We're doing something wrong. If half our workforce wants to leave us at any given time,
Welcome to builder nuggets hosted by Dwayne Johns and Dave young. Hey, our mission is simple, build freedom. We are a couple of entrepreneurs turned business coaches who have dedicated ourselves to helping our builder remodeler clients create the most rewarding businesses in the industry. My co-host Dwayne has been a successful builder and remodeler for over 30 years. He's seen the highs and the lows. From the beginning though, Dwayne has been on a quest to find a better way to run a contracting business. In 2016, he found that better way. That's how I met Dave, a lifelong entrepreneur and visionary who measures his success by the success of those around him. He reached out one day with a formula on how to transform my business and the rest is history. Since then, we've teamed up to help hundreds of contractors like you build better businesses and better lives. Now we've decided to open up our network and share our secrets so we can start moving the needle with you. It's collaboration over competition. Each week, we bring together industry peers and experts who share their stories so that we can all build freedom together.
(01:08): If you've listened to episode 18, it's a relationship, not a transaction that you will be familiar with. Today's guest with over 30 years of business ownership experience in various corporate positions, he is well-respected as a leader in professional development, among many business owners and entrepreneurs.
(01:26): As we continue to build a community of industry leaders, some of our guests will become regular contributors to the show. James Pagano, owner of growth coach of Charlotte is one of those guests. The last time we had them on, we discussed the importance of building relationships versus conducting transactions. Today, we're going to discuss something that many of us struggling with how to find good deals.
(01:45): Now you've heard us talk before about unicorn project managers and training golden retriever puppies. And no we're not opening a zoo, but finding the right people to join your mission is becoming more and more difficult. But why is that today? We challenge all of you to look in the mirror and tell us what you see. James. Welcome back. It is great to have you with us again. Great to be here, guys. Thank you so much. Appreciate the invitation to come back. Thank you. Thank you very much. Well, we had good. We had good feedback and we've heard a lot of times the words, it's a relationship, not a transaction. Come back to us. And we had listeners reach out to us and say, Hey, that was, that was meaningful. So that's how you get on the show again, deliver. So fix shoes to fill your own shoes.
(02:34): I asked Joe definitely resonated with the listeners without a doubt. We had a lot of great feedback on it and even today's subject, cause we get into it. It's going to gravitate back to thinking in a relationship manner and not a transaction, but you and I talked several weeks ago and you know, we hear it everywhere or we certainly hear it in the businesses we work with. I hear from everybody I hear from neighbors. You hear it. When you go to a restaurant, I can't find good people mean what is going on,
(03:01): Man. I think there's, there's a lot of layers to that, but there's a ton of layers. I mean, there, you could argue that the labor market is just not prime to create the right up the right people for the opportunities that are available. You you're, there's a training gap. There's an education gap. There's a gap in what compensations look like. I mean, man, it's deep, it's deep, but here's from a small business perspective. I'm going to start off with this. I want to, I want to get your perspective on this. To me from a small business owner's perspective, recruiting is a business development function. And I think if we could approach it as such, I think then maybe we come up with different strategies. The reason why I'm throwing that out to you guys is when we approach our business development strategies as an organization, right? Our sales process, our marketing process, everything that goes into business development, we think more long-term we think long play. We don't think reaction. And I think that a lot of times recruiting becomes a very reactionary process in business. So I'd love to hear your perspective just on that. And then I'd like to build off on that, but what are you recruiting as a business development function, I think is where we have to start
(04:17): So true. And it's interesting, Dwayne and I had a good chat last week with a recruiting company to, you know, pro recruiters or upcoming guests on the show to talk about just that and some of the misconceptions about recruiting, what it is and where it should live. And when you, when you should do it, but to your point, James, we're going to agree with you a hundred percent. This is a piece that you need to have in your business, no matter what, what's more important than your people. What's more important than, you know, who's next on your team. This is right up there. If not more important than where you're getting your clients from, where are your next people from? Whoever has the best people will create the best experience, especially if you're able to communicate your core values and your vision and where you're going to go, your mission and all those sorts of things that we've talked about before this, you win this, you win, you win you and your market. That's
(05:10): How easy does it for, you know, for this to just fall into the unsolvable problem category, you know, this, this is the unsolvable problem of the moment, you know, I mean we've got, and that's how people I think, look at it. Well the market's just overcooked, you know, there's, there's just not enough people on and on and on the excuses for how you can't fix this, but then you immediately have to stop and think about what you just said, James, and what are you doing on an active daily basis? That's right to solve this problem. You know, if you're building a pipeline of work and projects, are you spending any time building a pipeline of, of a workforce
(05:46): Dwayne, great way to put it. I mean, honestly, you're responsible for everything in your business, right? And here's the reality. The labor market doesn't give a that, I mean, it really doesn't. I mean, if the labor market is the labor market, now we got to work with that and everybody's working with the same set of rules here. But you, as a business owner, need to differentiate yourself, be out in front of it. We have got to be better. I mean, the reality of it is you only have to be better than, you know what, you have to be 1% better and you're going to take over. But if you could be better than 80% of your competition in doing this leaps and bounds, you're going to succeed far, far, far better than your competition, but you got to embrace it. It has to be, it starts with you.
