Show Notes: Episode 91 – HR in Startups
June 8, 2020
Show Notes: Episode 92 – Health Savings Accounts 101
June 22, 2020

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This transcript was created using an automated transcription service and may contain errors.

Susan 0:12
Welcome to The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast, where we talk about embracing joy in the workplace. I’m Susan White, owner of Susan Tinder White Consulting. With me is my co-host and good friend, JoDee Curtis, owner of Purple Ink, an HR consulting firm. If you notice any difference in our sound quality today, we wanted to mention that we’re doing this remotely – JoDee’s in one place, I’m in the other – because of the coronavirus concerns and shelter in place orders where we live. I hope that you’re doing well in your response to the coronavirus, and I’m sure this is going to be a time of learning for all of us.

Our topic today is HR in startups. Starting businesses have been an integral part of the American way and success of economies across the globe for centuries. Over the last 20 years, it’s become a hotter and hotter topic with the amazing success of many startups, like Facebook in 2004. Airbnb in 2008, SpaceX in 2002, Bird Scooters in 2017, and JoDee, we could go on and on, couldn’t we.

JoDee 1:13
Exactly.

Susan 1:15
More and more business leaders and HR professionals are thinking that maybe they would like to work in a more innovative, agile environment, and that perhaps a startup could be the answer for them. So we thought it made sense today to devote this podcast to talking about startups, and we’re going to talk to a couple of insiders about the people issues that they face and some of the HR components that you want to think about if you’re doing a startup.

So first, why don’t we look at some data on these startups. We went to Matt Mansfield, who shared some statistics on smallbiztrends.com at the end of March, actually March 28, 2019. So JoDee, why don’t we share some of the stats and then maybe any surprises that you found here.

JoDee 1:56
Yeah. So 69% of US businesses are started in the home. I’m not surprised about that one.

Susan 2:04
That one doesn’t surprise me either. Seems like the safest thing to do if it’s, you know, just make sure you can launch it from the safety of your home. Number 2: 73% of business founders identify themselves as male and 25% identify themselves as female

JoDee 2:22
That one does surprise me. I think we’ve heard so much, more and more about so many more women starting businesses, I would have thought that one would have been higher.

Susan 2:31
Me too. Number three, the largest percentage of founders are between the ages of 50 and 59. Actually, 35% of people starting businesses are in their 50s. Now that one doesn’t surprise me, because when I started my consulting firm, I was in my 50s. Number four.

JoDee 2:48
Another source, the Harvard Business Review, found that technology startups, had an average age of their founder of 40 years old.

Susan 2:58
Kind of makes sense given the fact that people that are 40 probably grew up with computers in their world all their lives, right?

JoDee 3:04
Right, right.

Susan 3:06
So Matt Mansfield also talked about why do people start businesses. And here’s some of the reasons based on his survey that he revealed. 26% of people start businesses because they feel like they’re ready to be their own boss.

JoDee 3:21
And 23% wanted to pursue his or her passion.

Susan 3:27
19% because the opportunity just presented itself to them.

JoDee 3:31
And 12% were dissatisfied with corporate America.

Susan 3:36
And 6% were laid off or outsourced.

JoDee 3:39
And another 6% just were not ready to retire.

Susan 3:43
Okay, so those last two reasons are why I started my business, right? My job was eliminated, and I really felt like I was in my mid 50s, that I had more juice left in me. And so I thought what could I do, and I wanted, I was ready not to work for anybody else, wanted to work for me. So that really does resonate with me.

JoDee 4:00
Yeah, I’d go back to the first one, I was, I was in my mid 40s, and I was ready to be my own boss.

Susan 4:08
Hmm. Makes sense. So startup failures, we should talk about that too, some of the stats he shared, because I think all of us when we’re ready to take that leap, we have to think about are we going to make it, are we not. So, in this article, it said that the startup failure rate at four years out, is about 44%, but I like to look at it that the success rate is really about 56%, four years into it.

JoDee 4:33
Well I’ve had Purple Ink now for 10 years, and we’re still surviving. How long have you had your business, Susan?

Susan 4:40
Six years.

JoDee 4:41
Alright so we’ve, we’ve beat the odds.

Susan 4:43
Yay! The top three reasons for business startups to fail are, first of all, no market need, and that’s 42% of them fail for that reason.

