Companies Offer Staffing Solutions

Indeed, staffing services companies in Michigan are thriving. This article highlights three companies with offices in the Lansing area. Staffing services have the tools, experience and gut instinct to successfully place the right person in the right job. They save their clients time and money; they save applicants the effort and confusion of hunting for a job on their own.

Staffing companies Advance Employment Services, Employment Group (EG) and Robert Half International (RHI) offer some or all of these services:

  • Temporary or short-term staffing – filling in for absent employees or helping with a high workload
  • Long-term staffing – placing a professional or technical recruit on a project-by-project basis
  • Temp-to-permanent or contract-to-hire staffing – taking an employee on a temporary basis in order to evaluate that person’s capabilities and skills
  • Permanent placement or direct hire

Most companies, like Advance and EG, offer all of these staffing services and more. Some, like RHI’s Lansing divisions, limit their placement to a certain industry or sector.

Advance recruits permanent and temporary employees for its more than 65 steady clients. It also places temp-to-permanent, direct hire, contract jobs, and conducts executive searches. Its clients are in various industries: sales, assembly, production, manufacturing, general labor, construction, engineering, administrative, clerical, accounting, finance, information technology and medical.

Advance also has a subsidiary, Advance HR, a professional employer organization (PEO), that assists small to mid-sized businesses nationwide with HR administrative functions.  “The PEO allows us to act as a third party employer. We can provide payroll services, 401(k) accounts, compliance oversight and many other benefits,” explained Guy Richardson, founder and chairman of Advance.

EG places permanent, temporary and contract positions for administrative, professional, technical, and light industrial jobs, and facilitates direct placements. EG can also staff essential services such as mail and document management, archives, courier, shipping and receiving, custodial and grounds.  “We actually run these non-strategic units within each company,” said Mark Lancaster, president and chief executive officer of EG.

In mid-Michigan, RHI provides temporary placement for accounting, finance and administrative support professionals. Their agencies are Accountemps® and OfficeTeam®.

The three companies have a rich history.  Advance Employment is the only one of the three headquartered in Lansing. Richardson, his partners Ron Reed and Blaine Schultz, and other administrative staff work at the office in west Lansing. Advance employs 40 professional service staff; district offices are in Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Hillsdale, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Mount Pleasant and Three Rivers.

Advance was founded by Richardson in 1986. The west Lansing office feels like a family home. The front of it is 100 years old. On the way to the CEO’s office, the visitor encounters a fireplace, white stucco walls and wooden floors, making it feel like a family company with a solid foundation in Lansing.

The company has come a long way. “The first testing tool we had was an IBM selective typewriter with the font ball in the middle,” he recollected.

One thing hasn’t changed—Richardson’s genuine concern for other people.  “Listening and understanding the needs of the employer and the prospective employees are timeless,” he said.

EG is based out of Battle Creek and has a regional office in East Lansing. EG has an internal staff of 60. Other offices are in Brighton, Charlotte, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Holland, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Marshall, and in Indiana and Illinois.

EG will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. It was founded by Jack Gray in 1958 as an engineering placement service. It was the first franchise in Michigan. EG has expanded into commercial, clerical and manufacturing markets. “We come up with staffing solutions so that our clients can focus on their core business functions,” said Lancaster.

RHI is headquartered in Menlo, California and has 100 offices in 11 countries. Area offices of Accountemps®  and Office Team®  are found  in East Lansing, Grand Rapids, Southfield and Troy.

Founded in 1948, RHI was purchased by the predecessor to current chairman and CEO Harold M. Messmer Jr. 21 years ago. RHI is a leading international specialized staffing firm. The company now owns and operates over 350 RHI agencies worldwide, is a publicly traded company on the NYSE, and has received many international awards and recognitions. In its March 19, 2007 issue, Forbes magazine named RHI the Most Admired Company among those who place temporary help.

The companies have strong corporate core values.

The choice of the name Advance was deliberate. “At Advance, we want to help people and companies advance,” Richardson said.  “My entire staff cares about people.  Our core value is treating people well.”

EG’s purpose is helping people succeed; their guiding principles are integrity, well-being and responsiveness. They demonstrate this with their extensive eight-step program for hiring. This process includes everything from providing 24-hour assistance to administering drug and background checks.

RHI’s mission is ‘ethics first.’ Its core principles are honesty, integrity and professionalism.

