The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode · 1 year ago

Creating an Award-winning Culture w/ Jon Franko


The workplace is experiencing a massive transformation.

I thought we should start at a high level and talk about that.

So we did.

In this episode of the podcast, I spoke with Jon Franko (I just call him "Franko"), my co-founder here at Gorilla76, about how to grow a great team rooted in relationships.

Franko and I discussed:

  1. What employees value most in an employer right now
  2. A little thing we do called “Retention Brainstorming” and how it can help you
  3. How to use Glassdoor to your advantage

To ensure that you never miss an episode of The Manufacturing Show, subscribe on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify, or here.

I think those core values are ultimately what have gotten us to have this culture. When people ask me, like what's the elevator pitch on your culture, always struggle with this, like I'm like, I don't know. It's a good place to work, but I think at the end of it all it can't be manufactured. It's got to be organic. Welcome to the manufacturing executive podcast, where we explore the strategies and experiences that are driving mid size manufacturers forward. Here you'll discover new insights from passionate manufacturing leaders who have compelling stories to share about their successes and struggles, and you'll learn from B tob sales and marketing experts about how to apply actionable business development strategies inside your business. Let's get into the show. Welcome to another episode of the Manufacturing Executive podcast. The show is being brought to you by our sponsor cadinas part solutions. I'm Joe Sullivan, your host and a cofounder of the Industrial Marketing Agency guerrilla seventy six. What comes to your mind when you think of culture inside of your organization? Do you think about the work environment itself, the way people interact with each other, maybe the perks of working at your company and how much can you, as the leader of the organization, shape that culture? Today, my guest is someone who spends a majority of his time with this exact topic. He also happens to be somebody I know pretty darn well. John Franco's the other half of gorilla seventy six ownership and my business partner of fourteen plus years. In addition to Co leading the company, John's Day to day duties are focused on growing and developing a great team rooted in great relationships and creating an award winning culture. John's mission is to create the best workplace in St Louis. John was named the two thousand and ten St Louis Business Journals thirty under thirty class and was named as one of St Louis's top young entrepreneurs by small business monthly. He's a graduate of the Focus Saint Louis Emerging Leaders Program and as a member of the forty two class of Focus St Louis Leadership St Louis. John's a passionate Missouri Tiger and loves to spend his time in the outdoors, hunting, fishing, biking and running. In July of two thousand and nineteen, he ran across the state of Ohio a hundred seventy four miles in six days. I can confirm that this is actually real and actually happened to raise money and awareness for the MS run the US. John is served as a board member for launch St Louis, a CO founder the Friends of Clifton Park, cofounder brightside St Louis and volunteers a big brothers big sisters of eastern Missouri. Serving as a big brother, John currently sits on the board of trustees and is the vice chairman for the Gateway Area Chapter of the National Multiple Oil Sclerosis Society. He's active with a bike MS governance and community engagement communities. In early two thousand and twenty he was awarded the Community Awareness Award from the chapter for his fundraising and mentoring efforts. John's a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. John, welcome to the show. Hey, it's good to be here. Thanks for the so's. It's nice to hear it makes me feel important hearing that description of myself very how awesome you are. Huh, maybe I'll just play that on repeat and I'll listen to it over and over again. There you go when you're having a bad day. I like it. So, first of all, I think I've called you by your first name maybe five times in my whole life and I'll probably do that. I'll probably double my count in the next thirty minutes. But for our listeners, John Pretty much goes by Franco to people who knows his last name, and wouldn't be surprised if your own mom calls you Franco at this point. Well, she's called me some other things, but yes, I've been I've been called a variety of things. Franco is a is very much a good thing to be called as in John. Yes, I could count on one hand the number of times you've called me John. So all right, well, yeah, this is this could be a little awkward then, I guess. Huh, yeah, we'll see get through it. Well, before we get into it should be stated here that you know,... and I run a marketing agency and as as in marketing agencies are notorious for having crazy workplaces with Ping punk tables and cagreators and dogs and skateboards and all that good stuff, and generally speaking, agencies tend to support a very progressive culture. Terms of how people work and interact with each other. This podcast, of course, isn't for marketing people like us, it's for manufacturing people like her ones we serve. Now. That said, I think some of the out of the box ideas around culture and recruiting and retention that we've put into play and that you've largely lad at this company would be really valuable, or is going to be really valuable for our listeners to hear, because the reality, I think, especially in a year like twenty s at the workplace is changing, right it's expectations from employees, future employers, it's changing to and and so I think we should start at a high level and talk about that. And you know, I guess my first question is, what are you seeing in terms of what employees and potential employees value the most about an employer right now? Yeah, and and back it up just for a second. I mean, when I think about the companies we are working with, I do see a lot of innovation in some of them as well, in some of the ways that they approach their workplace culture and and like a manufacturing company is obviously a lot more complex than we are. Whenever they have there's a wide variety of types of workers. You have an environment like that, so it probably takes even more creativity. But yeah, I think talking about some of the things we're doing could be really valuable and to start out, like what people are looking for. That was your question, right. Yeah, yeah, what do you see in people? Like what do they value the most about an employer right now, especially like during this crazy covid era? Yeah, I it's work life balance. I mean that is the thing I continue to see. It is. It is being able to leave work at work. In most of the time. That's not always possible, right, we know that, but most of the time leave work at work and be able to have home at home. And and that's really tough, right, because I think for a long time, the the literal threshold of a door that you have when you would like for me and I would walk into my apartment, I'd be like, I'm home now, like in Joe. You and I do a pretty good job of this. I think of not working like crazy people right now. Yeah, my hours are crazy. You're out. Your hours can be crazy often, but we've done a pretty good job of being able to shut it off and I think it's tougher now because of a lot of people are working in the same place they're living. Like I literally when I'm in my apartment, I'm working from the same place where I watch TV, my couch, so it's being able to turn that off is a challenge. But again, work life balance is something, especially this year, that I think people are really wanting. Yeah, pay is great, benefits are great. Those things all tie into the overall package. But it but at the end of the day, you know, I've talked about it, if those ping pong tables are only in that office because you want people to stick around till ten or eleven or yeah, you order pizza in every night and that's fun and there's a video game, there's an xbox system and whatever, but if the main reason is just because people aren't being able to go home, well then it's not it. That's not sustainable. It's going to come back to bite you. That's that's my opinion and my personal experience so far. Yeah, yeah, makes sense. I think you know, this is a good lead into the Topoch of benefits. We've tried to do some things here initiatives you've largely led to try to push the envelope on the benefits front a little. Could you touch on maybe a few of those out of the box ideas that we've tried to put imply? Yeah, I mean, I there's a few things. I mean. First of all, all of our benefits, especially more lately, have come from ideas, feedback, things I'm learning from the company. We had a brainstorm last year. I called it a retention brainstorm, and not that benefits are the only thing that leads to retention. There's a million other things, but it's a big part of it and I heard ideas and I heard things come out of that that I would have never, never thought of it. For instance, I didn't realize how I mean I know health insurances isn't is important.

