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How to Hire the Right People for the Right Roles

Transcript 

Kathy (host):  

Hello there and welcome back to Help! My Business is Growing, a podcast where we explore how to grow and build a business that is healthy and sustainable. I'm your host, Kathy Svetina. 

 

Kathy (host):

For many businesses, the biggest struggle on the road to achieving successful and sustainable growth is hiring the right people. Getting the right people into the right seats is vital for your company. Because when your people are in the right seats, doing things that they're good at, they're engaged, the morale is higher and fuse productivity, which translates into higher sales, revenues, profitability, and cash. 

Kathy (host):

But hiring the wrong people, on the other hand, can open floodgates for costly mistakes: employee morale can drop, you'll experience more absences, or you have more staff members just going through the motions. And let's not forget that there's time, effort, and salaries that you lose when you go through the hiring and onboarding process the second, third, fourth, or even fifth time because the people you hired were just not a good fit. And when you zoom out, this means lost productivity, profitability issues, and cash issues down the road. Is there a sure-fire way to choose the right person for the right job in your business? 

 

Kathy (host):

And just a quick reminder, all of the episodes on this podcast, including this one, come with timestamps for topics that we discuss, and each one has its own blog post as well. You can find the links to the detailed topics in this episode's show notes. 

 

Kathy (host):

Today, our guest is Danielle Levy. She is the CEO and Founder of the Boardroom League. She has helped six and seven-figure businesses expand with clarity and efficiency and does this by assisting them in building a trustworthy ecosystem of professional resources so they can focus on their zone of genius instead of being distracted by day-to-day business obligations. She holds an MBA, is certified as a Project Management Professional, and is a Certified Online Business Manager. She provides insights and actionable tips on how you can hire the right people to ensure the growth of your business.

 

Kathy (host):  

Welcome to the show, Danielle.

 

Danielle (guest):  

Thank you for having me.

 

Kathy (host):  

I'm so excited you're here. I work with growing businesses for quite some time now, and one of the things that they all seem to struggle with is the people side of the business; when to hire them, how to hire the right people, how to manage them, how to pay them well, you know, topics like that. And all of these are important, but hiring the right people, I think it's especially important because if you don't have the right people in the right seats, you're wasting a lot of resources and potential, yours and theirs, and worst, you can actually open doors to some really costly mistakes. You hope business has put the right people in the right seat. I want to get your perspective on what have you seen with businesses that you work with?

 

Danielle (guest):  

Sure. There's a couple of trends that I see. One is because I've worked with a lot of growing businesses. They hire a lot of the companies that I work with, hire their next-door neighbor, or their best friend, Suzie Q, or whomever, to come into their business, to support them because that's where the level of trust is. And while I can completely appreciate that, I would say 99% of the time that does not serve the business in the way that it should. That's not to say that your neighbor, or your best friend, or whoever it is, isn't qualified for a position. But I always recommend to people to do a formal job description, what do you actually need done, and go through your formal hiring process. And if in the end, the best candidate is your neighbor, or your cousin or whomever that's great, but it can make, it can definitely impact the business. And then also on the personal side, it can impact that as well. 

 

Danielle (guest):  

The other thing that I see that happens is people have this idea that there's this unicorn person out there. And I think especially as businesses grow, it takes for a lot of people,  a lot of strength and courage to make that first hire. And so when they find that person, there's this, "Can you just do this? And can you just do that? And can you just do the other thing?" Because of the time and effort involved in meeting to sort of expand those communication channels even further to bring other people in because of that trust factor. And I also don't think that that is healthy for a business either. I think it's really important to set people up with expectations in their job that they can excel and not ask people to do all of the things because people are going to stay the long term if they're feeling good about their role, and I can give an example of this. And so even though more people can seem like a greater expense. If done correctly, it actually is a cost saving because you're bringing in professionals that know exactly what to do in those moments, rather than having to fix the mistakes of someone that's doing their best. 
 

Danielle (guest):  

I will share. It's just I'm really embarrassed by it. But it's a true story. I am with a client, and I'm still with her, and her accounting person had left her. And she said, "Would you mind just jumping into QuickBooks and taking care of the invoicing for me?" It wasn't that I didn't understand what had to happen. It wasn't that I didn't understand, from a business perspective, everything that needed to go into it, it was that she was operating with the free version that had a lot of nuances. And this piece of software in the way that it was working, wasn't logical to me. I could map out a spreadsheet saying this client needs this amount on this date, but the actual putting it into place. I never, of course, billed her for any of the time, but I would spend hours upon hours correcting my own QuickBooks errors because that's not what I'm skilled to do. And it was a very transparent conversation that I lead with her saying, "I would like to fire myself from this part of my role", which actually led to a really great conversation about where can I add value in the business. And I've got an amazing relationship with her because of the things that I'm doing in her business, I do really well, as opposed to trying to also be this accounting person that I was really lousy at.

