In this episode of The Lean Solutions Podcast, I met with Craig Tedrow, Tina Pietrangelo, and Mark Schmidt to discuss the current workforce challenges in hiring and retaining employees.
About the Guests:
Craig Tedrow is an experienced Continuous Improvement Professional with a demonstrated history of working in the automotive, aerospace, and defense industry. Skilled in Training Coordination, Continuous Improvement, Team Building, Presentation Skills, and Conflict Management. Strong professional with an Associate’s degree focused in Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services from Grand Rapids Community College. Most recently managed the Continuous Improvement department at Plasan Carbon Composites. During exponential growth developed a week long training curriculum to provide a mix of lecture and lab instruction to on board new associates. Intensely involved in training and adherence to Standard Work Instructions using video technology, and Training Within Industry methods. Strong relationships with engineering, operations, maintenance, and facilities, helped to advance implementation of robotics and automation.
Tina Pietrangelo is the Plant Manager at Pliant Plastics overseeing Manufacturing Operations. Pilant is a Plastics Injection Molding company and employs 120 members. She has lived in the Holland area for over 30 years and is currently on the board of Escape Ministries and formerly has served on the boards of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holland and Ready for School. Prior to joining Pliant, Tina held positions as Plant Manager within the office furniture industry and has held Human Resources positions for a recycling company and automotive interior company. She is also an owner/investor of some restaurants in West Michigan.
Mark Schmidt is the founder of BizStream, a custom software and web development company. With more than 20 years of experience in custom software, website development, and content management systems (CMS), Mark grew the business from one to 33 employees, plus contractors, in 17 years. He has managed purchase of new building, renovations, and furnishings for growing team and is a global leader in chosen web technology, Kentico CMS; top 3 partners of 1,100 total Kentico partners; Kentico Gold Partner with competencies in intranet, integration, training, EMS, mobile, and ecommerce; Kentico certified developer.
Full Episode Transcript:
Patrick Adams 00:01
Welcome to the Lean solutions podcast where we discuss business solutions to help listeners develop and implement action plans for true Lean process improvement. I am your host, Patrick Adams. So welcome everybody. I want to do a quick introduction. Today we're going to talk about how to attract and retain employees and your organization's I have Craig Tetro Craig is a continuous improvement coach here at lean solutions. He is an experienced continuous improvement professional with demonstrated history of working in the automotive and aerospace, the defense industry. He works with many different companies in many different industries with us and him and I actually worked in continuous improvement in the corporate world together prior to working together here at lean solutions. So welcome, Craig.
Craig Tedrow 00:53
Patrick Adams 00:55
Team Tina. piatra trill NGO, I always struggle with the last name Gina. I apologize. A trans Hello. Thank you. Tina is the plant manager at pliant plastics, overseeing all of manufacturing operations ply it is a plastics injection molding company and employs 120 Plus members. She's lived in Holland for over 30 years and is currently on the board of escape ministries, and formerly served on boards for Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holland and ready for school. So prior to joining pliant, Tina held positions as a plant manager within the office furniture industry, and has also held human resource positions for a recycling company and automotive interior company. So welcome, Tina.
Tina Pietrangelo 01:42
Patrick Adams 01:44
All right. And then Mark Schmidt. Mark is right in my hometown here in Allendale, Michigan. Mark is the founder of bitstream, a custom software and web development company. He has more than 20 years experience in custom software, web development and content management systems and helped grow the business from one to over 40 team members, Mark was heavily involved in the development of a pretty amazing culture and working environment at bitstream, which you can probably see a little bit of that behind him. And we'll talk some more about that shortly. Welcome, Mark. Thanks, thanks. Alright, so let's just start out with some discussion points. You know, there's been a lot of challenges for many companies around hiring, I mean, you know, there, you can't deny the fact that after COVID, so many companies have struggled to get employees back to work, and not only get them back to work, to, you know, hiring or finding attracting employees, but then also retaining them afterwards. And so that's one of the things that I really wanted to talk about today. So I would say, just to kind of kick it off, Tina, at client, you know, or in your prior in prior work that you've done, what would you say are some maybe good hiring strategies that that, you know, you guys are utilizing at client or, you know, anything out of the box kind of thinking? Or what are you guys doing to really find employees right now?
Tina Pietrangelo 03:18
I think that you have to be open to being able to develop your employees. So I think some of the strategies have changed over time where you were hiring folks that already came with the skills that you were looking for, we're actually doing something where we're actually looking to say, Okay, we don't need all the skills, I mean, that need the degree, necessarily willing to invest and do a little bit more from a leadership development perspective, or spending more time on training and development to grow the talent that we have internally that otherwise we might have went out and hired for. So that's something that that we're doing. Very nice.