Without Health Insurance, I would be up a creek without without a pedal, right, but in my personal life, so I know it's important, but I didn't realize how important US paying, taking on more and more of that cost was to our employees. I don't have kids, so I don't think about the dependence and the cost there. So that was something that came out of that brainstorm. That was that was very eye opening. We had, you know, we had a score. We use some software, and I'm sure we'll talk about this later, but some software that helps and kind of measure engagement. And we were seeing that our our wellness scores were low. So people weren't feeling super healthy in work and that was a combination of stress, anxiety, literal like access to healthy foods in the office, like maybe replacing the soda with some some sparkling waters, different things there. So that was another kind of idea the wellness committee. We have a sabbatical program. Somebody works here seven, seven years, they get six months all or that, six months, six weeks off and then they get a five thousand dollar bonus to put towards that, that that time off and hopefully they'll take a trip. So you know, I think in our early days we are benefits were tshirt and jeans and dogs and Ping Pong tables and lots of beer in the fridge. And again, while we don't have the ping pong table, mainly because we ran out of room and it was just turning into a thing to set things on, like most being punk tables do. But I think we've started to look a lot more at the benefits that that really actually matter and at their top of that. It's not a literal benefit, but but doing what we can to respect people's time outside of work, because you got to be able to go home, you got to be able to reach ourge, you can't be working non stop. Yeah, yeah, all good stuff. I had a few others sort of written down to we hit on real quick. But you know a few other things that we do that you know other they you could you know, people listening here could think. What's your version of this? And we we've done summer Fridays in the past, right, where we've will end work early on Fridays. You've often had just same amount of work. It's done. People just become more efficient so that they can get out early. Right. or or the evolution of that, where we said, all right, no more summer Fridays, but we're noticing is the week of the July fourth is a wash. Often our clients aren't the office. So what if we took instead of letting people out two hours or three hours or four hours earlier on a Friday during the summer? What if we figured out how much that adds up to be, which turns out to be roughly a week, and let's just give off the week of July. Fourth, like, let's give them the holiday off and let's give them her, I mean the winter holidays as well as the summer holiday, and let's give a week recharge. Yep, yeah, glad you brought that up. Yeah, exactly. How about the five percent raised to quit? Yeah, again, like something that I don't even think about as a benefit, but it is. I mean, and we recently we had an employee, great guy, very talented. Ultimately was realizing he thought he kind of wanted to go down one path with his career and he was like, you know what, I've done this and I can't thank him enough for coming to this realization that, you know what, my passion actually lies doing something else. And he came to us, had a very honest conversation and we have a policy in place that kind of Joe and I came up with a while back that if you give us four weeks, four weeks to twelve weeks, if you give us any amount of notice within that that range, we will immediately up your pay five percent. Are we trying to encourage people to quit? No, it's five percent. Really that much money at the end of the day, when you you factor it out, over, over at most twelve weeks, not a ton. But what I think it does do as it creates. It creates this environment, in this space where people feel comfortable to be like, you know what, it's not a crime, it's not a sin. So a figure out that this isn't the right job for me. It's we've talked a lot, Joe. We're crazy to think people are going to retire with us. I hope every single person does, but it's it's crazy to think that and I think that's something also we're learning with the younger,...

