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The story behind the Eastridge Workforce Survey and how it is transforming perspectives on staffing and other workforce solutions.

Eastridge recently completed a workforce survey to better understand key factors in choosing a staffing partner. Eastridge partnered with consulting firm Excelerate to craft the survey and analyze the results.

In this video roundtable, Seth Stein, CEO of Eastridge, Jana De Anda, President and Co-founder of Excelerate, and James Krouse, CMO at Eastridge discuss how the survey was crafted and some of the key takeaways.

The group touch on some of the surprising findings from the survey and how it has shaped Eastridge's brand communication, sales strategy, and  service delivery.  Also, the group dives into the benefits of the survey data for workforce leaders to understand how they can most effectively leverage partnerships in staffing and other workforce solutions.

A summary report of the Eastridge Survey is available.  Request your copy here.

Highlight quotes:

"We realized that the service element, the partnership, the anticipation of needs, the thought leadership...are all things that matter...but we didn't necessarily talk about it because we thought the quality of talent would save the day."
Seth Stein, CEO, Eastridge

"Having a service provider like Eastridge really immerse themselves in the client experience is exceptionally valuable to the marketplace."
Jana De Anda, President & Cofounder, Excelerate


Full Roundtable Transcript

James Krouse So if you look at the headlines today, if you follow any business trends in just about any industry, there's one big question that really every leader is asking themselves, and that's "How can my organization maximize the efficiency of finding and managing talent?" And that's really at the heart of what we're going to talk about here today. So I'm James Krouse. I'm the chief marketing officer here at East Ridge Workforce Solutions. And joining me is Seth Stein, who's the CEO of Eastridge, and Jana De Anda, who is the president and co-founder of Excelerate, which is a management consulting firm that helped Eastridge get to the heart of this question. So welcome to you both. So what we're going to talk about here today is research that Excelerate worked with Eastridge on that really is aimed at how companies are finding or not finding talent and what they value in partnerships that are really aimed at building and managing their workforce. So, Seth, can you just tell us a little bit more about the survey and what Eastridge wanted to achieve with it? 

Seth Stein Yeah, I'm pleased to. You know, we're a very purpose driven organization and flowing down from there, of course, is mission, vision, and values. And as part of our strategic planning, we recognize that we're a very complex organization. You know, we do recruiting and search. We provide outsource solutions from a contingent workforce perspective and a technology product. So there's a lot of things that we could focus.  And our board, who referred Jana and Excelerate to us, had talked about the power of the clarity and the focus. And those firms that have the most relevant and up to date data will win. And so in order for us to invest our time and our resources, we really wanted to get to the heart of the matter in terms of where we can have the biggest impact for our clients and therefore our organization. And this market research really helped us focus in a big time way. 

James Krouse Jana, can you just highlight for us, you know, what is the importance of this kind of research? I know you do a lot of this for other clients. What's the value of it for, for companies like Eastridge? 

Jana De Anda Yeah, of course. So when Seth and his team called us in, we really understood that there was a strategic planning effort undergoing that could  benefit from really strong data backed conclusions, which is the business that we're in. And in my career, working for Fortune 500 companies all the way down to startups, as Seth said, the data is what helps them win. Really understanding and wrapping their arms around the trends inside of an industry, how customers think and immersing the team, which is what we did at Eastridge in the customer journey. Really, what are they experiencing at every stage so that we can meet them in the moment that they are in in an effective way, whether it be with with messaging, whether it be with how our talent shows up, how we approach them, how we talk about them. That's what I think the true heart of this is, is that it drives the initiatives that you all now will execute on in order to deliver a better customer experience and win in your marketplace. 

Seth Stein At Eastridge, we found internally and Jana's team also did a poll survey interviews with our internal team. We were extremely passionate about being the most comprehensive workforce solutions provider because of all the services that we provide. Additionally, we're 100% employment and we love that. And interestingly enough, those didn't necessarily register with our prospects and clients as to reasons why they would reach out to a firm or Eastridge in particular. So when you think about what we focus on, what we invest on, what we communicate to the world, there is actually a little bit of a disconnect. And so that was an embarrassing, but very validating data point and really justified the outcomes that we achieved with Jana and her firm. 

James Krouse Let's talk a little bit more about, you know, what what were some of the the big points that we learned from from the survey? I mean, you kind of highlighted there like what what we learned wasn't important. What what what is important to our customers and to and to others looking for our services?

