Creating a Killer Corporate Culture and a Growth Mindset

Here is the transcript of the Tech Tuesday podcast from August 10th.  Lots of great value bombs from our host, Steve Edwards, and our panelists: (Please note: this was transcribed from the audio which is why you will find inconsistencies in grammar and punctuation).

STEVE: All right, welcome, and thank you. We’re thrilled to have everybody join us today. Tuesday is the scheduled video panel discussion that we turn into a podcast. We have some great panelists here today (to discuss corporate culture and a growth mindset). Sometimes staying on top is just harder than getting there. We’ve all seen companies go from startup success, but (how) often have they been able to sustain that or not get there? So we’re going to start with our panelists, introduce themselves.

My name is Steve Edwards.  I’m the CEO of Premier Virtual. We are a startup that is here in Delray Beach, Florida. But we’ve been around in business for 10 years as we switched over our business model two years ago to virtual. And here we are now in 2021  where virtual is the new norm. So let’s start with Kristin Gallup, she’s a marketing manager at  Johnson Controls and involved in women in HVAC.  Kristen, can you give us a quick little introduction of yourself?

KRISTEN: Sure. Steve, thanks for having me. I am an innovative marketing professional who helps our contractors grow their businesses. I have spent, gosh, the last 14 years in various marketing and operations roles with several Fortune 500 companies. So thanks for having me, Steve.

STEVE: All right. Thank you. Welcome. Next up, Barry is an entrepreneur for time author and corporate culture. Barry, can you give us a quick little intro?

BARRY: The quick intro started out as an educator, became a school principal, became a teacher at Santa Fe Community College, then at the University of Florida. And then I gave that all up to enter the business world. A long time ago, my partners and I built a very, very successful seventy-five million dollar company that we sold in nineteen seventy-eight. Since then what I do is, I do my best to inspire and empower others to reach their full potentials, whether they’re individuals or companies.

STEVE: All right, well, welcome. We have one more panel that will be joining, she’s not logged in yet, but I’ll join in. Joy McAdams is an entrepreneur, an Ironman, and an online influencer. So let’s get started. Let’s start with Kristen. But, you know, obviously, with all of the questions, I want the panelists to be able to be open and kind of talk about them as well. You know, Kristen what role does brand identity and corporate culture play in hiring decisions?

KRISTEN:  It plays a huge role, so it’s not just about the monetary job or the financial benefits of the company culture is it really has become a deciding factor for many candidates. Right. When you think about companies with strong brand identities and welcoming, corporate culture helps to attract and retain top talent. So candidates who are looking for companies that are progressive and they display understandings of the organization’s core values and their vision during the interview process are probably more likely to be long term employees.

So but I would say the biggest thing is your employee is your best friend and ambassador’s rank. They go all-in on the corporate culture and they extoll the virtues of the organization in all their encounters. So when you think about a corporation and its culture and how costly attrition can be, it’s really vital to have your organization’s company culture seen in a positive, healthy, and clearly communicated light as part of your hiring strategy.

BARRY: Yeah, and I would say I would jump in and I would say Kristen that everything you said is spot on. You know, when I think about it, when I see corporate culture, I look at it as a reflection of what the organization actually stands for. It’s sort of a voice for your business. And in today’s world, it isn’t just whether a candidate can come on board and do a job, it’s whether or not they fit in with that culture that’s been created and a strong, positive culture.

Certainly, as you were saying, you have a much greater chance of retention.

KRISTEN: And wouldn’t you say, Barry, that it’s a constant evolution like as you’re forming these cultures, it’s forever changing?

BARRY: I would hope so, because, you know, back in the day when my partners are building a business that was better than people would think about a five-year plan, a ten-year plan, and but that has changed dramatically. I think that that in today’s world, it’s all about change. Jack Welch once said a long time ago that whatever got you to where you are today, that’s not enough to keep you there. And so I agree with you.

And just like companies have to be agile and shift, I think that the culture also has to be agile and shift. I think that we’ve gone from the Industrial Revolution to now, which is all I think any corporate culture of positive corporate culture has to be about humanity. It has to have a strong why as to why those people want to work there, why they are working there, what they can do to contribute. So I’m one hundred percent agreement with you.

It’s always changing.

STEVE: You know, I think the same thing, you know, and I was actually another thing I want to talk about is work our culture and we kind of got to that a little early. But, you know, how do you think a company can build their brand and build their culture? Because we know so many organizations struggle with that. What do you think? Kind of throw it to you first, Barry. How do you think a company can create those two things?

BARRY: Well.

Let’s start with this and it starts with the top. OK, what’s the vision, the values of that person that has started this company? And then when you take it from there, it’s you know, and a leader in a company is either a man or a woman. And they have this incredible vision, but they also have the ability to articulate that vision so powerfully that everybody on the team gets the same vision, and so I think it’s strongly it’s about trust, it’s about humanity, it’s about communication, it’s about collaboration.

And it’s and it’s as Kristen said, it’s about being agile and being ready to change because things change as you go. But definitely, the corporate culture starts from the top.

STEVE: And how important do you think it is to be ranked in a top place to work for?

BARRY: I’ll jump in and tell you that companies that have been voted best places to work outperform people in their industries on an average of 20 plus percent. So, I mean, I’m one of these guys that loves all the good stuff, but I also like bottom-line stuff. And when we talk about a 20 percent increase in productivity and customer satisfaction in money that is returned to the stakeholders, not specifically just the shareholders. And oftentimes companies get I think they lose sight of who they should really be working with.

And for it’s about the stakeholders. It’s about all the employees that work with you. It’s about all of your customers. If you take care of all of those stakeholders, then you don’t even have to worry about the shareholders because the shareholders are going to get that return on their investment because you’re taking care of the stakeholders.

