After eight years of working in the music industry, Jeff Dubofsky needed a change of tune. He decided to switch gears, follow his entrepreneurial inklings, and start his own staffing business. Early in 2004, Dubofsky launched Staff Up America in Milwaukee. Armed with the basics of building brand awareness and the careful choreography needed to penetrate a new market, he did some industry research and dived right in. Staff Up America employees recruit, deliver, and manage qualified light industrial workforces to local light industrial and hospitality markets. As a businesses literally focused on people, the company cultivates a sense of community both within its offices and throughout the community it serves. Dubofsky shares with Profile how he differentiates his business from the competition, and offers tips for weathering the ups and down of entrepreneurship.
1. Create a Market Specialty
Client success, as well as Staff Up America’s success, relies on creating value above and beyond simply filling positions. The long-term relationships it cultivates have benefited clients through an ongoing mutual commitment to flexibility, and helping to increase productivity while reducing certain direct and soft employment costs.
While Dubofsky remains committed to the light industrial workforce, he has allowed Staff Up America to evolve over the last seven years by broadening his business model. The company began in the entry level, high-volume, industrial labor market although it recognized other opportunities to make a positive impact within the industry to include the placement of semi-skilled employees, preemployment screening, and skill testing. “That has been a driving force over the last several years—to create new sources of revenues and new sources of employment opportunities for our employees,” Dubofsky says.
2. Develop Workforce
Staff Up America is strategically headquartered at the heart of where its labor force resides. The bulk of its employees walk through the door; others are found through work readiness agencies or at job fairs. “Once we meet with an employee, our work really begins,” Dubofsky says. “We start whittling down the options to find the right fit for the applicant and the organization that is relying on us.”
As the demand for skilled workers increases, Staff Up America strives to fill the gap with the high volume of individuals they send into the workplace. Employees are able to get in on the ground floor and are encouraged to be super stars. Dubofsky adds, “Our message to the workforce is ‘we are here to give you an opportunity to get in the ground floor and present yourself through your work, directly with the decision makers within the organization.’ It increases their opportunity to come back and create a positive work history as well as develop new skills.”
3. Maintain a Personal Touch
Staff Up America doesn’t serve a nine-to-five industry. Many of its client companies are open seven days a week, operating up to three shifts a day. Dubofsky responded by making members of Staff Up America staff accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to fill orders and solve problems day or night. “Always being available is a driving force within our business,” Dubofsky says.
“I am proud of the company and to be associated with such a wonderful, long-term staff that care deeply about the work they perform. Staff Up America employees are equally as committed to the business as I am,” he says. Employees and clients can feel the organization’s devotion through the way Staff Up America employees communicate with them. Recruiters and sales staff pick up the phone or stop in to see prospective and current clients. This face-to-face conversation allows Staff Up America to understand any challenges in the workplace and to create and tailor programs to overcome these obstacles.
4. Give Back to The Community
“We try to create a sense of community within the four walls of our office and a sense of home to our very large workforce,” Dubofsky says. On an annual basis, Staff Up America employs more than 1,000 temporary workers. However, Dubofsky believes they make an even bigger impact by giving back to the community.
Staff Up America supports area nonprofits that personally touch the lives of their employees. Dubofsky created donation scenarios tying all billable Staff Up America employee work hours to a monetary value. He says, “The message to our employees, as well as our clients, within that scenario is the more we all work, the more we all give. Come to work for Staff Up America and the more hours you put in through us the more money we are able to donate back into the community from which you reside.”