“We feel good that we help put people to work,” said Christine Lucy, RHI’s vice president in Michigan. She has been with RHI for 13 years. “The people I work with are top-notch professionals. They teach me something new every day. RHI offers us many opportunities for training and development. This is an exciting profession.”

Technology has enhanced the hiring process. Technology has made it easier to screen, test and evaluate candidates, and access their information quickly.

“It is a win, win, win for the job seeker, our service representatives and the company looking to hire,” said Richardson. “Technology makes information accessible and easy to manage.”

Applicants manage their accounts online. Even before they come in for a face-to-face interview, they fill out their applications and post their résumé on a secure portal. Skill and profile assessments, orientation and training are also done online.

Patrick Renkes, EG’s Lansing regional manager, said EG is completely paperless. EG recently launched SuccessCheck, an online pre-employment assessment that measures a candidate’s general intellectual, emotional, ethical and personality attributes. The assessment has three parts: attitude, personality, and cognitive; all applicants are required to pass and complete each section.

“SuccessCheck is another example of how we utilize technology to provide high-quality placements,” said EG president Lancaster. The assessment is user friendly and quick; it takes 30 minutes to complete and results are tabulated instantly.

Assessment tools are indispensable to all three companies. Assessments help ensure successful placements. This reduces staff turnovers and the high cost of additional recruiting and hiring.

“We do not send bodies,” reflected Renkes. “We send qualified personnel to our customers.” A qualified employee is one with fundamental skills, a good attitude and a positive work history.

Advance, EG and RHI all offer skill enhancement training to those with basic computer skills.

Working with a staffing agency helps companies diminish the cost and time required when hiring. Consider the to do list of a traditional search:

  • Prepare ad
  • Answer inquiries
  • Schedule interviews
  • Conduct interviews
  • Test candidate
  • Make decision
  • Contact candidate

Advance estimates that this hiring process could take up to 33 hours and cost up to $5,000. Contacting an employment service? It may take 30 minutes and cost a fraction of that amount.

A staffing company also reduces an applicant’s time and effort. The job seeker has to simply post his or her résumé, fill out an application online and take one assessment.

In some cases, it might save money. “If you are looking for a job, you should never have to buy a list or pay a service,” said Richardson. “There are many free services, like internet company Career Builder, Michigan Works! or, of course, Advance Staffing Services.”

With strong values, proven history, adaptability and staying current with their customers’ needs, these three companies should enjoy a very prosperous future.

“The future of employment in Michigan is bright,” forecasts Richardson. “We might not have the Big Three as leading manufacturers in Michigan anymore, but I predict there will be other large companies as strong as the Big Three. With the repeal of the small business tax, companies will be attracted to Michigan once again,” he said.

Lancaster predicts strong growth for EG, tripling its revenues in the next 20 years.

Lucy agreed, saying, “Because of attrition, talent moving out of our state, and employer need for temp help after layoffs, our industry will continue to grow, and RHI will be a part of that.” There is also a need for information technology (IT) technicians. According to a study conducted by an independent research firm for RHI, chief information officers (CIOs) said their companies’ technical support teams are, on average, 40 percent smaller than they optimally should be.

“There are jobs out there,” Lucy concluded. “Companies will not stop needing interim help. For anyone looking, you cannot give up your quest. Use all the resources at your fingertips,” she said, including companies like Accountemps® and OfficeTeam®.

“I’m lucky; I get to work on what I enjoy,” said Richardson. And with the help of staffing services like the ones highlighted, so will many other employees. 

Author: Ann Cool
Photography: Terri Shaver


Advance Employment of Lansing
4407 W. St. Joseph Hwy
Lansing, MI 48917
Phone: (517) 887-0377
Fax: (517) 887-9944 
Email: kdextrom@advanceteam.com

Employment Group

1125 Trowbridge Road

East Lansing517-664-2990 phone

Web site: www.employmentgroup.com

Robert Half International
2900 West Road
Suite 202
East Lansing
Phone: 517-324-4470
Fax: 517-333-0609
Email: lansing@roberthalffinance.com


Guy Richardson, Founder and Chairman
Advance Employment

Patrick Renkes, EmploymentGroup
Regional Manager in Lansing

Christine Lucy
Senior Regional Vice President
Robert Half International Inc.

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