STEVE: And a lot of that taking care of the stakeholders takes care of the shareholders. I’m stealing that line, Barry, I love you, man. We talk about that a lot here. And, you know, when my business partner and I, when we built this organization and we went through back in twenty eighteen, we were a company that put on the in-person job fair. So we were doing that for nine years and we were very successful and we loved it.

But things were changing in the world. So we had to kind of look at something and we switched our business model from in-person to doing virtual events. And then we switched our business model again back in twenty nineteen instead of putting on events to license our software. So it was two big changes, but we went from a very small organization to now we have 30 on our team here and culture was very important to me right in the brand identity was out there and we’ve tried to build a culture and you talked about it from top-down.

It’s kind of our vision, my vision, Gary’s vision down to everybody that we hire in just in the interviewing process that we have. And we built the new office here in Delray, and the first thing I did is I ripped out the conference room and I put a gym in there. So we have a beautiful gym. So when people come in, if they want to work out, they can work out. Then we went in and we built a beautiful shower in there.

So now people want to come in early. They want to stay late. It’s just little things that we have. And I mentioned the thing about working for and you get a lot of these great emails out there about different things to be involved with. Well, Florida Trend magazine, we just got ranked as one of the top 100 places to work for. We were number 16 in Florida to work for, and that was very important to us because of the surveys that our team got ranked us where we’re at.

So we feel that as the recruiting, our brand identity and being able to have that culture fit is very important to just us individually. So I’m glad to hear kind of what Kristin and Joy, what you both said is kind of my mindset as well.

KRISTEN: So and Steve, when you think about how many hours you spend at your job, you spend in some instances more time on your job than you do with your family. And so that’s why it’s super important to have that positive culture.

STEVE: Absolutely. And, you know, take covid political-religious people to have different thoughts about everything out there. But when they come in here, they come in here to work. Right. And they come in here to have fun. And, you know, it’s one of these things that I look at it. And when I heard this the other day from the manager at my age and he’s like, you know, people in our community, they have different beliefs and they do not like each other.

But the one thing that they all have in common is that they want their houses to value to go up. And I kind of look at that. When he told me that, I said, you know, that’s kind of the same mindset at work, too, is you can have different beliefs and everything. But when our team comes in here, they have one goal in. Our number one goal is to make our clients happy. You know, Barry, you talk about stakeholders, and I believe as you make your clients happy, you never have to sell.

You know, and we do so much for our organizations that are our clients as well, because that’s such a key, key thing, like you talk to stakeholders and everything.

BARRY: So, Steve, I love to throw something in there. Look, I love what you’re doing for your employees. The fact that they have a gym that you put a shower in, that’s a great benefit. But I will tell you, those added little benefits, in the long run, that’s not what’s going to keep people there. It’s not going to be the ping pong tables, the foosball tables, the snack bar, the showers, the gyms.

It’s going to be how we treat the people that work with us. It’s going to be about what we accept in the workplace, because as leaders of companies, as managers, if you want to have a great company culture, people need to know what your values are. If you don’t ever state your values, you really are not telling them what the why is. Why are you doing things the way you do? Why do you believe the things that you’re doing?

Why should we do things this way? Why it matters what we do. Too often people hire a new employee and they tell them, here’s what your job is instead of telling them, here’s what your job is, here’s how you do your job. We’re going to help you if you have any challenges along the way. Here’s why. Doing your job right has a huge impact. I mean, look at your company. Thirty people, each person on your team.

The reason it’s one of the main reasons that what they do is or why is that they’re not just responsible for them. They’re responsible for the other twenty-nine people in their families that work with you. And then, of course, I think that in business. We always have to understand that no matter what, there’s we have to measure the execution of the plan. And Christian, I would love your feedback on this because I’ve always had a philosophy and my and my company, because I learned a lesson the really hard way, is that sometimes we have somebody on our team.

And I’m going to give you my example. We had somebody that was our number one salesperson in the United States. This person, unfortunately. Created a really nasty habit of abusing substances, and so this person would show up at work every day and they do a great job for four hours, then they would pass out and I would have this conversation with my partners that this doesn’t go along with our values. This doesn’t go along with who we say what we are.

My partner going, no, you can’t fire her. You can’t fire her. Well, we tried to get her help. We offered counseling. All that never worked out. Long story short, we let her go, even though she was our number one salesperson and our sales skyrocketed after she was gone. So it’s we have to understand that the people that we hire, 95 percent of our success are who those people and as leaders in creating a corporate culture, we have to make sure that we are living that culture, those values that we profess to have in our business because if we don’t, the employees see through it.

And if you look at the statistics, sixty-four percent of employees feel that their companies don’t have a good corporate culture. And when you don’t have a good corporate, good corporate culture, what is the bottom line to everybody else in the company? Well, basically, it’s about 30 for the cost of a disengaged employee is 30, 40 percent of their salary. So we’re having a culture where you take care of people, you promote the people, you value, the people.

You tell them what they need to do, how to do it, why they’re doing it, and measure what they do. You end up having a culture that survives and thrives. Rather, it’s all these things, not just those little perks of like a shower or a gym and all that. So I just share that with you. That’s my experience.

STEVE: You’re 100 percent right. I mean, it’s more than that. Those are little small things out there. But it’s, you know, getting the people together, getting people to respect each other as well. So there’s so much more than just the gym. You’re absolutely you’re 100 percent right, Joy. Welcome, Joy. But can you give a quick little 30-second intro to who Joy is?

JOY: Sure. And I was excited about the gym, but I thought that was awesome. That’s great that you guys do that because I think it shows that you care about, you know, the advancement and the growth of your employees. So, you know, there are so many great points here that Barry made as well. So anyway, not sure what happened when I was just trying to log on here, but I, I work in the field of medicine.

