Business

Beth Garvey: Being the First Drop of Water in the Ripple Effect

The staffing firm CEO talks gig economy, talent retention, and the ever-changing workforce.

Beth Garvey worked in the mailroom of a manufacturing company before segueing to staffing. She joined InStaff in January of 1998 in an HR role, but found herself focusing more on operations. A series of promotions led to her becoming CEO in 2011. InStaff was sold in 2013 to BG Staffing; after serving in several executive roles she was named to the top spot in the fall of 2018. It’s an exciting time to work in staffing, Garvey says: “How we did work 20 years ago is not how we do work today. And it’s definitely not what it will be like 20 years from now.”

What do you like most about what you do?
“Everything starts with a job. That’s how people pay their bills and send their kids to school and put food on the table. My work lets me solve problems for the people who work for us and for our customers. It’s nice being the first drop of water in the ripple effect.”

How big is BG Staffing?
“We’re in 80 locations in 31 states, have more than 9,000 clients, and issued 30,000 W2s last year. Our most recent quarterly sales were $288 million.”

What’s your biggest challenge?
“There are more job openings than unemployed people to fill them, and the gap just keeps getting wider. It’s a talent market right now, especially in the higher-end positions.”

How is employment evolving?
“The gig economy is not going away. Some workers only want to work two days a week or maybe work two days at home. Employees are saying, ‘I’m worth something. I’m going to give you my all—it’s just not going to be on your terms.’ A lot of our work involves educating employers on the new realities.”

How are businesses responding?
“They’re being forced to look at their policies and benefits, if they want to attract the best and the brightest. We’ve recently done this ourselves.”

Looking ahead, what has you most excited?
“Technology and what it means for the workforce—and getting to be part of the process of re-skilling for the future.”

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