Video Transcript

00:09 Allison Fass: Sharon, I have another question for you that I think is related to hers and I think you have a lot of experience with, which is recruiting for what is-;essentially, forgive me for saying so, but a pretty mundane job.

00:19 Sharon Virst-Mozer: Yes.

00:19 Fass: And, you know, your recruits are doing back office work, data entry, data correction. What are your strategies for that?

00:27 Virst-Mozer: Don't hire people that are overqualified. If they've got a college degree, 9 times out of 10 they're not going to stay with you very long. They'll find something else and they'll move on. We look at high school students. We look at-;or high school graduates, people with GEDs, people who really are underserved, who really want to work. We look for people with that kind of work ethic. We oftentimes recruit from remote areas outside of a city, a metropolitan area, and pay for their transportation expenses in. If they have perfect attendance, they get their train fare paid the next month. So we look outside of an area and we've actually bused people in and paid for their parking to get people to work in Saint Albans, Vermont. We've gone to New York to get them, to bring them over. So you've got to get creative when you're looking for people and looking for folks that will stay in the positions because retention is everything. I don't know whether it is in that business, but in our business, our--the business, the average admin sort of sort person, companies that have this kind of work, they turn over 37% of their workforce every year. We turn over less than 9%. That's a huge number. And it's because we make sure we get people are--with the right qualifications and aren't overqualified.   If they're a real go-getter and they've got all of these aspirations, you don't want them answering--or making cold calls for seven hours a day. They won't.

01:49 Fass: And isn't there also another piece in that you create a sense of purpose or meaning to the job?

01:54 Virst-Mozer: Yeah, one of the things that we do for retention is we--I think I heard it earlier from Alexis when she was talking is we really put in to our folks that they're not just there sorting the mail, but what they do affects people's lives, right? So if you're an immigrant coming to this country and you are trying to bring your son over from where it is and they've got 30 days, the immigration service has 30 days to adjudicate your application, and they're asking for some (inaudible) information, some evidence that to prove something and it goes to the mailroom and my folks misroute that and that 30 days is up, then that person doesn't get to come here. We often say that a benefit delayed is a benefit denied. Likewise for the Coast Guard, we do the licensing for the guys that are on Deadliest Catch, those mariners. And if we don't get their license to them in time, that boat leaves the harbor, they don't fish that season and their families don't eat. So we explain to people in our mailroom, in our data entry departments, in our file rooms that if you misplace this person's file, you lose it, they've lost their life because every person is a file. So I think making your employees feel part of that mission, part of what you do, no matter how mundane the work is, that sense of purpose, they have passion and they stay. It's when you treat them like they're the staff, sort the mail, do it my way--bye. You know, the mail, they won't stay. So that's part of keeping that workforce development going forward.

03:22 Katie Morgan: And that differentiation you mentioned, and you mentioned a commission for these positions, but any other ways that you can try to differentiate the commission or the way of hey, if you get, you know, ten sales, you get this, and then another ten, you get this, and try to drip the compensation, that may differentiate you from some others on the business from a telesales standpoint.

03:42 Virst-Mozer: One of the things that we do that's interesting on that point is whenever one of our customers says hey, you've done a great job and they send me an email, they send our president, who's here, back there someplace, got an email. They send the site an email. They get a $25 American Express gift card. We don't pay FICA on it, yay. And it's gas money for the weekend and they get really excited about that. So their jobs are to get as many of these atta-boys or atta-girls as 85% of our workers are female, as they can so they get these gift cards. And that's one way we keep them enticed and keep them giving great customer service to the people that we serve.

04:18 Female: Great. Thank you.  

04:22 Lisa Hendrix: Hi there. My name is Lisa Hendrix and my company is Spark City and we train entrepreneurs. I also have been instructed to let you know that I am the last question. So I feel very special.

04:34 Female: Good job.

04:35 Hendrix: Thank you. Appreciate it.

(Crosstalk)

04:37 Hendrix: So my question around hiring is very much around culture-driven organizations. And in trying to find--what do you find more important, finding a culture fit and then training for skills or finding people who have skills who are a culture fit? I find that there's, you know, I'm a serial entrepreneur. I've had many companies. And as I have scaled these companies, I find that hiring is such a touchy thing, whether we come from looking at culture as the main driver or value is the main driver. How do you find people with integrity as having that integrity, but no skill set, well, can we train? You know, how do you overcome or manage these conversations on the side of your hiring process?

