92. Building Better Futures One Story at a Time at Morales Group with Seth Morales
Circle City Success
Seth Morales is the CEO of the Morales Group which is a staffing company with a focus on building better futures one story at a time that his dad started in 2003 and that Seth took over in January 2020. In this episode, you’ll hear Seth tell us about watching his dad start the business while Seth was living at home after college, why they see the Morales Group as a cause disguised as a staffing company and what that means to the company, and why he tells people that they should go get in traffic. Seth’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/seth-morales-8289943/ Morales Group LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/morales-group-inc-staffing/ Morales Group Website: https://moralesgroup.net/
Seth Morales is President and CEO of the Morales Group, an Indianapolis-based recruiting and staffing agency. Morales, an active business and community leader, also serves on the boards for Indiana Latino Institute, St. Vincent Health System, Young Presidents’ Organization and TrueU. He has been recognized by the Indianapolis Business Journal as a Forty Under 40 award recipient. Seth earned his undergraduate degree at Purdue University, where he was a three-year starter and honorary captain of the Big Ten Championship Football team, and his MBA at the University of Notre Dame. When he’s not blazing the trail in business, Seth is spending time with his wife, Jackie, and their two adorable sons, Sebastián (Sebby) and Mateo. Learn more about the Morales Group Reach out to Seth on LinkedIn Sponsors: Talevation Ninety.io Straticos Buy your copy of Level Up To Professional: Second Edition
Seth Morales - Digital or not, empathy is central to leadership
The Digital Workplace Podcast
The pandemic has brought out the best in leaders who already had the human edge. Seth Morales has been leading with empathy long before it was a necessity. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Our “Leaders and Legends” podcast this week features Seth Morales—who probably knows more people than anyone I’ve ever met. He played in the Rose Bowl while at Purdue, earned his MBA from Notre Dame, and is President of the Morales Group. Seth discusses his work in our community, the realities of being a CEO/dad, and what it’s like to catch passes from Drew Brees.Sponsors:* Veteran Strategies (https://veteranstrategies.com/)* Girl Scouts of Central Indiana (https://www.girlscoutsindiana.org/)* MacAllister Machinery (https://www.macallister.com/)* Crowne Plaza Downtown Indianapolis Historic Union Station (http://www.crowneplaza.com/ind-downtown)* Garmong Construction (https://garmong.net/)* Bose McKinney & Evans LLP (https://www.boselaw.com/)* Bose Public Affairs Group LLC (https://www.bosepublicaffairs.com/)About Veteran Strategies‘Leaders and Legends’ is brought to you by Veteran Strategies—your local veteran business enterprise specializing in media relations, crisis communications, public outreach, and digital photography. Learn more at www.veteranstrategies.com (www.veteranstrategies.com).About Girl Scouts of Central IndianaWe're 2.5 million strong—more than 1.7 million girls and 750,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world. Our extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, we’ve honored her vision and legacy, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. To volunteer, reconnect, donate, or join, visit girlscoutsindiana.org (https://www.girlscoutsindiana.org/) or call 317.924.6800.
The State of the Workforce: Now and Later | Santiago Jaramillo and Seth Morales
Insights - An Employee Engagement Show
Recruitment feels like a weird word right now. Some companies can’t find enough employees while others have had to go through a reduction in force. No matter which camp you’re in, focusing on the employees you have now by taking good care of their needs and building a strong employer brand will position your company for long term success. To anchor our conversation, I want to also remind us of what employee engagement means. Santigo Jarrimillo, Emplify’s CEO, defines it as an employee's intellectual connection, the head, the emotional connection, the heart, and how those two things come together to affect daily work, and then hands, the actual work. In this episode, you’ll hear from Santiago and Seth Morales, President of Morales Group as they share key employee engagement insights as you lead your people. If there’s anything you’re learning or looking to understand more please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. After You Listen: Have questions for us? Send them our way: https://emplify.com/questions Connect with Santiago: https://www.linkedin.com/in/santiagojaramillo/: Connect with Nicole: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolemmaclean/
Front-line workers & the stress of being essential: an interview with Seth Morales
Handle with Care: Empathy at Work
- Seth Morales Those folks have had their eyes closed to this central, frontline workforce. And I think the lights have turned on and many people are starting to realize that this essential frontline workforce that is delivering packages to your front door, making sure that certain type of food or consumer good products are making it to the grocery store or anyone else's household. It it's a priority and it it matters.INTRO We are deep into the COVID-19 quarantine. My thoughts are ranging widely and, a few nights ago, I found myself pondering the spaghetti…all the steps along the way that got it to my front door. As so many parts of our economy have stalled out, there are still workers packaging and delivering all of the goods that are filling our pantries. Workers that drive the trucks and deliver the packages. What is life like for these often under-appreciated front-line workers? And that is what led me to Seth Morales, the CEO