For 10 years, Sandy Mazur has led industry pioneer Spherion Staffing Services. Building its reputation as a national leader with a local focus, Mazur has championed service excellence and workforce innovation. Through a creative combination of thought leadership—including the ground-breaking Emerging Workforce® Study, workplace surveys and job market reports—and innovative digital resources—including a new delivery mechanism for the ubiquitous salary survey—Mazur has ensured local translates into leading for Spherion’s network of business owners. As a result, for 10 consecutive years, Spherion earned the distinction of being named a “World-Class Franchise” by the Franchise Research Institute.
Franchise Expo: Tell us about the Spherion concept.
Sandy Mazur: Spherion is a staffing and workforce solutions provider in business for more than 70 years and franchising for 60+ years. Spherion offers a business-to-business model, providing flexible labor solutions and direct hire recruiting to organizations of all types. We serve as a career agent to job candidates and a workforce partner to clients. Our franchise owners have the opportunity to make a significant impact on the lives of their employees, the productivity of their customers and the communities in which they live and work.
How and when did you become involved with Spherion? I joined Spherion in 1998 as a regional executive, overseeing company-owned branch staffing operations in Texas and Louisiana. In that role, I focused on sales strategy, operational excellence and business development.
What was your background prior to joining? I have spent most of my career in the staffing industry. Prior to assuming leadership of our franchise community, I held a number of different business and functional leadership roles that both leveraged and expanded my experience in business strategy, P&L management, sales, workforce management solutions, operations, customer service, teambuilding, workplace culture, product management and innovation—all of which have helped me guide and support our community of entrepreneurs.
What are some of the advantages in being a Spherion franchisee? The key benefits of Spherion ownership are experience, knowledge, thought leadership, community and support. Spherion offers a 70-year history of success in the staffing industry and 60+ years of franchising experience. Every Spherion owner belongs to a close-knit community of franchisees, who are quick to share advice and best practices. Our comprehensive training program offers franchisees a combination of on-site, online and classroom-based instruction, covering operations, risk management, sales and marketing. Our finely honed processes and procedures provide a service and efficiency advantage. In addition to industry-leading technology and innovative sales and recruiting tools, Spherion owners benefit from thought leadership—including the ground-breaking Emerging Workforce® Study, workplace surveys and job market reports—which clearly set them apart from competitors in the market. And Spherion’s size and financial stability offer access to national clients and the ability to support most any customer’s staffing requirements, no matter how large or complex.
Who is your ideal franchisee? A successful Spherion franchisee needs a blend of business experience, community involvement and a healthy desire to build long-term relationships with customers and employees alike. Spherion owners are outgoing, tenacious, goal oriented and community minded, with a servant mentality and a focus on excellence. We have successful owners from all walks of life, from recent college grads to those embarking on a 2nd or even 3rd career. And some of our owners are 2nd and 3rd generation legacy owners of the original franchisee! A Spherion franchise is an opportunity for all family members to participate in growing a family business.
Tell us a little about the staffing industry market? The US staffing market is a mature segment of the economy that continues to grow and expand due to shifts in the employment market and the demand for agility and scalability by clients and flexibility by employees. Recording growth of 4-5% annually for the last five years, the US staffing market is projected to grow 6% in both 2016 and 2017 to nearly $150 billion. Employers know that having the ability to flex their workforce’s size and skills in concert with the demands of their customers and the economy will be the key to long-term success in the global economy. Spherion offers that flexibility and couples it with 70 years of experience in exceeding client expectations.
What are some of the greatest lessons you’ve learned in growing this franchise? I’d sum it up in three ways:
- Success is based on people.
- Trust is the foundation of every relationship.
- Service excellence is the true differentiator.
Economics and market dynamics are important in growing a business, but success comes down to people and the trusted relationships our owners build with their clients and candidates, with their teams and with their communities. Our owners genuinely care about those they serve. I’d never suggest that profitability is not important to us, but I believe if you do right by people, the profits will follow. Never compete on price either. It is too easy to win—or lose—clients due to price. Focus on quality. Deliver what you promise and when you make a mistake, own up to it immediately and do whatever it takes to resolve it. That’s how we define service excellence, and it is what truly differentiates one provider from another.
And there’s one more: never stop learning!
Do you have a mentor and is there someone you use for inspiration? I have had the benefit of a number of mentors throughout my career as well as serving as a mentor to others. Each relationship has enriched me both personally and professionally. In terms of who inspires me, I would have to say it is the Spherion franchise owners with whom I work every day. These are incredibly hard-working business owners who consistently amaze me with their unflagging enthusiasm for growing their businesses, generosity in sharing their experiences and knowledge with one another and commitment to their clients and candidates.
What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a franchise? First, decide what type of business aligns with your goals and lifestyle. The restaurant or retail service industry offers a vastly different type of opportunity than a business-to-business model does. If you’re considering a relocation for the opportunity, make sure you honestly assess the new market, not only as a base for your business but as a new home and community, because if you and your family are not happy there, the business will likely suffer as well. Determine your budget and always expect to need a bit more than you think. Make sure you can live comfortably during the start-up period. Then, do your homework! Look into the history of the franchise and talk to other franchisees. Ask about start-up support, marketing, training and sales assistance. Read the contract thoroughly and understand the terms. Know your weaknesses and seek support in those areas to avoid misunderstandings later. Then, be ready to work hard and have more fun than any “job” could ever provide!
In your opinion, why do you think that Spherion would be a great opportunity for someone? A Spherion franchise offers a person interested in business ownership an opportunity with an established leader in a growing industry segment and the support of a franchise community of owners who truly care for one another. And since the staffing industry is projected to continue growing along with the US economy, the ability to succeed in this business is really dependent on the owner’s desire to build lasting relationships in the community and a commitment to service excellence.