Does the world of Human Resources (HR) overwhelm you? Maybe you think that you’re too small of a company to have HR. Or maybe you had a bad past experience with the “HR department” in the past.
In this episode, I talk about all this and more with HR Agency Owner, Julissa Martis. We dive into bringing the “human” back into Human Resources, how to start integrating HR practices no matter the size of your agency and ways to make your business more inclusive.
Whether you have contractors or employees or a mixture, this is a conversation you won’t want to miss! Especially if you want to grow your agency WHILE providing a great experience for all your people – your clients, your team and yourself too!
Hi Julissa. Welcome to the podcast.
Hello. Hello, Nicole. Thank you for inviting me.
You’re welcome. I am excited to talk about HR today because I think that it’s a topic that a lot of business owners think about when they’re going to expand their teams, and I think there’s a lot of like questions and kind of confusion around it. So I’m really excited to dive into that with you today and to have you here.
I was gonna say, you said, I’m really excited to talk about hr. In my mind, I was thinking, “said, no one ever.”
I know. That’s so true. No one ever. That’s so true. I’m a little bit of a like special person over here. I as a kid, I wanted to grow up. I wanted to be a manager, which also said no one ever .
That’s so funny.
But yeah, we’re gonna talk, everyone thinks of HR in a negative connotation and obviously we’re gonna talk about like how it’s actually not negative. It can really help you. But I just thought it was funny as soon as you said about no one ever.
So I would love for you to share with us what led you to a career in human resources, especially since it’s not something that a lot of people are super excited about.
Yeah, great question. So I it’s funny thing, I’m a first generation American, and if you’re first gen, you know that your parents either want you to be a doctor, a lawyer, engineer, everything else. They have no idea what it is, right? And so originally wanted to be a doctor, went through school, realized I don’t like hospitals, blood. Any of that. And then I was like, let me look into HR administration. At that time I was really involved on campus and leading things. I was like, Hey, I actually like this admin type work setting up structures.
I was doing bylaws like for these organizations, which is weird as a college kid. And I was looking to find some experience in that field and I went through Inroads, which is an organization that places talented minority youth in corporate settings and trained them. And I got I couldn’t find something in health administration.
But they put me in an HR office for financial services company, which has nothing to do with my background or anything that I wanted to do. And I was like, Hey, I can come here to this organization and make really good money during the summer and get good experience. Or I can go work at Dippin dots, which is my first job I got in high school right, for the summer.
So I said, why not? And I was really lucky that my boss there she really took me under her wing. Taught me everything about hr. I actually ended up working there for I believe, three years. I would work full-time in the summer and then part-time during the school year. And I learned immediately I started doing recruiting there and really contributing back to the department.
I just didn’t know this was a thing. I didn’t know that this is like a part of business, which when I look back, I really like business, but like the people side of business. So that’s kinda how I got into it. It’s just as soon I was in there and I got experience, it just felt right.
And I was like, let me see what else I can do. How was it for you going into an organization? You said it was a financial institution and. You said you, that was really something you didn’t have any experience with. I’m curious how that was for you.
We were just having a conversation inside of the AGENCY program. We have a call for agency managers and a question that came up was like how to manage people that where maybe you don’t have the expertise in their particular area, but you’re still having to manage them. And I can see there being similarities with you coming in and doing hr. Like was that challenging?
How did you navigate that? I think I, again, I was very lucky that my boss there really took me under her wing and really, once I realized like, Hey, I’m actually really good at this. And as an intern, I was contributing at a very high level, right? I was recruiting for them as an intern.
I was doing cold calls and phone screening. And it just came natural to me. And there are, Definitely like soft skills and what I like to do, like attitudes, which is something that I utilized in my recruiting process, is like looking for attitudes and like soft skills and then those really are the things that are super important that you can’t train.
And then figuring out like how can you train the other things. But it was, it’s just something that came and it’s something that I was really interested in and I had someone that had the patience to help me work through that. Yeah, I think really being able to partner with the right people and having that mentor is so helpful, especially in the beginning as you’re like learning more about absolutely.
The field and about the company and about, all of that stuff. So I’m curious when it’s always. Go ahead. Oh, I’m sorry. And I’ve always just been one that I just, even if I don’t know, I’m just gonna try because I just wanna learn all of the things and know everything of all the things, so like I started out with recruiting and then when I went full time into an hr, my first position, I started recruiting there and they’re like. Hey, like our benefits person left.
