Simple Ways to Build Business Relationships and Trust

Michael Paradise - CEO at Sysazzle, Inc (Business & Information Technology systems)
Michael Paradise is the CEO at Sysazzle, Inc (Business & Information Technology systems).

No doubt you have a lot of assets built in to your business — YOU are your business, not just your company. One of your most important assets is the people you surround yourself with. Your business relationships are an asset that defines what your company is and what it stands for.

Those relationships — the ones you as a leader have with your people, and the ones you and your people have with your clients and customers — can make or break your business, your future and your financial success. Fostering those relationships and building trust is key.

The following attributes are important to maintaining solid business relationships.

Being honest.

Perhaps the most obvious measure of whether you’re able to build trust is whether or not you’re being honest. You don’t need to share proprietary information or expose secrets, but being open and acting in a straightforward manner will move you closer to your people. Those you’re close to on a regular basis will know if you’re on the up and up, and will respond accordingly.

Being a resource.

Don’t just reach out when you need something, share! We all have vendors, or even friends and family members, who we only hear from when they need something. Break that habit. Connect with your customers and employees just to see how they’re doing, or if they need something. Forward an interesting article or pass on a tip. Learn to be a resource so you’re always top of mind.

Not springing surprises.

Nobody likes surprises in business. There are enough challenges that crop up no matter how well you plan, so don’t make it worse. If something bad is a possibility, deliver the news early so everyone can prepare. And if possible, bring a solution along with the problem to minimize the shock and fear that might be baked into the surprise.

Meeting or beating deadlines.

This one’s simple: be on time with your deliverables. Be on time, period. No more explanation is necessary! (If you can’t hit your target, refer to the point above!)

Rewarding loyalty and expressing appreciation.

Let your people know where they stand if they’ve been standing by you. Be it your customers or your employees, express your appreciation for their work or their loyalty. You don’t need to throw an elaborate party — a simple handwritten note outlining your pleasure for their efforts goes a long way, in a personal manner, to strengthening a relationship.

All talk + no action = bad feelings.

Follow through on what you’ve committed to. You will lose the confidence of your clients and your employees if you offer them a constant stream of promises that aren’t kept. If you deliver a plan to a client, carry it out. If you tell your employees to expect some action on an internal agenda item, deliver it. The boy who cried wolf is a lasting parable because we’ve all experienced it in some way.

There is no magic bullet to fostering relationships and trust — much of it is common sense that is easy to get lost in the bustle of your daily schedule. But if you adopt these simple rules as part of your business routine you’ll definitely be on the path to stronger relationships that will benefit your business.

Is Recruiting Prowess the Key to Your Success?

Michael Paradise Hire IT

 

According to the March 2015 LINE (Leading Indicators of National Employment) from the Society for Human Resource Management, recruiting difficulty had increased in both the manufacturing and services sectors in February 2015.

 What are organizations to do in order to stay competitive?

Focus on top notch recruiting efforts.

Is recruiting an art that deserves center stage in your business?

We all know it is.

The recruiting and staffing industry plays a direct role in the success of your business — the wrong hire wastes time and money in innumerable ways, from out-of pocket recruiting costs (accommodations, transportation) and on boarding costs (equipment, training), to disruption costs associated with lost work and opportunity costs associated with missed business, failure to hire other candidates, and miscommunications internally and with clients.

Finding the right candidate to fill a position is a process that begins in most cases before the position is even open: ideally, your recruiter will focus on getting to know your organization from the inside out to better understand your culture, and the culture of the specific group or team you’re hiring for. The balance of the team is important to create a functioning whole, and if your recruiter knows what makes your company or team tick, they can cut to the chase on candidate selection. A good recruiter will present you fewer candidate resumes, but ones that will be a better fit for the position.

One key component of making the right hire is having an appropriate job description and a good sense of expectations for your new employee. A good recruiter will ask challenging questions and probe deeply for hidden agendas when looking at a job description. Drafting an updated position description to address current and upcoming needs will ensure you find the appropriate candidate. Don’t use an “in the can” job description, or one pulled from a random website that “sounds like” what you’re looking for. You need to customize the job description to your exact needs, reviewed by HR for compliance and legal reasons if necessary, and utilizing the input of the professionals on the recruiting team.

One more point: your recruiter should be cognizant that their reputation is built on each and every placement and relationship they make — in other words, they should be focused on your needs, not theirs. If you sense that their business expansion is a priority over yours, or that they’re throwing a quantity of resumes at you rather than quality candidates, or their leadership isn’t actively engaged in your success, it may be time to reassess that relationship. Their inattention could ultimately spill into your company.