That’s my business. I help achieve a growth mindset for medical practices to help them grow, increase their patient volume and all that type of thing in tech is a big part of, you know, making giving them that patient satisfaction as well. I’m also an Ironman competitor, so really big on endurance and pushing your body and mind to continue to grow. So all of that wrapped together. I, I love stressing the growth mindset.

STEVE: So before we get anything else, just tell me, Joy, what’s it like to train for an ironman?

JOY: It’s it’s challenging. It’s challenging because it’s you against you and it’s really you against your mind. And so much of that has translated over to help me as I’ve grown physically, as I’ve grown mentally. It’s helped me professionally as well, because that same grit, determination, you know, pushing through the pain that we’ve all faced in building a business, you know, facing the struggles, especially that COVID threw our ways at all. You know, it all comes together if you can put that in yourself.  And nothing challenges you more than physical. You can’t you can’t escape that. You have to step up to the plate.

STEVE: I love that. Are you against your mind? You know, I say people every morning you have a choice. You wake up and you have a choice. Are you going to work hard or are you going to be lazy? And I think people have choices to be able to do that. So great to hear that. You know, Joy, quick question. How do you make it relevant to different generations in one workplace?

JOY: Being willing to be encouraged that that diversity and the curiosity and the different perspectives, I think like like we were saying, you know, the growth mindset has to come from the top. And if you have someone at the top that is set in their ways and is not open to this next generation and their ideas and their ways of doing things, there’s going to be an issue. I know it’s more than one word, but it’s I think just encouraging that that diversity and thinking and approaches

STEVE:  You talked a lot about workplace culture.  What do you think is the number one thing that an organization I’m going to ask all three of you, this is the number one thing an organization can do to create a great workplace culture.

BARRY: Probably just one thing, I’m going to go with psychological safety for the people that work there.

STEVE: OK, let’s dig into that a little bit. Tell the audience out there. What do you mean by that and how would they do that?

BARRY: People, I believe, want to be in a place where they’re not going to be bullied. They’re not going to be shut down, where they can trust the leaders, where the company’s values and the people that work there have integrity. And I may have I don’t know if I said it, but I’ll say it again. Honesty is key. Transparency, communication, collaboration. So when you have psychological safety, leaders in the company are making it a place, a safe place for the people that work with them to be able to speak.

Not just to the leaders, but to anybody in the company that they’re respected for, who they are, what their contributions are, and they understand that there’s not just one way to do things. You know, the worst thing that a company can say is that’s not how we do things here. OK, because if that’s your mindset and I know the Joy’s great on this mindset. And by the way, Joy, you jumped in just a little bit after.

I’m all for gyms in the workplace. I, I had one in my business. I just I’m just saying that’s not all we need to have a great company culture, but mindset’s what it’s all about. And I think we have to create a place where we invite, we inspire. We empower people to speak up, to feel safe, to say and try things, to be willing to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. You know, anybody and everybody makes mistakes.

It’s whether we learn from them. If you make the same mistake over and over again, that’s a choice. All right. But everybody makes a mistake. And so I think psychological safety to me is the key to creating an amazing company culture where people literally feel safe, where they work and they trust you.

STEVE: And that is great feedback, thank you for going a little bit more into detail and to touch on what you said previous to that, you know, getting rid of the top salesperson. How difficult was that when you had to make that decision?

BARRY: Well, going back to the psychological safety, it becomes a thing of if you have this one salesperson, one person on the sales team, out of twenty-one salespeople in this person’s coming in every day and passing out because of the drugs that she abused the day before, the night before. What is the message that I’m sending to the other 20 salespeople? What’s the message that I’m saying about the values that we stand for our guiding principles that we stand for?

And so was it difficult? Yes, because my partners, all they saw was the money that this person was bringing in. And my view of it was it’s my job to do everything that I can do to help this person. But if they refuse to accept that help, I mean, we offered for her to go check herself in for three months. Her job will still be there, will still pay her. She wouldn’t take it because she said, I don’t have a problem.

My belief is that every company has a bad apple in it. Sorry, OK. But I do believe every company and they’re very they’re well hidden these bad apples. And there are people that really don’t believe in the company culture. The company values the why of the company and they behind the scenes are trying to get people to see things the way that they do. Allowing somebody that is passing out of their desk every day and doing nothing about it.  It was a very bad message to send. So in the end, it was a very easy decision

STEVE: And that’s why I wanted to tie it back into what you said about psychological safety. You know, it seems like you’re catering towards the one person that top sales rep. And I think every organization goes through that and they have it. But you’re affecting all of these other people. And what happened as soon as you let that person go, your salesman because now you’re protecting those other people that are out there and you’re doing the right thing for everybody else.

So, Kristin, what about you? What do you think is the one thing that you would say that could help organizations improve their workforce culture?

KRISTEN: So my first one was a safe environment as well, so, Barry, thanks for covering that. But I would say the second thing is listening and seeking to understand because I think a lot of times employees voice their concerns or they’re trying to understand the culture and they ask questions. And depending on where somebody is, emotional intelligence is or the lens in which they’re interpreting what somebody’s saying, I think that there is sometimes a breakdown in communication. So it’s asking the right questions to make sure that you understand what those challenges are and how they can help form that culture and work through those challenges.

STEVE: Now, you said listen and seek to understand, and we know the way that people can be talked to. Different generational ages will say, how do you think where you know, I don’t say if it’s right or wrong. I have people that work for me that are all ages right from twenty-one years old, up to mid-50s. So to me, that doesn’t matter. I listen to everybody, but a lot of organizations have a challenge with millennials and Gen Zs that come in and say, you have to do it my way.

How do you think an organization can work with the different aspects of the age and still be able to listen and seek to understand and build a good culture?