(06:30): I'm responsible, right? Really. That's what it is. You own. It's the buck stops with the owner. What are you doing for your recruiting efforts? And is it reactionary or is it a plan, strategic exercise. And I think if you really reflect on that, most owners look at recruiting in reactionary perspective, as opposed to a long play strategic perspective. It's just what I've come across. Especially in small business owners, because they're busy doing other stuff, right? We're busy being busy all the time. So how are we going to find time to now do something else that strategic, right? A quick story that would a client couple months back, I'm going to say, maybe you shouldn't be pushing about three months ago. And part of his long-term plan was he identified a role that he would need starting in January. And he was saying, Hey, I got, I'm going to have to recruit for this role.
(07:23): There's a big role for the organization. It's the next leg up. We started putting some plans together. What does that look like? You know, compensation, who's the people that who's the right people for that particular role. So on and so forth. The point of me telling you this story is fast forward. 30 days after we met, he meets somebody. Who's the right person for this role, but the role doesn't exist in his head until January 1st, 2022. Well guess what? He quickly put the process in place for him to develop this role for this person. Now he figured out how to make that work now, because the last thing he wanted to do was what, let somebody walk away who is perfect for this role, in his opinion, and say, Hey, I'll call you in January that guy's not going to exist in January. Right?
(08:13): Yeah. And that role on the first day that they start it, they're not ready to do it. They need training. They need ramp up. They need immersion into the culture, into the systems. You need to invest in the person before the role needs to exist. Anyway. So it's advice that Dwayne and I give often you get the person before you need them, you train them. And then, or in this case, you let them theoretically, they're an expert help you to develop the role, make it even better and own it. Think of the buy-in that you're going to have in those types of scenarios. So yeah, always it's, it's always be recruiting generally. You should always be looking for who's
(08:55): Next. And look at you, look at you, Dave, going back to what I said on the onset, recruiting's a business development function. It's a sales function, right? Always be selling, right? Always be recruiting. I love it, Dave. I love that. That's what we have to do and keep your eye out for people. People are out there, people are out there. We just need to be ready to identify more out there. And we have to be able to identify them and figure out how do we get them to fit into our organization? And in the case that I just shared with you, maybe, maybe the role didn't exist yet, but the person was there in front of you. Figure it out. Now you've got to get them on board.
(09:30): We're in the upside down topsy turvy, you know, north is black. East is white. Everything's upside down good people have good jobs right now. And that's across industries. I mean, I think we have to face that fact. So when you're getting ready to hire, you're planning strategically about recruiting and bringing in some people. I think some of the questions you have to start to ask is what if you really are looking for some good people, what is it that they're going to want? They don't just want a job they've already got, they probably already got more than a job. They've got something pretty good. So what are you seeing out there in the workforce that, that some of these folks, what do they want besides just the
(10:06): So you're playing right in and the money. Okay. Yeah. They don't, they want more, more than the job and more than the money agree. But you're playing into looking at this from a business development perspective. Again, the number one marketing strategy for small businesses and it's often overlooked guys is your client retention should be your number one marketing strategy. Most people believe that attracting new business should be your number one strategy. But in reality, you could leverage your current client base and build your business. So if you look at recruiting in a similar light it's retention of your employee base retention of your high performers and what are they looking for to answer your question, Dwayne, they're looking for challenges. They're looking for opportunities. They're looking to be part of the solution for growth and for bigger picture stuff. They want engagement. And I think what we do as business owners often is we pay attention to the employees that are not maybe the highest performers, because the ones that are giving us the trouble or the ones that demand our attention, you got it backwards. Let's take care of our high performers. Let's give them what they need. They want training. They want advancement. They want to be challenged. Let's invest in our heart performers so that they don't look elsewhere. I read a statistic recently that saying a 50% of the workforce is going to be looking for a job in 2022, 50%. We're doing something wrong. If half our workforce wants to leave us at any given time.
