Hey You, Yes You…You’ve Been Caught In The Act!

By:  Jaime Johnson, HR Generalist

Who doesn’t want to be recognized for a job well done? Recognition and appreciation are great motivators for employees, and often regarded as key factors in why employees initially join and end-up staying with a company.

TSP’s Caught In The Act, CITA for short, is an employee recognition program that churns out points to employees many times throughout any given week. Whether it’s positive feedback from a client or a show of gratitude from a manager or peer, the CITA points are generously doled out to our #TSProckstars. And this makes perfect sense considering the program itself started based on direct employee feedback and TSP’s commitment to honor its employee-unified voice.

The process is simple. First, an employee is recognized by a peer, client or management for going above and beyond. Any manager in the company submits the name of the employee and justification for the CITA. Points are then awarded which can be redeemed by logging onto Awardco, an employee recognition software. Employees can cash-in points immediately, or are able to bank their points for larger purchases at a later date.

Awardco offers a simple-to-use, reward system that integrates with Amazon Prime, Walmart.com, sites for hotel bookings, and a storefront to redeem great TSP-branded gear! It’s very important to remember that CITA recipients are also eligible for consideration of the Employee of the Quarter (EOQ) award. The EOQ winner(s) are selected by our executives who meet quarterly to read every CITA submission.

The original goal of the CITA program was to show TSP’s deep appreciation for its workforce, but the benefits of the program have surpassed our expectations. Ron Kilmer, TSP operations coordinator out of Washington with our shared solutions business unit, received a CITA this past July for his outstanding contribution to his team’s success on a project.

“I am an individual contributor but ultimately I am a team player and my team makes me successful. We will succeed or fail as one team,” said Kilmer.

Ron can attest to the fact that the recognition program fosters communication, increases morale and loyalty, and deepens a sense of pride in one’s own work. Add a little retail therapy to the mix, which Ron’s wife appreciates since he cashed in his points for portable ham radio handsets that they use while camping, and you’ve got yourself an amazing recognition system where everyone wins.


Celebrating Courage with The Portrait Project – TSP Sponsors Annual Event Benefitting Children’s Cancer Fund

DALLAS – As part of its commitment to charitable initiatives, TSP (Technology Service Professionals) is proud to announce it will sponsor The Portrait Project. Every year, The Portrait Project provides large professional canvas portraits to families of children fighting cancer, capturing the children’s strength and courage. The unveiling event will be held Thursday, September 24 from 7-9pm at Sewell Subaru of Dallas. Tickets directly benefit The Children’s Cancer Fund and can be purchased here.

“We’re very proud to be sponsoring such a special cause, and look forward to attending the unveiling event. All of the money raised goes directly to funding cancer research and stays in Dallas. Part of our company vision is supporting our community, and many of us at TSP have children, so this is the perfect cause for us to support as a company,” said Rick Skaggs, co-founder and president, TSP.

This year’s event theme is “It’s a Beautiful Day,” right in line with the positive, celebratory tone of the event. The children will all go on stage and pull the cover off of their portraits. A DJ will be on hand to spin fun music, and “kids’ choice” food will be catered, including a candy bar. The jewelry beads of Payton Agnew, the young girl who inspired the project, will be available for families to make their own necklaces. Founder Meagan Harris (former WFAA executive producer) says she expects 200-300 attendees.

“Everything about this event is designed with the kids and their families in mind. People often think that it will be sad, but we work very hard to ensure that it’s uplifting and inspiring. Sponsorship from generous partners like TSP helps us do what we do – focus on the kids and do what we can to help fund cancer research,” said Harris.

Pete Delkus WFAA chief meteorologist will serve as emcee, going live from the event. Co-founder David Quisenberry has photographed the children each year – sneak peeks can be viewed here.

About TSP
TSP is a privately held information technology services company founded in 2002 by Rick Skaggs and Frank Gonzalez. The business provides top-tier services in enterprise solutions, shared solutions, and industrial automation. The Certified Minority Owned Business has more than 550 employees, and its service area includes more than 30 U.S. states as well as Canada. The company’s client portfolio includes Texas Instruments, International Paper, Hewlett-Packard, Goodyear, Georgia-Pacific, Dell, Raytheon, 3M, Hitachi, NetApp, Lockheed Martin, IBM, and Neiman Marcus. To learn more, visit http://mytsp.net.

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About The Portrait Project: Courage & Cancer
The Portrait Project: Courage & Cancer is aimed at capturing the strength and spirit of a child fighting cancer. It started with an inspirational 14 year old who was faced with a troubling prognosis but lived her life with joy and generosity. Payton Agnew was undergoing treatment at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas. She wanted to make a difference. Payton made jewelry while in the hospital. She sold it and donated the money to The Children’s Cancer Fund, a non-profit that provides funding for local research.