Patrick Adams 03:57
Craig, what what have you seen, you know, in your travels, you've been in this last year, two years, you've been around to a lot of different companies? What types of things are you seeing companies doing to, to attract good talent, anything specifically,
Craig Tedrow 04:13
while hiring is definitely been a struggle for a lot of the companies that I've been going in, I've been noticing that they've been offering different flexible work schedules. Sometimes there's offering part time work where maybe somebody while their kids are in school, they can come in, and they can work a few hours, you know, in the afternoon, or in the evening, just to fill in a little bit like that, just to kind of pick up the slack for some of these companies. Craig,
Patrick Adams 04:36
let's pause you for a second because you're kind of in and out.
Tina Pietrangelo 04:38
I can I can jump in for Craig.
Patrick Adams 04:42
Yeah. Jumping out a little bit.
Tina Pietrangelo 04:44
So what he's talking about is one of the things that I think a lot of companies are starting to look at, is you have to be able to be agile enough as an organization to be able to cater to the workforce today, which has changed a lot from five years 10 years ago, and so a lot of the organizations are adopting di strategies as a part of their strategic plan to make sure that you're able to capitalize on on the changes in the changes of the workforce and what which means the very needs that they have. So, as an example, this is the first time in history that we've had five generations working under one roof at one time. And they all come with different expectations, different different views on the workplace, and what they need. And so we know that as an organization, that you're going to have to try to, to make sure that they all feel welcome. And trying to really spend time a understanding that, that people feel how do you create create that inclusive workforce, where they can bring their otherness to work, and they're going to feel like they can really, they're welcomed, because when you do that, when you're able to really capitalize on making folks feel welcome, as a part of your team, they tend to stay. And they also tend to give their best discretionary effort to their work, where they're not just punching a clock. And so I think that is really, and so when when Craig spoke of being having flexible work schedules, that that caters to some of the generations that are working for us. Others, like a more more consistent schedule, that, you know, you just got to really be agile enough to be able to flex your organization in a way that's going to support the varying needs, not only of your employees, but in terms of your customers.
Patrick Adams 06:29
Right, yeah, that's great. And there needs to be a good work life balance, especially, you know, just I'm just thinking about the next generation that's coming up, you know, that we have to be flexible as employers to be willing to meet, like you said, to meet them where they're at, because it may be different than some of our older generation employees. So we have to, you know, we have to be flexible and what that looks like, Mark? I don't know what What's your age demographic at bitstream? Oh,
Mark Schmidt 06:58
yeah. Anywhere from low 20s to 50? is a yes. For us.
Patrick Adams 07:08
Yeah. And what is what's been your experience with attracting good talent over the last year, two years,
both last year two has been very difficult. We're in the technology, you know, computer science programming, industry. And a lot of that has moved to remote 100% remote, which means we're competing for you know, those developers that could just choose to work in California remotely with California salaries, and Silicon Valley and New York, Chicago, where we are, you know, pride ourselves on our culture. You know, we like people to be here, you know, even pre COVID, we've had a hybrid schedules where it's Monday, Wednesday, Friday, in the office, Tuesday, Thursday, and on top of that flexible, so, you know, we definitely recognize, you know, the benefits of being able to go just heads down football, no drive time, all that good stuff. But we also the collaboration, the fun. We're not just here to, you know, collect a paycheck. These are people, we want to be around people projects, we want to get done. We want the innovation, we want to care about each other. So we really push for on site, as you know, three days a week, again, super flexible, as why retaining is not so much usually an issue. But hiring, you know, we're gonna it's an uphill battle. Yeah, I like what Tina said, we hire based on core values. First, our core values are key, we hire fire, promote, based on core values, skills, we need some basic skills, but skills are secondary. And we can we can grow people and you know, if you have the right core values, much of that is about a drive to be the best. You can learn some of the things we need to do.
Patrick Adams 09:07
Absolutely, I appreciate that. And you talked about your company culture, because obviously rich attracting and retaining once you get the employees in there, obviously you they learn the culture there. They fit into the culture, they helped develop, you know, the culture. But obviously, when you're going to look for new employees, you're you're the the new employees are looking at your culture going is this a place I want to work at? Is this a place that that I can see myself at long term? You know, potentially and so obviously, culture has a huge part both in retaining and in attracting employees. Craig, let's go back to you. It looks like you're you're coming in good. What would you say? You know, just kind of building on what you were talking about before when it comes to culture though. What have you seen, you know, in the different companies that you've been in, you know, when it comes to a, you know, a good, you know, an attractive a good company culture.
Craig Tedrow 10:09
Well actually like what Tina was saying everybody's coming from different generations. So we have the folks that are really, you know, in into the environment, different things like that. They want to know, what is this company stand for? But what do they do they give back to the community, I want to work for a company that's like that as well.
