NextGen Featuring Cassie Buckroyd

Cassie Buckroyd: How Holistic Wellness Programs Can Take the Stress Out of Your Employees Lives

Our lives our busy and stressful these days. But what if our employers helped us face those things that are stressing us out? Things like #studentloandebt or becoming a #1sttimehomebuyer or finding the right doctor for your new baby? Cassie Buckroyd of Columbia Sportwear is leading the way for companies to take a holistic approach to employee well-being. Cassie knows that employees who are healthy and happy are more productive, efficient, innovative and tend to stay with their employers longer!

Cassie (Romano) Buckroyd is the Manager of Wellness Programs. As the first person to fill the Wellness Program Manager role in 2014, she spent 4 years building a comprehensive, robust corporate initiative focused on holistic wellbeing and employee development through self-care. Her programming is centered on physical, social, financial, career and community health.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - How Holistic Wellness Programs Can Take the Stress Out of Your Employees Lives

[00:00:00.060] - Amanda Hammett
Welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent while you are in the right place.

[00:00:14.490] - Amanda Hammett
Hey, this is Amanda Hammett and this is the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. And today we have an amazing gas. Her name is Cassie Buckroyd and she is with Columbia Sportswear where she is the manager of wellbeing programs. Cassie welcome to the show.

[00:00:29.790] - Cassie Buckroyd
Thanks for having me.

[00:00:31.230] - Amanda Hammett
Wonderful. I'm super excited to talk to you today.You guys are doing some really amazing things you you guys are really meeting your employees where they are in life and in their professional lives. And we're going to dive into that. But before we do much to tell the audience a little bit about you.

[00:00:50.310] - Cassie Buckroyd
Sure. So I am a native Oregonian born and raised near Portland which is where Columbia is headquartered just. In my spare time I enjoy the outdoors which is of course aligned with our brand. So it's great to work at a company like Columbia where I can live my my interest. I've been at Columbia for about five years now where I started as a wellness program manager really a bit of an individual fellow lone lone wolf. I like to call myself I was the first person in that position tasked with building wellness initiatives and kind of determining what that looks like.

[00:01:29.730] - Cassie Buckroyd
And so I've done that over the last five years about a little over a year ago we changed our model of how we look at total rewards and I was then promoted to manager Wellbeing Program. So that includes many of our total rewards programs that would benefit wellness. Leave of absence. And we've got a new H.R. tool digital communications arm that we're building up right now.

[00:01:55.830] - Amanda Hammett
Very cool so just just a couple of things that affect people's lives not busy at all not at all at all. So let's use a little bit about this Total Rewards program.I mean before we turned on the recording you and I were having a little bit of conversation about it. But know tell us about the pillars and tell us all about it.

[00:02:14.370] - Cassie Buckroyd
Yeah it's super exciting. I developed it based on rap and Hadas five elements of well-being which is from Gallup really well research lots of data to support kind of the different components that that factor into an individual's well-being. So we modified them a little bit based on our population and who we are the company. So the five are physical. Social emotional community financial and career. So we really bucket our programs into those five areas. And I think it's important to know also that you know that my team is not running all of these programs.

[00:02:57.180] - Cassie Buckroyd
So for example community is a pillar that we really work a lot with our corporate responsibility team on. They're very active in the outdoor community. There's all kinds of sustainability programs going on that really that are important to employees. So we really work with them on stuff like that. There's a volunteer program and then career is. Things that are tied into compensation and career path as well as learning development and how we're doing performance management and things of that nature. Financial for one K compensation again I mean there's a lot that goes into all of these things and then social emotional.

[00:03:38.070] - Cassie Buckroyd
We're really into kind of. Building community here. Creating those special connections within our employee population and giving people the opportunity to get to know each other outside of the meeting room for example that we have a number of programs that tied to that as well as things like traditional ERP programs and the physical is really kind of where we've got it dialed in. I mean we're we're active brand. We're an active Albany one. Yeah. One of our core values is to enjoy an active life. So you know I walked into a situation where there was already a lot of fitness programs and outdoor excursions and things like that. So that one's been dialed in for a long time but we're really focused on building the other four.

[00:04:17.610] - Amanda Hammett
That's amazing. So I mean you guys have a lot going on but give the audience a little bit of some context here because your your employees are age wise maybe a little bit different than some of my other clients who are on the older side.

[00:04:36.490] - Cassie Buckroyd
Yeah well. Absolutely. I I've been working in corporate wellness for 13 years and have. Before I came to Columbia I was more on the consulting side and program management and so I worked with. I've worked with lots and lots of employers. And the thing that really struck me when I looked at our data was how young our population is and the fact that we have so many of the people who would be considered millennials and our population and now we've got Generation Z coming up. So it's really important to look at kind of the things that appeals that that population and the other thing that I noticed is that because we're younger we are healthier we don't have things like chronic conditions that impact our employees so we want to keep them healthy and we want to look outside of the box of traditional well-being which.

[00:05:26.400] - Cassie Buckroyd
Typically. Includes. The physical aspects of well-being and maybe emotional. And I think that's really what today's workforce is looking for is kind of that holistic view into wellbeing. So including the other pillars are really important the community the financial and the career pathways. And so because our our employees are so much they are younger than than your average workforce. Those are the things that we're really focused on to show value as an employer and attract our barber force.

[00:05:56.490] - Amanda Hammett
Absolutely. Oh gosh. So I have a lot of questions and I'm trying to just dial in school one but let's actually let's share some stories about what you are doing under each of these pillars because you know you mentioned five and obviously you're working with some of the different teams on different things but let's focus in on on some of the ones that would be most important to this younger workforce like oh I don't know the financial piece of it.

[00:06:21.850] - Cassie Buckroyd
Right. I think that's a great example and that's something that we've really been focused on. So. We're financial. We've got our 4 1 k program things that are more traditional. Compensation and things like that bonus all that. So but really today's workforce the younger workforce they're entering with things like student loan debt they're looking at potentially you know buying a home and then, we do. People are pretty focused on the phone game saving for retirement so how are you today. Our workforce is looking at how to how to balance all of that.

[00:06:59.970] - Cassie Buckroyd
So we've got. A lot of resources that we've put in place to help support that. So anything from onsite classes on home buying and retirement planning. And things of that nature to a race a tool that we've put in place where that helps employees prioritize how they're going to pay down their student loan debt and it type in their personal situation into the platform. So really understanding that yeah retirement is important but our workforce. Probably has other things that they are concerned at before they can look at. Putting away money for Fraulein K so paying down the student loan. Debt. Yeah.

[00:07:40.820] - Amanda Hammett
Absolutely. I mean I can tell you from personal experience just traveling across the world and all across the country in this particular case and talking to students or talking to young people. This is a number one concern for them and it's keeping them from you know. Buying a house or being able to move and do the things that they want because they're constantly. It is built into this emotional fear and it manifests itself physically and and it just becomes a nasty spiral. So a great head on and giving them the resources to do that. It actually affects other pillars that you guys talk about. So. Yeah right.

[00:08:22.130] - Cassie Buckroyd
Yeah. And then from our other pillars so one of my favorites his career and we worked really closely with our learning and leadership development team to look at. What. Classes are being offered and how we can tie well-being into the classes. But they've done something really cool where they've worked with our senior leadership team to identify what are the key. Skills that our workforce needs to kind of build for the future to make sure that work for the company of the future that we want to be and I think that the younger workforce are these days are looking for things like that they want to be developed and they want those opportunities to expand their skill set and so the learning and leadership development team has developed or has identified twelve.

[00:09:07.640] - Cassie Buckroyd
Capabilities that they work with our senior leadership team to kind of hone in on and they're now building out their curriculum on these top capabilities so that no one where we're providing opportunities for employees to develop themselves. And then we're also building that workforce that we need for the future. So I think that's a really cool program. And I think it's a good example of how my team. Works functionally with other teams within each hour that are. Impacting employees.

[00:09:37.130] - Amanda Hammett
Yes absolutely. And I think that's really important because some companies they really do silo their their H.R. functions and it's really almost to the detriment of the employee long term right. Circling back though to the to the leadership and development that you just talked about. So these programs are the individuals selected to go into these programs or can they self select like oh I have an interest in X how does that work.

[00:10:07.700] - Cassie Buckroyd
Well there are a number as leader. There are a couple of different programs and so there is a leadership. Program that people are nominated for and it's a year cohort cohort but they go through and they have these capabilities they're woven into the curriculum along with other things that's really meant to develop the leaders here. But then there is I know that the team is developing classes that can be offered ad hoc that people can go in and sign up for. And it really you know they're creating kind of a blueprint that's help people determine where they fit in based on their level and where they're at in their career and the things that they want to develop. And kind of create that. Blueprint or that path. And so people can just select into different classes.

[00:10:52.430] - Amanda Hammett
That's really really cool. I love this. I love everything that you guys are doing. All right. So we talked a little bit about the financial and the career. Let's talk about the the community pillar because that is. Uber. Uber important to the young employees.

[00:11:10.790] - Cassie Buckroyd

[00:11:12.230] - Amanda Hammett
All the time. So how are you guys really taking that in and helping them do that.

[00:11:18.050] - Cassie Buckroyd
Well I think so I mentioned that we have a corporate responsibility team here and they work on things from sustainability. And employees really care about that. So I think in that. Regard making sure that employees are. Aware and we're telling the stories that that team is working on is one component of that. But then we also have a team that focuses on kind of our relationships with different nonprofits that are working on issues that tie into our brand. So environmental issues are national parks things of that nature.

[00:11:54.410] - Cassie Buckroyd
And so again that that's really important to our workforce. We work with one nonprofit and the name is escaping me right now. But recently that team sent out a survey and employees got to give their voice to which environment environmental issues that nonprofit was going to focus on within the next year. So having a voice and and what issues are being worked on is really important. And then we also have volunteer a volunteer program where employees can use hours and long those hours toward volunteering with a nonprofit of their choice or the issue or you know. What have you of their choice. We have 15 hours a year where employees can can do that.

[00:12:42.930] - Amanda Hammett
How many hours so your did you say.

[00:12:44.990] - Cassie Buckroyd

[00:12:46.110] - Amanda Hammett
All right. I mean that's that's a sizable. Well those are paid days so they can take and do any kind of volunteering that they choose. Careful I love that I love companies that do that and that really put their money where their mouth is really there because a lot of times companies are like oh yeah we want you to be involved we want you to volunteer and give to the community but you guys are really actually enabling that to happen because we do. Such busy lives between work and haul. It's hard to really kind of step away from it all and be able to be supported in that way to do that. So thank you for doing that. Thank you for enabling the wonderful.

[00:13:27.040] - Amanda Hammett
All right. So we've talked a lot about some of the different pillars some of the different programs that you guys have going on. And I'm sure that we could sit here all day and talk about other wellness programs that have in motion and but how are you seeing this affect the younger employees. I mean have I know that you guys are just really starting to get this kicked off but right effect.

[00:13:54.800] - Cassie Buckroyd
Know I think we hear stories and things like that from employees who get emails. But I think you know. Is a feeling I suppose and the relationship that we have with employees that they're feeling supported. So for example with our paid parental leave program we just launched that last November. When we launched that it was done in an employee meeting and employees applauded and danced in their chairs and were excited. And so I mean those those types of things mean a lot to employees. And then.

[00:14:31.660] - Cassie Buckroyd
For me it's important to have relationships with with our employees and so I just I mean I get employees walking up to me and telling me how different programs or initiative or what have you affect them personally. So we don't I don't have a lot of data. I do have some. We do surveys every once in a while but it's really those kind of anecdotal qualitative things that we have right now. And I think you know. That.

[00:14:59.760] - Amanda Hammett
You know I love that. So since you brought up parental leave or parental policies let's dive in and because this is a hot topic in the United States. Unfortunately. And so I'd love to hear what you guys offer from the beginning stages of parenting are you just a parenting through to support parents as their children are growing.

[00:15:26.720] - Cassie Buckroyd
Right. Well so, In addition to at the time that we launched our paid parental leave program which offers time off paid time off to all new parents. So men and women. Those who adopt children or obtain legal guardianship as well as birthing parents. There's that and then we put a resource in place with a new program where employees are supported from the from the time that they're planning to have a family. So this platform supports employees through fertility and things of that nature. We've also put some benefits in place to support employees through that and then pregnancy.

[00:16:14.040] - Cassie Buckroyd
And it ties into it's very personally that ties into our benefit programs. And so this platform knows for that specific employee what health plan they're on and direct them directly to the resources for the benefit program that they've enrolled in. That's really useful during pregnancy so that they can look at things like where do I go to get breast or something like that or where can I go if I'm if I'm having you know postpartum depression where do I go for emotional support and things of that nature. And then there's the new parents and so the platform supports new employees on the return to work and integrating that that new family life with their work life and things of that nature.

[00:16:59.600] - Amanda Hammett
Wow. Well I have a feeling that people are going to hear this upswing in applications to. That is that's wonderful support that so many companies aren't offering but it is a struggle for young millennial families that the two. Dual working parents and Something's Got To Give. Yes it's unfortunate. And you've got to meet your employees where they are. We don't live in an economy where you can just dictate. This is how it is. It's just not the world we live in anymore. So all right I applaud you guys for even thinking about and doing something about that. That's really wonderful stuff. And I'm sure the employees appreciate it tremendously.

[00:17:47.070] - Amanda Hammett
OK. All right. So as we have mentioned we could probably talk all day long about those. But do you feel that. And my question I guess is for someone who is looking to start a brand new program a brand new wellness program. Do you have any use for them that they have. Let's say nothing in place or what advice would you give to them.

[00:18:15.550] - Cassie Buckroyd
I will. I'll just talk about how I started here and I really think that if I were to go back and do it again I would do it exactly the same way. Yeah. And so really there are a number of. Wellness corporate wellness oriented organizations out there like Alcoa hero and they have different checklists and kind of assessments that you can measure your organization again. And so I think kind of conducting that initial needs analysis based on you know you can use the pillars of wellness. From wrath and harder and gallop or you can use you know other pillars of illness but really kind of looking at what is there and what is not there and then prioritizing.

[00:18:58.350] - Cassie Buckroyd
So for example when I did this assessment way back when. I mentioned that we had physical health dialed in but I noticed there were some kind of foundational pieces that were missing. Like a good communication strategy a branding and things like that. And so I really kind of started there with kind of our communications and things like that and then built the programs and things of that nature. And I did because we were so dialed in and we have a healthier workforce than what I've seen in the past. I looked at topics that were a little bit outside of the box.

[00:19:36.850] - Cassie Buckroyd
So I remember I launched in that first year with a mindfulness program and financial wellness and things that I really thought our employees would value and kind of latch on to. And so I think that that needs analysis is critical to understand you know who your employee population is what their needs are what you already have in place and what you can leverage as well as who you can collaborate with within your organization. So partnerships have been really critical for me here at Columbia. You know I mentioned our Corporate Responsibility team learning and development and then even our facilities team has been a really critical partner for me and getting our fitness room you know improved and holding events and getting rooms set up for lunch and learns and things like that. And so I really don't know that I would have been able to get things where they've gone without those partnerships.

[00:20:31.610] - Amanda Hammett
And that's wonderful. I love that you have been able to launch these things and get these cross-functional teams these different departments really on your side. Do you have any advice for someone who is looking to start something like that within their own company and how to approach a different department about about forming a partnership.

[00:20:54.780] - Cassie Buckroyd
Yes I do. Actually I think it's pretty. I think it's really critical to listen and a lot of times folks are very engaged. Their wellness is cool it's something that people want to be a part of and they see the value in it. But other times they may not and they might feel like you know you're just adding to their already huge workload. And so I think going in with a curious mentality and really listening to what they're trying to achieve and then figuring out how a wellness initiative could kind of leverage or augment but they're doing. I just I really think a protein with curiosity and listening is critical.

[00:21:39.030] - Amanda Hammett
I think that that's critical in a lot of things. If we see a lot. OK wonderful. Oh yes. This has been just a wealth of knowledge and I really really do appreciate it.

[00:21:52.740] - Amanda Hammett
I mean you've just thrown so much out there and I you're actually kind of thrown out a gauntlet for other companies that need to take a look at this and say how can we do better for our employees. So thank you for setting that standard. I appreciate it. And I know that your employees are doing so well thank you for being on the show.

[00:22:12.510] - Cassie Buckroyd
You're welcome. Thanks for having me.

[00:22:14.160] - Amanda Hammett
Wonderful. And thank you guys for joining us today. And we will see you in the very next episode of The Next Generation Rockstar podcast.

[00:22:21.630] - Amanda Hammett
Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of The Next Generation rock stars where we have discussed all about recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader. And if that is the case don't keep me a secret. Share this episode with the world but really share it with your friends with your colleagues because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now of course I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice and you will see the next generation rock stars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

NextGen featuring Crystal Khalil

Crystal Khalil: How Mentoring Changes Early in Career Talent

Mentoring is something many leaders and companies say they do. Unfortunately, many mentor programs are inefficient and waste time. Crystal Khalil of Porsche Cars North America shares how she is using mentoring to encourage diversity and inclusion of the next generations of talent.


Get this Book from Crystal Khalil on AMAZON!

Crystal Khalil is the Director of Procurement at Porsche Cars North America. She works with PAG Global Procurement to set and implement global strategies in North America. Define and implement local directives. Responsible for all indirect spend including $100MUSD construction of Porsche's new headquarters in Atlanta, GA, Marketing, PR, IT, HR, Logistics, and Financial Services.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - How Mentoring Changes Early in Career Talent

Welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent while you are in the right place.

Amanda Hammett: 00:14
Hi and welcome to this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. I have a pretty special interview for you today. I got to interview Crystal Khalil who is the director of procurement for Porsche North America and everybody loves Porsche. They think they're super cool cars, but I personally happen to think that crystal is pretty amazing. She talks a lot about diversity and inclusion and as well as mentoring and the effects that those things have on the next generation of talent. In fact, I actually reached out to a few of Crystal's mentees and they shared with me some really from the heart words about what her mentorship has meant to them personally and professionally. So tune in and learn tons and tons from Amanda Hammett in Porsche North America.

Amanda Hammett: 01:12
Hi and welcome to this episode of the Next Generation Rock Stars podcast. I have a fantastic guest for you today. Her name is Amanda Hammett and she is with Porsche North America. Crystal, welcome to the show.

Crystal Khalil: 01:25
Thank you. Thank you for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Amanda Hammett: 01:28
Well, I am so excited to tell you. I just shared with Crystal right before we hit record that I may have been Google sleuthing her, um, before we actually met in person and it was a total accident that we've met. Crystal, why don't you tell the audience a little bit about the list that you were put on?

Crystal Khalil: 01:52
So I was recently selected as one of the top 25 impact women impacting diversity and diversity plus magazine and that was launched at the weekend conference this year. So I'm really excited about that.

Amanda Hammett: 02:06
Yes. So, Crystal and I met at we bank, which is a phenomenal organization and it was funny because when the list came out, before we banked the conference, I actually printed it out, which I never print things. I printed it out and I circle and I watch it, Crystal because she was local to Atlanta as well as major Dixon from Accenture. And I just so happen was introduced to Crystal. I wasn't actually pursuing you, but I was introduced to you regardless. And I was so excited.

Crystal Khalil: 02:41
It worked out perfect.

Amanda Hammett: 02:45
It really, really was. So Crystal, why don't you tell the audience a little bit about you?

Crystal Khalil: 02:52
So I have been in procurement and supply chain for over 30 years. Out of those 30 years I've been with Porsche for about 18 years. I am currently the director of procurement for North America. Um, and that's where we do all of the purchasing activities for all of the North American affiliates and subsidiaries of Porsche here in North America. And that's all of the indirect spends. So it's everything on the operational side. We are the customs in Porter Group for North America though we import the vehicles and then get them out to our franchisee-owned dealers in North America. So all of the backend, the logistics, HR, IT, everything you can imagine to make that happen. My team supports those activities.

Amanda Hammett: 03:43
So just a little bit. I mean, not y'all don't do that much. So Crystal, you know, what I'm really excited to talk to you about today is two things, which are major for next-generation talent, the first being diversity and the second being mentoring. So why don't you tell us a little bit about how you see the world of diversity affecting the next generation of talent, whether it's recruiting or developing them. What is it?

Crystal Khalil: 04:17
I say diversity. I, I'm really excited about all of the diversity and inclusion that's, that's happening now. Because I think that as the, as the world changes and, and we're rapidly growing and the demographics are changing, it's important to have the talent in your organization that looks like your customers and you know, that can help give you a different perspective. So I'm really excited about, you know, the efforts here at portion, all the other companies that I'm seeing. I'm reflecting on it being, being intentional about the inclusion of diverse talent. I have for my entire career been the only African American in the room or the only woman in the room. And still to this day, I find myself being the only, you know a diverse person in meetings and in rooms. And I think it's important for them [inaudible] focus on how to make people feel included in those conversations.

Amanda Hammett: 05:18
I agree with that completely because it is one thing to actually be in the room, but it's a completely different thing to feel included in the conversation. And I think that that's something that really we're doing better on diversity, but it is something that inclusion piece is so, so very important.

Crystal Khalil: 05:37
Exactly. And it, and it's a two-way conversation. So one of the things that I expressed to my mentees is inclusion is a two-way conversation. You know, organizations have to make the effort to include you, but you also have to be open to that conversation and you also have to be transparent and allow yourself to be engaged in that conversation.