And they’re like, Hey, do you wanna do benefits? Why not, right? You might as well. And then I remember like going home and reading all of the compliance standards for benefits and learning everything I can about benefits. And then that’s kind in my career like, Hey, do you wanna try doing this?
Why not, let me learn. Let me do it. Do you think that’s helped you, we’re going to talk more about like your agency in a little bit, but do you feel like that quality has really helped you in running your own business now?
Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s just, let’s try it. Let’s try. And that’s how I manage my team is and I learned this from you, is, let’s empower them.
And, I always like to ask them what do you think? And then let them try it. Even if in my mind I’m like, oh, there’s a better way of doing this. And sometimes it’s easier to be like, oh, let me just do it. No. What do you think? I think that sounds great. And that’s really how you learn, right?
And so just trying it doing it. If it didn’t work, that’s okay. Let’s pivot. We can document that. What worked well here, let’s take that and pivot. So for the people who are listening who maybe haven’t worked with an HR consultant before, could you just generally define HR for us? Oh, yes. HR is the people’s side of business, right?
And so for me, HR is your team, your people are the, is the largest capital that you have in your organization. And what can you do? The stance that I take with HR is what can I do to help create a workplace where people feel supported so that then they feel empowered to lead and to grow in your organization.
So that’s mine and of course as the compliance piece to it, making sure that you’re meeting the state and federal requirements. But for me it’s like a, it’s creating a people strategy. I think sometimes we create a financial strategy, we create a marketing strategy, but we forget like what are we doing to create a people strategy?
What are we intentionally doing to build a culture that we wanna build? What are we intentionally doing to make sure we’re attracting the type of team and talent that we want to, and what are we doing to develop and grow this talent and this team as we grow our agency? Would you say that, The people that you’ve worked with, that it’s that they already, before they start working with you, they already understand the value of people.
Because I do know that there’s some organizations that don’t really prioritize their people and put a large value on that. So I’m just like wondering if part of what you do with clients is helping them understand the value of human centered, human resources or if they already are sold in into that, and that’s why they come to work with you.
Yeah. So I think for the most part that’s something that I look for is how well with my ideal clients I make sure like how are they treating their employees? Like, What are, how are they, when I go onto their website, am I. Seeing images of their team, are they presenting their team?
What type of benefit offerings do they have? Are they values driven? And I’m also gonna check on Glassdoor. I take a look at Glassdoor. What are their employees saying about them? So I think for me for the organizations that I work with, I already like for them to already have this type of values or people centered Mindset because it makes us working together a lot easier.
For those that may not be there yet, I think they wanna be there. They just dunno how to get there, or they know that it’s important. And so for me it’s just like helping to showcase the way that they can improve maybe their current policies or structures in order to keep their team.
And then also showcasing what they’re doing. Because I think sometimes people are just trying things and they’re like, oh, and then no, you’ve developed this amazing culture. Like we have to celebrate that. You may have unintentionally or intentionally did it, your team is there and they wanna help and they’re growing with you.
Yeah, that’s such a great point. And I think that a lot of the agency owners that I work with are. Especially when they first get started or in a place where they’re trying to juggle so much, they’re trying to juggle, typically they’re still part within the realm of client work. They’re bringing on team members, they’re leading their clients, they’re learning how to lead team, and they want to create
a culture for they value people in the same way. I only work with people, value people. And that’s a prerequisite. But sometimes it’s I know that I value people, but I wanna make sure that all of the practices that we have in place really demonstrate that. And sometimes, you’re doing things, like you said, some things are intentional and some things are unintentional.
You don’t even realize that you might be doing something that, that might not be serving. The people and by bringing in somebody or having that awareness or able to make some changes. But I’m just curious, like for, a, a small business or agency owner that’s trying to create a better environment for their team while also doing all of these other things, where do they start?
You mentioned people strategy, like where might they even begin? So I love to go through what I call, it’s not what I call, it’s called the employee engagement life cycle. And so what that is really taking a look from the very first time someone knows about your organization until they, they potentially leave or grow in your organization.
So the very first step in that cycle is attracting talent. And that is what are your policies looking like? What is your culture like? I think a lot of us. Me. I have experience in working in a toxic workplace, which is why I am so passionate and in that toxic workplace, it really affected my mental health at that time in a very negative way.
And then I went to an environment soon after that where I was very empowered and I could bring my full self. And I saw just how much empowered I felt and how much that changed my life to a 360, right? And so that’s why I’m personally very passionate about creating workplaces where people feel supported.
