From great perks to open-door policies with the C-suite to robust training and career development, employee engagement is off the charts and teams are pumped to be working. It’s not a formula, but these traits are what we have consistently seen among the Best Staffing Firms to Work For winners the 12 times SIA has conducted this contest with Quantum Workplace, an Omaha, Nebraska-based company.

While all of this holds true for the 2021 Best Staffing Firms to Work For winners, there is a major difference: It’s now a virtual world of work. No popping into your manager’s office, no impromptu Friday-night happy hours, no sharing of ideas around the water cooler, no celebratory events such as an all-company dinner or a trip to the Caribbean for top performers. Starting in March 2020, the world began sheltering in place with business being conducted virtually. The staffing industry saw an estimated 17% decline in revenue with many furloughs, layoffs and still others going out of business.

But the industry persevered as firms struggled to keep it together. Putting people first in a virtual environment, the Best Staffing Firms to Work For winners showed their mettle by doing what they did before but in a remote world of work. They found new ways to maintain engagement, cheered each other on through the trials and tribulations of the pandemic. Zoom and Microsoft Teams were used for everything from morning kickoffs to quarterly reviews to virtual happy hours.

Education, training and entertainment programs were all conducted virtually as teams worked hard placing talent — including on the front lines of the healthcare crisis. Fostering that sense of connection and community while working hard encouraged companies to have parties, ugly-sweater contests and games like Family Feud or charades over video. The Best Staffing Firms to Work For winners wanted to maintain their company culture while instilling the feeling of working with colleagues side by side.

And they succeeded.

The 2021 Best Staffing Firms to Work For list is sponsored by Sense.