Putting People to Work

By: Glenda Lofton, Ph.D.

Dec 3, 2019


As mentioned in earlier articles and our advertising brochures, Tommy Lofton, the founder of Lofton Staffing Services, believed in “putting people to work” including our sons, Bret and Bart and…me.  When I retired from Southeastern he thought I retired too young, and he immediately asked me to start writing articles for the company newsletter! Nineteen years later I’m still writing, and Lofton Staffing is still excelling in putting people to work. In the August newsletter, it was announced that Lofton was again rewarded Best of Staffing Diamond Award for 2019 and Forbes America’s Best Professional Recruiting Firms, which made Tommy and me proud!  

Tommy, you may remember, was born January 6, known as the Epiphany, the day that Christians celebrate the three wise men’s visit to baby Jesus and remember His baptism.  It may be just a coincidence but in January 2001 the Baton Rouge Business Report interviewed him for the feature column, “Sixty Seconds with a CEO,” and in January 2002, Tommy was featured on the front page of the Sunday Advocate Business Section in a lengthy article, “Helping Staff LA”. The article was written by his former Istrouma High School classmate and friend, Smiley Anders. As many of you know, Smiley still writes a daily column for The Advocate in Baton Rouge. Below are some of the highlights from that article:    


In 1950, 13-year old paper boy Tommy Lofton discovered that he had a head for business.  He won a contest for signing up the most new subscribers to Rolfe H. McCollister’s North Baton Rouge Journal.  The prize was a tiny loving cup—which today occupies a prominent spot in his office.  He’s president of Lofton Staffing Services, Baton Rouge’s largest supplemental staffing agency with offices across south Louisiana to Houston. Lofton believes the cup symbolizes his entrance into the adult world and marks his first success in sales.  It was not to be his last.  

Since 1979 Lofton Staffing has been providing employers with specialized personnel, for 20 years as an Olsten Staffing Services franchise and since 1999 solely under the Lofton name. Lofton avoids designating employees as “temporary” or “permanent”.  “Life’s a temporary assignment,” he said. “And what’s a permanent job these days?” . . . He said the fluctuations in the business world over the over the last 15 years have made staffing desirable, due to the flexible nature of both jobs and employees . . .He recalls the days when companies called in “temps” only to fill in for sick or vacationing employees. “There was a stigma then,” he said. “But a good worker is a good worker regardless of how long the job lasts.” Our strong suit was finding ‘diamonds in the rough’. . .  

Tommy Lofton’s success story started in the home of other ‘diamonds in the rough’ —Dixie, a tough blue-collar area near the gates of the Esso (now ExxonMobil) refinery. Like many youngsters growing up in north Baton Rouge in the 50’s, he delivered newspapers to make some extra money. But he went at it with a tenacity shown by few others.  The North Baton Rouge Journal at that time offered a free bicycle to any delivery boy who stayed on his route for a full year.  After Lofton got his new bike he moved up to a bigger paper, delivering the afternoon State Times after his classes at Istrouma Junior High and later, Istrouma High.  Still later he got up at 3 a.m. to drive a truck for the Morning Advocate, dropping off bundles of papers to carriers for home delivery.  He’d go home for a shower and if lucky, a nap before school started.  

North Baton Rouge Journal Publisher was so impressed by the hard-driving young man that even though Lofton had left his paper, he provided him with a modest scholarship to help him get through LSU.  He needed the help—his father, who was in the construction business and had moved the family to Baton Rouge from Arkansas, died the year he finished high school.

He attended LSU . . . so he could be close by and help out his mother and sister.

 

The article concludes with many of the principles on which Lofton Staffing was founded, and I will conclude with this quote from Tommy: “I feel that teaching and developing others is a most important aspect of management, and one I enjoy . . . We try to make our applicants feel better about themselves.”  Later Tommy would modify that statement for inclusion in Lofton’s System of Beliefs: “People should feel better when they leave than when they came; in turn, we feel better.”                  

About Lofton: Founded in 1979, Lofton Services offers clients the best of all worlds. We provide the responsive, personal service and flexibility of a small local firm while having the technology, resources, and infrastructure to deliver the benefits of the biggest players in our industry. Lofton Staffing can deliver the right people, with the right skills, right when you need them. Celebrating 40 years in staffing excellence! Contact us today

 


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We Believe...

Relationships are built…one on one.
Know your people - match interest and talents to the tasks.
Don’t manage by numbers. (They just show if we’re on track.) People do the work.
People should feel better when they leave than when they came – and in turn we feel better.
When we help others, we help ourselves.
Great expectations: fair pay, fair treatment, teach me.
Have fun…and be better.
Work at having fun (51% of the time.) If you don’t feel it, fake it. Having fun is not slacking off. Work is more natural than play.