PURIS is the leading supplier of pea protein in North America and was recently named the most innovative food company in the world by Fast Company magazine. The family-owned company is leading the plant-based protein movement by making organic and non-GMO ingredients more functional, accessible, affordable, and nutrient-rich. PURIS Proteins develops the ingredients that fuel retail’s biggest brands, from alternative meats to non-dairy milks and everything in between. The company’s domestic end-to-end system ensures a wholesome journey from seed to solution.
PURIS has enjoyed incredible success as it continues to innovate the way we eat. As a high-growth company, it’s always looking for the best and brightest talent to work in its Minneapolis corporate headquarters and its food processing facilities in Dawson, Minnesota; Oskaloosa, Iowa; and Turtle Lake, Wisconsin. While demand for PURIS’ products continues to grow, finding the right people to thrive in its inventive and high-energy culture is a challenge that also continues to grow.
“We tried hiring an internal recruiter, but we quickly realized that even the very best person is pulled in too many directions,” said Lauren Perez, chief of staff to the CEO for PURIS. “Not only do they have to source, connect, qualify, introduce and fill the funnel with quality candidates, but they also have to interview, offer, hire, onboard and oversee the year-one retention of all new employees. We are growing at a pace that one person, or even two people, won’t be able to keep pace and experience success.”
Recruiting new employees wasn’t the only struggle the company was experiencing. During the pandemic, retaining employees became more and more challenging as competition for talent became more intense. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 4.3 million people voluntarily quit their jobs in December 2021, slightly below a record high in November 2021.
PURIS chief operating officer Richard O’Hara knew that what the company was experiencing was not unique to PURIS but addressing the actual issue would require some out-of-the-box thinking. Enter VOX Outsourcing by Echo Search Group.
PURIS and the partners of Echo Search Group had established a great working relationship based on a positive experience. Prior to founding Echo, the partners had served as recruiters for PURIS to staff the opening of its Dawson facility, hiring more than 100 employees in one year. O’Hara began speaking with the partners to see if their past success could be scaled to work for PURIS companywide. VOX Outsourcing was born!
“It just made a lot of sense to us. We needed a team who lives and breathes recruiting exclusively,” said Perez. “They knew us, we had established trust, and they have the resources to be out in the community meeting and greeting people. That’s what they do! VOX serves as an extension of our team. They have the discipline and function of recruiting, and we, the in-house team at PURIS, focus on people operations.”
VOX and PURIS collaborate to create a strategy to staff the highest priority positions per location and they work with a point of contact on the executive team, Lauren Perez.
“Strategizing the right approach with our client is step one. Then we can put all our efforts into the recruiting process,” said Scott Sterling, co-founder and partner at Echo Search Group. “The VOX team ensures that each role has a thoughtful job description that reflects both the skills and temperament of the position. Then we perform an intake meeting with all parties that will work closely with the role including the plant manager, hiring manager and any dotted-line reports. This ensures we all have the same information and that we’re in agreement with exactly what is needed for the role and how the VOX team will approach it. Then, we hit the streets.”
Once potential candidates are identified and have expressed interest, VOX undertakes an extensive qualification process, sets up the interviews and manages the complete hiring process.
“VOX saves us a lot of time. They are proactively looking for talent and they focus on making the candidate experience positive,” said Perez. “It is a war for talent.”
Companies are hungry for new hires. We were seeing it take about 80 touchpoints for every one hire. Our team certainly does not have time to do that on our own but working with VOX, we can make the experience great for candidates. As a result, we stand out in the marketplace.”
VOX works within PURIS’ hiring system so PURIS can see all the activity — both their internal and VOX’s efforts — per role. VOX separately tracks its team’s activities per candidate and reports monthly to the executive team on its activities per role as well as their contract goals to date.
VOX and PURIS are almost 50 percent through their first-year agreement. How is VOX doing so far?
“Within the first five months, our client has interviewed 90 candidates, extended 51 offers and received 42 acceptances,” said Sterling. “That’s 600 touches and 4,000 outbound activities across four locations and includes everything from emails to face-to-face conversations to plant tours for entry-level positions to executive roles. We’re getting more qualified candidates in the door for PURIS and filling jobs with great people. It feels good to work so closely and so effectively with such a great company.”