Her life and death inspired this project. To her family and many others who’ve lost loved ones- portraits are priceless.

To learn more, visit The Portrait Project’s Facebook.

How To Be a Better Listener

…What was that? Oh, sorry, I checked out for a minute. I was thinking about lunch. And scanning emails. And wondering if I paid a bill.

A lot of problems are because of the failure to listen. But let’s face it—listening, really listening, is hard. Like any skill, it takes constant practice and discipline to improve.

TSP is a big believer in the power of listening, which is a foundation of our company culture. From day one, being a company that truly listens to clients has set us apart. Solving the problems that others wouldn’t listen to has helped TSP expand as a business, and we’ve succeeded over the years because clients prefer working with people who hear them loud and clear.

Think about the person you respect most. Are they a good listener?
The people we respect most are probably the ones who are reliable, trustworthy, and make decisions with care. They probably have all those qualities because they’re good listeners. When people really listen, they get all the information, and they’re much more reliable and trustworthy as a result.

Listen with your eyes.
No matter how great you are at multitasking (or how great you think you are), the person talking feels ignored if you never look at them. Parents often tell children, “Look at me when I talk to you,” but adults don’t say the same to each other. If someone is speaking to you, take your eyes off the phone screen, the papers on your desk, and the window and look at them instead. You don’t have to devote 100 percent eye contact to the speaker—intense eye contact can be intimidating, especially if the speaker is shy—but your eyes should let the speaker know that they have your full attention.

If your mind wanders, try to picture what the person is saying.
Listening intently takes a lot of energy. To be a better active listener and keep your mind from wandering, try picturing what the speaker is saying. It doesn’t matter if your mental picture is literal or abstract; if you’re tuned in, your brain will do the work for you. If your thoughts start to trail off, train yourself to notice quickly and refocus on the mental picture.

Don’t try to plan what to say next.
You can’t plan your next sentence and truly hear what someone is saying at the same time. If you’re too busy thinking about what to say, you’re not actually listening. Planning your reply while listening can be a tough habit to break, especially if you’re not confident about coming up with quick responses. If someone finishes speaking and you don’t know what to say, tell them you’re going to think about what they told you and respond later when you’ve had time to ponder what they said.

Wait for a pause before asking for clarification.
When trying to be a great listener, sometimes we work so hard to understand what someone is saying that we interrupt with questions. Instead, let the speaker finish their thought, since they might answer your question on their own. If you’re worried about forgetting a question or you want to let them finish a whole story before you ask, jot down questions as you listen.


Can Personality Tests Lead to Happier Workplaces?

TSP co-founder and president Rick Skaggs, co-founder and vice president Frank Gonzalez, and CFO and vice president, Keith McElwain, have worked closely together since 2003. They get along easily, work together daily, and know each other well. But even though they have a lot in common, when they took personality tests together, their results couldn’t have been more different from one another.

The three key TSP leaders achieve continual balance, especially when it comes to making big decisions for the company. Even though the way they think and approach problems can be different, their strengths compliment one another. Taking a personality test didn’t directly change their group dynamic, but it did help them give one another a little extra consideration when their differences came out.

Personality tests aren’t perfect pictures of who we are, but they can give us some information about who we are and how we relate to others. They can also give people extra confidence in their way of doing things, refine inclinations toward passions and talents, and help us build stronger relationships.

What is a personality test?
Personality tests are designed to ascertain someone’s behavioral style. There are no right or wrong answers, and each test is different. TSP’s leadership team most recently took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, which is one of the most common tests used for the workplace.

Personality tests can help us see ourselves more clearly.
We all have innate needs, and personalities tend to be the evolution of our various internal inclinations and requirements. For example, though introverts enjoy time with others, they often retreat to recharge. Extroverts, on the other hand, are refueled by lots of time with lots of people. If an introvert tried to live exactly like an extrovert, they would be exhausted, and an extrovert living like an introvert might feel lonely and bored. When we understand more about who we are, it’s easier to make better choices about how we can work most productively and eliminate unnecessary stress. Personality tests may show us things about ourselves that help us break negative patterns and improve the way we work.

Personality tests can help us understand one another better.
It takes a long time to truly get to know someone, and even those we are closest to can continue to surprise us. A personality test won’t deliver a complete picture of who someone is, but it can offer insights into why certain people are more likely to cooperate or clash. For example, different personalities may have different communication styles, so planning meetings with a good blend of personalities may help the meeting run more smoothly.