(11:43): And this is one of the things that frustrates you when you're dealing with the bank where, you know, if you open a new credit card, you get some special incentive, but the existing credit card owner, they've jacked your fees. And they're like, it's anything to get you into their trap. So, but what you're talking about, James is really a real thing right now, especially with some of the poaching that's going on in the marketplace. And I was talking with a builder last week. Who's super successful team. One of his people had left and one of his top project managers came to him and said, Hey, listen, I want to let you know that a company has approached me. And this is what they're offering. And I want to stay with you when I want to. And I want to talk about this with you first, which tells you right away, you're doing something right.
(12:29): And that this person isn't just wired or the money. But part of this is sitting down and saying, what do I need to do to protect the assets that I have right now? The key people that I have my drivers, but we need to sit down and have some conversations and say, here are going to, you may be experiencing some of this. Some of this will be happening. Here's an opportunity path that I see for you. What are the reasons you want to be with this company? What do you need to do if you're not already having those conversations and have that, like this particular owner has already had and why he's developed this loyalty. If you're not having those, your people are going to leave one day and say, somebody else beat you to it. And you're in, you're going to feel like, well, wow.
(13:09): I would imagine that it was worth it to me to keep you. You need to have that conversation now for that happens. So I think that's, you're right. Start with your existing team, retain them because the other piece of your existing team is those super performers. Those are going to be your magnet for the other top performers in the marketplace and how you position them, how you tell their story, how they tell their story and how others affiliated with you, tell their story. We'll create that magnet and that polarity that will pull other top performers to say, I want to go and direct my energy there because I can see the mission that they're on. I can see that this man or woman has had this success over there, that they're being revered. Look at what they're doing. That's a company I want to be a part of because the reality is, is yeah, if there's a 30% shortage in the workplace, you only need to be in the top 70%. You don't need to out swim. You know, there's a shark in the water you don't need to. And there's five of you. You don't need to out swim everyone. You only need doubts. We have one other guy. So how do you become, what are the things James that successful businesses you've seen do to empower employees and then celebrate them, Revere them, position them as part of their marketing strategy. What have you seen work? I've seen?
(14:32): Well, like started the list a little, a little while ago in the sense that people want, people want to challenge people want, but they want to be part of the bigger picture, especially with small businesses. They really want to feel like they're contributing to the, to a bigger purpose. And if your mission to your point, Dave, I think it's important. Your mission and vision need to align, align with your employees. And if you have the right employees who are aligned with your mission and vision, then the conversation's much easier, but are you including them in what's next, we're working toward this. We're going to be, you know, the number one, residential builder in this zip code in the next five years. And are you including them in now in that visionary aspect that you're putting, putting toward your own efforts? Are they part of that?
(15:28): And I think if you could include your employees as much as possible to the bigger purpose, to the bigger picture, and then how can they contribute to that? I think is the key to answer your question. The small business owners that I'm working with that are retaining and attracting talent are the ones that can engage at a high level with morale and clarity to propel them forward. And clarity, I think is something that people look for, people that want to understand what you're working toward and they want to be able to contribute toward it. Does that make sense? What I'm, what I'm describing there.
(16:05): Yeah. You need to have a clear vision that other people can get behind and that will attract them. And the second thing that you touched on was you need to include the minute because everybody feels more valued when they can see their own personal impact. When they have some autonomy and their contributions are revealed or are celebrated in a certain way by the success. Even if it's an element that they worked on and they knew that they were part of and the team recognizes it, then you use that in your marketing to promote it, to attract others. Everybody wants that autonomy. They ended up getting better at it. They start to master what they're doing and then they like it more. And you know, another element that we talk about a lot is creating an environment where you don't want to leave the team. It's not that you can't leave the business it's that you can't leave.
