Arrow Strategies is celebrating their 20th anniversary on April 15, 2022. Twenty years is a long time in any business but is especially impressive in the staffing world where the average successful company brings in less than 10 million in revenue per year. During the pandemic, Arrow Strategies saw revenue hit more than 8 times that average. In an industry where there are nearly 50,000 staffing agency offices nationwide, we sit down with owner and CEO Jeff Styers to understand what it is about Arrow Strategies that has allowed them to not just survive but thrive!
Hi Jeff, thank you for sitting down with me today! 20 years is impressive – what would you say that you have learned about the business world over the last two decades?
What I have learned about the business world is that it is ever changing and doing so at warp speed! It’s not enough to keep up with the changes. If you truly want to succeed, then you need to become efficient at staying 1-2 steps ahead and anticipate the direction things are going to move! I have also found that the ‘tried and true’ concepts are named that for a reason; Be kind to everyone, go above and beyond expectations, create great impact on the world around you, and treat your employees like they’re your most valuable asset . . . because they are! At the end of the day, it is always about the people.
Hiring the right people is key – I think many companies would agree with you on that! Yet Arrow seems to be more successful at it. How does Arrow do it differently?
It is key, but it isn’t just about hiring the right people. It is about hiring them and treating them well, whether they are working for us here at our corporate office or working for us at one of our many client sites. It is not enough to value them; you need to make sure that they know they are valued and that they feel it – not just hear it.
I believe it also goes back to how we hire. We do a huge amount of proactive recruiting, something our competitors do very rarely- if at all. This allows us to pick the person that is uniquely skilled and situated for a position, rather than just selecting from those that applied for it. If finding the right people is the key, keeping those people is the lock. It’s the whole door. You must have both or else it doesn’t work.
By the 10 year mark, 70% of small business have failed. What do you think has made Arrow Strategies pass the test of time and grow and thrive when others fall short?
Without sounding redundant, it truly is our people! We have consistently found the most talented people who all share a passion for striving, accomplishing worthwhile goals, and making the world a little better. When you can attract those people, then give a common goal to strive for, the tools to accomplish those goals, and foster the environment needed for it all to work, you create a magical alchemy that is hard to replicate. Not only have we thrived these last 20 years, but I always find it fascinating when I’m reminded that we thrive the most during adversity; We incorporated 6 months after the 9/11 Terrorist attacks, during the Great Recession of ‘08 & ‘09, yet we had double-digit growth both years and now with facing the first global pandemic in 100 years, we set back-to-back records on the number of people we are putting to work.
The talent acquisition and staffing world took a huge hit during the start of the pandemic, falling 25% nationally. How did you navigate this and manage to actually help put more people to work than in prior years?
The start of the pandemic was an incredibly difficult time for all industries, and staffing was no exception. That said, we were fortunate that we were able to grow substantially during this time both in revenue and in the number of people and clients we were able to help.
I credit our team. They knew that the landscape of our client’s business was going to be changing rapidly and, rather than approaching it from a market share mentality, they approached it the Arrow way – from a client-centered perspective: How will this impact our clients? What do we need to do to support them? What best practices can we share with them? How can we make this easier on them? What can we do to reassure and support our staff on our client’s site? We ensured that we delivered on our promise to be a good partner to our clients, not just a vendor. For our candidates and consultants, our recruiters were there with them every step of the way, helping them navigate the new remote-work world and helping them transition into other roles when needed. This larger perspective made all the difference, both for our goals and for helping our clients and consultants hit their goals.
Is there a goal that you hit that you are particularly proud of?
It is hard to cite one specific goal here as we have been blessed with so many; our growth has been off the charts. Last year we enjoyed an enterprise value of over $80 million compared to that industry average of under $10 million which is just mind-blowing but, more impressively, we did that after coming off a few declining years while working mostly remote. That $80 million represents more than 1000 people who had meaningful work. The fact that it was done during a global pandemic just speaks to our team members, which is a good segue . . . what I’m most proud of is the cast of characters that we have brought together to truly form a family. I know that is an overused cliché’, but it is accurate here and it’s the best way I can describe our team! I can say without hesitation that we have built a great company because it was built on a number of great people.
Thank you so much for your time today Jeff, I am excited to see what the next 20 years hold! What do you see for Arrow in the next 20 years?
Only God knows, but if He continues to bless us as He has, the sky is the limit! Our projects division is relatively new and has already taken us to heights that we have never been before. I’m sure with their leadership and a few new players, that division will continue to bring big wins! Our other divisions, although they’ve been around much longer, continue to reinvent themselves and are growing at impressive clips. Our newest entity – Arrow Healthcare Staffing is like an unbridled rocket ship – I have never experienced the growth that they have had for such a new entity, and I don’t anticipate that slowing down anytime soon.
More than the growth and performance of the organization, I’m most excited to see our team players continue to grow both professionally and in their personal lives. I am pleased every time I hear of an engagement, a new house that was purchased or the birth of a baby. Having a platform such as our company that is able to support the livelihood of our team players and be able to assist them in other ways is just very special to me!
Jeff Styers is owner and CEO of Arrow Strategies, a talent acquisition firm headquartered in Southfield, Michigan.