Building one employment agency from scratch to a leader in its service area would be a noteworthy achievement. Beth Paxton has pulled off that feat twice.
Staffers Inc. has managed to stand out in the crowd by not only offering a wide range of services, but also by treating its clients and its staff to “extras,” personal touches that build relationships and loyalty. And, all of this can be attributed to Paxton, who has proven that one can be an astute business person and still embrace people warmly and with respect.
“I learned a lot from Ms. Henry,” said Paxton with a laugh, referring to her mother. “If you do what you say you will do, you are already ahead of 95 percent of your competition.”
A Greenville native, Paxton was a standout high school student who went on to Delta State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
She eventually relocated to Jackson and started out in real estate. However, Paxton found that work to be less than satisfying. Fortunately, this led her to a position where she got up-close. first-hand experience in the in’s and outs of human resources. That work she found rewarding, and she decided to open her own employment agency.
Paxton went to six bankers, and got six rejections. She would eventually get her loan, but at an interest rate well above the prime.
“It was a huge risk. Friends tried to talk me out of it,” she remembered. “But, I was really confident that I could make it go.”
Paxton’s business took off, a fact she attributes to an excellent staff. She quickly became known for her gifts and treats to staff and clients. For instance, she and her staff would offer free certificates for lunch for two to anybody — they did not have to be clients, just willing to share one with a colleague.
After building the business, Paxton came to a new place in her life. She had young children at home, so she sold her firm in 1998. She had no plans to reenter the industry.
However, former staff members started leaving her old company and came to Paxton seeking guidance. Paxton looked up one day and realized if she wanted to start another firm, she already had a veteran, proven staff in place. With that, Staffers was born in 2000.
Using the strategies and following the same principles that were so effective in her first venture, Paxton and Staffers have been very successful. The company specializes in temporary, temp-to-permanent and direct hire personnel. It also provides payrolling service, single source provider relationships and “Staffers Inc. on Premise,” offering an on-site staffing manager when large numbers of temps are assigned to one company.
Staffers prides itself on the extras it offers its clients. For instance, a successful temp-to-permanent client is often given a gift. When clients come by to pick up their paychecks, the firm often has a treat waiting for them. The firm also offers web-based training free of charge to those clients who want to improve their skills and their chances at a different or better career.
Paxton is also generous with gifts to her staff. She has surprised her people with new outfits, springs for gym memberships and other efforts just to say “thanks.”
“Employees are just as important as clients,” she said. “You spend the largest part of your day at the office, so you should enjoy it.”
Paxton’s generosity also extends to the community. Staffers contributes to a number of worthy organizations, and she encourages her people to get involved. To that end, the firm chooses a charitable cause each quarter to support. These causes run the gamut from Habitat for Humanity and Dress for Success to the American Heart Association and the M.B. Swayze Foundation’s STAR program.
Paxton said she does not push this to make Staffers look good. She simply feels she has an obligation to give something back.
Through all of the ups and downs, Paxton has remained positive and seemingly unaffected. Staffers’ mantra is “Finding Jobs, Changing Futures,” and the reward of helping others achieve their goals keeps her motivated and excited about the future.
“I have no regrets,” she said. When asked what advice she would give to others contemplating starting their own employment agency, Paxton said, “Go for it. If you really want to do it, it is a great industry.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Wally Northway at firstname.lastname@example.org.