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KC SmartPort Shares Leading Differentiators for its Ecommerce Surge

KC SmartPort

KC SmartPort Shares Leading Differentiators for its Ecommerce Surge

Known as the “hub for food logistics” in the Midwest, the Kansas City region boasts a unique approach to economic development. KC SmartPort – a nonprofit economic development organization – focuses on attracting freight-based businesses to the region through its streamlined efforts in workforce development, real estate opportunities, and thriving logistics-focused operations. The Kansas City region recently reported substantial growth in ecommerce and distribution companies establishing operations in the area with these companies planning to invest $1.3 billion and aiming for the creation of seven thousand jobs. KC SmartPort president Chris Gutierrez and his team attended the Dallas RILA/LINK 2020 conference as exhibitors and shared the latest and greatest developments emerging in the Kansas City region.

“With online sales increasing every year, companies have really been focusing on their omnichannel strategy. The Kansas City region is centrally located and offers a robust transportation infrastructure from road, air, rail and water, ultimately supporting the ability for businesses to reach 88-90 percent of the population in about two days. This really lends itself as a successful strategy around ecommerce,” said Chris Gutierrez, president of KC SmartPort.

“Since 2012, we’ve had over 40 million square feet of industrial buildings built primarily on spec because the ecommerce companies will go through a peak season and if they hit their numbers, they need to be in the next building within a certain time frame to hit next year’s peak. If they don’t have a building to move into, then the opportunity is lost. That’s something our region has been very successful in supporting,” he added.

Among big-name ecommerce and distribution companies that made the move to the Kansas City region in 2019 include Wal-Mart, Hostess, Amazon, CVS Pharmacy, Overstock.com, Tool Source Warehouse, and more. Part of this surge in ecommerce, automotive, and retailers is dually supported by the region’s balancing of business and workforce development efforts.

“What we are doing locally is a three-step process. First, we create an awareness buzz at the elementary and high schools and community colleges around supply chain jobs that serve as career opportunities with great benefits and growth options rather than just filling a position. The second part of local efforts involves public transportation, rideshare, and other mobility solutions to support getting the employee to the job site.”

“The third leg of this approach is encouraging employers to critically think about workplace culture. We take it a step further and educate employers of the importance of the first week during onboarding, eliminating the desire to go to the next company offering a quarter more in pay but offering a potentially more satisfying culture. If the company offers a healthy culture, it makes a huge difference, specifically with non-tangible things that add value to the employee experience.”

These multi-layered efforts not only support the existing workforce and growth in economic development but serve as proactive solutions for future workforce generations in Kansas City. More than 2.3 million people in the region rely on the unique economic development team covering both Kansas and Missouri. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) serves as a bi-state authority covering a broader regional area while addressing large-scale concerns. This partnership serves as a major differentiator in the region for businesses seeking a myriad of options in amenities, incentives, and transportation.

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Chris Gutierrez is the President of KC SmartPort, Inc., a KCADC affiliate organization focused on attracting freight based economic development to the greater Kansas City region and providing thought leadership to the supply chain industry in Kansas City. Chris has been active in economic development and logistics for over 30 years. He joined KC SmartPort in 2003.

google

How World-Class Amazon, Apple & Google Have Built Successful Cultures

Every small business wants to be the next Amazon—or the next Apple or Google. Their products and services, as well as their growth and profit margins, are the envy of all. But it is their company cultures that drive their success. After all, without the brain trust and boots on the ground, those enterprises would have remained small and insignificant. Now, everybody wants to work for them. Why?

Their trendy work campuses capture headlines and imaginations, but location and environment are just veneers for the culture they contain. Yet, these headquarters are also extensions of brand. From Apple’s “spaceship” park to Amazon’s geodesic Spheres and Google’s playful Silicon Valley campus, the looks of these businesses reflect brands driven first and foremost by people-centric cultures.

It may seem skewed in priority to place workers before the actual work being done. But if we want to benefit from the lessons of these top organizations, we will focus on culture the way they do. As global competition for talent increases, this is the formula that works.

You can begin to build a better talent infrastructure by working on the seven “pillars” of good culture I’ve identified through researching leading companies. These include how organizations handle transparency, positivity, measurement, acknowledgment, uniqueness, listening, and mistakes. The examples of Amazon and friends, however, are worth studying in more detail. A few key techniques and best practices that these three amigos share warrant special consideration.

Transparency Is Clarity

The design of Amazon’s Spheres addition to its Seattle workplace campus is meant to inject nature into the business environment. But the glass-and-steel structure also embodies the company’s commitment to transparency. Three linked geodesic domes leave precious little in the dark—which is also the way to enable employees to do their best work.

Amazon, Apple, and Google use transparency in two major ways. First, they attract talent that aligns with their stated mission and values. They make these goals and guiding lights clear to all job candidates, weeding out of contention folks who won’t row with the crew. This creates a cohesive workforce that is dedicated to being part of the brand.

This both reveals and capitalizes on the companies’ uniqueness. They all stand out from the crowd. One way that our businesses can do this is to concentrate on hiring for a fit with our core values and a prevailing attitude. Using personality tests to assess potential hires for their inclinations and motivations can help standardize an otherwise subjective practice and get the right people in the right seats.