Amanda Hammett: 06:01
I really love that. I think that's great advice for both sides of that conversation. That's wonderful. So let me ask you this when you're thinking about recruiting or I know that you don't specifically have that role in recruiting, but you do bring people onto your team. So when you're thinking about your team and the dynamics, how big of a, how big of a conversation is diversity? on the day today?

Crystal Khalil: 06:27
So when we we're recruiting, we want to make sure that we have a diverse group of talent and we also, um, we do panel interviews here. So we make sure that also the people, um, that are helping us with the interview process are a diverse group of people so that the talent can see people that look like them in the room as well. So, and you get a diverse perspective.

Amanda Hammett: 06:50
Yes. That's really fantastic. I love that you're able to actually pull in that diverse diversity on the panel because it is so very important, especially for young talent, for them to see someone that they can see themselves in up there. So that's I love that you think that through because so many people would miss that one integral piece. So I love it. I love it. All right. You, you mentioned this just a second ago, but I'd like to circle back to it. You mentioned to you, your mentees. So tell us a little bit about how you see the world of mentoring before we actually deep dive into your mentees for a second.

Crystal Khalil: 07:34
So as I've grown up the corporate ladder and open doors that were perceived to have been close to me or you know, keep through glass ceilings I've always felt that as I opened the door, it's my responsibility to hold that door open and not close it behind me. So I'm very intentional about when I learn something new, sharing it and, and helping others that are coming behind me to, to navigate, but do a lot of mentoring and sponsoring to, to help our young talent and our diverse talent. Find your way in the organization. Just sharing with them. I strive to be the leader that I always want it. And I know that you know, for many years I didn't see anybody above me that looked like me. So it's very important for me to use this platform to help young people coming up in the ranks and help them to understand what it takes to get to the next level.

Amanda Hammett: 08:38
I love that so much. I really, that really touches me. Um, so thank you for doing that on their behalf. So I really want to emphasize for those in the audience who may not know exactly what mentoring is, but would you also share with them like you, how do you see the difference between mentoring and sponsorship?

Crystal Khalil: 09:03
Absolutely. Good question. So for me, mentoring is showing you the way you know, showing you how the gangs are played. Because whether you know it or not, there's always a game being played, right? You're playing or you're being played. So showing them how the game is played and how to navigate the corporate structure is mentoring. Sponsoring is when someone speaks for you when you're not in the room. Monstering is when, when I can say, have you considered this person for this opportunity? Or when you get the tap on the shoulder for an opportunity. So I think you need a sponsor for every new level. Every new level requires a sponsor.

Amanda Hammett: 09:47
Now I would assume, and I may be very wrong and please, please correct, but I would assume that you've probably had some pretty great mentors as well as sponsors throughout your career.

Crystal Khalil: 09:58
Absolutely. I wouldn't be here without the great mentors and sponsors that have helped me along the way. And it has it's cause it's been a challenge, you know, you know, growing myself, learning what is required to get to the next level. Learning the difference between being an individual contributor, a manager, and a leader, you know, and in that growth process, what the sponsors along my way to have challenged me or that have spoken up for me. My current CFO, I'll forever be grateful for him because sponsors a lot of times have to put their own credibility on the line to bring you to the next level. And so I'm so very appreciative of those people in my career and in my life that have stood in the gap for me and given me a hand up.

Amanda Hammett: 10:50
I love it. That's wonderful. And I just want to note something really quickly here. We were originally scheduled to talk, was it last week or the week before, and you were actually asked by your CFO to go represent him at a meeting. And I think that that speaks for you.

Crystal Khalil: 11:07
Yeah, no, I'm so appreciative of those opportunities and of the trust, you know that he has in me.

Amanda Hammett: 11:14
Absolutely. And, and I mean, you sent me the sweetest note like, I'm so sorry. Can we reschedule it? And I was like, girl, please. Absolutely. So you're currently doing a lot of mentoring. I actually at Webank had the opportunity to meet a few of your mentees and they were raving about you. I mean, just raving about you. But I actually went to a few of your current mentees and have them write something for me and I'm not gonna read everything that they said because we'd be here for the rest of the day. Um, but they had a lot to say. And I think that this is really something that's important for everyone to see is that you are pouring into them and they are so incredibly grateful and appreciative and they're sucking it up like sponges and really using it to better their lives.

Amanda Hammett: 12:12
But I'd really just like to read it, just a couple of little comments that I highlighted and pulled out. This is from a young man who's in his late twenties to early thirties, and he says that you have been instrumental in my development as a leader and a team player at Porsche. The lessons you have taught him have carried on past the workplace and have allowed me to be a better husband, friend, and citizen. I mean, come on. That's you. Your care, your enthusiasm, and charismatic nature have made her an important asset to our company. And to my personal network. Wow. I mean I'm like, I'm tearing up. Another, another woman who's in her late thirties, she said, this is no joke. My experience with Crystal has been life-changing. Like she really doesn't need to write anything else, but she does you have some raving fans here.

Amanda Hammett: 13:20
She said working with you has been the best thing that I could've done both for my professional and personal life. She said when she was working with you to Dah, Dah, Dah, I received one of the largest salary increases that I have ever received.

Crystal Khalil: 13:39

Amanda Hammett: 13:40
Life-changing. That's life-changing. And she said crystal has been a Godson and it definitely changes the blueprint for women here at Porsche North America. And we celebrate her daily.

Crystal Khalil: 13:51
Oh, come on.

Amanda Hammett: 13:55
I mean like, this is crazy. I mean, crazy good. One last one. This is a woman in her fifties and she says a lot. But one of the things that really stood out was that crystal has pushed me to come out of my comfort zone and what I consider normal. And she's not allowed me to settle for less than. And my professional and personal journey have been easier because of her brilliance, patience and consistent encouragement.

Crystal Khalil: 14:27
Wow. That's overwhelming.

Amanda Hammett: 14:30
Yes. And when you read all of it in, in their entirety, it really will be. But what this says to me is that you care about them and it goes far beyond just a checklist. You care about them and they feel it. And I think that it's obviously changed their lives for the better.

Crystal Khalil: 14:50
That makes me proud and it makes me happy.

Amanda Hammett: 14:54
Yeah. I'm absolute. I mean, and that really is the power of mentoring. That is the kind of difference that a good mentor makes.

Crystal Khalil: 15:04
Yes, yes. And I, and I do, I care deeply about them. I want to see them grow professionally but also like in there, in their personal lives. Because a lot of the lessons that I teach them can be applied to other areas of your life as well. And it's about just being a good person, just doing the right thing every day, being a good person, doing your best. And I love when we have our mentee sessions and I get that Aha moment from them where it's like, and I can tell that they're really processing it. And then they come back and they tell me, Oh, I had this thought and I applied it this way and this is what happened. It just, it makes my heart overjoyed because ultimately, you know, what I always tell them is I want to see you be successful, whether it's here at Porsche or anywhere else in your life. I want you to be happy. I want you to be successful. I want you to grow because growing people grow companies, you know, if you're happy and you're, and you're doing what you love, you will, you will grow the organization, whether it's Porsche somewhere else or you're even your own company. I want them to see happy and successful no matter what it is they decided to do in life.

Amanda Hammett: 16:17
Well, they have gotten that message loud and clear from you. But for the audience here, I think that there's a lot of, I feel like misinformation out there about mentoring, about how to structure it. And there are a thousand different ways you could structure it, but could you walk the audience through how you A pick out mentees and B, how do you structure that time with them?

Crystal Khalil: 16:46
So there's a couple of different ways. So I'm a John Maxwell certified trainer, so I use a lot of dime Maxwell's techniques and my mentoring. And then just everyday life, you know, and, and the lessons that I've learned in the last 30 years do it, you know, doing what I do in procurement and supply chain and just throughout my life. But the mentees tend to select me and it's, and I can't turn anybody down. So I'm like right now I have 32 active mentees here at the organization.

Amanda Hammett: 17:19
When did you work? I mean, we'll do you have time?

Crystal Khalil: 17:23
Everybody else goes home, Huh? What I do, I have 32 and I do, um, I meet with them in groups of 10 to attend to 12. And we have regular scheduled sessions for one hour where we talk about a particular topic. And it's just, it's based on trust, truth, and transparency. And my model is excellence and but my brand will be service excellence and humility. So I, you know, it's, it's focused around service excellence and humility in your everyday life. And so we take a little bite-size chunk of one of those three and we meet for an hour and it's just, I'm transparent with them. I tell them the struggles I've had in my career and how I overcame and, and I allow them to be truthful and what, what, what we say in the room stays in the room. And I'd give them my best advice, but even better, they laugh from one another.

Crystal Khalil: 18:24
So what when it, when I know the class is most successful is when I talk the least amount and they talk the most and they are answering questions for each other and they're having healthy debate and they're collaborating and they've started to become, they, it's, there's like a, a network of them within your organization where they, it's a positive support group. So you know, if they can't, if they can't get me in, they have a pressing issue, they know that they can go to one of my other mentees and they're all on the same page and they're all encouraging and positive and there's nobody that's going to sit there and soak with you. They're going to tell you to get up and do what you need to do and you know they're going to give you positive reinforcement and encouragement to do whatever it is that needs to be done. So I'm really proud of that when I see them together and I see them networking. And the other thing is they come from all areas of the ordinance organization. If some of them come from some of our affiliates and subsidiaries, most of them are very different departments. So it's created a network within. So, you know, whereas they used to be hard workers sitting at their desk just doing their job. Now they're meeting people from other areas of the department and it's helping them to understand where they fit in into the big picture.

Amanda Hammett: 19:40
Oh, that's a beautiful side benefit that I feel like most people probably didn't see coming. I didn't see that coming.

Crystal Khalil: 19:50

Amanda Hammett: 19:51
That's beautiful. I love it. I love it. So I mean if you were to advise a young employee right now, um, outside of, of, of your company that is looking for a mentor, someone that can really give them this kind of guidance, what advice would you give them?

Crystal Khalil: 20:11
Look for people that you admire in, in, um, in leadership and you know, as be gracious enough to ask people to sit down and if you can, if you can have a coffee with them, a 30-minute coffee or something, not a lot of time. And be curious about, you know, how did they get where they are today and, and learn more about them. I've never reached out to someone and asked them could I sit and talk with them and been turned down because people like to talk about themselves. Right? So if you just wanna hey, I just love to, you know, learn more about you and how, how you achieved what you've achieved in your career. And you know, if we can just sit down for a 30-minute coffee and I won't take a lot of your time, but I just wanted to learn about you, people will generally say yes. I've never had anybody tying me down for that. And if you do that with a couple of people, sooner or later you'll start to build connections with people that can become your mentors.

Amanda Hammett: 21:08
Absolutely. I love it. So, um, do you generally think it's a better idea for people to have a mentor inside their company or outside or both? Or what is your advice on that?

Crystal Khalil: 21:22
I would say you should have as many mentors as you can. It's great to have one in the organization because they will help you to understand how to navigate your corporate culture in your organizations, culture, but then also externally because you want to build that network outside of your organization as well. Your network should be three 60, so you'll find people in your church, you'll find people in industry associations, you know, that, that can help you to navigate to the next level. So I would say is, you know, as many mentors as you can find that are willing to invest in, you, don't turn anybody down.

Amanda Hammett: 22:04
I love it so much. So great. Crystal. So you know, you have said so many great things about the world of diversity and inclusion, the world of mentoring. And you know, for me it's all about the young employees. So next generation of talent, whether it's millennials, whether it's Gen z, but what would you say to a young employee who is going to be a leader for the very first time? What advice would you give them?

Crystal Khalil: 22:35
The first thing I would say to them, it is known the difference between a manager and a leader. So more managers maintain systems and processes, right? Leaders are strategic and they look to take the organization to new levels. They're problem solvers. To understand which one do you want to be? You want to be a manager or leader. Leaders are more valuable to the organization. So focus on your leadership skills, your people skills, invest in yourself and never stop learning. You know, really take the time to enhance your knowledge of people skills. Take, you know, if there's training offered by your organization, take full advantage of that. But if it's not, go outside of your organization and get what you need to be the best leader possible.

Amanda Hammett: 23:27
I really don't have anything to add and we have quickly come up to the end of our time. So crystal, I'd like to thank you so much for being on the Next Generation Rockstars podcast, wealth of knowledge, wealth of knowledge. So again, thank you so much.

Crystal Khalil: 23:43
Thank you.

Amanda Hammett: 23:44
Thanks so much. Joining us for this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars, where we have discussed all recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader, and if that is the case, don't keep me a secret, share this episode with the world, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues, because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and you will see the Next Generation Rockstars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

NextGen featuring Tonia Carty Hau

Tonia Hau: Leading Early in Career Talent

Developing early career talent is a struggle for most companies. Yet, some leaders, like Tonia Hau, seem to be able to do it with incredible ease. Learn from Tonia as she explains for a simple method for developing early-career employees.

Tonia Carty Hoy is the Marketing Communications Account Director at Communiqué for Chick-fil-A, Inc. She has an amazing experience leading marketing programs and projects in Restaurant communications, project management, and vendor management.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Leading Early in Career Talent

Welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent, well you are in the right place.

Amanda Hammett: 00:14
All right, so today's episode of the Next Generation Rockstars podcast has a very special interview. This is actually the leader of two of our gas from season one, two of our rock stars from season one. So today I interviewed Tonia Hau who is an account director at Communique-USA here in the Atlanta, Georgia area. And she talks about how wonderful it can be to be a leader of early in career talent. So everybody on her team has less than five years of business experience, less than five years, and she really pours into them and really develops them and turns them into some amazing employees that will go on to have phenomenal careers. So I hope that you get out your pen, your paper or you take lots of mental notes if you're listening to this while you drive into work because Tonia Hau is going to break it down for you on how to be a phenomenal, authentic and transparent leader for that early in career talent.

Amanda Hammett: 01:16
Hey there and welcome to this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. We have a really fantastic episode with you today. We have Tonia Hau who is with Communique-USA where she is an account director. Welcome to the show Tonia.

Tonia Hau: 01:30
Hi. Thanks for having me.

Amanda Hammett: 01:32
No worries. So I knew I had to talk to Tonia last season. So season one, I interviewed two of her direct reports in the latter part of the season. So if you haven't checked it out, definitely go back, check out that episode. But they raved about their leader, their manager who happens to be Tonia. So Tonia, tell the audience a little bit about yourself.

Tonia Hau: 01:58
Hi, yes, as you mentioned, I'm the account director at Communique-USA. I report to the vice president of client services, Stephanie Thompson, who is a fabulous leader. And models leadership well for me. Um, and she reports to Shawnee Godwin, our CEO, and president. And it's just, I've worked there for five years. It's a wonderful organization to work for. They focus a lot on work-life balance which makes my job a lot easier and more fulfilling. And I have two teenagers. I have one boy in college, she's getting ready to start his sophomore year and I have a daughter who is starting her senior year of high school, very recently engaged and going to be married. So yes.

Amanda Hammett: 02:53
What's going on in your personal life there? That's amazing. That is fantastic. So I just have a lot of questions for you honestly, because I think that when people get a leadership role for them whether it's the first time or it's their first time really managing, you know, early in career, those right out of college employees, they want to pull their hair out, they don't get it. And it really is a test of a lot of things. But empathy, listening, development leadership in general. So really, can you tell the audience a little bit about what is your specific or general ideas around leadership around developing talent? How do you see the world?

Tonia Hau: 03:43
Okay. I mean I was a little bit, not embarrassed, but just take him back that my direct reports have great things to say because it is always hard to know how you're being perceived by your direct report. And it was, they were incredibly generous and kind with their words and it was very humbling and I feel very honored. Honestly. I believe that leadership is not about something that you do, but I believe it's about really who someone is and how they just see the world and how they interact with people. So for me, I don't think it's anything that I'm doing. It's more of just my personality, my character and what I value and how that comes out in my leadership skills. I believe that very important, and being authentic and transparent, I believe you should highlight successes as well as failures.

Tonia Hau: 04:42
And I think the biggest thing that I value that I've valued in leaders above me and I've tried to make the best of leaders that I have had, such as Stephanie, who's a phenomenal leader and I'm trusting over suspicion I think is absolutely crucial. Giving people the benefit of the doubt, allowing people to make mistakes and giving them a safe place to make mistakes. I think that creates a very innovative culture that can try new things and learn from your mistakes. I think that's the only way to grow and be innovative. And so I very much know that my employees know that they can come to me and share with me anything that's going on and just try to be completely open and transparent with them. And I guess the only other thing I think that's really important is just surrounding myself with complementary talent.

Tonia Hau: 05:44
I look to build teams that complement each other with their strengths and their weaknesses. I think it's been very important for me. When I was interviewing my direct report that you interviewed, both of them have strong skillsets in areas that I'm extremely weekend and so I'm embarrassed in the leap does say that because I think that's what builds strong teams. They have, I am more of a big-picture strategic thinker when they have attention to detail like nobody you've ever seen. And so that actually was one of the things I was looking for and building my team because I know that it's essential to have a well-rounded team.

Amanda Hammett: 06:29
Oh, that is so interesting that you say that. But also I'd like to commend you on being incredibly self-aware. I think that that is something that can be missing the time at all levels, at all levels. It does not just say if it's across the board. So I commend you on that. That's really fantastic and I think that it's helped you build an incredible team. So that's great. Now let me get, let me ask you, and not to be rude, how long have you been in the working world, Tonia?

Tonia Hau: 07:04
I have been in the workforce for over 20 years. I took a little bit of time off to be at home with my kids when they were younger. And so then I had to get reestablished back, um, into the work environment. But overall over 20, probably about 25 years.

Amanda Hammett: 07:24
Okay. Perfect. All right. So I would imagine that in that time you have seen a young talent coming to the workforce in different waves. What have you noticed as the biggest influence millennials and Gen z's are bringing into the workforce or have brought into the workforce?

Tonia Hau: 07:44
Well, absolutely. Hands down. I can tell you this, just from having teenagers myself, I know for a fact they could run this house on their knowledge of technology with or without any assistance. So it's definitely the rise in technology being tech-savvy. And I really see how that's influenced our company with the offerings that they bring. Just, you know, assessing that are our software and our offerings and providing suggestions and improvements has been really helpful.

Amanda Hammett: 08:19
That's awesome. So have you, besides the tech, you know, have there been any shifts in, well you did mention the offerings, but you know what has really been the surprise that has come with these shifts? Has it been a positive surprise or negative, anything like that?

Tonia Hau: 08:37
No, I would, I mean, that's just my personality. I always try to look for the positive and I try to always look for learning opportunities. So I definitely think it's been helpful that our leader has provided the work-life balance. I think one thing that's very important to millennials is that their outside passions fuel them. And so I think the work-life balance that we provide is just been an easy actually beneficial for them.

Amanda Hammett: 09:07
Absolutely. And I'd like to say, I mean, just, I know Shawnee personally, I have met Stephanie, I don't even know how many times and hung out with her and they really, they don't just say it, they actually practice that every single day. And I love the rule that you guys have in place as far as answering client emails. What is it like after five or six o'clock? Don't expect a response. And I mean, how many other companies do that?

Amanda Hammett: 09:36
Right? Oh, go ahead.

Tonia Hau: 09:42
Oh, I was just going to say we're very fortunate and well handpicking the clients that work along well with that culture and that embrace that culture and appreciate it. I know a lot of our clients, um, if they're checking emails after or doing work after business hours, that it's predominantly to just get, you know, their inbox cleared out and just so they're not holding things up because they're in meetings all day. So typically they don't expect a response at that time. They're just trying to get things off of their plate. So it's been great.

Amanda Hammett: 10:17
That's awesome. So when you're looking at young talent in particular because you do lead a younger team, you know, what are some of the things that you're looking for? What are some of those foundational pieces that you want someone to come in? They may not have a lot of experience, but what is it that really says, okay, this person's got potential. This person can be a rock star.

Tonia Hau: 10:44
Absolutely. I think, um, you know, at that level we don't expect anyone to know everything or to have all the answers I think, which is hard for anyone, not just millennials. When you go come into a new role and instantly people are trying to prove themselves and show their value that you made the right choice in hiring them, which can really be, I try to sit them down immediately like day one and say, we don't expect you to know everything. We don't expect you to prove yourself or show your value. What you are here to do at this moment is to learn and observe. And so we, I think someone that has rockstar potential that we see a lot is someone who asks a lot of questions, who doesn't pretend to know at all and who is just a great observer, not trying to add value that just, we very much encourage them to observe more in the beginning. And to be proactive. They ask for more work when you're slow to ask for what you need if you don't have the resources that you need to do your job and just not to be afraid to ask a lot of questions. But one thing that is an absolute bonus for sure, it's a positive, encouraging spirit. Someone who just is very enthusiastic who is happy to be there, willing to be there and just willing to help out wherever they can and be a team player.

Amanda Hammett: 12:19
Okay. I love all that and I think it's something [inaudible] okay. That you know, you see a lot of in, in other companies that it's like, oh, it's all about the resume. What's on the resume, what's on the resume? And at this point, they don't have a lot on their resume or at least not a lot that's really applicable. And it's really about getting those specific characteristics as specific traits that are going to translate well into your environment. And it sounds like, you know, you guys are looking for that inquisitive spirit, but also just that like, Hey, I'm going to be proactive. I'm going to go after things, whether it's, you know, in this specific area that is in my job or willing to, you know, spread myself out and help out where needed those are important things. Now, how do you spot that on a resume though?