...younger generation right like, and I think this is something that maybe some of our clients it's foreign to them, but for the most part these people, at least the ones were employing, they're not starting somewhere and finishing their career anymore like that are that that was our parents generation. Is just not happening anymore, especially in marketing. The way you grow a lot of times is by taking a new job every two or three years. You get more responsibility, you get new pay, you get that. That is how the perception is, is how you grow. So we're already an environment where people are going to be changing, so let's just make it as easy as possible. Let's give ourselves time to find the replacement. That's one of the huge benefits to us. Let's give that person time to find to help them and to help them even look for jobs. So, anyway, sorry I rambled there, but yeah, it's been a it's been a really good benefit so far. Not How many times if we had to use it three or four, not that many, but our small sample size it's worked perfectly every time. But I think you communicated the key point there. It's almost less about the five percent raise its uth and more about like creating that environment where people are where we can have that to a conversation and figure out what's in the best interest. It's never it's a very rarely in the best interest of an employ or when somebody quits and you got to scramble and find a replacement in two weeks. And yet a lot of employees on there and you know, it's hard for them to come to their employer and and you know and and actually say I don't know if I'm happy here and because they're afraid they're going to get fired on the spot. And so if we if you can create that just very transparent to way dialog and know that, like work, let's help each other, like they'll help us figure out, you know, how to how to replace them when that time is right, and we can help them. In some of these scenarios we've helped that person find a job and figure out a place where there's a better fit. So I think it's like just sort of breaking down that that that barrier. there. A hundred percent agree, like getting rid of that stigma. Yet the stigma. Yet there you go. So, from my perspective, benefits are an example of something that ownership and management within a company can implement to create a more appealing workplace. But that's not what defines culture right really culture, culture can't be manufactured, at least from my perspective. Instead, it needs to kind of emerge organically, and the best thing they people like you and I, as leaders of the company, can do is facilitate a work environment where people can grow and thrive. Like would you agree with that hundred percent? I when I because that is something I have thought a lot about over the years as like there is this idea, and we were guilty of it early on, myself especially, of thinking you can manufacture culture in that came in the form of t shirt and genes at work, a dog the beer fridge, like hey, there's skateboards. You know what I we I don't think we've. Yeah, I think there have been some skateboards here actually, but you know that. It all comes down, in my opinion, are you adhering to your core values? In core values, frankly, five years ago I rolled my eyes. I thought it was dumb. I was like whatever, this is something somebody says and then they never actually use it for anything. But when you think about our our key core values of results, improvement, relationships, excuse me, and kindness, those are four things that if we nail all four of those, we are going to have a great culture. We're going to have happy clients, we're going to have happy employees, you and I are going to be happy. It's going to be a very good place. And so we've tied that into everything from our hiring process to the website, but the copy on our website, the interview questions I ask, I mean there are a million ways that we have this baked into our process, that these core values lead lead what we do in those core values. I don't know how, if you remember kind of like when we did, when we went through that, that exercise. I always thought it was, and I think this is where I was getting at wrong, was I thought it was something you are like, all right, well, what do we want to be? And it's a little bit of that, but for us it was more of who are, we are ready and what are these core, core principles that we founded this company on? And it's results. If we don't deliver...