Second, these companies use technology to employees’ advantage. Access to relevant and accurate information is critical to their job roles, and these high-tech firms know how to centralize data. Amazon even launched a business service called the Transparency Program, which helps brand owners thwart counterfeiting and intellectual property theft.

But the retailer’s greatest wielding of transparency is most visible in its delivery services. Moving vast volumes of merchandise to their destinations requires an intricate web of logistics. Small businesses can imitate that command of information-sharing by giving workers open access to the details they need and the people in the company who can best assist them.

Positivity Is Power

One look at Apple’s massive, ring-shaped Campus 2 tells you how strong the tech giant really is. More than a mile in circumference, the structure’s powerful curved lines reveal something about the company’s working ethos. And any enterprise dependent on innovation would be wise to adopt the Apple staff’s positive mindset.

Because the business world is dynamic and markets fluctuate, many organizations find themselves reacting to problems and challenges rather than proactively getting out in front of them. That’s only a recipe for more of the same. Top companies like Apple and Google employ a positive approach to planning, pursuing goals, and solving problems called appreciative inquiry.

This model optimizes a team’s strengths while ferreting out less successful strategies that can tank morale. Appreciative inquiry adds a methodical element to what might otherwise be chaotic, and a means to innovate that could easily be squelched by negativity or repeated failure. It gives workers a sense of accomplishment, even when actual gains may be small.

The central technique involves four stages: discovery, dreaming, design, and destiny. This 4-D Cycle prompts teams to discover what is working for them, so they can preserve and expand upon it. Next, they dream big and imagine their ideal outcome. From there, they select a likely path and design systems or steps to move them forward. Finally, they do what it takes to achieve that destiny.

Becoming agile in this approach gives small businesses a way to break the cycle of putting out fires and watching morale sink. It sets a positive tone that can be echoed in every other area of planning and workflow. And it’s self-perpetuating: one accomplishment prepares the team for its next success.

Numbers Instill Confidence

Visiting Google’s eclectic California headquarters may seem like downing one gigantic energy drink, with something impish rushing around every corner. From fleets of brightly colored communal bicycles to a statue park of oversized sweets named after the company’s android inventions, the vibe is Google’s brand—and the brand is utterly self-confident. Here is a business that knows exactly who it is and why it exists.

This sense of definition extends to its talent. Most small businesses have only fuzzy outlines to their image. That’s because most of us allow culture to form rather than intentionally building it. Job candidates can sense this, and they will be drawn first to companies with strong, distinct personalities. Google, and other companies that cultivate the cultures they want, enjoy attention from people who want that too.

This begins with articulating a mission and vision that inspire. It continues through identifying the best-performing employees and attempting to attract more like them. Google does this via data collection and analysis. Having created the foundation, they could take a deep dive into assessing which parts of culture work best and why.

With a legion of employees, Google was able to conduct a two-year study with a decent sample size that showed them which psychological conditions are likely to coalesce with the company’s mission and values—not just to create a happy workplace, but to create the best support system possible in which to perform work. This is the essence of culture at its best.

Google’s study found that successful outcomes correlated to the satisfaction of certain human needs, foremost of which was psychological safety. Workers needed to feel confident in taking risks, free of judgment or possible sanction. This let them stretch and sometimes fail—but ultimately innovate. From this confidence stemmed other areas of fulfillment, such as being able to depend on coworkers and to clearly understand the company’s expectations of them, which also helped teams achieve their goals.

Revealing these key conditions and the high performance that resulted from them allowed Google to continue to monitor variables and outcomes for further insights. The numbers instilled confidence in how the company manages its culture, which in turn lets it promote those traits when recruiting talent. Along with Apple and Amazon, Google leaders have embraced culture as a way to draw the best people—and they never let their employees forget who it is that makes those organizations successful.

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Leadership speaker Chris Dyer is a recognised performance and company culture expert, Founder and CEO of PeopleG2 and author of The Power of Company Culture (Kogan Page, 2018).

10 Tips to Manage Labor More Effectively in Your Supply Chain Logistics

The productivity of the supply chain logistics you’re running is at the hearts of the workforce working for you. With improved productivity, the company stands to make more revenue and profits because the entire workforce will be wisely using their work hours.

As the business owner or the operations in-charge, how can you improve productivity within your workforce? Here are 10 tips to manage labor more effectively in your supply chain logistics business.

Train the workforce

Training the workforce you have employed will help them know exactly how to do the tasks assigned and won’t spend much time trying to figure it out. Above that, employees will be more engaged in the jobs they do if they see that the employer cares about them.

If you care about the employees working for you, that can be manifest by developing their skills through organizing and investing in their training. Collect data about the company you are running and arrange training based on the critical factors that keep the business running.

Understanding all employees

To manage the workforce better, you need to understand them more and that will enable you to care for their individual needs. If you know their skills and abilities and assign them tasks that will make them function at their best potential, they will be more confident and be more productive.

That can be achieved by open communication between you and each employee. Instead of staying in the office all day every day, you can consider going to the common area during lunchtime to communicate with employees.

Gauge the performance

To manage your workforce more efficiently, you need to track their work performance and determine if they are working to their full potential. You can do so by figuring out the customer satisfaction rate. If customers are satisfied with the service, it might mean that everything is still under control.

Don’t wait until there is a complaint that comes to you but rather ask for each customer’s opinion about the service they got. Using a review system like that will help you know exactly how customers feel about the performance of the workforce you’ve employed.

