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Our Clients Not Only Made Lemonade, They Served Jambalaya


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Mark Tyler, President of OEM Fabricators in Woodville, WI

Lemonade was the theme of our last Fordyce Letter article (Lemonade, Anyone? From the January 2011 issue). We were happy to share the three main strategies we implemented when a down economy really forced our hand, driving a change from a salesperson-driven culture to one more affordable and still focused on new business development, but sans salesperson. To recap, our three “Lemonade” initiatives were:

  1. No more salespeople. Our traditional staffing coordinators are now relationship experts — not only with applicants and contract employees, but also with prospects and customers. Their relationships, and strategic business development goals, drive new business development.
  2. A bigger, friendlier brand presence with customers. We continue to be the “little staffing company that helped.” We don’t want the lack of dedicated salespeople to create a vacuum, so we continue to stay very active in personal relationships, educational marketing initiatives, and social media, to stay top-of-mind in a truly helpful way.
  3. A more engaged, relationship-oriented presence continues to be our recruiting strength as well as a sales strategy. Since the Lemonade article in January, we have continued to avoid paid recruiting advertising and stayed focused on the more personal touch — including all forms social media, referral programs, job fairs, and other old-fashioned recruiting methods. We even resurrected the “Now Hiring” job flyers — they work in our market!

As we continue to make “lemonade” and improve and strengthen our relationship-based, social media-driven methodologies, we were delighted when one of our longtime clients asked us to bring those tools to the table when they threw a huge party — in honor of BURYING the recession. Here is a “When the economy throws you a curve ball, make Jambalaya” story that I hope makes you smile. Thanks to our client, OEM Fabricators in Wisconsin, for allowing us to be a part of this event and share the story.

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May 19th, 2011 marked a new era for Wisconsin businesses and their partners. We were curious, and a bit excited, when we first heard that our Wisconsin client, OEM Fabricators, was throwing a big, New Orleans-style funeral PARTY for the recession. When we talked with OEM’s management about the idea, we got even more excited.

We have worked with OEM, and with many other local manufacturing firms, for years. These last three years have been tough ones. In 2008 and 2009, our clients simply weren’t hiring at the pace they had been — and many were laying off. Then, in 2010, several clients started to see upticks in hiring, and we were there to help put people back to work. In 2011, while many companies still have a journey ahead of them to get to pre-2008 sales and staffing levels, things are looking up. How refreshing it was to have been a part of this party, a funeral in name only, as hundreds of folks gathered to say “Enough!” and put the recession behind them.

We placed flowers on the gravesite of the recession to signify NEW growth and opportunity.

Mark Tyler, President of OEM Fabricators, said it well, in his “eulogy”:

I am asking you to dig deep and muster your most positive attitude! I am asking you to join me in declaring this thing dead! I am asking you to look forward, not back, with hope and aggressive action to make our economy, our outlook, our future incredible. Don’t let the naysayers hold you back! We in manufacturing have been being told for years how we are has-beens. We have been told that we are leaving the U.S. economy for greener financial statements. I say, get your head out of your past, and pay attention! Manufacturing . . . is leading the way in Wisconsin and across the US out of the now dead recession.

So we join OEM and other local businesses that refuse to listen to the news and are instead moving boldly ahead to create jobs. And I reach out to other local companies, who may still be struggling to bury their own economic woes—we’re here to help, however we can. We see significant hiring increases and good economic signs from where we sit, and we hope you do, too.

Oh, and the jambalaya was great!

Have you done anything fun and unique with your clients or your local community to celebrate their hiring and/or job growth? Share some of your stories in the comments below!

If there is a need for creative and strategic recruiting with proven results, Jennifer Brigham, founder of Brigham Group Staffing of Minneapolis, MN, is there. Highly accomplished, yet refreshingly down-to-earth, she leads the staffing industry with three decades of thought leadership. Jennifer is a frequent speaker and blogger about strategic staffing for entrepreneurs, and the power of recruiting via social networking tools. A life-long supporter of women in business, Jennifer recently implemented a scholarship for female students at Dunwoody College of Technology in Minneapolis, Minnesota, empowering and offering opportunities to women in the field of technical manufacturing. Humor, intellect and recognition by her peers make Jennifer a true thought leader and career professional. Brigham and her firm have been recognized as a business leader in the staffing and recruitment industry many times over: Top 25 Temporary Employment Firms in the Metro Area, 2003-2009, Twin Cities Business Journal; ?Woman to Watch? 2009, Twin Cities Business Journal; Received NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) Emerging Business of the Year, 2007 and Wise Woman, 2003 awards from Minnesota Chapter; NAWBO-MN Board Member; Member, Women Presidents Organization (WPO); Member, Twin Cities Human Resource Association (TCHRA) and SHRM. She can be reached via email at jbrigham@brighamgroup.com.