World Staffing Podcast #8 with Adam Sprecher, Vice President Strategy and Development of Salo


Intro: This is a brand new episode of the World Staffing Podcast. The interview podcast brought to you by, where we meet with entrepreneurs, successful business owners and the greatest minds of the staffing industry. We are interested in what drives them, what inspires them. We want to know what their everyday work looks like and what keeps them up at night.

We should all learn from them and at the same time, have a good time. And this is your host, Jan Jedlinski.

Jan Jedlinski: Welcome to a brand new episode of the World Staffing Podcast. Today, with a guest that is leading the strategy for staffing and recruiting companies, that is in my opinion, the best brand on the market. He's tackling the explosive growth that the firm has experienced over the last 12 months. And I'm excited to speak with him about his challenges and success stories.

Welcome to the World Staffing Podcast, Adam.

Adam Sprecher: Welcome Jan it's exciting to be here.

Jan Jedlinski: Thank you so much for being here. I have a ton of questions for you. I'm excited to talk about redeployment, about brands, about technology and many other things. But before we dive in, tell us a little bit about your journey into the staffing industry.

Adam Sprecher: Certainly it's a fun journey. I think it's one, like many that wasn't intended, but has been so fulfilling and rewarding, and I'm glad I'm here. I spent a good portion of my early career in different kinds of recruiting roles, corporately in recruiting, outsourcing, and just wasn't finding the fulfillment and the meaning that I was looking for.

And I was very fortunate. A former colleague of mine. I had offered my name to this kind of a startup firm based here in Minneapolis, that was doing HR finance and accounting contract recruiting or consulting work. And I got a call to say, Hey, why don't you, why don't you come consult with us?

Once you help our clients meet their business problems around recruiting and talent acquisition. And given, I was just, like I said, not in a spot where I was finding meaning and the work I was doing, I said, absolutely let's have that conversation. And the more I got to know the organization, the more I got to understand what they were about, like really excited about the potential of doing work.

And as that conversation evolved, it actually shifted to saying instead of potentially going out and being a consultant in the field and doing that work, what about coming internally and helping us grow from that perspective? And ultimately said, absolutely let's do this. And so I joined the organization.

Almost 14 years ago in a business owner role. So, you know, I had a full book for a good portion of about five years. And what was super fun, exciting, and scary. And all of that was joining at the tail end of 2007. Just started to feel like I knew what I was doing. Building good client relationships, helping people find really good work.

And then the end of 2008, 2009 hit right with the recession that we went through. That period of time was certainly challenging as it was for many of the staffing industry, that organizations were just, they weren't sure if they were going to be in business the next day and often cases. But that was the time where I reflected back to say Salo as an organization.

And our co-founders and owners and our leaders at the time really stood out. And the things that we value. Our actual values and what we choose to focus on came through loud and clear. And since that turnaround time, you know, 10, 11 years ago, and I've been blessed with the opportunities to be in sales leadership here, operation leadership, and now in the strategy role, I mean, and I get asked the question of Jesus, you know, almost 14 years, that's a long run with one organization.

And I say it is, and I hope it goes on for another 14 years. And it's primarily based around the fact of who we are. Those values in the people that are here. It is such an amazing culture and team to work with and the impacts that we get to make in the work that we do, that it's just been a ton of fun.

And so again, well maybe it's not where I dreamed I would be when I graduated college. Like I couldn't imagine being anywhere else right now.

Jan Jedlinski: Awesome. I think, you know, Silo is a prime example for a staffing and recruiting company. How I would imagine one in the market of a perfect brand really nicely designed pleasing to the eye, obviously, but I think perfect also in the example of creating a niche that helps with client as well as candidate attraction and sourcing. And we'll talk about that in a second, but maybe give us a quick intro to Silo, you know, what are the services that you guys offer today? And what are the specific, maybe interesting projects that are coming up? I saw that you have a product that is called Silo compass, which I found super interesting.

Maybe you can give us a little bit of an introduction to that.

Adam Sprecher: Absolutely so Silo. We are a talent organization focused in the finance, accounting and human resources space. So our consultants that we attract to the organization. Our career to finance and HR professionals that then can paratroop in and support our clients through a variety of projects, initiatives, and interim based roles and our whole premise.

And what we were founded on was that the ability to have an agile career, you know, as the gig economy has emerged as it has over the last, you know, 5 to 10 years, we were out ahead of that. And so, the ability now for us to create truly career paths, career opportunities for individuals that have spent a legacy in corporate environments to go experience something different, right.

That, that is who we are, what we're all about, but also then surrounding them with an amazing brand and amazing community and making sure they feel that they're connected. And another part of something that's been very vital to us. There are many organizations where you can be sure you can find some truly meaningful work, but you're not super connected.