Seth Stein What what's interesting is we came up with, I don't know, 25 different variables, maybe even more of what we thought and what our market research before the surveys, you know, Competitor Analysis Industry survey said could be important. And what it came down to was quality of talent. Quality of service, not finding qualified candidates needing specialized recruitment support and in some cases, quantity of candidates. And those were head and shoulders above other variables as to what resonates with clients and prospects and what they need from us today. 

Jana De Anda I would just add that when you think about the total journey to Eastridge for a client and many Eastridge clients also may engage with competitors. That's common in your industry. So we looked at how do they identify that they want to engage Eastridge? How do they learn about organizations like you and how did they deliver on that? How do they then evaluate those choices available to them? And then how do they select and how do they advocate on behalf of Eastridge and for your brand and to speak to that point? There were different at each of those stages. There were different drivers of their approach, right? So in when they were in their need, need stage, it was really about quality of talent and needing additional quantity of talent. When you got further into evaluation and selection, then they wanted a single point of contact to start to have a conversation with someone on the Eastridge side. And really the value of referrals was the other thing that came through in all of these stages. You know, people like to buy from people they like and that are credible, credible inside of their network. So the importance of the sales process building both credibility as well as connection, true connection with your customer is how I would define the service element versus the quality of talent element. 

James Krouse Let's talk a little bit about quality here, because we've used that word a couple of times. And I think, you know, from the survey, quality of service, quality of talent came up and then, of course, you know, quantity of talent, just not being able to find people. How are those things intertwined in our business? Because in some ways, I mean, they sound like the same thing. I mean, isn't delivering great talent about good delivering great service and sort of vice versa? 

James Krouse I'm going to take a little contrarian view here, Right. Because, yes, they can be intertwined, but not necessarily. I think for a long time, Eastridge prided itself on the quality of talent that we deliver, and our clients have raved about it. They've said that our associates who show up for work on a contract basis require 50% less training because of our vetting process. We've been able to extend retention by as much as 300%, and we've been able to increase productivity, in some cases doubling productivity in 12 and a half percent less time. And so we're thinking, yeah, we are delivering, but then we move on to the next requisition and the next requisition and I think. What I should have realized. And what we certainly realize is that the service element, the partnership, the anticipation of needs, the thought leadership, being future focused are all things that matter. We think we are. I believe we are given our talent, but we didn't necessarily talk about it because we thought the quality of talent would save the day. The analogy that I gave to the team, right, is if you go for an oil change for your car, you're probably using what's close to you or where there's a coupon and you probably don't think about the service, right? They give you an oil change, maybe a new filter, and you're done. But what matters is the service. Do they offer tire rotation? Do they leave the car clean? Is there a premium cup of coffee? Right. So the quality of service matters and the delivery of the actual service. In our case, the talent in the other example, the oil change. It's expected. You don't get a high fine for that. That's what you're paying for, for us to deliver. And so we've worked really hard on creating a single point of contact client success managers to deliver that quality of service in a unique and differentiated way. And that has been amazing for us. 

Jana De Anda I would just add from a from a positioning perspective, your clients, your existing clients already recognize this as a strength of yours. That came through very clearly. Your customer satisfaction ratings, when compared to the other options they had in the marketplace, are at least 30% higher than the your counterparts. And so it was more about we need to be telling this story than about trying to build a new proficiency inside of your organization. Sure, there are structural changes needed to make sure we're benefiting, benefiting the most, and building those skill sets up. But they already thought that that was who you were, but that wasn't what you were leading with. You were leading with employee owned and one stop shop in the breadth of your services, which wasn't resonating with them. So you already had this golden nugget you were sitting on that just needed to be told. 

James Krouse Let's jump in a little bit to expertise, because that was another point that came up in the survey. You know, how are we defining expertise and what did we learn from the survey when it came to the importance of expertise? 

Seth Stein So we looked at industry expertise and where do we have a deep knowledge of a client's industry. Additionally, the subject matter experts who are actually doing the recruiting and does our team have access to the right subject matter experts? Those are two things that really came up and what I love about representing Eastridge - and I'm biased, I've. been here for 25 years and I'm the CEO - is that we have ten specialty divisions. So we have a finance and accounting division who doesn't touch HR and our HR team doesn't touch manufacturing. So when you look at the deep subject matter expertise and industry expertise, that is the way that we operate. What gets me really going, and let's focused on our legal team, is we have paralegals, former paralegals who are now doing the recruiting. And that subject matter expertise and their credentials I think is a huge differentiator and you can see that across our organization. So that's what we need to focus on and that's what we are focused on. 

James Krouse Jana, you've worked with a lot of clients in a lot of industries. I'm just curious, were there any surprises for you in terms of, you know, Eastridge or this industry that that came up from the survey? 