KRISTEN: Yeah, so I think it’s about embracing the differences because you’ve got baby boomers, the Gen Z or the Gen Xers, the Millennials. And like you said, they all communicate in a different manner. And so I think it’s it. I think it’s you need to take a look at the employees as individuals and I think, you know, fostering your communications to kind of curtail to how they interpret things or how they, you know, how they communicate helps with shifting their mindset, right?

So you’re not going to attack, you’re not going to attack communication with a millennial the same way you would with a baby boomer, because, again, they’re interpreting it from a different lens.

STEVE: I see that in the way that I can talk to my development team, in the way that I can talk to my sales team. I have to talk in two completely different ways.

KRISTEN: So this is tone, right? Sometimes it’s the tone or how you ask a question and it’s the way they interpret it. Like if you’re you’re questioning how they’re doing something or maybe there is a better avenue in which they should do it. I think, again, it goes back to understanding your audience and how they communicate and sometimes curtailing that message so that they understand what needs to be executed.

STEVE: Well, understand the audience. I think that is key. So, Joy, what do you think the one number one thing is to kind of improve the workplace culture?

JOY: I absolutely say flexibility, and I think that is in. Cut big way. And when you see that healthy collaboration, because there’s no such thing as balance but a healthy collaboration between our work, family life, and health, they are going to be so much happier. They’re going to be so much more productive and ask any mom. I mean, she would be more than willing to work an extra hour or two if it means she has the flexibility to be at that school meeting, to be at that school field trip, you know, that type of thing.

They’ll bend over backward if they know that they can be at those things that are important. And it just makes for such so much more productive because you know, that, like we were saying from the top, that it also has psychological benefits, big ones as Barry referenced. So I think that for me would be one of the biggest ones.

STEVE: I’m going to go completely off topic right here because you mentioned it. Right. Like, I know my wife wants to be there for everything, for my kids and stuff like that, and she’ll do exactly that.

Remote work in office or hybrid? What are you seeing out there and what do you see as kind of the future of that?

JOY: I think I really like the hybrid because you still need to be able to come back together. There’s nothing like face to face. There’s nothing like that team, you know, having that team and, you know, even Zoom can’t quite capture that. We just recently had a conference for one of my clients. And just to be face to face, there’s a huge difference, even though we’ve been doing Zoom calls for months now. But I think a hybrid is a good balance of that.

STEVE: I love that you said that kind of leads in, you know, Barry you’ve owned some companies. You saw the company. You know you sold the original company in 1978 before Zoom was around. But how do you see Zoom as building a culture? Can you build a culture around Zoom and those types of virtual events?

BARRY: This is sort of a trick question, isn’t it?

STEVE: Right. So that’s what I’m here for. I’m not here for the software.

BARRY: If I take my magic crystal ball, what I’ll say. First of all, I’m in agreement with what Joy said. I, I think that’s sort of a blend, you know, where there are people who can work from home as well as being the office. I think we have a natural tendency as human beings to like that interaction face to face with other human beings. I look at my wife who works for this major corporation, and she’s been working from home now for well over a year and a half, and she works longer hours than she did when she went to the office, you know, so if you’re dedicated.

But I think it would be a great relief for her if there were those days where she had one or two days, three days a week, where she’s in the office and she has that human interaction. So what do I think about Zoom for creating cultures? I think it takes a lot. It’s going to take a lot of work from leadership to make that work. And I think what I mean by that is that it’s not just assigning to people what they need to do, but I think it’s also making sure that you’re giving people the chance to express their challenges.

I have this big belief, whether it’s in your office or whether you are virtual. I believe that what leaders need to do is have to have these what I like to call impact meetings and the managers in each department. So if you are a manager of sales, that manager should have a ten-minute to 15-minute meeting with each of his team, whether it’s virtual or in-person every week. Find out what their victories are, find out what their challenges are, find out what they’re going to focus on for this next week and when we can create that.

And then each of those managers then reports to the VP or the CEO of the company. I think that there needs to be if you’re going to create a culture that strong, that’s partial, virtual, or all virtual, there needs to be more this one-on-one, not just these group team meetings.

STEVE: Great point, and I think that organizations are seeing that and a lot of people are going hyper when covid hit with us. I sent everybody home immediately.OK, go home, work from home. Some people made it. Some people and some people wanted to lay on the couch all day and lay in bed. Those are not people that are going to be successful wherever they’re at because they chose not to be there. And now we try to have the zoo a happy hour. A couple of weeks ago, I actually had them go on. I partnered two people up that normally wouldn’t be together because they’re different, different backgrounds.

I partnered them up together to build a murder mystery on our platform. So it wasn’t something that was just that, hey, let’s all have drinks and ask questions and tell stories. It’s doing something together and bonding more because it’s very difficult when you have a remote workforce and some people are not in the state. So I think that it’s a good thing about I’m a face-to-face guy. If you would have asked me five years ago, Steve, would you be running a tech company that runs virtual events?

I’m like, no, I like to be face to face. I like to be one on one having those conversations, but you had to change with it. So I think that you can use Zoom. I don’t think it’s the greatest thing out there. And even on the trade show side, I’ll say it. There are certain trade shows that are better in person. But now with everything that’s going on out there, how do you make that into a hybrid aspect?

STEVE: Again, it starts with the workplace, people wanting to be there. So Kristen will or actually, you know that I ask Kristen and I ask you yours now. Yes, I did. I did. Sorry. I got to talking and I missed where my question was.

OK, we’ll start with let’s start with Barry on this one. Can a growth mindset within a company, because you have different fund sales, develop marketing all its can a growth mindset cause division within an organization, or is there a possibility to be able to leverage it to unify and really get the team to work together?

BARRY: The simple answer to this is that for every department in a company, you should hope and pray that they all have a growth mindset. If it creates a little bit of competitive nature or a divisive thing, that’s leadership has to find ways to make them find a way to work together, to share ideas, to share ideas. But you want everybody, the thing that that troubled me the most from covid were the clients that engaged me and all they wanted to do was survive.