Patrick Adams 10:26
Mark, I want to go back to you because I want to talk about what I want to just build on what you what you said before around, make making your culture attractive. And because I've been to your site, and I'm sure if people are watching right now they can see some of these massive Legos behind you. One of my favorite things when I come to your site is just seeing the workplace, you know that that what the what you've been able to develop in the visual workplace that you guys are in? And the fact that people can even change around their workstations if they don't like how their workstation looks? Can you talk to us a little bit about that, and why you guys decided to go with the type of design that you did in your, you know, in your workplace design?
Yeah. I mean, culture, you know, it's not an automatic thing. It's very intentional. We actually have a group culture crew that's spans across a few different departments. But we meet on a weekly basis to just constantly making sure things are moving in the right direction. People are feeling included, and are included. And, you know, it's a place that want to be, I mean, most of our most of our things, you know, while I, I am definitely, you know, one of my primary jobs is to make sure our culture is great. It's not because it's a top down decision type type scenario. We're big on people experimenting with ideas, and piloting programs and ideas. And then if they are working, roll them out to the rest of the company. Just making sure we're having events, making sure we're having fun. Just, you know, everything benefits. Everyone has a say in all that.
Patrick Adams 12:11
Yeah, no, that's great. And Tina, what would you say from your your call that you know, the culture that you guys have created that client? What would you say makes up that culture? And why does Why does that make you know, what's attractive about that for people?
Tina Pietrangelo 12:28
I think one of the worst smaller company overall, but I will tell you, I think one of the main things is that we really purpose to live out our values. So there's a lot of companies that spend a lot of money, running just the most amazing company values and purpose. But yes, it's more than words. So it's really important. My I meet with every new hire within the first week that they start. And we have discussions about that. And they know that we have what I call an uncompromising culture, there are more folks that are impacted from a employment perspective with plain plastic that exit the organization based on them not adhering to our core values than they then it happens for attendance, because it's that important, how we show up to do our job is critical. And that goes a long way. Because we all know that when you have toxicity in your plant, it spreads across the organization. And it can elute it can lead to a lot of derailing behaviors that actually do impact productivity, and our bottom line results. And so we we try to protect that as much as we can we identify issues early, and we try to address them fast. Because that, to me, is core to our success today and for the future.
Patrick Adams 13:40
Yeah, that's that makes it that makes a ton of sense. I appreciate that about client for sure. Craig, we're going to try again, we we talked a little bit about knowing your employees and in getting to know them, I think Tina mentioned, you know, just being getting to know them at a level where you can also respond to their needs appropriately. Obviously, people want to work at a place where they know leadership cares about them. And you know, when when someone when when someone works at an organization where it's it's clear that leaders don't care about them or don't care about their needs. You know, they're not going to be there very long, right? So what are some of the things that you would say, you know, show employees that they're that leaders care?
Craig Tedrow 14:30
Well, some of the things that I've seen just recently, company cookouts, getting everybody together, giving them a longer lunch, giving them time to actually go out there and cook the food with with the folks that they work with. bringing different potlucks as another thing, you're talking about different cultures, different foods that people have. It gets people together and lets them talk about things other than work. And something that Mark said that I picked up on. He said, You know what's the values we hire for the values we can train to the skills So and I think that is that's so important, you can have the best person that comes in with the skill set that everybody's looking for. But if they don't have the values that match that company, they're just not going to last, they're not going to fit with the group that's there. And I think by by picking those values and, and just sticking with them, it might take you a while to find the people that you need that have those values. But I think it's so important to do that. And then just train to the skills that we need, anybody that comes in is going to have to have some type of training anyways. But if we can start with that basic value set, instead of the skill set, I think that's like a huge part of it. And I see I see companies doing that doing that more often now,
Patrick Adams 15:38
tie in to what Tina and Craig said that, that person who has all those awesome skills, but maybe you know, not the core values, and can become a cancer on the team. It's someone we call a brilliant jerk. Yeah, it's actually hard to let them go, because they're so productive, and they just crush out the projects. But they're also shutting everybody else down, not giving them open communication and loss of ideas. People don't want to come to work anymore. It needs to be taken care of very quickly. And we do that and people have seen it. And they know it's not an easy decision, but it is the right decision.