TSP leaders have great natural intuition when it comes to cooperating, working together, and making big choices that everyone can agree with. They each have different styles, which only makes the team stronger. Personality tests don’t dictate what we do, but the results were interesting and helped our team function that much better.

Enterprise and Shared Solutions Keep the Contract Wins Coming

DALLAS TSP (Technology Service Professionals), a leading provider of information technology services to Fortune 500 companies, has announced another round of new contracts. These new wins come right on the heels of TSP’s “Big Win Monday” announcement less than a month prior.

“There is nothing like hearing the TSP Gong ring loudly, announcing new customers, new contracts and other exciting TSP news. Our team’s ongoing commitment to not only our existing customers, but new customers, is evident by this latest announcement,” said Frank Gonzalez, co-founder and vice president of TSP.

Enterprise Solutions Wins:

  • Transition of existing employee’s completed contract to a new contract, which resulted in additional revenue, while keeping a resource engaged on a project
  • Longtime customer signed a 18-month project services contract to help with IT renovation of their facility
  • Two new consulting services contracts for onsite resources (with a new and an existing customer)

Shared Solutions

  • New project services contract to assist customer with SQL data migration
  • Utilized existing bandwidth and resources for one of TSP’s newer customers, creating two new short-term consulting services contracts

“We have always said we are the best-kept secret in town, but with wins like these, I don’t anticipate TSP being a secret for much longer. I am consistently impressed with our employees’ dedication and enthusiasm for making TSP even bigger and better,” said Rick Skaggs, co-founder and president of TSP.

About TSP
TSP is a privately held information technology services company founded in 2002 by Rick Skaggs and Frank Gonzalez. The business provides top-tier services in enterprise solutions, shared solutions, and industrial automation. The Certified Minority Owned Business has more than 550 employees, and its service area includes more than 30 U.S. states as well as Canada. The company’s client portfolio includes Texas Instruments, International Paper, Hewlett-Packard, Goodyear, Georgia-Pacific, Dell, Raytheon, 3M, Hitachi, NetApp, Lockheed Martin, IBM, and Neiman Marcus. To learn more, visit http://mytsp.net.

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What College Grads Should Look for in an IT Job

The job market is still tough, especially for young graduates just starting out. Breaking into the workforce for the first time is a challenge—employers always seem to want “more experience,” but how can you get experience if no one gives you that first break?

Lots of recent graduates start out working at ho-hum jobs that keep basic bills paid, but don’t really satisfy. However, even though you’re eager to find something, it’s better now and in the long run to find the right fit. Finding the right job could make the difference between a bad year (followed by another job search) and a position at a company you’re happy to work at for years.

Will the job turn out to be “as advertised”?
Some companies will lure in recent graduates by highlighting certain aspects of a job, but once you’re signed on, it turns out that the actual position is starkly different from what was advertised. Don’t be distracted by a position’s title. Instead, ask proactive questions in the interview about what the job really entails. Getting a clear picture of the nitty-gritty will help you make the right decision and avoid getting stuck in a job that doesn’t work for you.

Do you have room to ask questions in the interview?
Nothing makes someone seem more passive and less interested than failing to ask questions during the interview. Sometimes, recent grads think of interviews as a one-way street where they’re on display and have to prove their worth. However, interviews are a chance for candidates to see if a company is really the right fit. If you aren’t given the chance to ask questions, it’s not a good sign.

Does the company have a solid mentorship program?
As a graduate, you’re looking for work experience and a paycheck, but great companies offer more. Recent grads are at a key time in their careers when decisions could affect the rest of their career path. A good company will not only provide great work opportunities, but also open doors for you to find a mentor who can help you make great choices and succeed along the way.

What kind of ongoing training is offered?
In the tech industry, staying on top of the latest technologies is vital to your success. Ask about how the business trains new employees and what continuing education options are sponsored later on. A company that has great educational benefits is much better than than one that wants to pigeonhole employees without giving them the change to learn and grow.

Will you actually be happy at the company?
For hardworking former students looking to make their way in the world asap—and those with pressing student loans and electricity bills—it’s tempting to leap into the first opportunity that comes along. However, though employment for employment’s sake has the merit of a paycheck, you invested too much in your education to waste away at a company where you’re going to be miserable. You will spend a huge chunk of your life at work, so look for a company that feels like a good fit. If the culture feels off and you get a bad vibe, keep looking until you find a place you’re excited about.

TSP offers a compelling opportunity for recent grads – Want to become one of our #TSProckstars? Read more on our Careers page.