 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah, and you bring an excellent point to that because I see that as I go into the business is, sometimes they have their admins or they have their office managers do their QuickBooks. And that's what usually gives me a little bit of pause because the problem with that is, it's not just putting the invoices in, it's also making sure that the data flows incorrectly. Because as the business grows, you really need the data to make decisions. And if the data is not correct, you have the garbage in the garbage out. You cannot make good decisions on bad data. It does not happen ever. 

 

Kathy (host):

I am so glad that you actually have a conversation with her that this is not your expertise. Because actual bookkeeping is not just keeping track of the expenses and the invoices, it's actually knowing where to put it, what it's appropriate to put in and what it's not. And you really need a skilled bookkeeper for that. I'm so glad that you had that conversation with her. Because I mean, that could do a lot of damage to her business. It's great that you have that transparency with her.

 

Danielle (guest):  

Yeah, and I think she really appreciated it. It wasn't like, "Hey, I'm done." But it was, "Hey, this isn't a good use of my time." Quite frankly, she could find someone less expensive than me, that could do it much better. Again, even though we had more people involved, the right people were in the right seats, which was really important for her business.

 

Kathy (host):  

Exactly. And that's the easiest way to burn out your beat people, too because if they're not in the right seat, doing the things that they're good at, that bring value to your business. It's not just that it's not beneficial to you, but also the people burn out because now they have to train themselves on a completely new system, or they just might not want to do that. And they're just like, "Well, I mean, this is too much of a hassle. I'm just gonna leave at this point." And you can bring down relationships with employees too, right?

 

Danielle (guest):  

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I was. Every time that I would log into QuickBooks, I like had to have this pep talk with myself. I'm fairly ahead. I have an undergraduate degree and a graduate degree. I've got a bunch of certifications and credentials, but the amount of gumption that they would take for me to log into QuickBooks and say, "Everything's gonna be okay. Everything's gonna be okay." Like, it was too much. I didn't want to do it, right. Just because I was trying to serve the client and what she was asking for, even though what she was asking for wasn't serving the business in the best way possible.

 

Kathy (host):  

Yep. Let's say that you have an employee in your business that you know that might not be their expertise, but they're kind of they're going along with it because you're really eager. Maybe they just come into the business, and they really want to help you with everything. But you kind of see that they're struggling with what you just gave them as a task. And that might not be their expertise, I guess, or something that they really shouldn't be doing. How do you have that type of conversation with them to really get to the bottom of is? Should they really be doing this for you or not? How do you figure that out? And how do you have the conversation with them? Any tips on that?

 

Danielle (guest):  

Sure. And if I could just expand on one thing that you just said, and you just use the word employee, I would go so as far to say it's all team members, whether they are employees or contractors. I think it's the same conversation. 

 

Danielle (guest): 

There's an activity that I do with folks where you basically make a grid. There's four quadrants and you map out these are the things that I love, these are the things that I hate, these are the things that I like, but I'm not good at, these are the things that I'm that I don't love but I'm learning, right. There's four quadrants. And what I generally ask people to do is map out everything that they do into those four quadrants. And the idea being, that this is not something that I invented. But the idea being is that you always want every team member only to do the things that they love. 

 

Danielle (guest): 

And so it's a very positive conversation about how can we keep you doing the things that you love to do and that you're good at or that you want to be learning to do, rather than you're not so great at this, let's take this away. Because if you can build upon that momentum with team members in the things that they love, it's just going to grow your business that much further. That's generally how I have the conversation. I treat every team member's relationship, like it's a partnership because I think it's important that the business serves the individual just in the same way that the individual serves the business.

 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah, I love that. Because it like I said, it's also they're more motivated because they're really doing the things that they love, because I'm sure we've all experienced the feeling of when you go to work, and you're like, "Oh, really, I have to do this again?" There's the dread, and then there's the opposite of it "I cannot wait to do this, because I really enjoy it. I love it." Yes, it still works. But you have this internal motivation to even do better because of that because you love what you do.