And the first thing I said to them was, look, survival mode. I can already tell you the outcome. You should always be in success mode if that means that you have to pivot to do something different. And focus on how do we succeed even in this look, I understand it may be tough for a restaurant where they no longer can be open without clients, but I’m talking about corporations that are running or people that are solo entrepreneurs that have a few employees with them.

I think that what you have to be doing is always be focused on a growth mindset. And that means when pardon my language, but when the shit hits the fan, let’s not go into survival mode because survival mode means we’re just barely going to get by. Let’s figure out how we stay in success mode. How do we shift? Because shift happens. If you put enough pressure on people, the shift will happen. And what we want to do is we want to get people to shift.

All right. So these are the challenges. What do we do? What are the possible solutions. Too often what happens in companies people get stuck in to condemn, criticize, complain, or that damn covid? Oh, you know, so-and-so. Does that get you nowhere? Condemn, criticize, complain, get you nowhere. Yes, you should identify challenges, but you have to be a solution-oriented company. And along the answer to your thing is, look, I think every department has to be growth mindset charged.  They just have to always be thinking how do we invent a better mousetrap if it ain’t broke…break it!

STEVE: I like that. Now, do you going off of that? Do you have your teams work together on a growth plan or and bring it to the leadership, or do you ever put all of the teams together, maybe one or two people from each one of the teams, and say, where are we going next?

BARRY: Well, for me in the past, because we had four hundred and fifty employees in Miami, three thousand in South America, the idea was obviously I couldn’t put them all together. But that’s you know, that’s up to the managers in each area to get that feedback, to have the collaborate with the people that work with them on the teams, take the best of the information, bring the managers together, and then we would all get together as leadership teams to discuss the different ways that we can grow the business.

You know, what is production say that we can do to make things better? What is logistics? Say that we can do what a sales say that we can do. What is marketing say that we can do? What what are the strategies, the solutions that people think of? And then what you do is you take all these solutions and you figure out, OK, which one is which two are going to be the ones that we are all going to accept and move forward on.

STEVE: Great. Thank you, Kristen. How do you create an engaging experience in the workplace that is not cliche and raises inspiration within the teams?

KRISTEN: Yeah, so I think you want to select activities that appeal to your employees so that they can take ownership and strengthen their commitment to the organization and their team members. Right. Because everybody is a stakeholder in the organization. And so I think know not using your typical buzz words because we do in culture or organizations that focus on culture have their specific buzz words. And sometimes those buzz words do not resonate with employees. And that takes them further from the culture that you’re trying to build within the organization.

STEVE: And do you get that like have a team that kind of builds some of that stuff, or is it more of, you know, the leaders choose what they’re going to do? How do you work that?

KRISTEN: Actually, within Johnson Controls, they’ve really been focusing on our organizational health and every single facet that ties into the culture. And so there was a company-wide initiative to look at videos and do some team collaboration. And then each team was responsible for picking three different goals that they wanted to focus on in twenty twenty-one. And so, I mean, it was a huge asset because we started talking about things that we don’t necessarily talk about, and that cross-collaboration in making sure that we were more of a united front.

STEVE: I love that getting the work to work together to find the goals. Joy. What happens if you fall short of a budget? How do you take that to the team and how does that affect them?

JOY: I mean, initially, it’s so important that you take it to the team because the last thing you want to do is demoralize them. I think the first thing you need to do is, is as the leader is looking at yourself. Where did you fall short? Like, how did you possibly fall short? Did they not have the materials they needed? Did they not have the information they needed? Because it’s definitely a team effort. So I think so much of it is if you go into the meeting and you begin with recognizing maybe things you could have done better, that definitely will make the conversation go a lot smoother because you’re not just sitting there pointing the finger and like with reference to our team.  So we rise and we fall as a team.

STEVE: Absolutely. Now, you talked about looking like a leader, saying, where did you fall short? Do you go in and say, hey, here’s how I failed first, or here’s how I fell short, or do you say here’s what happened and then go in? How do you approach that?

JOY:  Yeah, I mean, I would go in with this is the thing, as I look back, this is what I could have done better, you know, like for me, it would be our patient. Right. So when our patient volume starts to fall, I have I create teams for these practices to be out there to, you know, to create this patient volume so that it continues to grow. So I have to look at what I didn’t communicate to my team-wise.

Maybe they didn’t have the materials or we didn’t address certain things that we needed to create the need for our office. And so, yeah, absolutely. I would definitely start with that and then go into, you know, as as you break down the teams where they fell short, know information.

BARRY: Steve, can I add something?  (Steve) Absolutely, please.

I think Joy is spot on, I know and I love what you’re saying. It’s excellent and a tool that perhaps people can use. I always believe that even if it’s a great quarter or a bad quarter, I think that at the end of the quarter we should be asking our team members, right, all the stakeholders, our managers, and leaders, we should be saying that at the end of that quarter, whether we were up or down based upon this past quarter, what should we do more of?

What did we learn from that that we should do more of? Second question, what should we do less of, what are the things that we did but didn’t need to do in such excess? OK. The third question is, what should we start doing, what ideas or concepts do we have that we came up with that starting in this next quarter? These are things that we are definitely going to do. And the fourth question that we should ask ourselves is, what should we stop?

So when you get everybody in the company involved in responding to including the leadership all the way up to the CEO, which we have, which learned from this, what can we do more of? Let’s start. Stop. I think that companies will continue to have this growth mindset and continue to look for ways that they can improve quarter on top of the quarter on top of the quarter.

STEVE: Great advice, I think, from all of you today we got some great advice, Kristen, Joy you know, with everything we know right now, work for workplace culture is huge and everybody is trying to get better and they’re trying to find the little things. Is it meetings? Is that a jump rope competition where somebody always takes second and wants to get the first and then tries it over and over and over to try harder to try to be there?