Tonia Hau: 13:13
I mean, it's tough. I mean, a resume I think is for looking at the skillset and it's in the interview process where you assess the soft skills that are incredibly important. And so that's why it's important to have both really.

Amanda Hammett: 13:27
I agree with that. I do agree with that. So we've already kind of touched on this and maybe you have some other experiences outside of communique. But have you ever felt the pressure from higher-ups at any point in your career to focus more on numbers and metrics and KPIs and less on real people?

Tonia Hau: 13:51
I think that's a common pressure with every business. I don't think anyone, I mean every business focuses on profitability and growth. I think that's important. I mean, that's a common pressure, but again, we're just, I think I'm very fortunate to work a Communique that values people. And the work-life balance, I think as Shawnee mentions her joy economics, it's about making work as enjoyable and happy to go to as it is at home and your personal life. And it's a balancing act, but at get, at the end of the day, we're not, we don't want to sacrifice people or values for money or for profitability. I mean, it's equally important, but I think as a leader, it's just natural to me in the disc assessment of dominant influencers, steadiness and conscientious. I'm an influencer. So it just comes naturally to me to place emphasis on influencing others, openness, and relationships over tasks and profitability. So I do get, I have to get reined in every now and then on, on that. But for me, people always come first.

Amanda Hammett: 15:13
I think that's really, I think that's important. I think that unfortunately, sometimes we do tend to focus too much on the numbers and not enough on the people who drive those numbers. But I understand there's, there's a balance. it's delicate. Right? All right. So I, there was something that you said earlier that I really wanted to, to circle back to if you don't mind. You said trusting over suspicion and giving people a safe, a place to make mistakes. And I think that that's really beautiful and I think that it can be very scary for some leaders to do that. Because it's so, you know, making a mistake. In a lot of instances, people automatically assume that that's a terrible thing. It's a bad idea. I don't, that would reflect badly on me as a leader, you know? What do you have to say about that? What do you, what are your thoughts?

Tonia Hau: 16:09
Well, again it's about the types of mistakes obviously. Um, we prefer smaller mistakes over the larger, more costly mistake. Regardless, I mean, we, none of us are perfect. Everyone is going to make mistakes, especially when you're new in your career and to have an environment that is open to that, that you can come to immediately and say, Hey, I messed this up. I take full ownership. What do I need to do to fix it? In the end, is going to be more beneficial because the sooner I can get in and provide leadership and try to help navigate the process thereafter, the fewer mistakes and the less costly it is in the end. It's the people that work in the environment. And I know because I've worked in that environment and especially when I was younger, I'm trying to cover it up because you're so afraid of your boss finding out or someone finding out and you spend so much time and effort trying to fix it, that sometimes you just make it worse and it just goes down a path that it's almost to the point that you have no choice but a phone up to it. And I just, I think the sooner they feel safer to come to me, the better it is for everyone.

Amanda Hammett: 17:33
So how do you actually help them feel safe in that environment? That they can come to you? I mean, it's one thing to tell people, oh, it's okay to make a mistake, but I think that we've all been in situations before where we've been told sure can make mistakes. Nobody's perfect. Right? But the reality is not, doesn't always match up with that. So how do you make sure that you're direct reports actually feel that, hey, Tonia has got my back no matter what? How do you, how do you do that?

Tonia Hau: 18:05
I mean, I think it's by being authentic and vulnerable with them. I mean I will constantly when sharing examples of mistakes that I've made, whether it's in the past or current, I'm sharing with them, hey, you're not the only one. I've done this. Other people who've done this and just being very transparent about assuring them that they're not the only one that's ever made it, it's not the end of the world.

Amanda Hammett: 18:33
I think that that's really important that you do that. Um, that is the, I see the number one thing that young employees don't see is, you know, bosses that take responsibility or ownership of their own mistakes because then if they, if that is the example that you set one time you're done, you are done with that team because they all decided, okay, I've got to hide my mistakes. I've got to like run from it or whatever. And that's just you're setting yourself out to make it, you know, for a disaster. So I love that you do that.

Amanda Hammett: 19:10
That's really tough. Thank You. Plus I think as a leader it's important for them to know that. I mean, I take responsibility for the team, so I will be the one to step up and take it the responsibility for any mistakes and let them know that that's on me. It's not on necessarily on them every time that they can, you know, share that with me. But I will take the full responsibility for the team and for the mistake if the team isn't on me. So I think for taking the, not really the broad, but just taking the ownership of that and then providing them action steps. Of how to improve, what to do next time, how to make sure that this doesn't happen again. What do we learn from this is incredibly important because to just tell someone they made a mistake, they can just sit and feel bad about themselves, but actually to give them action steps gives them ownership and power and show it shows them to embrace the learning opportunity.

Amanda Hammett: 20:12
I love that because it's, yes, you see a lot of times people and companies talk about learning opportunities, but actually, you know, showcasing that and highlighting it in a positive light versus you're going to get fired light in a world of.

Tonia Hau: 20:30
I mean, and there are mistakes that I, yeah, I can't help or take ownership of. And there have been those opportunities, unfortunately, that I have had to let people go. And that is very unfortunate and it's a very tough, difficult thing for any of us. Of course, no matter how many times you do it, it's still tough.

Amanda Hammett: 20:50
Oh, of course. So let's, let's switch gears a little bit more. Let's, let's get a little away from the [inaudible] failure and mistakes world. Talk a little bit more about educating and developing your people. I mean a lot of your teamwork. Let's talk a little bit first about your team right now. Is it all fresh out of college or what do we look like?

Tonia Hau: 21:15
Right. I think we're very well balanced, but we do have a lot of millennials and early in their career, I wouldn't say fresh out of college, but I would say in the first five years of their career. Yes.

Amanda Hammett: 21:30
I mean, I listen, I think those first five years are a critical mass. Like that is like the toughest, special time. And so I'm really pleased that they have a great leader in you because I think that sets up the rest of their career. So, all right. So let's talk about educating and developing that early in career. Do you know what, what do you see as the benefit first of all, like overall to actually spending that time or those resources developing talent?

Tonia Hau: 22:01
I think it's very crucial to our business. I mean, obviously, sort of cliche to say, but it's the, I mean, the feature is in the future is in their hands. Our future is in their hands. So it's important to develop them. And I start off all of our, one on one meetings by saying, look, I know that it's not likely that you're going to stay with this company for the rest of your life. But I do want to make this a very valuable time for you to learn and grow and I want you to go into your next position, whatever that might be with whatever company that might be saying, Aye. You know, I gained a ton of knowledge and great and honed and on my strengths and weaknesses and was able to use that in my next position. I mean, I think so.

Tonia Hau: 22:57
I said, I tried to take our one-on-ones as a time to less develop you as a person and what can we do to grow you in your career where you are and try to get them to think about their strengths, to think about their weaknesses and then provide action items and action steps to develop them. I think if we don't do that, we're gonna lose great talent. That has a lot of opportunities. I think when you have, you know, any turnover, you risk losing client relationships and losing client business and I mean, and I think it keeps us on our toes as an organization to fine-tune our skills and to grow in our business and grow our opportunities.

Amanda Hammett: 23:45
All right. I couldn't agree with any of that more. Basically. I do have one just quick clarifying question. Uh, how often do you do your one on ones with your team?

Tonia Hau: 23:55
I do them biweekly. Okay. and I mean it doesn't always happen based on, you know, but I at least try to touch base with them once a month.

Amanda Hammett: 24:03
Okay. And then are those usually what, how long?

Tonia Hau: 24:07
30 minutes. 30 such space. Right. And then, you know, and then we'll provide, like, you know, a yearly review, which is a little bit more in-depth than we're meeting.

Amanda Hammett: 24:19
Yeah, absolutely. Okay. But it seems like you cover a fair amount of ground in those 30-minute meetings, which, you know, 30 minutes out of your, you know, every week or every month. Not that much time, but you also are very hands-on with them should they need it. But it seems like you have a very open door, I guess, policy, where they could come to you and them, feel comfortable coming to you even outside of that 30 minutes.

Tonia Hau: 24:50
Yes, absolutely. They texted me all the time.

Amanda Hammett: 24:55
So I'd also like to highlight one thing that you said in that last statement. And it's more at this talks more to the financial ramifications of developing your team or maybe not developing your team, but you actually mentioned the potential for when there's turnover, actually potentially also losing clients. I think that's huge and I don't think that people make that connection enough. So, okay. I'd like to, let's see, are there any other ways that you see how this financially benefits you guys in developing your team? Or is it mainly because you guys are pretty customer-facing? Is it mainly just that piece? Okay.

Tonia Hau: 25:40
I mean, I'm sure there are others. I just that's a big bulk of what we do is I'm nervous and account management. So that is the number one thing that comes to mind. I mean again, not developing talent. Ah, woodwork also, I mean lots of mistakes cost money, it costs clients money. So we try to be very hands-on and provide great, you know, development and mentorship to them to avoid as many client mistakes cause those can come back to bite us as well.

Amanda Hammett: 26:18
Oh goodness. Yes. And I mean your entire team is just client service. I mean that is all you guys do. So that would be, I think the biggest, the biggest piece of that. But I mean obviously you want to build up those skills in case, you know, you eventually have somebody move up into a different room, part of the company or you know, whatever you want them to have built those skills under you, which it sounds they're doing.

Tonia Hau: 26:44
Oh, absolutely. And there's the rare instance. I mean, but it does happen where we've had clients that just fell in love with our talent and our employees and have hired them on. And so then someone that was working for us is now our client. So it's great to have that positive rapport in that relationship already established.

Amanda Hammett: 27:11
That is great. That is great to have. I mean that's, of course, you hate to see them go, but at the same time, you know, you want them to have great careers and it's a logical next step. This is the logical next step.

Tonia Hau: 27:23

Amanda Hammett: 27:24
So wonderful. All right, so let's, let's circle back a little bit and take a look at something from a different perspective. Tonia, what would advice would you give, I know that you have a son currently in college or, or maybe some of his friends, so let's talk to that to them specifically. What would you tell them to look for in their first boss or their first company? What would be the most important things for them to think about?

Tonia Hau: 27:55
I think they need to focus on, which I think really comes naturally to millennials anyway, is just development and growth opportunities. It's very important in your first career too. Just learn as much as you can and observe as much as you can. And so I think for them to look for those opportunities in companies that invest in their people and invest in that long term growth strategy. They companies that provide great leadership, um, look for ways to build on that. I think for them to identify their strengths and passions. And just again, it's kind of like what we're looking for in employees they should be looking for in companies and leadership or just, you know, positive and enthusiastic people that are happy to be there, that are very knowledgeable that they can learn a lot from.

Amanda Hammett: 28:55
Awesome. All right, so the last question and then I'm going to let you go. What, do you have a favorite leadership book?

Tonia Hau: 29:04
Oh, absolutely. I have two actually that I mean there's a lot that I've read, but too, I have, I'm courageous leadership by bill Hybels is one of my absolute favorites. He talks a lot about vision, creating fuel for leaders, um, and passion for followers. And so I think it's incredibly important for leaders to cast vision and cast it often and frequently. And the other is a next-generation leader by Andy Ali is my other favorite that he talks about the five cs mark and shape women and men for the future, which is courage, clarity, competence, coachability, and character.

Amanda Hammett: 29:58
[inaudible]. Yup, absolutely. Absolutely. Well, fantastic. Well, Tonia, it has been a real pleasure having you on the show. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences being that in the trenches like early in career leader. I think this is going to be some great takeaways for the entire audience.

Tonia Hau: 30:18
Oh, thank you so much and thank you so much for having me. It's been a true honor. I appreciate it.

Amanda Hammett: 30:22
Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars where we have discussed all recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader. And if that is the case, don't keep me a secret, share this episode with the world, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues, because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and you will see the next generation rockstars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

NextGen Featuring Dee Ann Turner

DeeAnn Turner: Selecting Talent

Have you ever wondered why some companies can't seem to keep employees while other companies hire employees and then they stick around for years? According to Dee Ann Turner, former head of HR for Chick-Fil-A, it all comes down to selecting talent versus hiring people.

Dee Ann Turner is a Communicator, Consultant, and Coach. She began Dee Ann Turner, LLC after serving 33 years at Chick-fil-A, Inc. An early architect for Chick-fil-A's well-known culture and talent systems, she was Chick-fil-A's first female officer. Most recently, she was Vice President, Sustainability, launching and leading Chick-fil-A's first sustainability strategy. Selected as Chick-fil-A's first female officer, she previously served as the Vice President, Talent/Human Resources, a role she held for nearly 20 years.

Her first book, It’s My Pleasure: The Impact of Extraordinary Talent and a Compelling Culture, reveals the lessons she learned and taught during her long tenure at Chick-fil-A as the company grew from $175M to $10B in revenue. 

More info about her:

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Selecting Talent

Welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent while you are in the right place.

Amanda Hammett: 00:14
Hey, good morning and welcome to the next generation rock stars podcast. I'm your host, Amanda Hammett, and we have a phenomenal leader for you today. Her name is Dee Ann Turner and Dee Ann used to be with the one and only Chick-Fil-A. Dee Ann, welcome to the show.

Dee Ann Turner: 00:31
Thank you so much. It's really my pleasure to be here, Amanda.

Amanda Hammett: 00:34
Wonderful. Like we have a lot to talk about because of Dee Ann well, I'll actually, why don't you go in and tell us a little bit about you.

Dee Ann Turner: 00:43
Sure. Well, it's quite a story. I did spend 33 years at chip full lie in the majority of that time. My responsibility was to lead talent and human resources and then later social responsibility. And I retired last year. I'd written my first book, it's my pleasure in 2015 and had the opportunity to just start speaking and robbing, consulting and coaching. And so I speak about 50 times a year globally. And I Baker publishing picked up, it's my pleasure and asked me to add content to it. Then we redid the work and it will come out on September the third Az bet on talent. How to create a remarkable culture and win the hearts of customers.

Amanda Hammett: 01:29
Perfect. Perfect. Well, you know, for those from my audience that is not familiar with Chick-Fil-A as a consumer, I will say this Chick-Fil-A is known not only for, you know, fast food, wonderful chicken, but they're known for their service. That is why for people like myself, that's why you go to Chick-Fil-A is because you know the service that's going to be good. You know, the food's going to be good, but it's the service that sets it apart. And I would imagine that you might've had a hand in that being over HR and talent for so long.

Dee Ann Turner: 02:04
I'd like to take credit for that. But there are actually a native so many people and number one is actually the Chick-Fil-A life franchisees themselves. See Chick-Fil-A is now, Oh, I guess about 2,500 franchisees and 10 and a half-billion dollars in sales. When I first went to Chick-Fil-A, I believe that we were at about 175 million in sales with 150 restaurants. But those franchises are totally responsible for selecting their own talent and training them and developing them. And so I think the secret sauce, if you will, of Chick-Fil-A is in the selection of that Franchisee. And that was one of the things I really did. In fact, it was my favorite job at Chick-Fil-A was selecting those franchisees. Now there are about 50,000 people who required each year for 120 opportunities to be a Chick-Fil-A grand chassis. So actually people say it's easier to get into Harvard than it is to become a Chick-Fil-A for the like franchisee.

Amanda Hammett: 03:07
Wow. I had no idea. I mean, I knew it was difficult. I actually know a few franchisees and that the process that they put you through is incredible. But I would like for you to say that stat again. What was that again?

Dee Ann Turner: 03:21
It's about 50,000 inquiries each year of people who would like to become a Chick-Fil-A like franchisees for only about 120 opportunities. And let me take it a little further. Two-thirds of the people who are selected actually come from somewhere within the organization. Most of them have been a Chick-Fil-A team member at some point. So now we're talking only about 35 or 40 that are even available to those apps.

Amanda Hammett: 03:50
That is insane. That is, those are some crazy numbers. So you, you actually just said a few minutes ago that this secret sauce to Chick-Fil-A was really the selection of those franchisees. So I, you know, that's something that we haven't really talked about on this show. Because usually, it's, it's specific to, you know, in house corporate, you know, hires, but this is a little different. So I mean, what makes it so different? What makes it so difficult, but what makes it so special?

Dee Ann Turner: 04:22
Well as I, you know, and of course this was my role a few years back, so I'm, you know, I want to be, I want to be sensitive to the fact that, you know, things maybe even a little different right now, but as it was when I had that role, um, you know, we look for three things when our candidates, and this really came from Truett Cathy, the founder, the first one is character. And he always said character first. And when we talk about character, we're talking about an individual whose values and purpose and mission-aligned with the organization. It doesn't, it doesn't mean it matches perfectly. It just means that they understand what those characteristics are and they're comfortable with that. So, along with the chick-fil-a purpose met mission and values would be one part of the Franchisee selection. And the second part is competency.

Dee Ann Turner: 05:10
And you know, the interesting thing that changed so much over the time I told you that we're not started doing that work. We had 175 million in sales and those were all mall restaurants. You see 86 Chick-Fil-A started opening free-standing locations will over time the volumes of those restaurants have become very complex. And by the way, about 500 of those phones, Chelsea's operating with two restaurants and a dozen or so operate three. So we're talking about, you know, very large, small businesses that these frames, same with these franchise needs or are running. So competency of what was required in 1985 to run a mall restaurant versus what's required in 2019 to run a freestanding restaurant with the kind of average sales that chick like produces. And then, and then to look at people and say, you know what, in a few years, we want them to have the capacity, the competency to actually operate more than one restaurant.

Dee Ann Turner: 06:08
So when we select for competency, it should flight, not just selecting a for what's available right then, but thinking is this the leader that has the capacity to do more later on? And then last week looking at chemistry, you know, how well does the chemistry matched the team, the franchisee market team that they're part of the people that they'll work with at the support center staff. So what we look for and what we look for at Chick-Fil-A is the number one character that matched the organization competency to match the role in chemistry that matches the team. And that's true of Franchisee selection at Chick-Fil-A. It's also true of the support staff.

Amanda Hammett: 06:52
Oh, absolutely. I am very good friends with several people that actually work at, at corporate headquarters and also the process to be hired there has, you know, it really is a long process, but it's also a very rigorous process and you guys have done an incredible job of leading through who's going to be successful. Because everybody I know that comes into work for check for like corporate, they're there for life there and they, they're very proud of that fact. And that's not something that you see a lot in other companies and other corporations in other industries. What do you think it is? what is it in that recruiting and hiring process that really makes you say, okay, this person is going to be a rock star here?

Dee Ann Turner: 07:43
Well, to start with, one of the things that I like to say is I don't hire people. I select talent. And there's a difference when you hire people, you, I think of quantity. Now think about in the restaurant environment, are there enough employees to cover the shift? Are there, you know, do I have enough people in the dining room to have enough people in the back of the house to prepare food? But when I think about selecting talent, it's like do I have the people with the character, competence, and chemistry to fit the organizations the role and the team. And so that first difference is a huge difference. The difference between hiring people and selecting Tamar. And I think the other part, um, and over time, especially with the millennial generation, you know, they want faster decisions and faster opportunities. So cheerful life might adjustment overtime in their selection culture around that.

Dee Ann Turner: 08:33
You know, when I came on board, it wasn't uncommon to take six months to be selected. And now that time has had to shorten. But one of the things that, that chick-fil-a doesn't cut corners on is making sure that it's a match both ways. Making sure that the candidate is not just the best candidate for the job, but that the candidate sees chick-fil-a is the best organization. Yeah. So the selection process includes opportunities not just to evaluate the candidate, but most clearly for the candidate to also evaluate Chick-Fil-A. And while, you know, you made the comment, you said they're there for life and you know, I was there for 33 years, there are 40-year veterans. It's a common thing, but the reality is is that business is changing and generational differences in. So now, you know, as I was particularly, we would say, we'd like longterm decisions.

Dee Ann Turner: 09:24
So we hope that people will be with us longer than what you would expect somebody to be with an organization. But we recognized that things were changing and not necessarily was that a lifetime anymore, but it very well could be. The reason is after the selection of that talent, they just, the way Chick-Fil-A stewards their talent and the opportunities that they have. And you know, every person at the support center, positive development plan, everybody has a budget for their own personal development and then work with their supervisor and in their self-identified needs and like can use those development dollars in all kinds of ways to improve not just as an employee and a leader, but also I'm personally in areas that would help them personally to better develop, to be more effective in their role. And chick-fil-a and franchisees helped the same opportunity is part of their agreement is they're able to use funds for their own development too. So it's an organization that truly believes in lifelong learning, provides those opportunities to steward their talent well. And that has a lot to do. One stay so long.

Amanda Hammett: 10:35
Oh, I would agree. I, as you know, as my friends have always said, you know, that is one of the things that they have enjoyed the most is that they have been encouraged to continue to learn. There's a lot of companies out there that say, Oh yeah, yeah we will, we provide these opportunities. But actually, it is really something that is important. It's in the day to day culture and it's very much encouraged to for everyone to do that. And that is something that is so important, especially for millennials, especially for Gen z employees. They're looking for that investment in them and they're looking to be able to continuously learn and grow and push themselves in different ways. So I love this. You guys are way ahead of the curve. This is wonderful.

