Mike “Batman” Cohen, CEO @Wayne Tech. How to retain your employee thanks to strong, unique and no bullshit company values.A-Players - The top startups' recipes to build teams of top performers
- 296 views
- 8 Jun 2022
In this episode, we talk with Mike Cohen, CEO at Wayne Tech, about employee retention.
And you’ll see that Mike is brutally honest. Mike talks a lot about it’s own company culture, and why he thinks that strong, unique, and no-bullshit values are the key to employee retention.
Here are some of the topics Mike developed:
-The Start-Stop-Continue rule
-What Gen Z is seeking in its job
-What does Church teach you about employee retention
-Why employee hours is bullshit
-Why being truly vulnerable is a game-changer
In the world of recruiting. Some people have seen it all. They build recruiting teams from the ground up, hired hundreds of people in the best companies in the world, developed their expertise year after year. I'm Robin Choi and I'm on a mission to collect their learnings. These are their stories. So Hi everyone. Today we're having the Batman of occurring, Mike Batman, Cohen and a players. And we won't be talking about sourcing, but we'll actually be talking about retention that is specific that we decided to address. Not to talk about sourcing but retention. So very happy to have you here today, Mike. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself and about why we picked that topic together?
Yeah, absolutely. I've been talking about sourcing at conferences for like four years now and it's important, right? Don't get me wrong. But I think one of the things that I've discovered is I'm moving from a source or to a business owner. Finally, since I've had the business for five years, about time is that while sourcing is important to find and hire the candidates for me, I found it's more important to look at retaining them because the cost of hiring and training is crazy, right? In our company, I hire entry level are very junior. And in order to get someone fully autonomous and productive is three months of training where my time or other senior folks on my team's time is now sucked up. So we have less time to do this stuff we're doing right. That's common in most companies. And therefore, if someone left after a year, that means we spent three months working on training this person and now have to redo that all over again. And so I've put a really strong focus on learning about leadership and human interaction and psychology of how people can relate and then translating that into actual tactical things that can be done professionally.
And you're talking about these three months training period that we're losing. But there is also the sourcing cost. And what's even more interesting is that we're in the sourcing industry with HireSweet. You are as well. And we all the time see people coming to reply, somebody who's living and had that person say they would have saved the sourcing cost. And there is not at all our incentive to say this. Right. We should push people to just lose their employees as fast as possible.
Yes. But ultimately right. I think you and I and part of the reason I was interested in connecting with you on this is I think we both have a passion and an interest in helping the community. And so as a result of that, I think our intention is to make sure people are making the best decisions for them. And one of those is like, hey, how can you treat your employees better? Or maybe not even treat them better, but what are some actions that you can take tactically to build these types of relationships. Right. I think when you and I were talking about this, Robin. Right. One of the things was like, how do we give people takeaways. Right. Because typically you hear people talk about this and like, you need to use empathy and be vulnerable. And I'm like, yeah, what does that mean, right? Like, yeah, cool. Right. You need to imply best human practices, like duh. How actually when I leave listening to this or finish reading this book or attending this talk, what am I going to do? What's going to be different tomorrow than today? And I think for me, I'm really excited talking about that and kind of like where this came from for me and then the evolution internally and kind of what that now looks like and what folks can do to implement some of these practices and stuff.
So there's a lot of ground to cover. And just had another recording with Mawulom on how to bring purpose in your talent acquisition team. So we focus on talent acquisition, but there is creating that type of self purpose that really helps with the involvement in the ownership and the team, the sense of belonging. Then there is the hiring process, there is the management. What does the one look like? The compensation, the benefits. So where do you want to start and where do you think everybody should start? What moves the needle the most?
Yes. I think understanding where the logic of what I'm going to share is coming from, like, the ground level and then delving into the evolution of how I got to where this is and realizing some of the things that work for me and Wayne Tech may not work for you. Right. Or may only work on your team, not necessarily a whole.org. And then discussing, okay, tactically, now what is it that I'm doing and what are the things that you can then do? Just mimicking what I'm doing. So this started for me two and a half years ago. I didn't realize at the time that there was a triggering event that stuck with me and I was helping plant a Church to start a new Church here in Texas. And one of the things we learned in the training of doing that is the number one reason why people stay with their Church despite bad leadership or things happening. And Robin, can you guess what that is? Number one reason people stay at their.
