Today’s economy is one marked by innovation at an unprecedented scale. Rapid technological advancement, industry-destabilizing disruptions, low unemployment, and the rise of the “gig” economy have created a marketplace where the needs of both employers and employees can shift radically and rapidly.
As employers look to find skilled employees and employees attempt to gain the skills their employers want, companies like Virginia-based Lewis-Price & Associates, Inc., are carving out a niche for themselves as career development agencies.
Unlike a traditional staffing firm, a career development agency maintains relationships with job seekers after they are placed with the hiring company, making sure they have the resources needed to on-board, progress, and succeed in their new position.
“With Lewis-Price, there is a team environment that you will be placed in,” COO James Powell said on the Business Innovators Radio Podcast. “We follow up with you after you’re placed to find out what your needs are and to do what we can to help you grow.”
According to the Brookings Institution, the traditional model in which people focus all of their learning on the years before age 25, then get a job and devote little attention to education thereafter, is rapidly becoming obsolete. Distance learning, massive open online courses, and digital resources are changing the way people learn and prepare for oft-changing career choices.
Powell, whose background includes helping grow the Office of the State Superintendent of Education in the Washington DC public school system, embraces the importance of helping employees further develop their skills and says that mindset helps separate the career development agency from the traditional staffing firms.
“We have employee-based programs, including employee training and other benefits,” explains Powell, “so if you come to us as an employee or as a consultant contractor, you still have support from us after you come on board.”
But he quickly points out that from the enterprise perspective, it shouldn’t be about simply filling an empty cubicle.
“I was that client getting resources from a staffing company. I saw what we needed and I saw what I was being provided,” he recalls. “And with that, I was able to see the high turnover of ‘send me a body, send me a body, send me a body!’ and I decided to provide better resources and better products to the client.”
Powell describes the importance for a staffing company to have what he calls a “grassroot internal network” that fosters open communication and collaboration among the agency structure, a structure that allows the Virginia agency to find the most qualified candidate quickly, whether organically or via their partnerships with the major job boards.
But he also emphasizes that it’s a two-way street. “Not only do we help the individual grow, but we like to find out how you can help us grow as well – there’s a lot of important collaboration after you come on board.”
That means that in addition to providing up-to-date skill sets for the employee that will make them more attractive to employers, it also develops a deeper talent pool for the Lewis-Price model, making them better prepared to meet the needs of the growing companies they work with, according to Powell.
And for thriving businesses looking to increase their manpower, he says there are some important questions to ask when considering a partnership with a staffing agency – questions that should provide clarity on how the agency finds their candidates, how long it takes them to fill a position, and what their on-boarding process is.
“A lot of times when business owners and managers ask those questions, they’re not really happy with the answers,” says Powell. “That’s where a career development agency is different. We can help them find qualified candidates quickly that fit their culture.”
“It really may not be the best use of the company’s time to focus on the hiring process,” he added, “when you could be focusing on taking care of the people already in your company, and on improving efficiencies versus being bogged down with finding out that a labor law that was in effect yesterday, might have changed today. Why not shift that over to the experts?”
About Lewis Price:
Founded in 2003, Lewis-Price is an SBA 8(a) certified staffing company committed to providing solutions to their clients and teaming partners alike. They staff diverse, engaged leaders in IT, cyber security, program management, and training, and are grounded in the values of integrity and intention.
To learn more about Lewis-Price & Associates, Inc., visit the Lewis-Price website.
Lewis-Price & Associates, Inc.
8200 Greensboro Dr ste 805, McLean, VA 22102