Natalie Viani, CEO/Owner of VIA Technical, LLC
Years in staffing: 10 years
Fun fact: When not working long hours to build her business, Natalie supports the local rescue that fosters and finds permanent homes for small breed dogs AND also finds time relax with her own two “fur babies,” Sofi (a Maltese) and Gracie (a Maltipoo rescue).
This blog series has featured trailblazing women in the industry with upwards of 30 – and sometimes 40 – years of staffing industry experience! As we look to the New Year, I’m excited to switch gears and feature a staffing entrepreneur that is a decade into her staffing career and has valuable lessons to share about what’s required to lead and inspire loyalty in this industry.
What’s the best advice you have received recently and why?
I was recently at a Sage Event and Dr. Tony Baron spoke to several business owners about the purpose for their business and using three key words to help us drill down. While I have strived to focus on this, it helped me to more clearly define my personal business mission and goal. He said there are three key words to know. Why, And, With.
- First, “WHY.” Why am I in business? Why do I do what I do? Create the narrative for the “WHY.”
- Second, “AND.” AND over “OR.” For example,Efficiency AND Dignity.
- Third, “WITH.” Using WITH over “TO.” Don’t talk TO your employees, be “WITH” them. Don’t give “to” a charity, be WITH that charity.
What motivated you to start your own staffing company?
I wanted to drive change internally and externally and I wanted to be able to make my vision a reality. I am an entrepreneur at heart and wanted to create a unique company culture and a company that is Purpose Driven and not Profit Driven.
What are the top 3 characteristics of a great leader in the staffing industry?
- Emotional Intelligence: Some of the chief components of this are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill. Our business relies on dealing with an array of people who have different backgrounds, different skills and different personalities. We interact on a daily basis with the client, the candidate, internal staff, vendors, and peers. We must be able to relate to people.
- Flexibility: There is rarely a day where everything goes as planned if you’re running a staffing firm. There are certain challenges that are thrown at us each day and we have to make adjustments as we go. With so many variables in consideration (economy, company buy-outs, change in staff, contingent workforce, etc.), we need to have a plan and a process; and then be flexible enough to change it all when needed.
- Inspires Action: Let’s face it, staffing can be a grind if there is no purpose or vision or goal. Keeping my internal team engaged, growing, learning and working towards a goal is very important. Keeping employees engaged requires me to paint a vision of the future that inspires them to get there. Allowing them to be creative, and work on their own can bring a tremendous amount of energy in the process.
In a candidate market, how do recruiters differentiate?
Relationships, Relationships, Relationships. It’s the only way I know to be a step ahead of the rest of the pack. The more people you know, the more quality service you provide, the more referrals you’ll get. It’s all about getting those candidates that are not on the market or just starting to look. The best recruiters have exclusive relationships with candidates and work with them year after year. It is so important to go back to the basics: treat people kindly, follow-up, and provide excellent service. Also, knowing the clients’ unique culture and having a strong understanding of the position to be filled will also beat out other agencies in the technical recruiting world.
In twenty years, what do you want to be known for? What are you doing now to build that legacy?
This is a great question because I think about it often! I want to be known as someone that was generous, kind, hardworking and built a staffing firm unlike anything else we’ve seen. I want to use my business as a vehicle to do good in the world. I want to teach my employees that it’s not all about themselves and that giving and helping people is the greatest gift we can receive. I want to be known and thought of as a great leader and mentor to the staff I employ and I want them to look back on their time at VIA Technical with positive memories. I want to create a company that is not just for profit, but it’s used as a vehicle to play a pivotal role in the San Diego community.
I am building the legacy by being consistent. Every day I come into work with a positive “can do” attitude; a generous spirit; and a desire to put my employees first. I make monthly giving a priority no matter how much or how little the business makes. I allow my team to pick and choose charities and donate on their behalf a portion of the placement fee. We pick volunteer events, we sponsor homeless children and we talk about the bigger picture.
I am a young CEO and more blessed than I could ask for. I can only imagine in twenty years what powerful things we can do for the community!
Are you an industry veteran that’s excited to share your lessons with the next generation of staffing leaders? Share your insights as part of this #womenINstaffing Wednesday series. Contact me to learn more.
Confused on the hashtag (#) in the title of this series? Let me know if you’d like to join a virtual roundtable with a few other female staffing execs to discuss the power of Twitter to build your personal brand.