Because I’ve been there, I’ve been in a workplace where I didn’t feel supported or I felt like I couldn’t grow or I felt like I was misunderstood. And so my, the very first place I always left to start is attracting. Let’s take a look at your policies. Are they clear? Is there a potential for.
Sometimes when we’re coming from nine to five, we are utilizing what we learned, realizing that those systems that were set up weren’t meant to support all people. And so sometimes it just takes looking at it through a different lens or even asking the question why do we do that? Let’s talk through that.
What does that mean? And so I, my, my clients like to say, you ask a lot of really good. And I’m like, yeah, that’s my job, right? I wanna get a full understanding and let’s understand where these beliefs came from because we can create our own systems, we can create our own. Like I truly believe the more of us that were really intentional with building positive workplaces, we can change the world.
So it sounds kinda cheesy, but starting with attracting, looking at policies, looking at your culture, recruiting, what does that process look like? Is it a human process? Is it a process that is fair and equitable? Then once you’ve recruited and you hired someone, let’s take a look at onboarding because we really need to make sure that we’re setting up people for success.
I feel like sometimes when we need help, we are in a rush to get that help and then we kinda failed that new hire because we don’t have the time or the capacity to truly support them and get, set them up for success. And then they’re unhappy because they’re like, oh, what did I do? What did I do?
I’m, I feel like I don’t belong here. I’m not getting anything. And then you’re upset because they’re like, you’re not good at what, why did I hire this person? I feel like I’m having to do more work. So it’s just really creating an onboarding plan and taking a look at that, making sure that you’re setting up people for success and they’re onboarded,
developing them. How can we continue to make sure that we’re growing our team members, that we’re empowering our team members and then promotion, right? And what are those things that we can do to promote from within to make sure that our team members want to grow, to develop them?
What types of trainings do they need? And then, termination, right? If it’s not working out, that’s okay. It just means that maybe they’re not a good fit right now. And, what does that process look like? And then going back through that cycle again, the attracting on recruiting, onboarding, developing, promoting,
potentially terminating and then attracting again, that was a long, drawn out response, but that’s kinda where I start, is let’s start at attracting. Let’s look at your policies. Let’s look at the communications that we give to the expectations, the communications, making sure that they’re clear for your team members, and making sure that we’re providing a different methods because as we all know, we all learn and take information differently.
And so sometimes you may provide a guide and you’re like I provided this guide. It has everything they need, but that. Not be the way that they take in information. So can we provide other ways to make sure that we’re inclusive of all learning styles? That’s super interesting. So what I’m hearing in that for the business owner, that’s of just getting started with trying to figure out like.
How can I make my, how can I improve the human experience at my company, for , for everyone. Really taking a look at expectations and are they clear? And I love what you shared about the learning styles, so I think it’s, especially when you have been doing what you have been doing and delivering client work for so long, sometimes you’re just like, why don’t they get this
I could do this. Yeah, I could do this in an hour, and it’s taking them three hours and they’re not even doing it right. And a lot of times it’s because it’s so second at nature to you. And do you have a very specific way that you learn that you’re not necessarily, sometimes, like the expectations haven’t even been communicated, especially if you didn’t have a job post or have any expectations that you hired.
And then I think it’s like also if things aren’t going well, going back and examining why, having those conversations, seeing what’s happening. Absolutely. And I think I shared with you this with you before. I’m an assessment queen, and I like, I have my team take all of the assessments.
We’re taking disc, we’re taking Colby, we’re taking Myers Briggs, we’re doing Enneagram. And it’s so funny because I will find myself like if there is if I see something and I’m like, oh, that’s not what I was thinking. Or that’s not what I wanted. The first place I look is how did I communicate?
Did I, did I actually state for example, when I tell my team members to review a document, I was like, just review this document. Tell me your suggestions. And then I realize they’re not thinking like me. They’re not, and so now I’m like, okay, ask these questions as you’re reviewing the document, right?
And I’m assuming something I have to tell myself, stop assuming that they know. Just go ahead and spell out what you want. Totally. And I would say start even before you hire someone, like start definitely start one devoting time as tapping into that CEO role, even if it’s just you to start really strategizing when it makes sense to bring someone on and who to bring on. And then preparing for to bring them on so that way when you’re onboarding them, you’re setting them up for success and you have the time to do that.