Dee Ann Turner: 11:21
Alright. You know, as I said, it's growing constantly and chicken lady continues to add a lot of talent in this area of their business and I'm sure that that will help secure that for the future as well. And you know, part of my work in the last year since retired particularly is traveling around to a lot of other organizations too and seeing some of their remarkable cultures and I continue to find that organizations that are willing to invest, you know, a lot in their selection process and then also in the stewardship that those employees are able to keep them around a lot longer. You know, one of the things that were kind of funny, I'll have to tell you, when I first came to Chick-Fil-A and I started this work, I didn't have a budget for real key item in human resources.

Dee Ann Turner: 12:07
I didn't have a budget for separation. It's amazing. And the reason I did is that the truth, Kathy really getting intend on making any changes. I had a very nice budget for selection and I had a pretty healthy budget for stewardship, but it had no budget for separation because he didn't really believe he believed if we did those other two things, well we really wouldn't have that money. Now, of course, is Chick-Fil-A grew from a, like I said, $175 million when I came there, the 10 and a half billion when I left, we obviously needed that. But to that very day that the selection and stewardship project always outweighed what we, what was invested separation.

Amanda Hammett: 12:51
So let's talk about that all talents. And that is coming out when?

Dee Ann Turner: 12:54
September 3rd.

Amanda Hammett: 12:56
September the third. So for those of you watching or listening is already available to be pre-ordered pretty much everywhere. Correct?

Dee Ann Turner: 13:06
Here, go to my website and get it too.

Amanda Hammett: 13:09
Okay. All right, we'll put a link to that below this interview, but so why was bet on talent so important for you to write? Because writing a book is not easy. It is sometimes a very painful process, but why was it so important for you to write that on top?

Dee Ann Turner: 13:26
You know, the funny thing is is that I wanted to be a writer since I was eight years old. I was a journalism major. My first trip to college and when I got out of school when I realized was two things. One is I didn't have the life experience and anybody was going to read more, read about everything after a drive. And secondly, I could live again. So I took off in a little bit of a different direction, but that love never left me.

Dee Ann Turner: 13:49
And finally in 2014 when two things have happened, the year before my dad had passed away. And in 2014, Truett Cathy passed away and they had really been two significant business mentors in my life. And all of a sudden I started writing down all of these lessons, all of these things that I had learned and principles around growing remarkable culturing around selecting extraordinary talents on started his blog posts. And the next thing I knew I had 16,000 words. I was on my way to a book. And so it came important to me to publish the book for two reasons. One is I didn't want the things that I had learned I didn't want the people that were on that journey with me is on the earth. Those early days of Chick-Fil-A lady learn directly from true it. I didn't want us to ever forget what he taught us. And secondly, all the thousands of people that would come after me, I wanted there to be some record of what we learned because, you know, true, it said people decisions from the most important decisions a leader makes. And Ben on talent is really, the encapsulation of how you make those great people decisions. And I just felt like it was something very, very important that lots of people would benefit from. And so that's why I've written it.

Amanda Hammett: 15:06
That's amazing. Cool. I love, I love that because I think that a lot of times companies can be a little shortsighted when it comes to recruiting. Now I'm a former recruiter, so I understand that what I'm about to say is probably not very popular. But a lot of times it's more about filling a role, filling a role, and they're only looking at that immediate need. And I liked that you guys are Chick-Fil-A specifically focused on the person as in a very holistic way. And not only just the person and what they're capable of then, but where they can go eventually as long as everything, values, and character align that can take you really far, but it's not, but it's gotta be something that you've got to have the vision for. Now let me ask you this. What have you guys found or what have you seen, whether it's a Chick-Fil-A or some of the other companies that you've been working with since you're retired, since your retirement? Have you noticed any financial benefit to really focusing on talent and getting the right talent the first time?

Dee Ann Turner: 16:18
Well, there's not a question about when you talk with other organizations about this too, but that the when you focus on selecting the right talent from the beginning, I mean just the cost savings of what it takes to resect and retraining and so forth with people. So even though it's painful, especially in this full-employment economy, we're all in. I mean, that's everywhere I go to, that's what we're talking about is this cool employment economy. And you know, I'm just, I'm lucky to get a warm body much less, you're talking about this extensive selection process, but in the recruiting process, you know what I encourage employers and companies always be recruiting talent is around you all the time. Don't wait too. You have a role to be recruiting. Recruiting is about relationships and developing those relationships so that when you have that opportunity, it's right there.

Dee Ann Turner: 17:15
You've got that person there, you've built that relationship and they're ready because they have a personal relationship with you. They're willing to make that change. Even in economy, in full employment economy that we're in now. Now think about an executive on work with three years. He was five when I, my role was heavy recruiting. Amanda, what? I loved this executive because a lot of other executives is like, that was my job. You know, go find the people. That's your job. And but he was different. He saw that it was a partnership and that was very much a part of his to always be recruiting. And that guy never had a problem finding talent. In fact, to this day, some of the really outstanding young leaders, I'll see a Chick-Fil-A as this executive selected them and here they are growing and so forth. But it started in relationships, some of them when they were still in high school. And I saw the same thing. I was with a client recently in speaking at their conference and I was watching some of their success stories and you know, they had one of their leaders was very involved in the community and she spent a lot of time developing those relationships and all of her counterparts were talking about how they couldn't find any talent. She has people waiting in line waiting for an opening in her organization.

Amanda Hammett: 18:35
That's an amazing thing to see. But it's, it's also very amazing to me that people want to complain, but they don't want to put in the work to build those relationships, which are so valuable.

Dee Ann Turner: 18:49
Well, wait here that, I mean, you know, when you have a job, you know, you think about all the other roles that people, that leaders have. I mean, and they have this main thing they're being held accountable for in the organization, which is why it's so important that as organizations select leaders, they select people who can be talent, mammals who can attract people who are great. They're not great managers, they're great leaders that people will want to follow. Because they do have other responsibilities. But this is key for their success in those who do it well, know that they know the better talent they select, the easier their job will be. And actually, when they have great talent, they can spend more time on finding work tower.

Amanda Hammett: 19:32
That's true. So let me ask you this, you kind of talked about the new kind of, you know, talked about this just a second ago, but let's say we have a team, young team, millennials, Gen C's, and how do you recognize when you're looking at this team, who has the capability of being a great leader? Is there something that you're looking for when you look out at this group?

Dee Ann Turner: 19:59
Cool. For me, I'm looking for a track record and you know, a strong track record of leadership. Even in the youngest of candidates. I started, I'll tell you a story about this young man. I'm super proud of him. I started recruiting him when he was in the 10th grade to be a Chick-Fil-A support center staff member. Now he was years away from being eligible, but he was well-rounded. He was, I can I sign on the football field. He was the leader, he was a great student. He had ambition and dreams. And so he happened to be a friend of one of my sons and I just developed a relationship with them. Impala. His first year out of Georgia tech when it was a time when jobs were a little bit more scares. But you know, most organizations want freshman interns in there.

Dee Ann Turner: 20:49
They're high, they're selecting, excuse me, junior year. Well, some of them are adding, but we would be selecting juniors and seniors, you know, that could come on board with us afterward. But I was able to convince the group that he would work with that he was just a really exceptional talent. And so he came on board and he worked that summer and did a fabulous job. Went Back to Georgia Tech and the next two summers he spent at ups and Halliburton and we competed to get him that final summer. And he came and he's still there today. He's been there for a number of years now. I want to say maybe he's, I can't say six or seven, but leading in his function, doing a great job, bright future. And you know, that's, that's not uncommon about how to look at talent. It's like, so, you know, he had that leadership track record, that strong character, even for the few responsibilities he had, even as a teenager, he shoulda a lot of competencies there in his relationship strength, the chemistry with other people.

Dee Ann Turner: 21:52
It was really obvious. So if you know what you're looking for in your talent that you're looking for that character competency and chemistry and what the traits are in that, then it's, that is a whole lot easier to identify it. So the first thing you asked me the question, what are you looking for? Well, the first thing I'm looking, I'm looking for is a leadership track record because I know that these people decisions that eventually, even if it's not a leadership role, right then I'm going to need leaders and great source of getting leaders would be from the bitch that I've already created. So I'm trying to bring those walls. The second thing I'm looking for, I'm looking at there for people who are here to serve. Now, I've spent my career in the hospitality and service industry. So obviously that would be part of what I would be looking for is people who are wanting to serve others.

Dee Ann Turner: 22:38
ou never want my sweat to a corporate staff member. Their whole job was to serve chick-fil-a franchisees. Our franchisee's job is pretty obvious. They're serving customers and even their own employees. So I'm looking for people who have a real heart for service was always important to me. I look for people who were showing good judgment and good decision making. You know, we all make mistakes. I've made my full share of course, but when you see a pattern of that is probably not the best talent you could select. So I'm looking for somebody who's made a strong track record of good decisions. Those are some very general things above and beyond what's required for the job. But that's the when I'm looking for the diamond in the rough, so mine doesn't have a lot of experience. Those are the types of things I'm looking for.

Amanda Hammett: 23:28
That's amazing. I love that. And I love that you have this completely laid out. This is your very specific that is I think a skill that a lot of hiring managers at whatever level you may be a need to really develop. Is this being able to say, okay, it's more than just what's on a resume? It's like, it's got to be more than that. I am not a believer in the warm body recruiting process is what I call it. I'm more in they've got to fit your culture and it sounds like you've got that down pat. I love that too.

Dee Ann Turner: 24:03
Warm bodies are just hiring people, but when you find a match that's working talent.

Amanda Hammett: 24:08
Absolutely. Absolutely. Well wonderful. Well, Dan, I have enjoyed this time with you so, so much. We could actually go on for another two or three hours, but I try to be very mindful of my audience members time and effort. Where can you tell everybody where they can find your book? Remind them again when it's going to come out and yeah, let's do that.

Dee Ann Turner: 24:34
Right. Bet on talent. How to create your remarkable culture that wins the hearts of customers will be released on September 3rd is now available for preorder just about anywhere anyone would order books online and it'll be in bookstores on September the third I'll say, visit me at my website, which is at DeeAnn, excuse me, You can order the book directly from retailers off of that one. Also, I might ask your listeners to please follow me, especially on a at Linkedin, at @DeenAnnTurner, on Twitter, at Instagram at the Internet and then finally my Facebook author page. I would love to interact with them there.

Amanda Hammett: 25:16
Perfect. Well, wonderful. Well, thank you guys so much for joining us. I hope that you took a tremendous amount of notes and learned a lot from Dee Ann and we will see you in the very next episode.

Amanda Hammett: 25:28
Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars where we have discussed all recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader and if that is the case, don't keep me a secret, share this episode with the world, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and you will see the Next Generation Rockstars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

NextGen Featuring Ralph Barsi

Ralph Barsi: Attracting & Developing “A Players”

If you have ever worked in an environment where you are celebrated and not tolerated, you know it increases your productivity, profitability as well as overall engagement and loyalty to your company. Learn how Ralph Barsi of ServiceNow approaches attracting and retaining early career "A players".

Ralph Barsi is the VP, Global Inside Sales at Ralph Barsi leads the worldwide sales development organization at ServiceNow. Ralph regularly speaks and writes about sales and leadership and is recognized among the top inside sales leaders in the technology industry. He publishes most of his material at

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Attracting & Developing "A Players"

Welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent or you are in the right place.

Amanda Hammett: 00:14
All right, so today's episode of the Next Generation Rock Stars podcast. I interviewed Ralph Barsi of service now out in Silicon Valley and man, he brought it to this interview. So you need to go ahead and just get your pen and notebook ready because you're going to have to take lots of notes. Ralph really believes in developing that early in career college. Uh, and, and he doesn't just believe it and say these things. He actually is doing it in the trenches like day to day. And he gives you some really practical and actionable steps that you as a leader can take and implement within your company today or your team today. And I think that leaders who have been leading, you know, who are brand new leaders, leaders who've been leading for 20, 30 years, I mean, this is some really good stuff that Ralph brings to this interview. And I really hope that you really listen and take it all at.

Amanda Hammett: 01:07
I in fact loved this interview so much that after the interview I asked Ralph like, Hey, can we do around too? I really wanted to talk to him about mentoring. That was the original reason I reached out to him was to talk to him about mentoring because I personally know some of his mentees and they are killer and we'll talk a little bit about them during the interview, but man, we didn't even get to it. I mean we just didn't have time so I expect to hear more from Ralph Barsi just beyond today and I hope you enjoy this interview.

Amanda Hammett: 01:40
All right, welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. I have an amazing guest for you today. His name is Ralph Barsi and he is my service now, so let's all welcome Ralph, welcome to the show.

Ralph Barsi : 01:51
Thank you so much Amanda, how are you today?

Amanda Hammett: 01:53
I am fantastic working on a little bit low level of sleep, but otherwise great.

Ralph Barsi : 01:59
Oh good to hear. Good to hear. Well, I'm looking forward to talking with you.

Amanda Hammett: 02:02
Me Too. So this has been a long time coming. You were actually nominated to be on the show by two people. One was a rock star that I had on season bond Morgan J Ingram, who is if anybody watched the show last season, you know, Morgan knocks it out of the park every day. The second person will actually be on the show next season for season three and her name is Nicola and I don't want to give anything else away about her, but she's awesome.

Ralph Barsi : 02:29
She is.

Amanda Hammett: 02:30
So let's hear a little bit about you Ralph.

Ralph Barsi : 02:34
Sure. Hello everybody. My name is Ralph Barsi. Today on the global sales development leader at service. Now we're a cloud computing company. We're based in silicon valley. We started 2003, 2004. Our focus was on servicing it departments and streamlining the workflow of help desk environments. But over the years we've really evolved into servicing all business units in the enterprise. So essentially our technology digitize those workflows and makes the experience of fulfilling reclass pretty smooth and simple. My job in service now is to oversee roughly 200 what we call atrs or account development reps. They have a two fold objective. Number one is they drive revenue pipeline for the company by booking qualified meetings for our field organization on their second objective is to become our future sales reps for service now. So we really drive a revenue pipeline as well as a talent pipeline. And it's a blast. I've been here just about four years. I started here in Q four of 2015 and it's gone very quickly. As you can imagine. prior to that I have a little over 20 years experience close to 25 now in sales. The first half of my career was spent as an individual contributor, whereas the latter half has really been leading and scaling sales and sales development teams.

Amanda Hammett: 04:08
Yeah, absolutely. So, you know, one thing that I know about you in the sales world that I'm actually gathered from, you know, looking at sales organizations and, and associations, but also the people that are really influencing the market, is that when I'm talking to those influencers in particular, those younger influencers, I'm like, well, who are you looking at? Who are you following? Who, who's mentoring you? And low and behold, it is Ralph Barsi.

Ralph Barsi : 04:35
Wow. That's flattering and humbling. Thank you. I hope I'm adding value to the marketplace. I appreciate it.

Amanda Hammett: 04:42
I would say so. I would say so. So, um, so let's talk a little bit about your role and how you see it. Because I would assume, and I'm making an assumption here and let's clear, clarify this for the audience, but particularly when you're driving that talent pipeline for service, now you're looking primarily at early career, correct?

Ralph Barsi : 05:04
Oh, sure. For the most part we have a relatively young group of atrs and when I say on, so if it helps, I'm 48 years old today. And so young to me is between 20 and 30. And that's largely the demographic of our account development reps. They're relatively early in their career as well as that service now. So we feel that, you know, the leaders here, we feel this time is precious and it's finite and it's a, it's a privilege to be able to develop the skills and the competencies and the accusation that these future salespeople and leaders need to succeed. It's quite a project and exercise, but we're blessed and excited to be the ones to do it.

Amanda Hammett: 05:50
Okay. I love this outlook. Because I know that so many people struggle with the attraction of young talent, but also keeping it. I don't, I think that they're missing a few important foundational items. One is really getting that attraction piece correct, but also the people who are leading them, once they're there, they need to be the right people. So let's talk first a little bit about how do you go about attracting the right talent?

Ralph Barsi : 06:22
Sure. So of course, Amanda, there's different levels of talent that we need to attract. And I'm really happy we're talking about the word and the whole concept of attracting. I think a lot of companies and teams who struggle with finding talent are focused on pursuing that talent. They chase people down, they spray and pray their job descriptions all over the internet and they just hope great candidates come in. Instead, they need to reverse that whole process and they need to focus on them. And I don't, I don't usually say that I'm usually talking about focus outward versus inward. This is different when you want to attract top talent, you have to keep in mind that a players want to play for a player. Coaches, yes. And they want to go to environments where they are celebrated, not tolerated, and they want to learn while they're in these companies so that they can add value and be the best versions of themselves in the workplace.

Ralph Barsi : 07:24
So you as a leader, you really need to focus on what's that bad signal that you've just cast into the sky for people to learn more about. You learn more about your team, learn more about your company and your industry. You know, what's your branding effort like whether it be on Linkedin, whether it be out and about in the marketplace. Can we read some of your content? Can we see you on Youtube? Can we learn about you as a leader to make our decision and discern whether or not we even want to apply to a job on your team at your company? And I think a lot of leaders, I don't think I know a lot of leaders really miss that they are out there focusing on their own brand for whatever reason and top talents going elsewhere.

Amanda Hammett: 08:11
I would agree with that wholeheartedly. And one of the other things that I see in, you know, maybe you agree with this, maybe you don't, but a lot of companies especially, and I don't understand this in a sales organization, but they rely on HR completely. Yes. The machine. And I'm like, I don't understand if your numbers depend on the talent, why aren't you driving this process?

Ralph Barsi : 08:35
Exactly. I mean a lot of, I mean a lot of leaders with all due respect are heads down driving the revenue that they're primarily responsible for. And also people have a hard time writing content, being on youtube, appearing on podcasts like this one because there's maybe a, an inherit fear that they're going to be disliked by the marketplace. So a lot of people out there feel that what I'm doing right now is very self-serving. It's all about Ralph Barsi when it's the complete opposite. I'm just trying to shed light and expose the good things that we're doing at service now, particularly in global sales development, in hopes and with an intent that top talent out there is going to say yes, that's the type of team I can add value to and I can also learn from how do I get there?

Amanda Hammett: 09:28
Absolutely. I would agree with that wholeheartedly, but I would like to add that additionally, I think that other leaders can learn from you whether they're in sales or not. I think that this is something that every leader at any level needs to hear.

Ralph Barsi : 09:43
Awesome. That's even better. Great.

Amanda Hammett: 09:46
All right. So let's talk a little bit about, um, you've done the work. You've done the background work that you needed to do to attract that talent into you and you get in this new early-career employee. What happens from there?

Ralph Barsi : 10:03
Sure. So a great question. A lot of it has to happen preemptively before they even come in. So during the recruiting phase, you have to, first of all, think about the job description that you have out there in the first place. You know, what's the size of the job description? It's okay to have a long job description if it's a killer copy, you know, and it's enthusiastic and compelling and informative and has calls to action where someone can't wait to apply. So think about the verbiage you're using. Think about what audiences that, that verbiage will resonate with or not. So be very mindful of the language that you're using. I mean, for example, some companies who are looking for people to come in and just crush quota, that's going to appeal to a much smaller audience than

Ralph Barsi : 10:56
Then words that would say, hey, come here and grow and develop in your career, sharpen your skills and your competencies. Be surrounded by people who have very high standards and want to move the needle from a to B. That's way more exciting and compelling than the former verbiage. So think about that kind of stuff. And then when they do come in the door, hopefully by that point, during that recruiting phase or interviewing phase, you've all really already talked about the well-lit career path that's ahead of them. If they put some skin in the game in this very role, you know, if they, if they really optimize and maximize the time they have in the role they were hired for and really work to master that role, knowing that it's going to carry them forward in their career and more opportunities will surface the better they do in this existing role.

Ralph Barsi : 11:49
You have to have those types of conversations very, very early on. And then of course when they come in the door, you got to teach them, you know, specifically for sales development reps, the average tenure is maybe 15 to 24 months as an SDR, ADR, BDR, whatever you want to call it before they're up and out into hopefully in other business function within your own company, and even if they go elsewhere, leaders have to recognize that, look, everybody on your team today is eventually going to be an alum of your team. So when they go out into the world, whether it's in your company or elsewhere, they're going to be representing you and they're going to be representing your team, your brand, your company up from the time that they worked for you. So you want to put your best foot forward so that they learn enough to go on and pay it forward down the line. And remember you and the time that, that they had on your team and all the great insights they learned and the experiences they had while they were part of your team. And you want those little reflections and rep represent representations of view out into the world doing good versus the opposite.

Amanda Hammett: 13:04
I just have so many questions.

Ralph Barsi : 13:06
It's right. I mean I'd like to talk about it all day. Say you're in dear to my heart. It's really important.

Amanda Hammett: 13:13
I think that this is super, super important. I think that one of the things that really struck me about what you just said was that about really taking in developing that, you know, first time, you know, this is their first job out of college or university or whatever. That is a hard leadership role and a lot of people are not well suited for that role. And I was wondering if you could share with the audience. What kind of characteristics, what traits would you say would be somebody who would make a good leader for someone who is just right out of college or university? This is their first maybe the second job.

