Conexess: The Best & Brightest

We are both excited and honored to be named among the Best and Brightest companies to work for in the Metropolitan Detroit area. The Best and Brightest competition identifies companies who excel in communication, work-life balance, employee education, diversity, recognition and retention. Follow this link for more information: http://101bestandbrightest.com/companies/conexess-group/

At Conexess there’s no set formula we have for creating a “great work environment”. We hire fun, hard-working, intelligent individuals who share the same passion for business and success, and in the end it creates a really awesome work environment.

Here are some of the reasons our Detroit employees love where they work:

“Life at Conexess is like working with your family & friends.  We constantly push, learn from and compete with each other in the way siblings & friends do.  Between the quarterly competitions, drive to succeed and overall fun atmosphere we get to work in everyday, Conexess is completely different than any other staffing & recruiting firm in the industry.  Rather than being metrics driven we measure our work from an accountability standpoint so that everyone is self-aware and responsible for their own success!”-Account Manager


“The individual freedom gives me the opportunity to work harder and smarter than I ever have before in my career.  This is a value that you don’t see in most companies these days.  I can honestly say I look forward to coming into work every day.”-Sr. Technical Recruiter


“For a variety of reasons, there’s an appeal associated with ‘underdogs’. In the case of Detroit, MI, we’ve long been the butt of jokes for comedians and generated negative impressions for the vast majority of people in the nation. Yet, as evidenced by the recent rebirth in downtown Detroit, we now have a new moniker as America’s Comeback City.  While new restaurants, bars, stores, arenas, rail systems provide a visual confirmation of improvements, it’s ultimately all about JOBS. For the Conexess Detroit office, this lands us in a great position on this area’s timeline. Our Detroit office began as a bit of an ‘underdog’ too. Starting in a bedroom office, transitioning to four people crammed into a small office, through the current location in downtown Plymouth with 11 employees, finally eyeing our end-of-year destination to our own building with space to grow; Conexess Detroit directly aids the Metro Detroit area by filling our client’s critical staffing needs with our high-quality candidates.

As our reputation has grown in SE Michigan, we’ve been adding new clients, industries and positions. We’re on the cusp of some tremendous times in MI and it’s an honor for the Conexess Detroit office to be a direct participant in Detroit ultimately shedding the ‘underdog’ label.”-Account Manager


“At Conexess you can be yourself; you don’t have to put on a ‘work persona’ and act different than you would outside the office.  Everyone gets along and you can have fun while working. As long as you are doing your job you have the freedom of a flexible schedule which is hard to find with a lot of other companies in our industry.” -Technical Recruiter


“I like the fact that the office is less than a half-mile from my house and I can ride my bike to the office (weather permitting). It’s great going a work week without even getting into my car and being able to go home and eat lunch with my little ones.”-Technical Recruiter


 I love the freedom of being able to meet candidates for coffee, lunch, happy hour etc. One meeting can make a world of difference when building relationships and getting referrals.”-Technical Recruiter

 

To close, I will leave you with this parting thought: “Customers will never love a company until the employees love it first”- Simon Sinek

Spotlight: Ryan Murphy

This week’s spotlight focuses on one of our fearless leaders, Ryan Murphy, or “Murph” as most of us call him. As one of Conexess’ partners, Ryan has worked primarily in the Nashville office, while also working to grow our newest office in Orlando. He was our owner’s first hire and he’s been helping grow the company ever since. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have him on the Conexess team, so this week we are spotlighting Ryan to show our appreciation for everything he does for our company! We already know Ryan and we think he’s a pretty cool guy, but since you may not know him, we thought we’d give you the rundown on Mr. Murphy by asking him to tell us a little bit about himself.

Q: What do you consider to be the best part of living/working in Nashville?

A: I love how Nashville is a “big city” with a small town feel. You can be downtown and then in a rural part of town in 20 minutes. That’s pretty cool.

 

Q: What’s your favorite thing about recruiting?

A: The Relationships. It is a really rewarding feeling when you have people begin to come to you because you have (at least I hope) a good enough reputation where people begin to refer you. I have made what I would consider some pretty good friends though recruiting.

 

Q: Do you have any fun nicknames?

A: Murph, Smurph

 

Q: What is something you’re passionate about?

A: Golf and Duck Hunting. My wife says she is a hunting widower when duck season comes around. I end up spending double because when I go on a hunting trip she goes….shopping….

