Local Staffing Firm Continues to Grow
In 1964, Jack Vilberg purchased the tri-County franchise, Manpower of Peoria, and two years later, purchased the franchise areas of Bloomington and Champaign and, finally, Mattoon in 1990. Within that time the franchise grew to include offices in Rantoul, Pekin and the first Manpower Professional office, which also opened in Pekin in 1996.
Vilberg welcomed three family members into the business: Doug Orear, Frank Wood and David Smith. Between them, the family-run franchises have a combined human resources experience of 68 years. It is this experience that developed an expansion last year into the Springfield, Jacksonville and Decatur markets, and Taylorville this year. At present, 11 offices within the region are directed by Manpower of Central Illinois.
The original vision of Manpower of Central Illinois, according to Vilberg, was to supply employees to businesses needing temporary workers for vacation fill-ins, emergency support or short project- based needs. "In general, the industry at that time was low worker volume and daily pay. The Manpower vision changed drastically with the advent of the computer age. In the late 1970s, Manpower saw the future computer needs of the changing business world and dedicated the company to training the workforce to get ready for it. Training vehicles such as Skillware and TechTrack were developed to accomplish this."
Today’s vision includes recruiting and training people who can improve their earning power and meet the needs and expectations of businesses and industry for the information revolution.
The trend today is planned use, high volume, e-commerce and leveraged pricing. "Over the next five to 10 years we expect a continued trend towards higher skilled project staffing, managed services consulting, more Internet-based staffing solutions, and the increased need for multi-lingual service staff to accommodate a rising international population," Vilberg said.
Manpower’s success as of late coincides with a change in the business world’s staffing procedures. "Our expansion is mainly due to the planned use of the contingent work force by corporate America. Businesses and industry saw the benefits of a flexible workforce and began introducing it into their company strategies," Vilberg said. "Almost every aspect of a business now uses a contingent workforce as a tool to benefit their company, whether economic times are positive or negative. This is evident through the explosive growth experienced due to our entry into the professional staffing arena."
Another secret to their expansion is the "Predictable Performance" process. "Our customers ask us to provide employees every bit as capable as their own. With the interviewing, testing and training parts of our screening process, we are able to know how our employees will perform in an office, industrial or professional setting. It is our most valuable customer service," he said.
Manpower offers a full array of staffing solutions: permanent sourcing, short-term temporary and long-term contract staffing, payrolling, on-site coordination and management, workforce screening/profiling, workforce soft skill development and specific skill assessment and development, computer/business training and certification-based computer testing.
Manpower also offers organizational performance consulting services worldwide through its independent operating division, The Empower Group, and has a transportation staffing subsidiary, Transpersonnel, Inc.
The Peoria office opened in the early 1960s with three permanent staff. Today there are 65 full- and part-time personnel to help run Manpower of Central Illinois. Last year, they sent out more than 15,000 W-2s.
Accurately matching the job requirements of a client with an individual’s skills and attitude is the crucial difference between the ability to get the job done and getting that job done well, Vilberg said. "That’s why we obtain a detailed job description and critical assignment tasks, as well as the necessary skills, abilities and personal characteristics from our clients to ensure a successful performance. Mostly, our job placement process is customized to each client, many of which have continual standing orders for particular skills."
The trend to hire temporary help has spawned competition, but Manpower stands apart from the pack, according to Vilberg. "We are a franchise of Manpower, Inc., a world leader in the staffing industry, with more than 3,600 offices in 54 countries and more than 250 Manpower Professional offices worldwide. Manpower’s experience in this industry is unsurpassed. Due to this experience, vision and size, Manpower has been able to provide a lot of tools, programs and networking opportunities for us as a franchise. We use these tools to benefit our customers and employees."
Even in a 30-year-old business, some people still don’t understand how Manpower works. "Some businesses generally have a low expectation of production from a temporary employee. The depth of Manpower’s understanding of what it takes to make a productive workstation surprises most people. When we are doing our job right, the temporary employee actually performs the role of a specialist for a defined period of time," he said.
What does Manpower have planned for the next 30 years? "Right now we are in the early planning stages of building a new office in Peoria. The new office will replace our existing building on Main Street and will house both of Manpower’s divisions," he said. "In addition, we are currently updating Manpower of Central Illinois offices with a new employee and customer database and retrieval system that should greatly enhance our service." IBI