You're not really engaged with them. And that is one of our key differentiators that we feel makes us stand out in the marketplace and why we've been able to both attract and retain our consultant talent and internally better than what we see across the industry. So those that work across those disciplines have, you know, to your point, kept us really focused on.

Where are we really great and what's worth, that's not really us, but you know, how can we help connect to other organizations or other providers that can help organizations, you know, when they have those things, but when it's us, like, we are really great at what we do inside of, you know, that, that kind of core consultant model, you referenced our compass program and it's something we're super passionate about.

It's been really fun over the last, almost eight years now, it's been in developing that program. With a core function or service offering that we provide of finance and accounting talent. Many of our consultants are individuals that have come out of the public accounting world and come out of the big four or other regional based accounting and public accounting firms.

And what we were noticing, and what we saw happen in the marketplace was that for those individuals, that lifelong career, maybe the pursuit of being a partner in one of those firms, wasn't the career trajectory for them. They were leaving those public accounting firms landing into a corporate environment and they weren't sticking very long.

And the common threads were identifying work that when they made that leap from public accounting, into the private sector, into a corporate role, they weren't finding what they were actually looking for. And so we saw an opportunity to create a program, essentially for us to say, Hey, as you're considering leaving the public accounting world, come join our compass program.

Come be part of the Silo community, have the opportunity over a period of a year to up to maybe three, where you're going to get exposed to different organizations. Different cultures, different leadership styles, certainly different types of work where you can form, what is it you really want to go do?

Where do you really want to be and not have that kind of maybe tainted experience of leaving the public world, going into a corporate world and neither of those two things being what you were expecting or wanting. And so it's been this great kind of rotational program that has attracted really great talent to us, but also for our clients, the benefit of being able to access really amazing talent. That's so little younger in their career, but has the extreme potential capability they're looking for. And so it's been a really great partnership between a number of the big four organizations ourselves and our clients to give these different experiences to these individuals, all with the goal of them, ultimately going into a corporate role landing inside of an organization, but being better, informed, being more clear about what they want and what they're looking for.

So it's been awesome building that program. We've also recently in the last year developed and launched another service, offering a CEO advisory practice. There are lots of different ways to approach strategic planning, growth initiatives. But one of the things that we saw, again, a gap in the marketplace was that there are lots of firms that offer those types of services.

The gap that offers an experience that companies experience when they go through those processes is the focus on the talent side. Focusing on, you know, their current teams focusing on the gaps in talent. They may have when they're developing these growth objectives. When they're developing these strategic initiatives, who's going to do it?

Who's going to get excited by this and how are you actually going to get there? That's often missing. And so our approach to that and developing our CEO advisory service offering to CEOs and other key executives is saying, as you're developing those, as you're thinking about those, it is so important to ensure that the talent landscape is front and center, if not helping lead that strategy.

And so how do you approach that differently? How you think about engagement through that process, how you think about retention through that process all while developing those plans and strategies, it's been real fun to bring that to the market and get some really great feedback and actually start to make some impact in some organizations.

And in a couple of instances, definitely start to go different maybe directions or different types of initiatives than what they had been previously thinking about.

Jan Jedlinski: It's super exciting. If it seems like you guys found the secret sauce for engagement. And I think ultimately then redeployment, I truly believe that the future of staffing companies will be highly branded in terms of the look and feel of the firm compared to traditional firms that, you know, when you look at the websites of firms in the last 10 years, they are not really.

I would say, you know, state of the arts compared to, you know, what consumers and what employers are used to in their daily life. When looking at other industries and other products, I think the future of the industry will look very specialized and niche, right? You will have more and more firms that will have a specific focus on a specific skill set and be really good at that.

And obviously technology will drive a big part of that, but let's maybe stick to redeployment a little bit. What is your secret sauce to success? Is there any technology, any playbook, any, you know, blueprint that you guys came up with that, you know, is the number one thing that keeps those consultants with you.

Adam Sprecher: It's a great question. And we're often asked that, right, because we've been in business almost 19 years and depending on how you want to slice and dice, you know, when you talk about retention and tenure and things of that nature, we have what we believe are some relatively industry leading and high numbers to back it that up.

And when that question of, well, how have you achieved that? What do you do? What is the secret sauce? I joke a lot. It's not a secret. It's something everyone has the ability to do. It's a willingness to actually do it. And it's truly focusing on building relationships with talent and then ultimately finding them and creating the opportunities for them that meet their desires and their expectations.

