Member Profile: Goode Solutions, Columbus, Ohio

Year business began: 2011
Jobseekers placed last year: 40

Hysaan Goode founded Goode Solutions in 2011, driven by a long-held passion to help entry-level job seekers succeed in the labor market. The company offers a full range of staffing services and has slowly built a clientele over the past two years. As of last fall, Hysaan is finally in a position to devote himself to the business full-time. We recently spoke with him to learn more about Goode Solutions’ experience to date and his future plans.

How did you get into the alternative staffing business?

Directly out of college, I worked for two conventional staffing companies for about four years, moving up from recruiter to staffing supervisor to on-site manager. I wasn’t then aware of alternative staffing but definitely saw the need for soft skills training among many entry-level job seekers. I spent the next decade of my career in educational publishing but still dreamt of developing a business to deliver the soft skills training piece for job seekers who need this. In 2011, I took the plunge and formed Goode Solutions.

What job seeker populations does Goode Solutions work with?

We mainly work with low-income job seekers with a variety of barriers to employment, including low skills, criminal background, or disabilities. Many are entry-level candidates but we also place some individuals with more skills and experience.

How many job seekers does your organization serve annually?

Last year, 250 people received our Workplace Essential Skills training, and we placed 40 individuals into employment.

How are participants referred to your staffing service?

The state Department of Jobs and Family Services is our main source of referrals. Job seekers also find us through the state’s website (Ohio Means Jobs), and through word-of-mouth, churches, job fairs and adult education. We’ve become known in our market as the staffing company that will work with people with felony records.

What types of support services do you deliver to help your workers succeed?

We require each candidate to complete a two-hour Workplace Essential Skills workshop. This training focuses on communications, presentation and decision-making skills. We also encourage personal and career goal setting. We can assist individuals with their resumes but we do this on an ad hoc basis.

What types of employers do you serve?

The majority of our placements are with manufacturing and warehousing companies. We also work with a couple car dealerships and have customers in recycling, scaffolding, landscaping, and agriculture. We’ve fulfilled a few clerical positions and would like to develop opportunities in call center and other customer service jobs.

What marketing methods or messages have you found to be most effective in attracting new customers?

We tell our business prospects, “your success is our success,” and we mean this. We try to position ourselves as problem solvers willing to customize solutions for each employer’s needs, and we emphasize our soft skills training process and low turnover rates. Regarding our marketing methods, I’m working on these. One priority is to revamp our website, and I’ve recently hired a consultant to help with mailers and other door-opening strategies.

What are the biggest challenges of operating a staffing service in your market?

Name recognition is a challenge. We’re a new brand competing with many well-established, well-known staffing companies. Also, until recently we were located in Delaware, Ohio, about 15 miles from the city center. Our move to Columbus will give us easier access to the business networks there. As a small start-up, finding a payroll financing company was also a challenge. We’re now using Employer Solutions Group, based in Minnesota.

As a manager, what do you wish you had more time for?

Now that I’m full-time, I’m eager to dedicate more time to participating in networking events and strengthening our market position. I feel like we have the infrastructure to be successful, in terms of good internal staff, good systems and customers that can vouch for our ability to deliver.

What about Goode Solutions makes you most proud?

We’ve just celebrated two years in business and honestly there have been a couple times I wanted to give up. It is not easy to find clients that buy into our vision and are willing to pay for the value we deliver. What keeps me going is that we’re able to employ people and positively affect their lives. This business is hard, but when it works, it’s phenomenal. Someday, this will be a book.

Please, briefly share a success story about one of your workers or one of your customers.

One candidate that comes to mind is an older gentleman in his 70s who didn’t think anyone would hire him. We were able to place him as a machinist on a temp-to-hire track, and the match has been a perfect one. After two months as a temporary associate, he’s still working there, loves it, and the company is thrilled.

What are your organization’s main goals for the future?

To date, we’ve had up to 14 candidates out working at any given time. In the short-term, I’d like to quadruple this number and increase our in-house soft skills trainings from monthly to weekly. I’d also like to improve our ability to collect and produce performance data about our workers’ retention rates. Longer term, my goal is to expand the business to multiple locations in the Midwest.

What advice would you offer to someone considering alternative staffing as a strategy in their community?

Approach it with passion and deliver on your promises. Be in it for the difference you’re going to make. It’s important to have a mission beyond making money. Helping people succeed at work builds their self-worth, strengthens the economy and benefits the whole community.

For more information, please visit Goode Solutions on the web.

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