 

Q: Fun Facts about Murph:

       A-1: He was an All-State Football and Baseball Player.

   A-2: He hates flying-“I get sweaty palms and have anxiety. It’s bad.”

A-3: And add to the list: the fear of tornadoes- “I have re-occurring dreams about tornadoes. It’s really weird.”

 

Q: Where is the best place to eat in Nashville?

A: Impossible to name just one. So I’ll say Husk and Urban Grub.

 

Q: What is your favorite weekend activity?

A: Hunting and golfing.

Connect with Ryan on Linkedin & Twitter!

Top 5 Recruiting Techniques: The Conexess Files

Here at Conexess some may see us as a little unconventional in the staffing world, but we like it that way. We like getting to know our clients and we hope they like getting to know us too.

Our belief system is pretty simple:

Trust, Humility, and Balance are three words that have built our core set of beliefs. We are not a typical churn-and-burn staffing company that fills positions as fast as we can. Instead, we are simply regular people helping other people connect their talent with opportunity. So how do we compete against the big-name staffing companies? It’s pretty simple actually.

  1. Sincerity

We get it, finding a job is tough, like really tough. At Conexess, we want to get you a job-we are recruiters after all. But more than that, we want to find you the right job.

That being said, we’re going to treat you like a real person. We understand what it’s like to be on the job hunt. It’s tough and it’s our job to make it easier for you.

  1. Building (Real) Relationships

Our sole purpose is to connect talent (that’s you) with opportunity. More than that, we want to find you a career opportunity that is a good fit. Remember when I said we aren’t like those big-name staffing firms who fill positions using the churn-and-burn method? I wasn’t kidding. Here’s our thinking: If we put a candidate in a position they will hate and ultimately resign from, they are highly unlikely to come back to us to find them another job. This is exactly why we take the time to build an actual relationship with our clients. The more we know about you, the better job fit we can find for you.

  1. Integrity 100% of the Time

This is a big one and it absolutely goes hand-in-hand with being genuine. The definition of Integrity: “the quality of being honest and fair” (Merriam Webster Dictionary). We want to be as transparent as possible with our clients. If we can have an open line of communication, we are going to have a better chance at finding our clients the right job.

  1. Happy Wife=Happy Life

Ok, this one might sound odd, but bear with me-I have a point. Think of the Conexess team as the “Wife” and our clients as the “Life”. When a company has happy employees who respect the company’s culture and beliefs, then your clients will benefit. We have fun doing our job and we hope you have a great time working with us too. Connecting talent with opportunity is meant to be fun!

  1. Walking a Mile in THEIR shoes

Contrary to popular belief, we are not mind readers. To combat this shortcoming, we try to immerse ourselves in our client’s world or rather “walk a mile in their shoes”. If we can align our thought processes and understand where the other is coming from, the job search process tends to go a whole lot smoother.

That’s it! We don’t have any gimmicks or tricks up our sleeves to lure you in. It all boils down to one main objective: Find the job, but first find the right fit.

Like what we do? Check us out on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram-we’re on them all! Interested in our services? Our website has current career opportunities.

Company Retreats: They might be just what the doctor ordered

Why do we, at Conexess Group, believe it is important to take time out of your busy schedule to go on a company retreat? There are many reasons, but here we will take a look at two of the key reasons it is essential to get out of the office.

  1. New Place=New Ideas

What’s the big deal about getting out of the office? Why can’t we just sit in the board room and toss around ideas?  Gathering a large group of people in the office, where the phone is ringing, emails are filling inboxes, and to-do lists are a mile long, can prove to be a challenge. On top of that, trying to get everyone gathered and focused might be like herding cats in your office.  Or, if your business is like ours, we have offices in three cities, so brainstorming is not exactly ideal when you are hundreds of miles away from eachother. In cases like these, holding a yearly company retreat may be your only chance to get everyone gathered to employ new company initiatives, set quarterly or yearly goals, and really dive in to how to improve the company.  Remember that busy, fast-paced office? Still think it’s the best place for idea generation? If your answer is the same as ours (Hint: “It’s No”), getting your team in a clutter and distraction-free place once a year, might be just what the doctor ordered.

