Celebrating each decade of our 60 years in business, today we’re featuring the fourth decade.
Craig Frank joins our team
Craig started working at Frank’s Employment in 1986, just before the beginning of the 4th decade. After graduating from Valparaiso University with a degree in Business Administration, Craig worked in industry for 10 years and gained experience in sales, marketing, application engineering, product management, sales management and even a bit of product development. This helped give Craig insight into a variety of industries and careers that would help him while working at Frank’s Employment.
Graduation of technologies
Frank’s graduated from our first generation PC to a small mainframe computer system with WYSE 50 (dumb) terminal workstations. At this point, we could purchase software to do what we needed, rather than relying on something we developed on our own. We utilized the UltraStaff database and recruiting software made by Automated Business Designs. It enabled us to keep a record of applicants and client companies and search for the best match for job openings. It also offered an integral payroll and invoicing package that allowed us to move away from an outside payroll service and handle the function ourselves. Before this, we waited for the ADP courier to deliver payroll checks each Friday morning. Temps would arrive at 10:00 AM to pick up their checks but if the courier was delayed, they could get unhappy. Once we started doing payroll ourselves, we eliminated that problem.
We began working with MCC Technology in 1992 when converting from a mainframe system to a PC network with smart terminals. We finally advanced to MS Word for the WYSIWYG capability ~ what a huge leap! (People who worked through that time will know what that means.)
At the beginning of this decade, 86% of our business was factory and light industrial temporary job placement. We determined that there were disadvantages to operating that kind of staffing agency. Factory jobs were harder to fill. It was more difficult to find reliable factory workers than reliable office workers. You needed to replace workers much more often than office staff and the costs associated with factory temp placement were higher. The workers’ compensation insurance rates for factory jobs were 10-15 times higher than for typical office work. Also, the competition for light industrial staffing business promoted more price cutting. We made the decision to move away from factory placements.
We developed a strategy for building skilled office staffing. At this time, many people looking for work had limited computer skills. Moms, who were returning to work after being home to raise a family, often had no computer experience. We developed a computer and word processing training center. We set up a training room with multiple work stations. Connie Boland, our General Manager, had an MS in Education and developed a curriculum and scheduled classes. She held a hands-on training class that could graduate 6 people each week trained in the most current office programs. We followed the trends of business and upgraded our equipment from Word Perfect to Wang Word Processing to MS Word as business software preferences evolved. Connie also held classes in Lotus 1-2-3 and Excel when needed.
Developing this training capability enabled Frank’s to cultivate a working relationship with the Arthur Andersen Worldwide Advanced Training Center in St Charles. Over a 15 year period, this grew to a pool of Arthur Andersen advanced office specialists of 70-80 temps working continuously as administrative assistants, executive assistants and project managers. Most of these workers stayed there full time, moving from one assignment or department to another as needed. Many were hired on permanently. Others preferred to remain as temporary employees assigned to the Andersen campus.
At that time, the economy was stable and growing and many skilled office workers preferred temp work because it gave them greater flexibility. Their spouses had good careers that provided health benefits. They traveled in their jobs or had 4-5 weeks vacation and their spouses wanted the flexibility to travel with them. Also, being a temp meant that you could leave your job at the office and not take the worries and stress home with you.
Frank’s temporaries ~ success stories
This brings to mind a couple of my favorite temps.
Bessie came to us at age 65 looking for work. She had just retired from her career but wanted to keep working. We placed her on a temp assignment doing office work for a local company until she retired from that job 20 years later. One time, when she was in her early 80’s, the manager of the company where she worked thought it was probably time to let Bessie go. We reluctantly called Bessie and told her the job was ending. A month later the manager called back and said; “Is Bessie still available? We can’t live without her!” The only time Bessie missed work during the 20 years on assignment there when it wasn’t pre-arranged was when she fell and broke her arm rollerskating – at age 80.
BJ came to us after a long successful career of business management. He had managed or owned several companies. He was retired but after his mother-in-law moved in to his house, he applied for work with us. He said he wasn’t choosy about what kind of job he got, he just wanted to get out of the house. We assigned him to work as a shipping clerk in the warehouse of a local company for $12/hour.
While there, BJ took it upon himself to re-write and greatly expand the capabilities of their shipping and inventory software. The company quickly realized that this man had capabilities far beyond the modest position he was filling and they offered him permanent employment. He declined, saying he just wanted to stay as a temp because it was less stressful that way. The biggest problem we had with BJ was getting him to cash his paychecks. He didn’t need the money and just put the checks into a drawer. Sometime later, we realized that he was managing the warehouse yet still making only $12/hr. We approached the company and asked if they would approve a raise for BJ. After management discussed it and talked to him, he called us and said; “Would you please stop asking them if you can give me a raise? Every time you do that, they try to hire me and I just want to continue working as a temp!” LOL!
Temporary employment worked well for a lot of people during that time. Those people didn’t need the security or benefits of a permanent job, they just wanted to be productive.
Contact us for help with your 21st century staffing needs!