That's really what it comes down to. And the execution of that. Every day, every interaction basis that is, you if anything, the secret sauce, because it takes time, it takes an investment and a willingness to stay true to that. Even when opportunities present themselves, where if you cut some corners, you could make some more money.

Or if you did some things a little differently, you know, it would mean more to the bottom line. That is a very slippery slope that ultimate organizations find themselves, you know, sliding down that slope and looking at the end of the day, I'm never going to fall for someone saying, Hey, we're in this to make the money.

That's awesome. Go do that, go be you, but what's made us who we are is what we've said is relationships matter or the transaction, because at the end of the day, building key relationships that will last over time. That is going to propel our growth. That, you know, even for me, I can remember vividly multiple times, you know, when I was still in the business development role, where that would come and play true.

I can remember instances, and this is not an uncommon experience for us today, but after a consultant has done a project for a client, it's not uncommon to say they were, Hey, they were awesome. Amazing. I have this other work, this other project I'd like to pivot them to, or have them now go do this, you know, and stay on with us and for a consultant to say, you know what?

It's been great here. And I'm ready for someplace different. I want to experience something new. And so, you know, now you're put in a position where you've got a client saying, I want to keep this person. They're great. And you've got a consultant who's saying, Hey, this was really good, but I want something different.

And those are conflicting outcomes for each other, where we've always put our focus and priorities on our consultants first. And so. We want to make sure that our consultants have an amazing experience. And so we're going to focus there. And so in those situations, it's yes, you want to move on, we're going to go find you something new and we're going to find a new opportunity, a new project, new organization to work with.

And back to the client saying it's been a great run, but this consultant and what they're looking to achieve and what they want next to themselves is someplace else. How else? Or what other talent may we have that could fit this other project's needs? And we've had those conversations. And many times we've been able to put a different person in.

Sometimes the client doesn't like that message. They feel maybe, I don't know, offended or off put to saying, what do you mean they won't stay with us? What do you mean? They're not going to stay here, we'll fight it. And we're done with you. It's like, okay, well that's unfortunate, but we have to support our consultants.

We have to support what they believe in their best interests. And so. Variations of that and other things are when you invest in relationships and when you stand behind them, that way, that is what ultimately creates retention, tenure, and strong relationships that will help you build up over time. You know, what we've been able to build up.

Jan Jedlinski: That's great. I think that's something. Staffing and recruiting companies may be one that is in the market for a long time, has to rethink, or even new companies that are being started right now. Really focus on your niche, you know, create a very highly branded experience and also build relationships to basically be able to grow.

But maybe when we talk about growth, what are the growth opportunities in the staffing industry overall that you would see for the next 5 to 10 years? Where do you think the market is going and how it will look like.

Adam Sprecher: That's a great question. I think there will be kind of an emergence of a couple of trends that we're already starting to see.

Certainly what everybody's experiencing today with such a tight talent market. That's going to continue the ability to attract a mass volume of interested talent and applicants. That's maybe what organizations have experienced in the past. Those days are gone. Like, I don't know that it ever comes back to that again.

And so from a staffing industry perspective, well, we have the ability to impact talent and individuals career trajectories in a way corporate organizations keep. That means the ability for someone to gain a variety of experiences, develop new skills. They see the acceleration of that and the timeframe that they can accomplish, that our industry provides that a corporate environment can't provide.

And so while we're all competing against each other often for talent you know, I see a bigger divide between. Staffing, consulting, gig platforms, you know, that whole ecosystem competing, you know, against talent for, you know, corporate organizations. And as that kind of battle between those two worlds continues on in the staffing industry, our ability to create better experiences through technology.

Through other relationships, I think we'll attract and retain more talent overall. So that divergence between the staffing and the corporate world, I think is going to get wider and more challenging at the end of the day. I think again, technology and technology platforms will continue to elevate the experience.

It will never replace the relationship. People's ability to connect one-on-one, people's ability to pick up a phone and still have a conversation that is at least for the foreseeable future, going to be a necessity. But the ability to also say I can get something accomplished. Without having to call a human without having to interact with someone.

And it was a really good experience that within the staffing industry is going to continue to evolve at such a rapid pace. And you take a look at other platforms in other service sectors or industries, and that's kind of the Amazon effect. If you will. When you think about if you're an Amazon user or a consumer at the end of the day, when is the last time if ever you've actually talked to an Amazon employee?

You hear people talk all the time about the benefits that the Amazon platform provides and you know, how it has changed their life and how it has simplified their life. And they've never engaged with an Amazon person's effort. I don't think the staffing industry goes that far. At least not in the next 5 to 10 years, for sure.

But how does that start to show up and change and shift and challenge the staffing industry to create similar experiences or at least create paths to that? That will certainly emerge as well. The biggest unknown in my mind right now is what is the effect coming out of COVID and then coming out of the pandemic kind of generationally and the things that maybe we thought we were going to see happen with different generations.

