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If you go to http://www.zephyrrecruiting.com/, we have a welcome mat for your listeners. When you go there will be two articles. One is called Five secrets that this is the one. The other one is eight key steps to ensure employee loyalty. Then as a discount for anyone who would like to check out Zephyr and become a client. We will give a $500 are off discount to anyone who comes to us within 30 days of airing of this podcast. Just so you know, quickly we do a flat fee model to our service. We're extremely affordable for small business because that is who we're serving. So we're making it affordable for you
Daniella Hi everyone. This is the cavnessHR culture podcast and I am your host, Daniela Young. Our guest today is Erin Longmoon. Erin, are you ready to be great today?
Erin Every day,
Daniella Every day
Daniella Erin began being an entrepreneur in 1989 when she realized that she had a penchant for doing things her way. Charging ahead three decades and four businesses later. She is now the very humble and proud owner of Zephyr Recruiting LLC. As with all her businesses, Zephyr is a disruptor bringing the human element back to finding the right match for their clients. All recruiters say they source top talent. But Zephyr does not make this ridiculous and unrealistic claim. Instead, Zephyr's claim is that they will be a matchmaker for the right fit for you, your team, your company's values, and culture, and for where you want your company to go. They only work with small businesses purposefully giving them a leg up in this competitive job market. Erin is driven by her mission of eradicating toxic workplaces in the small business community. Erin, welcome. I'm so excited to talk about the values and the culture and the toxic workplaces and all of the things that you mentioned.
Erin Yes, me too.
Daniella Can you tell me a little bit about something that you're working on these days, that's super exciting.
Erin Well, I'm obviously you know, building my business. I'm a small business entrepreneur, as are I'm assuming pretty much all of your listeners. Being one of those myself, it's super exciting to come to work every day, I am growing my team. So trying to learn how to instill these values of our own culture to them, and how to get them to be just excellent service providers for our clients is actually a really awesome challenge that I love right now. We're also talking in the future about coming up with a great places to work certification program. This is down the road a little bit, but it is one of those super exciting passion projects that I have. Where small businesses have an avenue for being able to kind of follow some steps and then claim to be great places to work with a nice big badge.
Daniella It's such a great focus, because the majority of businesses in America are, of course, small businesses. But they pretty much get overlooked. Everyone's applying to the huge company, no one's applying to this other company. You might end up finding a better fit for yourself. We've been talking about this at cavnessHR because we do HR for small companies. But it's like you mentioned, all of our other listeners are small business owners,. But most of them didn't go into business because they really wanted to hire people, right?
Daniella Because they really wanted to do HR. You are not only your own small business owner, but you're also a service provider to others. Erin is really the expert in the small area, that, of course, has a huge impact. That's just such an important thing for our listeners, our business owners to realize that you do not have to be an expert in everything. You're responsible for everything as the CEO. But you do not have to be the expert in it. You can find other experts like Erin to help you out with these specific points.
Erin Yes, definitely.
Daniella Erin, you and I have talked about your process. What you do, and why that is so important in hiring. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
Erin I'd love to. So you know, processes in general, for small businesses are critical. I mean, they are for all businesses. They help create systems and a platform so that you can grow, you can scale, you can serve your clients in an efficient, effective manner. So you can prove a model, know that it works. Find where the kinks are, all of that is super important in both the service side of your business. But also the administrative side of your business. Hiring is no different. Having an intentional process around recruiting and hiring is critical to building the kind of team that you need to build as you grow. So having everything from what kinds of questions you ask in an interview process. Where you source the people that you're sourcing, how your onboarding them. Which then, of course, a company like cavnessHR takes over at that point. All of those things need to be intentional and a well thought out , well-developed process for it to be successful. Otherwise, we're in reaction mode, right? Otherwise, we're just reacting to every little fire that goes on. So this process is going to help mitigate those kinds of reaction and very poor choices that happened out of being in reaction mode.