Church not to pay for sure.
Definitely not to pay. It's because it's where their friends are. Right. And so that stuck with me and started realizing I think there's something to that, because the number one reason why people are leaving their jobs as of 2021, MIT Sloan School of Business put out of study is a toxic culture, and most of that stems from bad management or being treated disrespectfully. And so what can we do to not ensure but to the best of our abilities create an environment where that is not the case for anyone. So fast forward a couple of years. I'm now starting to do a little bit more reading on leadership and a little bit more studying. And I wound up reading Patty McCord's book, She's Original CHR from Netflix and she talks about this radical feedback and open, transparent culture. Around the time I had read the article about and forgive me for not remembering his name, I think he was actually on the show. In his company, he implemented a minimum base pay of 70K for all employees and he dropped his own salary down to started reading about that and that type of transparency and then read a little bit about culture code.
And I'm really big in Renee Brown and started putting all these pieces together to realize the idea of retention, particularly with millennials and Gen Z, is not about money or Ping pong tables and kombucha on top. It's about blurring the lines between work and personal life. And this study that was done, I think was Harvard and they titled it the Self Complexity Theory. And this idea that we're moving into a world now that the separate areas of our life that have always been completely separated and walled off from each other mentally and emotionally are now starting to merge. And the Scientist, very funny. Gives an example in the paper about imagine going to a bar on your first date, seeing your parents and your College professionals. That's kind of where things are moving to, right? With this post, isolation, Gen Z more ubiquitous in the workforce. And so how do we deal with that? Can't throw money at the problem. That's what we've always done, right? Counter offers, counter offers don't work anymore with Gen Z and millennials. They don't care about what you're throwing at them. So here are the practices that we take internally.
And I'll start from the we say we need to hire somebody all the way through seasoned employee. There's a process that we follow and that we're constantly adjusting as we learn new things. So first, when we are hiring, I don't post jobs. It's not my jam. I do make a post on LinkedIn, like just an update. And I'm happy to share this with anybody. It's still out there on LinkedIn. My post is literally me talking about what it's like to work here and work for me, not like the, oh, here's what you're going to do and here's the tools that we use here is whatever, right? If you're doing a job, the job is not going to be like revolutionarily different company to company. What is the culture and what we stand for? And for me, right? We're a seven person startup. So what do people need to know? Well, they need to know that I am more of a visionary than a doer. I'm super disorganized. I can be really snarky at times. I love to change what we're doing our processes, I discover new things. I tend to build a Group Goldberg machines out of all of our processes.
So things like that and was brutally honest. Right. Like, I swear a ton in the post about like, hey, FYI, if the F word bothers you, this is not going to be the right effing place for you. So it's starting with just this radical transparency about what you're getting into. Yeah. Some of the good stuff I mentioned, and they're also like, here's the cool parts about working here. Here's the not cool parts about working here. And just leave me if that's cool with you, great. If it's not that's great too. We don't need everybody to want to work here. And so it's reaching out to the community with total honesty, transparency and vulnerability. From there, everybody winds up being a referral because it's not a job post. It's just a posting online right now, if you're listening to this and thinking to yourself, Well, I don't have that big of a following or I don't know if it would reach that many people just know you're awesome. I love you. That's your fault. Be more active in the community. Right. Step one, be active. Be a part of the community. Just exist in it. Step two, be okay.
Being vulnerable to your community. Right. And that's kind of what I'm practicing with this post. So then comes the interview process. So on average, I interview about 18 people, which is what it wound up being to hire somebody. This interview process is not for everyone, I can tell you. It is what people would call very aggressive. It's three rounds. The first round is with me. So it would be with the hiring manager or whatever company you're at. It is a complete transparency and vulnerability interview. The goal being to create safety and allow for vulnerability.
So you're showing vulnerability, right? You're not asking the candidate both ways.
Check this out. Yeah. Ready for this? This is wild. So first interview is with me. We schedule 45 minutes or an hour, whatever they have time for. Interview starts up small talk how things going, things like that, and just getting to see how people are feeling, what's going on in their world. And then it opens up saying, hey, I want you to take as much or as little time as you want. You can take the entire 45 minutes. I don't care. I'm not going to interrupt you. Tell me everything about you that you think I should know or could know that would be relevant in any way whatsoever. And they just talk. Some people talk for three minutes. Some people talk for 20 minutes. And it enables me to see what's important to them. Right. It's just like on a resume, the thing you list first is probably the thing you're best at or want the most. The thing you talk about first is probably the most important thing so people will start talking about their family growing up. Like, okay, I have an idea where their ideals are, people who talk about their job and their successes.