Integrating technology in operations

Another way to empower employees is by offering them all the resources necessary to accomplish their daily tasks. That can be fulfilled by integrating technological systems that will assist them to do their tasks more efficiently.

For example, you can use wearable technology to help with scanning packed boxes and determining what is inside them. If the work of employees is lighter, they will be happier to come to work and that will result in increased productivity. Another measure you can take is automating some of the tasks that were burdening the workforce.

Practically assist employees to be more productive

Some employees are destined to be great leaders in the industry you are in and caging them by not giving them development opportunities can be harmful. The workforce you have deserves to grow and show leadership skills in the teams they are working in.

Instead of hiring managers when the need arises, groom the employees you have right now to be able to fill that role when that opportunity comes. The employees will also be motivated at this and will start putting in some more effort when doing their work. The same applies to you as well.

If you are the head of the operations or an employee in supply chain logistics, and you don’t feel productive in the place you work in, look for a new job that can cater to your needs. Go through top resume reviews and ivory research to get the best resume, LinkedIn profile and cover letter designed.

Observe and report

You probably know the way you would like certain tasks to be carried out for optimum productivity, but the question is how do you implement it?

The most important thing is to understand where you are in relation to that goal you have set for yourself. That can be accomplished by observing the employees and seeing how they do things and determine where they can improve. Once you have done so, you can come up with a plan of action on how to incorporate those ideas you have.

Periodical motivational meetings

Everybody needs some motivation once in a while and you as an employer can arrange meetings with the entire staff. Those meetings will discuss the milestones and goals you have accomplished as a whole.

You can also include a snapshot of the work that is still upcoming and express that you believe in the entire team you work with. The motivation will help employees see what they are doing is truly worthwhile and that their efforts are appreciated.

Implement Warehouse Management Systems

You can implement a warehouse management system to oversee the tasks done at your workplace and try to optimize them. All the tasks that are optimized by these systems will help you cut down costs and have a more productive and engaged workforce.

Unlike humans, these systems primarily care about carrying out tasks efficiently. In that way, it can be a good balance between generating revenue and managing the workforce better.

Instill effective labor management systems to managers

Managers are the tip of the spear in the workforce. They have to report to the big bosses and still deal with the employees under them. Because of that, it is very important to speak to managers and train them on how to manage employees better.

They know the individual employees better and they should be tasked with the work of encouraging employees on the effort they are putting in the company. Managers should also be able to spot underperforming individuals and help them improve.

Incite professional competition

Professional competition is a great way to keep your employees on their toes. By having leaderboards on the work that the teams produce weekly or monthly, more workers will be keen on getting more done.

Also, you can have an employee of the month award and other rewards for workers that outperform and always show great work ethic. The awards don’t have to be expensive, simple things like recognition can do really well.

The bottom line

You can manage your workforce more effectively in the supply chain business by implementing warehouse management systems and integrating technologies in the daily operations of the business. Also, focus more on individual performance and then motivate and encourage based on that and help employees improve in their respective jobs they do.

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This guest post is contributed by Kurt Walker who is a blogger and college paper writer. In the course of his studies he developed an interest in innovative technology and likes to keep business owners informed about the latest technology to use to transform their operations. He writes for companies such as Edu BirdieXpertWriters and uk.bestessays.com on various academic and business topics.

employees

Why Sending Your Workers ‘Back to School’ is Good Business

Learning shouldn’t stop when someone earns a diploma or degree, and that’s especially true in the workplace where the company’s fate – and an employee’s career – could rest on the constant thirst to learn and improve.

“Developing a culture of continued education and continuous improvement is critical if you want to retain your staff and provide them with advancement opportunities,” says Shawn Burcham (www.shawnburcham.com), founder and CEO of PFSbrands and author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success.

Essentially, Burcham says, sending employees “back to school” is good business, but that doesn’t mean you need to enroll them in Harvard’s MBA program.

“There’s plenty you can do right within your own doors and that employees can do on their own,” he says.

A few examples, Burcham says, include:

Establish in-house training programs. “Many companies spend thousands of dollars to send their employees to seminars or conferences,” Burcham says. “This strategy is fine, but personal growth starts by training in the workplace.” One example at PFSbrands, he says, was the creation of a Financial Literacy Committee that worked to make sure employees were educated about the financial aspects of the company, helping them to understand income statements and balance sheets. “This makes everyone more aware of the challenges involved with achieving profitability,” Burcham says. “Furthermore, this education provides everyone an opportunity to see how they can impact the company’s profitability and enhance their opportunity for additional income.”

Encourage everyone to read books for personal development. “One of my biggest regrets and mistakes in life is that I didn’t start reading books until age 40,” Burcham says. Now, he has created a book club at his company to encourage and incentivize everyone to continue to grow and learn, and he requires the senior-leadership team to read a minimum of 12 books a year. “I’ve seen dozens of people improve their lives as a result of implementing our book club,” he says.

Target lifelong learners in recruiting efforts. You can encourage employees to develop a continuous-improvement mindset, but it’s also possible to find people with that mindset in the hiring process, Burcham says. “We’ve found that lifelong learners are a great fit at PFSbrands, so we’ve developed systems and processes that help us to recruit these types of individuals,” he says. “Employees who don’t make an effort to continuously learn and improve will ultimately find themselves at another company. We train our leaders to not avoid the critical conversations with individuals who are not working toward improvement.”