Craig Tedrow 16:24
For sure. Because they're gonna notice when you don't do that, and that person gets ignored. They don't. And if somebody asked me, you know, this person does the work have to, and they're telling me all the positive things, and I'm waiting for that other shoe to drop. And then they say, but they're very, you know, abrasive and emails, and they they fly off the handle. And, and, Mike, my comment was, you know, nobody is that good that it's, it's hurting your team? And if it is, let's that they're eating away at that, and people are seeing you put up with that. And nobody is that good. I don't agree with
Patrick Adams 16:57
that. I was I was actually just working with with a company that where I met with some of the employees at the company. And they said that, that temporary employees were being allowed to just come and go, as they as they wanted to, they could come in late, they can leave when they wanted to, there was no schedule. And when asked when they asked leadership, why that was being allowed leadership said, well, we can't find employees. And so if we try to hold them account to that to a time, they're just not going to show up, and then we're not going to have people to run the machines. And and so they were allowing the you know, basically the toxicity to just build within the team. And obviously the people that were committed to the company that were excited to be there, and that had been you know, that we're committed and passionate about the company, we're starting to feel like, okay, you know, this isn't, this isn't okay for them to allow that. And you know, I show up on time, every day I bust my button, these guys can just do whatever they want. And actually had Kenneth cohort in on on LinkedIn who asked the question, what is your process for addressing behaviors that do not match the core values of a company? And how can you guarantee accountability to address these behaviors on all organizational levels? Tina, what are your thoughts on that? I mean, in Mark, I'm sure you have a thought on this, too. But any any thoughts on how to how to address that.
Tina Pietrangelo 18:27
So one of the things that I've done is, number one, your supervisors and your leadership team has to be bought into the importance of your culture being uncompromising. So that's number one, there has to be alignment at the top with this. The other thing is that I have all my supervisors and the folks on my staff have all read The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, we've done the DISC profile, I invest in the soft side of their skills, so that they are equipped to be able to not only receive but give feedback in an appropriate way. And we hold each other accountable. And that's really key. So if I have a supervisor that turns her head to a situation with one of their production members, I know that I have another supervisor is going to look at that and say, Hey, we need to have a conversation. Does that sound what we agree to as a team as a unit? So we will, they will call each other out on it in a very respectful way. But they'll call each other out on that saying, hey, you know, what, we agree this is about the culture of the whole, not the individual shift, or department for that matter. So we we have been investing in that as a leadership team, we just my entire my staff, but then also my boss and my, my peers, we've just gone through the same type of training. So I think that's really core is that just as important as it is to learn hard skills and new technology and things you have to invest on the people side of your development on an ongoing basis? And that's how I think you're able to move the needle there.
Patrick Adams 19:55
Yeah, like that. Before we talk about training and development because I do want to dive into that a little bit deeper Mark, did you have anything on just accountability or addressing behaviors that are against your values?
Yeah, so addressing behaviors. Again, one, setting your core values is key, you know, that was putting them in black and white, so everyone's understands them, we do it at the interview process. I personally sit down with every new hire the owner, and go through a core values presentation. It's super meaningful, everyone understands it constant reminders all throughout the year. But then after that, once everybody understands that we are truly about the core values, and it's no question, then we follow your recorder. We the managers will sit down and put their people through what we call the people analyzer. And just plus plus minus or minus on each of them how they are and the core values. We want, you know, three pluses plus minuses but no minuses minuses mean, you don't even care about it. Plus, Minus Yeah, we do most of the time, occasionally, maybe not. Plus, it's part of this person's DNA, they just do it. No question. And then we kind of walk through, you know, when somebody is below the bar on our people analyzer, we start talking about stripes. And we actually have a three strike process. Step one, you know, a written document strike, this is a core value that you have an issue on, let's put a plan together, let's get this corrected in 30 days. You know, and again, all this, usually, it's never a surprise, we have so many one on ones and, and touch points that it's not like it's a surprise, the person has verbally talked about this already. On anyways, 30 days, 60 days, three strikes, it's just not a good fit was part ways. And that's it doesn't always come to that. But again, usually for those it's better for the team overall, everyone's like, it was the right move.
Patrick Adams 22:08
Yeah, I agree with all of you, I think that, you know, that you can't allow someone or a group of people to poison the organization, you have to be willing to, you know, make the hard decisions, obviously, coaching, you know, should confer? Well, it should start in the hiring process, like you said, so you should know that you're hiring people that align with your values, obviously. But, you know, you know, from there, it's it's coaching, it's, you know, clear communication, open, transparent communication and feedback. And consistent, right, maybe even a development plan, you know, meeting regularly with with your leadership. And then to your point, I mean, at some point, either they need to make a decision to separate if it's just not a good fit, or, you know, the company has to make that decision. So, so really good points there. Craig, I want to I want to shift to training here, because I think I've heard everybody mentioned training, and I know that this is a huge part of, at least in my experience, why I've seen many employees leaving companies or not, not not making it even through their their onboarding there 90 days, right. So, you know, I've heard many people that get hired into companies, and that, you know, the term like just being thrown to the wolves, especially right now, when companies can't find employees, or they're having a hard time filling positions. You know, they don't they feel like they don't have time for training. So they just get, you know, people are just getting thrown in there. Or, you know, or, you know, maybe they spend a little bit of time with somebody training. But there's no real structure around it. You know, what, what do you feel Craig? or what have you seen as the result of that?