Daniella That's so important, right? You don't want to be a hiring reaction.
Erin No, but I think, to be honest, Danielle, most small businesses they do it, because like you said they didn't get into business to be an employer. So they just grabbed the first warm body that has some basic skills, and they throw them on their team. It becomes this hamster wheel of reaction mode of building your team. As you know, that rarely leads to a good place.
Daniella On that note, toxic workplaces. That's a huge topic these days. You hear it everywhere. How do you really think that recruiting and hiring either fits into that or can help protect against that?
Erin It does both. If the hiring, recruiting is not intentional, and well thought out process, like we talked about. If we're hiring for all the wrong reasons if we're hiring our best friends, or our teammates, cousin, things like that. We're not going to necessarily make the best hiring decisions. Part of the CEOs’ job is to be able to rise up to that 10,000-foot level and see the team as a whole unit working together. When we are just kind of in reaction, that's partially what creates that toxic workplace, it's not the only piece. I mean, that's a big topic, toxic workplaces, and there are many components that go into developing them. But definitely bringing on the wrong kind of people is a big part of it. So going back to that process, how it can help create a healthy workplace is when you have an intentional idea of who needs to fit in your team. How to find those people, bringing them on, and having it be a part of a much bigger picture is critical actually to creating a healthy workplace. There's so much more, right, there are values we've discussed. Which I think we should dive into a little bit more. There's culture and understanding the culture that you want to establish in your business.
Daniella I love that you mentioned the hiring of the friend. Of course, small businesses will do that. It's not always bad. But what can be problematic, I think, is the statement that I want to get your opinion on. Okay, sort of rubs me the wrong way is when leaders say I don't care about skills. I just want to hire someone who I can have a beer with. Can you tell me what you think about that?
Erin I mean, you and I have kind of discussed this, I have to tell your listeners. Danielle, and I connected on this a little bit before. As you were saying, it creates a one-track kind of employee and your team. I kind of liken it to in some ways, like a symphony. If you have a symphony full of violins, and nothing else, it isn't a symphony. It doesn't have depth, it doesn't have balance, it doesn't have creativity, it doesn't have innovation. It may even sound kind of good. Some people may enjoy it for a little bit. But over time, it's going to fall flat. If all you're doing is hiring your buddies, or the people that you get along with really well and could go have a beer with, and that's sort of your standard. Then you are going to find eventually, that there's too many of the same kind of cook in your kitchen. There's no diversity and it's not just diversity of cultural diversity. But it's also skills, diversity, it's mindset, diversity. I mean, there's all different kinds of diversity that we could talk about here. If you really want if you're a business owner who really wants a successful business, you want to grow it, you want to scale it. You want to be a contributing member of your community creating great jobs. Then you have to think about that whole Symphony as a system. I think that's where some business owners can go wrong by thinking just a little bit more one-track mind like that.
Daniella I think it comes from a good place. I think leaders are trying to say, skills are teachable. But values and personality and hard work ethic are less teachable. That's what they're trying to say. The reason I said, I think the sentiment is good, but it becomes problematic. Because it becomes if you just want to hire someone you can have a beer with you end up hiring someone just like you. Your first hire should probably be someone who's the polar opposite about you.
Erin That is exactly true. As you start to grow, being able to step back, like I said, and look at your team at that 10,000-foot level. Its sort of what spoke is missing here. But if you think about the wheel, you may have a lot of people with some strong skills and problem solving. Or task oriented, detail oriented type people or something. But you gotta look at the whole piece and the whole pot. Like the whole image of the symphony, so to speak, and what's missing. Make sure that you're bringing in people to help balance the team out. If you've always hiring the same kind of person, your buddies, someone's just like you. It's going to be wobbly and lopsided. It's not going to have that ability, that foundation to scale and grow.