of the Morales Group, a company that provides for the staffing needs of warehouses and hubs throughout the USA. Seth shares his insights, gleaned from 15 years of serving front-line workers, as well as his own leadership insights. Before we begin, I want to thank our sponsor, FullStack PEO. Are you a small business owner or entrepreneur? The team at FullStack helps navigate and manage your benefits so you can focus on growing your business. We are also sponsored by Handle with Care Consulting. Connecting with and supporting your people is so important during these upside down times. With sessions on compassion fatigue, workplace empathy, and communication coaching for downsizing, we empower you to create workplace cultures of support and care. Now, back to our conversation with Seth Morales. In addition to his role as CEO of the Morales Group, Seth serves on the board of the Indiana Latino Institute, St. Vincent’s Health System, the Young President’s Association, and True U. He is also the husband of Jackie - Liesel Mertes When did you meet your wife, Jackie? Was that 10 years ago? Have you known each other a lot longer than that? - Seth Morales We've known each other for almost 12 years. We met at work, so we had an office romance scandal. - Seth Morales You call it whatever you want, but we we met at work. She was hired in as a business development rep or in sales. And I was on the sales team as well. And you kind of just put two and two together, you know, a month or two into her working. I, I pretty much kind of fell over for her. And we dated maybe two months into her work and at Morales Group. And then I went to my dad and I said, "Hey, Dad," because I work with my dad, we're in a family of business. - Seth Morales And I said, "Hey, would you would you be open if I asked Jackie out on the date?" And he gave me the green light. He just said, "Just don't mess it up because this could end up not so, not so great for both parties." And so, so we dated for a year and then we eventually got engaged and then we got married, think nine months later. So, it's been a good working relationship, but it's also just been an awesome partner that I found just at home and on the field. - Seth Morales So she's, she's been fantastic. Jackie and Seth have two sons. - Seth Morales Sebastian and Matteo and Sebastian or Sebastian is six, Matteo is three. And they're both quite active: young little guys just doing their thing at home right now. We have two cats, no dogs, no no other pets. And if a gal that helps out around the house, Theresa and I call her Mother Theresa because she's a saint. - Seth Morales She's amazing. So that's, that's kind of what fills the household today at Casa Morales. - Liesel Mertes And the Morales Group is a family business that you have transitioned into you. The position of CEO this year. Congratulations. And could you tell listeners who don't know what you do? What some of your mission and just place in the ecosystem of business here is? - Seth Morales Yeah. Thank you for, for that. Morales Group is a purpose driven company that really, I think. Has its why and place and our why or our mission statement is to build a better future. And we live and breathe that daily, what we do and we do it is, is very similar to a lot of other staff in recruiting companies. So we are a traditional recruiting and temporary agency. So, we provide a lot of different jobs and career paths to folks in the light industrial market. - Seth Morales So anything that's manufacturing, e-commerce or logistic space, we provide a lot of staff in that space. But I think, most importantly, Morales Group was was founded along the premise of really trying to build a better future for those who are underserved, who maybe are disenfranchised or need just an opportunity. And those that make ten or twelve or fifteen dollars an hour just need a jumpstart. And they need that voice and that kind of partner to help kind of bridge the gap and provide opportunities. The Morales Group has been living out that mission for fifteen years. In the local Indianapolis area, they have 2,500-3,000 external teammates and they have been expanding to markets like Dallas, Louisville, and Charlotte. - Liesel Mertes So I think that many times, if you haven't had direct exposure to the world in manufacturing or the sorts of places that have these temporary positions, they can be kind of taken for granted or invisible to people. How, how do those positions contribute to the functioning of the American kind of economy in general? Like what infrastructure that most people just have their eyes closed to? Is that providing? - Seth Morales That's a really good question. And you mentioned that those folks have had their eyes closed, too. This is central frontline workhorse. And I think the lights have turned on and many people are starting to realize that this essential frontline workforce that is delivering packages to your front door, making sure that certain type of food or consumer good products are making it to the grocery store or anyone else's household. It it's a priority and it, it matters. The Morales Group is very purposeful in what they call these workers. - Seth Morales We call them teammates. We don't call them temps or associates. We call them external and internal teammates. And so kind of an internal corporate staff that that it's in the office. And then we have external teammate that, you know, we've got three to four thousand strong on a weekly basis. And so we're, we're really trying to lift up this workforce. - Seth Morales We see. To serving and being a voice for the workforce and not just settling for any job. We want to eventually get him a better job and into a career. And so we call that ABC any job, better job, career. And so we're trying to take them from any job and really try to build a better future for them. And so that's kind of our mission statement. - Liesel