The Manufacturing Executive
The Manufacturing Executive

Episode · 1 year ago

Creating an Award-winning Culture w/ Jon Franko

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

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 ultimatelywhat have gotten us to have this culture. When people ask me, like what'sthe elevator pitch on your culture, always struggle with this, like I'mlike, I don't know. It's a good place to work, but Ithink at the end of it all it can't be manufactured. It's got tobe organic. Welcome to the manufacturing executive podcast, where we explore the strategiesand experiences that are driving mid size manufacturers forward. Here you'll discover new insightsfrom 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 applyactionable business development strategies inside your business. Let's get into the show. Welcometo another episode of the Manufacturing Executive podcast. The show is being brought to youby our sponsor cadinas part solutions. I'm Joe Sullivan, your host anda cofounder of the Industrial Marketing Agency guerrilla seventy six. What comes to yourmind when you think of culture inside of your organization? Do you think aboutthe work environment itself, the way people interact with each other, maybe theperks of working at your company and how much can you, as the leaderof the organization, shape that culture? Today, my guest is someone whospends a majority of his time with this exact topic. He also happens tobe somebody I know pretty darn well. John Franco's the other half of gorillaseventy six ownership and my business partner of fourteen plus years. In addition toCo leading the company, John's Day to day duties are focused on growing anddeveloping 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 namedthe two thousand and ten St Louis Business Journals thirty under thirty class and wasnamed as one of St Louis's top young entrepreneurs by small business monthly. He'sa graduate of the Focus Saint Louis Emerging Leaders Program and as a member ofthe forty two class of Focus St Louis Leadership St Louis. John's a passionateMissouri Tiger and loves to spend his time in the outdoors, hunting, fishing, biking and running. In July of two thousand and nineteen, he ranacross the state of Ohio a hundred seventy four miles in six days. Ican confirm that this is actually real and actually happened to raise money and awarenessfor the MS run the US. John is served as a board member forlaunch St Louis, a CO founder the Friends of Clifton Park, cofounder brightsideSt Louis and volunteers a big brothers big sisters of eastern Missouri. Serving asa big brother, John currently sits on the board of trustees and is thevice 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 twothousand and twenty he was awarded the Community Awareness Award from the chapter for hisfundraising and mentoring efforts. John's a graduate of the University of Missouri School ofJournalism. 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 feelimportant hearing that description of myself very how awesome you are. Huh, maybeI'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 namemaybe five times in my whole life and I'll probably do that. I'll probablydouble my count in the next thirty minutes. But for our listeners, John Prettymuch goes by Franco to people who knows his last name, and wouldn'tbe 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 calleda variety of things. Franco is a is very much a good thing tobe called as in John. Yes, I could count on one hand thenumber 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 itshould be stated here that you know,...

...you and I run a marketing agencyand as as in marketing agencies are notorious for having crazy workplaces with Pingpunk tables and cagreators and dogs and skateboards and all that good stuff, andgenerally speaking, agencies tend to support a very progressive culture. Terms of howpeople work and interact with each other. This podcast, of course, isn'tfor 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 boxideas around culture and recruiting and retention that we've put into play and that you'velargely lad at this company would be really valuable, or is going to bereally 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'sexpectations from employees, future employers, it's changing to and and so I thinkwe 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 ofwhat employees and potential employees value the most about an employer right now? Yeah, and and back it up just for a second. I mean, whenI think about the companies we are working with, I do see a lotof innovation in some of them as well, in some of the ways that theyapproach their workplace culture and and like a manufacturing company is obviously a lotmore complex than we are. Whenever they have there's a wide variety of typesof workers. You have an environment like that, so it probably takes evenmore creativity. But yeah, I think talking about some of the things we'redoing could be really valuable and to start out, like what people are lookingfor. That was your question, right. Yeah, yeah, what do yousee in people? Like what do they value the most about an employerright now, especially like during this crazy covid era? Yeah, I it'swork life balance. I mean that is the thing I continue to see.It is. It is being able to leave work at work. In mostof the time. That's not always possible, right, we know that, butmost of the time leave work at work and be able to have homeat home. And and that's really tough, right, because I think for along time, the the literal threshold of a door that you have whenyou would like for me and I would walk into my apartment, I'd belike, I'm home now, like in Joe. You and I do apretty good job of this. I think of not working like crazy people rightnow. Yeah, my hours are crazy. You're out. Your hours can becrazy often, but we've done a pretty good job of being able toshut it off and I think it's tougher now because of a lot of peopleare working in the same place they're living. Like I literally when I'm in myapartment, I'm working from the same place where I watch TV, mycouch, so it's being able to turn that off is a challenge. Butagain, work life balance is something, especially this year, that I thinkpeople are really wanting. Yeah, pay is great, benefits are great.Those things all tie into the overall package. But it but at the end ofthe day, you know, I've talked about it, if those pingpong tables are only in that office because you want people to stick around tillten or eleven or yeah, you order pizza in every night and that's funand there's a video game, there's an xbox system and whatever, but ifthe main reason is just because people aren't being able to go home, wellthen it's not it. That's not sustainable. It's going to come back to biteyou. That's that's my opinion and my personal experience so far. Yeah, yeah, makes sense. I think you know, this is a goodlead into the Topoch of benefits. We've tried to do some things here initiativesyou'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 ideasthat we've tried to put imply? Yeah, I mean, I there's a fewthings. I mean. First of all, all of our benefits,especially more lately, have come from ideas, feedback, things I'm learning from thecompany. We had a brainstorm last year. I called it a retentionbrainstorm, 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 Iheard 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 Iknow health insurances isn't is important.