Daniella We've actually talked about this on the show before, and what I kind of hear you saying is the first question. Say you need a new bookkeeper, full time bookkeeper. The first question is not, who has the bookkeeping skills? It's what personality traits don't we have represented on the team? Let's find someone that fits those. Obviously fits our company's values, which we're going to talk about. But fits sort of these personalities that we are missing, like say, I'm outgoing, and I'm great at sales. But I'm not good at, burning the candle at both ends for 14 hours a day and making sure that all those little processes get done. The kind of person I need to hire. That's flipping it around. Find the type of person first and then making sure they have the skills or they're trainable.
Erin I think having just a really well rounded vision of what this new person that you want to bring on the team who they need to be as well as the skills they need to have honed over their years of experience. We were talking about values. I do want to make sure because I think as people hear this, they might be like, But wait, wait, wait, I've always heard values are important. Personality traits, what if they're opposite, and then they don't get along, and then that can create some tension. Yes, there's some reality to those things. The thing is, you don't want to bring someone who's got a conflicting personality, to what you have on your team or a conflicting set of values. They need to be complimentary. I do think it's very important that when again, you're looking at that you don't just go black and white, oh, they're introverts and I now need an extrovert. That's a simplified way of explaining it. It's obviously more complex than just that. So it's really important for let's say, in small business, it's pretty much always the CEO who's kind of in charge of overseeing and building the team. So making that assumption, that they understand the strengths of their current team. They understand the weaknesses of their current team. They understand the values of the company. They understand the culture, where it is now where they want it to be in the future. You got to understand all of that, Ideally, before you bring on that next employee, and that's a lot. Especially for business owners that are almost always in this reaction mode., Oh, my God, someone just quit, I gotta fill their job, just go find somebody. There's a sense of urgency about it. But if you really want to be a great place to work, and you really want an effective team. You have to take that step back and see the big picture.
Daniella The values piece is so constant, right and the personality. I mean people can have opposite personalities. But if they're on the same track, they prioritize the same values. That's honestly the sweet spot, because then not conflicting personalities. But those very different personalities are going to end up complementing each other. That's how, for example, we would see this in the army. Where it's like, we don't get any choice of people, no matter what level of leadership you're at. You don't really have a choice of your people, you are kind of handed a handful of people. Everything starts on this baseline. The best leaders are always pulling everything back to that because the most different people in the world from different places to get along together.
Erin Yeah, to get on that same page. It's interesting that you mentioned military. You know, obviously, way more than I do. But I think what's interesting is that people who choose to go into the military as a career. Although they walk in with a set of values that already resonates with the military's values. So they're already coming in with this core set of beliefs that drive them that is in alignment with the military. Not to say that's every single person. But it's a generalized statement. That I think is what allows troop leaders and the people in leadership positions to pull those people together because they have shared values already.
Daniella I think it's both right because it's still on the leader to right. So we always say, for example, and everyone knows that a lot of people join the military for benefits. Benefits to go to college, health benefits, whatever it is. But as you know, in the veteran world, we kind of always say, no matter what you've joined for, in the end, you developed a value of service. That by the time you're leaving, even if you only started that initial term, and you're leaving. It's actually usually hard for you to fit back into the civilian world and find a service component to your job value. That is 100%. on the leaders. There's nothing inherently about service in the military. That's how sort of we as a country, and we have as a culture, and then we as military leaders, inculcate that into the culture. That's obviously a massive scale. But that's what anyone can do.
Erin That's interesting. When we do recruiting, for example, going back to values. That's one of the things that we do is we, we learn, we really dive deeply into our clients business, and we ask the personal questions. We try to help them figure out what are those core values? How do you articulate them, some come to the table, knowing some come to the table with aspirational values. But those aren't the same, some come with trendy values, but those aren't the same. So our job is to really uncover what those true core values are. Then that helps us when we go find those matches. Because again, they don't have to be exactly the same. But they need to at least be complimentary. They need to support the values and not bet up against them.