JoDee 4:53
29% fail because they ran out of cash. Although, I kind of wonder if you run out of cash if there’s no market.

Susan 5:02
You’re right, it might feed into it, exactly. Gosh, and the third reason is you didn’t have the right team, and the 23%. That one I think really resonates with us, doesn’t it, JoDee, because we understand, gotta have the right people in those jobs if you’re gonna make it work.

JoDee 5:17
Right, absolutely.

Susan 5:20
Well, our first guest today is Grady White. He’s a business leader with a lot of experience working in startups. Grady is currently the Head of Growth for Vivante health, a digital gut health startup that is in its fifth year of existence. In the past, Grady has been the Chief Operating Officer for Parachute Health, it’s now in its fifth year of operation. He was a Senior Program Manager at Snapchat, which is now nine years old, and he was an early Uber employee, which Uber now is at 11 years old. And when he was with Uber he was responsible for the expansion and operations into new markets. In addition, Grady has some experience in 2019, when he became a co-founder of a New York based startup, Spaw, which is an in home dog grooming tech platform, which until last week he was continuing to be an advisor to, but they just sold to a competitor.

JoDee 6:14
Oh!

Susan 6:15
He’s had a lot of experience in startups, so I’m really excited to talk to him, and full disclosure, he’s also my son. He’s my number one son. So, we have watched him in this journey of startups and I think we’ve learned a lot from it. I have to tell you, JoDee, the first time Grady called us he was working, to tell us he was moving into a startup, he was working for a very, very large defense company, and in what I thought was a very secure job, he was doing contracts for them. I thought he had died and gone to employment security heaven. He called my husband and I, said, “Hey, I need to let you know I’m quitting my job, and I’m going to go work for this company called Uber, and it’s a start up, and I’m really excited about it.” My husband says, “Now, you spell that word. What is it?” “U-B-E-R,” and then my husband says, “Now explain to me, what are they going to do?” And so Grady explained that, you know, how car sharing and ride sharing is gonna work. And my husband says, “Grady, I think you’re nuts. Strangers will not get into strangers’ cars. So, when you call us back, I don’t know how long it’s going to be, you’re going to call us back and say it didn’t work.” Well, my husband has learned that sometimes startups really do work and he’s gone on now and Grady, right now, I can’t imagine being willing to work anywhere but a startup. He loves the excitement of it, loves seeing the growth. It’s really fun to watch him be passionate about what he does.

JoDee 7:37
Love it.

Susan 7:39
Grady, we’re so glad you’re here. So, from a business leader viewpoint, what are the people related issues that you see surfacing when a startup is in its early stages?

Grady 7:50
Yeah, I think there’s a lot of uncertainty around expectations, and there hasn’t usually been a lot of time for creating guidance on exactly what is expected of employees from a way to act, a way to behave. So usually what you’ll see is a lot of people come to early stage companies with a work hard, play hard mentality. And you’ll see quite a few different ways that people either act out or don’t understand what the expectations are.

JoDee 8:25
I suspect you need, you probably need people just to jump in and do whatever, take on multiple roles and do whatever needs to be done early on, right?

Grady 8:34
Yeah, absolutely. And you have people with all sorts of backgrounds coming in to help out, to wear multiple hats. And a lot of times people are stretched to take on responsibility they’re not used to or don’t have a lot of experience with. That can also cause some issues as well, because they don’t know what the appropriate rules are, what the reactions are, and so a lot of problems can arise from really, I would say, just a lack of experience and people having to kind of stretch themselves to do jobs they’re not used to doing.

JoDee 9:07
Yeah. And as the business grows and matures, are there different people issues the leadership team wrestles with?

Grady 9:15
Yeah, I definitely think so. I think usually one of the most challenging issues is how to scale, which is obviously one of the best issues you can have as an early stage company. But it’s is knowing who to hire and when to hire them. It’s knowing when to potentially make a huge personnel decision, because maybe the company has outgrown some of their earlier employees. I think what I’ve seen a lot is people who want to be on the ground floor of an early stage company may not be best suited to take that company to the next level. So once a business reaches a little bit of success, management needs to evaluate whether you have the right people on the bus in order to really take the company to that next level.

Susan 10:10
That has to be painful. Painful, painful decisions, huh?