Is it sales or is it marketing is a development? I think it’s just important to be able to really get everybody involved. And I try to do that with my organization. And I think from what I heard with you guys, you guys have all really embraced that as well. So before we end here today, is there any last thing? We’ll start with you, Kristen, any last thing that you would like to tell the audience out there about workplace culture, branding, anything out thereof that they need to know from you as the expert?

KRISTEN: Yeah, I think one of the most important things throughout this, fostering a positive corporate culture is really taking a cultural audit on you from your stakeholders, right? Tell it, asking them for feedback on your company’s purpose right and how can we help you inspire and excite and engage employees and create meaningful differentiation from our competitors?

STEVE: All right, thank you, Kristen and Joy, for the same thing we want to keep a killer workplace, right? We want a growth culture mindset. What’s one thing that this audience needs to hear from Joy?

JOY: Just to continue, as I said, I mean, there are a few things definitely and encourage that individuality, the quirkiness that we all have is what we all need. You know, it’s like a bag of M&Ms the colorful Eminem’s are all different colors. Don’t try to make everybody be the exact same way, because we need that. We need that difference. And then, you know, the flexibility and then just also encourage that curiosity. One of the biggest things I’ll tell you real quickly in health care is the there are different levels of physicians and the top, top physicians, when we show them new procedure videos, they are so open and looking. And, oh, maybe I could do this, maybe I could do that different. But if you show to lower-level physicians, they walk away thinking, oh, I already know everything. And there’s a huge difference between our top positions and our second-tier physicians and how they see things. And same with leadership. The billionaires that I know, are so curious when I talk to them or they hear something, they have so many questions that we have to inspire that curiosity within our employees.

STEVE: I love that. Thank you. And Barry with you, too. Is the growth mindset, the culture, what’s one thing that the audience needs to hear from you?

BARRY: Well, my one thing is going to be three and I’ll make them quick. Its people must be at the center. It’s all about humanity. That’s the first thing, the second thing is this thing that I call Mubadala and is just a nonsensical word that I made up. That means that cultures have to have fun. You have to have a culture that’s fun. And the last thing is that from the growth mindset point of view, I think we all have to remember that if the rate of change outside of our organization is greater than the rate of change inside our organization…the end is near.

STEVE: Wow,I want to thank all of you, the three of you, again, You know, we do these webinars on a monthly basis and we’re kind of switching over and we’ve kind of moved more. You know, up until a few months ago. A lot of these were my clients, people that were on our platform because we were trying to help our current organizations how to get better. A couple of months ago, we switched to having outside panels that were experts in their field.

And I can tell you the notes that I took off of this today were phenomenal. I can’t wait to put them in an order that I can actually read all these. But from all three of you, I appreciate that I learned a lot today. So I’m hoping our audience and everybody that watches this learned a lot today. So thank you Bary, Kristen and Joy and everybody has a wonderful day.

Thank you, Chris. Enjoy. Steve, thank you.

Thank you, everybody. Have a great night.

To listen to the podcast click here and scroll to Episode 5.

 

 

5 Steps To Kickstart Your Virtual Career Fairs!

1)         Choose The Platform – First and foremost, you have to choose a platform to host your virtual career fair.  Deciding which platform to use can often be the most challenging part of the process since there are many options and varying levels of features and sophistication.  To determine which option is best for you, make sure to consider the following criteria:

  1. What is the size and scope of your event?  Suppose you are a single employer looking to fill a dozen or fewer open positions in one geographic location. In that case, you may be perfectly fine with just a video conferencing program like Zoom or Teams.  If, however, you are a host of an event with multiple employers and each has a significant amount of job openings or a large corporation with many openings and locations, video-conferencing alone will not be enough.  You will need a dedicated virtual career fair platform with expanded features such as uploading resumes, one-on-one chat, a customizable lobby and booths, and access to reports with all of the critical data collected during such an event.
  2. What is your budget? If you require a virtual career fair platform, the next consideration is your budget.  Many platforms charge an upfront fee and then charge additional fees based on the number of participants and or the number of resumes downloaded, booths, etc.  These costs can become prohibitive if your event draws a large attendance.  Make sure to go with a platform that offers a flat-rate price that never increases, which is something that Premier Virtual always guarantees!
  3. Is ‘ease of use’, something that concerns you? Is ‘ease of use’ something that concerns you? If so, we highly suggest that you demo each platform you are considering and put yourself fin the shoes of your employers and your attendees.  Once again, Premier Virtual prides itself on its ease of use and its top-rated customer service.  Ask if the platform you are considering provides a dedicated account manager and live training so that everyone that participates fully understands how to use the platform and ensures a successful event.  You can click here for a checklist of features you should be looking for in a virtual career fair platform demo.

2)         Lead Time – Once you’ve selected your platform, give yourself enough time to have everyone adequately trained and to promote the event. Preparing everyone, the hosts, administrators, employers, and attendees is the best way to set yourself up for a successful event.  Waiting until the last minute to register and navigate through the platform often results in a poor user experience or a lower return.  Equally important for a successful event is to have a strong turnout.  Successful events require all of the typical marketing efforts through social media, as well as paid ads.  I highly recommend that you offer each employer a flyer to post and promote the event. It’s also crucial to send out an official press release at least seven days before the event. We suggest the marketing manager personally invite the local press to attend as an employer if they have relevant openings.  I recommend you not charge the local media for their booths in exchange for some ‘goodwill’ that can help your efforts to have your event mentioned in the news.

Another best practice is opening your event with a training webinar for attendees. Announce the webinar in your marketing materials and all of your registration pages. In addition to the training videos, let attendees know there will be a live ‘walk-through’ of the platform on the day of the event.   Premier Virtual offers this service if requested by our host/client and something we highly recommend.