Craig Tedrow 23:50
Well, I think you said the word right, there is structure, when there is no structure, and we get new people in the onboarding process might be great. You cover all the benefits, and you get everything. The first couple days are great. Then they hit the floor. And they're given to say, Joe is going to train me today. So he trains me the way he does something, and then I tomorrow, he's not here. So I'm going to have somebody else Julie is going to train me now she trains me the way that she does the job. So now as a new hire, I'm instantly getting confused. There's no standard for me to follow. And a lot of times, that's what it is. There's no standard and process or no standard work that anybody follows. And that kind of gets back to that tribal knowledge thing. If we just go by tribal knowledge, how somebody has done the job in the past, we're gonna really not helping our new hires. We're just throwing them literally to the wolves and saying, find your own best way to do it. So I think that that's huge just to have a standard in place when you do bring folks out to the floor. I have seen other companies actually where you and I worked Patrick, we had a carbon University we called it we would get people in we would show them how to use the tools. We've shown the standard work, we make sure that they felt totally comfortable. before they hit the floor and actually had to do something. So I think just having those standards in place is super important when we have our new hires.
Patrick Adams 25:08
Absolutely. Mark, what is what is training look like at this stream for for new employees and for existing employees?
Yeah, so we definitely spend some time with the onboarding process. Like Greg said, the first week or two is really laid out well, but then we have 3060 90 day, milestones, and also, the team has an opportunity for them for a quick, very short 360 review feedback cycle for the new hires to, you know, red, yellow, green flags on core values, red, yellow, green flags, on skills, all that good stuff. So they know what they need to look at goals are to accomplish at those different milestones. And then ongoing training, it varies based on the job, but we are always encouraging, you know, getting continuous training, upping your skills. And then, you know, from a more of a softer skill, we have company wide. You know, the AI talks in just communication talks. All that fun stuff.
Patrick Adams 26:19
Yeah. Open, open, transparent communication. I like it. That's good. Tina, what about our client, what is training look like at client.
Tina Pietrangelo 26:29
So very similar to what Mark said, we have a 3016 NDAA training program, we focus on the Learn to teach methodology for hourly employees specifically, where they learn the job by observing a little bit than they do, then they have to perform the job. And they have to teach someone how to do the job. So it's the way that we pull that through, we have audits that are done on their performance, at different intervals of their time with us to make sure that they're we're pulling through consistently that what they're learning. And that does happen even at the, from a supervisory team leader level, there's different touch points to make sure that the learning has been verified, that they they are, they're retaining the knowledge that they're learning. So we have a lot of different touch points, we've incorporated.
Patrick Adams 27:13
Nice, that's great. I want to pause just for a second and kind of speak to our attendees on the webinar, as well as on LinkedIn. If you're just joining us, we are discussing how to attract and retain employees and the chats are open. If you have questions for Mark, Tina Craig, myself, we would love to address those questions, specifically, if you have any. But we're just going to continue to have some open dialogue and conversation just about some of the things some of the learnings that we've had over the last few years, you know, just just based on a lot of changes that have happened, you know, since COVID, and with some of the the other challenges that have happened, a lot has changed. Right? You guys talked earlier about that hybrid work environments in this there's a ton of work from home, obviously, a ton of virtual type of meetings that are happening now is from a training and development standpoint, how does what does that look like? Are you are you requiring training on site? Are you allow? Do you have hybrid work environments? And when you do have people that are working from home? What does their development look like? I think Mark, you mentioned that, that you require a certain number of days per week, on site. So that would make sense for you Do you have anybody that's 100%, virtual at all,
we do not have 100% virtual, again, it's, it's about fairness, and we all do the same thing. And then, actually, for when we do have a new hire, when a team takes on a new hire, we definitely encourage at least a few people being in on those Tuesdays and Thursdays are typical work from home days, you know, part of working from home is that you can go home, you're not you're gonna be you know, not getting blocked on anything, you can just kind of go heads down. And when it's there's a lot of training. We prefer to do that in person. You can do pair programming, pairing, you know, remotely, but we want to get that comes down to we want to give that person the best possible new hire experience. I mean, that's first impressions and like, let's let's get that salad. Let them really feel the core values and feel our culture.
Patrick Adams 29:32
Absolutely. And, Tina for you, I know you have some office personnel that were 100% You know, at home virtual through through COVID. And then sometime after, what has been the transition for them coming back into the office and do you still have people that are 100% working from home and again, what does that look like from a training and development standpoint?
Tina Pietrangelo 29:58
So we don't have anyone that's 100 were sent to working from home. The transition was one that finished small company, it was something we had to really get in front of them and had to educate ourselves on how best to have good dialogue, collaboration. And so with with having a virtual team, now I've come from a larger corporation. So I, I have, I've supported teams from around the world from an HR perspective. So we've been doing virtual when I worked at Johnson Controls for years. So there's folks I've never met in person, and we're working from home. And so we they, what we've had to do as a small company is figure out ways how to leverage our technology to be able to have touch points, and in meetings, and even team building exercises, because a lot of what was going on with the with the pandemic is that, that required people to work from home, we didn't want to lose those folks. So we had to figure out ways to stay connected to them, not only from a training perspective, but from a team building perspective. So it's just being able to leverage technology at a higher level, especially again, for a small, relatively small company compared to larger companies that have already grown accustomed to some of them.
