Getting to know...Sharlene Massie, Founder and Visionary, About Staffing

1. What was your very first job and how did it possibly prepare you for your role today?

As a young child, I was told to use your strengths to serve others. Ever since that day, I have embodied this in every job I’ve accepted. My first few jobs were serving others as a McDonald’s hostess, cashier and birthday party hostess for kids. I continued along this path and now serve adults. 

2. How did you get your start in our industry?

When I recant my beginnings, I am quickly reminded of the power of a staffing agency. As experts, we have the unique ability to see things with a clear lens. We can pick up on skills/traits/abilities in people that most can’t. This happened to me in the early 90s when I graduated from Mount Royal University with a PR degree and was narrowly focused on getting a job in this field. The employment market was tough and someone at a local staff agency here in Calgary saw something in me that would forever change my path. “Sharlene, you have a very direct but candid approach to you. You would do wonders as a sales rep. You are very relatable and yet effective in your communication style.”  With great reluctance, I took their advice, tried sales – and never left.

3. What is the best career advice you ever received?

“Step by step and the thing is done.” – Charles Atlas

It came to me as a quote in 1996 and it is has followed me through all of the trials and tribulations of owning a business in Calgary.

What do you do during an economic downturn? Take things step by step.

What do you do when your building is 10 feet under water during the 2013 Calgary Flood? Take things step by step.

What do you do as the price of oil drops, competitors are closing their doors and you’re forced to make tough decisions? Take things step by step.
This level headed approach has help me stay focused in the now. I see what is in front of me, evaluate every line item and work through everything step by step (with a nice pair of shoes). 

4. What gives you energy?

Connecting and surrounding myself with people gives me my daily vitamins!

Human connections are paramount to my business and success. These connections not only drive me but they give me the necessary energy to ideate, create, envision, stay healthy and even exercise.

I intentionally surround myself with people who embody my four core values: enthusiasm, sincerity, stability and loyalty. I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by great friends, family, staff, trainers, coaches and mentors who believe in me, support me and love me.

After 23 years in business, my biggest source of energy is the internal staff of About Staffing. I have some of the most loyal staff in the industry. They continue to support me and help grow the business with enthusiasm, sincerity, stability and loyalty.  

I quickly learned that my greatest energy is in my ability to hire the right people, in the right seats. Accomplishing this internally has been a priority so that I can concentrate on bringing the same values to the businesses we support. I protect my business’ culture and people so we can continue to serve others the best way we know how: through great connections.

5. What do you do to unwind?

Work-life integration is a concept I preach to my staff and family. In part of this belief lies my definition of ‘unwind.’ I don’t look to the concept of ‘unwind’ in the conventional sense. I unwind by connecting. Connecting with myself, friends, family or hobbies. 

I connect with my staff first thing in the morning by having genuine conversations to understand why they ‘Look Forward to Monday,’ one of the values we live by.

I connect with my trainers five times a week to build mental and physical strength.

I connect with my family, children and grandchildren to be a loving force in their lives.

6. What do you love about our industry or what makes you most proud of it?

The Staffing Industry has the power to change lives and businesses!

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, what is staffing? To About Staffing, it’s about being human. We are in the business of people and believe in the power of connections. 

Through conversations and relationship building, we change lives and businesses. We help businesses grow and help people create a life for themselves. 

For me, the purpose of staffing goes deeper than resumes, job descriptions and placements. It’s about being a player in people’s lives.

7. What does the media/general public not understand about staffing and recruitment?

There is an art and science to hiring. Expertise and timing are everything!

The internal staff at About Staffing make this industry their home, and in time, become recruitment subject matter experts. They go to school and devote thousands of hours to their professional development in recruitment skills. The reason you hire a recruitment agency is the same as why you hire an electrician.  You can rely on their knowledge, experience and training to complete a task that you otherwise can’t and shouldn’t do yourself.

Efficiency depends on a process that uniquely blends technology, administration, systems and procedures.  After 23 years, About Staffing is still refining and evolving its processes to stay abreast of the new technology advances, tools and trends. There is more to hiring than just post-interview-hire. You must follow a process so that details are captured, standards are formed, and efficiencies are built in for greater impact.

The speed and efficiency to which someone fills a temporary assignment or direct hire placement is contingent upon timing. As an urgent care business, About Staffing places a high degree of value on this premise.

Timing is critical once an agency’s services have been rendered but the more critical factor is the time you spend in the job seeker world. Are you top of mind with job seekers? Are you catching job seekers who are about to quit, thinking of quitting or are open to new opportunities? By living in the hiring space 24/7, we can capture a broader candidate.