...results for our clients, they should leave. I mean that's the that's our kind of mantra that my professor, Steve Capture I had. That was good ad cell stuff right, like they don't want towards they might want an award, great, but if the end of the day, if that advertisement you're not doing, and in our world, like you know, PPC campaign, we're doing, a SEO initiative whatever, if, at the end of the day it's not selling more for our clients, it's a waste of time improvement. You and I were were two guys that were I mean, you've got a bookshelf right behind you. I know you have a lot more books just to the side. I've got a whole shelf over here and me, we're constantly learning and reading and I think that was baked into who we are and I'm seeing that in our employees now. And then you've got relationships and kindness. We've always said like we just won't hire jerks. You've had jerks and we've had to get rid of and we've had we've had people that got close to getting a job offer but then they came into an interview and I'll never forget I had one guy put his feet up on the table like just complete, complete cockiness. And I don't mind a little swagger, I like it actually, but not when you're interviewing, like come on. So yeah, I think those core values are ultimately what have gotten us to have this culture. When people ask me, like what's the elevator pitch on your culture, always struggle with it, like I'm like, I don't know, it's a good place to work, but I think it at the end of it all, it can't be manufactured. It's got to be organic. Yeah, well said. I completely agree. We're going to take a really quick break here to help pay the bills. So two thousand and twenty has been a weird year. Industries are facing new challenges. As we navigate life without trade shows, events and in person eatings. Many businesses are bolstering their online tools to offer a better experience. Will also making up for some of those missing trade show leads, and that's where codemas part solutions comes in. They help you create a dynamic, sharable cad catalog that you put on your website. Designers can preview your products from any angle and download and the format that they prefer. By improving the online experience, engineers and architects get the data they need for their design and you get a fresh lead in your marketing pipeline. Who Needs Trade shows anyway? To learn more, visit part solutionscom leads. Something that we've always tried to do here is kind of open the doors, the windows of our firm to the outside world. Like we want to create as much transparency in our workplace as possible so that future hires can see what it would actually be like to work here, and I think one place we've done that pretty well over the years as through social media. Can you speak to that a little bit and maybe about it, maybe even offer a tangible idea or two about how a manufacturing organization could, you know, do their version of that in their world. Yeah, I mean I think for me it's always where I see clients get social media wrong a lot of times. Is there's a time and place for selling on social media, even even in the beat of be world. Like we've always said, like yeah, facebooks a place where people aren't thinking about work necessarily. But I guarantee you the vast majority of people on facebook all have jobs somewhere and you know they're still yeah, might be the side of their nine hundred and twenty five that they're on on a facebook or a twitter, but it doesn't mean that they're still not they're still not kicking around business thoughts in the back of their head. But anyway, tangible examples, I mean like instagram. I think that is such a great tools for us. Okay, like knowing our demographics of who were typically trying to hire, knowing where they spend time. instagrams of weight great way to show off the culture. And my are we going to use it to sell a hundred and FIFTYZERO ENGAGEMENT TO MANUFACTURING CLIENT? Probably not. It's probably not going to happen now. Now, is it a place where they can be like okay, well, I'm really interested in what these guys are pitching me. I want to go look at kind of what their team's all about or whatever. Yeah, it might be for that, but really it's a place to show off, like, let's celebrate company anniversaries there. Let's celebrate employee birthdays, let's let's celebrate if we launched a new site that we're proud of. Let's show up a video kind of walk through of the site.

