PADNOS launches staffing agency

Scrap management and recycling company sends employees to customers that need extra help.
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PADNOS employees were working at Clean Rooms International to produce carts and fans needed for safe ventilation at hospitals while also practicing social distancing requirements. Courtesy PADNOS

As a company that prides itself on its flexibility and innovation, PADNOS has launched a staffing firm that provides employee labor to customers that need it.

Holland-based PADNOS, a recycling and scrap management business with sites all over Michigan, last month launched PADNOS Staffing Solutions, an internal staffing agency it had been considering before the pandemic and decided to fast-track due to demand.

“It’s always been a goal of ours to launch into this area,” said Kristy Loomis, chief human resources officer at PADNOS. “When a crisis hits, it forces innovation to come a little faster.”

Loomis said the new offering was an outgrowth of PADNOS’s core strengths and values: its flexible workforce and history of innovation as a company, combined with its commitment to caring for employees.

“For us, it was HR’s way of living our company values of being innovative and good people who really want to take care of our team members and make sure that we have work for every team member that wants to work during these times, as long as we can.”

The additional motive was to serve its customers well in a time of crisis, she said.

“Companies are asking themselves two questions right now: how lean are we, and how are we doing on that journey in regards to flexible manufacturing?” she said, adding many companies that have pivoted to making personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic have lacked the skilled staff needed to meet demand.

The decision to launch a staffing arm came after PADNOS itself began rolling with the changes brought about by the pandemic’s impact on the marketplace.

Of its three main recycling platforms — paper, plastics and metals — Loomis said PADNOS saw increased demand for recycled paper in the form of cardboard shipping containers for grocery stores and recycled plastics for making PPE, such as face shields.

“Initially, we were having a lot of conversations with our team members to say, ‘We need you to move out of the metals area and what you’re doing here and go apply those skills in a different area of our business,’” Loomis said.

As a result, PADNOS created a cross-functional leadership team that meets daily to determine internal staffing needs and allocate surplus employees in one area to work in another.

Based on feedback from the company’s sales team, which was in close contact with customers to understand their needs, PADNOS realized now would be a good time to create a staffing firm.

“Some of our customers, because they pivoted, they needed additional people, like Clean Rooms International. They were making new products and needed additional shifts and lines of people,” Loomis said.

“We were able to take our team members we may have had a surplus (of) that day or week and offer them to our customers through PADNOS Staffing Solutions.”

PADNOS primarily serves manufacturing companies. While the company does not disclose customer names (unless they have given permission, like Clean Rooms International), Loomis said so far, PADNOS had been able to place about 40 employees in temporary gigs for its customers as of early May.

About 100 of the 700 PADNOS team members companywide have taken on new roles during the pandemic as part of the cross-functional training and upskilling PADNOS has been doing to maintain optimum flexibility.

Some roles PADNOS team members are filling through the staffing agency include manufacturing and assembly; logistics/fleet, including truck drivers who can make deliveries; as well as engineering, fabrication and machining employees who can help companies retool to make PPE.

“We have such a diverse skill set across our business, and there are people that are ready to work and want to help our customers in any way, so we’re able to talk to our customers and understand what their needs are exactly and where they’re saying, ‘We can’t find the skill set in the marketplace or with staffing agencies, but you guys clearly have it,’” Loomis said.

“So we might put on hold a project of our own internally so that we can pivot and let them use that skill set so that they can finish their project. It’s just really being flexible in every sense of the word.”

Additionally, the company’s sales team — which is not at its highest demand point right now — has taken the opportunity to learn the different sides of the business by doing a variety of jobs they have not previously done.

“We had the opportunity for them to go internally and work with some of our manufacturing teams to really understand that other end of the process, which will make them a stronger sales team,” she said. “Nobody’s off limits. We’re all trying everything, rolling up our sleeves and doing whatever the work is for that day.”

She said the staffing agency has allowed PADNOS to keep employees working as the labor force changes, but PADNOS also has accommodated some employees who needed to take voluntary leaves of absence due to health issues or child care arrangements that won’t allow them to continue working at this time.

“I’m really fortunate that we’re all working together to do whatever it takes to be safe and keep fighting during these times as one company,” Loomis said.

According to Loomis, PADNOS plans to keep the staffing agency running after the pandemic subsides “as long as it meets our customers’ demand.”

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