With more and higher quality clients, a successful team week, and more team members than ever, Antony International Solutions (AIS) has seen tremendous growth in a short amount of time. From the beginning in 2013, we have grown from an average of two contracts to eight. Our innovative approach of flex recruiting continues to be tested in contrast to the traditional methods of recruiting through agencies and in-house recruiters. Not only have we grown from having more contracts, but we have also gained higher quality contracts. Our client relationships, to include Blue Diamond Growers, Ichor Systems, Hypertherm, and more, prove the effectiveness of flex recruiting across any industry. With our continued success in a variety of industries, there is a need for our services and we are very pleased to see the methodology of flex recruiting take hold in the market. In addition to the quality and number of our clients, the employee structure of AIS has changed as well. One of our biggest milestones was the shift from 1099 contractors to W2 employees with benefits. For right now, benefits include paid time off and insurance. However, there are future plans for college loan repayment, retirement, and corporate disbursements.
Our success and growth have only been possible because of the tremendous work of every member of our team. So this year we decided to celebrate in a big way with our first annual team week. Each team member and their spouse were invited to a charming historic mansion nestled in the valleys of central Pennsylvania, for three days of team bonding, topped off with a fantastic 4th of July party at the Maryland home of our President, Angela. Surely, our first annual team week exemplified success and prosperity, but the bigger message was to celebrate the great work of every team member, and the support of their spouses.
Unlike most corporate events, our team retreat invited AIS spouses to attend and AIS leaders encouraged and engaged spouses to participate in all aspects of team week. AIS spouses were told if they did not want to attend any of the workshops that would be perfectly fine; they could have gone out for ice cream at the historic Turkey Hill, enjoyed a day at Hershey Park, or even visited a nearby wolf sanctuary. However, each AIS spouse voluntarily chose to participate in every optional workshop. By spending time with each other’s spouses, we were able to get to know each team member on a deeper level and become more coherent as a team. Through a guided session with our retreat facilitator, Sal, we were able to identify work as a service to others. In the same session, Renee, one of our newest members of AIS, and her husband Phil stated how much they appreciate each other and the time that they put into work or not working so that they can maximize each other’s happiness, even if that was at the expense of their own. What a profound thing to share, that touched us all. With work-related stress, we often tend to bring it home, and that is not only affecting our own happiness, but also our spousal and familial happiness as well. This is just one example that Sal brought to every team member’s attention through guided sessions of the team retreat. Before the team retreat, the environment of a small team dynamic already elicited a respect and care for every member of our team. Yet, to see how team members function outside of work, the story of each team member was further shared and enjoyed.
In addition, the team retreat reinforced the perception of each team member’s admiration. There are more similarities between all of us than factors that make us different. All of us come from unique backgrounds in terms of location, experience, gender, age, marital status, and much more, but those unique experiences are what made and make our team so special. Some of us have known each other for years, some only for a month. However, the feeling of belonging and family have further cemented from our magnificent celebration. As an example, Renee has stated that “Although I have worked here in a short amount of time, I love the culture and people that I feel like I have known for much longer.”
How did this strong affirmation and appreciation for every member of our team form?
The answer could lie in the heart-warming conversations held over dinner in the grand dining room of our Pennsylvania mansion with our spouses, motivating lessons on mindfulness, compassion, and joy from our retreat facilitator, or maybe it’s in the character of every member of our team. I think it is much more simple. The answer is admiration. Every single member of our team has such a genuine care and responsibility for one another. This, combined with the hard work that every member puts into their job has culminated into a larger bond than AIS; a bond about well-being, care, and admiration beyond work.
Furthermore, the 4th of July party also symbolized the success of our business. During our President’s speech, Angela said that “The purpose of this all is to celebrate what we have built together.” We celebrated in style with a traditional Maryland crab feast, live entertainment, and of course, fireworks in conjunction with not only our team, but the family and friends who are closest to us. The over 100 guests that were in attendance were able to share in this joyous celebration.
Our team week exemplified the vision of AIS. Work should, of course, help one discover a meaningful purpose and be a means to support one’s lifestyle. However, AIS is bigger than these simple concepts. AIS is about the genuine care about every team member’s health, family, and happiness through the provision of a challenging, yet rewarding work. To start and succeed in running a small business alone is a feat that was well-deserved for a celebration. The decision has always been intentional to be different and forward-thinking and as a result has made AIS who we are today. This and the hard work of every team member towards the shared goal to practice the innovative approach of flex recruiting so that we all may benefit from the gains is what continues to keep AIS lean and ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.