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Winners of the 2011 ASA Staffing VOICE Awards

Staffing Success Magazine (November–December 2011)

Creative Communications Pay Off

Winners of the 2011 ASA Staffing VOICE Awards competition balance innovation and tradition to reach their audiences

By Melissa Beattie

From creating myth-busting YouTube videos directed toward prospective candidates to delivering hand-addressed thank-you notes to clients and employees, the winners of the 2011 ASA Staffing VOICE Awards competition demonstrated keen awareness of their audiences’ needs and desires. Staffing firms used new technologies along with tried-and-true communications methods to reach out to talent, clients, and staff.

“This year’s competition was remarkable,” says Reem El-Khatib, one of the judges for this year’s competition and communications specialist at Islamic Relief USA. “It was great to see how staffing firms are expanding their campaigns beyond traditional borders and are exploring new ways to build their brands and engage audiences.”

The awards recognize the vision, originality, innovation, creativity, and effectiveness (VOICE) of communications campaigns from ASA member firms in 16 categories—from direct mail to social media to company identification—and in two classes of staffing firms, independent and national. Certificates of excellence and merit were awarded to the best entries in individual categories.

A panel of communications specialists judged the entries on the basis of general appeal and overall quality; content and message; originality of approach; and target audience, objectives, and results. In total, 18 staffing firms were honored this year.

“The competition overall told me that there is a wealth of creativity in the staffing industry today,” says Gretchen Keefner, director of national accounts for CareerBuilder’s Staffing and Recruiting Group, who also served as a VOICE Awards judge this year. “The entries demonstrated that now, more than ever, firms seem to understand what their target audiences are looking for.”

This year’s winning entries were showcased at Staffing World® 2011 in New Orleans in October. The 2011 Staffing VOICE Awards competition was sponsored by CareerBuilder, an ASA corporate partner providing customized products and services to help staffing firms increase their exposure among candidates and potential clients.

Here’s a closer look at this year’s winners.

Top Honors

Awards of excellence and merit celebrate achievements in individual categories in the competition. Entries that display superior qualities overall are honored with “crystal” awards and top honors in the competition: the Communications, Best of Show, and Judges’ awards.

  • The Communications Award honors the best campaign in each class that advances the overall image of the industry.
  • The Best of Show Award recognizes the best single entry in each class, regardless of category, in the competition.
  • The Judges’ Award is conferred at the discretion of the panel for exceptional achievement.

Communications Awards

The BOSS Group

According to the BOSS Group, “As a niche staffing provider focused exclusively on supplying interactive, creative, and marketing professionals, it’s essential that our materials appeal to a discerning creative audience.” From the firm’s hip Web site to its vibrant business cards and brochures, the BOSS Group’s marketing campaign is equal parts aesthetically appealing and information-rich.

BOSS’s Web site especially stood out to the judges because the company smoothly integrates its social media and community outreach efforts into a user-friendly Web site. Bold graphics appear throughout the site, while a job search section appears on the home page, making it easy for prospective talent to search job postings.

“The BOSS Group’s stylish graphics instantly communicate that you’ve entered a site geared toward creative talent,” says graphic designer Dawn Ripple McFadin, the third judge of the competition. She is president of Fan Works Design, a design and illustration studio.

The BOSS Group has effectively utilized social media in its talent outreach efforts; the company has thousands of active fans and followers on its Facebook and Twitter pages. BOSS frequently updates its pages with job information, news, and invitations to company-sponsored contests and professional happy hours that engage users.

One of the highlights of BOSS Group’s Facebook page is an embedded job listing page that allows users to search for jobs while on the social network. If job seekers have any questions about available positions, BOSS Group recruiters are on hand to field those inquiries on the BOSS Facebook page.

“The BOSS Group exhibited cohesiveness and creativity in its campaign,” adds El-Khatib. “From aesthetics to content, the company was able to capture the essence of its business—creative staffing—in its marketing materials.”