Mertes So one of your external teammates, can you give me like a like a day in the life of what it's looking like for them right now? Because I imagine that there is you know, if you're maybe even like if you're working on a manufacturing line, you know, can you have six feet of distance? - Liesel Mertes Like, what are their concerns as they are going into work every day, which are very different than people who, you know, are staying at home? - Seth Morales That's a that's another great question. I think the day in the life of an essential frontline external teammate that works with Morales Group would look like this. They would be working at a first or second shift in an industrial park. And one of our clients that we support is the Wal-Mart may have a large e-commerce center. And so if you're ordering anything from Wal-Mart from an e-commerce standpoint, there's a good chance that our workforce has been in that building helping fulfill those orders and ship those to your front door. - Seth Morales But what they do on a day to day basis is, you know, you've got several thousands of people inside a million square feet. And there are some challenges with social distancing. There are concerns about, you know, do you have the right PPE? Are you doing temperature checks if you have a covered case? You know, how long do you shut down for two to scrub and sanitize the facility or the area where you had the positive case. - Seth Morales And so, we've seen some turnover with some of our frontline as external teammates that, you know, you might catch one, that somebody's on your shift had a positive case. And there's there's just kind of that word of mouth and it spreads. And so you have some churn there. And you understand that. - Liesel Mertes Have the external realities made it more difficult to recruit people for these positions? Because I imagine there's two parts. There's external uncertainty. I could I could get sick if I go out there in the world. But there's also the economic realities that perhaps people are feeling really. You know, this is the option that's available to me and I need food on the table. How are those conversations feeling within your recruiting pipeline? - Seth Morales That's well thought out there. You definitely have a two sided reality where there's fear of getting infected. - Seth Morales And that's real. And you see turn over and you see a number of external teammates apply. Sign up for the opportunity or the job and then not follow through for whatever reason, whether it's fear or, hey, I don't like I didn't like going on that orientation tour because they're just, you know, the distancing isn't there. They don't have the right PPE on. And so that's a challenge for us. It's real. - Seth Morales But there's also that, you know, frontline essential external teammate that definitely has to put food on the table. And often they live, you know, paycheck to paycheck and they can't just work from home because they don't have a skill set right now to land them a gig like that. And so they do need to work. And it's just it's, it's kind of a sad reality. But at the same time, it's also kind of a noble thing to see them helping kind of keep America running, to keep us up and running with our supply chain. So it's it's an interesting space, especially with, you know, the numbers that have come out over the last week with twenty six million people losing their job over the last thirty or forty five days and the unemployment jumping up to close to 20 percent. - Seth Morales There's, there's a lot I agree. And it is it really I think it it's staggering. But it's also like, OK, here's here's an opportunity to support, you know, those that maybe do need to work. But at the same time, you got to respect that they're maybe sitting on the sidelines and they're, they're collecting the government stimulus check to offset this period so they can be safe. So it's, it's, it's two sided, but it's a it's a tough kind of situation to be in. MUSICAL TRANSITION - Seth Morales You understand that there's, there's that fear factor. But what we've tried to do is find really good partners that get supporting our external essential teammates. And Wal-Mart is phenomenal at it. - Seth Morales And I think there's some other partners that do it really, really well. - Seth Morales We have a few that could use some, some improvement, but they, they have a ton of legitimate concerns. Seth, his Dad, and Jackie have been trying to get a pulse on those legitimate concerns. They set up 15 minute Zoom meetings with their workers, when they are done with a shift or off of work - Seth Morales And I think that's mattered because when you when you take the time to just kind of here and listen and let them know that you're supporting and let him know that, you know, it's it's people, then it's products and service and then it's it's profits. - Liesel Mertes The phrase people before profits is an evocative one. It sounds really good. I think sometimes people can't embrace that, but not quite know how to actualize that in real time. What are some of the things that you're doing at the Morales Group to live that out lately? - Seth Morales I think from a Real-Time standpoint, I think being very, very authentic and truthful and very clear with the way you communicate where you stand as a company, you know, we, we did have to do a round of layoffs at the beginning of March. - Seth Morales And that was super difficult because we haven't done that and in many years. And so it's kind of contradictory to this whole, you know, people before profits. But at the end of the day, you have to think of the greater good and you have to think of, you know, the ship not going down, but parting ways with with those folks that, you know, just didn't, didn't make the cut. And that's tough. And when you, you have to share that reality, it's not easy. - Seth Morales And I think. In our in