Staffing the Election for Our MBE Partners

Tuesday was Election Day in Maryland. Did you rock the vote? Yes, I am old enough to remember when MTV played music videos and encouraged kids to vote. Elections always make me nostalgic because it makes me think of when we were awarded the contract to staff the 2014 Maryland elections. It was the first time that I saw how much time and effort is put into providing citizens with the ability to exercise their right to vote. In the 2014 Primary, 561,177 Maryland Citizens voted at a polling place on election day. Kennedy Services orchestrated over 300 employees in that one day, but that was just the finality of the staffing effort. The work started months earlier when we recruited technicians to maintain the voting equipment and trainers who would eventually train the 300 plus employees for election day. Once those critical positions were put in place, we were able to start recruiting for the 24 counties and Baltimore City. A contract of this scale requires efficient and accurate processes to manage so many moving parts. We were successful in staffing this contract, and that was before the implementation of all the cloud software we utilize now.

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This year, the voting process was a lot different for the 4,074,063 registered voters in the state. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Presidential Primary Election was postponed to June 2, 2020. There were several changes to the administration of the election that needed to be communicated to Maryland voters. Once again, the Kennedy Services team was called into action to provide our expertise to an MBE partner. This contract required us to recruit customer service experts to support the call center responsible for providing this information to Maryland citizens. Information such as the procedures for Marylanders to enter their candidate selections via an Official Ballot Drop Box. The changes made it difficult to predict call volume and the scope of the problem. Unemployment benefits made it increasingly difficult to persuade candidates to work on the project. Concerns from COVID-19 and social distancing requirements prevented people from wanting to leave their homes. 

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All of these things created challenges in staffing this project, but that’s where we shine. Our experience allows us to solve these problems and successfully staff our partner’s hard to fill positions. We had to review more than the usual amount of candidates to staff this project. By the end, the total had accumulated to well over a thousand. Each day, we adjusted our process. We analyzed how our applicants were interacting with us, allowing us to improve our interactions with them. Our discoveries showed that we needed to stretch our hours of availability, so we made ourselves available. We monitored how many touchpoints we needed with each person to ensure their commitment to the project. This information helped us to identify candidates that may have had second thoughts about entering the business world. All of these improvements helped us to best support our MBE partner. The Maryland State Board of Elections reports that 731,477 people voted this election, and it is nice to know we played a part in making that happen.

Matt Sarant is a proud member of the Kennedy Services family. Kennedy Services is one of Maryland’s oldest independent, woman-owned staffing services, located in the heart of Baltimore City. Kennedy Services continues to partner with businesses to support their growing staffing needs. We remain open and are working hard for our essential workers, as well as people without jobs.