(16:59): You don't want to leave each other. Right? So when you have each celebrated, each other's achievements, you've recognized, wow, you know what? You've done. This, you've done this. Look what we've done together. If we broke up, we wouldn't be able to do all that. Plus I like doing this with you. We get it. We we're on fire. And yeah, I could make $150,000 if I went and jumped ship and went over there. But I have no idea if I would like it. I don't really know what their mission is. I may be back here, go kicking myself. Plus, I'm going to feel disloyal to you guys. So a big part of this for me, comes down to how do you create a situation where these people don't want to leave each other? And that is not even a topic that we were looking at today, but a challenge for a leader to say, all right, how do I show who we are? And that's where we get back to the marketing is who are we?
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(18:09): One access to the resources that can take you and your team to the next level. One call could change everything just like it did for me. And to elaborate on that, Dave, it goes back, takes back to the autonomy thing. I mean, we've, we've found already, even with a lot of the folks that we work with when you can start to build in that true autonomy, which really, I think true autonomy comes from the point where as an employer, you've got confidence in your people. You know, you've given them the room to move, but these last couple of years being, being topsy turvy upside down, I mean, I think what has happened is a lot of folks have really thought about mental health. You know, the world in general, the living working from home, the home has become sanctuary. Just so many things have changed over these last couple of years to where I think people are, they're realizing how stressful life is in general and then their job on top of that.
(19:03): And I think they're starting to question, you know, why, why am I working myself sick these people when they're given that true sense of autonomy, they're going to come up with some really, really creative ways to get their job done. And if they're doing it in a creative way, would that autonomy, they're going to be doing it at a much higher level as well. And I think through all that, they're starting to that creativity is actually starting to become what Dave just said. Part of what makes the team, not just the one way is the highway. This is the only way we do things. You know, having people that have that autonomy, they're bringing some ideas to the table. They're working at an elevated level.
(19:40): There's it makes me think of just the simplest little example. And it's where personalized versus following the program, the program. So you're at a restaurant, your food comes five minutes later. Server comes back and says, Hey everyone, how is everything tasting? And you're like, okay, it's fine. That's the standard. That's somebody doing their job. It's been scripted. Five minutes later, you go back and you ask everyone and they walk through the half. The time they're walking away before they say, you know, before you've even responded. But if, if that server comes back and says, Hey, what do you think of that risotto? Do you, do you like it? Do you like it with the pen chatting in there? Have you had it with pen chatted before? And the person is now engaged in a conversation it's personalized. And they may say, oh yeah, I love it.
(20:34): Or I've never had that before. And how are your scallops? Like it takes a second to make it a personalized experience. And yet restaurant after restaurant goes around with the, the basic, the bare, the lowest common denominator experience. It's the same thing. You want to find a toys that want to put their own stamp on things and you give them the controls. You give them the measures. You give them the leeway and say, go be human deliver. And magic happens in any experience industry that you're in, whether it's a restaurant, a hotel experience, a travel or tourism experience. When somebody takes the time to look after you, then you feel something and you don't want to leave that. So as an employer, how are you going to look after your people so that they want to look after your clients? That's you have to teach them that stuff. And I think we've gotten away from those hospitality, like things, Dwayne and I, and our team. We work on something called a six star experience where it's like, you're constantly thinking about how you can deliver a better experience to someone than they're expecting. And you want everybody who comes to your team to feel like, wow, I get to deliver these experiences. And these experiences are delivered back to me by the whole team as well.
(21:57): You know, the hospitality business really, really big on you guys are saying six star. You get familiar. If you're familiar with the net promoter index, the net promoter index scale of one to 10 hospitality index is really, really, or the hospitality industry is really big on this. It's a, it's a, it's a question that basically comes out on surveys after you stayed at hotels or flown airlines. And the question that they care most about in their surveys is how likely are you to refer us? And there's some different wording they use, but really what they're looking for is a 9, 10, 9, or the ultimate question. It's the ultimate question. How likely are you to refer us based on your experience? And if you don't get nines and tens on that one to 10 scale, you are not considered a promoter of that business. So turn that, turn that around and look at it from an employer employee perspective, how many of your employees are scoring their engagement with your company, their experience with your company they're with your company a nine or a 10 on a scale of one to 10, because eights are good guys, but they don't become the people who are out there promoting you and attracting more talent and recommending that restaurant because of the risotto.
