Stephen Nordness, President & CEO
Cutting-edge technologies have changed the face of the staffing industry, making it easier for employees to search and apply for jobs and easier for companies to screen, filter, and identify potential candidates with the necessary skills to do the job. While technology has bridged many gaps in the industry, and made communication easier through e-mail and social media sites, it is no replacement for the human touch. Getting to know your clients and your candidates plays a vital role in attracting and retaining talent in today’s marketplace. In 1990, when Stephen and Leslie Nordness founded Automation Personnel Services, they relied very little on technology to pave their way. Instead, they relied on building their customer base through strong relationships and personal interaction. Automation Personnel Services was founded on a platform of outstanding customer service and that same foundation is present 27 years later.
With no prior experience in the industry, Stephen and Leslie did their research in a public library. They understood how valuable the concept of temporary staffing could be to large businesses such as manufacturing and distribution centers and moved ahead to create a more appealing model for both clients and employees. They met with business owners and HR Directors to better understand their needs but they also put themselves in the place of the temporary employee to discover what was important to them. In the end, they came up with a business model that would provide a platform for both job seekers and employers to match the right people with the right job.
Stephen Nordness, President and CEO of Automation Personnel Services, stresses the importance of engaging customers face-to-face rather than depending soley on a cyber-relationship. He adds, “I believe verbal discussions have a greater impact on building a strong relationship and helps our sales team to understand the customer.” The company developed a “Start-Up Program” that they continue to use today. A company employee meets the new temporary employee on the first day of an assignment to make sure that they know where to go and ensure that they are prepared for the new role. This program makes the employee feel more at ease and makes the entire on-boarding process easier for the supervisor. This initiative has helped in creating brand awareness. “Instead of paying advertising companies to market our name, we wanted to come up with real-life ways that our customers could start talking about Automation Personnel Services,” explains Stephen.
Automation Personnel Services is a member of the American Staffing Association and the Alabama Staffing Association. The firm delivers temporary, temp-to-hire, executive recruiting, outsourcing, and payroll services. They have created a platform for employers to hire temporary resources to meet their workforce demands on time. Whether it is a few employees, or many, clients can expect Automation to find qualified candidates to meet their needs.
The most valuable tool is still sitting down with candidates, interviewing them and understanding them
Recruiters and staffing coordinators constantly screen, conduct face-to-face interviews of applicants, and hire qualified employees to increase the pool of available prospects. Automation has administered a wide range of on-line tests and tutorials to ensure that tailored screening and training programs are offered to meet specific hiring demands. In 2010, Automation Technical Services was added to recruit higher level positions, such as engineering and project management. With this expansion, Automation is now able to service all levels of staffing needs in various industries such as; manufacturing and distribution services, engineering and technical management positions, as well as office support services.
Keeping pace with the digital age, Automation Personnel Services has adopted various software solutions that have assisted in tracking applicants and matching them to open positions. Stephen also believes classic methodologies of communicating plays a crucial role in the staffing industry. “Software is a valuable tool, but the most valuable tool is still sitting down with candidates, interviewing them and understanding them. It’s pretty old school, you don’t hear this much in 2017, but we do it,” informs Stephen. The firm follows the same model with it’s customers and understands them in a personal way.
Job seekers can take advantage of the benefits that Automation Personnel Services provides to temporary employees, including paid vacations and holiday pay, career counseling, recognition programs, and a 401(k) plan. The company has maintained the same benefits throughout the ups and downs in the staffing industry. It reinforces their commitment to their employees and helps them to retain long-term, qualified workers.
Automation Personnel Services has established their presence in 33 locations, across 10 states, and has received many awards. 2016 Largest Staffing Firms in the US, 2016 Fastest Growing US Staffing Firms, Birmingham’s Largest Privately Held Companies, as well as being recognized in publications nationwide. In 2015, Stephen was recognized as the Birmingham Business Journal CEO of the Year. He has also been recognized by his alma mater, Auburn University, as a Top Tiger at their annual Entrepreneurship Summit in 2016 and 2017. One of their most coveted awards comes from input from their customers. Automation Personnel Services was awarded “Best in Staffing – Client Satisfaction” in both 2016 and 2017. This award is presented by Inavero and is based on an independent survey of their customers. Fewer than 2 percent of staffing companies nationwide are awarded this designation. Looking to the future, the CEO plans to expand the company’s footprint across the nation while remaining true to his commitment to achieve this goal without significant long-term debt. Once he has created a nationwide presence, he has his eye set on international expansion. If the past 27 years are any indication of future success, there is no doubt that he can achieve these goals!