“Despite how many degrees hang on the walls in their offices, wise leaders are committed to never stop learning,” Burcham says. “Whether it’s done in-house or at an industry conference, you owe it to yourself and your employees to engage in continued education. After all, a successful company’s growth is dependent on the capabilities of its employees.”

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Shawn Burcham (www.shawnburcham.com), author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success, is the founder & CEO of PFSbrands, which he and his wife, Julie, started out of their home in 1998. The company has over 1,500 branded foodservice locations across 40 states and is best known for their Champs Chicken franchise brand which was started in 1999. Prior to starting PFSbrands, Burcham spent five years with a Fortune 100 company, Mid-America Dairymen (now Dairy Farmers of America). He also worked for three years as a Regional Sales Manager for a midwest Chester’s Fried chicken distributor.

BYD Spotlights Veterans in Worker Population

Build Your Dreams (BYD) continues setting the bar higher for competing battery-electric vehicle manufacturers, as the company now boasts being the only one representing both a union workforce and agreement dedicated to simplifying and creating opportunities for veterans seeking to enter into the manufacturing sector. The agreement is known as the Community Benefits Agreement and is a joint effort between BYD, SMART Local 65, and Jobs to Move America. The BYD veteran workforce is supported directly from nonprofit Helmets to Hard Hats focusing on assisting military personnel during the civilian transition.

“Our coalition recognizes how difficult it is for many veterans to find good jobs after their service,” said Hector Huezo, JMA’s senior workforce equity coordinator. “That’s why we were excited to team up with BYD and other partners to create a pipeline for veterans
that benefits all of our communities. Together, we’ve been able to help veterans and other disadvantaged workers get good-paying, high-quality jobs that have allowed them to support their families.”

BYD is proud to report that veterans represent support for the company in a variety of departments including factory floor jobs as welding, warehousing, and assembly work to the offices as well as sales, material planning and control, and human resources.

“BYD knows what veterans bring to the table,” said Patrick Duan, Vice President, Operations and SkyRail. “They have leadership skills. They are mission-driven and they work well under pressure. They have the ability to adapt existing skills and learn new ones. We are proud to have veterans as part of our workforce.”

“It’s nice to see hope in everyone’s faces when they see how much opportunity this company has given to not just our workers but our community and vets,” said Army veteran Daniel Moran.

happy

How To Keep Good Employees Happy And Reap The Business Benefits

While many business owners say that the first rule of a successful company is keeping customers happy, studies show that also keeping employees happy is critical to the whole process.
The better a business owner and upper management treat good employees, the more committed and engaged they will be to perform at a consistently high level and do their part to help make the business successful.
“The big key to business success is the productivity level of your employees and the culture in which they operate,” says Paul Trapp (www.eventprep.com), founding owner/CEO of EventPrep, Inc., a full-service meeting planning and management company, and co-author with Stephen Davis of Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams.
“Employee happiness results directly in success and goes hand-in-hand with company culture. The primary focus of leadership in that culture should be making sure their employees are happy, safe, respected, and making a competitive wage.”
If you get it right with your employees, Trapp and Davis say, they’ll get it right with the customer.
“It’s simple, really,” says Davis, who is EventPrep’s founding owner/president/COO.
“The folks you bring on board are going to spend a significant amount of time with their work family, so why wouldn’t the people running the business want it to be a cool place to work, and why wouldn’t they want it to be the most productive place they could possible make it?”
Trapp and Davis explain the key factors that find the right employees and keep them happy and productive:
Recruiting. “You’ve got to get the right people first, the people with the qualities that make for a passionate, productive worker who contributes to a positive culture,” Davis says. “Recruiting is about connecting with people and connecting them with their passion, their purpose, and enabling them to reach their potential. Recruiting isn’t an event, but a process, and sometimes finding the right person for a particular job can take months or even years. You’re always looking, listening, assessing and asking questions — and really getting to know the person you may hire.”
Establishing a culture. “You want people to want to come to work, and to do that you want people to work in the culture you’re creating,” Trapp says. “Culture is created at the top and cascades downward. What values and ethics do you have as a business owner that can make employees passionately want to be a part of that culture?”
Investing in them. ”Investing in your people raises their performance and strengthens their commitment, but it means far more than giving them raises,” Davis says. “It’s about making them feel like a part of your family, including giving them compassion and understanding when they need it most. Employees in turn embrace that kind of culture and own it. That’s what you want — a self-perpetuating work culture where everyone feels cared for and important.”
Recognizing them. “Keeping people happy and encouraging them to want to stay isn’t magic,” Trapp says. “Just as important as recruiting the right talent, business owners and leaders need to make the culture attractive and sustainable in order to retain the right talent. Retaining is about recognizing and celebrating, showing gratitude and appreciation. Recognizing employees for exceptional work, and giving them a cash bonus or special trip, is a key element toward retaining them.”
“A happy employee who’s engaged and connected, who wants to be there every day, makes the workplace a better place and a stronger business,” Davis says.
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About Paul Trapp
Paul Trapp is a founding owner/CEO of EventPrep, Inc. (www.eventprep.com), a full-service meeting planning and management company that supports 16 franchises across the U.S. He is co-author of the book Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams. Trapp is a former senior military leader who served as chief of recruiting for the Army National Guard and holds over 30 years of experience in contract management, event planning, and organizing conferences, seminars, and meetings.
About Stephen Davis
Stephen Davis is a founding owner/president/COO of EventPrep, Inc., and co-author of  Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams. Davis is a multi-state operations director who focuses on conference development, implementation, management, and conference design. He currently serves as a chief warrant officer and CID special agent in the Army Reserves. Davis deployed twice in support of the global war on terrorism. In 2016, Davis and Paul Trapp launched  Federal Conference, Inc., which provided professional event planning and management services to the government and commercial marketplaces. Federal Conference, Inc., twice was a two-time Inc. 500 award recipient and executes over 3,000 events annually around the world.
talent retention

