Dedicated to making the company a trusted, holistic resource
Jenny Hanlon co-founded Plano, Texas-based LiquidAgents Healthcare almost 20 years ago with no prior experience in the field. In the late ’90s, Hanlon worked in project-based management in the IT field, but business shriveled after the dot-com bust.
“We just looked at each other at lunch and said, ‘Let’s go sell something everyone wants to buy!’” she recalls. “Healthcare was hot even back then, so we decided to get into healthcare staffing, not knowing what we were getting into.”
LiquidAgents was born, first with temporary positions only before growing into the travel nurse staffing firm it is today, and Hanlon has been there every step of the way. Today, she is the CFO of the company with 83 internal workers nationwide. “I’ve worked in telecom, manufacturing and wholesale distribution, but staffing is different,” she says. “With the workforce spread out over many states, engagement can be a unique challenge. You learn how to connect with people in a different way if they’re not in the office with you to keep them feeling like they’re part of the company.”
This engagement speaks to the respect and dedication that LiquidAgents shows its nurses in the field, which has been vital in the era of Covid-19. When elective surgeries were cancelled en masse during the lockdowns in early 2020, between 200 and 300 of LiquidAgents’ contingent healthcare professionals lost their jobs. But the company made a point to keep in touch with them, checking in and keeping them abreast of the market. And by summer, the healthcare market made an incredible rebound. “It was like all that pent-up demand was suddenly there,” says Hanlon. “Hospitals have always needed healthcare professionals, and once the electives opened back up, they wanted their employees back. It hasn’t stopped!”
Being an Asset
However, Hanlon recognized that not everyone was seeing that same growth, and so she resolved to make LiquidAgents a trusted, holistic resource for its healthcare talent. “Even though our workplace grew, families and extended families were hit hard financially,” she says. “Even though our nurses have good places to work, when their families lose jobs, it makes it tough on everyone. We’re sympathetic to that, so we try to be an asset to our employees in that way. Our nurses can reach out to us and ask for help with benefits, or employee assistance, or unemployment for their loved ones, and we help get their relatives connected to resources.”
“Empathy is important at LiquidAgents,” agrees Jayson Sipe, director of talent acquisition. Sipe joined the organization eight years ago after leaving his welding job and his home state of Washington behind. Now firmly established in his career, he knows he made the right decision to join a company so dedicated to others. “We’re working with people, not numbers. We’re ingrained in their lives, so we put ourselves in their shoes and work with them on their level — and it’s an awesome feeling to help them achieve their goals!”
And it’s not just LiquidAgents’ commitment to its healthcare professionals in the field that sets it apart — it’s also the company’s commitment to the success of its internal employees. “We have an amazing learning environment, from our new-employee training program to management training, all tailored to the individual rather than a set program that everyone goes through,” Sipe explains. “We have good tech, too. Our ATS system is hands-down one of the best, and we have even better mobile app tech. It helps recruiters do their jobs better and faster.” With a chuckle, he adds, “Compared to when I joined the company eight years ago … well, these new recruiters don’t know how good they have it!”
A Small-Company Vibe
Above and beyond the resources for employee success, LiquidAgents prides itself on an internal culture of closeness and community, which has contributed to the company landing on the Best Staffing Firms to Work For list for the 10th time. Sipe notes, “We’re well-established and have aspects of a larger company, but we still have that feel of an open-door policy. If you call the main line and ask for so-and-so, the receptionist will know that person, not just their extension. You can walk into the CEO’s office and have a chat any time you need them. The leadership makes a point to know their people.”
Prior to the pandemic, the company rewarded its employees with fun perks and extras designed to foster camaraderie — group outings, beer carts, lunch-and-learn events, raffles for concert tickets, holiday parties at a skyscraper rooftop bar, and even an axe-throwing session or two. It’s all designed to get employees to spend time together, Sipe says, because “the more we learn about each other, the more we help each other grow.” Amid Covid, just making sure staff has the ability to work at all, with all the safety precautions put in place to facilitate a return to the office, “that alone has kept our spirits up,” Sipe says. “It makes a big difference being back together after working remote for a while. We rely on each other’s spirit and motivation to keep on top of the game.”
This sentiment is shared by all of LiquidAgents’ team members, even those newer to the company. Take Lead Talent Advisor Kari Van Nest, who joined the organization in late 2019. Van Nest was working from home into the fourth quarter of 2020, using Microsoft Teams to check in with her team and manager, but decided to return in December. “I’m more productive in the office!” she says.
But Covid didn’t put an end to the extras at LiquidAgents. Though many of its usual employee engagement activities have been curtailed, the company still finds ways to show its appreciation for its people. “We get all kinds of incentives, like getting off early on Fridays if we hit our goals,” Van Nest says. “And they do Free Lunch Fridays! We used to have those once a month, but during Covid they started providing those weekly, prepackaging them to keep us safe.”
But perhaps more than the incentives and perks, the most special part of LiquidAgents to Van Nest is the care and compassion. “I found out my grandfather passed away in the middle of a day when my files were due,” she recalls. “And it was a strict deadline, so I was still trying to work. But my team lead stepped in and told me, ‘Go home, I’ll take care of it.’ They even let me take the next day off so I could be with my family. That meant a lot to me.”
LiquidAgents prides itself on seeing each member of its community as an individual, and those members thrive together. “It’s been a wild ride to grow to where we are today,” Hanlon says proudly, reflecting on the lives impacted by the company she helped create. “I consider all my employees my friends. Here’s to many more great years together!”
LiquidAgents shares its leadership with fellow Best Staffing Firms to Work For grand prize winner StaffDNA, a mobile-based technology that integrates with ATS software, enabling healthcare professionals and employers to connect from anywhere. However, the two firms operate independently.