Okay? That gives me an idea of where they're at and figuring out what that looks like in our culture. So after they're done with that, I then open the floor and say, hey, you now have a chance to ask me. Me. Not Wayne tech, me, Batman. Any three questions that you want, they can be as personal, deep, vulnerable, uncomfortable, icky as you want them to be. And I promise, no matter what they are, I will answer them. And that gives me an idea of how their curiosity is, because curiosity is an important part of being a sourcer. Right? So some people ask to the like, if you could be any animal, what would you be? What sports did you play growing up? I'm like, all right, fine. Kirsten, who we hired, who goes by Hunter now, the question she asked me blew my mind, right? Her first question was, what's the most magical moment you've ever had in your life? And I was like, Whoa. I was like, shook. I need to take a second and go, what's the most magical moment? It really got me thinking. And I was like, wow, that's a really curious and inquisitive question.
So after we go through those three questions, and I'm like, hey, preparation time, we're going to go through two, maybe three, probably two vulnerability questions. These are designed to be super uncomfortable. I therefore am going to answer the question first. So you're not sitting on some vulnerability island with some guy you just met 20 minutes ago, and I ask really intrusive, uncomfortable questions, right? Like, what is the thing in your life that you've done that you regret having done the most, and why? And when people start out with like, oh, well, in my last job, I'm like, no, bullshit. No, absolutely not. You as a human being, it's the number one thing in this world that you've done ever well on this Earth that you regret was something business related. We're not on the same level. That's not going to work. Right? And I'll tell you, I think it was, like, 40% or just under 40% of the interviews. I tried doing three or four of them While sharing, like, my stories and questions people asked, and it enables me to see, yes, can you be vulnerable? How can you get there, right? And if you're thinking, oh, what if somebody can't be vulnerable?
Vulnerability doesn't look like crying for everybody. One of the guys I spoke to, I really was close to hiring such a great guy. Was a military veteran from the Marines, right? So he wasn't sobbing, breaking down, but I could tell that he was uncomfortable sharing and still willed himself to share anyway. And that tells me that you're okay being uncomfortable because sourcing and recruiting is uncomfortable.
That's also the question. So how do you connect this with the actual job? Because I understand the culture fits and I understand that probably in your own company you're being very transparent. You're looking for people that can be very transparent. I like the fact that you're being awkwardly transparent, almost so that's every value should have a drawback. It shouldn't be just oh, we are transparent, but it's all good about it. So I like the fact that you're being so much into this that it can be awkward and that you embrace it, that you can be uncomfortable. But also at some point you'll have to mix between the actual culture fits. Also probably and that's something that's more and more important is the culture ads. So do you want people that are only vulnerable, only people that will talk, or would you be open with somebody being shier and being more, less open? And that could also be an ad to the team? So that would be my first question. And the second question is how do you connect this with the actual skills that are required in the sourcing role?
So your first question, allowing for the idea of culture ad, which just my own thing, my own belief. I think culture fit and culture ad are these vague, ambiguous bullshit terms. I think at the end of the day what I'm looking for in somebody is for them to be a 51% match or higher with just general vibes on the team, but not more than an 80% match. Because I do want a little bit of difference in how they think about things or approach things. Now the areas that are non negotiable for me and this is what people need to establish on themselves. Vulnerability. Nonnegotiable have to be able to be uncomfortable and find comfort in that. Two have to be curious, period. Three have to be coming from a place of caring about other people. So those are my three non negotiable. Hence why some of the questions I ask lens like hey, how is this person going to do that? Why is that the case for me? My company and I believe companies and teams that should be a universal. But it's not our focused around a few core ideas. One is creating safety for all employees.
