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To Make Quality Happen, Make Passion Happen

By Kathy Marshall, Director of Quality
And Tom Brennan, Senior Writer

I heart my job

Quality, Excellence, Passion . . . You Can Have It All

Part 2 of 4

In Part 1 of this series I wrote about how the definition of “quality” can be different for different clients, but when it comes to implementing quality, one thing MUST be constant: passion. But how do you implement passion? I’ll share the approach we take at Decision Toolbox (DT), and hopefully you’ll find a couple of things that might be useful.

Three conditions are essential to the success of a quality program: you need a clear quality vision, your company goals need to be aligned with that vision, and you need commitment from your leadership team. If these three conditions are aligned, you have a culture that will embrace and nurture passion. If any part is out of alignment, the program probably will struggle.

Hire Passion

I’ll talk about tools and systems in a moment, but implementing quality starts with passionate people. You can train people on processes and technology, but you need to hire people who already have passion walking through the door. You can interview for certain behaviors characteristic of passion:

  • How do you tap into your entrepreneurial spirit when you care for your client? (the ideal response: “Well, there are so many examples I could share . . .”).
  • Using examples, give me an idea of how you respond to quality issues raised by a client (you’re looking for something like, “Those are the kinds of challenges I love to sink my teeth into!”)

Train Well and Often

Now that you have all this passion flying around your organization, you need to focus it. Let’s assume you’ve hired proven professionals with the right experience and skills, as well as the passion. You’ll need to train them not only in your processes and procedures, but also in your quality-oriented, passion-nurturing culture. Part of the training should include the fact that you want them to focus on results AND building rapport with clients. The goal is to empower people to run with the passion.

Yes, they’ll make a mistake or two. But, as DT CEO Kim Shepherd wrote in her recent blog series on culture, “Great culture isn’t afraid to make mistakes. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough.”

And don’t stop with initial training — provide ongoing training opportunities. Build out a learning runway for your team.  Help people set performance goals and, when they achieve them, make a really big deal about it (see below for more on acknowledging performance). Then set the bar higher. These are passionate people! They need challenges to stretch and thrive.

Provide Tools and Resources

Warning…shameless brag moment ahead. We recently launched our Recruiter Quality Self Service tool, a function in Recruiting Machine, our ATS / ERP system. We identified a number of “triggers” that alert recruiters if there is a potential quality item . . . for example, if a project is not moving at the expected pace, or we’re not getting feedback on submitted candidates in a timely manner. Once the recruiters get an alert, they can take action themselves, reach out for help from me and my quality team, and/or we can send in paratroopers — professional sourcers, writers, marketing strategists, leads, pods or other resources.

Let me quickly add that, as great as this tool is, it still falls to people to leverage their passion for exceeding expectations to embrace this information to take action, course-correct and make a difference!

Applause! Applause!

If strong performance on quality is a cake, then it’s not finished until you slather icing on as the acknowledgment of a job well done. Kudos are fuel for the fires of passion at work. You might offer a monthly or quarterly Top Performer award, or on-the-spot Shining Star awards, or a “great job!” corner in your employee newsletter. Any recognition is a “rinse and repeat:” it recognizes what the team member has done, and motivates that person not only to do it again, but also to reach even higher.  Others learn new ways of providing excellence in everything they do.  Your entire team is elevated.

In Part 3 I’ll discuss measuring quality — know where I can get a passionometer?

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4 Responses to “To Make Quality Happen, Make Passion Happen”

  1. June 04, 2013 at 5:44 am, Quality, Excellence, Passion . . . You CAN Have it All | Blog | Decision Toolbox said:

    […] Next post: making excellence happen means making passion happen (it’ll be steamy, I promise!). Tags: @decisiontoolbox, corporate culture, Decision Toolbox, defining quality,, effective communication, employment, hiring, Jay Barnett, Kathy Marshall, management, national recruiting service, national recruitment, national recruitment agency, quality goals, quality process, recruiting, recruiting agency, recruitment firm, recruitment partner, recruitment service, recruitment services, recruitment solutions, recruitment specialist, RPO, service industry, staffing, talent acquisition, Tom Brennan Comment (RSS)  |  Trackback […]


  2. June 11, 2013 at 5:50 am, Measuring What’s Important | Blog | Decision Toolbox said:

    […] two parts of this blog series, I wrote about the challenges of defining (Part 1) and implementing (Part 2) quality in the service industry. In the next two parts I’d like to share some thoughts about […]


  3. June 18, 2013 at 6:34 am, Measuring the Un-Measurable | Blog | Decision Toolbox said:

    […] This is another good reason to hire people who are passionate about exceptional performance (see Part 2 of this series). Tools and quality checks are the skeleton of your program, but the heart is […]


  4. May 28, 2014 at 8:58 am, Passionate Employees: Why You Need Them, How to Find Them - DecisionToolbox said:

    […] Kathy Marshall, Decision Toolbox’s Director of Quality and Training, blogged recently, you can interview for certain behaviors characteristic of passion by the kinds of questions you […]


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