Endure Athletics logo

Endure Athletics Partnership


Priority Staffing Group is now partnering with one of Murfreesboro’s well-known non-profits, Endure AthleticsChris Nichols, Tennessee’s Director of Business Development & Operations, was recently added to the non-profit’s Board of Directors.

Endure Athletics Non-Profit Logo

Chris decided to join the Board of Directors because of the mission of this non-profit organization. “Sports made me who I am.  It gave me lifelong friends and taught me the value of hard work.  Partnering with Endure Athletics to help make an impact in the lives of Murfreesboro youth is an incredible opportunity.”


He also adds that “Joel and Jeannie started Endure Athletics with the mindset that they were looking to break the cycle of poverty.  I can’t think of a better purpose than using sports to give these great kids a hand up in their life journey.”


Endure Athletics was formed in 2015 by Joel Bigelow and his wife Jeannie to serve the homeless youth of Murfreesboro.  The organization provides a fee-free, safe, structured and encouraging environment to participate in fitness, athletics, literacy and Christ-Centered mentorship.  Using sports as a catalyst, Endure Athletics is able to connect with the children and begin a relationship. These relationships have a powerful positive effect on each child’s personal, academic and spiritual well-being, which includes prayer & devotional time.


Each week, Endure Athletics utilizes their Saturday Fitness & Fun program to provide homemade breakfast to their youth while using the positive benefits such as team-building, conflict resolution and physical activity to increase each child’s confidence and feeling of acceptance.

Throughout the year, Endure Athletics takes the youth on trips to Nashville Sounds games at First Tennessee Park, Middle Tennessee State athletic events, Nashville Predators practices and to visit the Tennessee Titans training camp.


Additionally, Endure provides an after-school program aided by MTSU graduate students and retired Rutherford County teachers to assist the youth with school work and class projects. “We personally believe that changing generational poverty can end at the university,” Joel said.


Chris Nichols, Non-profit board of directors

To learn more about the mission and vision of Endure Athletics, visit their website.


If you are interested in learning how to sponsor a child or making a capital gift to Endure Athletics, contact Chris Nichols at Chris@PriorityStaffingGroup.com.

Risk Management Tips

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How to Manage Risk

Priority Staffing Group sent two representatives to the Risk Control Workshop in Denver, Colorado this month.

Kara Metzger and Ally Farlow spent three  days studying up on risk management procedures and workers’ compensation laws. They learned new tips on how to help both our business and our clients’ businesses.

So, does your company have a plan for when work-related accidents happens?

There are some simple steps that your company can take to create a safe work environment. And when an accident does occur, you should know your employees will have the best care possible.

StethoscopePre-Employment Physicals

  • Pre-employment physicals are a risk management tool used to screen individuals for risk factors that may limit their ability to perform a job safely and effectively.
  • Functional testing before starting work can prove essential function capability, limiting the risk of injuries associated with certain jobs.

Pre-Employment TrainingSafety Training

  • Try to stop the accident from happening in the beginning! You can do this by implementing training videos to make sure that your employees know what kind of work hazards they will be around and how to deal with them properly.
  • Make sure that you hold regular training sessions to keep employees up to date on new rules and regulations and remind them of the correct safety procedures.

Safety Sign

Visual Warnings

  • Have all the appropriate signs posted regarding workplace rules and safety.
  • Make sure all signs are up-to-date and in a heavily trafficked area so all employees can see.

Emergency Plan

Employment Physical

  • Make sure your company has a plan of action when an employee is hurt on the job. Find out what level of care is needed and get the employee taken care of as quickly as possible.
  • Have a designated urgent care set up to send employees so that the process is simple for everyone.
  • Make sure to document all the details of the accident by taking notes and photographs. You should have a standard accident report and witnesses to back everything up. There should always be a signature from the supervisor that was on duty when the accident occurred.

Check mark

An additional tip to help improve safety in the workplace:

  • Have a safety committee. Get together once a month and go over ways to improve workplace safety.


Priority Group wants to help our clients establish a safe and prepared work environment. For additional information on our services and how we can help you as a client, email us or call any of our office locations.

Priority Group Staff Photo

Employee Appreciation Weekend

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Priority Group’s three partners, Heather Goines-Evans, Gail Lannom, and Carlos Tanner, extended an invitation to the staff and their families for an Annual Employee Appreciation Weekend!


Heather said they offered this event to all three offices and their families because “Priority Group’s success is a direct result of [employees’] hard work, determination and dedication to our vision.”  The company also has several new additions to our team this year and wanted to welcome “your family to our family.”