This is the core tenant behind inclusivity. And you can't have diversity without inclusivity. You just can't, right? I believe in radical inclusivity. If you don't believe me, here's my makeup ready. I'm a mid 30s white male. I'm basically the epitome of white privilege, right. My first hire was 20 years old. Home schooled, no College degree. Gen Z second hire, a young Jewish woman from New York, middle child. My fourth hire is a Mormon from Salt Lake City who is a father of two kids. My fifth hire is a young black gentleman from the south who grew up in a rougher neighborhood. His dad was in the army wind up living for five years over in Germany as a kid. Fifth hire was a single mom veteran. My 7th hire is an Asian American woman, wife of a veteran. And so if you're like diversity. Yeah, no, I get it. It starts with inclusion, not diversity. So create safety, allow for vulnerability, and then encourage it. Third, align, purpose, align the purpose of your team or your business with the purpose of that person, not the purpose of their role in your company. That is not who they are.
That is the thing they do. What is their purpose? What do they stand for, what they believe in? And if you can't line that up with your team or your company, you're going to lose that person at some point. You have to, because your purposes are not in alignment. And so one of the things we do is test for purpose and then collaborate. Almost forced collaboration, but at a level that feels supernatural. And I'll cover some of those. Right. So that's how I relate things back to the job now in terms of finding folks who are different. So H on my team, much more shy. Blue on my team, much more shy. Right. And so in the interview, that's totally cool. As I said, everybody shows their vulnerability and their curiosity in different ways, understanding their background. That first question gives me insight into, hey, where did they come from? Blue is a military brat who traveled around. H is a single mom and a veteran who travel around a ton. Well, that's going to lend to different personality types, different psychology makeups, different ways of analyzing information and sharing information. Okay, cool. I'm totally cool with that.
Do I want someone who is not open and doesn't want to get vulnerable or be uncomfortable? No, not at all. Because that's a core tenant for you.
And I agree they wouldn't want to join a company anyway. So what I like is, again, opinion, right? You're being opinionated and you embrace these opinions. And again, if it's not fine for the person interviewing, if they don't want to be opening up, if they're uncomfortable sharing, then they can join another company. That will be the opposite. So I like this as well, right? That's interesting. And I strongly believe a lot of people lack opinions. A lot of companies lack opinions. And that's also connected to the reason why companies can be interchangeable and why people can change companies so much, right?
Yes, because their purpose is left a little nebulous and vague so that they don't offend people or rub people. My whole goal is come as you are, truly come as you are. That was actually our churches like mottos, Come as you are. Here's the deal. You're either going to want to work here and it's going to be awesome fit or you're not. In which case, hey, that's totally cool. I still wish you the best, but we're not the right fit for people, right? I personally meet Batman. I'm not the right fit for most people, right? Take the number of people in the world who think swearing is unprofessional great. Those aren't the right fit immediately. They're not the right fit. Next move on. Right? So next is second round interviews done with two of the senior folks on my team. They get more into the tech pieces, right? Talk to me about your skill set. X and Y and Z and go into their background a little bit. But it's better coming from them because they're doing the job on a day to day basis and so they can ask more interesting questions because they've got some more insight.
Also, they were in that boat of being trained by me, so they know what that's going to look like. Now, this is going to rub some people the wrong way, and I'm just okay with that. So here we go. If you are hiring doctors, engineers, lawyers, general health care professionals, please disregard the following statement for everybody else I know you think your skills are super important. Ready? They're fucking not. You can teach anybody to do anything if they have the right human composition, intelligence, emotional intelligence, caring, a bit heart, et cetera, et cetera. So that whole thing where you're like, well, they need to have this many years. That's stupid. I'm telling you right now, whoever you are is listening to this. That is stupid. That's a dumb approach. I have taught people who are absolutely brilliant how to source, and I've taught people who were less intellectually stimulated how to source and very little difference in their capabilities. I've taught people who've been sourcing for five years. I've taught people who've been sourcing for zero years. Is there more ramp up time with the zero years? Sure. Is there more retention with the zero years?
Yeah. So it's a trade off. So don't tell me, like, this skill and not you, Robin, in general. Don't tell me, like, oh, well, how do you make sure that they're good enough to do the job? The hell does that mean? No one went to school for recruiting. That's not true. I met one person who did a source on the conference was wild. So I was like, Holy shit, you're the first person. But Besides that, none of us did. We all started somewhere. So unless you think you're shitty at the job, you started somewhere. Someone taught you your shit and you seem to be doing all right. So that's my snarky answer to that question, which is true. Also, the way that we work, I consider us to be very advanced sourcers. If I hired somebody who is excellent in the industry, if I hired, like Brian Fink from Twitter, it would still take him at least a month to ramp up. So final interview is a social happy hour, virtual. We're spread throughout the country and it is do not show up in any type of professional attire. I will be in gym shorts and a T shirt.
