Sometimes, a great idea for a new business strikes out of the blue like a lightning bolt. In the case of Jeff Nugent, Founder and Manager Director of Contingent Workforce Solutions (CWS), it was more like a slow burn and the result of years spent in an industry that needed a refresh.
A longtime executive in the contract worker-management field, Nugent decided to put a new spin on an old business model. “I had a deep understanding of client needs, and what was going on in the industry, and I’m a real champion of contract work and self-employment,” he says. “But there wasn’t innovation happening in the staffing industry. That’s why I started CWS because no one else was innovating.”
Nugent’s company developed automated processes that allow its clients including heavy-hitters such as BMO, TD Bank and Loblaw Companies Ltd. to easily manage hiring, administering and paying contract, freelance and temporary employees. Equally important are the incentives Nugent developed for workers themselves, including deep discounts on products and services such as Web hosting, insurance and accounting. “We recognized what drives usage, and we built programs around that,” he says. The company has expanded across Canada, throughout all 50 states and into the UK, and has its eye on European and Asian markets next.
As a result, Nugent has become something of a thought leader. He’s capitalized on social media to draw attention to the evolution of staffing and his own company. He founded CWS’s eponymous LinkedIn group, which boasts more than 4,800 members; the company has its own YouTube Channel; and Nugent regularly blogs. It has, he says, leveled the playing field. “Using social media allowed us to get our brand out there a lot easier and cheaper than traditional advertising,” he says. “You can have the biggest corporation with the biggest marketing budget, but if someone makes a YouTube video that goes viral, they get more PR than you will with an ad campaign costing millions of dollars.”