How Generational Gaps Impact Talent Retention & Recruiting Strategies

Workforce development in the modern age presents a new level of opportunities and challenges to companies seeking to enhance their talent pool. Factors such as technology innovation, information overload, and new generations entering the workforce require thought leaders and experts to identify the best options to meet company needs. In order to attain this, recruiters must understand potential employees at their core and visualize the potential value and growth for both parties. This level of expertise is difficult to find. Dozens of talent recruiting websites and services exist in the marketplace with a similar promise: guaranteed results. What they don’t guarantee is the right kind of results. If a company is provided with five candidates with years of experience, but lacking the knowledge, skills, and company culture needed to thrive, the “results” go stale and the process is restarted, resulting in a never-ending cycle with a low success rate. 

“This is a relational business, not a transactional one. If you view it as the latter, you’ll surely fail long term,” explains Anthony Fletcher, President and CEO of My Future Consulting. “Whether you’re in search of a new business opportunity or an exceptional candidate, I found that organic, genuine, and empowering relationships enable businesses to build a network comprised of the most talented, knowledgeable, influential, and accomplished professionals in the world.” 

Anthony Fletcher boasts a wealth of knowledge developed over 20 years managing Fortune 100 company’s operations, manufacturing, planning and sales. Through his dedication to understanding people, Mr. Fletcher demonstrates competitive knowledge required to develop a successful approach in matching the right people with the right jobs and beyond. My Future Consulting differentiates the recruiting process through a carefully developed process that considers the needs of both employers and candidates, ultimately ensuring life-long partnerships while tackling the challenges in workforce development head-on. 

Candidates in the modern workforce come with a variety of personalities, levels of skills, experience, and expectations. Furthermore, generational gaps create complexities that can be difficult to navigate, especially for a company looking to fill a vital position quickly and successfully. The hiring process has evolved significantly in recent years and now requires a granular approach to recruiting the right people to build a lasting team. Simply put, there is no “one size fits all” approach and it takes an expert in people to successfully achieve such results. That’s the difference My Future Consulting brings to companies in eight different industries, boasting a 93 percent employee placement retention rate. 

“’Your Future is Our Priority’” is embodied in every phase of the search process. Our end goal is to make the process both seamless and stress-free for all stakeholders,” adds Mr. Fletcher. “Unlike most recruitment firms where recruiting is approached transactionally, My Future Consulting approaches it as a relationship-based business. We take tremendous pride in critically evaluating necessary steps to ensure all of our clients have a phenomenal experience during each and every phase of the recruitment process. Additionally, 95 percent of our candidates and 90 percent of our clients lack the knowledge and/or resources to effectively negotiate salary and compensation. This is another reason why our services are greatly valued as we are able to propose a competitive compensation – a package that presents a win-win outcome for both the candidate and client.” 

Taking it a few steps further, My Future Consulting focuses on presenting candidates to clients that bring results through a thorough understanding of company culture and the differences presented in different generations of employees seeking a family of companies to grow with. Among the major differences in the talent market today is the emergence of Gen Z into the mix of millennials and baby boomers. Communication, experience, goals, and skills are unique to each candidate presented. An example of this is seen with the level of experience in technology. While a seasoned Millennial candidate presents skills in communication and writing, a Gen Z candidate with less experience might present a deeper knowledge of platforms vital to a company’s audience. If an overwhelmed supervisor is tasked with the responsibility to fill a position quickly, identifying these factors could very well be overlooked and the right candidate dismissed. 

“From a recruitment standpoint, it can be extremely challenging for Baby Boomers who may not be knowledgeable of the many social media platforms and networks that exist today, as this has become a primary connection point for most millennials, Gen Z and a few straggling Baby Boomers,” adds Fletcher. “Lack of engagement on the aforementioned could result in a competitive disadvantage in the war of talent that exists in today’s job market.”

More so than before, finding the right talent has proven to be increasingly difficult as more factors present themselves in a variety of industries. The workforce culture is changing while technology is advancing and companies are confronted with the need for change in developing a strong team. What proved to be successful previously is not guaranteed to work in the modern age. Hiring managers and business owners alike are beginning to realize addressing these challenges is best left for the experts to tackle. 

“For Gen Z and Millennials, technology is the most appealing aspect of a job and lack thereof will only lead to high turnover. Today’s candidates lean towards organizations that are always on the cutting edge of technology. For those companies that have an antiquated approach in running their organization, they are perceived to be out of touch, stifling the individual capability of the organization, thus leading to morale and performance issues – a recipe for mass exodus.” 