Grady 10:12
Yeah, it’s tough. It’s tough, especially for founders and an executive team which maybe hasn’t necessarily been in that position before. So you’re kind of charting into waters that you haven’t necessarily been in, so a lot of times with early stage companies, if you’re trying to do something, especially that hasn’t ever been done, there isn’t a roadmap to follow in terms of how to hire when, how to approach those kinds of people decisions, so it’s, you’re definitely figuring it out on the fly.

Susan 10:43
Grady, I know you’ve been at a number of startups. At what point in a company’s growth are you seeing founders start to hire an HR person, and is it soon enough? Do you have any tips for our listeners?

Grady 10:57
Yeah, it definitely depends, this is a really tough question, because I think it depends on multiple factors. So a lot of my past experience has been at venture backed companies, so we’ve been in the fortunate position to have some capital behind us to be able to spend on hires like an HR person, but I know a lot of small, early stage companies don’t have a couple of commas in their bank accounts to be able to make decisions like bringing on an HR person. And so what I usually end up seeing in the companies I work with that are venture backed, they wait a little bit longer before hiring a full-time HR person and they usually subcontract that out as long as they can, but really, for me, the two kind of milestones that I see it as is, you know, the 15 person full-time mark, which is obviously implications with, I believe it’s the Civil Rights Act. Once you start crossing the threshold and over 15 people you start having some new laws that are regulating you. And then the other one that I’ve kind of used in the past is right around that 50 person mark, because once again, I think FMLA comes into practice once you cross the 50 person threshold. So, once again, depends on the industry you’re in, depends on the revenue you’re doing, how much money you have, if you’re venture backed or not, but those are kind of two thresholds I think about.

JoDee 12:28
Nice. And Grady, before you have – maybe not even an HR person, much less having an internal recruiter, how do you attract talent? I’m sure that, you know, some of the companies you’ve worked for, like Uber and Snapchat, people find you, but in the early days of those firms or other firms you’ve been with, it has to be a challenge to find people, doesn’t it?

Grady 12:53
Yeah, and, I mean, that’s a great question that often goes overlooked. I think when you’re early in a company, you’re so passionate about what you’re doing you just think that people will naturally gravitate towards your idea, and they’ll see the same vision that the founders have, and they’ll want to be a part of the ride. But the reality is, you know, it’s a big gamble. It’s a big gamble joining early stage companies, so empathizing with recruits and understanding what they’re going through is definitely an important part of that process. But to answer your question, I think it’s, it’s definitely much more of an art than a science in terms of finding people for an early stage company. You have to understand their situation. You know, what their risk aversion is, how stable your company is, if you can actually commit that, you know, the company’s going to be around for the next few years. And so using a variety of online resources to recruit. For early stage tech companies, one of my favorite is Angel List – angellist.co. Really good site that’s free to recruit, and a lot of early stage tech companies use that platform. Obviously you have all the standard channels like LinkedIn, monster.com, Indeed. And then in some cases, once again depending on your situation, the capital situation of the company, I have used recruiters in the past, but using recruiters is usually only best applied for really specific, niche positions that are hard to find. So, it’s obviously a lot more expensive, but using a recruiter can save you a ton of time.

JoDee 14:35
I have to add that your stories make me think back to when I hired my first employee. So, I started 10 years ago. I hired my first employee probably six and a half years ago, and I remember, she worked for a big corporate law firm with all the fancy benefits and I made her a full time offer, and she said yes, and I couldn’t believe it.

Susan 15:02
Are you crazy? Why do you want to come here?

JoDee 15:04
You want to come to work for me? Like, little old me? I remember thinking, “Wow! That’s a big step.” So.

Grady 15:13
Yeah, and that’s, it’s a hard transition for employees who have been used to the comfort and security of a large corporation that has benefits, they have a people process in place, to then go to an early stage company, which is a lot of times the wild west of getting things done. And it’s going back to some of our earlier, my earlier points about you have to do all sorts of things that you would have never done before, it really stretches you, it really forces you to, you know, work on things you never worked on, and you just have to solve problems, so it’s not for everyone, but you know, there’s definitely a transition period for people who are new to early stage companies.

JoDee 15:57
Yeah.

Susan 15:57
Good. Grady, how do you approach figuring out pay and benefits to offer before you have HR expertise on staff?

