There are no “internal” staff members at Ro Health. Instead the company refers to its recruiters and salespeople as “support staff.” External workers, meanwhile, are “providers.”

“We are careful about the language that we use,” CEO Jeff Widmyer says. “We want to create a culture where our support staff’s job is to support our providers.”

Clients care about who they deal with in the support staff role in addition to wanting good providers at their facilities. The belief is that smart support staff will attract quality providers, which is what clients want.

Ro Health does its bit to keep its support staff happy. The firm ranked as the Best Staffing Firm to Work For among staffing firms with between 10 and 20 internal (support staff) employees. The company’s main office is in Seattle, and the firm has been around for 30 months. It operates in the healthcare space, providing travel and per diem nurse and allied staffing. Its clients run the gamut and include hospitals, schools and correctional facilities.

The attention to what to call whom is important because it was the relationship between internal and external staff that served as the impetus to start the firm.

“I worked for a pretty large staffing company for a long time, and I saw a disconnect between people in the field that are working as contractors and the people in the office supporting them,” says Widmyer, who has been in the staffing industry for 10 years. “I thought there ought to be a better way.”

Ro Health places huge emphasis on taking great care of its providers as well as its support staff.

One way the company does that is to provide clear goals to support staff on what they need to get promoted. The company also posts metrics so workers know where they stand.

That may sound familiar. Most staffing firms do set goals and carefully track metrics. But Ro Health puts a twist on it, Widmyer claims.

He says the difference is internal workers at his company are hired with clear goals for promotion on the very first day of their jobs. There is no ambiguity — and this helps workers feel a sense of control.

“From day one, people are working towards something,” he says.

New hires at Ro Health also start by working with the firm’s most tenured people, helping the more senior person achieve their goals. This allows them an understanding of how the business is run which helps with fulfilling their goals. In addition, they spend their first three months on the job learning the business.

Senior Staffing Consultant Ryan McCulloch says the firm presented a clear path about what was expected when he joined the firm one year ago. “Everything was laid out in a clear-cut path,” McCulloch says. Both short-and long-term goals were included.

He joined the firm after college and is slated to move from the Seattle office to a planned office in

Long Beach, Calif., in the coming months.

Supporting Listening

It’s not just the goals; it’s also the culture that makes Ro Health a great place to work, McCulloch says. The company has team-building activities based on goals, such as, for example, if sales in a certain segment hit a certain goal they hold a treambuilding activity to celebrate. One recent example of a team-building activity was a rock-climbing event.

Robert LaFavor, an area manager, says another aspect of Ro Health making it a great place to work is that it listens to its workers.

“Being part of a smaller company that’s growing, I like to be able to have input and know it’s actually going to be heard,” says LaFavor, who has been with the company a year. This is his first time working at a staffing firm. “Having somebody to listen to you and who will actually change something is awesome.”

The size of Ro Health also lets workers see growth first hand, and there is autonomy for workers in getting their jobs done.

In addition, the company’s office environment is not the stereotypical, stiff office environment, it’s more relaxed — hard working but relaxed. LaFavor says they try to do happy hours as often as possible.

He also mentions the importance of the goals in keeping support staff happy.

“Having a clear line and knowing that it’s kind of on you, it helps,” LaFavor says. Also helping is “knowing that you really don’t have to wait for turnover or anything like that for a spot to open up, you can kind of make your own promotion.”

This is Ro Health’s first year on the list of the Best Staffing Firms to Work For. In addition to its main office, Ro Health also has an office in Burlingame, Calif., and plans to open a second Seattle office and a Long Beach, Calif., office by the end of the year. It offers support staff and providers a zero-deductible health plan, full dental coverage, 4% 401(k) matching and paid time off.

And “happy workers do a better job” is one of the firm’s five guiding principles, which also include “put the patient first and all else will follow,” “fast is better than slow,” “good patient care is a result of experience and information” and “we believe that we can do well by doing good.”