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Philip Brandt Brings Business Expertise to St. Louis Companies with AAIM EA

The full-service human resources provider serves 1,600 members throughout Missouri and Illinois and has a 114-year history.

Chief Executive Philip Brandt can't say enough good about his new role at St. Louis-based AAIM EA. The full-service human resources (HR) provider offers networking opportunities, education and more.

Why is Brandt so excited? While he's only been in his new role for a short time, he has a long history with the organization, having been a member since 1990.

From his perspective, the value in AAIM Employers’ Association is evident because of the services it provided to him while he held management positions at businesses such as Ralcorp Holdings, Nestle Purina, GKN Aerospace and Patriot Coal Corporation. What's more, Brandt is someone who loves to solve problems, and he wants to use that skill to help member businesses succeed.

AAIM EA dates to 1898 and has 1,600 corporate members throughout Missouri and Illinois. It completes hundreds of training sessions and thousands of background checks annually. It publishes weekly and monthly communications with expert and timely information. Members say compensation surveys and trends are among the company's most highly valued resources, Brandt said. 

The company surveys its members electronically on demand to help other members learn about employment issues in the bi-state area. For example, Brandt said, a member wanted to know what other employers were doing when it came to providing holiday gifts.

AAIM EA surveyed its members and learned that in Missouri, 21.6 percent planned to provide a food item such as ham, turkey or a food-related gift card; 35.1 percent intended to provide financial gifts such as cash, a bonus or a gift card; 13.4 percent planned to provide apparel or other items with a company logo; and 11.3 percent planned to provide something else. 

No other company is able to help employers get that type of information on demand, Brandt said.

Out-of-state organizations frequently look to it as the standard-bearer for human resources and recruitment services.

Here's how it works: companies with membership in AAIM EA immediately get access to 30 staff members with expertise in subjects such as compensation, organizational development, training, benefits and succession planning. Most of the businesses already have HR departments, though their size and degree of expertise in those areas varies.

"We become a part of their HR organization," Brandt said.

Account executives work with CEOs and other management to identify challenges within their organizations and then to identify ways to use AAIM EA resources. As opposed to taking a sales approach, Brandt said, the organization focuses on matching membership services with needs. 

For example, if a company needs to hire 100 employees, AAIM EA can handle all the drug checks and background screenings. AAIM EA staff also helps companies recruit talented workers for the growing workforce gap—projected to rise to 30 million—created by retiring baby boomers.

"With all the federal and state regulations, our goal is to serve the members and help them navigate through the HR minefield," Brandt said.

Brandt is known for making sketches to illustrate a point. When it comes to organization, he takes a sheet of paper and draws an hourglass. In the middle of the glass are the CEOs and other management, he said. The sand at the top is the resources AAIM EA provides. Then the resources flow through executives and onto the whole business, resulting in whatever outcomes are needed.

One popular program offered by AAIM EA is called "90 Days to Success," which Brandt calls "one program every organization needs" to train managers.

In addition to classes, AAIM EA offers peer networking. Each month, about 300 people get together in groups of 20 to discuss business problems and identify solutions. Subjects include health care, the economic downturn and the 2012 presidential election. One group session per month is available at no cost to members.

In the future, Brandt sees an even greater demand for AAIM EA’s services. The company offers competitive rates on drug testing and recruiting, and the brand is well known in St. Louis. He foresees opportunities to expand into the Midwest and other communities. AAIM EA already has fielded calls for expertise from places such as Kansas City; Memphis, TN; Arkansas; and Texas.

The company recently merged with Employers' Association of Peoria, IL, allowing it to expand service to a majority of Illinois in addition to Missouri.

As for the jobs market, Brandt is optimistic. Most employers are ready to move forward as soon as the outcome of the November election is known.

"2013 is going to be a booming year," Brandt said.

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