 

Danielle (guest):  

Correct. And even so far, it's just an example that you just gave, I would say that if it's something that you have to do again, so it's a repeatable process, and it can be documented, and you dread it, there's no reason you can't train somebody else to do it.

 

Kathy (host):  

It's like someone's dread might be another person's joy. That's how I look at it.

 

Danielle (guest):  

Exactly. And everything in the business should have the documentation, or of one form or another to allow for that, right? Like if anything is a repetitive task or process. And it needs to be documented that anybody can pick it up. 

 

Kathy (host):  

Why do you think that people struggle so much with this? Is it because they just are afraid of hiring another person? They don't know the benefits of the systems and processes, documentation of it so that they can actually give it to another person? Is it just I mean, why do people struggle so much with us, like putting the right people in the right seats? Because I've seen that in the businesses that I've worked with, I mean, it is a struggle, and I'm trying to figure out what exactly it is. I'm really curious if you have any insight into why is that such a struggle?

 

Danielle (guest):  

I think the nature of the business that both businesses that you and I work with are fairly, fairly small businesses in high growth stages. And I think most of the business owners that we work with, founded a business based on whatever the thing is that they're passionate about, and hiring and team comes along with them. But it's not the reason they got into business in the first place, unless you're a staffing agency or something like that, right. 

 

Danielle (guest): 

And so I think it's a combination of understanding the technical skills involved in the roles, and then the culture of the organization. I've been in the same role on multiple teams. And just based on the culture and the tone of the CEO, I've been a fit for it or not, or maybe I'm just saying that I've been a fit for it or not. Because when we have stopped going into the office, I think that's a large part of it. It's like this invisible culture, almost, I think that's a piece of it. 

 

Danielle (guest): 

And I also think there's a formality to hiring, that has kind of gone by the wayside as well. You can join a Facebook group and you put up a job, and then you get 10 people in this one looks good based on their application. But I find that almost no one is checking references anymore, or anybody can throw up a website and say, "These are the things that I've done." I've been in the situation. I am actually in a situation right now with a client that she we brought in someone to do. She wanted to outsource her website, and the person that we brought in, didn't ask for access to the backend of the site. And they came into the team and they're working on and all of a sudden, we found out they're not qualified, because the way that we had to communicate as non-technical folks, the way that we had communicated, our understanding of the back end was completely different than when they saw the back end, which seems to be more like a pile of spaghetti than we had anticipated. There's a lot of factors in play that, in spite of best efforts can just cause bad hires.

 

Kathy (host):  

In that example that you just gave, and I want to stick with this a little bit more, what do you think would have been a better way to hire for that person? What could you have done differently so that the person that you hire would have been a better fit? Is there a type of question that should have asked the type of sites where you found the person wasn't the right place to find them? What could you have done differently there?

 

Danielle (guest):  

This was actually someone that we had worked with before. They were unknown entities, and someone coming in if they're saying, "No, I've got everything that I need. I'm totally confident." We took it at face value, as opposed to really saying, "No, we need you to take a look at this." And that's also a scary thing, because until they're under NDA until all of the agreements and things are in place, like do you really want to give someone access to the backend of your site? And yeah, I don't think it was necessarily a bad hire. I think that particular person should have done a little more due diligence on their part. 

 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah. I usually the type of providers for that, and I've seen that I mean, that is done in accounting, that is on the fractional CFO work, the work that I do, is I will not go into the business unless I have actually done an assessment on the business before so that I can actually see what's happening in the background because it's good for the business because now you actually understand what their problems are and what they truly need. And it's good for the provider, because now that it can say, "Hey, can I actually be of help to this business or not? And how do you actually price this type of work as well." You're able to give them the budget versus just coming in and saying, "I can do this and not actually have the background." 

 

Kathy (host):

I think that's another thing to offer, what I've seen from the businesses that I've worked with, and the providers or have worked with the people that are, are doing the assessment up front are actually a lot more valuable for that particular reason, because now they know what your specific needs are, and now they know how to work with you. Then you also get the feel of them how it is to work with them, before you actually go and start doing this humongous project, like a website redesign. Although in your case, you already had a prior relationship with that person. But that would be another mini step that you could do is if there's a completely new person, have them do that discovery of your business, the website, or whatever you're doing, right.

