Woman-owned, woman-staffed Entech Staffing Solutions tailors workplace experience to women’s needs
Written by: ALLISON NICOLE SMITH
As Seen in Crain’s Detroit Business

https://www.crainsdetroit.com/awards/woman-owned-woman-staffed-entech-staffing-solutions-tailors-workplace-experience-womens

When the health of Janet Sparks, the founder of Troy-based staffing solutions firm Entech Personnel Services Inc., started to decline, her daughter Amy Gross and then-Vice President of Operations Kathy Camara were at a crossroads.

“When Janet took ill and needed to back out, it was do or die,” said Camara. “Either we take it over, or we let this gem that she created fall apart.”

They decided to keep the business alive and bought the business from Sparks in 2009, becoming co-owners. Gross rose to president, while Camara was promoted to CEO.

Sparks died in 2017.

A lot has changed since Sparks launched the company in 1983: the business rebranded as Entech Staffing Solutions; it has expanded to four times the size it was in 2009, and has added medical and labor staffing divisions; and three years ago, the company bought and “gutted” a new 10,000 square-foot office building located at 1800 Crooks Road.

Now, in 2021, Entech has been named one of Crain’s 100 Cool Places to Work for the first time in the company’s history. The company ranked 33rd overall and 18th in the small company category.

Entech is the only company on this year’s list whose executive team is 100 percent women. Just 20 percent of this year’s winning companies had majority-women executive teams.

For Camara, nurturing the professional growth of her staff of 42 employees, all of whom are women, is one of the most rewarding aspects of her job. “I love being able to employ a group of strong, independent women,” she said.

A Women’s Business Enterprise National Council-certified provider of professional, medical, administrative and light-industrial staff, women supporting other women has always been a touchstone of Entech’s workplace ethos, Camara said.

Being working mothers themselves, Gross and Camara “understand what it takes to be working mothers and have a family,” said Camara. “We’re all about work-life balance. We know what our younger staff is going through to advance their careers.”

That’s why Gross and Camara have worked to ensure that Entech’s workplace culture, from its policies and perks to its office environment, supports the needs of their staff of working women. For example, the office has a room for nursing mothers, and employees have flexible paid maternity leave and time off.

Entech allows pets and children in the office, which came in handy when employees began to telecommute at the start of the pandemic. An employee who worked in accounting needed to come into the office regularly to process payroll and print checks. But her son also needed to attend school virtually, so company management set aside space for him to do schoolwork while his mother worked.

“We’ve done that on a pretty consistent basis,” said Camara. “It’s worth it to do whatever it takes to fit into somebody’s lifestyle.”

In addition to providing monitors and laptops to make the transition to remote work as seamless as possible during COVID-19, Entech pays a monthly stipend toward its’ employees’ cell phone bills.

And the management team has come to the aid of its employees during tough times. When a restaurant business owned by the mother of one of Entech’s employees was hit hard at the start of the pandemic, the office ordered carryout and catered lunches from her regularly. “It really does take a village,” said Camara. “It’s a small business. It’s their only business that they run. And we thought, ‘Well, how can we help support them?'”

Before COVID, Entech provided a slew of snazzy benefits, including an on-site personal trainer and chef. To boost morale, the company hosts an annual trip to Rivage Day Spa in Birmingham. But when the pandemic prevented them from going to the spa, the management team gave everyone a spa gift card and had them go during work hours instead of on their personal time. Employees can also look forward to quarterly bonuses and occasional gift cards.

Whether it’s baby showers, wedding showers or retirement parties, the work environment at Entech is one where its employees are regularly celebrated.

“We’re all really just a close-knit group of women and family,” said Camara.

Working women also lead hectic lives, which is why Entech aims to further its employees’ professional goals without them having to make sacrifices in their personal lives. Casual attire is permitted in the workplace, and Entech’s new state-of-the-art facility includes onsite workout equipment, as well as a meditation space. Plus, there’s a fridge that’s fully stocked with beverages, and staff are encouraged to bring treats into the office and charge them to their expense reports.

The personal touches that come from Entech’s leadership team have apparently paid off. Camara said turnover is low, which she credits to the positive work culture. The company reported a 5 percent voluntary turnover rate in Crain’s Cool Places to Work surey.

“We don’t have a lot of direct staff openings because nobody leaves,” said Camara. “Being able to offer these women the opportunity to work in a place that prioritizes their wellbeing has really made people want to come here and stay here long-term.”

Camara said she’s honored to continue the women-driven legacy that Janet started when she founded the company.

“Janet would’ve been so proud of where we’re at today.”