Without Health Insurance, I would beup 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. Idon'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 thatwas 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 seeingthat our our wellness scores were low. So people weren't feeling super healthy inwork and that was a combination of stress, anxiety, literal like access to healthyfoods in the office, like maybe replacing the soda with some some sparklingwaters, different things there. So that was another kind of idea the wellnesscommittee. We have a sabbatical program. Somebody works here seven, seven years, they get six months all or that, six months, six weeks off andthen they get a five thousand dollar bonus to put towards that, thatthat time off and hopefully they'll take a trip. So you know, Ithink in our early days we are benefits were tshirt and jeans and dogs andPing Pong tables and lots of beer in the fridge. And again, whilewe don't have the ping pong table, mainly because we ran out of roomand it was just turning into a thing to set things on, like mostbeing punk tables do. But I think we've started to look a lot moreat 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'stime 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 ofwritten down to we hit on real quick. But you know a fewother 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'vedone summer Fridays in the past, right, where we've will end work early onFridays. 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, nomore summer Fridays, but we're noticing is the week of the July fourth isa wash. Often our clients aren't the office. So what if we tookinstead of letting people out two hours or three hours or four hours earlier ona Friday during the summer? What if we figured out how much that addsup to be, which turns out to be roughly a week, and let'sjust give off the week of July. Fourth, like, let's give themthe holiday off and let's give them her, I mean the winter holidays as wellas the summer holiday, and let's give a week recharge. Yep,yeah, glad you brought that up. Yeah, exactly. How about thefive percent raised to quit? Yeah, again, like something that I don'teven think about as a benefit, but it is. I mean, andwe recently we had an employee, great guy, very talented. Ultimately wasrealizing he thought he kind of wanted to go down one path with his careerand he was like, you know what, I've done this and I can't thankhim enough for coming to this realization that, you know what, mypassion actually lies doing something else. And he came to us, had avery honest conversation and we have a policy in place that kind of Joe andI 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 withinthat that range, we will immediately up your pay five percent. Are wetrying to encourage people to quit? No, it's five percent. Really that muchmoney at the end of the day, when you you factor it out,over, over at most twelve weeks, not a ton. But what Ithink it does do as it creates. It creates this environment, in thisspace where people feel comfortable to be like, you know what, it'snot a crime, it's not a sin. So a figure out that this isn'tthe 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 everysingle person does, but it's it's crazy to think that and I think that'ssomething also we're learning with the younger,...