Now, we’re not saying turn off your phone and throw away your laptop and as a result your company will come up with the best idea short of sliced bread. No-the idea is to get out of the office, get your team in a new environment, and set aside time to brain storm. Time management is key in these situations and setting aside designated times to brain storm, check emails, and talk with clients is necessary. With all of the brainstorming your team will be doing, holding at least one “meeting of the minds” will allow you to put pen to paper and jot your ideas down. Besides coming up with awesome, industry changing ideas, it’s also a good idea to leave time for a little fun, rest and relaxation. This leads us to the second reason it can be beneficial to get out of the office.

  1. Two words: TEAM BUILDING

Organizational culture is one of the top factors new employees consider before accepting a new position. This trip, Conexess brought three new staff members: one account manager, one technical recruiter, and one operations specialist, on the retreat. Speaking as one of those new team members, this trip was an awesome opportunity to build relationships with those from our Detroit & Orlando offices. Only three weeks in at the time, I had already talked to several of them via phone or email, but I think we can all agree that a face-to-face meeting goes a lot further when you are doing business.

That being said, at each retreat, Conexess holds a team building exercise of some sort to foster new relationships and to strengthen old ones. In the past, we may have had a scavenger hunt or something similar. This year, we decided to mix things up. Instead of a scavenger hunt, the First Annual Conexess Retreat Relays were held and to say our company is competitive would be an understatement (Click Here). Often times, when we are busy at our desks, it can be difficult to find the time to build good, working relationships with our coworkers.  The Retreat Relays were a great way to break the ice and build relationships within the company.

After attending my first retreat as a Conexess team member, I can easily say that organizational culture matters. If your employees are happy, then your clients are happy, and, in turn, your company will profit. Retreats are a great way to set cultural expectations, shake off the cob webs, and build relationships that benefit the company. To see how we retreat visit our Facebook page and check out the Summer Retreat 2k15 album.

 Enough about us! Tell us about your company’s #retreat and any great #teambuilding ideas you might have. Tweet us @conexess; we’d love to hear from you!

Business Lunch Do’s and Don’ts

Business lunches can be a lot like dates. Oftentimes you are meeting with someone you don’t know very well, you have to dress up, and it’s best to think of a list of conversation topics beforehand. Maybe that last part is just me…regardless, here are a few tips to help you navigate the ins and outs of lunch meetings.

<DO>

Email/phone ahead to confirm the lunch. There is nothing more annoying than showing up to a scheduled lunch, only to receive a frantic call from the person you’re supposed to meet asking to reschedule after 30 minutes of sitting alone in a restaurant. The waiter will think you have an imaginary lunch date, and you will have wasted at least an hour of your time.

<DON’T>

Order the most expensive item on the menu. Be considerate – of the other person if they are paying, or of your company if you are expensing the bill.

<DO>

Dress at or above the level of the person with whom you are meeting. That is the “Golden Rule” at Conexess, and it goes hand in hand with my own belief that it is always better to be overdressed than underdressed.

<DON’T>

Talk with food in your mouth, be on your phone, chew with your mouth open, slurp your soup – basic table manners most definitely apply. Finishing school not required, but please, be polite.

<DO>

Be direct, but also meaningful when it comes to conversation. You should have an objective for the lunch, whether it is getting to know the person better, or closing a deal. Make sure that you accomplish your lunch goal before going your separate ways.

<DON’T>

Arrive unprepared. Research the person with whom you are meeting, and have any questions, papers, contracts, etc. prepared and with you when you get to the lunch. It is also helpful to tell the person you’re meeting what you’ll be wearing that day to streamline the introduction process.

While following this list of do’s and don’ts won’t guarantee a successful meeting, it will undoubtedly get you on the right track. How do you feel about business lunches – love or hate? Any tips to share? Leave a comment below, and let’s go to lunch sometime!

Holiday Gift Giving in the Office

A few suggestions for giving holiday gifts in the office…

If you collectively agree to do a gift exchange, organize a White Elephant swap or Secret Santa event because buying a gift for everyone in the office is unrealistic and expensive.

