Focusing on the future Featured

8:00pm EDT March 26, 2008
Dan Rodriguez: CEO, Veredus Corp.

Dan Rodriguez is an enabler.

The founder, managing partner and CEO of Veredus Corp. wants people to succeed at his staffing company, so he invests in their training and development instead of forcing them into a sink-or-swim situation.

“It’s a two-way investment,” he says. “They’ve elected to come work for us. In turn, we’re going to make an investment of time and development to give them an opportunity to succeed.”

Rodriguez’s approach to his employees has improved retention at Veredus, which earned $38 million in revenue in 2006.

Smart Business spoke with Rodriguez about why training your employees is worth the investment and why you should really think twice about adding that new wrinkle to your business.

Q. What major pitfall should business leaders avoid?

You have to focus on what you know how to do. We’re a staffing company. Our core competency is going out and finding qualified individuals.

We have relationships with qualified individuals that can fill jobs. We have relationships with qualified companies and managers at those companies that will give us jobs so we can place those candidates.

Sometimes, I’ve seen folks creep out of what their core competency is. They try to do project work, or they try to do outsourcing, or they try to do software, or they try to do training.

We stick to what we know.

We do what we do, and we feel like we’re really good at it. We don’t really creep too far outside of our box. Because chances are, if you’re looking to go out and do something else, there’s probably somebody else in that space that’s already been doing it for some time and that is probably pretty good at it. So we stay away from that.

Q. How do you avoid straying from your core competency?

We remind folks every day of who our customers are.

Our customers are our candidates who are looking for jobs, our consultants that we have on assignment and our clients. Sometimes things happen, and you take the focus off the customer, and that’s not good.

You’ve got to be focused on all your customers all of the time ... or somebody else is going to come and take your space.

Q. How do you make sure everyone stays focused on the customer?

We talk about it. Our management team just came out of a management meeting here recently, and we talked about making sure all our folks are focused on the customer. You build internal processes where you’re touching all three of your customers on a regular basis.

We do feedback surveys with not only our clients but also our consultants who are on assignment and our candidates. We’re continually looking for feedback on how we can get better, how we can improve.

It’s part of our culture, it’s one of our core values and something that in our everyday discussions about business that we focus on.

Q. How do you decide which feedback to act on?

As a leader, I’m very introspective. I’m always looking at how we can make our business better. How can we differentiate; what can we do? A lot of our management meetings are centered around feedback we’ve gotten from our surveys, feedback we’ve gotten internally on how we can improve our processes and make sure that we’re doing things better.

I don’t know that there’s any formalized process for bringing some sort of feedback in and determining how we’re going to address it. But overall, as a management team, our mantra is focused on how do we differentiate, how do we get better, how do we make our company a better place to work?

That’s one of my standard questions as I’m going through my reviews with my internal people right now. I sit down with everybody in the company, or at least everybody in Tampa, and talk to them about their goals and last year and how they did and what they want to do this year going forward. Two of my standard questions are, ‘What can I do for you?’ and then, ‘What can the company do to make this a better company?’

We are definitely asking that question, and quite frankly, some companies I’ve worked for in the past haven’t even asked that question.

Q. How do you implement that feedback?

It depends on which of our customers the feedback’s coming from. Whenever we get feedback, we as a management team get together and determine how we’re going to address the specific issue that has been brought to our attention.

Many of the changes we’ve made — big and small, from process changes to the way we do things on a daily basis — have come from employees at various levels that made a suggestion. We looked at it; it made sense from a tactical standpoint, and we went out and implemented it. That occurs on a monthly, if not a weekly basis. It’s a regular occurrence.

HOW TO REACH: Veredus Corp., (813) 936-7004 or www.vereduscorp.com