If you invite adult libations, please bring one. If you engage in other activities which are legal in the location you live in, have at it and come and just hang out with us. We hang out for an hour with zero agenda. And the goal is like, hey, are they a wall flower? Do they like to connect? Where do they sit? Right. And just get more about their idea? And then collectively as a company, we come together and talk through it. And then I make my decision. So now working at the company, there are some things that again, rub people the wrong way. My wife is horrified by this one. We have an open compensation policy. Everybody knows what everybody earns. My W two at the end of the year is public domain in the company. All my employees can look at my W two at the end of the year. And everybody knows what everybody else's base salary is and what their commissions and everything are, because I have nothing to hide. If you're paying people fairly for what they're worth, who cares? It eliminates the question of like, oh, I'm doing all this work.
What are they getting? What am I getting? What's Mike getting right? This company is doing XYZ in revenue guy. Here's what I'm earning. It's public knowledge. This actually share with everybody. I earn $120,000 a year. That's what I earn as a business owner. My goal, after profit distributions, everything at the end of the year to get as close to 200 as I can. But that's it. If we do 2 million. Also, my goal is still to get to 200. So transparency on that side, which is crazy. The training is super intense. I either fly people down to Houston to come for a week and train in person or under special circumstances. Here's looking at you blue. I fly to them if they're scared of flying. And we do hands on, face to face training and take them out and go do a thing and have fun and experience life together after that. First three months, one on ones. This is huge. Pat and Court, thank you so much for your listening. Somehow, one on one for the first three months or so are every week, one on ones go in this exact order. First, we start with a start stop.
Continue. What is a start stop? Continue. Great question. A start stop continue as we sit down and I have a spreadsheet for this. And most of the time, the employees do as well. And I tell them one thing I want them to start doing that they're not doing. One thing to stop doing, but they are doing and one thing to continue doing that they're doing already. There are rules to this. You cannot sugar coat. So a lot of times you want to be like, well, you're doing a great job. But no, I want you to start doing boom. So you share those three things the receiving person repeats back, hey, here's what I heard for stop, start, continue. And then they can ask clarifying questions. That's it. You can't defend yourself. You can't give explanations. You can just ask some questions and then you're done. And then here's the fun part. They then do that to me. So if you can imagine you've been working for five days and you are now having a one on one with the founder of a company who's telling you, you have to tell me something you want me to start doing.
Stop doing and continue doing with no sugar coating. Just tell me, Mike. I want you to stop doing X and Y and Z. Okay, cool. And we write all of them down. So I have documents from when the kiosk started two and a half years ago, his first week as a 20 year old, I want to call him kid, a 20 year old gentleman telling me to start and stop something. And I have a full list, and they have a full list. So we get in both directions, and then when we connect, we look back after we share with each other at some of our starts and stops from recent weeks and go, hey, how are we doing with us? Hey, you told me to stop doing this. How am I doing? Are you good? Yeah. Okay. Awesome. And we go through that. It creates safety and allows for radical feedback.
Can you give a few examples of start stops and continue that you received yourself?
I sure can. I'm literally pulling them up right now. I got some really good ones. So, Nikayo, this was in his first week, remember, he was 20 years old. Zero experience. Stop being so late. His actuality is an issue for me. The second week, his stop was stop squirreling and wasting time. He doesn't like to get too far behind. And I take too many tangents. For too long, he was giving me this information, and then a few weeks later, his start was start being more mindful of how snarky I am in my writing. He fears it will lose clients. Right. And so they're super direct. This is not like, hey, start taking good care of yourself or like, hey, stop beating up on yourself. This is like, boom, like right between the eyes. And you just start doing this and you just stop doing this. And then, hey, you're doing this thing. Keep doing that. That's awesome. So it's super direct, super uncomfortable in the beginning for most people, but it does create that idea of, like, a safe place and radical honesty in that. One on one, we then go to successes and opportunities for growth.