Emily Melvin, Placement Specialist & Heather Goines-Evans, COO

The weekend started on Friday July 28th when Priority Staffing Group closed the office early, rented the Marion Pool for a family pool party and had a cookout in the park. The event was open to all employees and their families.

“I honestly liked the whole weekend and loved that a family included portion was a part of the event,” says Emily Melvin, Placement Specialist in the Marion office.


The fun continued the next day when the adults loaded up the Redneck Party Bus to tour a few of Southern Illinois’ best wineries. A twist was also added to the day in the form of a Hawaiian theme. Flower patterns and hula skirts took over the day as everyone enjoyed the company of their Priority Group family.


Gail Lannom, PSG Partner

Lindzey Barger, Business Development & Gail Lannom, CEO

“The ‘Redneck’ bus was so funny,” said Gail. “The Southern Illinois wineries are so beautiful, and the music we heard was great too!”


The event didn’t focus on the day-to-day operations of business – just some off-the-clock personal time with the rest of the staff. “Sometimes in the hectic days at the office we can forget how fun our co-workers are and how awesome a team we have,” says Emily Melvin. “Fun events help us to realize great positive qualities about our team members and Priority as a whole.”


Priority Group believes that appreciated employees will do their best work. Each year, the Staff Appreciation weekend allows our separate offices to come together, socialize and get to know people we wouldn’t otherwise meet. “We have been able to do a company appreciation day every year and I always look forward to this event,” said Gail.


The Not-So-Obvious Costs of a BAD HIRE


In the business world, we constantly hear about the “Cost of a Bad Hire” and how detrimental it can be for any business – small or large.  But what we fail to realize is how we aren’t affected by solely the financial cost of hiring the wrong person.  We get so swept up in dollar signs and “the bottom line” that we forget there is much more that goes in to the downfalls of a bad hire.

As a Human Resources professional with a specialization in Recruitment, I hear time and time again, “Well, a warm body is better than no body.”  But I am here to tell you that I, with respect, wholeheartedly disagree with that statement. In most cases, a “warm body,” or a bad hire, is astronomically worse than having a vacant position or terminating a poorly performing employee or someone that just DOES NOT FIT!

Growing up on sports teams of every kind, I learned very early in life that it does not matter how AWESOME of a third baseman I am, or how INCREDIBLE my center-fielder is if the rest of the team HATES playing softball, or if everyone on my team cannot stand to walk past me in the grocery store, let alone be on the same team as me.  The workplace is identical. Here are five reasons why a bad hire in the workplace is the exact same situation as having an athlete that just doesn’t belong on your team.

The Team

You have a high-functioning team that works well together – then you throw in the WORLD’S GREATEST Pitcher – who has a terrible attitude, thinks he or she is better than the rest of the team, cannot communicate, or just thinks the world revolves around the pitching mound. Your ENTIRE team is going to fail.  A team is a group of individuals that works together to identify one another’s strengths and weaknesses to come together as a whole to focus on each individual’s strengths and to improve each individual’s weaknesses.  You are only as strong as your weakest link, right?

One person can completely destroy a team – in softball or in business.  Morale will go straight down the drain, irritation and frustration goes through the roof, and soon enough you will start losing your key players.

The Fans – Our Customers 

Have you ever been to a baseball game, football game, or any sporting event for that matter, and while watching this awesome team you realize that the “star player” that everyone has been talking about is screaming and yelling at the other players, the coach, or the umpire?  It kind of makes you not want to watch the game anymore. As fans, we watch sports to enjoy the game, not watch someone with a bad attitude take it out on an undeserving bystander.

In business, our fans are our customers.  One bad employee, whether it is attitude, performance, or lack of consideration, will cost us our customers day in and day out.  Have you ever had a problem with your phone bill and called the phone company, only to be put on hold 15 times, then when you finally get to talk to the right person, they have a terrible attitude, act like you are incompetent, and treat you like the dirt on the bottom of their shoe? I bet you switched your phone service provider pretty quick, didn’t you? Why would we cost ourselves our greatest asset – our customers – just because we need to fill a position?

The Coaches – Management

Have you ever worked with someone who is late to work three days a week? Maybe it is someone who says, “Oh, I’ll take care of that, don’t worry.” Then two weeks later, you realize that he or she did not “take care of that.”  Maybe you have heard the phrase, “It is easier to do it myself than to have to go back and fix what someone else did.”