White Elephant swap – set a dollar amount (we did $10) and have everyone bring in a WRAPPED gift for that amount. Put all of the gifts in the center of the room, and have all participants draw a number 1 through how ever many people brought gifts. The person with number one goes first, and selects any gift that he wants from the pile. He then opens the gift, and sets it in front of him. Then the person with number two can either choose a gift from the center pile, or “steal” the gift from person #1. Gifts can only be stolen three times before they are “dead,” and stuck with whoever has them at that point. If the gift was stolen from person #1, he would choose a new gift from the center, unwrap it, and place it in front of him, just as before. Person #1 could not immediately steal his original gift back from person #2, but if a steal occurs later in the game, the person from whom the gift was stolen would have the option to select a new gift from the center or steal from another person (again, cannot steal his original gift back). The cycle continues until all presents have been unwrapped. White Elephant swaps are a fun, easy, and affordable way to get everyone involved. If you have questions about the rules, leave us a comment at the bottom 🙂

Secret Santa – Set a dollar and time limit (last year we did $5 per day for 4 days). Have all participants fill out a form that lists their general likes/dislikes, candy/food preferences, interests, favorite coffee places, and any other information you think would be beneficial. Then fold up the forms, put them in a bowl, and have each person draw one (make sure you don’t draw your own name!). Designate a spot in the office as a “gift drop-off” – can be cubbies, lockers, last year we set up stockings to really get in the holiday spirit J Then you read over the form of the person you selected, and buy them a little happy for each day of Secret Santa. Sometimes it helps to have themed days – spa day (loofa and fun-smelling soap), movie day (funny movie from the $5 bin & popcorn), candy day (all their favorite candies). Have fun with it, be creative and make your own rules/modifications! The goal is to not let anyone know who you have for Secret Santa, and to figure out who has you. On the last day, have everyone come together and reveal who they had.

The key to office gift giving is to not make anyone feel pressured to participate. If it is all in good fun, then there should not be any issues. At Conexess, we love getting into the holiday spirit and have done both Secret Santa and a White Elephant Exchange. For our office, it seems to be easier to do a White Elephant Exchange because it is not as big of a time commitment. Every office environment is different, so do whatever works best for you and enjoy the holiday season!

^^Our successful White Elephant gift exchange^^

A Tale of Two Buildings

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” or so it goes. Conexess Group has been located on the 30th floor (Penthouse Suite, as some like to call it) of the L&C building for the past three years. During that time, the company has grown – employees and clients have been gained and lost, new offices opened, and the Penthouse Suite has been replaced with a modern space in 100 Oaks. Needless to say, there are a mixture of emotions about the move. Our time in the L&C building has been great for the company, but there comes a time when moving on is the natural next step. We have reached that point, and while there are feelings of excitement about the next chapter, there are also twinges of sadness and nostalgia that will always be connected to the fond memories that were created on the 30th floor.

The office in 100 Oaks will truly be ours, and we will have new freedoms and be able to take liberties that we previously could not have taken. There is a beautiful space behind the building that will be picture perfect for hosting events, and a lofted area for us to use as a relaxed space (mini-bar included). Making this new space feel “warm,” and “lived-in” is a challenge that we welcome, and at the same time, realize that it will take some time before we are truly at home in 100 Oaks.

Because we were in the L&C building for 3 years, it became familiar to us, comfortable. The security guard, mailman, FedEx & UPS delivery men, and janitorial staff all greeted me by name. I heard about their grandkids, PhD pursuits, vacations, and job laments; they know where I’m from, that my space heater is perpetually on, and that my love of Starbucks puts a dent in my bank account each month. Although I will miss each of my L&C pals, there is something beautiful in the idea of starting over, completely from scratch. Certainly there are unappealing parts of the “begin again” process – new names, new location, new barista (but I LOVED my old barista!!); however, the pieces of Conexess that are dearest to me will not change. The people (my people), the values, the work ethic, the FUN that we have together, those things will remain constant. So, although I may need to start from scratch with the new mailman, I am hopeful that it will be the beginning of a new friendship. I hope that the intangible assets of Conexess continue to be apparent to those looking in, and that we would be able to use our collective efforts to make our new office a “home.”

Conexess Campfire

Celebratory move-in campfire in our new backyard

Team Building in the Office

happy hour

Team building. Ice breakers. More than 40 hours a week spent with co-workers. To some, any of those three would bring on a reflexive headache worse than the most painful of migraines; and the thought of combining the three into a collaborative activity sounds like a nightmare waiting to happen. To the people who think that way, I say – you’re wrong! You’ve been misinformed, tricked, fooled into believing that team building is a hassle and a waste of your time, when in fact, it is a critical component when creating a cohesive office environment.

