Ghafari arrived in Detroit in 1988 with $500 in her pocket. A native of Lebanon and a widow raising two teenage boys, she struggled to learn English, and she knew nothing about the staffing industry when her brother presented her with the opportunity to build and grow G-TECH in 1989.
Despite her lack of experience, she had a strong desire to be a role model for her sons and that, along with her love for people, catapulted her to success. Her hard work, and that of her team, has resulted in a business with more than 500 contract employees and revenue that has grown from $700,000 in 1989 to nearly $44 million in 2004.
Smart Business spoke with Ghafari about how she grew the company, how she makes G-TECH a great place to work and how she maintains a positive attitude.
How have you grown the company to $44 million in revenue?
G-TECH’s growth has come as a direct result of working harder and smarter to exceed our client expectations. This has led not only to repeat business but also to referrals that have brought us new business and significant growth.
I have often told my team that the key to exceeding expectations and growing our company is being the best listeners in the industry. I really believe that is one reason why G-TECH typically scores high in customer satisfaction surveys.
How do you make G-TECH a great place to work?
My strategy is simple. I treat my employees as valued customers. I do not mistreat, overpromise or underdeliver.
All issues are addressed immediately. If you let issues fester, it can lead to someone walking out the door. I always want to know if something is bothering my employees. Turnover is extremely expensive in this business.
I am proud to say that we were just named one of Metropolitan Detroit’s 101 Best & Brightest Company to Work For. The criteria for this award include a favorable ranking against other firms in areas such as work-life balance, employee communications and recognition, community initiatives and strategic planning.
How do you recruit top talent?
Thorough job orders are critical, so we delve into the client’s expectations and concerns up front. It’s not only a matter of matching up technical skills to the job we have to understand the personal qualities the client is seeking.
Our recruiters are skilled in asking the right questions during this fact-finding stage. We have a sophisticated database that pinpoints the ideal person for the job, taking into account soft skills and technical abilities.
It is not unusual to start with 50 potential candidates and narrow it down to two or three perfect fits at the end of our prescreening process. This ensures that our clients receive quality candidates in a timely fashion.
How do you retain current clients and find new ones?
Since 80 percent of our business is from our repeat clients, we put a lot of effort into keeping them happy. We work with Ford, Daimler Chrysler, General Motors, General Dynamics and other well-known companies. We are a quality-driven organization and strive to partner with the same.
We solicit the other 20 percent of our business from market research and analysis, using sources such as The American Staffing Association to identify industry trends. An example of this is that our research over the past few months has determined that while engineering and IT professionals are always in demand, finance and accounting is also a booming area.
So we established a new division to fill this need and have been very pleased with the results.
How do you maintain positive attitude?
The key is my ability to balance my professional, spiritual and family life. My life is a good example of what I believe personally: Success is 2 percent luck and 98 percent what you do with it.
Complaining doesn’t change a thing, other than putting you way behind. Who can afford that? I’d rather focus on the things I can control and be happy with my achievements.