When we hire the wrong person, our coaches (managers) have to constantly go back and reteach, or fix, the problems that the bad hire continues to make.  Our managers spend countless hours trying to work their way back through problems that could have been avoided if it had just been done the right way the first time.  Not to mention, performance reviews, write-ups, counseling sessions, heart to heart talks, and so much more.  On top of all that, our managers then have to go and have heart to heart talks with the other team members to try to lighten the situation or keep steam from coming out of their ears with frustration.


Don’t we love hearing that our all-time favorite baseball team just traded our favorite player for the guy from across the country that NO ONE LIKES? Ha! Yeah right! But what happens when our coaches (managers) start adding more and more players to the team that have horrible attitudes, terrible work ethic, absolutely no morals, or they just do not get along with the rest of the team? Our coaches get a HORRIBLE reputation. The team suffers, the fans suffer, and soon enough, the owners are the ones looking to replace the coach.

Everyone makes mistakes now and then. This is life. It happens.  Bad hires are GOING to happen.  But if our Managers make bad hire after bad hire after bad hire – the team starts to see the stars align and realize that maybe he or she is NOT the best one for the job.  No one wants to be the coach (manager) that has the reputation of being incompetent or “horrible” at their job.  After so many bad hires, it won’t be much longer before the owners start looking for a replacement for the hiring manager.


In basketball, if your team turns the ball over EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. they touch the ball, it is very unlikely that your team in going to secure the W. How can your team get ahead if every time you get a shot to score, you give the ball back to our opponent?  No surprise here – same thing in the business world.  When we are constantly turning over employees, we are losing them to our OPPONENTS. There go our secrets, our strategies, and our shot at scoring.  There is no way to get ahead in the game if we can’t keep the ball in our court.


Game Winning Shot

The cost of a bad hire doesn’t just mean dollar signs down the drain – it means you are losing the best part about your business – your team.  It may not seem like it right now, but when one team member does not belong, your team members, customers, coaches, reputation, and owners ALL suffer.

Take your time when making hiring decisions, hire a Professional Recruiting Firm to assist in your recruiting efforts, and read the signs when they start to reveal themselves.  Don’t let one person cost you the game or the rest of your season.  Know your team, know your managers, know your customers.  That is how you will know how to make the best hiring decisions for your team!


Staci Davis, Priority Professional Group

Email Staci here or call Priority Staffing Group at (618) 969-8800 for all your staffing and recruiting needs.

TN Workers’ Compensation Conference

TN Workers' Compensation Conference

Chris Nichols, Director of Business Development, attended the 20th TN Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference on June 13 – 15, 2017 in Murfreesboro, TN. Along with the other attendees, he gained valuable insight into the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation system via seminars led by notable industry leaders from across the country.


Some of the important points hit on for employers in the state were:

1) Workers’ Compensation Overview

2) Drug use and addiction help

3) Injury prevention programs & implementation

The conference agenda can be found here.


In 2016, the 109th General Assembly passed some laws that again changed Tennessee’s Workers’ Compensation Act. These changes, for many professionals, created uncertainty in how their businesses would be affected.


Some notable law changes included shortening the time period for injured workers to give notice of an injury, maximum and minimum compensation benefit changes, and drug-free workplace law amendments.


The TN Workers’ Compensation conference covered these, and many others, for the attendees. Priority Group is thankful to have had the opportunity to learn more about these changes, not only for our own business, but so we can help our clients and partners as well.

If you need help with staffing & recruiting, email Chris or call us at (615) 295-2127.


More information on the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, along with helpful tips for your business, can be found here.

Chris Nichols Joins Young Professionals Committee

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Priority Group’s Murfreesboro office is developing in the community by way of its team members. Chris Nichols, Director of Business Development, was just named a committee member for the MT SHRM Young Professionals group.


MT SHRM is the Middle Tennessee chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management. The Young Professionals group is an affiliate of that chapter. Each quarter, the Young Professionals host a happy hour event of open networking for HR professionals early in their career.


June 1st is the next Happy Hour event. Chris Nichols has worked with the rest of the planning committee to put on this event, which is free for all MT SHRM members and their guests. However, registration will still be required for all attendees. Register here


“I’m really excited about joining a group of intelligent, forward-thinking individuals,” Chris said. “I look forward to seeing the growth we can have with young HR professionals in Middle Tennessee.”


The networking event will be held at SOUTH in Nashville from 5:30pm to 7:30pm on June 1st. Individuals will purchase their own drinks; complementary appetizers will be provided.