3)         Added Value – Add value to your event by including resume writing webinars or a tech talk with a keynote speaker.  These additional features add value to the attendees and create other points of interest to promote and help draw even more participants to your event.  Along those lines, if your event has a well-known speaker or is offering a free resume writing class or an employment coach session, the press will also have more incentive to feature your event in an article or live on the news.

4)         Event Team – Designate a point person for each facet of the event.  Creating a point team may seem obvious, but some large organizations with many different layers can struggle with it, or smaller organizations expect one person to do everything.  A successful event requires the following point persons:

  1. Administrator –This person has full access to the platform and is typically the point person between Premier Virtual and the organization.  The admin will assign all other users their roles and access to features and information in the platform.
  2. Event Manager – This person is responsible for learning the platform to the best of their ability and be an internal point of contact to help others register and answer basic questions.  Other duties include organizing training webinars and working directly with the Premier Virtual account manager to address any issues before the day of the event.  We also highly encourage the event manager to review employers’ booths to make sure they are doing everything possible to prepare. The booths should be customized; all social media links should be active and provide videos wherever possible.  After the event, the administrator or the admin should access reports and provide the information and follow-up support to whoever needs it.
  3. Publicity/Promotion/Marketing – This person will lead the marketing activity to ensure that the event is being marketing properly and the point person for any press/media or others looking for more information.

5)         Thorough Follow-up – A successful event does not mean that you hire everyone on the spot.  It does mean that you have received enough qualified candidates and had enough engaging one-on-one conversations that you want to follow up. A good platform will provide recruiters with thorough reporting that includes everyone who attended, booths they visited, resumes they submitted, and chats or video conferences that took place.  A comprehensive report will have all of the information you and your employers need to appropriately follow up with qualified candidates eager to make a decision.  Timely follow-up is key to making the right hire, and if you feel strong enough about a candidate during the event, you may want to make that initial offer so you don’t lose them!

If you are considering hosting a virtual career fair and have more questions, please feel free to contact us to schedule a free demo.  Our platform has hosted over 2,000 virtual career fairs, connecting more than 20,000 employers to over 200,000 registered job seekers.  We have the experience and the technology to help you host a successful event.

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As Unemployment Goes Down the Case for Virtual Career Fairs Goes Up!

Yes, the workforce is slowly recovering from the 10.0 magnitude earthquake that it suffered in March of 2020. To put things into perspective Florida’s unemployment rate had dropped to 2.8 percent in January and February 2020, which, together with November 2019, became the lowest recorded unemployment rate since the series began in 1976.

With the onset of the Coronavirus outbreak, the unemployment rate spiked to 13.8 percent in April 2020, handily surpassing the prior peak rate of 11.3 percent experienced in January 2010 during the Great Recession. The change was breathtaking. Over the space of two months, the unemployment rate shifted from a near 50‐year low to a near 50‐year high.

Today, the new unemployment report (March 16th, 2021) states that Florida has dropped back down to a 4.8%. The Sun-Sentinel reports that there were still 482,000 Floridians who remained jobless out of a workforce of slightly under 10.1 million, the state Department of Economic Opportunity said Monday.

Economic development promoters made a point of noting that the state rate is now below the U.S. jobless figure of 6.3% for January. While those are all great numbers to report, it might worry hiring managers and companies that have open positions and are struggling to find qualified candidates.

That’s why the companies that quickly implemented a virtual hiring event strategy were able to meet their staffing needs. Virtual events increase the job candidate pool, make your company more competitive and relevant, and allow you to build relationships that can strengthen your potential candidate ‘bench’.

The Hiring Lessons we Learned from COVID

Virtual is the ‘New-Normal’

There are a lot of lessons and some that we are still learning. A few of them stand out over the rest. First and foremost, COVID accelerated the pace at which companies turned to virtual or remote hiring by 3 to 5 years. The lesson is, we need to be as prepared as possible and have back-up or contingency plans in place because this was not the first disruption and it won’t be the last.

Let’s face it, without a Pandemic, the vast majority of us would have been complacent with the status quo, hosting and traveling to in-person job fairs. COVID disrupted that severely and new options had to be embraced because doing nothing was not an option.

Besides the threat of ‘social distancing disrupting the workforce, the truth is everything continues to migrate more and more online. Just as retail will never be the same, and foot traffic to retailers will continue to decline, hiring will never be the same. Virtual hiring events have been embraced by everyone who has participated in an event, and for those who haven’t, it’s just a matter of time.

If the U.S. business owner has proven to be anything, it’s resilient, and resilience often requires the ability to quickly pivot. The schools, companies, and organizations that pivoted quickly and adopted virtual hiring events early in the Pandemic have proven how much more efficient, effective, and ultimately successful it has proven to be.

The Only Constant is Change

The second lesson is one you’ve heard before; the only constant is change. We learned that just about everyone prefers to apply online, rather than wait in-line. Virtual hiring is the evolution of hiring, the next step, and clearly the better option. It made it much easier for organizations to hire more efficiently and effectively, and for job-seekers to attend and get hired! Although many were reluctant at first, one step into the virtual lobby, and everything changed!

These events mirror in-person events, and attendees can quickly see exactly what is being offered, and how to find what they are looking for. Being able to chat or even video-interview on the spot for a job that they are interested in is a total game-changer. Ask any job-seeker that attended a virtual job fair, and the large majority will tell you that it was highly productive.

The same holds for the hiring companies that can get a much better feel for a candidate than they can from reading a resume on Indeed. The additional real-time engagement allows candidates and recruiters to ask more questions and rate candidates based on their responses.

The post-event reporting allows recruiters to gather much more information from a virtual event than they ever could during in-person events. This allows for better follow-up and a higher likelihood to make an offer to the right candidate, rather than the only candidate.

