Partner Spotlight-Jennifer-Gavin

Jennifer Gavin

Jennifer Gavin, CEO & Founder, Apex Placement & Consulting

Jennifer Gavin APEX LOGO
Judy

Judy

Jennifer, I know that you are very busy! Can you tell us a little bit about Apex and a little bit about yourself?

Jennifer

Jennifer

Yes, I would be happy to! And thank you so much for having me. It's quite an honor to have this opportunity; I really appreciate that. My name is Jen Gavin. I like to tell people that I fell into staffing by accident, but once I found it, I fell in love, and knew that I had finally found my career path. I am one of those few people that love what they do. I live for staffing. I can talk staffing all day long. I'm quite proud of the fact that I found my calling: Apex Placement and Consulting.

Judy

Judy

Well, I know that you're really focused on building those strong relationships and are looking to deliver the best results for your clients. That's probably why your clients trust you. I know that you've got multiple offices. Can you tell us where they are located? And then also, how do you build a strong team and keep your company, your brand, in focus?

Jennifer

Jennifer

That's a great question. We have created a hybrid model between a global corporate office and a boutique firm. We find partners in key areas that really love their community and are networked in the community. This has helped us launch in those different areas and has been a key to our success. Apex is now across the Great Lakes, in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, and a little bit into Pennsylvania. In addition, and most recently, we launched a partnership with a colleague in New York who now runs our Northeast territory; New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.

What this hybrid model means is that we’re giving a stake in the company to those key players. We’re providing the back-office support and recruiting power while they grow their territory. We give them whatever they need to grow. The value to them is there's no startup cash. We cover their salary, provide all the needed recruiting tools, the CRM, and the job boards and even the recruiting team.

We created a very strong virtual team environment where you still felt like you were part of a team even though you were stuck in your house. We use “Teams” for our shared documents and our meetings. Using “Teams” creates that virtual work environment that people need; but then we also have different engagement activities. For example, we created an Apex cookbook for no other reason than to get people engaged to share family recipes!

We also do breakout workout activities. One time we did yoga on the hour for 5 days, and whoever wanted to, could keep doing it. So, there are a lot of ways to create synergy and engagement by using those tools. But a big piece of it is just making sure to focus on the individual and understand what drives them and motivates them, and then try to work that into the tools that we already have.

Judy

Judy

I know that your main focus is on staffing, but can you tell us also a little bit about the HR component?

Jennifer

Jennifer

In the beginning our core team were mostly HR people, with degrees in HR and/or time spent in HR. Since our prospects are typically small businesses that don't always have a budget for HR, or if they do, it's typically one person, and there are gaps in what they are able to do. We lean into our knowledge base, our expertise, and help share that information so that our customers can make better decisions. Most of the time we do it as part of our partnership.

For our partners we are talent acquisition professionals, subject matter experts. Because we work with people all day every day and, whereas many of our customers are not dealing with that kind of volume, we reach the next level in our relationships when our clients rely on you for consultation. That's when you have developed a strong partnership and they're not going to start looking for other services because they know what they have with you.

Judy

Judy

I think the whole function of HR has changed. HR has taken on so many new responsibilities. It's not like the old HR that we thought of 20 years ago; it really has become an important component of your total business structure. So then, when you talk retention or you talk succession planning, those are hugely important right now in the market that we live in. If you're not sharing that with your customers and your partners, they're at a disadvantage.

Jennifer

Jennifer

It's really becoming a trusted business partner.

Judy

Judy

Can you tell us something special about you?

Jennifer

Jennifer

I’ll call it serendipity, but my business partner was actually my first boss in my early 20’s (before finding the staffing industry) and if any of us have lived through the great recession, the recession hit us hard. He was super kind through that, and started slowly cutting my pay, but all the while telling me I had to find something new. And so, I did. That's when I landed in staffing. I found a front office role where I was answering phones, managing receivables, handing out paychecks, and really starting from the beginning. Flash forward about 20 years, as the pandemic was ending, my role with a global staffing agency was going to become more of a national role, which meant traveling every week. Having been home for so long through the pandemic, I couldn't see doing that to my kids, so I knew that I was going to need something else. That’s when my partner called looking for an HR person.

If you are in staffing you know HR and staffing are very different. I educated them and told them I could help. And gosh! Within 2 days my very first boss ends up being my partner and as scary as it was to leave, it was probably one of the best decisions I made in my life.

Judy

Judy

I think a lot of people say it's so scary going out on their own, but I also love what you said about the life balance and having to be on the road so much and having kids. And then also during the pandemic you learned to keep in touch and keep your team motivated through that whole time period. I think we are all better and stronger because of the lessons that we learned.

Jennifer

Jennifer

For the most part, my team works a hybrid schedule so there are 2 or 3 days in the office, and then 2 or 3 days working from home. That has given me much more access to better qualified candidates. Pre-pandemic, I would never have known how to manage or engage a team that way. And so that truly became an important lesson as we created the strategy for Apex.

Judy

Judy

I know your in-house recruiters and everyone who works for you probably loves it!

Jennifer

Jennifer

When you talk about the market, that has been a big key to us, finding the best talent out there. Even if it's not as much money or the same money, everyone loves it! And I think that the next generation of recruiters is going to look on that as an important part of their duties. I do think that there is some value to engaging with the team. We have one day a week that everybody is in the office, and I think that's important to build those relationships. However, I don't think from the job that they do that having to sit in the office every day makes sense, either. You are actually more productive working remote when you're a social creature like we are in staffing.

Judy

Judy

Yes, and I think we are social creatures. Well, I really do appreciate you talking with me. How can somebody get in touch with you? Hopefully, then, either partner with you, or maybe there's someone who's thinking, “Oh, my gosh, yes, those are some of the markets that I want to move into, and how can I call and talk to Jennifer?”

Jennifer

Jennifer

I look forward to those phone calls. The best way to reach me is probably email: it's jennifer@apexstaffingco.com. You can find me on Linkedin for sure. Our office main number is (833)591-8300. I really look forward to hearing from people.

Judy

Judy

Well, good. And I certainly look forward to meeting you and some of your team members at the USSA’s upcoming Leadership Summit in Atlanta, GA, May 8th and 9th. I think you are a leader in our industry, and I really appreciate you being a USSA member. So, Jennifer, thank you for the opportunity!