Human Relations and Engaged Employees: Michael Letizia, Principal Consultant for Letizia HR Solutions/CalSHRM State Director and Christina Daves, President of CastMedic Designs

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 Today’s guests are Michael Letizia, Principal Consultant for Letizia HR Solutions/CalSHRM State Director and Christina Daves, President of CastMedic Designs.  To hear the entire show, click here

MICHAEL LETIZIA human relations

Letizia has been in profession of HR for 30 years, and most recently stepped out on his own as a consultant underneath the Letizia HR Solutions umbrella, focusing on small to mid-sized companies and their human relations. Letizia is also a volunteer with SHRM, as he has been for 14 years, and now serves as CalSHRM’s State Director. Reflecting on his long tenure in HR, he comments, “It is my passion…it is not a job; it is a career. It is a part of my life…of who I am.”

Engaged vs. Satisfied Employees

Often times Letizia encounters business leaders with no practical background in human relations who consequently are not getting the outcomes that they want in their business, causing plenty of frustration.  When he works with companies to create engaged employees versus simply satisfied employees, “it’s amazing the progress we can make,” comments Letizia.  Human relations becomes a key in the ability to have employees engaged in the company and excited about the possibilities.

His vision is that his clients come to understand that “it’s not just pushing papers and filling out forms, but that truly, human resources is a strategic business partner that needs to be recognized for its contribution in getting companies to where they want to be.”

Middle Management Missteps

Letizia has observed a significant lack of people management and human relations skills at the middle management level, with common symptoms including not delegating effectively and not managing effectively. Consequently, they are not getting their desired results. Yet, change is difficult. “There is a lot of resistance out there at middle management level,” Letizia asserts.

The difference between successful companies and unsuccessful ones, Letizia contends, comes down to “effective management and effective controls put in place.” He continues, “You build a foundation so that people don’t spend their work hours wondering if they’re doing the right thing.”

For instance, onboarding and training are critical, especially after companies invest so much time and cost into the recruitment and interviewing process. When new employees walk in the door on that first day, a company is obligated to provide a professional experience with quality human relations or otherwise “risk putting doubt in that employee’s mind.”

The “Whys” of Culture

When it comes to culture, he comments, “It’s extremely important that you as an entity identify what is valuable to you…so that everyone that comes into contact with your organization has a clear understanding.”  This is especially critical when it comes to prospective talent. He encourages his clients to ask themselves:

  • Why are we in business?
  • What is the end goal?

Identifying culture and values up front is also critical as companies face change or growth, so that they can more easily make decisions based on whether or not they are in keeping with those values.

What are You Reading?

Letizia is re-reading Patrick Lencioni’s Death by Meeting.”

How Can I Connect with You? Via either or or LinkedIn.

CHRISTINA DAVES human relations

Daves has had several businesses over the years, including owning a retail store for almost a decade. She later retired, but, “always the entrepreneur, retirement didn’t set too well for me,” recalls Daves. Then, after a freak accident on vacation, her doctor placed her in a boot just before a business trip to New York City.  That led Daves on a path to create CastMedic Designs to offer a better, more fashionable alternative for the 4 million boots that are prescribed each year.

The journey has had its ups and downs along the way. “All entrepreneurs have their stories. There is no such thing as the easy ride to fame…Doctors love it, but doctors don’t want to sell it. How do you get it to the right people, right when they really need it?”

This was certainly not the path she envisioned for herself. In fact, Daves was ready after college to embark on a career in Germany when her father was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. She knew she couldn’t leave her family, so she stayed home and joined an event planning company, changing the course of her career to date.

PR for Anyone

After the product development for CastMedic was done, Daves realized she needed to publicize the solution.  She recalls thinking, “Nobody is even looking for this. I need to educate the population that this product even exists.” Yet, she didn’t have any resources to pay for advertising or marketing, so she taught herself everything she possibly could.  The result? Coverage in over 50 media outlets in the first year, and well over 200 outlets now two years in.  To share this practical advice with others, she wrote a book, “PR for Anyone,” highlighting more than 100 affordable ways to easily create buzz for your business.

Die Hard on Customers Service and Human Relations

All that said, “Customer service is your best PR,” believes Daves.  She is shocked that business owners don’t implement this belief in their businesses. Daves’ goal in every customer interaction is this: “They are going to remember the great experience they had doing business with me.”

What are You Reading?

Daves is reading Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,” “The Pumpkin Planby Mike Michalowicz, and Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek.

How Can I Connect with You? Via or via LinkedIn.

Remember, do what you love….and show the world how talented you can be, today.

Date: June 17, 2014