Express Employment Professionals Named to 20 Best Places to Work in SWM

When Express Employment Professionals of Southwest Michigan opened 13 years ago the foundation was put in place for a business with consistent, established values and a “care promise” to all clients and jobseekers. There’s something about having a job that helps others find jobs that is so enriching and fulfilling. The current owners were not only hired by the original owners, but they were nurtured, trained, trusted and encouraged to the point that the transfer of ownership was a celebration of joy. Some similar businesses are considered simply a temp agency, but the team at Express Pros is keenly focused on changing peoples lives, and that’s a rewarding proposition every day inside and out for the small but powerful team working to create matches between job providers and job seekers. The legacy was strong, but the current owners don’t take anything for granted, continually brainstorming with the entire team with still plenty of time for laughter, jokes and personal story-telling. Read on for a great success among the 20 Best Places to Work for 2020.

What is the name of the business you are nominating? 

Express Employment Professionals – Southwest MI (Express Pros SWMI)

Who are the owner(s) and/or principals in this company?

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Afiya Latham & Ryan Smith

Business Contact Information

Afiya Latham

4070 Red Arrow Highway

St. Joseph, MI 49085

How many people work at the company you are nominating?

9

Tell us the story behind the nominated company. What does it do, and what sets them apart from other companies in the region?

Express Pros SWMI is part of a worldwide franchise with Express Employment Professionals, headquartered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Southwest Michigan office was opened in June 2007 by the original owners, Steve and Debra Murray. The current owners, Ryan Smith and Afiya Latham have been working at the Express office since 2015/2016, respectively. They were hired by the original owner, Steve Murray. Express operates from a people-first perspective. The company has consistent, established values and a care promise to all clients and jobseekers. Express prides itself on being passionate about helping the people in their local communities take care of their families by providing them with meaningful employment. Express takes the time and energy to build trusting, communicative relationships and providing a valuable service to businesses in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties. Our service has a direct impact on the sustainability and growth of our clients by connecting them to the talent they need to be successful.

In your own words, why do you think this company deserves to be declared to be one of the 20 Best Places to Work in Michigan’s Great Southwest?

Simply put, Express changes people’s lives. We are not just a “temp agency.” We are an employment agency specializing in placing local job seekers in permanent, long-term employment, while simultaneously helping local businesses find the people they want and need to operate and grow their businesses. Express Employment Professionals has given us the opportunity to work each day doing something we love.

What makes workers proud to say they work there, and keeps them a part of the team?

The owners and staff live in and work in this community and have a vested interest in its success. In addition to providing staffing services, our team is actively involved with a wide variety of causes and organizations that help strengthen and grow Michigan’s Great Southwest. We are proud and thankful to have the opportunity to make a direct impact on people’s lives; giving jobseekers hope, listening to the people we meet, striving to understand each person’s unique skills, abilities, and background. Providing local businesses with quality talent and affordable, time-effective HR solutions. Each one of us at Express is extremely passionate about helping people and using our own abilities and skills to make that happen.

Let’s pretend you’re writing a review for Yelp! or Trip Advisor. Give us your best recommendation for the nominated company that would make the rest of us wish we worked there, too.

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This quote by Confucius exemplifies what it is like to work for Express Pros SWMI. We take the time and make the effort to understand each person’s individual needs, wants, skills and experience.

What three key words best describe why this company is a Best Places to Work caliber company?

1. Integrity…2. Respect…3. Teamwork

As a Best Places to Work company “Super Hero,” what are the two most magical “Super Powers” this company has on a day-to-day basis? (i.e., Ability to read minds, fly, invisibility, etc) And why?

Super Power One Ability to read minds; We are able to connect with people by listening, having empathy, and striving to understand what they need from us.

Super Power Two Positivity; Being friendly, grateful, respectful; conveying an attitude of gratitude.

Tell us about the leadership of the nominated company and what they do to:

A] Keep spirits and motivation high? We work hard each day but make time for laughing, jokes, and sharing personal stories.

B] Keep innovation and fresh ideas advancing? We are constantly brainstorming ideas, based upon feedback we gather from clients and jobseekers.

C] Keep communications open? We have 1-on-1 meetings, morning and evening staff meetings.

Explain a specific “wow!” moment in this company’s history that is virtually “Hall of Fame” or “Best Practices” worthy, as an example to other companies in the region.

For several years in a row, including 2020, we have won the ClearlyRated (formerly Inavero) awards for “Best of Staffing Talent Satisfaction” and “Best of Staffing Client Satisfaction.”

Best Places to Work have a reputation for not only working hard, but also for playing hard. How does the nominated company:

A] Honor or reward success? Trips, prizes, awards from Express HQ

B] Socialize as a team? Recently, we all went to Craze VR as a group.

C] Get involved in community events? Job fairs/hiring events, networking events, and we recently participated in the “Show Me The Money” event at Michigan Works.

D] Celebrate life? We celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, and any other moments we feel are special to us.

Write a brief, but compelling, recruitment ad telling people about why they should come and work there, too.

Express operates from a people-first perspective. The company has consistent, established values and a care promise to all clients and jobseekers. Express prides itself on being passionate about helping the people in our local communities take care of their families by providing them with meaningful employment. Express takes the time and energy to build trusting, communicative relationships and providing a valuable service to businesses in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties. Our service has a direct impact on the sustainability and growth of our clients by connecting them to the talent they need to be successful.

What one thing is special about your nominated company that most people in the community have no idea actually happens there, but should be shouted from the rooftops because it’s that cool?

How many people we actually put to work each day. We currently have over 150 people working. We have jobseekers who come back and tell us what an impact we have made in their lives. We work with a sense of urgency to help our clients find the people that they need in a timely manner.

Give us three employee perks or benefits that you think make the company you have nominated worthy of a Best Places to Work trophy?

1. Ability to work remotely

2. Flexibility; understanding of family/personal life

3. Opportunities for advancement/growth

If this is your company and you win, write the best headline ever for your company newsletter describing your successful selection to the list, and be as specific as you can about how you would celebrate the win if money were no object.

We would want to hold a celebration party not just for ourselves but to include the community that we serve.

Tell us anything else you want about this company that you suddenly realize we haven’t asked you about, but you’re sure will be the thing that puts you squarely into the winner’s circle! (Wait a minute! Can you put a square in a circle?)

Each person who works for Express Pros SWMI has the distinctive perspective of knowing what it is like to be one of our jobseekers. We all bring our past experiences, skills, talents and knowledge to the fullest extent each day. My life has changed dramatically since I came to Express seeking employment in May 2018. I was personally at a very low point in my life; I had medical issues, no job, no income, low confidence; having trouble finding work and needing that one opportunity to get back on my feet. I had been unemployed for 9 years while I stayed home with my son who has Autism. I went to Express feeling dejected and doubtful; I left with a job and renewed hope. I was hired that day by the original owner, Steve Murray. Since that time, I am not only happy to be working, but to serve a purpose higher than myself; helping people change their lives for the better.