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Recent experiences involving the world of sports, with my company being the customer, served as reminders of the importance of exceeding expectations. Going above and beyond as a strategy for retention and growth applies to every group we serve as staffing companies: clients, candidates and colleagues.

And while it’s a philosophy we haven’t lost sight of, being on the receiving end reiterated the importance of the approach. How so?

First, we recently signed on as a sponsor of a national sports team. Our expectations were high but realistic — exactly how I want all new clients to approach their partnership with our firm.

The team’s organization has gone out of its way to tailor a program that delivers the benefits that are most important to us, in fact exceeding our expectations. When I expressed that sentiment to our relationship manager, they stated that their goal with sponsors is to do just that so we will want to sign on for another year. Indeed, going above and beyond is a winning strategy for any company in any industry.

Another sports-related experience drove home that point. Molly Fletcher, who served as president of client representation for sports and entertainment agency CSE, delivered the keynote address at TalentBridge’s recent president’s conference. She spoke about what it takes to achieve consistent, lasting success.

Molly said she didn’t want to serve as the agent for just one athlete on a team — she wanted to “own the locker room.” So, she continually sought to surprise and delight her clients throughout the partnership. In Molly’s case, the ability to exceed expectations led to her successfully negotiating over $500 million in contracts and building lasting relationships with hundreds of the biggest names in sports.

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While we’ve embraced exceeding expectations as an approach from our early days, our sponsorship and Molly’s keynote were welcome reminders of their importance. In most all-staff meetings and one-on-one conversations, we talk about ways we can exceed expectations. And we make it a point to celebrate our successes in a number of ways, including weekly emails to the team.

Given the challenges of recruiting and retaining talent in today’s market, it’s vital for staffing firms to put demonstrate to candidates that we’ll go above and beyond. If we want to “own the locker room,” we need to overdeliver on a consistent basis.

In some cases, we will come up with new ideas, and in others, it’s a matter of doing what we’ve always done.

With many candidates, for example, we’ll meet them for breakfast on the first day of their new job to go over any last-minute points or questions. We’ll then walk the person in the door to meet their new employer, call to check in at the end of the first day, follow up with calls on days three and seven and monthly thereafter, and take the candidate to dinner at the three-month mark to hear how things are going. And we let candidates know we’re available anytime for calls, emails or meetings.

It’s impossible to win every deal, land every candidate or retain every colleague you really want. But by striving to go above and beyond, to exceed expectations in everything you do, every time, you’ll put your company in the best position to win.

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