Jana De Anda I think the opportunity to generate more benefit for your clients and from your clients was really clear, meaning this is an industry where multiple vendors are common, but truly you sit above the rest in their from their own mouths, right in their own words. And so if you're able to build awareness around the services that you offer across multiple departments and functions, the opportunity for Eastridge in its growth strategy is massive. You don't have to go get thousands of new clients to meet your growth goals. You actually have the buyers inside of your walls that want to buy more from you because they value the expertise and the quality of service that you provide. That was not necessarily surprising, but a really compelling conclusion because it's so easy to act upon. 

James Krouse So I just want to ask the question, how is Eastridge going to use this survey moving ahead? 

Seth Stein Yeah, there's two things that really come to mind. Number one, from that quality of service, the partnership that kept on being referenced, it's clear that our clients want a single point of contact because when you look at our organization and how complex it is, how do you navigate the different services that we provide? And so we've added a layer called Client Success Manager who will serve primarily, as we will call it, a concierge or air traffic controller. So they'll have one point of contact from a service perspective and yet still get to capitalize on the depth of our team's experience at the recruitment level and at the industry level. So that's number one. Number two, and again, a little perhaps embarrassing, but a huge aha. I think our team had jumped in in initial conversations and tried to solve a problem when either us or the person we're talking to had not qualified what the need is. So we want to kind of help our clients facilitate that process. We'll call it the buyer's journey. And I think starting with here's what we've heard from buyers, what's most important to you? And then really sculpt something rather than guessing which of the 25 variables might really resonate. And I think that experience will be really, really helpful, both internally and in particular for our clients. So those are the big takeaways for me. 

Jana De Anda I would add that there are very clear tactical recommendations that come out of this kind of work to include the few that Seth just shared and also the approach to marketing, James, which you're already using a lot of. When do we really think about SEO optimization and what is the role of the website in the customer's buying journey and how do we make sure we're leveraging the power of referrals and industry associations in the process of that. It really does have end to end value across those stages of that buyer journey that are invaluable to the investment decisions that you all will make around where to put your effort. 

James Krouse I wanted to just touch on we've talked a little bit about how Eastridge is going to use this, this information and how we're already using it to change our messaging, to change our service, and really highlight some of the things that we're we're doing well already. How can Eastridge's clients or other workforce leaders, how can they use this information? Because we are, you know, sharing this, you know, publicly. We do have an e-book that summarizes some of the results and everything. Just curious from both of you, how do you view the clients or workforce leaders leveraging this information as well? 

Jana De Anda In my opinion, having a service provider like Eastridge really immerse themselves in the client experience is exceptionally valuable to the marketplace because the more we can meet those customers and clients where they are in the moment that they need us and deliver exactly what they need, the more effective and efficient the time of our buyers are. Right. And then I would follow that up with there are building awareness of your vendors and your service providers such that you know what services they offer to make sure that you're maximizing and kind of like vendor rationalizing and understanding that is a really important takeaway from this. If you're sitting on vendors like Eastridge who can provide more of a breadth of service and have delivered for you in ways that you truly need, then for your talent management, think through where those opportunities are. 

Seth Stein I think to steal, I think, the opening line from good to great the enemy of great is good. And I think a lot of people think it's fine. Or they explain away some things. And I think once companies who use these services take a look at our E book and the data, they will see what other people value and what other people are analyzing. And if they have not taken the time to look at quality of talent, came up 65% of the time. Quality of service 60% of the time. Pricing, which I consider value. Specialized recruiting 54% of the time or meeting more candidates 50% of the time. There's probably room for improvement. And I think if they go through that process to identify how can their systems, processes, talent acquisition strategy go from good to great. I think there's really an opportunity for them to look at the variables that will generate success for their staffing programs. 

James Krouse If you haven't seen it already, we've summarized the report and put some of the results in the e-book that that we've mentioned a couple of times here, and we're happy to share that out. We'll drop a link and some of the details below and let you know how to get that e-book. I think as we're having these conversations with customers about about the survey, it really is highlighting, you know, they're there in good company in terms of some of the things that they've done are not working. And there are some solutions you can bring to the table that that that will work. It just takes a different a different strategy, maybe a different partner. So, Seth, Jana, thanks so much for the great conversation. It was really terrific to. To learn more about the survey. 

Seth Stein Thanks for the opportunity, James. And again, I can't thank Jana and the accelerator team enough for really giving us a playbook on how we can go from we'll call it good to great. So I'm really thankful for the experience. 

Jana De Anda Thank you. It was an honor to work alongside the team. Appreciate the time. 


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