...younger generation right like, and Ithink 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 wasour parents generation. Is just not happening anymore, especially in marketing. Theway you grow a lot of times is by taking a new job every twoor three years. You get more responsibility, you get new pay, you getthat. 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'sjust make it as easy as possible. Let's give ourselves time to find thereplacement. That's one of the huge benefits to us. Let's give that persontime 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'sbeen a really good benefit so far. Not How many times if we hadto use it three or four, not that many, but our smallsample size it's worked perfectly every time. But I think you communicated the keypoint there. It's almost less about the five percent raise its uth and moreabout like creating that environment where people are where we can have that to aconversation and figure out what's in the best interest. It's never it's a veryrarely in the best interest of an employ or when somebody quits and you gotto scramble and find a replacement in two weeks. And yet a lot ofemployees on there and you know, it's hard for them to come to theiremployer and and you know and and actually say I don't know if I'm happyhere and because they're afraid they're going to get fired on the spot. Andso if we if you can create that just very transparent to way dialog andknow that, like work, let's help each other, like they'll help usfigure out, you know, how to how to replace them when that timeis right, and we can help them. In some of these scenarios we've helpedthat person find a job and figure out a place where there's a betterfit. So I think it's like just sort of breaking down that that thatbarrier. 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 canimplement to create a more appealing workplace. But that's not what defines culture rightreally 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 likeyou and I, as leaders of the company, can do is facilitatea work environment where people can grow and thrive. Like would you agree withthat hundred percent? I when I because that is something I have thought alot about over the years as like there is this idea, and we wereguilty of it early on, myself especially, of thinking you can manufacture culture inthat came in the form of t shirt and genes at work, adog the beer fridge, like hey, there's skateboards. You know what Iwe I don't think we've. Yeah, I think there have been some skateboardshere actually, but you know that. It all comes down, in myopinion, are you adhering to your core values? In core values, frankly, five years ago I rolled my eyes. I thought it was dumb. Iwas like whatever, this is something somebody says and then they never actuallyuse it for anything. But when you think about our our key core valuesof results, improvement, relationships, excuse me, and kindness, those arefour things that if we nail all four of those, we are going tohave a great culture. We're going to have happy clients, we're going tohave happy employees, you and I are going to be happy. It's goingto be a very good place. And so we've tied that into everything fromour hiring process to the website, but the copy on our website, theinterview questions I ask, I mean there are a million ways that we havethis baked into our process, that these core values lead lead what we doin those core values. I don't know how, if you remember kind oflike when we did, when we went through that, that exercise. Ialways thought it was, and I think this is where I was getting atwrong, 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 readyand 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 shouldleave. 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 theydon't want towards they might want an award, great, but if the end ofthe 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 ourclients, it's a waste of time improvement. You and I were were two guysthat were I mean, you've got a bookshelf right behind you. Iknow you have a lot more books just to the side. I've got awhole shelf over here and me, we're constantly learning and reading and I thinkthat 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'thire jerks. You've had jerks and we've had to get rid of andwe've had we've had people that got close to getting a job offer but thenthey came into an interview and I'll never forget I had one guy put hisfeet up on the table like just complete, complete cockiness. And I don't minda little swagger, I like it actually, but not when you're interviewing, like come on. So yeah, I think those core values are ultimatelywhat have gotten us to have this culture. When people ask me, like what'sthe elevator pitch on your culture, always struggle with it, like I'mlike, I don't know, it's a good place to work, but Ithink it at the end of it all, it can't be manufactured. It's gotto be organic. Yeah, well said. I completely agree. We'regoing to take a really quick break here to help pay the bills. Sotwo 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. Manybusinesses are bolstering their online tools to offer a better experience. Will alsomaking up for some of those missing trade show leads, and that's where codemaspart solutions comes in. They help you create a dynamic, sharable cad catalogthat you put on your website. Designers can preview your products from any angleand download and the format that they prefer. By improving the online experience, engineersand architects get the data they need for their design and you get afresh lead in your marketing pipeline. Who Needs Trade shows anyway? To learnmore, visit part solutionscom leads. Something that we've always tried to do hereis kind of open the doors, the windows of our firm to the outsideworld. Like we want to create as much transparency in our workplace as possibleso 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 asthrough social media. Can you speak to that a little bit and maybe aboutit, maybe even offer a tangible idea or two about how a manufacturing organizationcould, 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 socialmedia wrong a lot of times. Is there's a time and place for sellingon social media, even even in the beat of be world. Like we'vealways said, like yeah, facebooks a place where people aren't thinking about worknecessarily. But I guarantee you the vast majority of people on facebook all havejobs somewhere and you know they're still yeah, might be the side of their ninehundred 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 thoughtsin the back of their head. But anyway, tangible examples, I meanlike instagram. I think that is such a great tools for us. Okay, like knowing our demographics of who were typically trying to hire, knowing wherethey 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 ENGAGEMENTTO 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 golook at kind of what their team's all about or whatever. Yeah, itmight 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 celebrateif we launched a new site that we're proud of. Let's show up avideo kind of walk through of the site.