Understanding a candidate from a generational, cultural, and skills point of view is not something companies can rely on an average recruiting website or firm to deliver on. What many recruiters fail to understand is how to determine which candidates are ready for the next step in an industry and which candidates need some finessing for placement success. From the personalized, 10-point resume assessment services to its career transition services, the experts at My Future Consulting address recruiting from both sides to ensure the right candidates are set up for success and while companies are paired with the best option. Instead of isolating one side, both participants in the process are evaluated holistically, resulting in satisfied clients and employees. 

“Every search begins with the goal of it lasting. When uniting candidates with clients, we go into each search with the thought of it being a long-term business marriage,” adds Fletcher. “Long term viability is our end goal, so we go to great lengths to understand the needs and goals of both the candidate and the clients. Once we identify what we perceive to be the ideal candidate we begin to court them accordingly.” 

“Based on the unsolicited feedback we’ve consistently received from both the candidate and our valued client base, our unique methodology, timely and personalized style of communication clearly differentiates us from any perceived competitors. We firmly believe that effective communication is critical and serves as the foundation for our firm. It enables us to provide clear direction and impeccable service to our clients.” 

Another critical element in today’s workforce is the theme of diversity and inclusion – regardless of the industry. This directly ties in with the Gen Z and Millennial generations entering the workforce and what is expected as a standard, not a “perk.” There’s a direct correlation between company culture and employee satisfaction, quality of work, and most importantly, company reputation. If a company neglects its own culture (i.e. people), employees can lose motivation, creating more positions to fill, raising turnover rates, and restarting the never-ending cycle. If a company is known for extensive hours, poor culture, and lack of technology, a qualified candidate – particularly a Gen Zer, can become quickly disinterested and offer their skills to a competitor. Even worse is when that employee spreads the message of poor culture and working conditions to other potential candidates. Word of mouth plays an equal part in developing your company’s profile in the talent pool. 

Fletcher adds: 

“Jobs that lack an intense level of engagement from a digital space could lead to boredom, which if not addressed could result in high turnover. Gen Zers appear to be more motivated by security versus millennials, who tend to be motivated by purpose. This explains the constant job-hopping and indecisiveness when it comes to career choices among these generations of workers. This also shows how critical it is to know your employee’s career goals and motivations as well as talent opportunities.” 

“Work experience and skill set are equally critical when identifying solid talent to present to our clients. However, a vibrant, inclusive, and engaging work environment is where we expend immeasurable energy in to ensure that we’re putting candidates in a position to succeed from the moment their step on the campus of the new employer.” 

Taking it another step further is balancing the needs of both employers and employees once the right candidate has been identified and hired. This is one of the most critical steps once an employee has been selected and begins integrating into a company’s atmosphere – beyond the deliverables and daily tasks. An example of this is commonly found with Gen Z candidates and accurately assessing career paths against personal goals, expectations, and skills development. Today’s workforce requires career-mapping and consistent goal setting for success. 

“Gen Zers operate with an entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic, meaning they are high energy, self-motivated, and independent in thought. This poses a tremendous challenge for most hiring managers that typically oversee more traditional operations where policies and procedures not only guide, but sometimes place a stranglehold on employees and their success. Striking a balance is the key to success,” adds Fletcher. “Studies have shown that both Gen Zers and Millennials want to be catered to quite intensely. I believe that applies to all generations, but the latter is simply more outspoken about it. This can pose a problem to hiring managers that are Baby Boomers, as their inclination is to not to coddle candidates, leading to miscommunication and unmanaged expectations which ultimately results in loss of job opportunities, career advancement, and retention rates dropping.” 

From managing expectations to providing the right amount of challenges and feedback for this generation, it takes an expert in people to ensure the match is successful in the long-term. This is another way My Future Consulting differentiates itself among talent recruiters. It’s through the extensive knowledge and expertise offered that 93 percent of their candidates thrive in their new roles, followed through with consistent checks and balances to ensure retention is achieved. 

“We identify the five most critical skills sets that are required to be successful in the role we’re recruiting for and provide a detailed analysis of each that is included in our candidate submission summary. Once a candidate is converted to employee, our firm check-in with the candidate on day 60-90-180. No other search firm in the world has a similar practice. We send congratulatory gifts to the client and candidate up signing. We also celebrate the candidates 1st year anniversary and follow-up with the candidate twice a year to discuss performance, culture, and transition.” 

The My Future Consulting difference speaks for itself through satisfied clients and successful employees the firm has placed in a multitude of industries over the years. The unmatched knowledge found within the team of experts at My Future Consulting goes beyond addressing recruiting and retention roadblocks and spotlights the importance of company reputation. Not only does the firm take pride in connecting companies to candidates but takes the time to prepare the next generation of workers for their ideal job while growing businesses nationwide. 

“Over 95 percent of the candidates that we look to present to our industry leading clients are passive professionals, thus not actively searching for a new opportunity. We are often referred to them by trusted associates, both past and present. New business opportunities tend to arise from satisfied clients and business partners who refer new clients to our firm. In fact, 80 percent of our new business is a result of unsolicited client referrals. This data point, as you would imagine, makes us very proud as an organization,” Fletcher concludes. 