Ralph Barsi : 13:52
Someone who would be a good leader would have a fabulous attitude. They're enthusiastic about the work they're doing and life itself. They walk into a room and they light that room up. They don't suck the life out of it. They see the good in everything and you know, they stay in the sunlight that said they're living by very high standards, high standards that they, they themselves set for themselves versus standards I'm going to set or anyone that I work with is going to set a, they work harder on themselves and they do on their job. They are selfless. They are humble. They are teachers and coaches. They love the people that work with them and for them, they see everybody on their team two years out and they picture them as already successful account or successful team leaders or successful business owners five, 10, 15 years from now.

Ralph Barsi: 14:58
And they understand that in this little pocket of time that they have, they've got to give those people the best up from their experiences. You know, their best insights so that those people can, can go on and pay it forward later. It's attributes like that that I look for when I'm hiring leaders. And then there's the flip side. We're running a business, so you have to have an understanding of the outcomes we're after, how we measure our progress against those outcomes, how to be decisive, how to have intestinal fortitude to sit at a conference room table with a bunch of type a executives who also have numbers to hit and understand that there's a many times throughout your day that you must detach from the emotional aspect and the sunshine, beautiful time that we have here. Developing people to get to work and to understand the performance indicators that we're measuring against, et Cetera, on how you're making a contribution to the business. Let's not lose sight of the business side of things as well.

Amanda Hammett: 16:05
Of course, and that's the whole thing that makes everything move and continue. You can't continue to develop people. There's no business that you're putting them into. So...

Ralph Barsi : 16:15
That's right. So I find myself referring more and more to Ray Daleo his principles and what he speaks about in that book and what his philosophy is, is that you have to almost see yourself as well as your business or your team as a machine. And you are an engineer that simply operates that machine gene. And oftentimes that machine's going to break down in certain areas. Certain parts of the antigen are going to become faulty and you have to be able to identify those faults or gaps and you have to build systems that allow you to look at problems as, oh, we've seen this situation before, we have contingency plans in place based on our experience. So we're going to pull a lever a, lever B, Lever C and we'll get through this thing. No problem. Versus completely freaking out at the gap or the fall and going, oh my God, all hell is broken loose. We're going to slide off the rails here at any moment. It's really just having the wherewithal and the understanding of going, okay, this is a quick little recalibration or modulation that we need to make. And we're back on the rails and we're heading north again. It takes leaders like that to be at the helm.

Amanda Hammett: 17:33
I agree with that. I agree with that and we've all had leaders in the past, or at least I'll speak from my own experience where any tiny thing goes wrong and they are just losing their mind. It's like, how did you get in this role? Really?

Ralph Barsi : 17:46
We've all, unfortunately, we've all been, well, most of us have been exposed. Those leaders in, I avoid them and people like that at all costs. All of a sudden, all of a sudden I'm getting blamed and all of a sudden I'm being berated in front of others and it's just, it's such a whack way to lead people and in fact, over my career, I've kept journal notes in a document that I've kept for many, many years now that I add to on a daily basis on what not to do as a leader. So when I've been exposed to crummy leaders, I've written it down like, hey, Barsi don't do this. Don't do that. Approach it this way. Do the opposite and I'll refer back to it more often than not to just remind myself, you know, how, how you're coming across. You've got to be very self-aware of, of the brand and, and how and a persona that you're showing up with on a daily basis. Because whether you like it or not, you are setting an example and people are taking note. Whether they tell you or never tell you, you're setting an example. So set the best one you can.

Amanda Hammett: 18:51
Absolutely. You know, that's funny you brought up self-awareness. I was actually with a sales team just last week and we did a self-awareness exercise where there's like 400 sellers and you know, you, they have different categories of impression. Little Post-it notes that they had to go write one word and their impression of another person. So somebody, they work with, somebody that they know but don't work with directly and then someone they have seen in the halls but don't actually know what is their impression of that person. And it was funny because people were very like, oh, everybody said I was quiet and shy and I'm not at all. And it was just like, well, what, what are you putting out there? Because it's not just the people you work with, it's your clients, it's your higher-ups. It's everybody. What are you putting out there?

Ralph Barsi : 19:37
Yeah, absolutely. And it's that it's duly noted that, you know when you walk into the workplace thinking that everybody knows something that you don't, or everybody carries a little nugget of value that you can learn from and grow from. It just, it completely changes your perspective on the people you work with. You start to see yourself as really a member of a team that you need to make a contribution to and add value to. And it's just, it's a game changer. Once you realize that, that people likely know something that you don't or have gone through something that, that you have it and are just a little wiser than you think they are. Yeah, it definitely makes a difference.

Amanda Hammett: 20:18
It does. So I'd like to switch gears just a little bit and I'd like to talk about, you mentioned this briefly earlier, but I'd like to talk about those career development conversations.

Ralph Barsi: 20:31

Amanda Hammett: 20:32
When do you start having them? How often do you have them? What walk us through, what, what that looks like for you.

Ralph Barsi: 20:39
You start having them at the very beginning of the relationship. So for leaders on the front line, for example, with sales reps or sales development reps, it's important to earmark a one on one per month or per quarter. I recommend maybe once a quarter where we actually talk about, you know, personal and professional development. A lot of the other one on one should focus on day to day operation, et Cetera and getting to the goal. But early in the relationship, you know, have the rep do a self-assessment, have them talk about and literally write down, they could share what they'd like or just share excerpts of this exercise because it's personal. But what are your short term, midterm, and long term goals? How do you define short term versus midterm versus long term? Short term could be two to four weeks for some people you know, or they could be six to 12 months.

Ralph Barsi: 21:34
It's important to identify what they mean by short, mid and longterm. Because a lot of sales development reps, six to eight months into the GIG, they're approaching their leaders asking about getting promoted and it's way premature. It's way too early. There's still a lot more development and experience and time that needs to pass in order for them to incubate if you will, and really become masters of the role they're in and add way more value in future roles. So identify what those time frames are and then ask the person in this self-assessment, hey, who do you admire in the world professionally or personally? Who do you want to emulate? Tell us why. What characteristics or attributes to those people illustrate on a regular basis that you want to model that's going to give the leader a really good understanding of, you know, how this person ticks what this person likes, dislikes, what they're trying to accomplish or who they're aspiring to become.

Ralph Barsi: 22:35
Another thing in the assessment is, and there's really, there are four questions. It's like, you know, what are your career aspirations? Short, mid, long. Who Do you admire? Who do you want to emulate? That's number two. Number three is what do you need to learn and work on to get where your going and then lastly, how can our company, how can me, how? How can we, how can I, how can others around you really help you get from here to there and you'll realize more often than not that, like you said, college students coming into the workplace. They have no idea what north is to them or where they want to be in five years or why they want to be there. A lot of people, especially in the sales world, they'll come in and go, I just want to make money. I want to make a ton of money.

Ralph Barsi: 23:21
Okay, well that's a trigger then for the leader to ask. Awesome. That's fabulous. Let's fast forward. Let's say the stars have aligned and you've earned all the money that you want to earn. What are you going to do with it? Now the leader's going to get a really good understanding of is this a person who's trying to care for alien parents? Because if somebody who wants to get married, do they want to invest in properties? Do they want to run their own business someday? Do they want to donate to a charity? And you know, put forward a philanthropic effort to do better in the world. Once they've got that money discussion aside, they can really get to the root cause of why they want the money in the first place, right? So I highly recommend doing those assessments, sharing them very, very early on and then doing, you know, periodically start, stop, continue exercises, Amanda, you need to start doing A, B, C you're not getting out there and networking enough. You're not on the phones enough. You're not falling on your face giving yourself enough experiences where you have to get back up again and dust yourself off. So do that. Here's where I think you need to stop doing. Here's what you need to continue doing because you're awesome at it. Like, let's get after it, let's go get it. And I think discussions like that pretty simple, not that difficult to have they just need to happen and they need to be put on the calendar to happen or they will not take place.

Amanda Hammett: 24:43
I think that that's, that is a really good point. They need to be on the calendar and almost like a standing appointment quarterly or monthly or however you do it. Because they're so easy to get, Oh, you know what, I've got to take care of this. And they're so easy to get pushed aside and then you don't ever do it. But especially in that early career, things are shifting and they're learning so much about themselves as who they want to be as a professional, who they want to be as a person, where they want to go. That that is shifting and changing and evolving quickly, much more quickly than at other points in your career that the leader really needs to be there to kind of develop and guide that. And if you're not doing it, you don't know and you're losing them basically

Ralph Barsi: 25:27
100% oh and keep in mind, as we just talked about, most of the people that are coming into the sales development world are recent graduates. So what does that mean? They have been on a schedule for their entire life. That's like semester-based. You know, they finish a class, it's onto the next class. They get graded in that class and they move forward after one year they go to the next grade. And so they've been on this cadence their entire life and they come into a company and a company is like, oh dude, you're not getting promoted for like two years. That is an unbelievable news to them. And they really have to adapt and you know, recalibrate how they're approaching their day to day work because they're just not used to that. So create an academy so that as soon as they come in, they understand that there are six month time frames where they're going to learn A and they're going to learn B, then they're going to learn C and over those six months timeframes they're going to be graded in this academy, for example, at service now we have a global sales development academy that's broken into guessing what?

Ralph Barsi : 26:34
Six-month chunks and we call it liftoff, launch an orbit, and by the time you're in the final six months or even a six month period after that, you're learning the competencies that are going to make you successful in the next role. So you're learning about the t's and C's of contracts. You're learning negotiation with high-level executives and committees who are making decisions at big companies. You're learning how the legal process works when lawyers red line clauses in a contract and what that means. You're learning about the time that it really takes to close a deal, especially in our world, in the SAS B2B world, selling into the enterprise sales cycles could be two years long. So you have to understand all the components and mechanics of moving a deal over the line. There's a lot of studying that needs to happen, and so we incorporate that into our academy.

Ralph Barsi : 27:33
Secondly, we talked about this at the very beginning of our call today. Mentoring is critical. You have to have a coach or a teacher that's not the direct manager that can have those offline conversations with you. How are things going? Hey, if Amanda shows up like this, don't take it too seriously. This is probably why she's responding like this. Instead, focus on this. So we built a global sales development mentorship program here as well, where we have account executives and solution consultants and people from other business functions volunteering to mentor our Account Development Reps. It's a two-way street. The arts have to put, frankly, more skin in the game because what you put into it is what you're going to get out of it, right? But nonetheless, relationships are created that last way beyond the mentorship program. You make friends in the process and people that you'll probably lean on throughout your career. So it's a joy to watch, but it's so important to share that with other leaders that may not have stuff like that in place in their own organizations.

Amanda Hammett: 28:38
Absolutely. And I think that for some reason I think mentoring programs have, you know, they were put into place for a lot of companies, but they were in a lot of ways I feel over-managed. They were very, they were too systematized and it didn't allow for that organic growth of what that individual needs. And you know, what they can do together as a mentor, mentee. You know, I worked with one company and it was just very like, okay, on this meeting you talk about x on this meeting, you talk about why. And I'm like, but that's not what she needs. So what is your philosophy when you're mentoring someone? Let's say that you want to mentor me and that would be great. And I'm just, what would be your philosophy forgetting that relationship going and how would you judge on what do we need to talk about? What do we need to work on?

Ralph Barsi : 29:29
Sure. We would, you and I would first need to establish, okay, Amanda, how are we going to communicate with one another? Is it going to be like this where we're looking at each other, right? et Cetera, et cetera. How often are we going to communicate? I'm extremely busy. I'm sure you are too. So to avoid and mitigate any, you know, email, tennis back and forth, trying to figure out dates and times when you write to me, be very specific. Yes. Give me multiple-choice questions that I can just tick the box on and we can move forward. Let's see. Be Mindful of your writing. So if you're, if we agree that we're okay with texting one another, again, ask a question in the text so that it evokes a response. Otherwise, it's just information for me to read. When you're emailing me, made sure, you know, just like we tell sales development reps when they're prospecting into big accounts, you know, have a subject line that tells me what this email is about.

Ralph Barsi : 30:36
Make a brief, concise, break up your paragraphs, get into the detail of, of writing. You talked about, hey look, there's a lot of companies out there and I couldn't agree more that systematize this and that. It's very robotic if you will. However, if you really want to elicit that organic relationship, it's okay to preface a form that you're going to send the mentor and the mentee. If you're the owner of a mentorship program and you might want to say, hey, here are some guidelines that we've seen work in the past for people who are having a hard time getting started. You may want to do this, you may want to do that versus do this, do that and let people kind of figure it out on their own. Those are just a couple tips. Again, this is another one we could talk about all day.

Amanda Hammett: 31:22
It is, and unfortunately we are coming to an end of our time and I feel like we need to have a part two for this and start this whole conversation on mentoring because it is such an important part of developing particularly young talent, but I think it's valuable across across the entire employee life cycle. But Ralph, I want to thank you so much. This has been incredibly insightful. I took lots of notes today, but I want to thank you so much for sharing and being willing to share with others you.

Ralph Barsi : 31:54
It's my pleasure. Thank you so much for having me, Amanda. I'm always open to a part two. If you want to pin that on the calendar, we'll make it happen.

Amanda Hammett: 32:03
I'm going to take you off on that. All right, well thank you guys so much for joining us with Ralph Barsi today on the next generation rock stars podcast and we will see you in the very next episode.

Amanda Hammett: 32:14
Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars, where we have discussed all about recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader. And if that is the case, don't keep me a secret. Share this episode with the, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues, because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and you will see the Next Generation Rockstars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Featuring Travis Dommert

Travis Dommert: How Developing Talent Adds to Your Bottom Line

Long term profitability and viability are not driven by your strategy or your technology. It is driven by your people. If you are looking for long term profitability and viability, take care of your people. Learn from Travis Dommert, Jackson Healthcare on how investing in your people will drive profitability for your company.

Travis Dommert is the Talent Development Executive at Jackson Healthcare. Jackson Healthcare is creating an unparalleled environment where great companies thrive. It fosters companies that are preferred partners and employers of choice, all while doing meaningful work and impacting communities locally as well as around the world.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - How Developing Talent Adds to Your Bottom Line

Welcome to the Next Generation Rockstars podcast. If you are trying to figure out how do you recruit and retain this next generation of rock star talent or you are in the right place.

Amanda Hammett: 00:14
All right. This week's episode of the Next Generation Rock Stars podcast, we talk about developing talent, specifically a lot about developing leaders, and I get this question a lot. I'm always asked, you know why? Why should I spend more money to develop my people? Why should I invest to give them skills so that they can leave me? And I always feel like that's such a short-sided way to see developing your talent because first and foremost, we know that next-generation talent if you're not developing them, they're gonna leave and go somewhere where they can be developed. That is one of the big things that they're looking for, but even further than that is Travis Dommert from Jackson Healthcare shares with us in this particular interview is that it's so important to specifically develop your leaders to really pour into them because they can make or break the employee experience for the rest of your employees. So tune in. I hope you take lots of notes and meet Travis Dommert from Jackson Healthcare.

Amanda Hammett: 01:16
Hey, and welcome to this episode of the Next Generation Rock Stars podcast. I have a super amazing episode today. I have Travis Dommert from Jackson healthcare. Welcome, Travis.

Travis Dommert: 01:28
Hey Amanda. How are you?

Amanda Hammett: 01:30
Doing Super well. So you are in Atlanta and I was looking at all these great places to work lists and I was like, man, I'm going to showcase somebody from Atlanta. And so I reached out to you. So thanks for agreeing to be on the show.

Travis Dommert: 01:4
Oh, it's awesome to be with you. And you're right. It's rare that you find somebody like in your own backyard to talk to that, you know, maybe could, could be a local expert. So, um, I'll do my best.

Amanda Hammett: 01:55
Perfect. Well, I know you're going to do awesome. So why don't you tell the audience a little bit about you really quick?

Travis Dommert: 02:01
You know, I think about the different hats that I wear and um, you know, I start the day, each day as a husband. So I've been married for about 17 years, coming up on 18 this year, and then dad a have five kids and so they're all school-aged and life is really full on that side, you know, and then I go to work every day and I get to work at an absolutely amazing place. I'm at Jackson Healthcare, as you said, and I've got a dream job. My responsibility is for talent acquisition and learning and development and it's getting to kind of live out a professional and life passion that I discovered way too late in life. But I'm just glad I found it. Nonetheless, I started out in engineering and ended up working with people but all rooted in the same idea, which is I'd like to know how things work. It's just, I didn't realize until years after business school that I'm learning how people work would be so fascinating.

Amanda Hammett: 02:59
That's a really cool little movement on your career because a lot of people go into engineering thinking, this is my path for life. But that was a very interesting movie made I'm kind of curious, could you tell us a little bit more about what encouraged that move?

Travis Dommert: 03:14
Sure. You know, ultimately it was I think trying to be successful. So I started out in truly hardcore engineering. It was manufacturing engineering and I could say I didn't fall in love with like a machine shop floor. And I thought deep down, like I really, I love cars, I'm passionate about cars and airplanes and so I got to go to work in the design center at Ford Ford Motor Company when I was in college and it was really cool. The only thing that was troubling was I also grew up outside of Dallas, Texas and I thought, I want to live back in the south.

Travis Dommert: 03:50
And they were very candid. They were like, you know, all roads in the auto industry, in the United States, all kinds of left back here. And so that caused me to pause and just think, you know, what else might I be interested in? And at the time it was taking off. So I pursued a career in IT consulting, which eventually led me to implement software and systems and realizing that there were some keys to successful implementations. And namely, it was that it actually had the backing and the buy-in of the user. And if you made the user's life better and you somehow help them succeed, then maybe your software project would work. And if somehow you, even if you had the most amazing software, if what your software did was make our client look or feel dumb, funny how they'd have a really hard time supporting it and learning to use it. And so we started realizing like, wow, people are really at the core of how everything works. How do we get people on board with what we're trying to do? How do we help people grow? And anyway, several career Epiphanes later I ended up working 100% in the people business, which is in staffing and then eventually in HR and development.

Amanda Hammett: 05:01
I love this little journey that you took and I think it was a really important multiple steps along the way. Where you woke up and you saw these little Ahas and then they've all added together. I know that in my career I've had multiple Aha moments as well that have brought me to where I am. So that's fascinating. So in all of this journey that you've taken so far, I would imagine that you have had the experience of multiple different types of leadership. So how did that experience shape your own leadership style?

Travis Dommert: 05:32
That's a really good question. yeah, we actually do an exercise at the kickoff of our leadership program here at Jackson Healthcare and one of those exercises is for people to just think about the best person they ever worked for and write down an adjective or an attribute or a characteristic of that person on a little post-it notes and then we go put them on the wall. But we group them into four areas and is their IQ. And another one is their emotional intelligence or how they made you feel. Another one is their subject matter expertise. And then we've got like the other bucket. If you can't figure out which three of those go into, you put it over there. And Gosh, the first time I did that exercise several years ago, you know, I immediately thought about one person who I worked for who always had a smile, always asked how I was doing.

Travis Dommert: 06:23
Would always thank me, like at the end of every day or every week, like, thanks so much. You know, so glad you're here. And he said it more in probably the first six months I worked for him that every other person I'd ever worked for combined. Wow. And I thought, you know, we went through really hard times. In fact, I worked for him in 2008 as the bottom fell out in the market. And you know, the last thing I would ever do would be to do something that would hurt him. Like I wanted him to be successful. I want it to make the company successful. And anyway, you know, I've, I've experienced a lot of people with other styles. And somewhere the undercurrent was, however, it looked, however, it felt, whether they were charismatic and extroverted or they were quiet and technical, you can tell are they for you or are they for them? And if their thoughts and actions felt like you were there to help them achieve whatever it is they were trying to do, it wasn't as great of a, you know, experience. So anyway, that's really informed a lot of how we do things here throughout our company.

Amanda Hammett: 07:32
I love that experience that you had. I mean, I know that anytime you have experience with a leader who is just like, you feel like a cog in the wheel, they don't make you feel human. The last thing you want to do is give your all. And so this guy obviously showed that he cared about you and he thought that you were important and what you were contributing was important and he made you feel like human. You had that human to human connection that we're all hard wired looking for. Yeah. That is amazing. Yeah. So I'm guessing this is a kind of leader that you would have run through walls for.

Travis Dommert: 08:06
Right, absolutely. And you know, it's interesting that we're talking about next generation leaders. And I think this is really relevant because when I look at the next generation leader is somebody who's relatively early in their career, they haven't had a lot of bosses yet. They haven't had a lot of maybe, career, experience, but most importantly, they haven't gone through a lot of hard times yet. Where a job just stinks.

Amanda Hammett: 08:30

Travis Dommert: 08:30
And every job is called a job, you know, for reason. There's work, there are parts of it that are just hard. And if you feel like somebody has for you, it can really change the nature of that really hard thing to something like, this is something that we have to do, I've got to solve this problem as opposed to, this isn't any fun anymore. And I think the best thing for me is to, you know, hit the road. So anyway, I think it makes people incredibly more resilient as well as grateful and ultimately more successful.

Amanda Hammett: 09:02
I agree. I agree wholeheartedly. You know, in my own consulting practice, I have found when I brought in, been brought into a company and I go in and I'll interview people that have left, why did you really leave? Why did you really leave 94% say their boss, direct boss? You can't argue with that number. It's just the way it is.

