Strategic Staffing Solutions celebrated its 30th anniversary on Oct. 1, and we marked the occasion the way we usually do. Our leadership team — from yours truly, to our C-suite to our market vice presidents — wrote thank-you notes or called our customers to thank them for another successful year. Without them, we would not have made it to 10 years, never mind 30. We are partners to them and we never forget that.

What Partnership Looks Like to Us

Since our founding, we chose to focus on a relatively small number of customers in a few select verticals rather than build a large book of business. It’s a philosophy we practice today and it’s no accident that many of our customers have been with S3 for decades. Some, in fact, have been with us from the beginning.

By focusing on those customers, we learn how we can best serve them, deliver services that other firms wouldn’t have considered, and most importantly, grow with them. Our growth over three decades has been entirely organic by being where our customers need us to be and delivering the services they need from us.

During the Great Recession when a customer considered moving its IT operations off-shore as a cost-reducing measure, S3 developed a solution that assumed the risk by building a development center and keeping those jobs not only in the US, but in Detroit, a city that desperately needed work for its residents. Almost 12 years later, S3’s Detroit Development Center has grown to serve many other customers, saving them millions of dollars every year.

Also during that recession, when another customer faced salary cuts and layoffs, S3 was asked to reduce its bill rates until their market improved. We did. It’s what partners do when business isn’t easy. Our bill rates were restored once conditions improved, and 10 years later, we still have a great relationship with this customer.

Supporting Our Communities

While these last eight months have been fraught with closures, stress and the unknown, S3 hasn’t skipped a beat. With so much at stake for our customers, we wouldn’t. We were the steady hand and calm front for them, for our consultants and for our communities. Only our surroundings changed as we, like most everyone else, began working from home. And in cases where our consultants were able to, we equipped them to do the same.

While we remained in contact with both customers and consultants with daily, sometimes hourly updates, we knew that it was OK not to know all of the answers. Early in the pandemic, no one seemed to have the answers. But we navigated the uncertainty with our customers, consultants and communities foremost in mind. Transparency and frequent communication became the byword like never before.

Our solid partnerships certainly produced returns as our customers looked to us to step in and deliver services where others were forced to bow out. And thanks to frequent check-ins with them, we were able to quickly create solutions that we’d never been asked to deliver before. This, to us, is what a longstanding, trusting relationship looks like, and it’s a win-win.

When the pandemic caused mass closures, did you do “What it took?” to support your clients? Are you ready to deliver to your clients amid another severe disruption? Can your clients trust you? As we begin to move out of the crisis, will you be the provider of choice? Partnerships are more important than ever. We’re already beginning to see businesses move forward with hard lessons learned.

We did what we had to do to assist our customers. They have helped us from our very inception. In a time of crisis, we wanted to be there for them. As we enter a new world of work, we know the goodwill earned on both sides during this time only strengthens our already solid partnerships.