Posts Tagged ‘Express Employment Professionals’

The Next Great Employer Challenge

Sunday, November 1st, 2015

Highlights from Jack Smalley’s Visit to Scranton

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Copyright Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD 2015
All Rights Reserved

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them. Albert Einstein

An Express Lead Event

Our Face of America journey took us to Scranton, Pennsylvania, on an overcast Thursday morning. Our destination was the Radisson Hotel. There we would have a reunion with two of our favorite people, AmyIMG_1_5668 Clegg and Jack Smalley.

Amy owns and operates the Express Employment Professionals office in Scranton. For six years she has been helping people find employment in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She and the members of her staff are caring, competent, innovative, and willing to do whatever they can to serve the best interests of their clients. Amy is a woman of dignity and class, and everything she does reflects her many qualities.

Jack is the Director of Human Resources Learning and Development for Express Employment Professionals. He is a perfect fit for this position. He is a good person who personifies the attributes of character-based leadership. He is genuine, personable, kind and loyal. His presentations are interesting because they are thoroughly researched. He is an effective speaker who speaks to the heart, soul and mind of the people in the audience.

On this special occasion, he addressed the complex issue of attracting and retaining the best talent for the company. He called it “The Next Great Employer Challenge.”

The Recruiting War of 2015


At the appointed hour, Amy walked to the podium to begin the session. She welcomed everyone in the audience, and she introduced her staff. She introduced the MC for the event, Marty Wolf, a radio talk show host, and he introduced the featured speaker, Jack Smalley.

Jack introduced his topic with a Power Point slide that read, The Recruiting War of 2015. He followed that attention getting statement with these facts:

This is the most volatile job market in years. The retention of top talent is a CEO’s greatest fear. Eighty percent of employees willIMG_5707_2 consider a job change. Forty percent will actually change jobs.

For the remainder of his presentation, Jack Smalley mesmerized everyone in the room with his low-key, fact-based, non-histrionic, storytelling style. These are some of the starred thoughts from his presentation:

The average company experiences 40 percent job turnover.

There is a great generational tsunami about to hit the American workforce. In the next few years, about 50 million employees will be transitioning out of the workplace. Most of them are baby boomers. The will be replace by 50-60 million millennials.

Connecting with Millwnnials

The millennials think and act differently. Their world is a social media intense world. Companies that want to employ and retain millennials must rethink their social media policy.

Millennials want to be judged on the work they get done. This creates a situation Jack calls the end of the 40-hour work week. Employees are no longer disconnected, and millennials want to work in companies that have and use the latest technology.

Even the signing bonus must change. Millennials prefer a technological device or an all-expense paid trip. To attract and retain millennials, the company must make the interview process and the first 90 days of employment a memorable experience. Another incentive would be a $1,000 first year anniversary gift.

One of Jack’s starred thoughts caught my attention. He put it this way, “Narrow the front door.” The cost of anIMG_5698 unengaged employee is 150 percent of the first year salary. Because 80 percent of turnover can be attributed to poor hiring practices, he advocates a much more careful and deliberate hiring process that considers fit first and culture second.

Attitude is another critical element in the hiring process. For Jack Smalley, there is no such thing as a good worker with a bad attitude. You cannot have good external customer service until you have good internal customer service. Effective internal customer service is deeply rooted in making employees feel special. Enable them to express their opinions. Provide them with access to the boss. Understand that the employee is the first customer!

To do this, make the employee performance survey more than an exercise. Use it to communicate honestly with employees and make it a platform for growth and development. Make sure the employee fully understands the company expectations, and let employees know how important they are.

All companies have a silver bullet. Jack identified it clearly and effectively as the supervisor. He also suggested making the supervisor a participant in the hiring process.

Engaging Millennials

For millennials the top two factors are the relationship with the Untitled-1boss and relationships with others. In 2025, 75 percent of American employees will be millennials. They are self confident, politically savvy, experts in global communication and social media. They enjoy social interaction at work. They do not enjoy weekly meetings. They prefer collaborative leadership. They want their opinions to be solicited and heard. They enjoy a challenge. They question authority. They want transparency. They want to interact with their boss, and they want to be measured on how they get the job done.