When you've got a crew like our crew, of relatively creative crew, you of all time types of goofy stuff happening in the office. It's always fun to show. But I think it's it's just using that that channel to show what it's like to work here. To what you said earlier, opening the doors and windows. Now this you know. I we have another client, my construction client. Their audience is very much more the facebook play like that's where the people who work there, the people in their community, the people who they want to show their culture too, are on facebook. So I mean it's may not be instagram for everybody. For the US that's who it is, but it might be more linked in. It might I think that's where you just have to know who your audiences but yeah, it's just showing off the culture you have and showing people what it's like to work there. I guess. Yeah. I mean we've been inside the doors of a lot of BDB, you know, industrial sector companies, where there's actually a really great culture there and people love working there and they do. They do fun things together and people are smiling. It could tell it's a good place to work. But there's literally zero opportunity for somebody to see that from outside the walls of that building, like people who might be vetting them. As you know as an employer, you all they've got is a page on their website that says careers and there's a paragraph attacks and a link to apply. Why would you want to work there? And then you might be a great place to work, but you'd never know it. Well, and then you look them up in glass door and they have four reviews. There are there are five hundred person company. They have four reviews. And guess who is writing the reviews on glass door when you only have four? The people who absolutely hated it? Right, and that, honestly, it's not really it's not really social media, although you can use it like social media. You can share to updates, etc. But glass door. And if there is one thing that I can that is so easy in such lowhanging fruit for people that are listening to take an initiative on, it's glass door. It's yeah, once you hire somebody, three to six months in, send them in the email and just say, hey, would you consider writing a review? Don't follow up with them, don't hassle them about it. It's totally up to them and you want an honest review. I'm not saying game in the system now. Just ask for the review. I mean most employees are more than happy to do it if you're doing your job as an employer. They're happy at what they're doing and they want to tell and people go to glass door. I can't tell you how many people I talk to that say your glass door reviews are the best I've seen and I am like super interested in working for you. Yeah, I mean everybody listening right now. Yeah, pause right now, if you're listening, just Google your company name plus glass door and just see what comes up, because I would. You know, you might be cringing as you do it, but up for a lot of you it's probably going to be, like John said, the people who are disgruntled are the ones who like to go out there and talk about it. The same same way, when you buy something Amazon and it's broken when it arrives, you're more likely to go there and write something about it then if you just are satisfied with it or you really like it right, and you're never going to shut those people up, which is bind you. You need. You need it to be honest. You need to be there. But if you have, if they are, if there are forty five people that are really happy, well that needs to be accounted for to and that needs to balance it out and that will help that. Whenever you get that person that's going to come in and try to torpedo you, that's fine. You'll learn from it and you'll respond to it and, like you should always respond any comments you get, positive, negative, whatever, but it won't hurt. It's like if you take a test right, if there's five questions on the test and you missed three of them, your grades going to be pretty bad. But if you have a hundred questions on the test and you missed three of them, well, you got a ninety seven percent, you got an eight plus. So right, that's the difference. Yeah, exactly so so glass door, do you do you see? You know, what are the what are the platforms like like? Do you hear people talk about indeed, or do they do people go look at Google reviews or I do? I think. I think they're all relevant. I can't speak to it.