Volt Workforce Solutions

In the fast-paced, ever-changing world of online technology, Volt’s communications campaign stood out as an industry leader in new media initiatives. Whether communicating with new clients or with its tech-savvy talent base, Volt’s interactive communities aim to go beyond a static Web presence.

In an effort to reach out to its younger talent base, Volt created an interactive contest during an industry event that invited participants to search for the company’s community manager using location clues sent via Twitter. Event posters featured quick response codes that visitors scanned to access information related to the contest.

“It was great to see that so many firms are including data intelligence and other valuable information in their materials,” Keefner says, particularly noting that Volt did an excellent job in integrating these new media technologies into its broader communications plan.

One of the judges’ favorite entries was Volt’s online hiring tool kit, which is geared toward employers that want to make educated hiring decisions. The comprehensive Web site includes a tool to calculate the cost of a vacancy and a downloadable scorecard to aid employers in making hiring decisions.

Volt also created a YouTube channel devoted to debunking popular staffing industry myths. The company’s “Why Apply?” video gives prospective candidates step-by-step instructions on how to apply with Volt, as well as reasons why they should work with a staffing company. Volt’s Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages are updated daily with links to career articles—including stories written by Volt employees—illustrating that the company is a dedicated talent advocate as well as a great resource for clients.

Best of Show Awards

PrideStaff

PrideStaff’s “Cost of Mediocrity” direct mail campaign challenged business owners, executives, and hiring managers to consider hiring temporary and contract employees for a strategic advantage.

The company sent hand-addressed envelopes containing greeting cards and 16-page booklets to small and mid-sized companies. The 16-page booklets detailed a six-step process for how to “consistently hire better talent.” The colorful greeting cards contained data on how PrideStaff can help a company find great employees.

The campaign touched upon key industry messages, emphasizing the fact that a faulty hiring decision can have lasting implications for a business.

Roth Staffing Cos.

During the 2010 Thanksgiving season, Roth’s objective was to create a campaign that would effectively deliver the power of a “thank you” to its clients and employees and encourage recipients to create moments of gratitude for their co-workers, peers, and family members.

Roth created thank-you cards that were mailed or hand-delivered to staffing clients and employees. Enclosed in the mailing was a “giving thanks” blank card and stamped envelope so the recipient could send the note to someone else. The following week, a “you’re welcome” card was mailed that contained insightful reminders about the power of saying “you’re welcome” to others. The company also created an interactive Web page that contained “ingredients of a thank you,” which helped to both build camaraderie between employees and drive traffic to the page.

“This was one of the most engaging viral campaigns we saw in the competition,” Keefner says. “The campaign was a stand-out to all judges right away.”

The judges appreciated the appearance of the cards and materials that Roth distributed. “The thank-you card itself was done very well,” Keefner notes. “It looked like a card from a friend or loved one—far from a corporate look or feel.”

Judges’ Award

The Select Family of Staffing Cos.

Created in November 2010, the Select Family’s fun and engaging “Job Talk With Anita Clew” blog gives career and human resource advice to job seekers, employees, and managers through the voice of a fictitious character named Anita Clew. Similar to a newspaper’s “Dear Abby” column, the blog lets readers contact Anita with job-related questions or consult its archive to get the career advice they need.

“I fell in love with this piece the moment I saw it,” says El-Khatib. “The ‘Anita’ blog offers a personal and unintimidating way to develop relationships with readers—whether they are clients, candidates, or internal staff.”

Since its creation, the blog has surged in popularity. “Anita Clew” gained 21,500 active subscribers in eight months and averages 200 views per day.

The 2011 VOICE Awards Judges

A panel of three judges—two communications specialists and one representative of an ASA corporate partner—judged the 2011 ASA Staffing VOICE Awards competition.