When you've got a crew like ourcrew, of relatively creative crew, you of all time types of goofystuff happening in the office. It's always fun to show. But I thinkit'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 thisyou know. I we have another client, my construction client. Their audience isvery 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 theirculture too, are on facebook. So I mean it's may not be instagramfor everybody. For the US that's who it is, but it might bemore linked in. It might I think that's where you just have to knowwho your audiences but yeah, it's just showing off the culture you have andshowing people what it's like to work there. I guess. Yeah. I meanwe'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 loveworking 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 zeroopportunity for somebody to see that from outside the walls of that building, likepeople who might be vetting them. As you know as an employer, youall they've got is a page on their website that says careers and there's aparagraph 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 neverknow it. Well, and then you look them up in glass door andthey have four reviews. There are there are five hundred person company. Theyhave four reviews. And guess who is writing the reviews on glass door whenyou only have four? The people who absolutely hated it? Right, andthat, honestly, it's not really it's not really social media, although youcan use it like social media. You can share to updates, etc.But glass door. And if there is one thing that I can that isso easy in such lowhanging fruit for people that are listening to take an initiativeon, it's glass door. It's yeah, once you hire somebody, three tosix months in, send them in the email and just say, hey, would you consider writing a review? Don't follow up with them, don'thassle them about it. It's totally up to them and you want an honestreview. I'm not saying game in the system now. Just ask for thereview. I mean most employees are more than happy to do it if you'redoing your job as an employer. They're happy at what they're doing and theywant to tell and people go to glass door. I can't tell you howmany people I talk to that say your glass door reviews are the best I'veseen and I am like super interested in working for you. Yeah, Imean 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 doit, 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 togo out there and talk about it. The same same way, when youbuy something Amazon and it's broken when it arrives, you're more likely to gothere and write something about it then if you just are satisfied with it oryou 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 needsto be accounted for to and that needs to balance it out and that willhelp that. Whenever you get that person that's going to come in and tryto torpedo you, that's fine. You'll learn from it and you'll respond toit 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 testright, if there's five questions on the test and you missed three ofthem, your grades going to be pretty bad. But if you have ahundred questions on the test and you missed three of them, well, yougot a ninety seven percent, you got an eight plus. So right,that's the difference. Yeah, exactly so so glass door, do you doyou 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 lookat Google reviews or I do? I think. I think they're allrelevant. I can't speak to it.