Grady 16:05
Yeah, that’s, that’s a challenging question. And, you know, there’s once again a few factors at play here. The first and probably most important is what is the business actually has allocated or budgeted to spend on that position. Once again, my experience is more in the venture backed companies, and so we’ve been fortunate to be able to look at market rates, try to understand what’s being paid for similar positions, and then pay it. But I know a lot of companies are resource constrained and can’t necessarily always pay market. So usually, early stage companies lean more heavily towards equity. So, essentially giving away a piece of the business, or options in the business as part of the compensation package as opposed to just straight cash salary. Because, even for venture backed companies, cash is still super tight for the first few years, and you know, every dollar is important. But to answer your question, you know, it’d be a lot easier with an HR person to do really the full diligence, the full research. But usually, what it is is looking at other similar job postings and salary ranges, understanding on Glassdoor kind of what the average in the area is for what’s being paid, and then adding in the layer of what can the business actually afford, are really the big factors I look at.

Susan 17:34
Fair enough.

JoDee 17:36
Yeah, good. And Grady, when you see HR people join a startup, do they come in as the internal recruiter or talent manager, or is it more typically of an HR generalist who’s responsible for all people issues including recruiting and benefits and the whole shebang?

Grady 17:55
Yeah, I’ve seen both. Usually, the way it works with the companies I’ve worked with have been, we start with a recruiter part time, maybe 10 to 20 hours a week, as well as an HR generalist outsourced. And as the company grows and as the company scales, that part time work slowly increases, increases, until we’re at the point where you look around and it just makes sense to have a full-time person in the office. Yeah, also considering what the employee thresholds are in terms of compliance and making sure that you have someone who’s really thinking about people. So I would say once you make that full-time hire in my, in my experience it’s been more on the HR generalist side, even if, you know, they may be a good recruiter, because obviously you’re still going to need recruiting, really at around 50 people is when you start feeling it from a culture standpoint of not having an HR person in the room, not having an HR person always advocating for employees. And so, you know, they need to think about HR strategy, they need to hiring, they need to think about a people process and guidelines and setting those expectations, whereas, you know, the rest of the management team, although that’s important, it’s more of an afterthought because they’re worried about how are we going to, how are we going to eat, how are we going to make our next dollar of revenue, how are we going to survive? It’s not necessarily always thinking about what’s the best, most inviting work environment.

Susan 19:34
Well, let’s talk a little bit about work environment and culture. You know, you’ve been a manager of people in a number of startups. Are there any common themes or concerns that you’ve heard kind of surface from staff members in a start up, and do you think they’re unique to startups or do you think they would be any workplace?

Grady 19:50
Yeah, I think one of the most common threads that I’ve seen is in early stage companies, it’s tough to dedicate time to development. Once again, going back to worrying about survival and always trying to figure out where the next dollar of revenue is going to come from, you don’t have a lot of time to think how am I going to develop Joe Employee and take them from, you know, an entry-level employee to a mid-level employee, take him to that next level. And I think that’s what really sets apart good early stage leaders from the average, is willing to invest that time in their employees and help them grow professionally and personally to the next level.

JoDee 20:37
And Grady, is there any advice you have for our listeners who are HR professionals or business leaders who are considering founding or joining a startup?

Grady 20:47
Yeah, be ready to roll up your sleeves. There’s a lot of work to do. Yeah, it can be one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of your life. You’ll work really hard, but you can potentially get a lot out of it, and you’ll potentially learn more than you’ve ever learned in a short period of time. So, just approach it with an open mind and be ready to work hard.

Susan 21:11
That’s great. Grady, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s really been a pleasure.

Grady 21:15
Thank you for having me.

JoDee 21:16
Yeah. Excellent advice and good insight for us.

Grady 21:20
Appreciate it.

Susan 21:22
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Our second guest today is Dawn Lively, Chief Operations Officer at FullStack PEO. FullStack describes itself as turnkey HR for emerging companies. Welcome Dawn. We’re so glad that you’re here.

Dawn 22:13
Thank you so much for having me.

Susan 22:14
Dawn, could you explain how a PEO works, or describe what do PEO services look like?