 

Danielle (guest):  

Yeah, and I think what's similar in your and my positions, as we go into a lot of businesses and see a lot of different things, right. A lot of the CEOs that I work with, only know their business and their experience. Oftentimes, they're just passing along information. My previous person said that this was the case, or we've always done it this way. They don't have the perspective of business to know when "Nope, this is typical. Don't worry about it, or we should be concerned about this." And so I do think it, it should be either on the person coming into the business with the expertise or to this ceo that are listening to this to push those experts into really understanding what they're getting involved with, because nothing is more frustrating, in my opinion than making that hire, getting momentum going and then to have those conversations like this isn't really working, or now we have to start over again, or it's gonna cost you X number of dollars more because we hadn't planned for whatever. It's so much easier to have it at the start and then not disrupt the flow of the rest of the business.

 

Kathy (host):  

And when you said, "We've always done this way." I mean, I think we said the most dangerous words in business. "We've always done it this way." Just because you have done it and has worked for you in the past, it doesn't mean that it will work for you in the future. And I think this is really important for growing businesses to understand that what helped you get to where you are now might not help you get to where you want to be or where you will be in six months, a year, five years from now. As the business grows, the needs are constantly changing.

 

Danielle (guest):  

Yeah, and actually, to take it one step further, I'm working right now with a client who's in a very, very high period of growth. And we will build out a system or a process or department. When we've got it to that maximum, like we did what we said we were going to do, we actually expect that it's going to break again, because if you've done it correctly, the business continues to grow. And then you need a new system. If it's to go back to what you said, this is the way you've always done it, then something's off in your business because nothing in your business should be status quo.

 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah. And I love that it's gonna break eventually. And that's normal. It will break eventually. Because of the systems and the processes you have right now in place, you're gonna outgrow them. But I think a lot of people think of the systems and the processes that have is this. I think back to like my corporate days when back in at the beginning of the 2000s when we had these like a huge stack of manuals, and everything was like there was a dust pile we got them. It doesn't work that way in your business anymore like you have you actually have software that helps you do this that you can actually update it. It's not just on a dusted old Google drive somewhere. The best way is to integrate the systems and the processes in the business. There are front and center, and then you can see when something's not making sense anymore, what have you seen that actually works really well, from the systems and the processes when the business like really, really growing and they're breaking like super fast.

 

Danielle (guest):  

I think the best way to get feedback in your company is always to listen to your customers- your clients and listen to your team. You may not even realize something is broken except that if you pick up on a comment somewhere or you find that your inbox managers spending a lot of time doing this, why isn't this credit card work? Whatever the thing is. I think those are the two places- the two people so to speak, that I always go to figure out what's going well, what do we need more of what do we need to retire? What do we need to revisit? Is your customers and your team?

 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah. And I think especially that the team that is on the ground constantly. If you have an A no with the businesses that are growing now, you start having layers in between, too. You might have a management team that manages your salespeople, your customer service, or whatever it is. The best way to do it is what I've seen works well is either have the questionnaires for your customers and then the others thing is to figure it out. If there are certain things are constantly repeated, that the problems are being repeated in. 

 

Kathy (host): 

Let's say, on the customer service, maybe you need another piece of software. Maybe you need an add-on or something like that. I've seen that work really well as well. Or maybe they're just people that need more education on how to use the certain software they're using right now. And in a better way, I've seen that too. Instead of going out there and spending money on figuring out orders or throwing more money into buying another software, you can just use that one more efficiently than you have. I've seen that work very well, too.

 

Danielle (guest):  

Yeah, and I do think it's every position on the team, and clients, everyone has metrics associated with them. And sometimes like, I had an experience where there's a particular piece of software that you can install on your inbox. We noticed that customer service had declined significantly in their responses, and why was that? Or why were emails sitting longer than they should have been, that actually diagnosed a greater problem because she was customizing a lot of the work that she was doing? It flagged some systems for us. When I say talking, getting gathering feedback, it's kind of at the forefront, like the surveys that you said, but also in the background. If you go into a launch and you sell, 100 spots in your program, but then, you notice that your return rate is 65%. Well, why is that? Where's the disconnect? Why are your numbers looking different? Every stakeholder involved in the business should have metrics associated with it.

 

Kathy (host):  

Have you seen anything that's particularly helpful in terms of setting the metrics? Because that's another issue that I've seen businesses struggle a lot with. It's like, "Well, I know I need to measure something. But how do I measure it? How do I know what I need to measure?" And usually, my response to them is, "Well, start with what's actually important to you and what's important to you right now." you might be in a launch, you might be putting any product out there, you might be doing something that you know. It wasn't important to you six months ago when you originally started doing the metrics, or maybe it won't be important for you six months from now, because of this new thing that you're trying to integrate into the business. It just going to be completely integrated into the business and you don't have to separately track it. But what have you seen in terms of setting the metrics and how to do that? What have you seen that works best for your clients?