Contact Chris Nichols at chris@prioritystaffinggroup.com or Lynzi Loyd at lloyd@vaco.com if you have questions about the event.


New Hires at Corporate Headquarters

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Celesta Bowers – Finance Manager

Celesta Bowers joined Priority Group in April as the new Finance Manager. She grew up in Marion, IL and loves living and working here. She first fell in love with Accounting after taking her first accounting  course in high school. Then, the first in her family to graduate college, she earned her Bachelor of Science in Accounting and her Masters of Accountancy, Audit/Systems from Southern Illinois University.

Before joining Priority Group, she worked for three years as a Cost Accountant in the Wire and Cable industry in Du Quoin, IL; and prior to that, three years as an Accountant for doctors and hospitals. After having her boys, she decided she should spend less time on the road away from her family. Gail and Heather let her see that at Priority Group, she’d be a part of a growing business and family, not just another place to work. Her experience will now help further the financial growth of our business.

When not in the office, Celesta enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys, volunteering at the Boyton Street Community Center, traveling and taking pictures.

Robyn Sprowls – Front Office Coordinator

Robyn Sprowls, previously employed as our Payroll Specialist/Bookkeeper, has returned to Priority Group as the Front Office Coordinator, but continues to assist with bookkeeping. Her role at the Marion, IL office is important to the functions of Priority Staffing and Priority Professional Groups.

Her diverse administrative background, working in retail and corporate office environments, allows her to handle a variety of projects and meet deadlines.

Her education at Rend Lake College, in addition to her extensive experience, enables her to communicate easily and effectively with applicants and clients. Robyn’s outgoing personality is important as the face of the company; she reassures the applicants that they can complete their application with ease.

Robyn loves traveling, racing and spending time with her family when she’s not at work.

Memorial Day Celebration – City of Marion


Priority Group is collaborating with the City of Marion on a Memorial Day event at Ray Fosse Park on Monday, May 29th.

The partnership, spearheaded by Priority Group’s CEO, Gail Lannom, happens every year. The free event is family friendly with goofy golf, swimming, antique cars and much more throughout the day.

The only cost to attendees is food from event vendors and the chicken dinner, which requires a ticket that must be purchased in advance of the event day.

Tickets for the chicken dinner are being sold at Priority Staffing Group’s Marion office now until Friday, May 26th between 8:30am and 4:30pm.

Please call us (618) 969-8800 with questions or stop by 712 N. Carbon St. Marion, IL.

Fosse Park Memorial Day 2017

Illinois Still No Budget – Tennessee Is Doing Fine

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As we deal with the April showers, we are seeing the May flowers in our future. At least in some parts of this country. Time has a way of changing things – in life, in love, and in business!

Let’s talk business.

Business in Southern Illinois and Middle Tennessee are doing well for us. Tennessee has a more positive outlook for business growth because the state and counties are proactive in working with companies. Illinois, on the other hand, is NOT. With the continued unbalanced budget in Illinois, business is moving forward, but not very aggressively. Many are moving out of the state. How can a state go for almost two years and NOT HAVE A BUDGET? I can tell you this: if a company went two years without a budget and without paying bills, we would be forced to close the doors. We all need to work hard now and collaborate with our government to get their act together and get their job done.

We business owners work every day to make sure things are going in the right direction. Sometimes this means that changes have to happen; and we do that! Finding a good work force is not an easy task. With people leaving the state of Illinois at such a rapid pace, you might notice that finding good staff is getting more difficult. We do not let that stop us at Priority Staffing Group, Ltd. or Priority Professional Group, Ltd.  We recruit daily for more that 50 open positions. Some are entry level, some are professional level, and some are nurse positions. If you are finding it hard to recruit new talent, call us. We do this every day and with success. You know, “Your Success is Our Priority!”

Don’t give up on Illinois, but do contact your government officials and let them know we are ready to get back to business – they should be too. They seem to fill their schedules with “new” bills to be voted on. How about… let’s stop adding new bills to be voted on and get this budget worked out!

I seem to just write random thoughts, but they are things we should all be thinking about and trying to get fixed.

Good job, Tennessee!

How embarrassing, Illinois. You should be ashamed!

Gail Lannom, Priority Group CEOGail Lannom, CEO



HR Survey – See the Results!

Last month, Priority Group sent an HR survey out to our trusted friends and clients.

Some of the participants asked to see the results of our survey and we’re happy to share!

View the results below or see the whole presentation here.

Feel free to email us or call (618) 969-8800 if you have any questions.