From the Heart
A focus on engagement keeps Roth Staffing a Best Staffing Firm to Work For year after year
The year 2020 was a challenging one for the business world, as companies struggled to keep personnel engaged in the face of the pandemic. However, Roth Staffing Companies saw its engagement numbers climb over the year. Temporary workers and internal employees alike reported higher levels of engagement despite the challenges of adapting to lockdown and virtual work.
Lori Eade, director of engagement analytics for Roth Staffing, can attest to this positive trend. It’s her job to measure and report on engagement levels across the company, both internally and externally.
“We survey everybody twice a year,” Eade explains. “Every coworker knows how seriously we take our engagement surveys. We just finished the most recent round of coworker surveys and received a 96.5% response rate — and some of our highest scores ever.”
Roth Staffing is one of the largest privately held staffing firms in the United States, operating from more than 100 locations across 20 states and the District of Columbia. In 2021, Roth landed on SIA’s “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” list for the 11th consecutive year.
An Immediate Connection
Samantha Cabot, vice president of marketing, joined the company in December 2020. Even though she was onboarded in a virtual environment, she could see immediately that Roth Staffing was unique.
“The most important element that differentiates Roth Staffing is the culture,” she says. “Everyone genuinely cares, from the person who onboarded me on my first day to the CEO, who called and made me feel at home. I’ve never met anyone here in person and I’ve never been to the corporate offices, yet I still feel a very strong connection to the team.
“I manage several internal newsletters which has given me the opportunity to speak with many coworkers. They all have a similar story to tell when it comes to what drives our unique culture: Company leaders lead with listening and empathy.”
In keeping with Roth Staffing’s company purpose — “To make life better for the people we serve” — its leadership truly strives to listen and respond when employees express themselves. Many of the company programs that drive engagement, such as Monday morning team meetings and other platforms designed to keep staff well-informed and connected, originated with employee suggestions.
Executive Vice President Pam Sexauer credits this open communication for keeping engagement levels high during the pandemic.
“Last year, our leadership team responded quickly with solutions and options for working from home,” says Sexauer. “We did a good job of maintaining open communication and transparency to keep coworkers informed. Even if the leadership team did not have an immediate answer, we would still communicate and let everyone know, ‘We don’t have an answer right now, but we will let you know when we have a solution.’ Staying in touch and being transparent helped employees feel supported and connected, which relieved stress.”
Regular and frequent communication is part of the culture at Roth Staffing. The Monday morning team meetings, companywide town hall meetings, regional calls, and informal emails from leadership all work together to facilitate a two-way exchange of information.
Leading with Dignity
Based on direct input from employees, in the past year Roth Staffing has intensified its focus on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. It has been a “grassroots” effort that began with the formation of employee resource groups, launching a newsletter on company DEI programs, and conducting bias training.
CEO Adam Roth sees the development of DEI programs as a natural outcome stemming from two of the company’s core values: “Honesty, ethics and integrity guide our behavior and decisions” and “Respect the dignity and worth of every individual and act accordingly.”
Roth says, “We’ve always been proud of the diversity represented in our organization and the inclusive nature of our culture. Respect for everyone is at the core of our most important values. I am so grateful for the transparency with which our coworkers have shared their own experiences, as this is provides a valuable guide for the work that needs to be done. Fortunately, our company’s values and culture position us well to engage in dialogue and establish new programs, driven by coworker input.”
Eade agrees. “A lot of companies use the term ‘culture,’ but it’s just a word on paper,” she says. “At Roth Staffing, it’s a different experience. I’ve never seen anything like it. Once my husband and I were on vacation and visited some of the Roth Staffing local branches there. My husband said, ‘How is it that every person you work with is so nice?’ When you have a clear mission and values that everyone believes in and operates with, you’re going to have a great place to work.”
Central to Roth Staffing’s culture is “From the Heart,” an employee program that serves multiple purposes: engagement, communication, social connection, recognition and more. The programs and information offered through From the Heart encompass work-life balance; physical, mental, and financial health; diversity; fun team-building activities; philanthropy; and other drivers of engagement. Employees can choose to participate and utilize the resources that are most meaningful to them.
Volunteerism and philanthropy are also fundamental elements of Roth Staffing’s company culture. The organization provides paid time off to enable employees to give back to their local communities in the ways they choose. The company as a whole supports nonprofits including the American Heart Association, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and Ocean Conservancy. Corporate and local branch offices often engage in team activities to serve the community.
Ultimately, culture comes down to people. “I know it’s a cliché, but it’s the people — our coworkers — who make the difference,” says Sexauer. “We hire individuals who are committed to carrying out our company’s mission, vision, and values. In turn, the way we treat our coworkers is based on those same values.”
Unique Hiring Approach
“One of the most critical elements of our culture is our approach to hiring,” Roth notes. “It doesn’t matter how much experience a candidate has — there always has to be a culture fit. We aim to have coworkers who enthusiastically build and champion our culture.”
Roth Staffing conducts a pre-employment cultural assessment developed with help from a consultant and includes a “cultural advocate” in interviews as part of the hiring process. “In markets where it’s hard to find good talent, this adds a layer to the process, but it’s well worth it — both for the organization and the candidate,” Roth says, “We want people who will join Roth Staffing impassioned about the values of our organization and eager to work as a team. There’s accountability and excitement around making sure it’s a good fit for both sides.”
Going forward, the Roth Staffing leadership team expects the company to continue to be flexible about work locations and schedules. Some employees will continue to work from home, some will come into the office, and some will be on a hybrid schedule. Growth will continue and, as always, people will come first.
“We’re a midsized company with a national footprint, but we have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and a startup mentality,” Roth says. “We made a statement in our town hall employee meetings that we’re not just embracing the future — we’re racing toward it.”