I can't speak to it in a in an extremely educated level for for people who might be listening, I can tell you for our audience, Google reviews matter. In glass door reviews matter well, I think it could a good thing somebody could do is like, here's a step for you right now. You could go survey that, yeah, ten most recent employees that you hired and spend five minutes at talking to them, interviewing them very casually about what what process did they go through when they were looking for a job, and where did they go look to vet your own company, because they'll tell you. Well, I you know it. I went. I went to indeed, I went to glass door. I looked at your google reviews. I you know, who knows? Maybe there's other places that maybe that you don't even realize right, or maybe trade specific forums that that you need to pay attention to. The best thing you could do is talk to your people, Right. I mean figure out what was it that made them want to to consider working here? How did they vet you? Where did they you know, did they ask here? So, yeah, I think, and again I think it's not always. He does tie directly to new business too, because Google reviews, for instance, like I know, whenever we hire a vendor, I'm I'm doing the research. I'm seeing like well, or what's it look like? I do their people hate working there, because if that's the case, there's going to be a lot of turnover and I'm not going to have the same representative that I work with. Like you know, like if our accounting firm was changing CPAS every three months, well, we don't want to work with them, right, like if yeah, we're unhappy. So I would be willing to bet that a hundred percent agree. You should survey the people. I would be willing to bet the glass door in Google reviews are ninety percent of the time at the top of that list. Sure, I want to jump back to something that you mentioned early in this conversation. There's a software that we use called office vibe, where you know, really, I guess the point here is is you and I are both big believers that building a great culture largely stems from listening to our employees, like figuring out what people care about, what matters to them. And you know, you can't respond every every suggestion or complaint and make a big change the organization, obviously, but you can identify patterns and then start to identify what things you think make the most sense to address at a higher level. And so talk about that concept, but make sure you hit on office five, because I think it's a really cool tool that has been helpful to us in a lot of ways to create that, the anonymous dialog especially. So I'll stop there and let you speak to it. Yeah, I think, I think when I think a lot about what our roles are like now, Joe, it's like, and I'm not saying we're like I do think we're really good at what we do. I know we're really good at would be doing, but it's almost kind of like being like I always think about Phil Jackson, that the coach of the Chicago Bulls, like when he will, he's been a coach of variety of places and when he was with the Lakers whatever. That guy, at the end of the day, wasn't telling Michael Jordan how to improve his jump shot. He wasn't telling Scottie Pippen how to play better defense. He wasn't telling Kobe like to be more, to be tougher on the floor, shack to box people out right. He was managing, he was putting them in a position of success. He was helping them manage the struggles they were having. He was an ear to listen to. So I think what it it all stems from that mentality of like our management now, is listening more than it is telling people what to do. I can't tell Ray our developer how to develop a website. I it'd be a disaster. There's no way we would. It would be bad. I can't tell our riders. I went to a good journalism school. I wrote for a long time. I still write a little. I can't tell them how to be better writers. What I can do is I can listen to them. You know struggles are having, maybe internally with with an issue or a client they're struggling with. So off his vibe. Is a software that has helped us do that. It's it's a per month subscription. It's not expensive.

The data you get from it, I'd be I hope they don't listen to this. I'd be willing to pay three or four times what they charge. But it's it's it essentially is an anonymous it's an anonymous survey that goes out once a week. It's very simple. You can answer the questions and probably thirty seconds they've almost created. I always describe it as it's almost like gamification, like the interface is really Nice, the UX is nice. So it's actually like kind of fun to do this survey. And why it's Nice is because it gives you a it gives you running data. A lot of companies or a lot of approaches are, let's do our annual employee survey. Well, and they conveniently do it after they've given bonuses or after they've given raises. So Hey, everybody's happy, Hey, scores are great. Well, then you go, but how's that helpful of anybody? Right? That's like it just collecting. It's like it's not real. Yeah, if so, that's when office vibe does is it just gives you data, data every week and it helps you, give you it gives you when you zoom out, you can just see long term trends and it addresses I don't have it open in front of you right now, but it addresses everything from wellness to relationship with peers, relationship with manager, like they're how they feel tied to the mission of the company. You can kind of see these patterns over time and it is helped us identify there's also kind of a comment box, so to speak, or a suggestion box, that people can either anonymously or put their name behind it submit anything under the Sun to Joe and I, which which is great because there you know, there are times where people simply aren't comfortable saying hey, I am having an issue with this person. We're budding heads and they want to keep it anonymous and that's totally fine. But again, over time it helps you identify trends in we have identified some things. I won't get into specifics, but where we have noticed there is an issue going on here and we need to take corrective actually totally and I love thee you get. You identify these patterns as opposed to the one off serve. I think that's huge. And then I do love like whenever we it's funny if you see, like somebody submits one of those anonymous comments, I don't say who they are, but they are able to. Sometimes I think it's people venting. Other Times it's like there's a there is something really here and and we'll get that and and you know, it's the end of the day when to you know you get it. I got do you see that office vibe comment and and our immediate reaction is like like that's annoying or people just complaining, but then you sit on it for a minute or overnight and you're like, okay, there's something here, like we let's get to the bottom of this, and it opens really good conversations between us as as owners and managers of these people to say like, okay, this is like the second or third time somebody has said something similar to this. There's something going on here and we got to address it. And people would have been afraid to say those things sometimes if it was an anonymous so while I love when people put their name on it and we can just go talk to him about it, I think it gives people the opportunity, when they're not comfortable to that, to still like a voice and opinion on it, and you have to ultimately. I think that's why I like those core values in the hiring process or so important, like if you have hired correctly and you have the right people at your company and in the right seats, that feedback is valid and as much as like, I'll call you. I'm like getting ready to go for a run at four o'clock or whatever and I'm like I'm heated because somebody gave me some negative feedback or whatever. You nailed it, like there is something there. And when I look at our team, I know we have really good people, and I know we have good people because they have made it through this core value vetting process. They line up with our ideals and mission and all these things. So I need to listen to him at the end of the day, and I think it's a natural thing for a business owner or a manager or whatever to be like I ye, like that can't be right or whatever, but then when you stop and think about it, it's like there's probably something here and it probably needs to be listened to, and that tools helped us do that for sure. Well, this last topic I want to hit on here is one that we probably should do a full episode on sometime soon. That's recruiting, and one thing in particularly that we've been doing here for a while which might be frowned upon by some, but I...

