positions. We also offer ‘direct hire professional search services,’” said Albers.
Due to their success, staff size is growing. They are looking to fill a full-time recruiting specialist position to work Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and they are willing to train the right person who possesses data entry, typing and social media skills.
From the public side, the company aids those looking for income to help meet the inflationary cost-of-living expenses that have been exacerbated by pandemic-driven supply shortages.
“Inherently, a staffing agency is about helping people find jobs, and one of the greatest satisfactions in this industry is providing people with multiple options so they can be financially independent,” Albers said. “For many people, a staffing agency is the first place people go to find employment. That’s because businesses advertise multiple jobs with us. Rather than applying individually at many different companies, job seekers know we can provide that convenience in one stop.”
Due to the pandemic, Express Employment in Sidney offers job candidate screening either in-person or over the phone.
Express Employment Professionals, reachable by phone at 937-538-4250, is located at 1660 Gleason St. in Sidney behind the Vandemark Center near Sherwin Williams and Hemm’s Glass. Their corporate office is based in Oklahoma City.