Creative Recruiting and Retention

One of my absolute favorite duties as owner of ISI is to recognize tenured employees on their anniversary date with the company whether it be 5, 10 or even 15 years (in one case). Long term employee loyalty is rare these days and I have been deeply gratified and humbled by the many ISI employees who have been with me over 5 years (which is more than 50% of the company). 

This week, we recognized our Vice President of Sales, Jeremy Johnson, who celebrated 10 years with the company on February 9th. Jeremy has done a great job growing ISI revenue  as both a salesman (in Alabama and Kentucky) and as VP of Sales since 2010. In fact, with Jeremy’s leadership, ISI recorded the best year in company history in 2011 with $25m in sales.   

So it was highly appropriate that we recognized Jeremy this past week for his hard work and significant impact that he has achieved these past 10 years. But besides his accomplishments since he has joined ISI, perhaps it was how ISI “found “ and recruited Jeremy that may be even more interesting.  

It was somewhere around 2004-2005 that I met Jeremy who was working at Comet Cleaners (in Collierville near my house) paying his way through school at the University of Memphis. While working at the dry cleaners may not have appeared to be the most “glamorous” job at first glance, Jeremy made the most out of it by using it to hone his customer service skills and establishing personal relationships with a number of people (including my wife Maureen and me). Jeremy and I clicked from day one and had a number of common interests that we talked about but mostly we connected  on our mutual love for the University of Memphis Tigers. Since Jeremy lived in the athletic dorm for several years, I was always privy to getting the “latest scoop” on Tiger basketball, football etc. in our “drive up” discussions at the cleaners. Jeremy’s engaging personality and positive attitude made my visits to Comet Cleaners such a pleasant experience. Engaging personality, positive attitude and a pleasant experience ? Sounded like a salesman to me!  And in 2006 (and today),  I'm always on the lookout for good salespeople who could help build ISI’s revenue. 

And the rest is history. Jeremy joined us a short time later and has been a great fit 10 years later. So what’s the message here? As an entrepreneur, you have to do a lot of things  to be successful which includes creative employee recruiting and retention strategies. You never know where you might find good people! I know 10 years later, I’m sure glad I stopped by the dry cleaners and  had all those conversations with Jeremy. A great success story for sure!  

Posted by Jay Myers at 5:15 PM