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Anthony Fletcher, Sr. (@Real_AFletcher) is the owner and president of My Future Consulting and Integrity Sports Agency. Drawing from over two decades of Executive Management experience in leading innovative solutions, staff building and talent recruitment, Mr. Fletcher founded My Future Consulting (MFC) in 2007. Working towards innovation based on his experience of matching the right person with the right job, this innovative staffing company has revolutionized how organizations meet their need with experienced and high-potential talent. My Future Consulting was founded on the principle that people are an organization’s most important asset and was ranked as a Top 20 Employment Agency in Chicago by Expertise.com in 2018 and 2019. 

Mr. Fletcher is a popular keynote speaker and can often be found sharing his story and insights on leadership, empowerment, and the importance of people with professional, civic, and community organizations. He is also a lecturer and visiting professor at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. 

Anthony lives in Orlando Park, Ill. with his family. He is a dedicated philanthropist and volunteer, serving as a chairperson and fundraiser for many area nonprofit organizations. Mr. Fletcher has raised over $54,000 for MS Walk and volunteers as an executive advisor to organizations, 

including the American Diabetes Association, Boys and Girls Club of America, and Feed Our Starving Children. 

Want Employees To Love What They Do? Here Are 4 Ways To Get There.

Bosses might want to take notice if employees view their jobs as “the daily grind.”

A disgruntled and disengaged workforce can undermine production and harm customer relations, while a happy, engaged workforce does the opposite.

“If you take care of your employees, they will be better prepared and far more motivated to take care of your customers,” says Shawn Burcham (www.shawnburcham.com), founder and CEO of PFSbrands and author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success.

“Ideally, you want employees who think and act like owners.”

Burcham says one of the first steps toward cultivating such an environment is to communicate openly with employees. And that may be even more crucial today because newer generations entering the workforce want to know the “why” of what they are doing.

“Millennials value truth and honesty,” Burcham says. “They also are looking for personal growth, education, and continuous learning. If companies want to scale, then they need to embrace millennials and work to create an environment where they are engaged.”

He suggests four ways leaders can help their employees love what they do:

Have fun at work. People spend more hours at their jobs than doing just about anything else, Burcham says, so the time might as well be enjoyable rather than drudgery. Some simple ways people can have fun at work include cracking jokes, decorating their work areas, or celebrating employee birthdays. For Burcham, the work itself is fun. “As a leader, I want to provide an environment conducive to having fun,” he says. “I also let our employees know that it is up to them to make having fun a reality within their job and their department.”

Coach them up. All employees must be willing to learn at a pace consistent with the company’s growth, Burcham says. “Usually, we hire people with a skillset that enables them to scale with us,” he says. “Sometimes, though, we have employees who are challenged to ‘make the leap’ with us. When that happens, we work with them to find a role on our team where they can excel. We want to provide them with every opportunity and tool we can to help them adapt.”

Maintain a positive attitude. Most successful people exude a positive attitude, are optimistic, and have a never-quit personality, Burcham says. “Who wants to work in an environment of doom and gloom?” he asks. One way to cultivate an upbeat workplace is to strive to hire only “A” players, people who want to be the best at their jobs and take pride in making positive contributions.  “But anyone can be or become an A player,” Burcham says. “It simply revolves around having a positive attitude along with a desire to learn and constantly improve.”

Show appreciation. Employees want to know that the bosses – and their coworkers – appreciate them, so it’s important to find ways to show them. Burcham says at his company new hires are welcomed by dozens of emails from their team members before they even arrive for the first day of work. When they start, two or three dozen employees gather to greet them with a high five. “For our team, it’s all about gratitude,” Burcham says. “It’s not, ‘I have to go to work today.’ It’s, ‘I get to go to work today.’ ”

“I think the real key,” Burcham says, “is to hire people who are already motivated and then put them in an environment where they can excel. Engaged employees are fun to work with and they will go the extra mile for their customers as well as their peers.

 

Shawn Burcham (www.shawnburcham.com), author of Keeping Score with GRITT: Straight Talk Strategies for Success, is the founder & CEO of PFSbrands, which he and his wife, Julie, started out of their home in 1998. The company has over 1,500 branded foodservice locations across 40 states and is best known for their Champs Chicken franchise brand which was started in 1999. Prior to starting PFSbrands, Burcham spent five years with a Fortune 100 company, Mid-America Dairymen (now Dairy Farmers of America). He also worked for three years as a Regional Sales Manager for a midwest Chester’s Fried chicken distributor.

questions

Hiring The Wrong People? Maybe You’re Asking Them The Wrong Questions.

