CEOs and other company leaders face a variety of staffing challenges these days, and a lot of things factor into them.
Recruiting, retention, the need to find quality candidates in a tough talent pool all play into filling positions within a company.
Lesley Delgado believes one factor is more critical than others: time.
Delgado, owner and president of Novi, Mich.-based Strategic Recruiting Services, calls time “the greatest factor”—searches are taking 12-20 weeks, she says—in recruiting and staffing these days. SRS is an outsourced recruiter and HR department for your small to midsize businesses.
“Finding the right employee takes time and serious effort,” Delgado said. “You cannot just post and pray that the right employee is going to show up. It is a process of uncovering and adjusting regularly. People are getting multiple offers; they are looking for very specific things from their potential employers.”
Delgado, who’s been married for 30 years and has three grown children, has been a business owner for more than 30 years. Her former company, StaffPro America, is a former Best and Brightest Companies to Work For winner. She eventually decided to sell StaffPro, but stayed on as a consultant for several years “to ensure the good will of the business would transfer.”
It didn’t take her long to realize she’d made the right decision. She said she had “three offers to buy” within 30 days, without using a broker.
“It felt more like the ebb and flow of life…I knew intuitively it was time to sell and the universe did not let me down,” said Delgado, who serves on the Advisory Board for MichBusiness and is a Trusted Adviser for Vistage, Michigan. “Honestly, after two years I was not sure how things would play out, but God had a plan. I had sold all my corporate relationships, but over the 20 years of building my business I had also developed many relationships with other business owners. They were my colleagues. We grew our businesses together, sat on boards, and served the community together. All of a sudden, these owners, who were not my customers at StaffPro, began to call for my advice and assistance in recruiting.
“I saw the gap,” she added. “These owners had no idea how to recruit and find talent. The few that had an HR person were busy full-time, without recruiting.”
Delgado said she “took my consulting model and created a whole new model to serve the needs of small and midsized businesses” and Strategic Recruiting Services was born. Now in its eighth year, Delgado said the company has “grown completely organically.”
“I could not be happier working alongside my fellow entrepreneurs, helping them to grow their businesses with the right talent,” she said.
Delgado took some time to offer her perspective on a variety of topics:
Corp! Magazine: What’s the key piece of advice you give your clients about staffing/recruitment/retention?
Lesley Delgado: Patience. Make a strategy early. Set yourself and your team up for success for the long-term. Hiring is not just about finding the right talent. It is about creating an environment where people want to come to work and then investing in them, from the first time you meet them, through a solid on-boarding process, to ensure you are setting yourself and your new hire up for long-term success.
Corp!: How did the pandemic change things?
Delgado: Hopefully, it allowed us to pause, reflect and reframe how we think about our businesses, our employees and ourselves. So, we can find a new way forward. Life is not static. It should never stay the same, otherwise we are not learning and evolving.
Corp!: How did you get into the staffing world?
Delgado: Fell in love with it. I will never forget walking into the Manpower office in Rochester looking for work. They hired me on the spot to work in their offices. I knew it was where I was meant to be. It was the first organization that was run by all women. I wanted more of that. Here I am today, still as passionate as I was then to use my gifts to see who fits in where and why.
Corp!: Is this what you always wanted to do? You didn’t want to be an astronaut, or a doctor, or a movie star or something?
Delgado: Actually, I thought I would be an Olympian when I was younger. I was a triple jumper and a junior Olympian. Broke the state records several times, but life took a different direction and I found my way to business. I would say, once I found the world of recruiting, I never looked back. I enjoy standing outside of companies, learning who fits in and why, then finding the talent that is in line with those values. It is a real honor to help people and business come together.
Corp!: How do you motivate others?
Delgado: Hopefully, by being my authentic self. Owning my mistakes and shortcomings.
Corp!: Do you have a mentor in life?
Delgado: Life is its own teacher. There is no one person or experience that has shaped me, but I hope that I have allowed all the people and events in my life to teach me in a way that forever will have me becoming a better human. I consider myself a seeker and have found that the more difficult the struggle, the more I grow. I know you have to sit in your struggles, no matter how difficult, and let them teach. I am always looking for the deeper meaning of life.
Corp!: Where did you grow up?
Delgado: Here in Michigan. I grew up in the country. I guess I am a country girl at heart. I love nature and what it has to teach us. We lived in what was a small town then, Washington Township. Our home backed up to Stoney Creek Park. It was a beautiful place to grow up.