Dawn 22:21
Oh, absolutely. PEO stands for professional employer organization, and in a nutshell, that’s a super long, you know, definition for a company that handles the transactional HR – benefits, tax related to employment, and payroll services – for small to mid sized companies who may not necessarily want to invest in their own entire HR department or HR professional, particularly if they’re in like a startup or scale up mode.

JoDee 22:48
Dawn, when do you see companies get to the size where they move their HR functions in house?

Dawn 22:55
It completely depends on the organization. I mean, companies typically tend to use PEOs through inception at least through 50 employees or not more. And then even beyond that, we see a lot of companies that’ll stay with a PEO because when they make that decision to hire an HR professional, they want a CHRO or they want a truly strategic thinking professional, they still don’t want to have to be worrying about their regular payroll process, somebody needing a new copy of their benefits card, anything along those lines. So they could still continue to partner with a PEO for a very long time after that.

Susan 23:30
What are the unique people issues that you see surface in startups?

Dawn 23:34
Oh my goodness, I think I caught a little bit of what Grady was saying earlier, the biggest thing for me and the startups that we work with, is, it’s all hands on deck, because everyone is just starting out. It’s truly hard for them to have to find job descriptions of this is my box and this is what I should stay in, because everybody is in survival mode and they’re all trying to do what needs to be done to get product market fit and make themselves successful. So that’s probably the biggest thing versus then you see that company grow and take off, which is an awesome journey to be a part of, but then it’s like, oh, at this point, things are starting to get a little muddled, we need to identify better who should be in what lane, who should be doing what, we can’t just have all hands on deck anymore, we don’t necessarily need everybody working 60 to 75 hours a week anymore, nor can we sustain that pace, and just those different issues that come along as a company’s scaling up.

JoDee 24:31
And is there anything different in the HR approach with startup staff?

Dawn 24:36
I tend to have a more… how do I want to say it, I guess I’ll say common sense approach. One thing I’ve found with HR professionals, especially those of us that have been doing it for well over 20 years at this point, is that, you know, we were all very classically trained. Almost like a musician, you know. You have to have your five page job description, you have to have your very well written policy and procedure manual. If something comes up with an issue you have to write the policy immediately to try to head off the issue. Really, with a lot of our clients we feel that less is more and one of the things that I constantly advise our clients is, do not ever create a policy or procedure built around one person or one situation. Manage to the many, don’t manage to the few. And so that’s one big thing, especially with scale ups, that they’re just trying to go so fast that they don’t really know when do they need a policy about something and when do they need to operate so trying to advise them on that.

JoDee 25:37
So Dawn, that sounds like a big mistake that owners can make, creating policies around one person here and there. Are there other mistakes that you’ve seen in startups that our listeners could avoid?

Dawn 25:51
Oh my goodness, I mean, I think one of the biggest things is something that we are playing out right this second, and that is with regard to the new COVID-19 legislation. I don’t want to immediately date this podcast the second we record it.

Susan 26:07
That’s alright!

Dawn 26:08
But we are in a complete mode right now where we’ve had legislation released, but we had a clarification put out Saturday that actually has probably caused a little more confusion. And now we’re literally waiting any second on the Department of Labor to clarify that and put out more clarification and more rules, you know, around that, and in the meantime, employment law attorneys are going, “Here’s a policy. Here’s a policy you need to put out. We need to get ready to go and do this and do that, and all of it right away, and by the way, it’s in effect April 2nd.” Well, we still don’t have clarification.

JoDee 26:10
Right.

Dawn 26:11
So, we could put a policy out all day long, but in terms of interpretation and how we want to do that….It’s just, it’s nearly impossible right now. We want to make sure we’re doing right by everybody, our managers, our employees, so everyone knows how to interpret this. And so, one big thing is making sure if you’re going to put something into place, it has to be deliberate, it has to be well thought through, and sometimes simpler is better, especially when you’re a startup.

JoDee 27:08
Yeah. I like it.

Susan 27:10
I think that’s great advice for any, any level of maturity of the business, right? Simpler is usually better. Yeah. Smart. So, Dawn, what recommendations do you have for founders and early stage business leaders as an HR strategist?