...think as long as you're clear about expectations, it's fine, and that's we leave our job postings open at all times. You know, we stayed on there. We are currently hiring this for this position, or we are not currently hiring for this, but we're collecting resumes so that when we are hiring, we can contact you and and it's helped us build such a great pipeline of potential future candidates. So can you speak to sort of the impact the strategies had on our ability to recruit amazing people? A girl, I mean again, we have a few pole season place that well, the five percent raise, for instance, where hopefully we have more time than little time to replace someone. But God forbid somebody comes in and was like, I'm quitting tomorrow. I'm not even giving you two weeks. I'm done, I'm tired of I'm how to hear. We have a pool for any position we have of depending on the role. I mean developers. In St Louis they're harder to find account service people, copywriters, or at least people who will apply for those jobs. I don't think everyone who applies for a copywriting job can actually copy right. You know, I don't think everyone that thinks or applies for an account service job can actually do account service. But from a purely applicant pool will have two hundred, two hundred and fifty people to start with from day one. Now I try to kind of stay on top of those two kind of whittle out. I'm doing a bad job of it right now, but if I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. Every Monday I'm going in and I'm like, all right, who applied for all of our jobs last week? Let me look at all the resumes and let me sort them the proper way. Additionally, then we have automated emails that I trigger. I mean they were written by me and I have to be the one that says, all right, send this email, ors in this email. But they ask for people to connect with me on Linkedin, follow us on Instagram, and then, you know, you can add in those emails all sorts of things that kind of start to nurture, just like you would nurture a business, lead to kind of nurture potential candidates. Well, they start following you on Instagram, will if you're doing instagram correctly, like we talked about earlier, they're seeing what your culture looks like. They're they're watching, they're giving you a thumbs up there and we have there are lots of people that are interested in working here. I mean we've got roughly a thousand followers on Instagram, which is by no means setting the world on fire, but I would say of those thousand, probably seven hundred and fifty of them are people that would love the work here one day. That's pretty powerful, if you ask me. Absolutely it's actually it's striking to me, as you know, if you look at our roles at the company, Yours versus mine, like you, are pretty much in the people business, recruiting, retention, building culture, like making this a great place to work, making sure people are happy here and growing. And then I'm a majority of my role is spent doing marketing and sales for gorilla, and it's actually striking how similar the processes kind of are. Like the are recruiting process is. This is the equivalent of generating leads and nurturing them and building trust and attention with future customers. You're kind of doing the same thing right with with future employees, and it's a process. It's not if I operate it as the Business Development Guy, gorilla, as, oh Geez, we just lost a customer, I better go figure out how to win a new customer. I mean it would just be this, you know, this, this hamster wheel. We're getting nowhere and we're freaking out and scrambling all the time. So we're constantly churning out content, we're nurturing people, were delivering content to the right people, we're building trust in our business and so our pipeline is always full and and it's really the exact same thing that we're trying to do with people, and I think you need to think of it that way. Right. Yeah, I talked about this on another podcast. I've talked about it with you, but Jack Welch's winning book. I can't recommend it enough. But one of the biggest arguments here makes is that the HR role needs to be almost looked at. You. You don't necessarily have to call somebody a cheap people... chief people office or whatever, but they need to have the buy in from the sea levels suite, that that you give the same amount of respect and responsibility that you give your CFO, your CEO, your cio whatever that people person. I mean, honestly, I think it is a coin foot it's a it's a chicken and chicken eggs scenario. You can't you can't do the work. You Win if you don't have the team. You can't have the team if you don't win the work. So I mean it's to me it is a coin foop. I think they're fifty equal in terms of importance, in responsibility. And if you're