(23:16): They're not, you might, if you're asked, how's your work, how's your, how's your job. How's, how's that company you work for. You may answer it positively, but man, we want people being out there being your, you know, your advocates and being proactive and saying, man, the business, the company I work for is unbelievable with what they do as far as recognition and treating me like a human being and, and all of the bubbles, the things that are important to you, right? That's a very personal thing. So I would say as a business owner really think about it, how many of your employees would score you a nine or a 10 on that index of, would you refer us as a place to work? And I think that's, it's, it's going to give you some pause because nines and tens are pretty high. So that's one thing I would challenge the owners who are listening too, to really think about it's a good self-reflective exercise. How many of your employees would recommend that you work here or that they work here? So, you know,
(24:16): It's a simple question. You don't need the, you don't need the, you know, the 10 questions, 30 questions survey. It's it's to the point they're looking for. And James, what if you don't get the answer you want, right. So what if what if an owner has the courage to do this and gets it gets back and you're, and you're getting sixes or sevens or whatever, and you recognize, Hey, I'm at risk that somebody is going to come along and poach my people. Where do you start to rebuild? You know, the value of the team. So, so to speak because what's happening is they're probably not feeling appreciated to the extent that they need to be there. They're probably feeling undervalued. So how does a builder without going bankrupt and just throwing money at this thing, how does a builder or remodeler make an investment back into their people so that they can fortify their current team and attract the next one? What steps would you put?
(25:11): That's true. I think the simplest first step is to have conversation. I think it's with communication, just like most things in business that you could point to, if you could point to one thing that, that fell apart in any business, that's showing some signs of fractures. I think you could point to communication as a real cause of it. If that there's a gap, there's a problem. Right? So I would say, and Dave, going back to your restaurant analogy, the personal touch that that server provided you by asking you specifically about your dinner. I think an owner needs to understand that every employee, every team member has their own personal reasons why they're there. They have their own personal needs of what they, what their desire for professional development. It starts with conversation. So then I would say if they were brave enough to ask that question, are there nines and tens in this room right?
(26:10): To, to recommend us, I would say, do another self reflection and it really ask yourself how well do you know your team members? Can you honestly answer what the motivator is for Dave compared to what the motivator is for Dwayne? And I think that we tend to generalize too much, rather than looking at it from an individual perspective, because everybody's different. I would say, you start there, you start with deep dive conversations and you know who you start with, you start with your high performers, you start with the people who are really kicking for you, because they only could share with you the reality of what's going on in their world and why they care so much about you to be a top performer. But I guarantee you, they know what's going on in conversations that you're not, you're not paying.
(26:57): Yeah. And James, your point of starting the conversation, something that's becoming more and more popular. And it's really, really easy to do is to just have some what they call, stay interviews with your employees. You know, it's not, you don't have to, it doesn't have to be a, you know, an annual review or any kind of spits. It's, that's all it is. It's just, it's a, it's a sit down, it's a conversation. Talk to each of your employees, especially your high performers about staying, what is it? You know, why do you want to stay? What, what do we need to improve? What's working well, what's not working well. If they're true teammates, you're going to get gold out of those conversations. I agree. And I mean, that's a simple way. That's a simple way to start the conversation.
(27:36): I think the stay interviews are valid and appropriate and honestly it underscores the reason why you don't wait for an annual review to have a conversation with somebody that I think is just, that's a real
(27:49): And all of this. Yeah. And all of this is for improvement. You know, you're improving the team morale, you're improving the culture building that megaphone as we, as we talked about, because if, if they become raving fans, you know, they're gonna, they're going to broadcast to people around them that this is a great place to work. So that's, you know, what, what better way to get the message out there? I think one of the last things I wanted to touch on is, you know, if we're doing all these things, you're recruiting all the time, improving the culture, making people excited and happy to work, where you are, that's still, you know, the challenge that we have out there is it's still difficult to find people when you need people from the aspect of, can people find you where, where are the places that, that business owners should be thinking? I mean, obviously, you know, you can just run a classified ad or I help wanted that. But I mean, a little more sophisticated than that nowadays. Where, where do you need to be for the right people to find you?
