In Staffing, You’ve Got To Sweat The Small Stuff!



I wrote this post to a staffing industry audience, but I’d like to think it gives some good insights into the way we try to do business. Sweating the “small stuff” is critical to maintaining the highest levels of customer service, and although nobody is perfect, it’s something we try to do every single day. 

As anyone who has been in this industry for longer than two weeks knows, staffing is a dog-eat-dog world. Falter just for a second, and you won’t just lose business, you’ll find yourself being someone else’s dinner.

So as a staffing owner or manager, it’s really not an option to fall into a routine, to go through your day-to-day activities in a fog, to find yourself, whether intentionally or unintentionally, taking your employees and/or clients for granted.

No, every step, every activity, every decision must be intentional, and that intention mustn’t be merely written into company policy (although that’s a good first step), but communicated to your staff at all levels in a way that permeates your culture from top to bottom.

It’s easy to focus on the big things, filling the job orders or landing the big client, but it’s much harder to diligently focus on getting the little things right, day after day. And yet it’s the little things that, over time, can make or break your reputation, and with it, eventually your entire business.

Here are a few of those little things, things that should become such a part of your company culture that they are practiced without even thinking, because these little things sure do matter big in the long run. Don’t lose track of any of them!


If your internal employees want to remain employed, they are probably friendly and respectful to clients. If not, you wouldn’t be in business for long, right? However, it’s often easy, particularly for receptionists and administrative assistants who literally see it all, to become jaded and fall into a spirit of unfriendliness and even thinly disguised contempt for some of the folks we find ourselves dealing with every day.

Of course, we have wonderful contract employees without whom we wouldn’t be able to do what we do, but let’s be honest, depending on your service sector and neck of the woods, a percentage of the people who walk through your doors are going to jerk your chain, lie to you, be belligerent and demanding, or otherwise manifest some sort of new social deviancy which, oddly enough, doesn’t surprise you even though yesterday’s encounter made you think you had seen it all.

It’s hardest on the front-line, but it also weighs on staffers, especially after the third no-call no-show of the day is the person they were SURE would be the perfect employee, you know, because they were so clean cut and friendly and wanted the job so much.

Regardless of the challenges, whether on the phone or in-person, it’s absolutely vital for ALL staff to treat EVERYONE with the utmost friendliness and respect. Sometimes employees won’t be able to accomplish this, and that means this job probably isn’t for them. Word gets around fast. Your firm might have a stellar reputation with both area employers and job seekers, but one bad internal employee can ruin it all by being sullen and, quite simply, mean to the people they deal with. This profession involves rolling with the punches and getting back up with a smile, and if your internal employee can’t do that its probably time to find another job.


This is another little thing that can add up fast. All the nitpicky details that are involved with actually getting someone out the door and to work at one of your clients, whatever your processes and procedures and whatever you’ve contractually promised your client, all need to be completed accurately and on-time EVERY SINGLE TIME.

Trust me, that drug test your receptionist forgot to do will be the one employee a co-worker reports on for trying to distribute marijuana during break time. The criminal background check that slipped your staffer’s mind will be the one with a mile-long rap sheet that your client sees when they conduct their own pre-employment screening (you know, after they’ve wasted the past 90 days training your lying ex-con).

Teach your people to dot every i and cross every t, every single time. Sure, they’ll make the occasional mistake, but it’ll be the exception and not the rule.


It’s 9am and your staffer is busy processing paperwork and looking through the previous day’s applications. Meanwhile, your client is fuming because not only did their assigned temp NOT show up for work, but the staffer who sent him in the first place hasn’t even bothered to check in to make sure.

Worse yet, perhaps the employee didn’t go to work because said staffer forgot to call and confirm the check-in time and supervisor (or some other detail) like she promised she would do.

Whether it’s morning check-ins, confirmations, verifications, and all-around client service, following up with clients and associates is critical to maintaining the highest standards of customer service. Each tiny thing seems small, but forgetting even one can lead to big problems.

There are plenty more, of course, but one thing is clear. When it comes to the day-to-day operations of a staffing business, we in the staffing industry definitely DO need to sweat the small stuff!