Soaring Heights

Partners Personnel helps colleagues open the doors to unlimited collective potential

What distinguishes Partners Personnel as a Best Staffing Firm to Work For — and what has enabled it to reach soaring heights so quickly — is that its leadership recognizes the value of its internal employees and has created an environment for them to thrive in and out of the office.

The company’s results speak to this. Founded in 2017 in Santa Barbara, California, the industrial staffing provider quickly joined the ranks of the largest staffing firms in the US, posting $144 million revenue in 2018; revenue has more than quadrupled since then to $637 million in 2021. The company has more than 500 employees and over 100 branches nationwide.

And the environment, described by leadership as a “flywheel” because as people learn and grow, they inspire other people around them to do the same, has enabled this growth. “That is what culture is — the thoughts and behaviors we have and how we interact with each other,” says Mark McComb, who helped found the company and now serves as president. “If we are all deliberate in building a culture of improvement, then that gives us purpose in our work.”

Take, for example, the company’s Plus 1 incentive plan and book club, which gives employees tools to enable them to take things in their professional and personal lives up a level — the premise being that 1% improvement compounded weekly leads to infinite growth. Recent reads include The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and The Boys in the Boat. Employees study the material together and apply it to their professional and personal lives. The company also provides an in-house learning management system — a database of courses, from Excel and PowerPoint tutorials to personal development.

“If you are a part of the Partners Personnel family, you will improve. Not only economically but also personally, and as we grow together, we learn, innovate and create together,” McComb says. “Gleaning the creative potential of each Partners Personnel colleague opens the doors to unlimited collective potential.”

And employees embrace the approach. Ahmad Obaidi, a project manager who joined the company in 2019, appreciates working for a company whose values align very closely with his own: self-improvement, growth and continuous learning. “When you find a company whose values align with your personal values, then you’ve hit the jackpot!”

Unlimited Growth

Of course, one of the anticipated benefits of the Plus 1 incentive is to help the company grow, and judging by the company’s meteoric rise, it has been paying off. But leaders aren’t resting on their laurels. They have developed a supportive environment to help colleagues continue to find success.

Ruby Carrillo, who works from San Diego as a recruiting support manager, joined the company just over a year ago for an opportunity to grow a brand-new department, helping areas and markets where Partners Personnel doesn’t yet have a branch. She feels invigorated and valued as the new position challenges her and managers encourage her to grow her skill set.

“I have so many resources, and people will jump in to help out,” Carrillo says. “It hits all the right notes. Problems are not problems — they are exciting opportunities.”

Companywide, individuals celebrate each other. Carrillo feels rewarded and appreciated as she heads the remote recruiting support department. “I personally received calls from our leadership team saying thank you. For example, Paul Sorensen, our CEO, sent me a beautiful email thanking me for the impact I made with a new client,” she shares. “When top leaders take the time out of their day to acknowledge you and the work you do, it’s hard not to feel seen, validated and valued.”

Carrillo loves being in a support role working together with the operations team to be a resource for field offices. She also collaborates with regional VPs, branch managers, recruiters, and client specialists to help with any problems that arise. “Partners has renewed and invigorated my passion for what I do,” she says.

And beyond the job satisfaction, employees enjoy flexible vacation time and competitive pay. “If you are meeting your sales and earning potential, there is no cap to the growth. You will make the commission and a bonus,” Obaidi notes. The rewards are many, as well. Employees can earn a company car, Obaidi shares, for which the company pays the lease, gas and insurance. High-performers become members of “Club M” and are treated to first-class trips — the 2022 cohort just returned from a stay at the Four Seasons in Maui. And branch managers who reach defined performance levels earn a trip for two to France.

Rewards come in smaller packages, too. For example, winners of the company’s weekly newsletter hidden code-word challenge — find the code word and choose a favorite topic from the newsletter — receive a Visa cash card or a gift card to places like Amazon or Starbucks.

Rough Seas

Staffing and recruiting can be a tough environment in its own right, and the pandemic added entirely new challenges — especially within commercial and light industrial, the company’s core business.

Employees praised the company’s management through the worst of the pandemic. Managers demonstrated exemplary leadership and concern by providing accurate and timely information to help staff navigate during difficult times in the pandemic, Obaidi says.

“When Covid began, the workday shifted based on the needs of our clients and associates,” he relates. “What I recall standing out to me, though, is when others were closing their doors, we were making sure everyone knew we were there to help people and organizations improve. That is our purpose, and we didn’t shy away from it during challenging times.”

“HR did an amazing job keeping us all up to speed and communicating well,” Carrillo adds. “We still celebrated people throughout. Any little win, celebrating the branches and successes, all this despite the fact that we could not get together for our annual conference. We made sure that everybody knew and we were celebrating them!”

Giving Back

Leadership also places an importance on employee well-being — encouraging and supporting endeavors that speak to their heart. “The management team constantly asks, “What is important to you?” Obaidi says. When he and his colleagues decided they wanted to find ways to give back, the company encouraged that exploration. They now have five or six fundraisers that management is considering partnering with them on.

What this says to the staff is that at Partners Personnel, it is not just about your last sale or a metric. “It is what makes you happy,” Obaidi says.

Fostering Relationships

At the company’s heart, from the CEO on down, the greatest value is its colleagues, McComb says. These are the people who hold relationships with the clients and associates. Whether a company needing staff or an applicant looking for a job, when people think about Partners Personnel, they think about their local representative, the person they connect with every day. And it’s thanks to the staff that the firm has such a high reputation.

“We don’t hold any patents; we don’t have any trademarks,” says McComb. “What we have is people who have relationships. If we want to be world class with that, we must be a place where people want to be, where their life gets better because of their part in our organization.  Our people are the beating heart of our company.”