Travis Dommert: 09:22
Yeah. And that insight is really what's driven the last like two years of my career here at Jackson and I moved from one of our operating businesses into corporate HR and was really looking for, okay, in an internal HR department, what is the number that really matters? Like what is the metric that we're trying to move? And we have a wonderful company and we've got a relatively low turnover for our industry, but nonetheless, we still lose people who we don't want to lose.

Amanda Hammett: 09:50
Of course. Yes.

Travis Dommert: 09:52
And anyway, predominantly they you know, they leave when they either have some falling out or they just don't feel cared for. They're not set up to succeed. And so as we were working on our leadership program, you know, I kind of kick it off this way. I tell people, look, you don't have to be the greatest boss ever. This is good news. As the boss, as the leader, you just have to not suck because if it sucks to work for you, I'm going to, I'm going to look elsewhere. But you need, you do need to know what it's like to be a bad boss. And so a lot of the program, I mean, yes, we want it to be great, But the big thing is like understand how to not be bad.

Amanda Hammett: 10:33
Yeah, absolutely.

Travis Dommert: 10:36
Sometimes it just makes it a little easier. They're like, okay, I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to be the perfect presenter. I don't have to be the most brilliant strategists. So I have to help. I have to have people feel that I care for them. What's, I have to know what it's like to be on the other side of me. And anyway, so a lot of it's about the soft skills.

Amanda Hammett: 10:56
A hundred percent when I'm coaching those young early in careers, I'm always like, look for a good boss. Good bosses will make or break your first job every time. So, okay. Now you already talked a little bit about this, but I really want to deep dive into this a little bit more. Do you ever feel pressure as you've moved up the ranks in HR? Do you ever feel pressure from the board or higher-ups from you to really, hey Travis, don't focus on the people. Focus on the numbers. That's what we need to move. Do you ever get that pressure and how do you respond to it?

Travis Dommert: 11:31
Yeah, I have. I have not had that pressure here because there is a deep end sort of fundamental belief that the people do drive the numbers. That the numbers are a lagging indicator of highly engaged people who are equipped to be successful, who feel appreciated and engaged in their work and who are committed. And, and there's even more beyond that because we, you know, we know research shows that if you want somebody to be highly committed to their work, it's more important that they understand who they are than that they understand who you are. So all the way from the top down, it's about are we helping people really understand who they are, how their job matters. How this, this job and the things that we do impact them, their community. I mean it's very, very missional. And it's very aligned to people.

Travis Dommert: 12:17
That being said, that's why I'm here. I have worked elsewhere where we had a very explicit conversation, with someone who said, make no mistake. You are here to make money. If you cease to make money, you cease to have a purpose. You're also here to make it as much money as I believe you're capable of. So if for some reason I think you're not giving your all, even if you make more than somebody else, that's not good enough. If you are not delivering as much as I think you can, then essentially you're stealing from me. And I was given permission, fire any person that you feel is not giving 100% because that's what he's paying for like a hundred percent of them. And that's if they cashed that check and they don't give 100%, they're stealing fire them. And it was one of those painful realizations that I think we're on a fundamentally different wavelength, you know, so you've worked at communicating through it, you know, tried to really make a business case. And I think a business case can definitely be made if you really, really care about money, care about your people. If you want to make major profits you have to at least at times take a long-term perspective. Gosh, short term thinking and focusing on profit, and not paying attention to what drives it. Yeah. It's so ironic that it can just kill a company. Kills a team.

Amanda Hammett: 13:48
Yes. And you see it all the time. All the time. Now let's talk a little, let's switch gears a little bit and talk about this next generation of talent. Millennials, Gen z, are now matriculating into the workforce. How have you seen them change and influence the workplace?

Travis Dommert: 14:09
So one caveat and my only caveat is that we don't really speak the generational language here. So we don't refer to millennials. We don't refer to Gen z on a daily basis. I absolutely understand that generations are influenced by the context in which they grew up and the stuff their parents were going through when they were young and things like that. So I'm not saying that it's not a real thing. I think there are parts of it that are the real thing, but essentially I would say, young people.

Amanda Hammett: 14:41
Yes, absolutely.

Travis Dommert: 14:43
But 200 years ago, we're still visionary, excited and enthusiastic. Possibly, you know, impatient, young people and anyway.

Amanda Hammett: 14:55
Have on older generations even then.

Travis Dommert: 14:57
That's right. And they want, you know, everybody wondered, are they ever gonna buckle down or are they ever gonna whatever, you know, you fill in the blank.

Amanda Hammett: 15:05

Travis Dommert: 15:05
So, anyway, that being said, do I see value? Do I see an impact of the younger people in our company versus those of us who are now getting a little bit farther along? Absolutely. And it's just, it's energy. It's an absolute demand for authenticity. Yes. Um, because they're so connected because they're so tech-savvy, because they're, I won't say fearless. Some of them are definitely not fearless, but at least more willing to leave because they believe that you're a hypocrite or go online and tell everybody, you know, they can hop on Glassdoor, Yelp, whatever, Facebook, wherever it is, and just say, this place is just full of liars.

Amanda Hammett: 15:51
Yeah, absolutely.

Travis Dommert: 15:52
Then it raises the bar, you know, it raises the bar for behavior, for sticking to your values, for whatever you think you know is right. You better be doing it every day if you screw up. That happens. I mean, we screw up all the time. I screwed up, but it's like, you better be the first one to say, hey, that was my bad. What else? I don't know. I think the other thing is collaborative and so I had a very young team a couple of years ago and it just wasn't acceptable to say, okay, this is what we're going to do. It was like, wait a minute, we haven't talked about that. Can you really help us bring us along? Like where did you come to this decision? Were there conversations behind the scenes? It's funny, I thought behind the scenes sounded so negative and then I started to realize, no, they might use it.

Travis Dommert: 16:41
They may say it like, Hey Travis, we actually had a conversation behind the scenes. And here's what we talked about and here's what we think is the right thing. But even behind the scenes was like somewhat transparent. Like, Hey, we talked about you when you weren't here.

Amanda Hammett: 16:54

Travis Dommert: 16:55
We're just telling you, you know, we think we've got to slow down and go back and get everybody's input on this. Okay. You know it. And what I found was, Gosh, you take just even a moment, take 10 minutes at the end of a meeting, or five minutes at the front of the meeting or something and be more collaborative. And the changes had a tendency to last and just people would buy in. So people will start telling me why this is really important. I'm like, yeah. All right.

Amanda Hammett: 17:24
Absolutely. Well, I mean, when they're part of the process, they're there. Think more like owners and so there's more responsibility when you're an owner.

Travis Dommert: 17:32
Yup. They're going to buy it.

Amanda Hammett: 17:34
Absolutely. So let's talk a little bit about the recruiting process. I know that you are heading up some talent acquisitions. So how are, you know, next generation, how are you guys going after that younger generation in the workforce?

Travis Dommert: 17:48
Yeah, a sort of two-prong strategy. Most of the people who come to work here are through referral and that's fantastic. I'd love that to be everybody. With one exception and that is that, you know, nobody knows everybody. Even though collectively we might, we could definitely miss out on amazing talent and people, you know, they move to places like Atlanta. We have, you know, I'm not a transient city, but we definitely have a flux of new talent who comes in and, um, so anyway, for those folks then we're trying to, you know, be intentional in reaching out digitally. But the number one thing is making sure that people know about what opportunities exist here. That they, that it's easy to refer people. You know, we track our referral metrics probably as closely or more closely than we do, you know, some of our other marketing and recruitment activity.

Travis Dommert: 18:40
So those are probably the two primary channels. Um, and then the other thing you know is actually just doing good. The company has done good for a long, long time, but it was only a few years ago that they actually started, um, capturing videos and sharing stories internally about the amazing things that our associates were doing in the community. And the idea was like, oh, hey everybody, did you know that this team did this? And it was kind of a feel good thing internally. Well that was the very first thing people turned around and they started posting externally.

Amanda Hammett: 19:14

Travis Dommert: 19:16
And it's so amazing because it ended up changing really almost our whole brand strategy. It would be much more around market intelligence about what's going on in healthcare, what physicians think. And now it's much more about, it's absolutely missional that Jackson Healthcare is about having a positive impact on people in the world. And how do we improve the lives of everyone we touch. And so when you get to share story after story, now suddenly we have people coming to us saying, I don't care what job it is, I would like to work there because you believe in what I believe in.

Amanda Hammett: 19:50
Absolutely. That is awesome. I love that story. I would love to actually dig some of those videos up and share them myself. That's pretty amazing stuff.

Travis Dommert: 20:00
Yeah, go to our youtube channel. There's a bunch of them out there now. They're awesome.

Amanda Hammett: 20:03
Wonderful. So let's talk a little bit about, the learning and development, because I know through my own experience, through season one of this podcast, all these high performing millennials, they always said, you know, I need to be able to stretch. I need to consistently learn. So how are you guys feeding that need for knowledge?

Travis Dommert: 20:24
Well, yeah, it's pretty insatiable. And that was an interesting fact that I picked up at a seminar event earlier this year was that you know, the number one desire of, and this particular event, they said millennials, but I would say again, next-generation leaders, was learning. So we do that in a number of ways. Traditionally we had like curated curriculum. So we've got classrooms here. Everybody has access to take classes and they are encouraged. They're put on career paths where it's like, okay, these are the six classes that you should take this year and next year in the year after and whatever. And so Jackson Healthcare University helps fill that need internally for our folks. But I was looking, you know, we've maybe offered 30 different classes in the last 10 years and now you look online, it's a massive learning platforms and you realize, okay, there are also thousands more.

Travis Dommert: 21:19
And now, you know, we're trying to tap into that. So for the last two years, we've been developing a partnership with linkedin learning. Have a sense linkedin bought Lynda. Um, and so now that's another channel. We encourage people for more real-time and continuous learning, microlearning. If somebody brings something up in a one-on-one, you know, you're a quick search away from saying, Oh wow, maybe got to watch this. We're using something called tone networks. Um, that's a little bit more focused on women in leadership and development. That's, that's curated for them. And then we also anybody who gets to the point of managing another person, um, it doesn't matter what your age is. Then you're going to go through our leadership program and that's a really awesome immersive experience. And right now we're putting every single leader in our company through this three months program, which has been terrific.

Amanda Hammett: 22:20
That's pretty cool. So what would you say has been the benefit of developing your people?

Travis Dommert: 22:30
I think it's becoming part of the culture. I mean, I think the end benefit that that company would see and that, that we will be measuring, ultimately it's going to impact tenure and it's going to impact performance. But the way it looks is that people are grateful. People are building relationships. They're just more effective day to day. So they spend more time actually delivering value to whoever they work with or for, and they spend less time in conflict. And not surprisingly, we don't actually make anything right. You know, like many companies today, we're a service business, so we build relationships. Most of our learning and training is about, okay, how do you deal with humans? And by the way, you are one, you know, it's messy.

Travis Dommert: 23:23
So I tell people on their very first day of work, you know, it's a matter of minutes. I hope it's hours or days, but it might be minutes before somebody hurts your feelings or worse, you hurt someone's feelings. So what are you going to do then? And the temptation is going to be, I'm going to quit. Like I'm going to get rid of the bad boss or the bad teammate or whatever. And it's like, no, no, no, no, no, that's not, that's actually not what you should do. If you really value learning and growing and being a better person, here are some tools, here are some techniques and when you lean into that rocky relationship or those misspoken words and you do it effectively, you end up becoming closer. And so now this person you thought you wanted to get rid of, you actually love them a little bit because you see their words and you know and suddenly you're closer. And so I think the other benefit is people are just closer. Like I see more hugs and tears here than any place ever by far that I've ever been. Somewhere along the way I know that has business value because I know that they're learning the same things to develop relationships and help people outside the company.

Amanda Hammett: 24:33
Yeah. You want to build a community among the people that you work with day in and day out. That's awesome. I love to hear the tears and the laughter and all that good stuff. That's what I listen for when I'm observing at companies. I'm walking around them listening like what are the conversations like? What's the tenor of the conversation? Is there laughter? Are they talking outside of just work talk? And that's one of my judges of like, okay, this is, I know it's weird, but for me it's about building community and are these employees enjoying being together? So yes.

Travis Dommert: 25:07
Yeah. We actually, we joke about there being a tier quota. We don't get enough people crying, you know, we're not doing our jobs. They're just, we're not reaching them. And let's, let's all stop being fake here. We've got to get down to what do you really, really care about? And man, when you get somebody who can't talk, you're like, okay, we got there with you.

Amanda Hammett: 25:30
I love this. I'm the tier quota. Okay.

Travis Dommert: 25:34
Don't let that out.

Amanda Hammett: 25:38
So Travis, what would you give, what piece of advice would you give to a first-time leader? This is their very first time leading people. What would you do to set them up to succeed?

Travis Dommert: 25:49
I would give them the advice we start a lot of our programs with, which is that there may be some of this job as a leader that you like. And there may be some of it that you don't like. There may be days when you feel good on, there may be days that you feel bad. Don't worry about any of that. If you're going to play the role of leader, it's not about you. So don't worry about your style. Don't worry about how you look. Don't worry about what you sound like. It's not about you. If you will look at what do people need from you and you offer that to them. They need encouragement. They need direction, they need support, they need love, they need forgiveness, they need purpose. If you just keep asking yourself whether you've never let anybody or you're really seasoned what does this person need me and try to offer that up. Okay. I think nine times out of 10, you're going to be successful.

Amanda Hammett: 26:51
That is such a fantastic answer and honestly, I can't think of any better way to end this episode. So Travis, thank you so much for joining us today.

Travis Dommert: 26:59
Awesome. Thanks, Amanda.
Thank you.

Amanda Hammett: 27:02
Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Next Generation Rockstars, where we have discussed all recruiting and retaining that next generation of talent. So I'm guessing that you probably learned a tremendous amount from this week's rock star leader, and if that is the case, don't keep me a secret, share this episode with the world, but really share it with your friends, with your colleagues, because they also need to learn how to recruit and retain this next generation of talent because these skills are crucial to business success moving forward. Now, of course, I want you to keep up to date every single week as we are dropping each and every episode. So be sure to subscribe to your favorite podcast platform of your choice, and you will see the next generation rock stars show up just for you.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

featuring JW Kiser

09: The Longterm Value of Hiring Millennials Right the 1st Time

Hiring Millennials is not like hiring employees from other generations. All too often companies wait until they are desperate to fill a position before they begin to seriously recruit for it. By then, they are willing to accept the first person whose resume says they fulfill that need. But if you are hiring millennials, they want and expect more than just a job. They want a career with a company that is a cultural fit.

J.W. Kiser, MBA is a Senior Commercial Officer and First Senior Vice President of New People's Bank. The Bank offers savings, loans, deposits, cards, mortgages, checking accounts, certificates of deposit, money market, commercial lending, and online banking services. New Peoples Bank operates in the States of Virginia and Tennessee.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - The Longterm Value of Hiring Millennials Right the 1st Time

00:01 Amanda Hammett: Hey, this is Amanda Hammett and this is the Millennial Rockstars podcast. Hey and welcome to this episode of the Millennial Rockstars podcast. Today's Rockstar is JW Kiser, who happens to be the chief loan officer for New Peoples Bank. And one of the things that I took away from the conversation with JW was the importance of hiring right the first time. And JW actually gets into some really interesting things where he talks about how it may cost you a little bit more upfront but it's so worth it in end, so check out what JW has to say.

00:37 Amanda Hammett: Hey there, this is Amanda Hammett, I'm known as The Millennial Translator® because I help companies attract, retain, and engage top millennial talent and today on the Millennial Rockstars podcast we have JW. JW, welcome to the show.

00:51 JW Kiser: Hey, thanks for having me.

00:53 Amanda Hammett: Alright, so JW, you were actually nominated by someone that I know from my personal life, she and I attended college together and let me tell you, she has been someone who has always, always impressed me, so when I reached out to her and asked for a nomination and you were the immediate first person that she was like...

01:13 JW Kiser: Wow.

01:14 Amanda Hammett: This is who it is. I was like, "Alright, I've got to have him on the show." So tell us a little bit about you JW?

01:20 JW Kiser: A little bit about me. Well, first I may question that person that nominated me but it's very flattering and I greatly appreciate that. Now, and so a little bit about me, I live in Abingdon, Virginia, and I've got a beautiful wife and our 10-year-old daughter and I work for a great company called New Peoples Bank and and I'm a Senior Commercial Loan Officer so I think my exact title is Chief Commercial Banking Officer. But I think in banking, they give you these really long titles so they can pay you less, but, you know, that's what it's about.


01:52 Amanda Hammett: Fantastic, fantastic. Alright, so you and I discussed this a little bit before we turned on the recording but you are an older millennial, correct?

02:04 JW Kiser: Thank you for reminding me, but yes. I'm in the '80 birth date I think.

02:09 Amanda Hammett: Yes, yes, yes, yes, so you're right at the top end of the age range, which has given you a good bit of work experience correct?

02:18 JW Kiser: That's right.

02:18 Amanda Hammett: Okay, fantastic. So tell us a little bit about your career path. How did you get to being that Commercial Bank Officer?

02:27 JW Kiser: Let's see. Like a lot of kids I went to college and as I was getting ready to leave I wasn't a 100% sure what I wanted to be and I think I wanted to be a pharmaceutical guy at one time and I saw my buddy and I had a few friends that did that and there was nothing like running around in the car and playing golf all day and selling drugs and making lots of money but at the end those jobs were pretty hard to get then and so then I thought of being a stock broker and I realized I didn't wanna do that. But kind of how I ended up in banking, a gentleman that I really looked up to that was one of my instructors, a guy by the name of Dr. Steve Bourne, he was an advisor for a local bank and he asked me if I would have some interest and go on and talk to those guys and they were trying to hire somebody that was fresh, that didn't have any preconceived notions on banking or any good habits or bad habits 'cause I didn't have any good habits either since I wasn't a banker but they wanted somebody they could train and kinda run around the bank and bring it up the way that they wanted to.

03:30 JW Kiser: And so I started there, and from there, I worked in Princeton, West Virginia, for a little bit and moved to Wytheville. We had a bank in Wytheville that was struggling and I was just a young kid at the time but they kinda gave me a chance. And so I went to Wytheville and had a really good run working at that bank and although I had some success at that location, and then there was another guy in town who would later become my future boss, a guy by the name of Jim Grubbs. At that time, it was just me and Jim that really loaned money in Wytheville and he said, "Hey, you know, rather than us beat each other up all the time, why don't we just work it out." So again, I kinda ended up in another bank and from there I moved to Abingdon to fix another bank and when I left there I moved to another bank to fix it and ended up here in New Peoples.

04:20 Amanda Hammett: So really what I just heard is that your title should be bank fixer.

04:24 JW Kiser: It actually should be bank janitor, but yeah.


04:27 Amanda Hammett: Fantastic, fantastic. So in all of that time, I would assume that you have learned some lessons about yourself, about how you work best and just things that you figured out over the years. So tell us a little bit about what you have figured out for yourself that works really well for your work style or your work environment, things like that?

04:52 JW Kiser: Probably the thing that works best for me is to really be open and honest with everybody you do business with and that's very generic but it's very sincere. I heard a phrase one time that was called under-promise and over-achieve. It's always important to be... Whether you're trying to deliver to a new client or get a new relationship to say what you're gonna do and do what you say. So for me that's probably the biggest lesson that I've learned and the one trait that I still hold close to my heart. And just good communication and being able to deliver.

05:34 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. So does that translate not just to the client world but also internally to fellow bank employees?

05:43 JW Kiser: Sure, yeah. I think my employees have heard me say, you know, I kinda wear everything on my sleeve and what you see is what you get. I'm very truthful and very honest.

05:55 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome.

05:56 JW Kiser: And to the point, I'll be the first one to pat you on the back and tell you go have dinner on the company and I'll be the first one to kick you in the rear and give you a coaching lesson. So, but I think that's what people want. I know that that's what I want as an employee, and the millennial employee. And I just want good clear direction and great goals, and to be held accountable to those goals and have great things said about me, when I deliver and coaching when I don't.

06:26 Amanda Hammett: Absolutely, well, I think that that last phrase, the coaching when you don't, I mean that's one of the things that I work with a lot of companies on is this idea of radical transparency and you actually exhibit that. You may not exactly call it that, but you're the first person to admit to, "Oh, I messed up."

06:42 JW Kiser: Yeah.

06:43 Amanda Hammett: And I think that's important for a boss, for an employee, but also for a boss just show their employees, "Hey, I mess up, too." So it makes them more comfortable that like when they mess up, that they can come to you and say, "Hey, help me fix this."

06:57 JW Kiser: Yeah, it's way better than trying to cover it up. I mean...

07:00 Amanda Hammett: Oh yeah. [chuckle]

07:01 JW Kiser: You don't wanna go that route.


07:01 Amanda Hammett: And it's a lot easier.

07:02 JW Kiser: Not in what we do especially so.


07:04 Amanda Hammett: Yes. It's a lot easier to fix when you goof up before you start messing it up worse.

07:09 JW Kiser: That's exactly right.

07:11 Amanda Hammett: Alright, well, so with all of those wonderful things that you've learned about yourself, I would assume that there's also some things that you've learned that haven't worked so well for you. So any kind of stumbling blocks that you've seen throughout your career, any life lessons, we'll call them that you've learned over the years.