I can't speak to it in ain an extremely educated level for for people who might be listening, I cantell you for our audience, Google reviews matter. In glass door reviews matterwell, 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 tothem, interviewing them very casually about what what process did they go through whenthey were looking for a job, and where did they go look to vetyour own company, because they'll tell you. Well, I you know it.I went. I went to indeed, I went to glass door. Ilooked at your google reviews. I you know, who knows? Maybethere's other places that maybe that you don't even realize right, or maybe tradespecific forums that that you need to pay attention to. The best thing youcould do is talk to your people, Right. I mean figure out whatwas it that made them want to to consider working here? How did theyvet you? Where did they you know, did they ask here? So,yeah, I think, and again I think it's not always. Hedoes 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 theirpeople hate working there, because if that's the case, there's going to bea lot of turnover and I'm not going to have the same representative that Iwork with. Like you know, like if our accounting firm was changing CPASevery three months, well, we don't want to work with them, right, like if yeah, we're unhappy. So I would be willing to betthat a hundred percent agree. You should survey the people. I would bewilling to bet the glass door in Google reviews are ninety percent of the timeat the top of that list. Sure, I want to jump back to somethingthat you mentioned early in this conversation. There's a software that we use calledoffice vibe, where you know, really, I guess the point hereis is you and I are both big believers that building a great culture largelystems 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 orcomplaint and make a big change the organization, obviously, but you canidentify patterns and then start to identify what things you think make the most senseto address at a higher level. And so talk about that concept, butmake sure you hit on office five, because I think it's a really cooltool 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 toit. Yeah, I think, I think when I think a lot aboutwhat our roles are like now, Joe, it's like, and I'm not sayingwe're like I do think we're really good at what we do. Iknow we're really good at would be doing, but it's almost kind of like beinglike 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 placesand when he was with the Lakers whatever. That guy, at the end ofthe 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 Kobelike to be more, to be tougher on the floor, shack to boxpeople out right. He was managing, he was putting them in a positionof success. He was helping them manage the struggles they were having. Hewas an ear to listen to. So I think what it it all stemsfrom that mentality of like our management now, is listening more than it is tellingpeople what to do. I can't tell Ray our developer how to developa website. I it'd be a disaster. There's no way we would. Itwould be bad. I can't tell our riders. I went to agood journalism school. I wrote for a long time. I still write alittle. I can't tell them how to be better writers. What I cando is I can listen to them. You know struggles are having, maybeinternally with with an issue or a client they're struggling with. So off hisvibe. Is a software that has helped us do that. It's it's aper 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 paythree or four times what they charge. But it's it's it essentially is ananonymous 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. Ialways 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 dothis survey. And why it's Nice is because it gives you a it givesyou 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'vegiven bonuses or after they've given raises. So Hey, everybody's happy, Hey, scores are great. Well, then you go, but how's thathelpful of anybody? Right? That's like it just collecting. It's like it'snot real. Yeah, if so, that's when office vibe does is itjust gives you data, data every week and it helps you, give youit gives you when you zoom out, you can just see long term trendsand 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 cankind of see these patterns over time and it is helped us identify there's alsokind 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 theSun 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 anissue with this person. We're budding heads and they want to keep it anonymousand that's totally fine. But again, over time it helps you identify trendsin we have identified some things. I won't get into specifics, but wherewe have noticed there is an issue going on here and we need to takecorrective actually totally and I love thee you get. You identify these patterns asopposed to the one off serve. I think that's huge. And then Ido love like whenever we it's funny if you see, like somebody submits oneof those anonymous comments, I don't say who they are, but they areable to. Sometimes I think it's people venting. Other Times it's like there'sa 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 islike like that's annoying or people just complaining, but then you sit on it fora minute or overnight and you're like, okay, there's something here, likewe let's get to the bottom of this, and it opens really goodconversations 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 similarto 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 ananonymous so while I love when people put their name on it and we canjust 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 opinionon it, and you have to ultimately. I think that's why I like thosecore values in the hiring process or so important, like if you havehired correctly and you have the right people at your company and in the rightseats, 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 whateverand 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 atour team, I know we have really good people, and I know wehave 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 Ineed to listen to him at the end of the day, and I thinkit's a natural thing for a business owner or a manager or whatever to belike I ye, like that can't be right or whatever, but then whenyou stop and think about it, it's like there's probably something here and itprobably needs to be listened to, and that tools helped us do that forsure. Well, this last topic I want to hit on here is onethat 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 mightbe frowned upon by some, but I...

...think as long as you're clear aboutexpectations, it's fine, and that's we leave our job postings open at alltimes. You know, we stayed on there. We are currently hiring thisfor this position, or we are not currently hiring for this, but we'recollecting resumes so that when we are hiring, we can contact you and and it'shelped us build such a great pipeline of potential future candidates. So canyou speak to sort of the impact the strategies had on our ability to recruitamazing people? A girl, I mean again, we have a few poleseason place that well, the five percent raise, for instance, where hopefullywe have more time than little time to replace someone. But God forbid somebodycomes in and was like, I'm quitting tomorrow. I'm not even giving youtwo weeks. I'm done, I'm tired of I'm how to hear. Wehave a pool for any position we have of depending on the role. Imean 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 thinkeveryone 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 actuallydo 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 tryto kind of stay on top of those two kind of whittle out. I'mdoing a bad job of it right now, but if I'm doing exactly what I'msupposed 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 melook 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 writtenby 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 connectwith me on Linkedin, follow us on Instagram, and then, youknow, you can add in those emails all sorts of things that kind ofstart to nurture, just like you would nurture a business, lead to kindof nurture potential candidates. Well, they start following you on Instagram, willif you're doing instagram correctly, like we talked about earlier, they're seeing whatyour culture looks like. They're they're watching, they're giving you a thumbs up thereand 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 byno 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 workhere one day. That's pretty powerful, if you ask me. Absolutely it'sactually it's striking to me, as you know, if you look at ourroles at the company, Yours versus mine, like you, are pretty much inthe people business, recruiting, retention, building culture, like making this agreat 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 forgorilla, and it's actually striking how similar the processes kind of are. Likethe are recruiting process is. This is the equivalent of generating leads and nurturingthem and building trust and attention with future customers. You're kind of doing thesame thing right with with future employees, and it's a process. It's notif I operate it as the Business Development Guy, gorilla, as, ohGeez, we just lost a customer, I better go figure out how towin 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 andscrambling 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 andso our pipeline is always full and and it's really the exact same thingthat we're trying to do with people, and I think you need to thinkof 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. Ican't recommend it enough. But one of the biggest arguments here makes isthat the HR role needs to be almost looked at. You. You don'tnecessarily have to call somebody a cheap people...