We’ve seen the difference in our own hiring efforts. An ad on Indeed will get you resumes, but that’s just the very beginning of the process if you’re lucky enough to receive one from a qualified candidate. In our last job posting, we received zero resumes, and it was an entry-level position.

On the contrary, a recent statewide job fair that the Premier Virtual platform powered in Virginia had 350 hiring companies, and over 15,000 registered job-seekers. The event was hosted by the workforce board of Virginia, Virginia CareerWorks. It shattered every previous record for a career fair and also taught us another valuable lesson.

This statewide career fair would have been impossible if not for the virtual platform. Could you imagine choosing a location in Virginia, where 350 companies would travel to set up and 15,000 job seekers would travel to attend? The logistics and expenses and time to plan would be so massive, it would most likely be impossible to pull off in a timely manner, not to mention the unmanageable lines that 15,000 job seekers would have to stand on.

So, back to our current 4.8% unemployment rate, it’s great if your company is fully staffed, but what company really is? Improving our company means having the best people possible, which requires different strategies in and of itself, like developing a bench.

But if you think you can rely simply on a job board like Recruiter or Indeed, then you’re not putting yourself in the best position to succeed. Job candidates now want to know as much about you, as you do about them, and they don’t want to schedule an interview and travel to your office to do so. They would much rather get that all done online, during your virtual career fair, from the comfort of their home (or car or coffee shop).

It saves everyone time and wasted energy if the job or job-seeker was not a good fit in the first place. It also gives your company more accessible to the working job-seeker, than a company that does not offer virtual job fairs. Now that both the job seeker and hiring manager have fully embraced these virtual events, there is no going back, and why should you. Virtual or remote hiring is simply a better way to hire.

Finally, I’d like to leave you with one thought. If you do plan on turning to in-person events, make sure to offer a ‘hybrid’ option. This allows any candidate or employer that cannot or chooses not to make it in person, an opportunity to still participate without the need for more space or travel expenses.

This is the evolution of hiring, and once you integrate it into your hiring strategy, you’ll never go back to in-person only job fairs and hiring events. If your company, school, or organization is looking for a virtual hiring event platform option, please contact us for a free demo and see how Premier Virtual is setting the standard in our industry.

Planning for Successful Virtual Events in 2021

There’s no doubt that Covid-19 accelerated the growth of virtual events by as much as 3 years. This is a rare phenomenon that happens when something outside of our control has such a drastic impact on events, the choice is to change (and change quickly) or go obsolete.

While we were growing steadily in 2020, after the lockdown in March our business increased 10-fold!  Many schools, organizations, and corporations were forced to look for a virtual option for hiring events in order to meet their staffing demands and remain competitive in the marketplace.

A funny thing happened through all the chaos and uncertainty, something not many people would have predicted…we started to like it.  First of all, even the most die-hard fans of in-person events and networking found virtual events to be quite enjoyable.  The learning curve was not the ordeal many thought it would be, and the engagement and outcomes were for the most part, favorable.

As the year went on, virtual events went from being a necessary evil to a welcoming option and effective tool to get business and hiring done.  In fact, it started to prove that in many ways it was better than in-person events.

Advantage number one is obviously productivity.  No one has to leave their desk or home office, which means no travel time or travel-related expenses.  These benefits also make virtual extremely efficient, as platforms offer many features that allow recruiters and job-seekers alike to find the exact information they’re looking for and act on it.  All of this while keeping everyone safe from Covid-19.

Beyond the benefits of productivity and efficiency, virtual events have the ability to scale to any size and do not have the limitations that physical in-person events have.  Participants can attend from anywhere in the world, and no one gets turned away due to over-crowded lobbies or sold out events.

As we near the end of the year, many companies have embraced virtual events and remote working to the point where it will remain the primary option going into 2021.  In fact, many are planning accordingly to support and improve their virtual strategy, exploring how to create ‘hybrid’ events that offer both in-person and virtual in order to get the most out of each event.

Below are 6 steps from Yesler, which serve as a handy checklist as you plan for 2021.

1. Strategy: Analyze your market, current plans, and KPIs from past events. After that’s complete, look at the most beneficial activities and begin to think of how you might replicate them virtually.  This could take time with your team to brainstorm or do some research to see how others are doing this.  Keep your focus on the kinds of activities that have provided the most benefit and that align with your overall goals and integrated marketing approach. Resist activities that would be just for fun or that you can’t measure.

2. Infrastructure: Assess your ‘martech’ infrastructure and digital event management tools.  The right martech infrastructure will help you run a successful virtual event from beginning to end and beyond to nurture, so you can get long-term value from your content.  This means assessing not only your marketing automation and online meeting and classroom software, but the tools you will use to analyze the event when it’s over.  And of course, it also means making sure you have the right-skilled staff to run it.

3. Operations: Consult with your marketing operations and automation teams early so they’re prepared to execute each event, deliver promotions seamlessly, and capture engagement data.

4. Promotion: Develop a targeted promotional plan for every virtual event, just as you would for any other event.

5. Digital experience: Create thoughtfully designed content and digital experiences to fully engage audiences. You can also use these assets to nurture prospects as part of an ongoing campaign.

6. Analytics: Make sure you have the right tools to manage the data you’ve captured and track leads after the event.  As mentioned above, analytics tools need to be in place beforehand and set to measure your KPIs. They are a critical part of your overall strategy and pre-event setup.  Use this data to measure your success and inform your strategy for future events.

Virtual events are not a fad or something that will go away when ‘things get back to normal’.  Virtual is the modern way of hosting events, increasing productivity, and efficiency that will give your company a competitive advantage when executed properly.  The companies that are future-focused and embrace this innovation will be far ahead of the curve in 2021 and best positioned to succeed in what has become the new normal.

Marketing Department – Premier Virtual, December 2020