So, hey, Robin, since the last time we spoke, what are one or two things you feel you've been pretty successful at, and what are one or two opportunities for growth that you have. So get people thinking about, hey, what am I doing? Well, because people glaze over that. They'll look right at their flaws, but not like, hey, you know what? I've actually improved on this thing. That's awesome, right? And all of this, by the way, is written down every single note in a spreadsheet. And I can share this with anybody who wants it, all of them. And then after we're done, I look at their opportunities for growth in the past few weeks or past few meetings. I'm like, hey, how are you doing with this? Then? I write notes down on that also, and we just talk about it really open. Like, okay, great. Hey, what's our game plan? What can we do next? We move to professional goals. This is not that bullshit. I want to make three placements a quarter, and I want to increase my turn rates. Do the job. I'm assuming you're doing the job. If not, that should come up in another conversation.
This is what do you want, Robin? What do you want professionally? What's your goal? Take Wanet out of the equation. What do you want? Right. I want to earn one hundred K. I want to manage people. I want to talk at five conferences a year. I want to be a published author. I want any of these things. Our professional goals. Great. Write them down. And then the column next to them, I have my notes column. And every single time we talk, I touch on that goal unless it's been completed. Hey, you said you want to make 100K awesome. What are we doing about that? How are we advancing this? What can we do to set up that path? So we're creating accountability, but we're also creating alignment of purpose. I want to speak at five conferences. Awesome. First off, that's awesome. That's totally cool. You're not afraid of public speaking. Second, it's brand building. Third, it supports both them and the company. Great. How do we do that? Let's actually set up a game plan. Let's just not list a goal, but, like, together. What can I do to help you achieve that goal? And then what can you do?
Proactively to achieve that goal. Awesome. Boom. We go through that every time. Where are we at? What have we done? Where are we at? What have we done? Then we move on to personal goals. What do you want to do in life? It's important to you. So somebody on my team had said early on, like, hey, I want to run half marathon in under an eight minute per mile pace. Hey, what are you doing about that? How's your training going? Right? Every time we talk, hey, I know you're still working on that. How's your training going? Oh, I'm up to 5 miles at a seven minute pace. Oh, crap. That's awesome, right? And then next time. Hey, I know last time you were at a seven minute pace for 5 miles. Like where you at now, right? Touching base again. It creates alignment as a person because I genuinely care. I care about my folks. And if you don't stop managing people and it also creates accountability, but healthy accountability where you've got somebody in your corner and that's what you want to be as a leader. You want to be in other people's corners.
You want to be a servant leader. I don't want you to follow me because I'm telling you to follow me. I want you to follow me because when you look, you go, hey, this person has got my back. This person knows what I want and is supporting me in doing that. This person is somebody that I aspire to be more like in certain ways, certain areas. That's the idea of leadership on that side. And then you've got so now you've got your one on one. So that's what they look like. We have a team call every day in the morning that starts off the same way every morning. Hey, we're going one person by one person. How's your night? How's your day yesterday? What's going on? How are you feeling? Right. And it really is like, oh, last time I did XNY and Z, I'm really tired this morning, but, oh, I'm really excited. I'm doing this thing right. And that's how we start. Then we go into the business of what we have for that day. It's just like our scrum call, right? We do not have hours. So I'm going to say that one more time.
We do not have hours. If you have hours for your employees, stop it. They have meetings. They have to be at, period. End of story. You have to be in a meeting. Okay, cool. That makes sense. Why do you care if they're working it from two to four in the afternoon or eight to ten at night? Why do you care? What's the difference? Will they have to be available for a meeting? Yeah, we discussed that already. We'd have to be in the meeting. Done next. So why does it matter? We need 40 hours a week. Why? That's dumb. That's a dumb thing to ask for. They have a job to do. They have a business problem that needs a solution. They should be solving the business problem. If they can do that shit in 20 hours, great. Good for them. Either they should be getting a promotion in some way. We should be aligning ourselves with other things. We can give them to advance them personally and professionally, or you're going to wind up losing that person. They're going to do something else for 20 hours a week and eventually take that over. Right. So the hours piece not important.
