Fulcrum IT aims to make a strong first impression with new staffers

August 11, 2013

Company: Fulcrum IT Services.

Location: Centreville.

Employees: 215 locally; 320 nationwide.

Jason Bell has only been working for Fulcrum IT Services for about seven weeks, but he said he has already developed a strong loyalty to the company.

That feeling, he said, stems from the contracting firm’s new employee orientation process, which the human resources team has designed to create a small-business feel in a company that has offices across the nation.

“You can only make a first impression once,” said Kirstie de la Jara, the firm’s director of human resources.

The process begins with a personalized welcome letter and a $50 American Express gift card from chief executive Jeff Handy.

“That alone, right there, just brought my family into a comfortable zone with the company,” Bell said.

Bell is based at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico, and he said the gesture went a long way toward reassuring his family that it was a good choice for him to work for a company whose headquarters were across the country. He used the gift card to take his children to the movies and to treat his wife to dinner.

Fulcrum also flew Bell to its headquarters in Centreville to meet Handy and to receive orientation from the central office staff. Fulcrum holds these orientations about once a month, and makes a point to pay for all of its newest staffers across the country to attend.

“It’s unique in the government contracting world because most people don’t ever see their CEO,” said Meghan Misiag, the firm’s human resources generalist.

And before they arrive, Handy makes a point to learn a bit about each of the new staffers so he can more easily connect with them.

In the region’s competitive government contracting sector, Fulcrum hopes this process helps them retain the best workers.

“Our employees are the cornerstone of our business,” de la Jara said. “I think it shows, ‘We want to invest in you.’”

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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