Dawn 27:25
I really think that you need to look to see where your highest and best use of your expenditures is going. This is, this is unfortunately going to sound like a plug for utilizing services such as us, but it also could work for utilizing purposes such as Purple Ink. I mean, do you need to hire that full time person at this point in this position, or can you make the best of your resources by allocating, you know, individually here and there for these expenses. Also, we handle a lot of vendor management, so instead of having one vendor that’s handling your workers compensation, having to talk with your benefits provider, having to have your own agent, having to have your own payroll services company, potentially having to have your own HRIS, where are those ways that you can streamline and just realize one outsourced resource. This generation of business owners that we’re dealing with now, millennials particularly, they’re not afraid of outsourcing, which is wonderful. They see the impact of it, they were taught it in college, if they went to college. And so, that part has been very, very helpful, but not everyone is still on the bus with that as they’re starting up their companies. So streamline where you can, outsource where you can, really focus on your product market fit.

JoDee 28:40
Great advice. And Dawn, how can businesses or individuals reach out to you directly if they want to learn more about FullStack?

Dawn 28:48
Of course! The easiest place to go to is our website, www.fullstackpeo.com. That is going to be the easiest place, there’s a place to contact us, you can drop directly in to a 10 minute or a 30 minute calendar appointment for myself or our VP of Business Development and get ahold of us at any time. That’s probably the easiest way, or you can just fill out a form and we can contact you back. It’s whatever’s easier for anyone.

JoDee 29:15
Excellent. Well, thanks for joining us today! You had great advice.

Dawn 29:19
Awesome!

Susan 29:19
Thank you so much Dawn.

Dawn 29:20
Thanks, guys, appreciate your time. Have a good one.

JoDee 29:23
Susan, we have two questions today from our listeners. These questions come from a couple of listeners from our Meeting Skills podcast episode we aired in February 2018. “What are some activities you could do in meetings to hold people’s interest longer?” and “What are some tips to controlling a difficult to control participant in a meeting?”

Susan 29:46
Gosh, both great questions. Let’s tackle number one first, about how do you hold people’s interest in meeting. I think step one is, I think you have to stop and decide is this meeting really meeting-worthy? Is the topic that you’re going to talk about worth pulling people together and pulling them off whatever it is they had that they were going to do. And I think it makes sense that when you start the meeting, you talk about, here’s the topic and here’s why it’s important to our business, to our mission, our vision, our values. Reconnect it to why it’s so critical. Otherwise, it’s not worth doing. The second thing I think we ought to do, JoDee, is share the agenda ahead of time, even if it means that at the very beginning of the meeting you haven’t had time to distribute it, let’s talk about what I have on the agenda today, and make sure that everyone in the room agrees with it, sees things we could knock out, maybe somebody else is already working on a particular item. Maybe there’s something that’s more important than what I brought to the meeting. Let’s get everyone’s skin in the game that what we’re going to talk about is that important.

JoDee 30:42
Yeah. I like it.

Susan 30:44
What are some other things, JoDee?

JoDee 30:45
Well, I think one of my biggest advice that I share with people about meetings is to get people engaged in the meeting, and give people different roles that, you know, maybe, I, I start the meeting but then say “Susan, I’d like for you to lead this part,” or “Emily, you take the lead on this topic,” so that it’s not just one person speaking. I think that, that sort of forces people to be more prepared for the meeting because they know they’re gonna be leading a part of it, taking on the discussion, giving a report, whatever that might be.

Susan 31:23
I like that. It kind of makes everyone bring their A game, because they know they’re going to be on. Right? Another one I like, I think it’s important that there is a hard stop for every meeting. Oh, gosh, I’ve been in meetings where there wasn’t, and it can go on and on. And so I think if you know, we have 45 minutes, we have 90 minutes, we have whatever, it creates a sense of urgency that we’ve got a lot to cover and here’s our time, and if we see things starting to meander and we say okay, we’re at halfway point, here’s what we have left –

JoDee 31:51
Right.

Susan 31:51
– what can we do differently?

JoDee 31:53
Right.

Susan 31:54
I guess my final one would be, I love to insert some type of physical movement if you can, especially if it’s a long meeting, maybe you have a two hour or three hour meeting, because you’re looking at new products, you’re looking at different things that are gonna take some real time. Maybe it’s that you get up, you all change places, you go – everybody move over to a whiteboard, you do something physically, because I think that physical movement can absolutely help spur on a little more adrenaline and get things going.

JoDee 32:24
That’s a great idea about inserting movement. I like that.

