Feedback: November 2013

by Georganne Bryant | Clate Mask | Mary Ann Sturm

Question: We hear official reports stating still-high unemployment figures. Yet anecdotally, we hear businesses in all fields complain they can’t find employees to fill open positions. As an employer, have you changed your expectations in terms of recruiting new employees?
Georganne-Bryant Georganne Bryant
Frances Boutique
Sector: Retail

As a small employer with 15 employees, I have the advantage of creating a culture that I want to work in, and I stay true to my core values by controlling my hiring process. I never compromise my expectations when hiring for my retail stores because customer service is my highest priority for a successful shopping experience. The people working on the team are the core of this environment.

Through the seven years I have been in the retail business and the economic ups and downs, employees are still looking for a work environment where people are caring and they can fit in. Most people seeking jobs want to feel a connection to their workplace rather than just have a job.

Hiring for longevity, smaller local businesses are looking for people who are involved and passionate about the place they live
and their community.

I have been fortunate to attract these specific employees, and the connections they feel to the business translate to the customers and the community.      

Georganne Bryant is the owner of Frances, a seven-year award-winning “Best Boutique in Phoenix” specializing in local and unique gifts, clothing and accessories. Frances is a modern boutique with vintage charm. Bryant is a member of Local First Arizona and on the Small Business Leadership Council for the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. 



Clate Mask
Co-founder and CEO
Sector: Technology

At Infusionsoft, our expectations haven’t changed in terms of recruitment. We’re always looking for great talent who are committed to our purpose to help small businesses succeed. When you get clear on your company’s purpose, values and mission, you are going to attract the right candidates and repel the wrong ones. When you are building a vision-based company, having clarity in this area couldn’t be more important because every new hire will either strengthen or weaken the culture.

Regardless of economic conditions, we’ve never compromised on our hiring practices. We’ve always maintained selection criteria that vet people for cultural fit. We screen for values alignment, ask questions related to attitude and set up interactions with employees before ever making an offer. We’ve also always sought out those who are fired up about our company’s “why.” You don’t want to hire someone who isn’t excited about your vision.

These measures might mean it takes longer to find the right people, but when passionate people come together around a shared purpose and common values, you’ll find business success.

Recognized as a visionary leader in the small business community, Clate Mask has been educating and inspiring entrepreneurs for more than a decade. His passion for small businesses success stems from his personal experience taking Infusionsoft from a struggling start-up to a seven-time Inc. 500/5000 winner. As CEO, Mask is leading Infusionsoft on its mission to create and dominate the market of all-in-one sales and marketing for small businesses.



Mary Ann Sturm
Assistant Vice President, Human Resources
SCF Arizona
Sector: Insurance

While official reports may state high unemployment figures, the number can vary widely depending on the industry.  Countrywide, the unemployment rate for the insurance labor market is at a record low of 2.5 percent. In addition, we know that competition for talent within our industry is growing stronger, with more than 70 percent of companies expecting to increase staff during the next 12 months.

Because SCF Arizona is committed to ensuring we have the talent needed to achieve our long-term business strategies, we continue to assess our recruiting strategies.  Our approach is a long-term holistic one.  For example, we believe there should be a focus on educational efforts for young people by offering them education, training resources and internships. Our partnerships with universities and community colleges are essential and we endeavor to leverage resources with the education providers.

We’ve also made changes to the way we source candidates, relying heavily on social media. It is not unusual to conduct a search nationally for professional-level positions. In fact, in the past year, nearly 30 percent of our professional hires came from outside of Arizona.

Mary Ann Sturm joined SCF Arizona in December 2004. Her more than 20 years’ experience as a leader in the human resources industry includes several senior HR management positions. She received a bachelor’s degree from Akron (Ohio) University and her master’s in business administration from the University of Phoenix. Sturm is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management and has earned a Professional HR certification and is a Certified Compensation Professional.

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