Again, I think we said earlier, sometimes you need help and you’re hurrying up, going through the hiring process, hiring this person, but then you’re not setting them up for success. And so if you could do that before you even start the hiring process, that’s even better. Like even if it’s just as you’re reviewing a document, talking, like putting a loom on and talking out loud your thought process of what you’re doing, my OBM like reminds me like.
Please. It’s like I don’t, I just want you to record so I can learn how you’re thinking and like what you’re looking at and like the things that are going in your head. And I always tell her like, I’m sorry I’m sending you like this five, 10 minute video of me just rambling to myself and talking to myself.
And she’s no, this is great because I’m getting to learn you. And so even before you start documenting everything. Recording everything as silly as it sounds because that’s the information that you can use then to train your team member. I remember doing that when I had my project management agency and I would just go through different clients like project plans as I was creating them.
Mm-hmm. And talking through why I was putting certain things where I was putting them and why I was setting like certain dates for certain tasks and how it was different from one client to another. And I, those videos were quite long. Eventually we did shorten them and make them a little bit more right, like easier to digest.
But it was especially in the beginning, so helpful because they were really able to see the full picture. It sounds to me like this is something that you can implement regardless of whether you’re employing contractors or employees or a combination. Absolutely. Absolutely.
Because they’re still a part of your team technically, right? I have a mix of both part-time and contractors and, my contractors have now been with me for over a year and, they’re growing with me. Even though they’re contractors, they’re growing with me and they’re developing and are able to take on even more.
And so just being super intentional about that culture that you’re trying to build centering on like the values. For me it’s like leading with empathy, transparency and just having fun because HR can be so serious that let’s just have fun. Like just bring your authentic self and in order to create and foster that culture, I have to do it first.
I have to lead with that. Yeah. And so I’m curious when it comes to having an organization that has employees and contractors, and there might be some people listening who have only contractors or only employees. One thing that I, we’ve talked about in the past is like helping to create a really great culture where regardless of the employment status, people feel
a part of the organization, and I know something that you focus on in HR is like creating inclusive working environments. And so I would love for you to share a little bit more around how small businesses can do more of that. Absolutely. And what I mentioned before, leading authentically, transparently with empathy is a start, right?
Because if you bring your full self, that allows someone to bring their full self. When I make mistakes, I own up to them. I’m very transparently like my bad, I’m the bottleneck. Everyone, I’m the problem. I’m trying to , I’m trying to fix that because then that allows them to show up that way as well.
And I also feel like I, I forgot the question. I’m sorry. . It’s ok. Creating inclusive working work environments totally fine. And ok. Yeah, this is totally me. Also, side note, this is like totally me, like probably 75% of my life. Yeah. Oh my gosh. But it’s also asking who could I intentionally be leaving out, either by the way I’m communicating this or the way I’m clarifying something.
So for example, like the learning styles, when I’m delegating something, what’s another way that I can delegate this to make sure that everyone understands, right? Having a video, but also having something written and then, or having something, in bullet points. And it’s just
for me, it becomes that second nature, because I’m always asking, is there a potential for bias? Where is this thought process coming from? Is this coming from my nine to five mentality? Is this what, where is this coming from? Do I have to do it this way? Or can I create something new? So do I have to do it this way?
Do I have to do it this way because it’s a compliance requirement. Or is it just because that’s what I’ve only known? And how can we reiterate from that? And I kinda take a human centered design approach with everything. I’m a certified luma, human centered design practitioner. And so what that means is that the way I approach HR is I take a look at what’s required from a compliance standpoint.
I take a look from the employee what’s their experience? I ask them what? Like all the time, like, how can I improve this? How can I help support you through this? And then whoever’s doing it, like whoever’s managing or doing it, how can I help their experience as well? And so whenever we’re thinking of things thinking of it from that lens.
And then, what could I be leaving out right from a inclusive standpoint and from an equitable standpoint. Something that everyone is always I never heard of that. I’m like, oh, it’s actually a great little tip when you’re setting goals. There’s, everyone knows smart goals, but not a lot of people know about smartie goals.
And smartie goals are Smart goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. And then you add the IE with each goal. And I is, am I being inclusive? How can I be even more inclusive with this goal? And the E is how can I be even more equitable with this goal? And so really it’s, if you’re wanting to really create this inclusive workforce, it’s really bringing that to every decision that you’re making and making sure that you’re asking those questions.
Yeah. You had mentioned the example. Learning styles and seeing, okay. Like the question of where am I leaving people out here I think is a really important question to ask. And I also like, I think there’s only so there’s so much that we see and know and then there’s going to be other things that we just don’t know.