A company’s intention in a job interview is to find the person who best fits a particular position. But recent research has shown that quite often, the candidate who was hired failed, and usually their exit was related to attitude issues that weren’t revealed in the interview.
That raises the question: Are interviewers asking the wrong questions — and consequently hiring the wrong people? Alex Zlatin, CEO of Maxim Software Systems (alexzlatin.com), says some traditional styles of interviewing are outdated, thus wasting time and resources while letting better candidates slip away.
“It still astounds me to meet HR professionals who lack the basic skills of interviewing,” says Zlatin, author of the book Responsible Dental Ownership. “In 2019, ‘tell me about yourself’ is still a way to start an interview, and that’s absurd. The only thing you get is people who describe the outline of their resume, which you already know.
“You want to get to know the candidate’s personality in the interview. In a normal setting, you would have about one hour to do this. But some traditional interview practices waste this precious time, and you can miss out on great talent and instead hire a mediocre one.”
Zlatin offers the following interview approaches to help HR leaders, recruiters and executives find the right candidate:
Make it a two-way conversation.  Zlatin says traditional interviewing focuses too much on the candidate’s skills and experience rather than on their motivation, problem-solving ability, and willingness to collaborate. Thus, he suggests configuring the interview in a non-traditional, informal way to gain insight into the candidate’s personality. “Rather than make most of the interview a rigid, constant question-and-answer format that can be limiting to both sides, have a two-way conversation and invite them to ask plenty of questions,” Zlatin says.
Flip their resume upside down.  “Surprise them by going outside the box and asking them something about themselves that isn’t on their resume or in their cover letter,” Zlatin says. “See how creatively they think and whether they stay calm. You want to see how a candidate thinks on their feet — a trait all companies value.”
Ask open-ended questions. Can this candidate make a difference in your company? Zlatin says answering that question should be a big aim of the interview. “Ask questions that allude to how they made a difference in certain situations at their past company,” Zlatin says. “Then present a hypothetical situation and ask how they would respond.”
Don’t ask cliched questions. Zlatin says some traditional interview questions only lead to candidates telling interviewers what the candidate thinks the company wants to hear. “Interviewers should stop asking pointless questions like, ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ “ Zlatin says. Or, ‘Why do you want to work for this company?’ Candidates rehearse these answers, and many of them are similar, so that doesn’t allow them to stand apart.”
Learn from the candidate’s questions. The questions candidates ask can indicate how deeply they’ve studied the company and how interested they really are. “A good candidate uses questions to learn about the role, the company, and the boss to assess whether it’s the right job for them,” Zlatin says.
Don’t take copious notes. Zlatin says the tendency by interviewers to write down the candidates answers and other observations is “a huge obstacle to building a solid two-way conversation because it removes the crucial element of eye contact.”
“An effectively done interview allows the employer to get both an in-depth and big-picture look at a candidate,” Zlatin says. “Judging whether they might fit starts with giving them more room to express in the interview.”
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Alex Zlatin, author of the book Responsible Dental Ownership (alexzlatin.com), had more than 10 years of management experience before he accepted the position of CEO of dental practice management company Maxim Software Systems. He earned his MBA at Edinburgh Business School and a B.Sc. in Technology Management at HIT in Israel. His company helps struggling dental professionals take control of their practices and reach the next level of success with responsible leadership strategies.
culture

Who’s Responsible For Your Company’s Culture? Look In The Mirror, Leaders.

Extensive research has shown that a positive work culture often results in productive employees who both value their work and feel valued themselves.
But company leadership, not the employees, usually creates that culture. Executives and managers have a significant responsibility to establish a positive culture that is conducive to company success.
“Culture can be thought of as the inner life of the organization,” says Cynthia Howard (www.eileadership.org), an executive coach, performance expert, and author of the book The Resilient Leader, Mindset Makeover: Uncover the Elephant in the Room.
“It is the self-sustaining mix of values, attitudes, and behavior that drives performance. Culture is the brand identity of the company, and it has the ability to attract and retain great talent or not. Thus, it’s incumbent on the leaders to be aware of their culture, what they can do to improve it, and honestly assess if it’s the kind of place where people want to be and want to grow.”
Another key reason that company leaders need to make work culture a high priority, Howard says, is because millennials — who comprise the largest segment of the workforce — rank culture as their top consideration when choosing where to work.
Howard offers five ways leaders can foster a positive work culture:
Model positive, respectful behavior. Howard says a positive work culture starts with the leader setting the tone, which can send the right message to leaders at other levels in the company. “Don’t play the blame game,” Howard says. “Encourage an environment where it’s OK to make mistakes and move forward. Frontline staff crave leaders who understand them and care about them, will mentor them, and will provide professional guidance to make fair and tough decisions.”
Show gratitude. “Show your gratitude and appreciation for accomplishments by acknowledging people during a meeting or with a note,” Howard says. “Celebrating wins lifts morale, and when people know they will be recognized for exceptional work, they’ll be more motivated.”
Communicate consistently and with clarity.  “Keep employees in the loop with consistent updates,” Howard says. “Give them regular feedback, not just at review time. This keeps people connected, feeling part of the team, and removes the mystery — and inherent tension — of where they stand. Create clear goals, and make everyone feel that they are necessary components toward reaching those goals. That inspires an environment of inclusion, pride and commitment.”
Really listen. “This is the important other side of communication that some leaders fail to master,” Howard says. “For the leaders underneath you and the employees throughout a company to truly feel valued, they have to know they have a voice and that it will be heard. Be open and encouraging to others’ ideas and solutions.”
Promote collaboration. One of a company leader’s primary jobs is getting the most out of their team — mainly by defining the importance of team. “Maximizing the strengths of a team means knowing each person’s uniqueness and talents and using them in the best possible way,” Howard says. “It also means creating a culture where everyone respects each other’s talents and is enthusiastic about working together for the greater good.”
“Poor culture leads to lots of turnover,” Howard says. “When you as a leader instill and insist on a positive culture, you reap the benefits. Happy, engaged employees mean a thriving company.”
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Cynthia Howard (www.eileadership.org) is an executive coach, performance expert and the author of The Resilient Leader, Mindset Makeover: Uncover the Elephant in the Room. She researched stress and its consequences in performance during her PhD. In the past 20-plus years she has coached thousands of professionals, leaders and executives toward emotional agility and engaged leadership.