Patrick Adams 31:11
Yeah, makes sense. Craig, what have you seen from, from a transition from, you know, at home work to back in the office has, have you see organizations that are struggling with keeping employees, because, again, I've seen I've seen a few that were employees are some employees are just saying they won't work in the office, or they will only work from home, and they're trying to find jobs that will only allow that now, which again, is, you know, adds a whole nother level of complexity to the hiring process. Right. Right, what's been your experience with kind of the remote versus in office and what that looks like?
Craig Tedrow 31:52
I've talked to quite a few individuals that while some really liked to work from home, others, there's many distractions at home. And it's, it's nice to actually go into the office and be able to leave some of that, that baggage at home there where you don't have to deal with it. So it can go both ways. I think that having a company that takes a good mix and allows where it makes sense to work from home, if I can do something, you know, on my computer, just as good as I could do it, if I'm sitting in my office, and I have a distraction free place at home to do it. And then I think that that can definitely benefit that person. I think it's worth it. Also, for those folks that do like to work from home to invest a little bit of time, and get a good setup for doing that. Get a quiet place if you can, whether it's a spare bedroom or something like that, trying to separate yourself a little bit, you know, from the family to do something like that. So I think it can work for certain individuals. I think it's just it depends on the individual and then the type of job that they have, of course.
Patrick Adams 32:52
Sure. Sure. I had a question pop into the chat on on LinkedIn from Matt White. He he was kind of going back to the the toxic work environment. Well, kind of a flip on what we talked about, we were talking about toxic individuals entering the culture, he's saying, what's your experience with new people joining an organization and discovering a bad, potentially toxic environment? How would you create space for them to share what they're observing and experiencing? And then I have a follow up question to that as well. So I don't know if Tina, any experience with with with that, where someone says, Hey, I'm experiencing something that I don't like, what would your response be to that person?
Tina Pietrangelo 33:34
Well, number one, I've experienced that myself. So I've joined an organization where the culture was really unhealthy. And so the way that I view a culture in my contributions to that is that I don't let it change who I am. And I think by not allowing the culture to erode the person that I am, and that I show up and contribute in a positive way myself can actually expand upon the culture that I want to work in. So I always say we are the be the culture you want to be. You want to work in. And so I think that that's one thing that I've always encouraged others to, to think about is hey, you know what this is it when I found in the culture that it was working in, that there were others that felt the same negativity, and were struggling, I said, Well, how do we? How do we come together and create a different experience? So I tried to encourage others to kind of band with me to provide a different experience and not let us change us at our core. And then I think you had a second half of the question, could you repeat that?
Patrick Adams 34:34
Well, my second question is just around retention. You know, that kind of falls into that same question, but, you know, with a focus on retention, do you conduct exit interviews? Is that, you know, a way that you collect data and then respond, you know, appropriately to help with retention or what is what do you what do you what do you do from that standpoint?
Tina Pietrangelo 34:58
So a couple of things I would recommend So number one exits, exit interviews are too late. And I think you need to do retention interviews to stay interviews while people are still employed by you. You want to catch them before they made a decision to start to cast the resume to another employer. And so it's really about having whether you do skip level interviews. I've done that with members before, they don't report directly to me, but I call Skipper interviews and I spend time with them. Additionally, I think it's really important as an exercise for a leadership team to take a look at the folks that have exited the organization, there is such a thing as healthy turnover, especially if it does not support your if they don't align with your core values. But I look at turnover from the standpoint of regrettable and desirable. So I will take a look at through good regrettable exits, are those folks that visited the ones that catch my attention? Those are those are folks that have left the organization that were a reflection of me as a leader. So there those are folks that left that I wish would not have left and and so it's really there's a lot of time that we should spend on trying to understand why. What did we miss? How can I grow as a leader so that I don't lose good people? Now the ones that are desirable are the ones I would not enthusiastically rehire. That's a different set of focus. That's the HR team and the hiring teams looking at what didn't we see behind the curtain when we allow them into our workforce in the first place, which comes at a cost, right? Because there's a cost for turnover, there's a cost for training. So we spent money and time and energy to bring folks in that were not a good fit, and we would not enthusiastic ly rehired. So I think there has to be some time reflection on those decisions to make sure we're making good choices.
Patrick Adams 36:41
No, good. I like that. Mark, what about what about you on that one, when it comes to employees that you know, identify maybe something toxic in the culture or identify a problem or an issue that they see that's causing them to feel uncomfortable in your work environment? What would your response be to them? And then second, part of that is the retention question around exit interviews.