You have a lot riding on your business, and you need to know the people you hire feel the same responsibility. That means hiring a recruiter that knows the intricacies of your industry and the specific needs of your company.

 

Why Do Tech Companies Need Liberal Arts Grads?

Michael Paradise Hire IT

 

 Yes, your iPhone is a technological marvel, and has changed how the world works in innumerable ways. And there are certainly many, many STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) graduates behind making that happen. But chances are a few liberal arts grads were in on the act too.

“It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough,” Steve Jobs said in 2010. “It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.”

Liberal arts training provides creativity and critical thinking skills that move beyond the by-the-numbers technical nature of STEM. In an oped in US News & World Report entitled “Thinking Outside the Box,” Dr. Tuajuanda C. Jordan, president of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, wrote: “We don’t exactly know what the jobs of the future will look like. Specialized technical training that looks like a sure thing now may be useless in only a few years. Yet we can be sure of this: No matter the economic landscape, you’ll need a broad knowledge base and the ability to think across disciplines and make informed decisions, often outside of an area of expertise.”

For a 2013 report entitled “It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success,” the American Association of Colleges and Universities surveyed key executives and employers. Among its key findings:

  • More than 75 percent of those surveyed say they want more emphasis on five key areas including: critical thinking, complex problem solving, written and oral communication, and applied knowledge in real-world settings.
  • 80 percent of employers agree that, regardless of their major, every college student should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences.

Our tech clients at Sysazzle expect the same — well-rounded candidates who can flaunt their technical skills but also have the ability to grasp and interpret concepts and challenges for wider audiences. It’s not farfetched to believe that any IT or back-office function job that can be outsourced to India, China, or somewhere else will be, and that those workers who can add value and generate ideas that propel growth will become essential to the American workforce.

“Businesses want more now,” Brian Fox, an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University and founder of Confirmation.com, a firm that specializes in electronic audit confirmations, told CNBC. “In places like Google, they want people who are self-motivated and articulate and can think on their own. It’s not enough just to have tech skills. Graduates have to do more.”

The Key to Growing Your Business is Expert Talent Acquisition & Management

Michael Paradise Hire IT

Demand outpaces supply for today’s technology workers, and researchers at Georgetown University estimate that by 2020 nearly 5 million tech jobs will go unfilled. Preparing the pipeline is a challenge — the US has always struggled with educating our students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math), as well as with ongoing retraining and retooling. In addition, many of these high tech jobs will require post-secondary education.

So how should companies approach this coming worker shortfall?

There’s no silver bullet, and it’s really incumbent upon each hiring organization to be as creative as possible to locate, attract, and prepare the workforce that best meets its own needs. For instance, the South Florida Business Journal reported that F&E Aircraft Maintenance, an aircraft repair firm struggling to find 200 experienced aircraft mechanics to double its presence at Miami International Airport, is working with the George T. Baker Aviation Technical College to create an internship program specifically focused on teaching students to service worldwide industry standard aircraft. Looking ahead to its needs in the coming years, FEAM believes developing its own workforce is the best way to foster the talent it needs.

FEAM’s approach is spot on, creative and innovative. Tech companies will need to rise to the challenge if they want to succeed, even in the very near future. I was pleased to moderate a talent acquisition roundtable discussion hosted by the Arizona Technology Council in which Phoenix-based tech executives explored this issue, and the major take-aways aren’t surprising. What they show, however, is that the challenges candidates face in finding the right job are often mirrored by companies looking to find the right candidates.

Overall, the execs felt that tech companies are not being strategic around talent acquisition and felt that placing greater emphasis on that role from the executive suite would yield more success. Furthermore, they felt that training programs aren’t developed well enough to hire and grow junior talent or fresh out of college graduates.

And beyond what everyone says they want to foster — an exciting, fun and friendly culture; work-life balance; investment in people — companies recognize that creating an environment to attract and retain the right people and developing a pipeline to attract new employees takes a great deal of work, planning and capital investment. A sampling of ideas from the roundtable:

  • Focusing on employee referrals
  • Investing in building a culture
  • Investing in training, retraining and educational programs
  • Creating a remote workforce with an emphasis on accountability, management and communication
  • Outsourcing recruiting
  • Using H1B and J1 visa employees
  • Relocating talent to the area and paying appropriately to do so
  • Hiring and training interns for post-graduation employment (try before you buy long-term and keep those who fit the culture and have great potential)

Once employees are on staff, these execs understand the necessity of providing development opportunities, such as training, and creating a culture that makes their employees passionate about the company. At the operational level, activities such as encouraging teams to self-direct to reach their goals is becoming a more standard practice and helps toward achieving work-life balance. There’s also much to be said for concrete measures like developing stock options or equity sharing programs to give employees a sense of ownership.