our space, I've, I've just been very, very vocal about where we are as a company and tried to give them benchmarks as to if we stay at this point. We should be good if we don't go to this point financially as a company. We're going to be in trouble. - Seth Morales And I think just being open about that and not using words that I called weasel words like we might could we should maybe think those words are very kind of corporate speak or very kind of wishy washy. - Seth Morales And what, what we're trying to do is communicate often, communicate clear and be just thoughtful with, you know, the way we're at and, and be very vulnerable. I think at the same time, like it is about having to part ways with teammates or talk through people's fears about, hey, my next to go or hey, are we gonna have another round? That's, that's a tough conversation. But I think being very intentional about that communication, doing it often. - Seth Morales I've been doing video emails once a week. It's a two-minute video with an update with where we're at instead of a kind of a corporate sounding email. - Liesel Mertes So you're demonstrating intentional…by those regular check ins, are you noticing as you're as you're having these calls like common themes or concerns that people are bringing up, has it changed, you know, as the weeks have dragged on or what have you been hearing? - Seth Morales The external teammates have definitely you've seen kind of that mental health and that fatigue about, hey, could I get a positive case as we get more and more people inside this manufacturing plant or warehouse, the chances of that going up or are higher. - Liesel Mertes You mentioned companies like Wal-Mart. They're doing a really great job of caring for their people. What are some of the things that they're doing that really catch your attention as well? I mean, you're going above and beyond. - Seth Morales I mean, I think there's two things that come to my mind. First, there's obviously the, the monetary factor and traditionally being a higher paying wage and painful Indiana. I think they typically pay around seventeen dollars an hour for a warehouse position. - Seth Morales That's, that's fairly competitive for that market. They've definitely up their game and they've, they've increased that wage to closer to twenty dollars an hour. I think it's 19 something per hour. And so they've done kind of a like a bonus and a pay increase, which we all know that, you know, pay isn't the only factor, but what they've also done, I think, on a just more sustainable making sure that they're empathetic is they've been really good about lifting up and listening to a lot of the external teammates and these kind of small huddles where they've got, you know, a small group of people and they're doing it daily and they're very proactive with the way they've come up with protocol that clean the facility. - Seth Morales I haven't seen a better plan than what Wal-Mart has rolled out, and they're just super aggressive. If there is a case they shut down for two and a half, three days, they clean the entire plant, they bring in these fog machines. They're just they're extremely tedious about how they go, about making sure that that that cleanliness factor is there. So that's been good. So I think, a, they listen they're empathetic with some of these huddles. - Seth Morales B, they've got a very stringent plan to clean up. And then C, I think the pay rates have been adjusted to kind of reflect helping kind of compensate for those that are stepping up during this time. So that's what we've seen from them. It's you know, it's, it's not it's not always good when there's still, like challenges. We still have turnover, but they've been a good, I think, partner to step up in this time. - Liesel Mertes And without naming names, specific partners, when you think of people within your network, you think man like this is just something that it's, it's not supporting our people out like this is this is a damaging behavior, a way of dealing people. What are some of those problem behaviors that come to mind? - Seth Morales We see them very hesitant to shut down operations. We see them dragging their feet on what type of protocol they really like, step up and clean the facility. So there's, there's that just unwillingness to sacrifice the bottom line and focus more on just what's best for the shareholder, not for kind of the human factor. - Seth Morales So we do have some partners like that. They've been a little bit of a pain in the butt. - Liesel Mertes What would you say for someone, you know, for listeners who, they have never worked in temp work or manufacturing, and they have kind of a just a fuzzy idea of what that might be like. - Liesel Mertes What would you want them to know about some of the teammates, whether it's with the Morales Group or, you know, across the country, the people who are keeping America running right now? - Seth Morales I think the one thing that comes to my mind that I'd want me to know about our external teammates that are considered temp associates. You know, they, they, too, want to build a better future. And they, too. Don't want to just sit on a couch and collect a check. - Seth Morales They, they have aspirations of providing for their family and they really want to find a way to make an impact. A lot of times these folks are unskilled and they are hungry to skill up, but they don't necessarily have that kind of traditional pathway that maybe some of us have been fortunate enough to take advantage of. And so I think they need an advocate. They need a voice. MUSICIAL TRANSITION - Seth Morales We folks support a lot of people from just all over the world who are immigrants or migrants and those that just really want to build a better future and build upon the American dream. Don't get me wrong. I mean, I get our workforce when you when you're in our space. There's, there's