07:28 JW Kiser: Well, since we're talking about age, we'll probably hit that one to age. When I was... Even though I'm a younger millennial, when I was younger in my career, or older millennial when I younger in my career, doing what I do, it was hard to get that first shot. I mean, you're trying to loan a guy a million bucks or five million bucks or whatever it is, and you're a 27-year-old kid that, thought you knew a lot, and I thought I was a great banker, and delivered great service, but yeah that was probably the first part. It was tough to crack in to doing some of those bigger deals, with a little older generation that maybe they had a preconceived notion about the millennials. I'm not sure, but...

08:10 JW Kiser: So that was probably my stumbling block one and it's from a life lesson standpoint the thing that I've learned that's been most true and held true to this day is, surround yourself with great people. Take the time to hire the right person. And pay that person what they're worth. I mean it's, at the end of the day, that investment, I see so many people, and I see it even happen in our organization sometimes. It happens everywhere. We look at that other $10,000 that you're gonna have to pay in salary, and we go just a little bit lower and your return is so much better hiring the right person the first time and hiring a person that has the experience and the qualifications that you wanna see in an employee, even if it costs a little more upfront.

09:01 Amanda Hammett: No, I... Listen, I am a former recruiter. [chuckle]

09:04 JW Kiser: Okay.

09:05 Amanda Hammett: I know you are preaching to the choir here, I get it. I think that that's so important is to slow down in that process and actually pay people what they're worth, not just browbeat them on dollars.

09:20 JW Kiser: Yeah, that's a lesson that I've learned. I mean, when I was younger, I probably fell into that trap some and would hire, I don't wanna say the first person but the first person that I thought would be right, instead of waiting for the person that I knew was right. And the turnover is more. You gotta spend more training. It's not the way we go. And so that's, by far, the strongest lesson that I've learned. And we have a great team and I've been able to build a great team at this organization and surround myself with great people. And so...

09:51 Amanda Hammett: Okay, but yeah, I know. I mean that is a wonderful, wonderful lesson that you've learned. And unfortunately, I see companies making that mistake over and over again, and they just... They're like, "Well, we don't understand why we have high turnover." And I was like, "Really, you know." So...

10:07 JW Kiser: If you want greatness, don't hire average.

10:10 Amanda Hammett: Yes, yes, yes, that is fantastic. Yes, that is perfect. So let me ask you... Let's go back to college JW for just a second, so let's think about you getting ready to graduate, and you said that when you were leaving college, you weren't exactly sure what you wanted to do, you had a few things that you were interested in. When you were thinking about you, back in the day, and the way that you saw corporate America before you experienced it or the working world or the real world before you actually experienced it, did you... Do you remember hitting any major stumbling blocks or reality checks as you moved and transitioned into the real world?

10:53 JW Kiser: Yeah, yeah, you know. When you say that, I'm smiling, you know. When I went to college, I mean I did pretty well in college. Made mostly A's, made a B or two here and there, and when I thought that I graduated, I thought people would just be dying to hire me. I thought that, here's a guy that did great in college and... At least I think I can talk to anybody. And I thought I would just roll out and people would have their checkbook and just be dying to drag me over. I'm being a little sarcastic, but that's not really the way it worked. And you kinda gotta earn your way regardless of what it is. It doesn't matter if you're laying bricks for a living or you're in the business world, you gotta earn your way. And so, I can remember my first salary, starting out, I wanna... I was like, "Man... " I just thought it'd be different. So yeah, that was probably my first stumbling block was trying to find my way into the real world and what it meant to have a W2 versus what you thought your W2 would say.


11:56 Amanda Hammett: Oh yes, yes, yes, yes. I very much remember getting that very first paycheck and thinking, "Well, where did all my money go?" [chuckle]

12:05 JW Kiser: Where's the other half at? They took half. They took half of virtually nothing but... Yeah, so that was probably my big stumbling block. I thought that they just be lined up out the door and I'd have no problem getting a job and paying out the wazoo. But you gotta earn it, you gotta earn it.

12:22 Amanda Hammett: Well, yeah. That's the tough reality a lot of us face, leaving college, for sure. So, let's talk about you throughout your entire career because you have mentioned one or two people thus far that have kind of given you an edge throughout the years. But when you're looking back, were there any bosses, current or former, or mentors, or anyone like that that really helped you stay engaged, stay productive, even on those days where you're just like, "Man, I cannot go back in and face this today."

13:00 JW Kiser: Sure. I've had so many wonderful mentors, just kind of starting there. Even I can remember when I grew up. I was just a kid and I played golf every day. That's what I did, and lived in this little small town and my dad would drop me off at the crack of daylight and then he'd pick me up at dark. But there was so many people there that I looked up to, and I played golf with a lot of grown men that kinda took me under their wing and kinda taught me how to be a man, and be responsible and be polite. And so, it even goes back that far. And my dad was a phenomenal father. He was very demanding and wanted me to do great and be successful in life, and be respectful. So even back to the early days, yeah, I have a ton of mentors and I literally couldn't name them all. Probably my first and best mentor was a guy by the name of Mori Williams. Now, Mori actually works at our bank. When I got out of college, Mori was my first boss.

14:00 Amanda Hammett: Really?

14:00 JW Kiser: And in banking you have, usually before you go start a new branch like you see these big nice million dollar branches were, usually before that you go in and you do what they call loan production office, which is basically, you send a lender over there and he tries to beat up some loans before you open your branch because the branch is so expensive you want some loans to help offset some of those bills. So we were getting ready to build a new branch, and they put Mori and myself and his assistant in this little tiny house over in Princeton, West Virginia. It was this little house office. And our offices were so close that, me just being a young guy straight out of college, I could listen to Mori's conversations, as bad as that was. But by listening to how Mori talked and interacted with people, I really learned how to talk to people. Even when he was in a bad mood that morning, when he picked up that phone, he was smiling. And it was all about them.

14:54 JW Kiser: So even though we were in a super tiny office and bathroom was beside everybody's offices, which is a different story, but it was great to be able to hear those conversations that he had. And he would take me on a lot of joint calls, and so he was my first mentor that really taught me how to interact in business. I knew how to interact with people, 'cause I'd had mentors my whole life, growing up with people that demanded respect, but he was the first one to be able to convey that to a business, for certain.

15:27 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. I wouldn't think of it as like eavesdropping, but really, that was a wonderful growing and learning experience for you to have, especially at that critical juncture of your career.

15:38 JW Kiser: It was. Yeah, and now Mori works with us. We parted ways years ago, and he went to a different bank, and I went to a different bank, and he joined our team, our commercial team, about three or four months ago.

15:51 Amanda Hammett: Really? Oh that's just a wonderful circle.

15:54 JW Kiser: It's amazing how people come back. Yeah.

15:55 Amanda Hammett: That is fantastic. Have you ever shared with them about kind of the impact that the listening in on those conversations has had on you in your career?

16:04 JW Kiser: Probably some. I probably never divulged that I was eavesdropping on every conversation he ever had. But I assume if he was gonna talk to his wife, he'd shut the door, but just a small office.

16:15 Amanda Hammett: Well, you'll have to forward him a copy of this, this podcast.

16:18 JW Kiser: There we go.


16:19 Amanda Hammett: So is there anything at any of the banks or any of the organizations you've worked with or been a part of that they gave as far as perks or benefits, or even just the culture within those organizations that has really made you say, "Man, these are my people. This is where I wanna be. This is where I need to be."

16:43 JW Kiser: Yeah. I've been very, very fortunate. I worked at two or three organizations, I guess about three organizations and they've all really believed in education. And they believed in investing in people. And for me, I've always wanted to continue to grow, and I read a lot. And I went back to school and got my MBA and all that stuff. And in banking, there's so much to learn, and you learn every day, and I'm sure it's like that in every field, it's just this is the one that I know. So I've always had great employers that were willing to invest in me.

17:19 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome.

17:19 JW Kiser: And I wouldn't work somewhere that wasn't willing to invest in me. I saw a post on Facebook one time, that said, "What happens if we invest in this employee and they leave?"

17:35 Amanda Hammett: Yep.

17:36 JW Kiser: Well, what happens if you don't invest in them and they stay? You know, it's worse. So I've always had great employers that believed in education and training people right, and doing things the right way, and I've been very fortunate there. Perks, I've never had a boss that micromanaged me. And, yeah, I know, it's hard to believe. It is hard to believe.

18:00 Amanda Hammett: I can't believe that. [chuckle]

18:03 JW Kiser: Back to probably my first real... I mean, not my real job, but my first real challenge was when I was at First Bank, and I went to run an organ... A new branch... Or an old branch that was losing a bunch of money. I had a boss by the name of Jim Grubbs, and Jim kinda sent me down there, and he said, "Hey, I don't care how you do it, I just want you to make money." And it was losing a bunch of money, and he didn't call me every week, wanting to know what my seven-step plan was, and he wanted to look at the numbers.

18:35 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome.

18:39 JW Kiser: That's very important. And even my current bank president, he's the same way. He don't care if I work 60 hours or 40 hours, or if I leave here at three o'clock and go play golf. It's... Did you do your job? Did you deliver on the results that we agreed that you'd deliver on? And I think that's what millennials want. I know that's what I want. I don't wanna be micromanaged. I've had times in my career where I've worked 80 hours a week, and I don't wanna do it. I wanna have a healthy work-life balance, and at the end of the day, I'll do what it takes to deliver. Sometimes that is 80 hours, but sometimes it's 30.

19:17 Amanda Hammett: Yeah. JW, that was very millennial of you to say that.

19:21 JW Kiser: Oh, thank you. Thank you.

19:23 Amanda Hammett: That work-life balance idea, that's something that I hear a lot of complaining about is like older generations sometimes just don't get that. But of course, we were the ones that introduced the concept of being a workaholic.

19:37 JW Kiser: Yeah.

19:38 Amanda Hammett: So I guess that's probably why. So when you're looking at hiring a young employee, is there anything in your mind that will stand out, whether it's in a resume, whether it's in the interview process, is there anything that really stands out in your mind that says, "This person is going to be a rockstar. This person, like I gotta have this person."

20:03 JW Kiser: I want somebody that's confident. First and foremost, I tell everyone the same thing that, I hire you for this, what we're doing right here. I hire you... If you can communicate, that's kind of the part one of what we do. If you have great conversation with great people and ask for business, you'll be very successful. But the second part of that is, I want somebody that's driven and I want somebody that's not driven by dollars. Dollars are the worst motivator ever. If you give somebody some dollars, it's very short-term performance driven. It's not what people think it is. So I want someone that, first and foremost, can communicate. And then second, the success that they wanna have comes from within, not an external reward.

20:51 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome, but I love that. I love that a lot. So is there anything... Is there anything else that you think that organizations need to know about hiring millennials, whether they're the younger millennials or the older millennials like yourself.

21:06 JW Kiser: Yeah, thanks for reminding me again.

21:08 Amanda Hammett: You're so welcome.

21:10 JW Kiser: You know, I do think millennials are a little different generation, and it's no different than what I do or what you do. If you go to one organization or another one, you've gotta kinda tailor your pitch a little. It's the same if I'm going to see a farmer, or if I'm gonna see a 30-million-dollar customer, you gotta change a little bit, and you gotta have some flexibility. And I think millennials probably demand that more than ever. I mean, I don't think that they're... I'm not saying previous generations are just cookie cutter. I'm not saying that, but I think they want some flexibility. I think the perks that they want are a little different. So to me, when I try to hire someone that's younger, I wanna figure out what their hot button is.

21:56 Amanda Hammett: Yeah.

21:56 JW Kiser: What do they want the most out of this? Is it... Do they value the vacation, do they value the dollars, do they value a Country Club membership? What is it?

22:07 Amanda Hammett: And how do you find that out JW?

22:08 JW Kiser: You gotta ask great questions. It's no different than... If you'll talk to someone, and you get somebody talking about themselves, they'll love to keep going. So you ask great questions, and don't be afraid to ask those questions. So, I think you figure out what the hot button is and you play that card. Because ultimately, that's what's gonna drive their decision, and make them happy and content with where they're gonna work.

22:34 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. That is fantastic advice. And I think that that's something every leader needs to hear. At the end of the day, we're all hiring, we're all looking for that next person that's gonna help us push to the next level. But you gotta hire right to do that.

22:50 JW Kiser: That's right.

22:51 Amanda Hammett: Well, fantastic. Well, thank you so much, JW, for being on the Millennial Rockstar podcast. Is it okay if our audience wants to reach out to you on LinkedIn?

23:01 JW Kiser: Sure, that'd be great.

23:02 Amanda Hammett: Fantastic. Well, I will share a link to JW's LinkedIn profile in the show notes. But thank you guys for joining us today on the Millennial Rockstar podcast, and we will see you next time. Bye.

23:14 JW Kiser: Thank you. Bye.

23:16 Amanda Hammett: Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Millennial Rockstar podcast. If you are looking for even more information on millennials and some free resources, visit my website at The link is below, it's There you can download a free Millennial Employee Engagement Guide that will give you all kinds of tips and tricks on how to keep those millennials engaged on a day-to-day basis, because we all know that millennials who are happy at work are more productive at work.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

featuring Janet Hart

08: Fighting the Millennial Imposter Syndrome for Career Growth

Millennials as a generation of kids grew up hearing they could do anything they set their minds to. Now they are questioning that ability. Now millennials are facing the Impostor Syndrome especially at work and it is affecting their career growth and trajectory. Meet a millennial rockstar who has successfully used mentors and colleagues to help her battle the Impostor Syndrome.

Janet Regal Hart is a Sr. Manager, Product Management at Amazon., Inc., is an American multinational technology company based in Seattle, Washington, that focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies along with Google, Apple, and Facebook.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Fighting the Millennial Imposter Syndrome for Career Growth

00:01 Amanda Hammett: Hey, this is Amanda Hammett, and this is the Millennial Rockstars Podcast.

00:05 Amanda Hammett: All right, so in this episode of the Millennial Rockstars Podcast, we are going to meet a rockstar, Janet Hart, who's coming to us from Amazon. And so Janet actually shares with us a story about one of her early, early mentors and how he actually helped her to learn to tie her outcomes to financial results for the company and how that has made all the difference in her career. And then she also gets pretty vulnerable, and shares with us the story about how despite all the successes she has seen throughout her career, how she still, to this day, sometimes struggles with the impostor syndrome. So tune in and listen to what Janet Hart has to share.

00:43 Amanda Hammett: Hey there, this is Amanda Hammett. I am known as the millennial translator® because I help companies attract, retain, and engage top millennial talent. And speaking of top millennial talent, today, we have Janet Hart, who comes to us from Amazon. Janet, thanks for coming on the show.

01:00 Janet Hart: Hi, it's nice to be talking with you today.

01:04 Amanda Hammett: Well, great, great. So here's the thing, this show is all about you have to be nominated to be on the show and you have to be nominated by a former boss or a former co-worker, or a current boss or co-worker, and you were nominated by somebody that I actually respect and admire tremendously. She could not say enough good things about you. Let's just put it that way.


01:30 Amanda Hammett: Now, tell us a little bit, Janet, about your career.

01:33 Janet Hart: Well, so I started my career in 2001, at a company called Blackbaud, in Charleston, South Carolina, and I was there until about 2014. In my 13 years there, I had seven different positions and so I moved every two to three years roughly to a different part of the company. So I started working with third-party resellers and then I moved into a year where all I did was data analysis on sales performance metrics, diving deep into really interesting things. And then that prepared me to lead the global operating plan development and the regular operations of the sales work, did that for a few years, and moved into marketing. Learned a lot there, really focused on marketing automation, which was emerging at the time.

02:29 Amanda Hammett: Cool.

02:30 Janet Hart: Yeah, actually I really had a good time in that position, because we had put out some very large, and this was roughly like 2011-12. So we were looking towards 2020 as like, "What is our big goal for 2020 and how are we gonna get there?" And I thought we're not gonna get to this goal of acquiring customers if we're gonna call every single person individually, we need a better way to reach our market and a better way to talk to them with personalized messages. And so we... I led my team and we brought in marketing automation to Blackbaud for the first time and it has become an engine for them, which is super exciting. For me, even though I'm not doing that anymore, it's had a lasting impact. So I did that for a few years. And then, I moved on to a role where I was the director of operational excellence and led a major project for back office transformation.

03:23 Amanda Hammett: Cool.

03:24 Janet Hart: Where I had been on sales and marketing, then I moved to like, well, how do we iron it all out so that a customer and a contract comes in at the front of the business and goes all the way through to recognition smoothly. So that was...

03:38 Amanda Hammett: Wow.

03:38 Janet Hart: Yeah, the last thing that I did there. And then I was at a point where I was ready to do something new, take on a new challenge and I had to ask myself some tough questions: Do I wanna take on a new position here? 'Cause there was still more for me to learn. Or, do I wanna go and try to tackle a challenge at a different company and get a different perspective and way of thinking of things? And that's what I did. And so I ended up joining Amazon in the create space division here in Charleston and I'm a senior product manager and I have a team of product managers and I find it really fun work, very customer-focused like working backwards from opportunities to develop solutions and the work is very different than what I was used to before. The mental model is different in that you know... I just, I think it's been fun, so like that's the nutshell.

04:39 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. I mean you've had a really fascinating career. And one thing that I really wanna point out to our listeners who are leaders of millennials is that you mentioned, and this is something I've seen consistently. You mentioned that every two to three years, you were ready for a new challenge. But the fact of the matter is, is you stayed put at one company for 13 years, and millennials do not have a reputation for being long-term employees, when actually that is, that's false.

05:15 Janet Hart: Yeah, I think I was lucky at Blackbaud to have good leaders that I worked with, who recognized that I needed that change, and that I was flexible enough to be able to move to different competencies or functions in the company, learn about them, figure out what could be improved, or what needed to be started and didn't exist, like tackle something. So I think that that is one of my sort of super powers is being flexible, because I bend, I can bend in a lot of different directions, but I don't break easily, so I'm really up to kind of a variety of challenges. And I had one mentor there who I was lucky to work for twice. He helped me think about my career differently. I think in a way, we were of different generations, and so a little bit of friction and frustration that we had when we had career development conversations, is he was like, "Well, what do you wanna do long term? What do you wanna do in 10 years?" I was like, "I don't know." I really can't think that far in advance. I'm much better at saying this is what I don't wanna do or this challenge seems interesting, and maybe only thinking three years in advance. And so he's like, "Alright, well, then, we're just gonna put you on this tour of different parts of the company."


06:45 Janet Hart: And he really helped me think about the skills that I was gaining with every job. And I think at one point, he had a finance background. He used an example of, there are multiple different types of accounting, or tax or parts of financing. You can specialize in one part, but it's really still accounting, and so what do you wanna add and build to your skill set? And his concept was, "You could do it again, but it doesn't make your check mark any darker, really." So...

07:17 Amanda Hammett: I love that.

07:21 Janet Hart: Yeah, think about the breadth of what you wanna learn and survey opportunities from that lens.

07:27 Amanda Hammett: I love that he was very aware of that. And do you mind me asking what generation he was from?

07:33 Janet Hart: I think he is in his mid-50s now.

07:38 Amanda Hammett: Okay, alright.

07:39 Janet Hart: Probably a baby boomer, I think.

07:40 Amanda Hammett: Yeah, so I love that he said that about the check mark not being any darker because previous generations, they always thought of their career is very much a ladder and it's always the upward movement. But millennials really look at their career, I consider it more of a lily pad, so jump laterally to laterally. And you're picking up skills along the way, and yes, you're moving up a little bit, but not these one wrung after the other. So I love that, and I've never heard the check-mark thing so...


08:13 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome.

08:14 Janet Hart: He has really stuck with me, and I have said it to more than one person on my team, and it helped me provide coaching guidance to other people like, "Well, what do you really wanna get out of it? Let's think about the components of the job, and not just could you do it every day, but what is gonna be the outcome and benefit to you." So yeah.

08:32 Amanda Hammett: That's so fascinating. So let me ask you this. You mentioned a little bit about your mentor, and I would like to circle back to him or maybe another one a little bit later, but let's talk a little bit about your career and what kind of stumbling blocks have you seen and what... How did you get through them?

08:55 Janet Hart: Yeah. I would say learning, there's always... When you take on something new, there's always a learning dip, and so it's like you go down a little bit and you have to climb back out of that dip. I think that one of the things that I've learned is the importance of perseverance and tenacity and continuing to push through some of those things. Where you have road blocks it's in many of my jobs, it's been about solving something or building something, and so every setback is I have taken the approach of, "Alright, well what are the new conditions? How does that change my thought process, and how can I adapt to that?" And that's something that has really served me well, especially as I've grown in my career, because it's never a hard no, or a total dead end. There's usually a way out or around something. You just gotta be persistent. So that's been a good thing for me. I would say a personal stumbling block, probably has to do with self-confidence, and I have seen other people who have been a little bit more aggressive in pursuing their next career step, going maybe bigger and higher instead of my of zig-zag approach. And I think we talked about this with some of my co-workers on my current team, is that I think it's called the impostor syndrome.

10:30 Amanda Hammett: Oh yeah.