...off chief people office or whatever,but they need to have the buy in from the sea levels suite, thatthat 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 chickeneggs scenario. You can't you can't do the work. You Win if youdon't have the team. You can't have the team if you don't win thework. So I mean it's to me it is a coin foop. Ithink they're fifty equal in terms of importance, in responsibility. And if you're nottaking the time, if you're if you're the person that's just phoning itin when it comes to to h are, I think you're going to fail andI think you're going to have discrunled employees. I think you're always gonnabe on that hamster wheel of trying to find people and replace people and andand 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 ayear. Some of the clients we work with are, you know, they'rea thousand people organizations. They've got a lot of entry lavel types of employeesthat 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 focuson being a great place to work and making your employees happy. That's prettymuch 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 towork there, they want to stay there, they believe they can grow and thrivethere and advance their careers. Right. Yeah, totally, totally. Iremember at one of the best bits of advice I got from Nordyco andat Punsylvania whenever I was interviewing with him, was, and I always try totell people this, like don't take a job where you're just going tobe 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 providea place where people can grow. If you don't, if people don't feellike they're going to grow, that's one of the biggest complaints that will getsometimes 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 avision. It's hard to articulate what a career path here looks like. Butnow people are slowly starting to see it, I think. But for a longtime people were unhappy and leaving because in in their exit interview it wouldstraight up tell me, I don't know what the future looks like, Idon't know what my path is, I don't it all type back to theirpersonal growth. So if they're at a place where they don't feel like they'regoing to grow and get better and smarter, you're going to lose them. Ifthey're good, if they're a good employee like you want, they mightbe somebody who's just super happy, coming in at nine, leaving at fivewhatever, not ever worried about a raise. They just want to keep a steadyincome. They might stay. But the ones who are going to helpyou grow and get better, they're going to leave you. If you're notif you're not thinking about it, for sure. was there anything else Ishould ask you but didn't? Something you want to touch on before we kindof put a bow on this guy? I've probably rambled enough here. IfI 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 ofour daily world, and particularly yours, given the role you play here atour company, grilla seventy six. That is really cool to sit down andorganize our thoughts and actually talk about this publicly. I hope people derive somevalue from it. I think they will. Yeah, and and if anybody everreaches out to you or they want to, I love learning from otherHR people. I mean, I knew a fraction. I have no backgroundin this, no training. I've kind of learned it as I as Igo. But if anybody's listening and they work in this field and they haveideas or would want to just spit ball with me, I am I aman open book and I would love to learn myself. So what's the bestway to get in touch with you? On on that note, I'd sayjust email me, John Jo in at gorilla, like the Animal Geour IllaSixcom, and that's Prett the best way...

...to 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 sumsit up. So I want to say thank you again to our sponsor,codemas part solutions, for helping make this episode possible, and John, asI will call you for the last time, hopefully in a while, as opposedto Franco, thanks again for taking the time to join today. No, thanks for having you with Allso Yeah, you bet. As for the restof you, I hope to catch you on the next episode of theManufacturing Executive. You've been listening to the manufacturing executive podcast. To ensure thatyou 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'llfind an ever expanding collection of articles, videos, guides and tools specifically forbedb manufacturers at Gorilla Seventy sixcom learn thank you so much for listening. Untilnext time.

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