not taking the time, if you're if you're the person that's just phoning it in when it comes to to h are, I think you're going to fail and I think you're going to have discrunled employees. I think you're always gonna be on that hamster wheel of trying to find people and replace people and and and look our business, it's easy for me to sit here and say this. We're a twenty person company. We hire maybe three or four people a year. Some of the clients we work with are, you know, they're a thousand people organizations. They've got a lot of entry lavel types of employees that look they're just trying to make a few bucks until they, you know, to pay their way through school while they work a night shift or whatever. So it's different, but I still think you need to invest and focus on being a great place to work and making your employees happy. That's pretty much sums it up and that's that's like. That's what you're trying to do. Right. You want to create a great work environment when people want to work there, they want to stay there, they believe they can grow and thrive there and advance their careers. Right. Yeah, totally, totally. I remember at one of the best bits of advice I got from Nordyco and at Punsylvania whenever I was interviewing with him, was, and I always try to tell people this, like don't take a job where you're just going to be put in a corner and you're not going to have an opportunity to grow, and I think that is a responsibility of the employees or employer to provide a place where people can grow. If you don't, if people don't feel like they're going to grow, that's one of the biggest complaints that will get sometimes is it especially early on? We've gotten a lot better at this. We really told people, I just trust us and we promise you there's a vision. It's hard to articulate what a career path here looks like. But now people are slowly starting to see it, I think. But for a long time people were unhappy and leaving because in in their exit interview it would straight up tell me, I don't know what the future looks like, I don't know what my path is, I don't it all type back to their personal growth. So if they're at a place where they don't feel like they're going to grow and get better and smarter, you're going to lose them. If they're good, if they're a good employee like you want, they might be somebody who's just super happy, coming in at nine, leaving at five whatever, not ever worried about a raise. They just want to keep a steady income. They might stay. But the ones who are going to help you grow and get better, they're going to leave you. If you're not if you're not thinking about it, for sure. was there anything else I should ask you but didn't? Something you want to touch on before we kind of put a bow on this guy? I've probably rambled enough here. If I could, I feel like I could talk about this stuff for hours. Oh Yeah, yeah, and we do pretty regularly. So good. Well, this is a really good conversation. They you know, it's part of our daily world, and particularly yours, given the role you play here at our company, grilla seventy six. That is really cool to sit down and organize our thoughts and actually talk about this publicly. I hope people derive some value from it. I think they will. Yeah, and and if anybody ever reaches out to you or they want to, I love learning from other HR people. I mean, I knew a fraction. I have no background in this, no training. I've kind of learned it as I as I go. But if anybody's listening and they work in this field and they have ideas or would want to just spit ball with me, I am I am an open book and I would love to learn myself. So what's the best way to get in touch with you? On on that note, I'd say just email me, John Jo in at gorilla, like the Animal Geour Illa Sixcom, and that's Prett the best way... get a hold of me. Cool, find John on Linkedin and and Instagram as well. Imagine. Right, YEP, awesome. And Yeah, I guess that that kind of sums it up. So I want to say thank you again to our sponsor, codemas part solutions, for helping make this episode possible, and John, as I will call you for the last time, hopefully in a while, as opposed to Franco, thanks again for taking the time to join today. No, thanks for having you with Allso Yeah, you bet. As for the rest of you, I hope to catch you on the next episode of the Manufacturing Executive. You've been listening to the manufacturing executive podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. If you'd like to learn more about industrial marketing and sales strategy, you'll find an ever expanding collection of articles, videos, guides and tools specifically for bedb manufacturers at Gorilla Seventy sixcom learn thank you so much for listening. Until next time.

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