05:31 Fass: Selena, do you want to start?

05:32 Cuffe: Sure. I mean, I think that we have been in a great position to where we've received a ton of resumes where the culture component wasn't an issue because they were attracted to what it was that we were doing. And I just wonder, especially kind of where our country is right now in its kind of economic status whether or not you have to choose to be honest with you. I think that there are enough good candidates out there that you should demand to find the one that fits your need.

06:00 Morgan: Mm-hm. Yeah. And I would add that, I mean, the values, there's no question, I mean, and depending upon the role, the skills are nonnegotiable in some cases, but what is very much nonnegotiable regardless of the role is the values and principles of our company. And so, you know, we have interviewing guides, all sorts of different elements that will embed our values of trusting and teamwork and, you know, delivering together and empowerment, accountability, those kinds of things, that whether you are a teller in a banking center, a business banking client manager, or, you know, wealth management financial advisor, we are all, you know, really aligned to those values and principles.

06:40 Virst-Mozer: And likewise, I mean, the values piece and the culture we create and they fit in, but they have to have those values. And for us it's respect, it's integrity, it's commitment, and it's doing your best. It's excellence--We call it RICE. Try to put it that way.

06:53 Female: That's good.

06:54 Morgan: Ours is DART.

06:55 Virst-Mozer: Okay, DART, RICE, we all have like a four-letter acronym for it. But you can't have people that are unethical working for you, you just can't. You can train skills. I think having the skills, are people coming from the right industry? So, for example, we may do a lot of admin processing work that we find that folks that have worked in retail or have worked in manufacturing operations actually fit well, so they (inaudible) to have the right skills necessarily, but sort of the right environment, that those ethics are unbelievable important and you can't teach that.

07:24 Cuffe: That's a great question.

07:26 Lisa Hendrix: Thank you.  

07:27 Female: So thank you.

07:27 Fass: Thank you all for joining us today. This has been a great conversation. We appreciate it.

Female:  Sharon, I have another question for you that I think is related to hers and I think you have a lot of experience with, which is recruiting for what is-;essentially, forgive me for saying so, but a pretty mundane job. 

 

Sharon Verzmoser:  Yes. 

 

Female:  And, you know, your recruits are doing back office work, data entry, data correction.  What are your strategies for that? 

 

Sharon Verzmoser:  Don't hire people that are overqualified.  If they've got a college degree, 9 times out of 10 they're not going to stay with you very long.  They'll find something else and they'll move on.  We look at high school students.  We look at-;or high school graduates, people with GEDs, people who really are underserved, who really want to work.  We look for people with that kind of work ethic.  We oftentimes recruit from remote areas outside of a city, a metropolitan area, and pay for their transportation expenses in.  If they have perfect attendance, they get their train fare paid the next month.  So we look outside of an area and we've actually bused people in and paid for their parking to get people to work in Saint Albans, Vermont.  We've gone to New York to get them, to bring them over.  So you've got to get creative when you're looking for people and looking for folks that will stay in the positions because retention is everything.  I don't know whether it is in that business, but in our business, our-;the business, the average admin sort of sort person, companies that have this kind of work, they turn over 37% of their workforce every year.  We turn over less than 9%.  That's a huge number.  And it's because we make sure we get people are-;with the right qualifications and aren't overqualified.   If they're a real go-getter and they've got all of these aspirations, you don't want them answering-;or making cold calls for seven hours a day.  They won't. 

 

Female:  And isn't there also another piece in that you create a sense of purpose or meaning to the job? 

 

Sharon Verzmoser:  Yeah, one of the things that we do for retention is we-;I think I heard it earlier from Alexis when she was talking is we really put in to our folks that they're not just there sorting the mail, but what they do affects people's lives, right?  So if you're an immigrant coming to this country and you are trying to bring your son over from where it is and they've got 30 days, the immigration service has 30 days to adjudicate your application, and they're asking for some (inaudible) information, some evidence that to prove something and it goes to the mailroom and my folks misroute that and that 30 days is up, then that person doesn't get to come here.  We often say that a benefit delayed is a benefit denied.  Likewise for the Coast Guard, we do the licensing for the guys that are on Deadliest Catch, those mariners.  And if we don't get their license to them in time, that boat leaves the harbor, they don't fish that season and their families don't eat.  So we explain to people in our mailroom, in our data entry departments, in our file rooms that if you misplace this person's file, you lose it, they've lost their life because every person is a file.  So I think making your employees feel part of that mission, part of what you do, no matter how mundane the work is, that sense of purpose, they have passion and they stay.  It's when you treat them like they're the staff, sort the mail, do it my way-;bye.  You know-;

 

(Crosstalk) 

 

Sharon Verzmoser:  -;the mail, they won't stay.  So that's part of keeping that workforce development going forward. 