challenges with you know, there's, there's baggage. - Seth Morales There's, there's just it's a life. But they definitely still want an advocate. They step definitely still have the same desires. They just need more cheerleaders and coaches to lift them up and support them. - Seth Morales And so I think just. I would encourage everyone to be a little bit more open to some of the cultural differences that we see with our work force. And then also, I think just being respectful of, hey, this workforce is essential. And, you know, you talk about that, the tagline America runs on Dunkin. Well, I think America runs on, you know, that essential frontline teammate. And I am I am very, very proud. - Liesel Mertes If there are listeners right now that we're hearing, maybe they're opening themselves up to imagining the reality of some of these frontline people who are risking a lot to show up each day to help keep things running. And they say, wow, you know, I I want to help support these people. I want to help partner with organizations or come alongside them. Where are some good places for them to go with their their time or their money? - Seth Morales I think there's a few ways, you know, I think obviously any type of e-commerce product or anything that's shipped to your front door. Please keep continue to press and click buy and keep those, those orders up and run. And that definitely helps with the overall economy and, and gets our, our teammates kind of active and employed. - Seth Morales But I think when we think about how we provide more just, I think, respect and gratitude towards those that are on the front lines. - Liesel Mertes Are there any other things that you feel like I'm putting to talk about and what the Morales Group is doing to support people right now that I haven't had a chance to ask you about? - Seth Morales I think you've, you've covered a lot of it, but one thing that I would just continue to add upon is just. - Seth Morales As those that might be listening today are your leader within an organization. I think there's no better time than now to be human and real and authentic and to really think through this. This is just. What's going on with, with your business and how you can serve in a way that's just decent? This is just a great opportunity. - Seth Morales People remember will definitely remember how you made them feel during this time and how you either supported them or didn't. And it's just it's a great opportunity, I think, for leaders to step up and be very authentic and genuine. - Seth Morales And, you know, lots of times, especially for people who rise to the level of executive leadership. Vulnerability is not a skill that has been prized in their rise to influence. As you think about what it's like for you to even stand on the brink and think, who am I going to be like? Am I going to be out there and vulnerable in my communication? What like what can get in the way of that? And what are things that you anchor on? - Seth Morales Remind yourself of that. Help you push to really embracing a more vulnerable style of leadership. I think about our core values and our core values are be humble, be courageous and be a light and be in a light. Being courageous and being, you know, just showing humility during a time like this. I think all too often I think leaders, you know, have this kind of. Mindset that they have to act and operate in a certain manner and they can't truly be themselves. - Seth Morales And about a year and three and I'm an achiever. And there's often times where I catch myself wanting to look the part and achieve and obtain all these great accolades. But at the end of the day, I think what people are really, truly looking for, people that can be trusted, that are authentic about what they share. MUSICAL TRANSITION Here are three takeaways from my conversation with Seth I want to grow in my appreciation of the hourly workers that are keeping our economy running.They are essential and often overlooked. In cultivating appreciation, start with something basic: maybe pausing to give genuine thanks and a good tip to your Instacart shopper or the delivery person. I hope that this time of need plants seeds of gratitude that continue to bear fruit when our economy is again running at full-steam and these workers could once again fade into the background. Communication matters.At the Morales Group, that looks like regular check-ins and avoiding “weasel words”. Be clear and be human in your communication. Video communication has the added benefit of truly humanizing your words in a way that email does not. As Seth said, people will remember how you treated them.Put a radical focus on cultivating empathy and care…and, as Seth mentioned, this oftentimes means leading with your own vulnerability. What does it look like to be human and vulnerable with the people you interact with today? Thanks to your sponsors, FullStack PEO and Handle with Care Consulting. OUTRO
021: Tom & Seth Morales | Building Better Futures by Bringing Your Mission To Life
Make My People Better
Episode 21: Tom Morales, Owner, and Seth Morales, President, Morales Group Seth Morales (@smorales84), graduated college when his dad was thinking about starting the staffing agency Morales Group back in 2003. Now the president of the company, he remembers challenging his father, owner Tom Morales to take that leap of faith. “What are you so afraid of?” he asked his parents. The company was born and the rest is history. Listen to this episode of Make My People Better to hear how serving others and giving back is at the front and center of the company. Hear how this highlights their mission of building better futures one story at a time - whether that’s for the company’s internal staff or external associates who are seeking jobs. If you’re looking to take your company’s mission beyond paychecks and profits, check out this episode on faith, family, and legacy.