BGSF is a resilient business. The company was founded in 2007, right before the massive 2008 economic crisis, and came out of it strong as the company grew from two brands to 12. From the beginning, this focus on growth has always been accompanied by finding and placing the best talent.
BGSF believes landing a candidate an ideal placement can empower them to make a difference at that company, be a happier employee, and in the end be a more positive force in their families and communities. It’s a noble mission, and one BGSF has now brought to more than 80 staffing offices around North America.
Chris Loope, CIO of BGSF, has been through his own share of business challenges. He got into staffing in the late 90s and his first major role was a Y2K project manager. Surviving the turn of the century, Chris continued onward leading IT business transformation for rapidly growing multibillion-dollar professional services organizations. He’s a champion of innovating and streamlining IT to help businesses scale in the right way.
Between the powerful business that BGSF has built over the last 13 years and the strategic IT leadership Chris has brought to the table, the company was able to maneuver and adapt to help fulfill their mission of placing great candidates in meaningful work, even when COVID-19 and a new economic crisis hit. The tech stack that Chris put together, which included Able among a number of other solutions, was a key driver to help the company adapt.
“We were able to replace all the paper-based and highly variable processes for onboarding,” said Chris. “Able seriously allowed us to survive the pandemic.”
Today, BGSF offers staffing in IT, project management, HR, accounting, administrative, cybersecurity, property management, and commercial.
Chris joined BGSF in January 2019 with his mind set on digital transformation, especially knowing that much of BGSF’s growth came from acquisitions -- 12 in total -- and each acquisition brought with it disparate systems that weren’t fully integrated. With a history of successfully overhauling tech stacks, Chris was able to quickly get approval on replacing all the technology at the firm with cloud-based technology that could be integrated.
“We weren’t going to be able to bring these companies together if we didn’t have better tech and a stronger foundation,” said Chris. “For example, across BGSF, there were three different applicant tracking systems.”
As Chris and the BGSF team built out a tech roadmap, they ended up with 21 different projects that needed to be tackled. The only way to get through them all was strict prioritization, so the company looked at their biggest issues. In this case, one of those was candidate flow, and that would require focusing on a new website, job board, and onboarding system.
The search began with solutions that would solve very specific problems like e-signature, but quickly turned to pre-packaged solutions for the ability to solve multiple issues in one fell swoop. At the same point, BGSF did a pure cost analysis, comparing SaaS-based solutions with the transactional cost of envelopes and packages.
“There was no comparison there,” said Chris. “When there’s a solution out there that lets you do whatever you want with your onboarding and application stages, you can make it as easy as possible to get candidates through the process. We certainly wouldn’t need our custom packages anymore and we could save significantly by going with a SaaS solution.”
A number of factors came into play for selecting Able. One was the company’s history and focus on staffing. It could be easily integrated with the other key staffing technologies at play for BGSF, and it gave the company the ability to standardize all their onboarding packages. Additionally, all of the most important candidate onboarding information was now stored in a single system, including I-9, WOTC, background check, and e-Verify data. With so many different companies that rolled up to be BGSF, Able empowered the company to have a quick standardization win.
“Of all the tech projects we’ve undergone at BGSF, the Able implementation was one of the easiest ones. Every status report that came up during implementation was positive. The biggest challenge for us was just deciding what we wanted to use as content in Able, since it was so configurable,” said Chris. “From an operational standpoint, our team now can’t live without it.”
The other area that Able was able to support besides operational efficiency was candidate experience.
“Like a lot of staffing companies, we’re focused on changing people’s lives for the better by getting them a job,” said Chris. “We always look at our technology with the candidate experience in mind.”
Able was easy to use and accessible for all of BGSF’s candidates, which was a huge boost once COVID-19 hit and BGSF found themselves needing to provide their typical high-touch engagement to candidates remotely. At the same time, candidates started expecting the same type of experience they get from gig economy companies like Uber -- fast and easy application and onboarding with one login.
“If you’re a staffing company and not thinking about putting similar technologies in place that provide the same simple experience, as time goes on, you’ll be further down the list of options when talent becomes available,” said Chris. “That was the bottom line for us when it came to Able.”
So how has Able helped BGSF with candidate flow? BGSF’s main metric for success in an onboarding solution was placeable candidates onboarding per month. Prior to Able, the company mapped their onboarding journey, looking at the last 100 onboards and how long they took. On average, it was 5-10 days, including coming into the office, filling out paper forms, emailing data and attaching PDFs, etc.
After implementing Able, those 5-10 days were reduced to an average of 4 hours from beginning to end.
“Overall, with Able, you get a solution that’s very friendly to applicants and flexible for the company that’s using it,” said Chris. “And from a cost standpoint you get the efficiency gains. If you’ve already automated your processes, it’s a huge cost savings; if you haven’t already automated them, it’s an even more massive benefit.”
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