Recruiting ‘success recipe’ helps local company soar

Mississauga businessman John Nalli (above) says the benefits of investing in proper employee training far outweigh the costs.

There’s an old adage in the human resources business that many executives follow: “Hire slow and fire fast.”

But, hiring smart and growing fast is the advice helping Mississauga businessman John Nalli succeed and grow his recruiting company.

The president and CEO of People Store on City Centre Drive near the Square One shopping centre hit Profit magazine’s Hot 50 list of fastest growing companies this year, and is expanding by selling customized services to meet corporate staffing problems.

“We really consult and analyze the business needs, culture, and the impact the person will have on the business,” Nalli told “It goes beyond the business description.”

Everywhere companies look for killer products, services and other ways to edge out competitors and win new contracts in an increasingly competitive marketplace. But Nalli says another key to success is finding and keeping the right people.

For entrepreneur Nalli, an in-depth approach to recruitment is a big part of what he calls his ‘success recipe.'”

While the industry is known for having a high turnover rate, he said, People Store has retained nearly 100 per cent of their recruiters through incentives like fully-paid health insurance, fully-compensated RRSPs, bonuses and special rewards recognizing milestone years of service.

Ian Portsmouth, editor and publisher of Profit magazine, said Nalli and other leaders of high-growth companies “are incredibly determined and resilient.” They also are willing to innovate the way they do business, either by inventing new ways or taking best practices from other industries.

At the recent Financial Executives International conference at the Mississauga Convention Centre, Portsmouth advised executives to “Be like Advil. Relieve the pain in the marketplace better than anyone else.”

He cited the example of daycare business Kids and Company, which offers emergency back-up daycare through pre-paid vouchers and after-hours care.

Employers need to register with the company’s network in order to offer the services to their employees. Unlike most other daycares, some Kids & Co. centres offer 24/7 care for shift workers, making it a unique commodity available for employees who need care for their children during off-business hours.

Portsmouth said it was these points of differentiation that helped ensure their phenomenal success and growth in the marketplace.

Some of the other strategies presented during Portsmouth’s talk: Steal the best ideas from other places.

“If you want to really find that killer tactical strategy that’s going to be new to your particular industry or market, it really pays to look outside of your industry, local market or your field of endeavour,” he said.

“You can also read business books: One-Minute Manager, Crossing the Chasm, Good to Great,” he told conference attendees.

Portsmouth also recommended innovation as a key to success. “Look at trends in the marketplace and anticipate the opportunities you can respond to,” he said, citing Research in Motion as an example of proactive innovation.

Another principle of the talk was reactive innovation, listening to your customers’ feedback. “What are the questions you’re asking them?” he asked. “And most importantly, how are you responding to that feedback?”

Other strategies used by many of the companies mentioned in Profit magazine’s Hot 50 ranking were tapping into advisory boards and capitalizing on exporting.

At People Store, Nalli said covering the full cost of training all his recruiters in the Certified Professional Consultant Program can be fairly expensive — at $4,500 per person over three years. However, he said the benefits far outweigh the costs.

“It really helps solidify a person’s understanding of being in the business and what they can achieve,” said Nalli. “If you don’t invest in training, you’ll get what you pay for, which is very little.”

The company has also been recognized as the number one staffing service by the Mississauga News five years in a row.

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