When he discussed the Millennial Generation, Jack made a very interesting point: “Millennials challenge what I am doing. They do not threaten me. They are going to make a great contribution to American companies. They are going to take us where we have never been.” Earlier in his presentation he made this statement: “Most employees don’t quit their companies. They quit their boss.” That comment reminded me of this insightful thought, “Never push a loyal person to the point where they no longer care.”

Jack was candid about the most obvious weakness of millennials.Mentors They need to get experience in face-to-face communication. They need to be mentored, but the mentoring process in the Millennial Era must be up and down. Jack believes that subordinates can bring you back to reality.

In his closing remarks, Jack made a very interesting point. Be the company that is on the cutting edge. Today, technology provides data, and data is the gold of the new economy.

Closing Thoughts

Jack’s presentation was interesting, informative, challenging and thought-provoking. While he was speaking, memories of IMG_5712relationships Kitch and I have had with superiors in the field of education, the corporate world, the small business world and the media world flashed through my mind. Then something he said triggered 7 words that provided the foundation for his presentation. We are all the same, he said. We are all looking for the same thing.

In my opinion that thought can be summarized with these seven words: Respect, Empathy, Kindness, Gratitude, Discipline, Safety and Compassion.

Yes, we want a better world for our children, but we also want a better world for ourselves.

Jack Smalley is on a mission to see to it that the construct for that better world is on the table in each of the 750 Express Employment offices across America and Canada. He is a master at communicating this message with diplomacy, dignity and tact. His presentation in Scranton left a permanent mark on my heart and soul, because it reflects the spirit of America at its very best.

Leaders like Amy Clegg and Jack Smalley give us hope. They reflect the light of the beautiful comment of President Harry S. Truman:

I doubt if there is any problem in the world today-social, political or economic- that would not find a happy solution if approached in the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount.

Thank you, Amy for your kind invitation to the event.

Thank you, Jack for your memorable presentation.

Thank you to the staff of the Scranton office for all the work you did to make this event a success

Thank you, Express Employment Professionals for the services you provide employers and people who are looking for work.

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The Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast 2015

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

The Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast: An Experience in Community, Friendship and Learning

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs by Tony Mussari, Sr.
Copyright 2015
Mussari-Loftus Associates
The Face of America Project

Leadership and learning are indispensable to one another. President John F. Kennedy

The sixth annual Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast featured three gifted speakers: Liz Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Daymond IMG_7795_A_welcoming John. They are models of excellence in thought, word and deed. Their lives and their messages give special meaning to the words passion, industry and learning.

Bob Funk, Founder of Express Employment Professionals and Corey Benton, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, promised everyone who attended the event that they would walk away with three gifts: insight in how to lead your business, proven ways to inspire your team and suggestions that will enable people to lead an influential life.

Kitch and I can give testimony to the accuracy of that promise and so much more. These are but a few of the life and leadership lessons we learned from each of the speakers.

From Homeless to Harvard: Liz Murray

Liz Murray is a woman with a compelling and poignant story, a brilliant mind, an iron will, a gift for storytelling and a presence that radiates a glowing inner light. She helps people put things in perspective.

Liz Murray2

Born to loving parents who became heroin addicts, the first 16 years of her life were anything but comfortable. An excerpt from one of her experiences will clearly establish her credentials as a resilient survivor.

In her world, she told the audience, there were twelve holidays in the year. They came on the first day of the month when the welfare check arrived. When her parents received the money at the “check cashing store” they went straight to the drug dealer to buy drugs. They would use the remaining $35.00 to buy groceries for the month. At home, the syringes were laid out on the table in the kitchen.

After her mother’s premature death, Liz Murray met a magical teacher who helped her see beyond the obvious by taking an interest in her, setting high standards for her and holding her accountable for the goals she set and the promises she made.

These are a few of the priceless lessons she learned during her journey from “breaking night” on the mean streets of the Bronx to the courtyard at Harvard University:

1. You must want to be useful;
Liz Murray1

2. Lead with your heart and the rest will follow;

3. Look for higher meaning in your life;

4. Ask yourself this question, “What happens when the party is over?”

5. People can’t give what they don’t have;

6. There is a blessing in the place where you come from;

7. Everything you do has impact;

8. Don’t put it off… avoid the “I will do it later” syndrome;

9. You never know when you will meet the person who will change your life;

10. Another way to love someone is to lift them higher.

Liz Murray is a kind person. She is willing to do her part. She refuses to succumb to what she calls “Paralysis by Analysis.”