Here at Conexess, a significant amount of emphasis is placed on team building in order to achieve a more familial atmosphere. The crazy thing is that the more team building we do, the more everyone seems to enjoy it, and the closer we all become. Last week, there was a spontaneous gathering in our “pit” area with everyone swapping relationship stories, anecdotes, and advice. I overheard one of my coworkers comment “I love our family time discussions.” Even without years of experience in the workplace, I know that the bonds we have at Conexess are uncommon to say the least. The reasoning behind our closeness is simple:

  • Being a culture fit is a pre requisite to working at Conexess, which means that we all get along on a general level to begin with.
  • Team building activities are built into our annual calendar to ensure that our connections with one another go beyond the walls of the office.

WHY

Let’s go over a few of the basics: why team build? Because even in a sales-oriented workplace, you cannot rely on yourself alone to be successful – you need teammates. Team building exercises build trust, a crucial element of working cohesively with others. They also promote unity within a company, and can be FUN if you know what you’re doing.

WHEN

At Conexess, we plan quarterly bonding activities that correspond with the time of year and type of quarterly contest we have running in the office. Quarterly activities are fun to plan because there is always a holiday/event that can be tied in with the theme of the team bonding. For example: 1st quarter – Valentine’s Day, Super Bowl, March Madness; 2nd Quarter – Memorial Day, Summer kickoff; 3rd Quarter – 4th of July, Labor Day; 4th Quarter – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah. The 4th quarter is an all-star grouping of months, and we like to take advantage of that. Rather than have one big blowout activity, we’ll carve pumpkins for Halloween, have a potluck lunch for Thanksgiving, and a Christmas/holiday party in December.

christmas sillyUSA

In addition to having quarterly team building, we also have annual retreats that last 2-3 days. They focus on brainstorming ideas for the upcoming year, and bring all of our offices (Nashville, Detroit, and Orlando) together for some time of fun and relaxation. Our retreats typically happen in the summer months because we love to be outside. A quick tip is to have a retreat at the same time of year, every year. That way, employees can plan around the retreat, and look forward to it each year.

Birthdays, anniversaries, and milestones are also a great excuse for a small celebration with the team. At Conexess, we like to gather as a team and enjoy a sweet treat to celebrate those occasions.

barile bday

Another EASY way to bond your team is to go to happy hour together! Any day of the week will do, but Thursdays and Fridays tend to have the best response rate…especially if you get out of the office a little early :-). Here is a link to the best daily happy hours in Nashville: http://nashvilleguru.com/best-nashville-happy-hours-and-specials, and in the words of my dear friend, Jimmy Buffett, “it’s 5:00 somewhere.”

WHAT

Since repeating the same activities can be mundane, we try to shake things up when it comes to team building. For the first quarter of 2014 we had a “progressive lunch” where everyone was broken up into groups and assigned a meal course to contribute. After eating, we played board games and went to an early happy hour. The lunch/game combo was great because it got everybody involved, and it didn’t cost Conexess a dime! We went on our annual retreat during the second quarter, which involved a trip to a cabin in Kentucky and time in the sun on a boat…success. Sometimes all it takes to bond a group of people together is getting away from the office for a few days. In that regard, company retreats have been an excellent source of team building for us. Third quarter team building took place on The Redneck Bus Tour, a local attraction that allows guests to bring a cooler with “adult beverages” on board, and takes them on a driving tour of Nashville hot spots. Other team building activities that we have done and recommend are: attend a Nashville Sounds game, attend a Nashville Predators game, go to a pottery studio, have a pumpkin carving contest, take a ride on the Nashville Pedal Tavern, or throw a holiday party (4th of July, Halloween, Christmas). It is always a great idea to support local businesses while team building at the same time!

pedal tavernQ3 Kickoff 014ladies night18

WHO

Ideally, team building activities should include the entire office. However, in larger companies that may be unrealistic. We break up our office in several different ways to team-build throughout the year. The quarterly activities always include everyone at Conexess. Annual retreats are divided into two groupings – one for the operations staff, and one for the rest of the team. Within our sales team, there are smaller groups that work together on a daily basis, and they occasionally have team building exercises on their own. Make sure that everyone in your office is included in a team building exercise in some capacity, leaving someone out unintentionally is a careless mistake that can lead to needlessly burning bridges.

Team building encourages unity within an office, and builds trust through fun and oftentimes, low-cost, methods. When planning a team building activity, it is important to consider when you want to have it, what you want to do, and who you want to be involved. Any budget or timeline can be used, as long as the team is spending time together, getting to know one another on a deeper level outside of the office. Best of luck with your team building endeavors! If you have questions, please leave them in the comments section below.

group pic