How has that shifted now? Because they've absolutely shifted where you take a look at a gen Z if it's not already, but in the next year or two, they will be the larger percentage of the workforce. And there'll be some of that. Not, not midpoint, but early midpoint of their careers. So what they're looking for, what they want versus again, across the other generations and what they're looking for, what they want, can the staffing industry, can organizations evolve and adapt enough support?

That wide spread of talent because it's just going to continue to spread and there will be different needs, expectations of talent in those different segments across those experiences in 10 years. And generations in how talent or how staffing industries and organizations position themselves to either say so super focus that whatever their, the talent they're going after, they can really own that segment or open themselves up and be broad enough and appealing enough across all of those segments to attract talent.

That is just, that's unknown yet, but for sure, the next 5 to 10 years will be something organizations need to address and create solutions for.

Jan Jedlinski: I agree. I agree. And I think, you know, that's one of the most important things, again, going back to rent differentiation and, you know, the, just the look and feel of the services to a newer generation is as, as highly important.

And then before we wrap up this episode of what are the sources of industry news that you consume, or maybe even outside of the industry, what is something that inspires you to do you listen to podcasts? You read any news outlet that gives you specific industry news to stay on top of.

Adam Sprecher: Yeah. So there's a couple, I think like a lot, you know, try to look at some of the industry leaders, you know, individuals that do some things, know, for me I like to throw myself kind of outside the industry a little bit too.

So Jacob Morgan's future talent, really likes his stuff, his platform and his program of, you know, where those things are at. Gary Vee if you don't follow him, his social platforms, I mean, Got a great message. And I think it's super authentic. So those were a couple of individuals that I really enjoyed their thought leadership, their content, they pushed out.

There's a couple of podcasts for sure. So Seth  Godin the Akembo podcasts, big Seth fan who reads all of his books loves the stuff that he's putting out recently as well, short, simple podcasts. There's a couple of industry ones that also really enjoy staffing shows, one along which, you know, your episode here recently was awesome by the way.

So love getting your thought leadership on that one. And then we've had the privilege of working with someone we both know, but here at Lauren Jones, who's an industry expert, you know, she and Rob man, who do the you on the pot, you on the experience podcasts, it's a fun one as well. So, you know, short, simple things there.

But I would also encourage people. There are a ton of industry things, and whether it's for the SIA, other platforms, other industry associations kind of need to tap into them all. Yeah. So whether that's their daily updates or, you know, other webinars or, you know, certain conferences, you kinda need to stay in tune to them all because they all have different insights.

They all have different thought leadership content and value that if you can expose yourself, So that wider set, you're just going to put yourself in a better position to be more well-rounded in form and not just have a certain lens if you will. So I encourage, you know, kind of consuming, you know, as much as is appropriate, but as much as you can.

Jan Jedlinski: Perfect. Thank you so much for that. And where can listeners find you online? So when they listen now to you and they want to get to know about Salo or yourself, where should they go?

Adam Sprecher: You certainly so first of all, I encourage you to check out, check us Salo and myself That would be one great spot.

A lot of our own thought leadership and content there and bios and things of that nature. LinkedIn, Twitter across the board, I'm happy to connect. And I love connecting for the sake of just connecting and exchanging thoughts and ideas and other things. Obviously, if there's anything we can do to help an organization or an individual looking to kind of get to what's next, love to have that conversation and use our network, use our connections to, to make that happen.

So, you know, I love connecting.

Jan Jedlinski: Thank you so much, Adam, and we'll definitely put the links to Salo and your LinkedIn account in the description. So listeners we'll be able to find you for sure. Thank you so much for being on the episode. It was a pleasure having you. I would love to check back in, in the next 6 to 12 months to see if there's any changes, anything else that we will be able to talk about.

So we'll definitely stay in touch and again, thank you so much for being here. It was a real

Adam Sprecher: pleasure.

Well Jan, thank you so much.

End: You've been listening to the World Staffing Podcast, brought to you by, the digital storefront for your staffing business. If you like this episode, make sure to subscribe and leave a review so you don't miss out on any future episodes.

End: Got a topic you want us to touch base on. Shoot us a message.

Welcome to the World Staffing Podcast where we speak with success-full staffing owners and operators to learn about the things that keep them up at night, their success stories, learnings and failures while building a successful staffing company and their thoughts on the future of the staffing market.

Adam, Vice President Strategy and Development at Salo, and Jan had an interesting talk about Adam's background in staffing, current trends in the staffing industry and what staffing podcast Adam enjoys listening to.

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