It's a BS thing, a construct we created 100 years ago that we're still living up to for some reason. This idea of PTO is another thing. Unlimited PTO just makes sense. I want folks to feel empowered to do stuff. If you've got kids events you want to do on a Thursday, it's an all day thing. Just go do it. Just go do it. Get your stuff done. Right. That should be our expectation. Not working hard and sleeping under your desk and killing yourself for the job. That may be required at some time, but only to get your stuff done. It's the other reason I don't believe in paying people hourly. You are encouraging mediocrity at best. If it takes me 40 hours to do a job, whatever that job is, what's my incentive for getting more efficient? Because I get more efficient. It just means I have to do more work to make the same amount of money. If I can do that exact same job, same quality in 30 hours, I now just made 25% less money because I got better at a job. So you're not encouraging people to get better and to do better.
You're encouraging people to take their time doing their job. That doesn't make sense to me. Right? That idea of being deliverable based is where I think things are going. It's why the gig economy, I think is so interesting to me personally. So it takes care of hours. The next is metrics. So this is interesting. People always ask me, like, what metrics do you have for your staff? I don't. What do I track? I track everything. I track everything. How many profiles did you look at to deliver that amount? What's your response rate on your messaging? What's your client rejection rate? I look at all of that. Right. What are your bullying strengths look like? How many platforms are you saying? All of it. What do I hold them to for metrics? None of it doesn't make sense. The second you hold somebody to metrics for number of profiles viewed, number of candidates message, number of phone screens, got number of submissions, number of placements, you are giving someone a minimal effort. Meaning, Robin, if you do X and Y and Z, you get an A, you get a gold star. What's your incentive for doing more than that or getting better?
You hit your goal. You hit your target. Good job. There are people who naturally will strive to do more than that. And if your answer is Those are the people I want. Get a fucking line. You and everybody else. You know how you avoid that? Don't give people metrics. Instead, you track them yourself. And when you see things like turn rates that don't make sense, have a meeting. I noticed that for this last sprint, you did this last role that you worked on, right? You had to look at 20 profiles to deliver 100 to messaging. It's a rough turn, right? Let's look at that. How can I help you? Which leads to the idea of what I believe to be leadership and management. I have a firm belief that if you care about the company and team and what we do, and you are working hard, which is different for everybody. You're working hard. You're really trying. If you are not seeing success, that's my fault. I'm the leader. It's my responsibility to ensure that you are seeing success. Whether that's through training differently, whether that's through providing different types of tools or different types of processes.
Do not tell me that you care about diversity and inclusion and then train and treat everybody the same. There are people on my team who are math minded, and I get to teach them bullying exactly how I do it. I'm a math goober, and guess what? They get it. They're like, oh, boops, like Pendos. Great. Tire this over this done right. Nesting easy. There are other people who aren't and I've had to painstakingly at times come up with other ways of teaching this. And if your answer is either I shouldn't have to do that or I don't have time to do that, then stop talking about diversity and inclusion. Bullshit. You're spouting bullshit. Don't do that. If you actually care, you need to treat each person as an individual, which means if they're not seeing success, it is your fault. Unless they don't care about the job or they're not really working hard. Those two things are on them. You got to sort that out, right? Otherwise, that's a you thing as a leader. Figure it out. That's your fault. And that's hard for people to swallow because they don't want to they don't want to swallow that bit as a leader.
Right. They want to give people their job and they just go do that. And everybody should get this and everybody should be the same, but they're not. So that's the next piece. We also do off sites. So we do three offsites a year where I fly everybody on the team to a location, a neutral location typically, and we either rent hotel rooms or get a huge Airbnb. And we spend a few days together and we read a book beforehand. So we have one coming up in two weeks. We're going to Mexico and we are all reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. And what we do when we get there, they hang out, see each other grabbing, but we're going to get together. And I create a game plan built around the lessons from that book. So on this one, right? I've got everybody's goals that they have. Well, great. Guess what? I'm going to create a project or a process, a game almost, where we talk about like one or two of our goals, which I'll call out for everybody. Hey, what are the habits that we're going to create? How are we going to do that?
Let's go through this process that James Clear writes about and let's actually delve into this, but do it together. Right? Live. Let's talk about it and give each other help and advice and feedback while we go through that's a whole day right there. We spend half of another day, if not last time, an entire day doing a vulnerability exercise. This is super uncomfortable. If people thought the interview was uncomfortable, this is at a whole another level. We have had every single person have a really emotional moment every time we've done this, because it gets to the core of who we are and why we do things the way we do them. And if you're thinking, shouldn't we be talking about the job and everything? No, you should not. I mean, yeah, sure. At some point, that'd be a great idea. We do that the last day. But I want to know who you are and not like, oh, I'm like, I teach indoor cycling, and people call me Batman. I'm married, I live in Texas. Cool. Yeah. Those are things you do, right? What makes you you? I struggle with addiction. This is a known thing, right?