Susan 32:28
Alright so the second question was, from our listeners were, what are some tips to controlling a difficult to control participant in the meeting. Well, I think that it’s important to create some group norms at the beginning, especially if you know you’ve got a difficult person in the room. So that, first of all, talking about the agenda and talking about the time constraints we have, and then maybe you introduce some, you know, meeting etiquette, that we’re not going to talk over each other. If we have to, you know, we’ll use that talking stick. I think it’s important that we let people know what’s the expectation of how we’re going to treat each other, especially if you’ve got somebody in the room who has displayed bad behavior in the past.

JoDee 33:08
Yeah, yeah. Another one that I like to do on that is – not that you would ever be the difficult person in the room, Susan, but just as an example – if you were talking too much or being very forceful in your opinions, I might specifically say, “Susan, thank you so much for sharing that. Does anyone have some different feelings on that, or what might be an opposite approach to that?” Sort of giving people permission to disagree with that person. Because sometimes when you have someone who’s so dominant, then people, although they might feel strongly about the opposite view, they might not feel comfortable speaking up, so giving them permission to talk about it.

Susan 33:53
I like that. I’ve had to call a break before when there’s somebody who was just really going off the rails and use that time to talk to that person individually to figure out what’s going on. Figure – make sure I acknowledge them, “I hear what – I hear you’re upset. Let’s talk about the why behind it. Is this the forum where you want to do this, what else, where else can we go with this.”

JoDee 34:13
Yeah, yeah. And of course if it doesn’t work to take a break at a minimum, I think after the meeting to debrief with that person and talk about the impact of their behavior in the meeting, at least to set yourself up for success on the next meeting.

Susan 34:29
Yes, well good luck, I’m really hopeful, the listeners who asked these questions, that these ideas give you something to – that will be helpful to you. If you have further questions on this, or you have further ideas, some of our listeners might have even better ways to do these two things, we’d love to hear from you and share with our other listeners.

JoDee 34:46
Yeah.

Susan 34:46
All right, so in the news, a Wall Street Journal article by Kathryn Dill that appeared February 27, 2020, that was entitled “Tough Interview Process Is Linked to a Higher Job Acceptance Rate,” I found fascinating. Kathryn cited a Glassdoor research study that said that younger workers, ages 25 to 34, are more likely to accept job offers after enduring more difficult interview and pre-employment screenings. Glassdoor gathered this data from nearly 100,000 job candidates who used glassdoor.com between January 2018 and November 2019 in this study. This really surprised me. When an employer inserts relevant skill tests into the hiring process, candidates’ acceptance rates increased by two and a half percentage points. I get that, people want to know that they’re being evaluated on relevant things. However, I’ve never thought about putting people through anything that’s potentially stressful or uncomfortable. The study says that, you know, you don’t want to put people through pre-employment tests that applicants don’t see as relevant for the job they’re doing. But if they’re more difficult, the person feels more challenged, they are going to be – feel like they’ve actually been passed something, and they’re going to feel stronger when an offer comes in, about saying yes. Glassdoor research cited tougher and more transparent interviews as being appealing to especially millennials, so that they get to be assessed on the unique skills they possess. Until now, you know the job market had been fairly tight, and so while we were putting lots of emphasis on creating a positive candidate experience, I think the message for us is, let’s make sure that we’re investing in conducting well thought out behavioral and technical interviews, aligned to the competencies that we need in each role and think about, maybe we want to add some assessments that are challenging that really makes the person feel like they are being assessed and they’re passing.

JoDee 36:46
Yeah, I like it. I would think personally that you need to be a company that is a place where people want to work and they’re to invest in that time and that process to do it. If you don’t have a good reputation, people are not gonna want to put the energy through to do it.

Susan 37:04
For sure.

JoDee 37:05
But that is, that’s good information.

Susan 37:07
True. Very good. Well, thank you for joining today.

JoDee 37:10
Thank you for listening. We hope you enjoyed The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast. If you liked the show, please tell your friends about it and let us know what you think of our podcast by rating and reviewing us on Apple Podcasts. It helps new people find our show. The JoyPowered® Workspace Podcast can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Susan 37:37
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JoDee 37:52
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Emily Miller
Emily Miller
Emily works behind the scenes at JoyPowered, helping to edit and publish the books, producing the podcast, and running the website and social media.

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