The bottom line — and the thing that most impacts your bottom line — is that having the right mix of people with the right mix of skills is critical for any business. Being creative in how you attract and retain those workers may soon be a determining factor in how long you’re in business.

# # #

 

 

Is Your Job Search Challenging? Then You Need A Coach!

Michael Paradise - CEO at Sysazzle, Inc (Business & Information Technology systems)
Michael Paradise is the CEO at Sysazzle, Inc (Business & Information Technology systems).

Job hunting is tough today, and different than you may remember if you’ve been out of the market for awhile. No longer do you find an opening in the newspaper, apply, and wait for a phone call. A job search today requires strategy, focus, and commitment to the process — a sales and marketing process. Yes, I said it, a sales and marketing process and…

In short, looking for a job, your next career move or something to fill in the gap between your last job and your next career move — is a full-time job.

When you need help at home, with your car or for your health, you turn to a professional, right? So shouldn’t you put your career path in the hands of a professional too?

The right coach will provide the guidance you need to get to the next level. Working with you one-on-one, a good coach will help you to identify and clarify your career goals and develop a personalized plan for you to implement.

He or she should be with you every step of the way to keep you on track, which often includes day-to-day if not hour-to-hour contact when things heat up.

The 2012 ICF Global Coaching Study, sponsored by the International Coach Federation, found that there were 47,500 professional coaches worldwide, compared to 2,100 professional coaches in 1999. In addition to career coaching, ICF represents executive coaches, life coaches, leadership coaches, relationship coaches, and other skilled coaching fields. According to the study, “most clients reported improved work performance, better business management, more efficient time management, increased team effectiveness, and more growth and opportunities… Nearly 70 percent of individuals indicated they had at least made back their initial investment. The median suggests that a client who achieved financial benefit from coaching can typically expect a ROI of more than three times the amount spent.”

For our career coaching clients, Sysazzle reviews and revises your resume to make sure it tells your story to a prospective employer; develops a winning cover letter you can adapt for multiple positions; assesses your online presence on social media to ensure consistency and professionalism; develops a portfolio that showcases your skills, talents and accomplishments; reviews your wardrobe so that you present yourself in the best light; and teaches you research, outreach, follow up and interview techniques and tactics so you’ll be successful in the job search process.

A Real Life Example: April 2014 – September 2014

One of Sysazzle’s coaching clients, Robert, is a mid-career IT professional who spent a year looking for the right position without any success. He was employed but wanted a new opportunity and a step up the career ladder, and thought a coach would help him to focus his efforts. Sysazzle began working with him and together they developed a personalized plan to market Robert in his search.

“At first, my coach spent time explaining the sales and marketing process and level of quantity and quality required to get hired; find that next career move. We created a baseline of activity and a high level plan. I then created a more granular plan and then I checked in with my coach for a few minutes every day to ask questions or get some guidance,” Robert said. “But once I had a better feel for the approach we spoke every few days or once a week. I have a 25-year career behind me but looking for a job is different now than it used to be, and there’s a whole new process I had to learn which included being vulnerable and getting out of my chair.

“The first thing we did was to fine tune my resume to highlight key aspects, skills and accomplishments that meshed with what my targeted companies were looking for. Then we drafted a cover letter that complemented my resume. We also developed a portfolio package that showcased my work that I could take to interviews and leave behind.

“At the same time as were putting the paperwork together, I was coached on the interview process itself — how to answer questions, how to ask the right questions, and how to be conversational instead of technical. We also covered how to follow up to stay on the screen instead of being forgotten: Things like what to say in handwritten notes, how long to wait to call back, and even how to drop in on someone I interviewed with while not seeming pushy. I learned that there’s a specific way to handle these situations, and knowing how to thread the needle is key.

“I found the position I was looking for — the right level of responsibility, in the location I wanted, with people I like and respect. Coaching taught me how to market and sell myself, and helped me get this job.”

Robert’s success is due to many factors, but especially the focus he placed on the search. The time he spent — about 40 hours over the course of four months – sharpening his interview skills and materials so that he could reach the next step in his career was an investment in his future.

The bottom line is that today you need to use every tool and resource at your disposal to make your job search a success. Other candidates are — and they’re getting hired! If you’re looking for a job, looking for a better job, or looking for a career instead of just a job, then you need a coach!

For additional resources visit:

www.sysazzle.com/blog

www.sysazzle.com/publications

www.twitter.com/sysazzle