Daniella I'm so glad you mentioned aspirational values vs true values. My way of saying that is your values aren't what you say they are they're based on what reporting you require. There's a lot of similar quotes to that effect. One time I worked in, in loss prevention in retail and everybody says safety is the most important value. Of course, that sounds great. But when the general manager walks in, and his first question is about theft numbers, not about what are you going to do if a shooter walks in. That reinforces a completely different priority that says our value is anti theft, not life safety.
Erin That's a really great example. It's hard to see those I mean, that's a really good concrete example. Sometimes it's hard to discover what those are. So going through a process that can help uncover those I think is important. Because it is easy to just throw a fancy adjective out there, a fancy noun out there. It's interesting how much those words will change with trends as well. What people talked about values 30 years ago, 40 years ago, are completely different than what we're talking about today. Those will continue to change. Cultural values like that will continue to change. But your core values, within small business, you cannot separate the core values of the company from the core values of the owner. So you got to get personal, you got to understand your true core values, that CEO, the owner has to understand what their core values are. That's really what you have to then build the foundation of the business on. That's when it'll be authentic.
Daniella One of the exercises I do with my clients when we're doing culture strategy. Which you're welcome to steal this, Erin. I say, if these are your five values, now you're going to write down three examples of a person or a sort of daily or weekly event in your company that embodies that value. If you can't do that, then that is an aspirational value.
Erin The opposite examples will help you really hone in because we do it. It's a little different process. But we use that opposite piece as well. We do a similar thing with candidates. We don't just review candidates, and you should, nobody should just review candidates on those skills. We need to get deep and personal with them. Part of that is asking those same kinds of deep questions and we ask questions. Things like, what kinds of things would you walk away from a job, like on the job, you just turn around, you'd walk away? Like, what kinds of things need to happen for that? Or what would you end a relationship over? What kinds of things would you go to bat for and go protest? It's those things that just really touch you deeply? That is a hint into what your core values are? So we use those kinds of questions when we're talking to both our clients, and also then the candidate side. That's part of our job.
Daniella You gotta ask personal questions. I want to emphasize what our expert Erin said. Do not think that personal or vulnerable is off limits. Some questions, you should not ask of course, from an HR perspective.
Erin I'll give a quick tip that I find that by opening up a little bit ourselves. Just gives permission and creates safety in the interview. That makes all the difference in the world. You have to connect in the interview, or they're not going to open up to you.
Daniella Absolutely, both sides are being interviewed. Erin, are you providing a gift or a discount today, for our listeners?
Erin If you go to Zephyr recruiting.com, we have a welcome mat for your listeners. If they click on that, and there will be two articles. One is called Five secrets that this is the one and of course, we're talking about employees, not partners. The other one is eight key steps to ensure employee loyalty. It is not the money Honey, there's so much more. Then as a discount for anyone who would like to check out Zephyr and become a client, we will give a $500 off discount to anyone who comes to us within 30 days of airing of this podcast. Just so you know, we do a flat fee model to our service. We're extremely affordable for small business because that is who we're serving. So we're making it affordable for you.
Daniella Excellent. Well, so much value. I'm going to go download those two things right now. Just to reemphasize is that the first differentiator is a flat fee. You get everything that they're about all of this amazing value that you heard Erin talk about. Erin, last thing, what is the best way to connect with you on social media?
Erin We are on Facebook, and we're also on LinkedIn, we'll have those links in the show notes. But basically, Zephyr recruiting, if you just Google us. You'll find us and Zephyr is z p h y er, and it means a gentle breeze for anyone who doesn't know. Those are some of the best ways to reach us.
Daniella Perfect and again, all of the links for Erin everything she mentioned, the discounts etc, will all be available in the show notes. Those are found at www.cavnessHRblog.com. Well, Aaron, this conversation was so amazing. It flew by and thank you to our listeners and remember to be great every day.
Erin Awesome. Bye.