When Joyce Fastino took over as the new owner of The Personnel People more than a decade ago, she brought with her a penny-wise Yankee attitude that might seem out of style to some of today’s entrepreneurs.
The president of the Providence office-placement firm quickly set about chopping costs and boosting efficiency. She moved from a spacious office to a less-expansive one down the hall, cutting her rent in half. She said goodbye to the big accounting firm and found a smaller one with smaller fees. When the bookkeeper left to start a family, Fastino skipped hiring a replacement and took on the chore herself.
Fastino saw profit margins climb for several years. And while the growth spurt stalled in 2009, the company has survived the Great Recession and stayed healthy, thanks largely to her single-mindedness and perseverance.
The company has been operating now for more than 30 years, she said. “I think it says a lot when a small business in Rhode Island is able to last that long.”
The Personnel People specializes in the recruitment and placement of office staffing, both temporary and permanent. Many Rhode Island businesses call when they are seeking an experienced person to work as an executive assistant, administrative assistant, or in some other support position.
What’s more, some companies are now turning to temp agencies as a cost-control measure. “A temp’s wages may be lower, and they don’t have to pay for benefits,” she said.
A placement agency can be a lifeline for job candidates struggling to find their way during tough times. And in good times, a service can provide a way out for workers unhappy with their job situation. That’s exactly how Fastino found her way into the business.