Reem El-Khatib

Reem El-Khatib is a communications specialist for the charity organization Islamic Relief USA. El-Khatib’s primary responsibilities include Web site and social media management. In the first few months in this position, El-Khatib increased IRUSA’s social media presence by more than 60%, helped build its new Web site, and traveled to several countries to write case studies and report on IRUSA’s efforts directly from the field. Before joining IRUSA, El-Khatib worked at ASA for eight years, coordinating public relations functions and writing for print publications and social media platforms.

Gretchen Keefner

Gretchen Keefner is the director of national accounts for CareerBuilder’s Staffing and Recruiting Group. During her eight-year tenure with CareerBuilder, she has worked in many capacities with more than 250 different staffing firms nationwide. Prior to moving into her current role, Keefner served as the Staffing and Recruiting Group’s director of client solutions. She was involved in the development of CareerBuilder’s advanced solutions for staffing clients—specifically data intelligence, search engine improvement, and social media tools. Keefner also helps educate nonprofit groups and small business owners on how to leverage new media to achieve organizational goals.

Dawn Ripple McFadin

Dawn Ripple McFadin is president of Fan Works Design, a design and illustration studio. McFadin has more than 20 years’ experience as a graphic designer, art director, production manager, and illustrator in newspaper, nonprofit, design studio, and public relations organizations. McFadin currently is art director for Staffing Success and previously was art director for HR Magazine and Employment Management Today, and worked as special projects designer and publications manager for the Society for Human Resource Management. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Washington, DC-area Illustrators Club.

Winners by Category and Award

Direct Mail

Independent

PrideStaff, Excellence

National

Labor Ready, Excellence

Roth Staffing, Excellence

Volt Workforce Solutions, Merit

Radio/TV Advertising

Independent

RealStreet Staffing, Merit

Web Site Advertising

Independent

UDig, Excellence

Specialty Advertising

Independent

Belcan Staffing Solutions, Excellence

Priority Staffing Services, Merit

National

Labor Ready, Excellence

PlaneTechs, Merit

Other Advertising

Independent

Professional Staffing Group, Excellence

RealStreet Staffing, Merit

High Profile Inc., Excellence

National

The Delta Cos., Excellence

Volt Workforce Solutions, Excellence

Social Media

Independent

The BOSS Group, Merit

National

The Delta Cos., Merit

Volt Workforce Solutions, Excellence

Company Web Site

Independent

The BOSS Group, Excellence

Frontline Source Group, Merit

Professional Staffing Group, Merit

Workforce Employment Solutions, Excellence

National

The Delta Cos., Excellence

Volt Workforce Solutions, Excellence

Multimedia

Independent

Frontline Source Group, Excellence

High Profile Inc., Merit

National

The Delta Cos., Excellence

PlaneTechs, Merit

Volt Workforce Solutions, Excellence

Company Newsletter

Independent

Priority Staffing Services, Merit

QPS Employment Group, Excellence

National

Labor Ready, Excellence

Roth Staffing, Merit

The Select Family of Staffing Cos., Excellence

Company Publication

Independent

QPS Employment Group, Excellence

Workforce Employment Solutions, Merit

National

The Delta Cos., Merit

Labor Ready, Merit

Company Blog

Independent

Pacific Staffing, Excellence

National

The Select Family of Staffing Cos., Excellence

Volt Workforce Solutions, Merit

Company Identification

Independent

The BOSS Group, Excellence

National

Labor Ready, Excellence

Volt Workforce Solutions, Excellence

Roth Staffing, Excellence

The Select Family of Staffing Cos., Merit

Promotion of ASA Membership

Independent

Frontline Source Group, Merit

Media Relations Program

Independent

QPS Employment Group, Excellence

Public Service

Independent

Belcan Staffing Solutions, Excellence

High Profile Inc., Excellence

QPS Employment Group, Excellence

Workforce Employment Solutions, Excellence

National

The Delta Cos., Excellence

Labor Ready, Excellence


To comment on this article, email success@americanstaffing.net. Follow ASA on Twitter @staffingtweets.

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