I've been in a twelve step program for over five years. How does that show up for me? Well, I find myself with imposter syndrome fairly often. I find myself putting a mask on, trying to pretend to be this thing I'm not so that people will like me and I can feel worthy. And we talk about these deep things to support each other, to gain understanding with each other and further that feeling of safety. It also creates inter team alignment. Everybody knows everybody's shit. They're real shit. Not the surface level. Right? Like I'm afraid of bees. Okay, fine. What's my actual biggest fear in the world? Biggest fear that guides almost all of my actions. I'm afraid that I'm unworthy of love, and then I'm going to die alone. Guides most of my actions. Guess what? My team knows that. And they can tell when I'm doing something that's based off of that fear. And they can reach out and say, a guy in my team is really good about this, reaching out and saying, Are you okay? What's going on? I'm just like, no, I'm not. I'm really overwhelmed and whatever that is. So the vulnerability exercises are great.
And then we talk about business. Typically on the last day or last day and a half, we're just going over, hey, here's where we're at. Here's where we want to be. What advice do we have? What can we do? Process wise to change in the future. Yes. So it's our off site. And then the very last piece. I know we're almost at time. Sorry, the very last piece. And this is for all leaders listening to this. Be vulnerable. Be uncomfortably vulnerable. I share with my team our finances, how's our company doing. Literally direct finances. Here's where we're at for revenue, here's where we're at for our expenses. Here's what our budget looks like. And I'm also the first one to come to the table and say, hey, I'm really overwhelmed. Yes, I'm really stressed out. I don't know what to do. It's not a sign of weakness. It's a sign of strength. Being able to identify that and let people know I'm not looking for their help. I'm not looking for them to jump in and save me. I'm just letting them know where I'm at. Renee Brown says, stand up, allow yourself to be seen, and stand your sacred ground.
I believe in that as a leader.
Good. Final words. Thank you, Mike. So what I will remember from this is that you have very strong values in your company. For you, it's transparency, vulnerability. It's bringing your whole self to work. As with Kim, Scott said, we had another episode as well to talk about radical candor. So it's a lot about radical candor as well. And you embrace this and you embrace this from the first interview to everything that's happening then in the company. What I don't want people to do, though, is just say, okay, we're going to be doing like Mike, and we're having those start stop and continue, and we'll be doing this in the interview in the upside, because that is you. And that's also why it's powerful. Right. And that's also why retention works. And every company needs to find their own very strong values aligned with these values. From the first interview, the first step, the first touch point with the company for you was the LinkedIn post where you explain what it means to be working at your company until well after you join the company. Right. And if we kept talking about that, I'm pretty sure that you would talk about offboarding processes when somebody leaves the company and then they do.
I wouldn't. I don't know what that's like. I haven't had anybody, but I would.
Expect that's how you would do it. And I understand now, and that's what the companies listening to us need to understand is also somehow comes down to the employer brand, but not some kind of bullshit word that the actual employer brand was, what are you doing? What's your purpose at the company? And assume that and embrace it and show this in everything that you do from the first touch point to the upside, et cetera. So would you agree with that? And would you agree that companies need not to take your tips and your strategies and apply this in their own, but rather think about the process and how you came about these very tactical things. But think about how it stemmed from your values, about transparency, vulnerability, about also your own experience as a person. Right?
Yeah, I think that's the only caveat to that, Robin, is the one on ones with some variance for you and your culture. But that should be a part of your culture in some way because it allows for feedback and growth and alignment. It does not have to be exact. But like Robin, you nailed it. You can't take what somebody else does as their authentic self and say, oh they're getting really good results. I want to do I'm getting really good results because it's who I am. Who are you as a person? Do that great.
Absolutely, Robin. This is awesome, man. Thanks for having me.
Hey there. This is Robin. Most of our listeners come from word of mouth so thanks a lot for your support and if you enjoyed a players, please keep on sharing it with your team and friends. Stay tuned for the next episode and if you can't wait, follow me on LinkedIn for more content on recruiting talk to you next week.