(28:40): Well, I think it, it plays into the whole long, long play long-term strategy that we're talking about. You got to get ahead of it, be out in the community. I think that's number one. And we talked about this in our last time we were together. You gotta be out in the community and your people need to be out in the community. And that's why it's, it's vitally important for them to be able to answer that, you know, net promoter score of, you know, is this a place you would want to work and attract people to work here. You've gotta be able to have these folks be your advocates. So I always advise my small business clients, my clients in your industry and other industries is to start with who, you know, work with your own network. Let everybody, you know, know that you're looking for good people and that you're willing to train.
(29:34): That's the other part of this guys, you know, we're always looking for. And that, that goes back to the episode. Tell me the number about out the laboratory. Alright. How willing are you to put in the work to train someone who has the right attitude? And I think that's something you have to really consider, but to answer your question, Dwayne, start with who, you know, start with your own network. I think that's a good place to start. Just start with your own network. I think it is a real good place to start. I'm really surprised you start talking to people about who you're looking for and why now you want them to believe,
(30:16): Buddy on your team becomes a salesman. Everybody on your team becomes part of that business development machine. You're talking about, you know, maybe they're not going out. They're landing new jobs and new contracts and things like that. But if they're, if they're attracting talent, talking to people about how great it is to work here, that's a great first step
(30:33): Managers. If you're looking for project managers, their networks are where you're going to next. Everyone, you use a duck call to attract the duck, use a moose call to attract a moose, get your project managers out there, talking away about what they're loving about what they're doing now as an owner, you have to make sure that that's real that day, that they do love that you got to deliver.
(30:58): And it goes back to, you know, what is the market know about you and what do they believe in you about you, right? And that's, that's that long way. You know, the story, the story you're telling has to match, right? And that's what you're saying, Dave, right? They got to believe the story you're telling needs to line up because that's going to be vitally important. And we all love to feel that we run a high integrity business. So let's, let's live up to it. Right? Let's walk the talk here. That's it. So lean on your peoples, lean on your network, lean on your people's network. I think are great places to start, but I also wouldn't be hesitant to hire people who are recruiters within your industry. They may have access to someone, but where do I start? You start with your own networks and your people's networks. That's the place to be.
(31:47): Yeah, no, and that's what I was looking for. I looked for something that's just a really inexpensive, you know, when you're done listening to this podcast, you can do that. You can get right out into your network. What
(31:58): Conversation have we, yeah, formers, right? Hey guys, we're, we're in need of another project manager. Give me some creative ideas. What strategic ideas do you have that you could help in this next recruitment effort? I don't have all the answers help me. They would love to contribute to that cause
(32:15): Yeah, for sure. That's cool. That's very cool. This has been some good stuff here. So James, what's on the horizon for you. What are you, what are you excited about over the next six months to a year? What are you working on?
(32:26): Well, one of the things that I will say is that, you know, what I am excited about is that there are a lot more people out there with open arms, accepting more business consulting, business business coaching. I should say coaching advising, having outside perspective, I think is, is embraced a lot more than it was. I'm coming up on nine years doing this particular part of business. And you know, nine years ago, I guess it wasn't as sexy. Now it seems to be a little bit more sexy to say you have a coach, which is cool,
(32:56): But you're our sexy coach here today, James. So keep keep rocking it. And we love having you on the show. We've had James in our, you know, we don't just walk the walk here. James has done some coaching with us in some of our groups in the past, and that's why we feel so confident in recommending them. So connect with us. If you want to learn more about what James does, we will connect you and James, we look forward to having you back on the show again, sometime for everybody out there that's listening. How can, how can people,
(33:28): The best way to find me is go to my website. It's my name, James pagano.com. James Pagano, P a G a N o.com. Best way to find me from there also LinkedIn is another platform that I use for my social. Thanks a lot, guys. I really appreciate the opportunity. It was fun. Thank you.
Hey, thanks for listening. Dwayne and I love hearing from you. Your stories are inspiring and your challenges can be overcome. Got a cool tip? Idea for a show? Problem that you haven't been able to solve or maybe just struggling to figure out what you need next and where to get it. We can help. Hit us up at BuilderNuggets.com and start building freedom.