Offering collaborative support and opportunities for both the internal staff and talent
StaffDNA, based in Plano, Texas, experienced unprecedented growth in 2020. The firm, which was founded in 2014, took a significant change in direction with the launch of an online staffing platform in June 2020. StaffDNA shares its leadership with LiquidAgents Healthcare, also a Best Staffing Firms to Work For grand prize winner this year. However, the employees remain separate and it operates independently.
The company’s primary focus is on placing registered nurses, along with allied healthcare workers such as surgical techs and respiratory therapists, in hospitals and other medical settings. The mobile-based technology integrates with ATS software, enabling healthcare professionals and employers to connect from anywhere. Needless to say, the pandemic has increased demand for nurses and other healthcare workers.
Launching a job-finding app for healthcare workers in the midst of a pandemic positioned the company for rapid growth.
“We started with three or four people in January 2020, and now we employ over 30 people,” says CEO Sheldon Arora. “Every week, we have new hires starting. We have 20,000 new users downloading the app each month. We found a niche at the right time.”
The company’s corporate culture, which emphasizes collaborative support and opportunities for professional development, has kept pace with the rapid growth, putting StaffDNA on the Best Staffing Firms to Work For list for the first time in 2021.
The StaffDNA app, which can be downloaded from Google Play and the Apple App Store, enables qualified healthcare workers to see jobs in their area of specialization across the US, review the locations and requirements, and apply online.
“You can find your own job literally within a few seconds,” Arora says. That doesn’t mean that StaffDNA doesn’t provide personal support through the process. Kayla Velazquez, a talent advisor, helps incoming candidates by verifying their credentials and identifying the best matches for their skills.
“I’m the gatekeeper to help them get the job they want,” Velazquez says. “I make sure we’re looking out for their best interests. Once they take the job, responsibility transfers to our operations department.”
Velazquez has been with the company almost two years. “Since we’re continually growing, it feels like I’ve been here for so many years!” she says. “And now I’ve had an opportunity to move into a leadership role as a team lead.”
Safety and Family First
As a small company, StaffDNA was able to put Covid safety measures in place that allowed staff to continue working in the office. Mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing, partitions between desks, and limits on how many people can be in the breakroom or restroom at one time help employees feel secure.
“They’ve implemented a lot of safety policies that allow us to be in the workspace and do our jobs,” Velazquez says. “And management didn’t just make rules — they are enforcing them. You can see how seriously they are taking our safety. So we’re not worried about getting sick.”
If an employee believes they have been exposed to Covid, or if they have childcare or other concerns, they do have the flexibility to work from home.
“Even before Covid, everyone here was very understanding,” Velazquez says. “My leadership group knows everyone so well that they can recognize when someone needs time or support. Family comes first, and work comes second.”
Opportunities for Growth
Enna Kustric is an operations manager with StaffDNA, following job seekers through their initial placement and into subsequent positions. She has been with the company for just a year, hired first as a recruiter before transitioning into operations. For her, Covid precautions are the new “normal,” and not necessarily an obstacle to career growth.
Kustric, who majored in pre-med before switching to corporate communications, was attracted to StaffDNA as a way to be involved in both the healthcare and communications fields.
“I wasn’t looking for just a job,” she says. “It was nice to know that they genuinely wanted me to grow as an individual in my career. There was longevity in the office — there were people who had been in the company for a long time. So I knew they must want to keep their team together as a family.”
Kustric appreciates the career development opportunities available at StaffDNA through mentorship, training and internal promotion.
“The ability to grow is so important to me,” she says. “Each day I feel like there’s something new to learn. I don’t do the same thing day after day, so work stays fresh. It’s nice that my management team coaches me through my day so when a situation comes up, I know exactly how to handle it.”
Keeping employees engaged during Covid has been a challenge for the leadership team. Ordinarily, high performance would be recognized with concert tickets and lakeside retreats, but those activities are impossible during lockdown.
“We have always had interesting things for people to do to build relationships, like having a team activity in an escape room or bowling night,” Arora says. “We look for creative ways to go around the problem. We have a big kitchen, so we brought the happy hour to them. It looks kind of weird to have everyone standing six feet apart, but it works. We’d rather do that than nothing at all!”
Meaningful Work and Positive Prospects
As busy as StaffDNA employees have been, they are aware that they are privileged to play a part in helping to provide skilled nurses and respiratory therapists to hospitals facing an onslaught of Covid cases. They are now helping to meet the demand for healthcare workers to administer vaccines at various facilities.
“It’s really rewarding and gratifying to say, ‘hey, I helped one more nurse get to a hospital that is in dire need,’” Kustric says. “While the app was being developed, we were part of the testing group. We expected it would be great, and we are happy that it worked out the way it did. We were in the right place when everything hit.” CEO Arora doesn’t see the company’s pace slowing as Covid begins to abate. Elective surgeries that were postponed so hospital beds were kept open for Covid patients will soon be starting back up, keeping the demand for nursing and allied staff high. But he does look forward to being able to travel again and do enjoyable activities as a team.
“We’ve never been in the Dallas-Fort Worth area this long!” he says. “We all want to escape and do something.” Kustric is happy with her current workplace, but excited about having more social opportunities with her coworkers after Covid restrictions are lifted. “I’m looking forward to being able to take part in the perks like happy hour, going to concerts, and taking trips,” she says. “We see each other so much that we’ve become like a family.”
Velazquez agrees. “Our company isn’t as big as some, and it’s a blessing,” she says. “I feel like my team and I get a lot of opportunity to have one-on-one time with one another. “We’re all connected. Just in a different way.”