We talked to Karen Groom about how Groom Associes is Canada’s leading staffing agency, and this is what she had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Karen Groom: Thank you for asking; we are all doing well and sharing support to keep everyone’s spirits up. I hope all is well with you and your family.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Groom Associes?
Karen Groom: I started my company 25 years ago (so not quite a start-up), but I would say that thinking like one has created our longevity. We are agile and ready to adapt to the ever-changing environment with an open mind and enthusiasm.
How does Groom Associes innovate?
Karen Groom: My answer would be a continuum of my last response. For example, adapting to the changing workforce and marketplace. We changed our direction a couple of years ago to become specialized in STEM, which has served us very well.
We also have a very diverse team from various cultural backgrounds, which allows for various ideas that keep us in tune with the global workforce. Not to mention creating a very dynamic environment of open-minded exchange.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Karen Groom: We were already able to work virtually when necessary; that has changed to full time over the last nine months. For some people, that was more challenging. We found the summer months difficult from a business perspective, but the business has picked up considerably in the last few months because of our expertise areas.
I could not be more proud of my Team – they have remained fully engaged and have adapted to the changes and the difficulties with fantastic grace and solidarity.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Karen Groom: Yes, a few difficult choices – but as I had been doing this for so long now, I have learned that there are lessons around every challenge.
In this case, I learned how reliable my Team is – I thought I knew – but everybody showed a bright light during a dark time. We adapted as a group, and I feel my Team is stronger than ever.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Groom Associes in the future?
Karen Groom: I find the best way to deal with stress and anxiety is to be physically active and very engaged with my beautiful family.
I also try to deal with situations head-on and not to procrastinate on difficult decisions. I see our business getting stronger and becoming more and more recognized as Subject Matter Experts (for recruitment) in our areas of expertise – that makes us unique.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Karen Groom: I learned a long time ago not to look too closely at my competitors but to keep an eye on the world and where we are going from a talent perspective. To be agile, one must be ahead of the game, not watching what someone has already done (at least that is my perspective)
Your final thoughts?
Karen Groom: I wish all of the new entrepreneurs and start-ups great success – not just financially but through the opportunity to gain knowledge, insight, and overall grit for life.