Culture builder

Sue Romanos has 27 valuable commodities at her
company, and she’s holding on to them very tightly. Romanos, president and
CEO of independent staffing
firm CAREERXCHANGE,
has an office littered with
company culture awards, and
she continues to do everything in her power to fulfill
her 27 internal employees.
With her business in the
hands of those employees
handling the complexities of
the 2,000 field temporary
workers at the $18 million
firm, she wants them all
happy.

“People leave companies
not because of money,” she
says. “They leave because
they feel like they are not in
the loop, they feel like they
are not part of things, or
they feel like they are not
appreciated.”

Smart Business spoke
with Romanos about how
building a better business
comes from building a better
culture.

Q. How do you create a
culture of ownership?

One of the things that is
truly my belief as an owner is
that the best asset that I have
is human capital. You have to
understand that you can take
the people you have working
for you in your organization
and what happens to them
can make or break your company — that’s true in every
industry, but in the service
industry in particular. In
order for the employees to
put the most into their job
and get the most out of their
job, which is the feeling of satisfaction, they have to feel
like they are a stakeholder in
the outcome.

To do that, we give them
that opportunity with
improvement programs, and
employees are always
encouraged to make suggestions for continuous improvement and any type of processes within the company. Most
decisions that occur bubble
up from the employees’
input. We hold contests
where we invite them to
come up with better ways of
doing things, better
ways to service clients
and better ways to
touch our candidates.

We are also very family friendly. We encourage our employees to
participate in family-friendly activities. We
have a number of single
moms, and if a child is
sick or unable to go to
school for some reason,
we encourage them to
bring them in. We have
an area in the company
where a sick child can
be occupied during the
day.

Q. How important is
creating that work-life
balance?

You have to have balance. I
am on the board of The
Work-Life Balance Institute,
and that is extremely important, especially today when
there is the need for a two-income family. Most women
are working, and it’s extremely important not only for
them to be satisfied in their
career but also to be satisfied
in their work-life balance.

I don’t believe in burning
employees out; we encourage them that their family is their
first priority. Our employees
appreciate that about us, and
that is one of the reasons
that we have very low turnover with employees. We
have an average tenure of
eight-plus years here, and
we’re doing that in an industry that typically has a turnover rate of more than 140 percent.

Not only is it important for
them to have the balance
between their position and
their family, but they also need personal development.
We stress personal development, and we encourage it.
We will allow employees to
take programs or additional training that would be a personal development item.

That makes them a better
employee. They are more
well-rounded, they are happier, they have less stress, they
feel like they are accomplishing something, and they are
growing. It’s so important for
the human psyche to continue to grow.

Q. How does helping
employees find that work-life
balance benefit your company?

That has a dual role. First,
if employees are happy here,
they are more productive
because if you have an
employee who comes in and
is brand new, their value to
the company is not as great
as someone who has been
with the company for five or
10 or 20 years. So we encourage retention from that
point of view because we
feel that we are getting better productivity from someone who is trained, who
knows the way we do things
and who knows how to best
be productive.

The other side of that
translates into customer satisfaction because I think one
of the things our clients
would say about us is our
people have the experience,
education and knowledge,
which we put a great deal of
value on. Our clients appreciate it because they are
dealing with the same person
year in and year out. Then,
that person understands
their culture, understands
who they are dealing with,
what fits best with those
individuals and how to make
the best matches.

HOW TO REACH: CAREERXCHANGE, (305) 595-3800 or www.careerxchange.com

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