During the intermission after her presentation, I asked several participants to describe her story in one word. These are the answers I received: Profound, memorable, inspirational, inspiring, heartfelt, thought-provoking, eye-opening, and an in-depth look at reality.

Liz Murray’s life gives truth to the words of Henry Ford: If you think you can do a thing or if you think you can’t do a thing, you are right.

The Funny Thing About Leadership: Dan Aykroyd

Dan Aykroyd is a big man with an impressive resume and a IMG_7847_Dan Astellar reputation in the world of comedy. When you hear his name, you get the impression that this is a man who owns the proverbial silver spoon. In reality, that is not the case.

As a child he was diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome and Asperger’s syndrome. By the time he was 14, these medical abnormalities had disappeared. He has lived with a birth defect called Syndactylism, and he was born with complete heterochromia. His right eye is blue, and his left eye is brown.

Before he became an actor, he dropped out of college. He was employed as a mail sorter for the Canadian national postal service.

On his passport he identifies his occupation as a writer. He is a police buff and he has a deep interest in the supernatural.

On this beautiful April morning he was center stage in Chicago to share his philosophy of leadership.

Calling upon his experience as a writer, producer and actor in 125 films in his 30 year career, he made a captivating case for leadership as collaboration. These are the major points from his presentation:

1. Collaboration is indispensible in a working group;

2. Never underestimate the strength of a team;
IMG_7847_Dan A2

3. The Tao of leadership is this. A good group is better than a spectacular group;

4. A wise leader’s touch is light;

5. Good leaders realize how much how little will do;

6. A good leader provides opportunities to others;

7. Working together effectively requires respect for others;

8. A good leader backs off and lets the flow of what is happening occur;

9. A good leader is a good listener;

10. Good Leaders take the time and make the effort to get to know the people they are working with, away from the worksite.

In 1955, When Dan Aykroyd was three years old he had a magic moment. Knowing that he liked to mimic what he saw on television, his dad took a hockey stick and whittled a hand microphone for his son. For Aykroyd that was the beginning of his journey to the academy awards and his membership in the Order of Canada.

Although he did not refer to this quotation in his presentation, it summarizes what he was trying to share with the audience:

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.Martin Luther King

Goal Setting: The Secret of Successful Leaders: Daymond John

Daymond John is the quintessential American success story. IMG_7894_A_DJHe is a living example of the American dream and American exceptionalism. He has it all, money, fame, power and success. Add to that list a successful television program, Shark Tank, but that is not the best description of this impressive man.

What you may not know, Daymond John was born in Brooklyn and he grew up in Queens. He was raised by his mother and his grandfather. He learned the entrepreneurial spirit while attending a co-op program that allowed him to work a full-time job and attend school on an alternative weekly basis. He is dyslexic. He worked as a waiter at Red Lobster while he was building his company FUBU. Between 1989 and 1992, three times he had to shut down the company because he had no money.

If you want to find the core of Daymond John, pay close attention to the opening line in his presentation, “It’s about people. The most valuable asset in the world is people.”
Then watch his face glow as he dedicates his presentation to Sophia, a woman who is battling cancer.

Think about the implication of his admission: “I will brag more about my failures than my successes, because I learned the most from my failures.” He has had failures including a $6 million loss in an investment that went south.

Count the number of times he says thank you during his presentation, and listen carefully to his 5 Shark Points:

1. Set goals for yourself;

2. Homework, you must do your homework and the analytics;

3. Adore…Love People;

4. Remember you’re the brand… Define yourself in 2-5 words. His words are For Us, by Us.;

5. Keep Swimming. Don’t give up. He was turned down 27 times before he found support for his idea.

In my opinion, Daymond John is a gratitude person, and that is the root of his success. He celebrates the sacrifices his mother made for him, including mortgaging her home so he could have the capital and the place to start his factory.

When Warren Bennis wrote these words he gave us a perfect description of Daymond John:

Leadership is the ability to translate vision into reality.

For Kitch and me, the sixth annual Express Leadership Live Friends_7784_ASimulcast was an experience in community, friendship and learning. We learned invaluable life lessons from the speakers. We connected with friends in a warm and welcoming community environment. The setting at the McCann School of Business was perfect. The atmosphere was positive.

Jeff Doran and Kathleen Nolan Barrett went out of their way to make everyone feel right at home.

