Text Interviews

Creating an Impactful Employee Experience with Seth Morales, President, Morales Group, Inc.

The many seasons of giving can be highly motivational when it comes to employers focusing on employee happiness. Actually—for most, it’s pretty easy to come off as giving the extra effort. I mean, a pitch-in here, an e-card there, multi-cultural performances, holiday bonuses, fir-tree candle warmers—the options are endless. Think about your company culture when New Year’s Eve isn’t around to keep things rockin’… What glues your teams together when a good theme is months away? Are you spending time warning people (again) about Gen Z and Millennials or are you making sure to nurture the employees you already have?

When it comes to employee experience at Morales Group, Inc., it is engrained in their mission. Their values to, “be humble,” “be courageous,” and “be a light” are embodied by team members from all over the world and their impactful stories. This focus on employee experience has propelled Morales Group forward in their mission as they’ve placed over 50,000 associates in roles throughout the Midwest and been named Inc. magazine 500|5000 Fastest Growing Private Company twice and earning Hispanic Business Magazine’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Hispanic-owned Companies in the U.S. seven times.

We chatted with Morales Group President, Seth Morales, to learn more about how they continue to place themselves among the ranks of top employers and engage employees year-round. 

How can organization leaders do a better job engaging with employees, and what are some of the things that you're doing at Morales Group?

I think as a leader, when it comes to engagement, there's a mix of new and old school, where you still have to make time to connect with people, then also use today’s technology to connect in a more sophisticated, efficient manner.

Engaging with the team who's in the trenches is something I've learned from my father— he's done a really good job of making his rounds and popping his head in to make sure that people feel supported and welcomed. From a technology standpoint, using tools is great for engagement. We use Emplify, SurveyMonkey, Lessonly, we partner with TrueU…it’s a great way to gauge feedback from our team and constantly work to improve.

Do you see the usage of these technologies enhancing your culture?

Yeah, absolutely. I think all of the tools are effective, but what's most important is if your leadership buys in and drives the impact. So there's got to be some sort of cadence and accountability with any of these tools. I've seen good use and benefits from all of them, but it's come from that buy in and then making sure we execute the delivery.

What tactics encourage leaders to buy into the technology strategies for monitoring employee engagement?

Some aren't necessarily bought in right off the bat, so I think what we have found is that encouraging leaders to actually test drive the tools is helpful. We'll create a team out of a new initiative, and encourage them to play with the tool so they become a designated champion. 

How do you bring the same level of precision and care you have for employee engagement to the candidate level?

That's a really good question, because I think in our space, a lot of competitors that are known as temporary agencies look at the associate or the candidate as some transactional object that is just going to produce an hourly rate for them. I think what we've tried to do is really improve the experience from the very first time a candidate comes in through our door. 

A few things that we do to help ensure that they don't feel like they're just another transaction is that, when they come inside our four walls, they see and feel a different presence to make that experience welcoming. There's a lot of folks that we recruit from all over the world, so we've got flags that represent a lot of these different countries.

That’s amazing. Very important.

We try to make sure that somebody speaks their native language, and that somebody has an understanding of their culture. That's been big. 

That feels very reflective of your brand. Can you speak to how you've approached building your brand as an agency? 

It’s been a lot of hard work. One thing that we've been very intentional about is giving a transparent look behind the curtain at Morales Group regarding who we are. We've done a lot of that on social media and through video showing what leadership looks like, what recruiting looks like, highlighting a day-to-day in the field. It's not a very sexy business, it's blue collar labor. We're inside warehouses and manufacturing environment.

We also do a lot of giving, and are very open about how our mission extends philanthropically.

How are people finding out about Morales Group?

One is just your good old-fashioned word of mouth referral. That's kind of the lifeblood of how we recruit. That continues to be the top performing acquisition code with how we employ the 4,000 people weekly out in the field. But, the second one, which is growing, has been via social media. Boosting ads to promote into certain markets and experimenting with geofencing have been smart recruiting strategies that have gotten us a lot more people in through the door.

What’s your advice to not only young people, but even middle managers on what they should do internally to work towards new opportunities within their career?

Make sure to enjoy the process of putting your head down and getting pretty hungry. Internally, we have a passport program that is basically a personal and professional development plan. You get these stamps for completing development activities. But, I think great possibilities exist for young people to step up and make the most of potential opportunities. Whether it's their passport as a Morales Group employee, or it's learning from somebody, taking some sort of advanced course, or getting a post-secondary education, or a graduate degree. 

According to Morales, growing within an organization really comes down to hard work, and "not getting too worked up over where you're at." Having a dedicated leadership team who takes care of their employees from the experiential level certainly helps. 

Whatever roles you're positioned to influence within your organization, "take a step back and acknowledge the journey of grinding it out, because when you come up for air after about five years of that, you'll find you benefit from staying the course," says Morales. 

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