 

Female:  And that differentiation you mentioned, and you mentioned a commission for these positions, but any other ways that you can try to differentiate the commission or the way of hey, if you get, you know, ten sales, you get this, and then another ten, you get this, and try to drip the compensation, that may differentiate you from some others on the business from a telesales standpoint. 

 

Sharon Verzmoser:  One of the things that we do that's interesting on that point is whenever one of our customers says hey, you've done a great job and they send me an email, they send our president, who's here, back there someplace, got an email.  They send the site an email.  They get a $25 American Express gift card.  We don't pay FICA on it, yay.  And it's gas money for the weekend and they get really excited about that.  So their jobs are to get as many of these atta-boys or atta-girls as 85% of our workers are female, as they can so they get these gift cards.  And that's one way we keep them enticed and keep them giving great customer service to the people that we serve. 

 

Female:  Great. 

 

Female:  Thank you.   

 

Lisa Hendrix:  Hi there.  My name is Lisa Hendrix and my company is Spark City and we train entrepreneurs.  I also have been instructed to let you know that I am the last question.  So I feel very special. 

 

Female:  Good job. 

 

Lisa Hendrix:  Thank you.  Appreciate it. 

 

(Crosstalk) 

 

Lisa Hendrix:  So my question around hiring is very much around culture-driven organizations.  And in trying to find-;what do you find more important, finding a culture fit and then training for skills or finding people who have skills who are a culture fit?  I find that there's, you know, I'm a serial entrepreneur.  I've had many companies.  And as I have scaled these companies, I find that hiring is such a touchy thing, whether we come from looking at culture as the main driver or value is the main driver.  How do you find people with integrity as having that integrity, but no skill set, well, can we train?  You know, how do you overcome or manage these conversations on the side of your hiring process? 

 

Presenter:  Selena, do you want to start? 

 

Selena Cuffe:  Sure.  I mean, I think that we have been in a great position to where we've received a ton of resumes where the culture component wasn't an issue because they were attracted to what it was that we were doing.  And I just wonder, especially kind of where our country is right now in its kind of economic status whether or not you have to choose to be honest with you.  I think that there are enough good candidates out there that you should demand to find the one that fits your need. 

 

Katie Morgan:  Mm-hm.  Yeah.  And I would add that, I mean, the values, there's no question, I mean, and depending upon the role, the skills are nonnegotiable in some cases, but what is very much nonnegotiable regardless of the role is the values and principles of our company.  And so, you know, we have interviewing guides, all sorts of different elements that will embed our values of trusting and teamwork and, you know, delivering together and empowerment, accountability, those kinds of things, that whether you are a teller in a banking center, a business banking client manager, or, you know, wealth management financial advisor, we are all, you know, really aligned to those values and principles. 

 

Sharon Verzmoser:  And likewise, I mean, the values piece and the culture we create and they fit in, but they have to have those values.  And for us it's respect, it's integrity, it's commitment, and it's doing your best.  It's excellence (inaudible) try to put it that way. 

 

Female:  That's good. 

 

Female:  Ours is DART 

 

Sharon Verzmoser:  Okay, DART, rights, we all have like a four-letter acronym for it.  But you can't have people that are unethical working for you, you just can't.  You can train skills.  I think having the skills, are people coming from the right industry?  So, for example, we may do a lot of admin processing work that we find that folks that have worked in retail or have worked in manufacturing operations actually fit well, so they (inaudible) to have the right skills necessarily, but sort of the right environment, that those ethics are unbelievable important and you can't teach that. 

 

Female:  Yeah. 

 

Female:  That's a great question. 

 

Female:  Yeah. 

 

Lisa Hendrix:  Thank you.   

 

Female:  So thank you. 

 

Female:  Thank you. 

 

Presenter:  Thank you all for joining us today.  This has been a great conversation.  We appreciate it.