Employers have met some of the biggest challenges they’ve ever faced in the past few years and the pandemic forced many organizations to fast track some of their plans that were still on the distant horizon prior to the health crisis. Evolving to a paperless workflow, conducting remote meetings and offering more work from home options are a few areas where necessity inspired much innovation.
Sigred Solutions is a management recruiting and leadership advisory firm based in Ann Arbor and Detroit. The firm was formed to provide companies with the recruiting and advisory services that founders Mike Dergis and Kristi Stepp were always looking for when they were in the industry. Dergis had been a COO with an automotive supplier as well as a strategy consultant, focused on helping manufacturers grow and improve their operations. Stepp previously ran HR and Talent Development Organizations for global Fortune 500 manufacturers. Together, they work to deeply know their clients and to understand the skills and fit attributes that will be necessary for a new hire to be successful.
How do people describe you? Give an example of why this fits?
(Kristi Stepp): I’m described as high energy and passionate. I connect easily with people and can see their potential. This description fits and I’m able to be my authentic self and fully use my talents everyday with Sigred Solutions.
What is the best advice you ever received?
(Mike Dergis): You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room, or the best at everything. Understand where you excel and add the most value, then surround yourself with people that are the best at filling in the gaps.
“The pandemic has accelerated many Baby Boomer retirements,” says Dergis. “We’ve also seen an increase in the number of people resigning and candidates not taking jobs based on commute.”
“For those who had a little dissatisfaction, the pandemic increased it,” adds Stepp. To counteract this, she advises employers to focus on and commit to an authentic company culture. This is true for both attracting new talent as well as retaining current team members, and the importance of authenticity is two-fold.
“People need to connect with what they see as the values of the organization, and they need to see themselves as a valuable part of the future of the organization,” Stepp explains. “Employees need to not only feel valued, they need to see that the core values and culture of the organization is truly in alignment with what is important to them and their community.”
A corporate culture lacking in authenticity not only makes it more difficult to retain employees, it makes new candidates more difficult to attract and may cause them to lose interest. Especially if negative sentiments have been shared on social media, which is now the first place most employee prospects will search for company information. Stepp notes that community engagement, if done well and done regularly, is a great opportunity for employers to demonstrate their authenticity.
What is the best part about your job?
(Kristi Stepp): Our work changes lives. We connect amazing candidates with great organizations. We advance the careers of our candidates and help organizations gain their “unfair share” of talent. It’s very rewarding to see our candidates thrive in their new roles.
(Mike Dergis): The best part of my job is being able to continually learn by working with amazing clients and interviewing candidates. Whenever possible, I try to visit our clients’ locations. I get to see their manufacturing operations in action and understand how new hires will fit.
“Candidates are now more concerned than ever if a company is going to be a good fit for them,” says Stepp. “We’ve heard from a number of companies that had to realign their vision and mission statements due to the pandemic.
The current trend in interviewing is for candidates to meet employers “virtually” through the entire process until the final interview, which leaves ample time for the candidate to form an opinion of the organization before ever walking in the doors or meeting anyone face to face.
As candidates examine and research employers in the early stages of this virtual interview process, they’re much more likely to seek out employee satisfaction ratings and browse social media channels for information or feedback on the organization, their core values and their actions.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
(Kristi Stepp): I love this work and would do it for free. If I weren’t with Sigred Solutions, I would expand my volunteerism to provide more human resources, leadership development and organizational effectiveness services for community and non-profit organizations.
How does your company innovate?
(Mike Dergis): We innovate by asking our clients and candidates for candid feedback on how we can improve our services and then implementing those suggestions.
There is no end in sight for the talent shortage, especially for manufacturers. And while many employers are actively involved in the community, partnering with schools to develop internship programs and taking other important steps to help fill the gap for the future, it’s critical that they also step back and take a deep look inward.
“We’ve seen some companies that needed to react to external statements that were not in alignment with how they really were. Be very clear on what you stand for, what success looks like and what your vision is,” Stepp advises employers.
Sigred Solutions is an MMA Premium Associate Member and has been an MMA member company since November 2020. Visit online: sigredsolutions.com.