Yeah, you know, never had so much where, you know, somebody said something was, you know, a toxic environment, or there may have been, you know, comments or something that made people feel uncomfortable, which is, again, part of our core values is, you know, you know, open transparent feedback. And, you know, definitely say immediately, again, I started off our core values, talk with that. Say it to me say it's a leadership, say to managers, it's anyone you're comfortable with, make sure you don't just stay quiet. Again, the nice thing about our core values that we are very close, we joke around a lot. But everybody's line for a joke is different. Right? And that's, that's part of being a very close, close. Group. You know, we don't want to say anything that offends somebody. So I encourage everybody to make sure they speak up because likely, that person didn't actually mean to offend. So call it out. But say these types of jokes aren't funny. And we addressed that in the few times that have happened, he has an opportunity to grow. Park, part of it is everyone wondering, and we make a point of it. And like, these types of things, aren't funny to everybody. So you got to think about what you're saying. But I really or but I guess in those scenarios with a brilliant jerk, those things came into our attention. And we had to make those calls and go through the three strike process. And yeah, clearly it was not being fixed. Just open feedback, encourage people to talk. We are the culture, who are the culture, push, push up. And now if leadership, you know, just doesn't address it, I would say it's time to leave because it leadership definitely is setting the stage for the culture.
Patrick Adams 39:09
Yes, some really, really good comments there. I love that. The state enter interviews, I love that obviously leadership sets the stage. I mean, those are some really good points. Dan from New York asked this question and and this is a tough one, but he said any creative ideas on how to get potential employees in the door, we advertise through agencies but don't often have success. What have you guys found right now what are there any creative ideas, anything specifically that you're doing to, to tap into new employees? I think one of the things that, that we've looked at our universities, you know, local universities and trying to partner with them and just seeing you know, what are what are some of the graduating students and I know that that's not something new necessarily, but um, You know, if there's a local university that you're not talking to maybe that that could be a potential to look at that as a as a starting point. Any thoughts Martina, Craig, creative ideas,
nothing creative. But I mean, I think we've been finding the things that have been working is just having a strong internship program. So we're, we're constantly always, each one of our teams in departments always have an intern. So we're building a relationship, you're starting to see if this person gets it, and it was, gets the core values and gets the learning and growing quickly. That's going to be the younger talent side of things. But But still, that's been super beneficial for us. If anybody has any creative ideas, I'm definitely interested in hearing though, because
Tina Pietrangelo 40:51
I think that we have to, when you talk about recruiting, it's really you have to have long term and short term strategy. So going to talk about universities in, in looking at internships and getting students early. In some cases, I've worked with employers or they're in front of kids when they're in eighth grade. And just keep in front of them talking about the opportunity careers within their organizations. So those are more long term stretch type things. But so you know, a lot of company, you have to have different number of different pools that you're pulling from. So that's why di becomes important because being a part of different associations and things will get you another pool of talent to pull from. So whether it's working with veterans organizations, recidivism, returnships, is something that's coming up. So folks that are changing careers entirely. So it's not your traditional intro, this is someone that's going to do a paid internship. But I'm going from HR, and I'm gonna go on operations. So can I apply? And can you pay me and show me a new skill? So that's something that that is coming about. And oh, that is different than the, again, the traditional internship opportunity. So there's, there's things like that, that some employers are doing right now, they're starting to advertise for returnships. And what I would say even there's, there's so many folks that are working longer today, that that gives people an opportunity to try a different career. And so I've seen things like that, spending time with veterans that as an example, that they don't always know how to transfer their skills onto a resume into an interview. So spending that purposeful time there showing how they can do that Matt, an interview opens up another talent pool, but that when I talk about di d i, that's why it's important to be flexible too. Because understanding that when you bring some of these folks on there, there might be some various schedule needs that we need to be considered about. So that's those are some some different pathways I would recommend exploring.
Maybe, I mean, this isn't for everybody. But I mean, one thing we did do is we created vishram Academy, which actually allows high school kids and people in career change mode to we teach a free class in the summer, to see beyond just are you even the least bit interested in computer science and programming. Because you know, knowing that that's not your path is also just as valid as knowing that, oh, my gosh, I love this stuff. And then we can do independent studies and all that. So and then even at the middle school level, we teach VIP camp, which is teaching middle school girls, and how to how to program so yeah, I would agree that's the long term strategy. But yeah, having long term and short term is important.
Patrick Adams 43:44
Some really great points. Craig, anything to add on that one?
Craig Tedrow 43:48
No, I was gonna say balloons, pass out balloons and get people to come in. But that never, it's never gotten me to buy a car either. So I don't think that's the way I know some great ideas, though. From what I've heard from Tina and Mark, though.