H. Jackson Brown, Jr. told us to remember that the happiest people are not those getting more, but those giving more.

The Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast was a success because everyone involved gave more.

Thank You, Jeff for the invitation.

Thank you, Kathleen for your welcoming way.

Thank You Amy Clegg for making us a part of the Express Employment Professionals family in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It is an honor to work with you.

Thank you, Bob Funk for investing the time, energy and company resources in this wonderful leadership event.

Thank you, Bill Stoller for helping us understand what makes Express a special company.

Thank you, Liz Murray for sharing your inspirational story.

Thank you, Dan Aykroyd for reminding us that collaboration counts.

Thank you, Daymond John for explaining your secrets for success and demonstrating the power of gratitude.

Thank you, Corey Benton for moderating the event with dignity and class.

Those of us who had the good fortune to participate in the wonderful event learned the truth in William A. Foster’s dictum:

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.

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The Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

The Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast: A Unique Learning Opportunity

Written by Tony Mussari
Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari
Photographs by Kitch and Tony Mussari
Copyright 2014
Mussari-Loftus Associates
The Face of America Project

Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. Peter Drucker

High Expectations

The organizers of the fifth annual Refresh Leadership LiveRLL2_14 Simulcast promoted the event as an opportunity for people to come together with other members of the business community to learn more about the principles of great leadership.

They told us it would be an inspirational leadership event with outstanding speakers.

Bob Funk, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Express Employment Professionals, assured us that the speakers would be engaging. They would motivate us to want to grow as leaders.

Those words reminded me Robert Frost’s definition of a teacher:

I am not a teacher, but an awakener.

Having had some time to think about the event, I can say, without reservation, the organizers delivered on every promise, and Bob Funk’s prediction was accurate.


Kitch and I attended the session at the McCann School of Business in ELL_5857_1_250Wilkes-Barre, PA.
The facility was perfect for the event. The people from the school were very pleasant. The room where the event was held was an excellent choice for the session. The members of the Express Pros team were very friendly and willing to do whatever they could to make everyone feel right at home.

The moment we entered the room we felt the warm glow of the welcoming words and the beautiful smiles of Kathleen Nolan Barrett and Kathy Barrett.

Jeff Doran, the MC for the event, greeted everyone with a handshakeELL_5874_2_250 and a pleasant comment.

The attendees were thoughtful people who wanted to talk and share experiences. It quickly became obvious to everyone that there were no strangers in the room. Everyone felt the healing power of community and belonging.

For the next four hours we were united in our purpose. We wanted to learn by listening, watching and sharing.


The presentations by John Mackey, Dick Vitale and Christine Cashen gave us a lot to talk about during the breaks. For a detailed assessment of the presentations, please check out our Commentary at this address:

The boxed lunches provided all the nourishment we needed to perform at our best.

In a very real way, we were a community of learners. The Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast gave us a great gift. It enabled us to become better leaders and better people, because it did what Max DePree said leaders do. It helped us define reality. It underscored the power of gratitude, and it reinforced the importance of being a servant leader.

A Genuine Leader

The Express Pros brand in Northeastern Pennsylvania is defined by Amy Clegg. Amy is perfect for this job. She is a woman of compassion who Amy_Acares about people who are hurting. She is a person who knows how to encourage people who are struggling. She enjoys helping others.

She is a successful leader because she follows Abraham Lincoln’s advice:

If you would win a subordinate to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.

She knows that the essence of friendship is sharing, and she is grateful to have the opportunity to help people who want to work.

What Kitch and I admire most about Amy is best described by an adaptation of a famous quote about leadership.

A leader is best when people barely know she exists, when her work is done, her aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.


Thank You, Amy for inviting us to attend the event.

Thank you, Jeff, Kathleen and Kathy for your welcoming way.

Thank you, Bob Funk for investing the time, energy and resources in this wonderful leadership event.

Thank you, John Mackey for teaching us the principles of ConsciousRLL_5902_3_250 Leadership.

Thank you, Dick Vitale for your beautiful love story about leadership.

Thank you, Christine Cashen for giving us practical suggestions to end Global Whining.

The Refresh Leadership Live Simulcast provided an excellent opportunity to learn and grow. The organizers, the presenters and the people who came to participate formed a memorable portrait of the Face of America at its very best.

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