Challenging the Norm: Innovating Your Staffing Solutions



Photography by Daniel Smyth

The search for the perfect person to lead that big project the company will be starting soon is not without pitfalls. Searching for the perfect company to find that person is also a tricky task. For both sides, there are options – job search websites, networking events and recruiting efforts. But nothing is guaranteed, and time is precious for professionals and companies.

It’s because the job search process is a double-sided coin that Bryan Kaiser and Jason Skidmore decided to start Vernovis, formerly known as Horizons AFTS. The two were driven to create a company that would not only help individuals and companies with staffing issues, but would foster professional relationships intended to last. 

“I learned enough of the industry and thought that if we did some things differently, maybe we could change the industry a little bit,” says Kaiser, founding partner and president of Vernovis. “Our industry is kind of an old school industry and a lot of things that have been done for years are still being done today.” 

The duo decided there were different ways of looking at things, and pooled their experience and that of their employees to build a company that would change the process for staffing solutions. While Kaiser entered the field after leaving a CPA firm, Skidmore, CEO of Vernovis, is a veteran of the industry and his passion for the profession combined with Kaiser’s new perspective on things pushed the two to challenge the norms of an industry. 

“What I grew very fond of was having the ability to connect businesses and great people together, seeing the results that came from those relationships and being a broker to those relationships,” says Skidmore. “Bryan and I both found ourselves in an industry that was very conducive to a relationship driving key results, with us being able to be a part of that. But we were in an industry that didn’t always key in on that relationship aspect
as strongly.” 

Recognizing that job searches and staffing shouldn’t just be a transaction between a company and a person is what sets Vernovis apart. The people at Vernovis have more than 100 years of collective experience in the field and are able to connect professionals in Cincinnati,
Columbus and Dayton with companies that will suit them. And it’s not just about the job and the qualifications – the team at Vernovis also assesses the culture of a company to determine whether all parties involved will benefit from and be happy with the arrangement. 

“In starting this business, one of our primary objectives was to carry forward the mentality of catering to all sides of the process,” says Skidmore. “We have companies that are in need of great talent and we have great individuals who are looking for specific types of work, or opportunities to advance their career and knowledge base.” 

Collaboration between a staffing agency like Vernovis, an employer and a potential employee is key not just to ensure that both parties are happy, but also to ensure the hiring process is as smooth and stress-free as possible. To do this, it’s important that Vernovis maintain as much transparency with both sides as possible to build trust and foster relationships. 

“We’re not a replacement for an in-house human resources department, because what HR does in a lot of businesses is invaluable in today’s marketplace,” says Skidmore. “We really see ourselves as a partner to those departments and organizations. We’re uniquely positioned to constantly connect with and evaluate talented individuals who could fit into their organization, which is something an in-house department may not be able to focus on to the extent that we can on a daily basis.” 

It’s this closely fostered collaboration between Vernovis
teams and internal employer teams that changes the process of hiring a new employee.

In an ideal world, it would be enough for Vernovis to just be unique and different. But to stay ahead in the marketplace and for clients, the team at Vernovis has to be able to roll with the punches and continue to learn and grow as any company in any industry would. With plenty of experienced employees, learning and adapting comes easier, but Skidmore says the industry is certainly changing as time passes. 

“The number one thing I’ve seen change is the mindset of organizations and professionals,” says Skidmore. “Specifically, contingent work is becoming a much more mainstream part of how companies accomplish their goals and how professionals gain great experience.”

This mindset change – particularly in the industries Vernovis specializes in staffing, such as IT services and accounting – is important to explore and understand in order to truly build the foundation for a relationship between employer and employee. 

One of the ways Vernovis has worked to keep up with the changing market and to better aid clients seeking their services, has been its rebranding effort. Because the name Horizons AFTS was no longer suitable to their identity or representative of the company’s overall mission, the name Vernovis was adopted. 

“We wanted a name that would more accurately reflect who we are as an organization and the service that we’re trying to provide to our clients,” says Skidmore. “We wanted to do something unique and we wanted to stand out in the markets that we serve. Part of that was having a great name that was up for the challenge.” This change in the company reflects the changing mindset of the industry, as companies and employees alike must be able to identify challenges and changes while determining how best to adapt. It is this adaptation to the changing needs of their company and clients that help Vernovis to better understand the needs of those they serve as well. 

“As we started growing and entering new markets, we discovered there were a lot of companies in different industries with the name ‘Horizons,’ and it caused some market confusion with our clients,” says Kaiser. Since the company provides a unique perspective on today’s staffing needs, it was much more fitting to adopt a name and branding identity that was unique as well, he adds. The name itself is a portmanteau of three Latin words, meaning ‘new’, ‘vision’ and ‘trust’ – words that represent the goals Kaiser and Skidmore set for the company. 

But the new name hasn’t changed the mission of the company where the focus continues to be building relationships between clients, both on the employer’s side and the job seeker’s side. Recognizing the shifting climates and cultures within their own company as well as others, Vernovis works to fully understand each client on a personal and professional level, no matter which side of the hiring fence they occupy.

 “One of the things that we really try to understand is that there’s a kind of full life cycle to the people that we work with,” says Skidmore. “A person working at a company may be a client of ours today looking for help, looking for people to come in and assist with projects. A year from now, they may be in the same situation as one of their potential candidates, where they’re now looking to do something different. And they’re looking for a firm like ours, who understands who they are, what they’ve accomplished and what they’re looking to do as they continue to extend their career.” 

This collaboration and recognition of what a client can and might want to do is part of what makes Vernovis a unique staffing agency. Clients are not simply plopped in front of one another and left to interact alone – connections are made and the needs of both parties are thoroughly explored to best ensure a productive and cooperative match. This is a culture that Vernovis fosters with its own employees, and it permeates into their client interactions on a daily basis.

Underneath the interaction of a hiring process should be a strong foundation of trust and communication, as well as ensuring that both parties share in similar goals. “We really believe in the value of building a strong foundation for a relationship underneath the transaction,” says Kaiser. 

The company strives to keep its relationship with clients on both sides strong as well. “Our main goals are transparency, authenticity and honesty,” he says. “We try to live those out, and if we make a mistake, we hold ourselves accountable and apologize. We really try to make sure that those values of our company pull through our culture internally and allow us to have the right types of relationships with those people.” 

Vernovis is located at 8589 South Mason Montgomery Road, Mason, OH 45040. You can reach them at 513.234.7201 or visit their website at www.vernovis.com.