Tina Pietrangelo 44:01
Yeah, absolutely. One more. One more thing. And that is that recruiting is everybody's job within your company. And so I really encourage my team to always be on. So I said, if you if you cross paths with someone at a grocery store, or a coffee shop, whatever, you need to be ready with your elevator speech about why they should come work for you. If you're getting great service and great, you know, you have somebody that you meet with, I've hired some folks back my back in my day from the Geek Squad. So I just you know, you take you know, I'm always looking and engaging with folks in any networking event that I go to, to see if there's people that I would want to have join my team. So when you incorporate your team to be working that way for good talent to bring into organization, you grow your recruiting department that much larger than just relying on one or two talent acquisition managers to do that work for you.
Patrick Adams 44:53
Yeah, really good points. Thank you. Thank you for that. And again, the short term and long term strategy is key, obviously. I think there's, if anybody else has any other ideas, I think this is one that many companies are struggling with, especially on the short term side. So if you do have any, any thoughts, please drop it into the comments for for the entire group. Last question that popped in Fazal said, wondering how much of this culture value skill and training sits on the HR role on the day to day basis? How exactly is HR empowered for such a need? Or should they be empowered for such a need? Any thoughts on on that? And how, what does it look like from an HR standpoint? What should HR be owning? You know, with within that, that that whole culture value skills training? Any thoughts on that?
Tina Pietrangelo 45:53
Wanted to jump into? Yeah, I'm not I'm not known to be shy. So I would tell you that I just because I've worked in both sides of the fence, right? I've been in operations, and I've been in HR, I think that this is, I like to say that I'm in the people business. So it doesn't matter what title you put on me, which tells me that this, although they might be the gatehouse to degree, they're the clearing house and bring some of these things to, to the workforce are not the sole, the sole responsibility doesn't fall on human resources. In fact, if you do that, you're going to fail. Any D AI strategy, training and development of your team, it really requires the entire buy in from the entire leadership team. Because if they're not on board, it's just an initiative that you're checking the box on, it's not going to change your culture, it's not going to get people to want to be, you know, to come to your company for long term, it's just a flavor of the month. So it has to be the DNA of the entire leadership team that they have to see the business case and the value in it, for it to work. So they are a component of it. Yes, they're going to introduce some of the challenges make sure that we're doing things the right way. But they're they're kind of fielding us and guiding us, but they are not the ones that should be taken this on their shoulders to treat the whole thing. And as just a testament to that I have I'm getting my VDI certification, not because I'm an HR, because I need to, as a leader invest in myself to be able to educate my staff that reports to me. And I think that that's the ownership that people should be taking in the way that it should look at this.
Yeah, I mean, I fully agree it's not a more person, culture is everybody D is everybody, everyone needs to call each other out. Everyone needs to make everybody grow. We have our D activity that has some leadership in there. But we honestly tried to kind of stay out of it, we just make sure things are moving. We have people from all different levels IDI committee and sing with their culture, true, all different levels, to ensure culture, because it comes down to at the end of the day, we hired the right people with the right core values that believe in this stuff for real. And it's not just you know, lip service, it's real. And they will won't stand for certain things. And they want to make sure where you're standing for certain things. So it's core values has been the absolute key to too much of this.
Patrick Adams 48:18
Thank you so much. I appreciate everything you guys have given us during this hour. One last announcement, I mentioned that I have this, this big announcement for everybody. We are officially going live with our Lean Solutions Academy. And, you know, we talked a little bit about training and development and the importance of a structured training program and consistent training and development of employees. We are officially going live with our Lean solutions Training Academy. And that Academy you can you can go onto our website to check out that and then we're also we have a Kaizen event, a virtual a virtual workshop. Craig, can you just give us just a quick snippet on that that upcoming Kaizen workshop, it's how to facilitate a Kaizen event and we're doing that live as a workshop. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Craig Tedrow 49:14
Absolutely. That is a four hour live virtual Kaizen workshop, we're going to be doing that Wednesday, the 14th of December, we're going to talk about facilitating a Kaizen. What I like about this event, as we talked about the traditional five day Kaizen, what companies have done that don't have five days and 10 people to devote to an event, we're going to talk about something they can do quickly to a five hour Kaizen, maybe just some quick rapid change improvements. In event like that, talk about picking a theme for that, how to sustain it some brainstorming things, so it's gonna be a lot of fun. A four hour event on Wednesday the 14th from 10 to to
Patrick Adams 49:55
Tina, Mark Craig, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much for being with us today. We're excited for the future for companies to continue to grow and develop their there's their employee base and be able to continue to, you know, continue forward with developing those employees. So again, thank you so much for your time today.
Craig Tedrow 50:14
All right. Thank you, Patrick.
Patrick Adams 50:16
All right. Take care everybody. Thanks so much for tuning in to this episode of the lien solutions podcast. If you haven't done so already, please be sure to subscribe. This way you'll get updates as new episodes become available. If you feel so inclined. Please give us a review. Thank you so much.