Thursday, March 29, 2012

A TERRA-ific Way To Say Thanks

My friend, Jenifer, and her husband, Greg, own a staffing company named TERRA.

This is Jenifer.
This is Greg.
This is Señor Frijole, their baby boy, pride and joy, office companion, and all-around snappy dresser.
Now, Jenifer and Greg (and Frijole) do lots of other interesting things besides work. But their work tells me a lot about them, and I find that to be very interesting, too.

TERRA Staffing Group is a company that helps people find jobs. Sometimes they match upper level management types to corner-office positions with six-figure salaries; other times, they help blue collar types find industrial work, like counting parts or squeegeeing out the insides of giant soup cookers. Jenifer works with the upper management clients, Greg is the CEO who keeps the whole operation humming, From what I hear, it's a good gig...but it's maybe not always the most exciting or glamorous or artistic work that could ever be imagined.

But it is work that matters. TERRA helps people earn an honest living, and at the same time, helps companies find the employees they need to make business happen. TERRA does the kind of work that makes the world go round, and at the same time, brings meaning to individual lives.

Even so, Jenifer and Greg strive to do more than just match people to jobs and vice versa. They want TERRA to matter. They want to be the kind of company that not only satisfies its clients' needs, but takes the best possible care of its own staff. They want to achieve their organizational goals and set standards in the industry, but they also want to do the right thing as human beings. Over the years, TERRA has won a surprising number of awards that suggest that it is possible to do both. After garnering prizes with titles like Best Companies to Work For and Best Workplace, this year, TERRA won recognition as the Inavero's 2012 Best of Staffing Client Winner. I'm no expert on this topic but I gather that it's an award that measures customer satisfaction, and the bar is set very high.

I am very impressed that TERRA won this title. Yet what they decided to next impresses me even more. Because the award was granted on the basis of customer input, Jen and Greg decided to thank their clients who took the time to complete the survey. 

Nice touch, right?  

But they didn't stop there; to offer their thanks in the most personal, heartfelt way, they wrote a thorough thank-you note, prettied it up with a cool photo of rock climbers and some graphic design flourishes, and Greg hand-signed every one of the hundreds of copies printed. 

That's it, right? What could anyone do to offer a more specific and generous 'thank you' than that?

I'll tell you what they did. 

Rather than hit a few keys on their database and run off all the machine-addressed envelopes needed to mail the thank-you cards, they hired me to hand-write each client's name and address on the front of their envelope. 

And rather than run these hundreds of envelopes through their mail machines to affix the proper postage, they asked me to buy 'real' postage stamps and plop them on the envelopes, one by one.  

Because, as Jenifer told me, she wanted her clients to notice that card in their mail and immediately recognize it as a personal, genuine, "you actually want to open this one" piece of mail. She understands that it's always a good thing to say thank you, but those words convey deeper meaning when they are offered with a special sensitivity and personal touch. 

That is why I respect her work at TERRA. 

And that is why I was honored to be a part of this letter project. 

And that is why I am so proud to call Jenifer my friend. 


  1. Nice touch, literally. And they found the perfect person to carry it out. Good go!

  2. Jen, apparently, Blogger ate your post but gmail did not. Here is what you said:

    "Wow! What a nice post! I'm flattered that you found this blog-worthy and Marcia is right--you were the perfect person to make this happen. Thank you, friend!"

    To which I reply: Thank you for choosing me, and you are welcome!


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