Spotlight On: Joel Schneider, Minneapolis Market Manager
Joel’s approach to leadership creates a channel of open communication. He values organization and the opinions of those around him. His commitment to his team and his determination to complete his daily tasks make him a productive and valued member of the Oxford team. Read on to learn more about Joel’s successful journey with Oxford.
Q: What is your professional background?
A: Like many Account Managers, I come from a sales and project management background with a communications degree. I’ve worked with a few companies similar to Oxford in sales roles focusing on life sciences.
Q: How long have you been with Oxford?
A: Six years, going on seven.
Q: What daily habits do you recommend for success?
A: It comes down to organization. Each day, have a plan and a list of items you must accomplish. Push yourself, knowing what has to be done going into the day. If it doesn’t get done, it has not been a productive day. Finally, keep yourself accountable.
Q: What would you say contributes most to your success at Oxford?
A: A commitment to my Client Managers – to being there as a resource and ensuring they get what they need from me daily. They can count on me. They know I’ve got their best interest in mind, and I will do everything I can to make sure they get what they need.
Q: What is one of your greatest achievements to date (personal or professional)?
A: Probably starting here in Minneapolis as the only Oxford employee and growing this into a place where we have a standing office and a team of four.
Q: What attributes do you think are most important in a leader?
A: I think you must be able to portray your vision for success. That is number one. Once you’ve got that vision, it’s about creating a roadmap to achieve that success. Having a willingness to listen to employees—an open-door policy where everyone’s ideas count. It’s not just my way or the highway. It comes down to a team atmosphere. I try to create a respectful environment in which we can exchange ideas.
Q: What’s the best book you’ve read on business or leadership?
A: It’s a book I just finished with our Emerging Leaders class. It’s called It’s Your Ship. I think it’s the best because it shows you the importance of listening to the team and acknowledging that their ideas are important and valid, and creating an environment where the leader has an obligation to create a space of growth and development, where they listen and implement ideas.
Q: What skills do you think will be most in demand in 2023?
A: I see a lot happening on the life sciences side – process development and process improvement. The landscape of manufacturing is changing. The cloud-based systems – manufacturing 4.0. I foresee there will be a need for manufacturing, process development, and automation engineers.
Q: What trends are you seeing in talent and recruitment this year?
A: The challenge is recruiting consultants willing to return to on-site assignments. Likewise, clients need to be more flexible in their expectations of consultants being on site. Remote work should be an option because the workplace and workers’ mindsets are evolving. The biggest struggle is the discrepancy between what our clients and consultants want when it comes to this point.
Q: As technology continues to advance, how do you see it impacting the recruiting and staffing industry?
A: I think it’s always going to be challenging for us. I would assume that finding the “needle in the haystack” skill set will be more challenging as technology advances. A lot of people are going after these high-level folks. Relationships will be more critical than ever. Cultivating these relationships will keep us ahead of what’s out there.
Q: How do you define customer care?
A: Customer care is the most critical part of my job. It’s articulating or exhibiting to our customers that we care about their projects, the timelines they’re faced with, getting them good people, and how our people perform for them. If you can show them that you care about their needs and outcomes, that's what they want to hear—that you care about their success.
Q: What advice would you give to individuals interested in consulting?
A: Make sure you are connected with a reputable firm. That’s the most important thing. Make sure you’re working with a firm, such as Oxford, that you know will pay you on time, and you’ll have access to the best jobs in the industry. We’re a large company, and it gives us an advantage. We have access to the jobs people want. They want to work on cutting-edge projects, and not all firms can access those projects. So, that’s what I would look for – dependability, reliability, and who can give me the best work overall.
Q: How do you support driving change with your team or colleagues based on strategic business decisions?
A: We have daily meetings with the staff to ensure that Oxford’s strategy is implemented. Along with those meetings, I strive to set an example. As the leader, I’m responsible for setting the standard for that strategy. Therefore, I ensure my staff understands the “why” behind the plan and how to implement it. That tends to result in adoption.
Q: What do you do to mentor the individuals on your team?
A: A lot of it is leading by example, but more than that, it’s joining meetings with their clients and letting them join mine. Listening to their ideas and explaining the reasoning behind why we do things. The quicker they understand “why,” the faster they will understand our strategies, and the sooner they’ll be successful.
Q: What do you like best about working with your clients/consultants/team?
A: I’ve worked with my clients for years, which has led to friendships. One of my favorite things is hearing from them that they’ve never experienced customer service like this before – they didn’t know a business partnership could be like this. Hearing that makes the job 100% worthwhile.
Q: How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?
A: For me, it comes down to the calendar. Throughout the week or day, you’re adding things you need to get done. You will be most successful if you can keep track of that. Those things that surprise you in the middle of the night, after work, or on the weekend are the things that make it tough to balance. Staying organized, using your calendar, and checking things off so you can stay ahead of the fires, will create a good balance to help you stay sane.
Q: Why Oxford?
A: For clients, it comes down to providing the best services. We have access to the best talent in the industry. It’s an easy decision. Once they get to know us, they understand we can find people that no other firm can. The challenge is getting our foot in the door. Just give us a shot. We’ll prove why we’re the best.
For consultants, if you want to work on cutting-edge, fun, challenging projects with some of the world’s biggest, most technologically advanced companies, we’ve got those projects for you. We work with Fortune 100 and 500 companies that are pushing the envelope. So come work for us, we’ll show you how rewarding it can be.
For internal employees, it’s all about the people! The people here are fantastic, and the vision is rock solid—you’ve got goals, you’ve got accountability, and you’ve got support to reach your goals. The training is phenomenal, the people are remarkable, and we’ve been doing this for over 35 years, so we’ve got the recipe down. You just need to come in with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn, and you’ll be successful.
For me, it’s the people. It’s the opportunity for growth, working for a company where I know we can help our clients. It’s fun heading into the office knowing we can offer clients the best of something.
Q: What is your work motto/favorite quote on success?
A: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right” - Henry Ford. To me, that’s proof that your attitude is your greatest tool.
Q: Do you have any special talents or a favorite hobby?
A: Scuba diving, gardening, and hobby farming.
Q: How do you like to spend your free time?
A: With the pets. We have dogs, cats, goats, and chickens.
Q: What would your superpower be?
A: Invisibility would be fun. You could probably solve some world problems that way, too.
Q: How do you take your coffee?
A: Black, no frills, low maintenance.
Q: What was your first job?
A: Bagging groceries at the local supermarket.
Q: What job did you want as a child?
A: I wanted to be a spy, just because it sounded cool.
Q: Who are you most inspired by? (dead or alive)
A: I’m mostly inspired by people who have overcome obstacles. For example, Abraham Lincoln grew up in poverty, suffered from depression, lost relatives early on, and didn’t let it stop him. He persevered, knew what he wanted, and didn’t let things get in the way.
Joel’s positive attitude and relationship-building skills make him a joy to talk to, work with, and learn from. Likewise, his team, colleagues, and clients have a true asset with him on their side.