[overlapping conversation]

10:32 Janet Hart: Yeah, and so one of the women in our office went to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Technology, so Grace Hopper was a pioneer of tech. They have this conference annually, and she attended a session about the impostor syndrome. And she came back to our office, and she's like, "It has a name." She's like, "Everyone, it has a name." And so you could see collective sighs around the room. We're all like, "Yes, okay. We all suffer from this," and it was a great moment for everyone to say, "What do you mean? You do? I never would have thought that you would have self-doubt, or be super hyper-critical of your own work in that way, because it's amazing." So we unofficially formed this network just to be able to talk about it and it was really nice. But I'm still working through that stumbling block.

11:25 Amanda Hammett: Well, honestly, it is something that I have struggled with, and I'm sure that men face this as well, and I know that they do. But I feel like women face it at much higher rates and are a lot more self-critical of themselves. That was... Sorry. But what have you guys since within your team, you have noticed this and you've discussed it, or do you find yourself calling each other out saying, "Hey that was awesome. Don't worry about that," or what are you guys doing about it?

11:57 Janet Hart: We do. So we haven't developed a really formal mechanism to address it yet, but... You know, little things, like in written and email communication when people say, "For what it's worth, this is my opinion," just being able to recognize that even that is a confession to someone else that your opinion's not valid. So it's small stuff like that, that maybe you don't realize is in there. And so, I will say, the woman to the conference, she's like, "You guys should all just read your communications, write them, read them and look for these trigger words, and try to remove them." And it's interesting.

12:37 Amanda Hammett: It is.

12:39 Janet Hart: Surprising.

12:40 Amanda Hammett: Actually, on this same very topic, I interviewed someone earlier this week and she is a sales leader and she's managing a team and one of the things that she had to learn early in her career is to stop apologizing. And she's like, "I teach that and I coach that to new sales reps all the time." She's like, "There's obviously a time and a place where you do need to apologize," but she's like, "You're walking down the hall and somebody's looking on their phone and not paying attention, they bump into you, you don't need to apologize for that." She gave three or four other examples and I was like, "I do that, I do that." [chuckle] So, yeah, I love it. That's fantastic, that is really fantastic. So you mentioned earlier and I'd like to revisit your mentor or another mentor or boss. So is there anything that your boss, current boss, old boss, mentor, co-workers have done that have really kept you engaged and productive and wanting to just keep driving forward?

13:42 Janet Hart: Yeah, so I will say the mentor that I mentioned previously, he was very good about helping me understand the connection of my work to the long-term impact on the business. So not only was I able to learn and add skills but also demonstrated proof and evidence of additional incremental revenue I was able to drive or cost savings and efficiency, and really being able to quantify things.

14:11 Amanda Hammett: That is fantastic.

14:12 Janet Hart: Yeah, and so everything I am doing, it does matter and here's how. Here's how we can show that. So that's what has been really important to me, I really love to see that my work at the end impacts the customer or the company ideally both to the mutual benefit. And I'll say something else that I think is important in my current team is really flexibility. Understanding that life is more integrated with work. And so, sometimes you have appointments with children, and you're taking care of that, but then you're getting online whenever you can. You're getting the work done, and that is what matters more than clocking in at particular times. That's one thing, and then I'll also say, more importantly than that is really safety, to be able to experiment and fail at things and really try and grow. Everything doesn't need to be studied until you know it's going to be perfect before you do it. Some things we should probably just go ahead and do it and see what happens. And so I think that that's a great culture where you can learn, and you might have some positive surprises that you if you had studied further wouldn't get. I'd say just to recap, like tying my work to impact, flexibility of schedule, and safety to experiment and fail, or really succeed.

15:43 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome, I love companies that really encourage that failure piece because, honestly, that is something that millennials did not grow up with in their educational experience, and our culture just didn't support that, that thought process. But now, in order to be successful, in order to innovate, we've got to do that and you guys are the kings and queens of innovation over there. So [chuckle] you gotta expect this is... You're gonna have some great successes and you're gonna have some failures, and that's okay.

16:17 Janet Hart: Yeah.

16:18 Amanda Hammett: I love it.

16:19 Janet Hart: Yeah, failure's scary, it's not fun, but you don't learn, really, if you don't try.

16:26 Amanda Hammett: No, yeah, you're absolutely correct. Alright, I gotta ask. You've worked for some really fantastic companies and you've had multiple jobs, especially at Blackbaud. When you were going through that interview process for any of those positions, do you feel like there was anything in particular about you or a way that you talked about yourself or anything, your resume, whatever, is there anything that really made you stand out to a hiring manager?

17:00 Janet Hart: Oh, that's interesting. I'll say at one point now, because I've had so many different positions. On the plus side, I think people look at me and they're like, "Wow she could do a lot of different things." Someone on my team last year said, called me a Swiss Army knife. Like, "I can ask Janet just about anything and if she doesn't have that deep experience, she knows someone who does." So in a way, I think that that helps me stand out, but on the other hand, I think it can also make it difficult for hiring managers to know exactly how they should use me. It's not as clear that I've had a 15-year career in marketing, therefore I'm gonna go run a demand generation program. There are pros and cons, I think, of my background, but more pros.

17:50 Amanda Hammett: Yeah, I would think so. I would say so, yes.


17:55 Janet Hart: I think, too, as I mentioned, tying my performance to impacts, those are all on my resume. And I think that that helps. And then I can easily sort of peel the onion back and talk about those, like what was the context of the situation, what did I do, how did it work out, you sort of present the full picture of the accomplishment.

18:16 Amanda Hammett: Absolutely, I think that there's... Especially in those of us that have careers that are more squishy like mine where there's no hard and fast numbers, I think being able to tie numbers and events to what you have brought to the table is phenomenal, and that is something... I've noticed when I sit down with CEOs and I say I bring out dollars and cents, their eyes and their brains start thinking in a completely different direction. They might have seen me in one way but now they're like, "Oh, okay, this is what we need." So, I love that. I love that your mentor really taught you to do that, that is something I feel that's gonna serve you well.

19:00 Janet Hart: Yeah, I don't think it was his quote originally, but he said it often, what gets measured is what gets managed.

19:05 Amanda Hammett: Yes.

19:06 Janet Hart: And so that was drilled in.


19:11 Janet Hart: Never forget that.


19:14 Amanda Hammett: Were you repeating it in your sleep, was it like that?


19:17 Janet Hart: Yeah, I say these things to my daughter.


19:22 Amanda Hammett: I love it.

19:23 Janet Hart: Yes.

19:23 Amanda Hammett: Awesome. Okay, so now, is there anything... You are on the older side of the millennial generation. Is there anything that you're seeing now that you're bringing in new younger employees, is there anything that you wish that they knew as they're starting out their careers?

19:47 Janet Hart: Now that's an interesting question. I think it almost depends on where they are starting their careers, like if they're starting their careers in a role that allows them to have project work and kind of get to a point where they can demonstrate some of that impact versus someone who's starting more in like a frontline role like in customer service for example. I guess I would say no matter what your job is, there's probably opportunity to improve it. And so, being curious about how things work or how things could work in representing that to your leadership team like, "Hey, I identified something, I think this could be better. Here's how I think it could be better." Those are the kinds of things that I think will get associates noticed. It's like someone with some initiative, drive, curiosity, and who wants to add that value. It's more than just coming in and doing the job. Those are the things that I would recommend.

20:49 Amanda Hammett: That's I think really awesome advice, really, really awesome advice. Actually, I'm getting ready to go talk at a university and they always ask me questions just like that and so I think that that was a perfect answer.

21:04 Janet Hart: Okay.


21:05 Amanda Hammett: Perfect, I might borrow from you.


21:07 Janet Hart: Sure.

21:08 Amanda Hammett: I'll totally give you credit.

21:09 Janet Hart: Yeah, no worries.


21:11 Amanda Hammett: Well, wonderful, wonderful, Janet. Well, we're gonna wrap up, but if anybody from the audience wanted to reach out to you on LinkedIn, would that be okay with you?

21:19 Janet Hart: Yeah, definitely.

21:21 Amanda Hammett: Perfect, perfect. Well, I will include your LinkedIn profile link into the show notes and otherwise I thank you guys so much for joining us for another episode of Millennial Rockstars, and of course with our lovely rock star today, Janet Hart. Thank you so much.

21:38 Janet Hart: Thank you.

21:39 Amanda Hammett: Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Millennial Rockstar Podcast. If you are looking for even more information on millennials and some free resources, visit my website at The link is below, it's There you can download a free millennial employee engagement guide that will give you all kinds of tips and tricks on how to keep those millennials engaged on a day-to-day basis, because we all know that millennials who are happy at work are more productive at work.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

featuring Rachel Gerrald

03: Moving Your Career Forward Through Face to Face Conversations

Career Growth as a millennial can be frustrating and tough. Not to mention, millennials have a reputation for avoiding face-to-face conversations. Millennial Rockstar, Rachel Gerrald shares with us how she used face-to-face conversations to get more opportunities and career growth.

Rachel Gerrald is the Internal Auditor at Valvoline. Valvoline Inc. (NYSE: VVV) is a leading worldwide marketer and supplier of premium branded lubricants and automotive services, with sales in more than 140 countries. Established in 1866, the company’s heritage spans more than 150 years, during which it has developed powerful brand recognition across multiple product and service channels. Valvoline ranks as the No. 3 passenger car motor oil brand in the DIY market by volume.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

The Transcript - Moving Your Career Forward Through Face to Face Conversations

AMANDA HAMMETT:Hey, this is Amanda Hammett, and this is the Millennial Rockstar Podcast. Hey, welcome to this episode of the Millennial Rockstar podcast. Today we have Rachel Gerrald who is an internal auditor at Valvoline, and although she's only three years into her career, she actually walks us through the importance of face-to-face conversations and how that can really move your career forward. So watch up and see what she has to say. Hey there, my name is Amanda Hammett, I am known as the Millennial Translator, because I help companies attract, retain, and engage top Millennial talent and speaking of top Millennial talent, today I am talking to Rachel, who is coming to us from Valvoline headquarters. Hey Rachel, thanks for coming on Millennial Rockstars.

RACHEL GERRALD:Thank you for having me.

AMANDA HAMMETT:Awesome, awesome. So Rachel, tell me a little bit about you and your career.

RACHEL GERRALD:So I'm a Buckeye, graduated from Ohio State, and started here in April 2015, so I've been in audit now for going on three years. Got a finance degree. Yeah, that about sums me up as far as my background

AMANDA HAMMETT:Awesome, awesome. Now Rachel, did you always know you wanted to go into finance, was that always the plan?

RACHEL GERRALD:I knew that I wanted to go into business just because I've always liked math and been good at that. I watched my dad go through business and he's been successful and kind of see that lifestyle so I knew it was either accounting or finance and when I got into the classes, I thought, finance is a lot more fun because you can put a lot more creativity and assumptions around that and it's about the future, not the past, right. So I really enjoyed that aspect of it.

AMANDA HAMMETT:That's awesome, I love it. I love that. So you know, I know that you are fairly new to the working world, I mean what, three years?


AMANDA HAMMETT: So is there, have there been any moments thus far or let's start with this…

What has been the biggest difference between what you thought about the workforce versus the reality that you have found now that you're in the workforce?

RACHEL GERRALD:I don't know that I had any preconceived notions as far as what it would be like. I would say for me in college I was a very serious student and I basically treated it like a nine to five job and told myself I'm going to be in the library studying if I'm not in class


RACHEL GERRALD:So I kind of transitioned very well through that. Yeah, I studied a lot, I graduated top five of my class.

AMANDA HAMMETT:And Ohio State's not small.

RACHEL GERRALD:No, it's not, it's not. So I kind of took that approach which translated well to the working world and I have to say I like the working world a lot better than school just because you get to see those real-life impacts that your work makes.

AMANDA HAMMETT:Wow, I love that. So tell me about what the process was like for you when you were leaving Ohio State and you were looking for that first job coming right out of college. Were there specific things that you were looking for, were there things that you were like I definitely know that this is not for me? Walk me through that.

RACHEL GERRALD: Well audit is like one of the best places to start and I would definitely recommend it to anybody who's coming straight out of college because you get just a whole lot of experience to a lot of areas of the business, so coming in with no experience other than the classroom, I was able to get a really broad view of this company, through stocks testing is where I started but I've also worked on projects ranging from supply chain and procurement all the way through finance and accounting. So audit was something that I was definitely interested in just because it gives you a very well rounded view.

AMANDA HAMMETT:That's really cool, that's so cool. Now what about, have there been any stumbling blocks thus far in your career, just things that you've had to deal with?

RACHEL GERRALD: I would say just, I think it's normal for everybody, you have to take charge of your own career, right, nobody's going to open those doors for you necessarily so you,

AMANDA HAMMETT:They don't do that?

RACHEL GERRALD:No! But I mean that's the same as it was growing up and in school but I think not everybody realizes that if you're interested in something or you want to learn more about something, you have to take that initiative and reach out and so I've done that. I've also come across areas where I need more challenge and I don't feel necessarily like I'm being challenged as much as I should be and I could grow more so that's something where you have to have that conversation and say I'm eager and willing to take on more responsibility and if you don't raise your hand, you'll never get that chance.

AMANDA HAMMETT:So Rachel, walk me through that conversation. So who do you have it with? Kind of set the scene for me, tell me about that, I love it.

RACHEL GERRALD:Well it's basically you asking for more opportunity with your boss and kind of weaving that into conversations because you don't want to come out and say hey, I want X, Y, Z and say I have some availability or I'm really interested in this side of the business, I'd like to work on a project here, I'd like to work on a new area because I've done this and I know it really well and I'm ready for something new. So basically, I just brought it up and we have trimester reviews here, brought it up then and said, you know, I really like my work here but I'm very interested in this one particular area and I feel like now's the time, I'm ready for some more challenge and responsibility and I'd love it if you could help me with that and help me grow my career.

AMANDA HAMMETT:So Rachel, I want you to emphasize this point. You said it but you just glossed over it, I want you to spell this out. Are these conversations in person?

RACHEL GERRALD:Oh, absolutely, 100% yeah. That's the way you have to do it and I'm probably not like most Millennials as far as that's concerned because I am somebody who doesn't really like to hide behind the email and the IM, I like to go talk to people.

But I think that's also part of audit because we're the auditors so we really have to work on that relationship and the only way you can really do that is by going and talking to people.

AMANDA HAMMETT:Okay, yeah, I think that's really great. One of the things that I see a lot is that Millennials who are ready and want to move forward, they work it into an email or


AMANDA HAMMETT:Or some sort of electronic conversation and I'm like


AMANDA HAMMETT: That's, this is where eye to eye contact is really important. You need to show that you are ready for that responsibility and that comes through building that sense of trust.

RACHEL GERRALD:Right, I 100% agree with that, yeah.

AMANDA HAMMETT:Okay, I love it. I love it and I love that you're taking charge and really not waiting for someone else because I speak to a lot of people and they're like well, I want my work to speak for itself and I said I get that. It's good that you want to do good work but sometimes you have to point it out, hey, boss, you got 12 other people you're managing, I just want to make sure that you know that I'm ready to move on


AMANDA HAMMETT:Do you think I'm ready, what am I missing.

RACHEL GERRALD:And I think they appreciate that honesty too and transparency, like I'm a super transparent person so if I feel like hey, I would love to take on this added responsibility and I'd love your support in that, I have no problem saying that and I think they appreciate that too.

AMANDA HAMMETT: Perfect, perfect. Oh, gosh, you're awesome. I just want you to know


AMANDA HAMMETT: I think you're awesome So, let's talk a little bit about your boss, again. So is there anything that your boss or maybe I know that you work in a group or any of your coworkers or maybe you have a mentor or an advocate within Valvoline, is there anything that they're doing specifically that really keeps you engaged and motivated and wanting to get out of bed in the morning and audit some different departments?

RACHEL GERRALD:I think communication is a big part and having those checkpoint meetings with them and having that two-way communication as far as what's going on. Training is also something that Valvoline's really supportive of which I think is awesome. So I recently got my CIA, which sounds really cool but it's Certified Internal Auditor. So I took three tests to become certified for that. And Valvoline was supporting me 100%.


RACHEL GERRALD:And then they also have continued training through not only for audit but also, they bring in people who talk to us about MBA programs and if we'd be interested in that, so there are definitely opportunities for continuing education here which I really like that.

AMANDA HAMMETT:That's awesome. Now I know that Valvoline has some different employee resource groups and things like that, is there anything that Valvoline is doing, whether it's perks or benefits, specifically you've mentioned a little bit about some further development, charity work opportunities, is there anything that they're doing specifically, Valvoline itself, like hey, I am gaining a sense of loyalty to this company because I feel a connection based on where they are and where I am going.

RACHEL GERRALD: Yeah, well Valvoline has a really strong culture and I think the people here really are what make it special. And Valvoline's always been a supporter in giving back. We have an employee giving campaign that I've been involved in, we do that every year. This year for the new headquarter building we actually have like a community celebration where we had a yard sale for all the things that we had from our old office building, and then we opened up our brand-new building to the public so I was one of the tour guides who was able to learn some cool facts about our building and give tours which is really cool.

AMANDA HAMMETT:That is cool.

RACHEL GERRALD:We've also done things like Habitat for Humanity as a group which is a great team-building opportunity so that's definitely a plus of working with Valvoline.

AMANDA HAMMETT:Absolutely, yeah. You guys have done a really nice job and it just, it's just a really friendly environment. I noticed there's not, everybody was just walking around with smiles on their faces, I was watching people just kind of walk by that desk in the front and I was waiting on someone towards the end of the afternoon and you know usually towards the end of the afternoon, you've hit that two o'clock slump feeling, but nobody looked just down and out, they were really kind of walking around, smiling, laughing about different stuff and I loved that, I thought it was cool.

RACHEL GERRALD:It's a really strong culture and I think too now that we've spun off from Ashland, that everybody has that energized feeling that good things are happening for Valvoline, the future's bright so we're all excited to be part of it.

AMANDA HAMMETT:That's commercial worthy, Rachel.

RACHEL GERRALD: Well it's true, I think you can see that, you saw it when you were here and that's the attitude.

AMANDA HAMMETT:I definitely felt it, it was, yeah, it was very much, palpable, so very good. I love it. Alright, so tell our audience here is there anything that in your mind or maybe your boss has told you since that really made you stand out in the applicant pool or in the interview pool when you were going through the process to join Valvoline?

RACHEL GERRALD: Right. I think what really stood out the most coming straight out of college is just my strong academic record. I graduated with a 3.9, which is not easy. And just hard work ethic and willingness and eagerness to learn and contribute everything I can to be part of the team. So I think that goes a long way.

AMANDA HAMMETT: I think that you might be right on that teamwork and collaboration


AMANDA HAMMETT:That's great. Now is there anything that you wish, I don't know this for a fact, but I assume that you did interview with other companies before you chose Valvoline. So I would imagine that you were probably courted by other companies with some attractive offers and perks, but is there anything that you wish that companies knew about hiring younger employees?

RACHEL GERRALD:I wish that we could kind of challenge the stereotypes of Millennials as far as, there's a negative connotation, I don't really understand why, because I think we're all just individual people. I know when you were here you mentioned something about you heard that Millennials don't make eye contact. Well, that's never really been a problem for me. So I think those stereotypes you really have to challenge them by being different from that stereotype. I wish that in the hiring process it could go a little faster because sometimes it can take a whole lot of time. I know that's like ideal world,

AMANDA HAMMETT: That's not a generational thing.

RACHEL GERRALD:No, that's just overarching, I know.But, I'm losing my train of thought here, but I did have another point that I wanted to,

AMANDA HAMMETT: Sorry, I interrupted.

RACHEL GERRALD:No, that's okay. Your question was on hiring, was there anything different. Probably just also recognizing that even though you don't have a lot of experience, somebody has to take a chance on you and allow you to grow and have that experience. So Will, who hired me, took a chance on me and I really appreciate that because you do come in with not a whole lot of experience but I do they should also recognize that you still have perspective and you still have things that you can add from the classroom and from your personal experience. So I think because a lot of the time the younger people get, well you don't have any experience, but nobody will give you experience. So that's kind of challenging. Yeah.

AMANDA HAMMETT: Okay, excellent, I think those are all really great points. And you kind of touched on this a little bit with the shorter hiring process. But is there anything that you wish that companies did to make the hiring process easier or better, besides shortening it?

RACHEL GERRALD:Besides the time? I think Valvoline could do a good job of recruiting further out. They do a good job recruiting here in Kentucky and UK, but I didn't see anything when I was at Ohio State, so I think that getting in front of those college students in career fairs and things like that is really important because that kind of sets the tone and gets you in their mind. So and that's what, all my interviews pretty much came out from contacting somebody at a career fair who I talked to so I think that's a really good way to meet good people.

AMANDA HAMMETT: Fantastic, I think that's great. Alright, well fantastic. Rachel, that is really all I have for you and that was awesome. You are actually a rockstar.

RACHEL GERRALD: Thank you, that's sweet of you to say.

AMANDA HAMMETT: Phenomenal and I really appreciate you being here and I'm just so impressed. I know that you are all of 25 years old but I am super impressed.

RACHEL GERRALD: Well thank you, thank you for having me. I appreciate it and I think what you're doing here is really cool.

AMANDA HAMMETT:Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Millennial Rockstar Podcast. If you are looking for even more information on Millennials and some free resources, visit my website at, the link is below, it's There you can download a free Millennial employee engagement guide that will give you all kinds of tips and tricks on how to keep those Millennials engaged on a day to day basis. Because we all know that Millennials who are happy at work are more productive at work.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.