 

Danielle (guest):  

I would actually say this is why people need to hire subject matter experts that sit in the right seats, right. I think the most important thing is to be tracking metrics. And personally as someone that doesn't love numbers, I kind of find them to be this drug of sorts, like, once I know that I'm consistently tracking and I understand what I'm tracking, then I want to know this other thing, and then I want to know this other thing, and then I and so it grows upon itself. 

 

Danielle (guest):  

In the case of your marketing strategy, work with the marketing operations specialists to figure out and it can just be a very general "Hey, what other metrics are you measuring relating to email for your other clients," right and you start with and top three or top four. And it's just consistently how are they being tracked? Let's look at trends. And then you're like, "Well, this is cool. But what I really want to know is this other thing," right? What I really want to know. I would say it's actually the habit of gathering the data and really looking at it, not just tracking it, but just really looking at it. Eventually, as I said, it becomes this Kool-Aid or it becomes like this drug that you start to figure out these are the things that drive my business. But to get over that initial "Oh, my gosh, what do I do with these numbers?" That's what I think.

 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah, it's kind of like peeling an onion. It has a layer, and there's always another layer behind it.

 

Danielle (guest):  

It is, but I would say that people don't need to get to that inside part of the onion until they're ready for it. Because otherwise, its numbers for the sake of numbers. And I think it's most important for people to go by the onion, and make their first couple of simple dishes with it, and then get more sophisticated.

 

Kathy (host):  

I love that analogy with cooking. That's great. I'm gonna steal that idea. We talked so much about this. And I think that this is, one thing that I ask every single guest that comes into this podcast is about the one tip that they would give for someone that it's very actionable that they can do and in the next week or so. What do you think if someone really wants to get this right, that they hire the right people in the right sits. And there might be there might not be in this place right now when they think that they might have a couple of hires, recent hires, or maybe like long term hires, that there might not be in a good place right now. They might have to change. What is it that they can do in the next week, to get them to the next step that they have the right people in the right seats and anything that would be particularly helpful for them? Very actionable.

 

Danielle (guest):  

Sure, I would encourage the person making the hire to go through that quadrant activity that I just spoke about. Anything that falls in there, in the three quadrants that aren't lighting them up, I think within reason needs to be handled elsewhere. Now, don't get me wrong. As a business owner, I need to handle my taxes myself, right? I have a bookkeeper, an accountant, all that stuff. But like, I don't like that. But I'm not going to give that to my graphic designer, my VA, or whomever to handle but within reason. Make a list of all of those things that don't let you up, even if it's small, and especially the repetitive tasks, and that is the first hire that I think that that needs to be made. 

 

Danielle (guest):  

The other piece of it is I think it's a mindset shift. I get asked this a lot, hire people on your own terms. It is okay to say to someone, "It's not you, it's me." I want to try this rollout for 30 days. I've never been hired for this position before. I don't know how it's going to work for me. But it doesn't have to be I think as long as there's transparency and professionalism. You're not marrying someone. You're testing out whether this experience is this helpful for my business or not. As long as you're transparent in what your expectation is, and how you're feeling about the role, I think it makes it very easy to revisit it later. I guess that's one task and one thing to remember. That's I guess that's two.

 

Kathy (host):  

Yeah, that's great. Danielle, where can people find you? Do you have a website? Do you have a Facebook group? Where can people find you?

 

Danielle (guest):  

Yeah, sure. People can find me at danielleclevy.com or theboardroomleague.com. And on those pages, all my links are there. I'm on Instagram and Facebook. Sign up for my newsletter. It's all there.

 

Kathy (host):  

Thanks so much for coming to the show, Danielle. I really appreciate it.

 

Danielle (guest):  

Thanks for having me.

 

Kathy (host):  

Thanks so much for joining us, and I hope that today's episode has given you insights on how to get the right people in the right seats for your business. Next week, we'll have a unique and informative chat with Christopher Gittings about how a growth mindset can go a long way in growing a business. 

 

Kathy (host):

Also, if you loved this episode, you can find all the timestamps, show notes, blog posts, and links on the website, newcastlefinance.us/podcast. And before I go, I do have a favor to ask. If you're listening to this on Apple podcasts. If you could please go to the show and tap the number of stars that you think the show deserves because it helps other people find it too. Thanks so much! Until next time!