And I love how you said you talked to, you can ask, like you can ask and have conversations. Are there any other ways or even any other examples just to solidify this for people of maybe an example of a smart goal versus a smart smartie? Is that smartie goal? Yeah. For? Yes, absolutely.
So for example let’s take hiring. I wanna hire an obm, right? And so I wanna hire, that’s the specific I wanna hire them by this date. And then the i in it, how can I be more inclusive? So where can I advertise it? Where individuals for marginal, marginalized populations, for example, are hanging out to make sure that they see this right. There are tons of Facebook and flat groups that are focused just on individuals for marginalized communities such as illa, which is Latinos and Tech, right? And then there’s thises of Tech, which are women who black Sisters of Tech which is usually, and so just really thinking outside the box.
Doing research, this information is out there. Yep. You just have to, wanna find it. And then making sure that, in that example, okay, how can I get this job ad or job posting in front of as many eyes as possible and making sure that I have a great inclusive and diverse tool for this position.
What can I do to do that? I love that. And I like that there’s an, that would be an acronym, right? I’m so bad with , yeah. Acronym yes. It’s smartie, s-m-a-r-t-i-e. And it was actually a colleague of mine that, that showed that to me when I was in my last position. I was like, oh my gosh, mind blown.
That’s so true. Like I, it’s just like really, it forces you to really center. Every decision around inclusive inclusivity and equity. I think sometimes when we think about it, we just thinking about it from a hiring standpoint, which is why I gave that example, because that’s where it always comes.
But really every single decision that you make you’re thinking about that and that’s kind where I’m asking those questions for my client. Cause I, they don’t, there’s so much that they’re handling. That’s why I’m asking these questions. Where is that coming from? Is there potentially someone that we’re missing out?
Is there, what are some other ways that we can do this? Even something as simple as, I had a client yesterday we were talking about what she’s looking for in a new hire, oh, they have to be have to fit in with the culture. Okay. What does that mean when you fit in the culture?
Let’s dig deeper. What does that mean? What is the culture like? What are you really trying to say? And then how can we develop that into the hiring process to screen out for it to make it more equitable, right? That’s where the e stands and making sure that. We’re rating everyone on the same things, and we’re not just rating everyone over it’s a great gut feeling.
They give you a great gut feeling because they’re just like you what you mean? They’re not being . Yeah. It’s being, it sounds to me like it’s just being very specific and which allows you to be more intentional about what you are doing and being able to constantly ask yourself the question, and I don’t.
This is something that’s a practice, right? It’s something that like , you can constantly figure out ways to be to set like some of these goals and to be more inclusive and more equitable. It’s not like this destination, right? It’s something that you continue to develop. Another example is maternity leave, right?
So something that I talk through with my clients is like, why is it maternity leave? Are we saying that someone that may be a non birth caregiver. Is less than the maternity, than the person giving birth. There are so many family situations out there. Who are we unintentionally leaving out or making feel less than when we’re naming something as maternity leave when we can just say parental leave.
And that’s now all inclusive. And then spelling it out before someone asks for it. That’s inclusive of not just maternity paternity, but any non birth caregiver that needs the time can take that. So that’s another example outside of the hiring aspect of, are we really being inclusive here when we’re looking at that policy?
Is this the inclusive equitable policy? Another example, bereavement leave. I, I hate this policy because it’s so antiquated where lot of us take things from nine to five bereavement. If someone passes away, you get like three to five days. And a lot of policies will say you’ll get five days if it’s a primary, if it’s a parent or spouse, and you’ll get three days if
some whatever, like a someone else. And it wasn’t until at my last employment, I worked for a veteran service organization, and a lot of them developed very deep relationships with their fellow servicemen. So when something happens, who am I to say that this serve, that this person wasn’t a brother to them, right?
And that they can only have this much off. And so it’s really really question. That’s what I mean, like questioning everything. Why do we do these things? Why are we putting these restrictions? Is it something that we’re taking for something that we, from something that we learned? Yeah, and I think it’s also just to your point, the information’s out there and continuing to just educate yourself around it and constantly questioning these things.
And I did see the bereavement. I hadn’t even really thought about it. At our company, we have like different categories for time off. , but we did, when I worked in corporate and I don’t think we needed to define who it was but after looking at some of that information, I think it was shared on, I literally just read this thing on bereavement and on LinkedIn.
I Maybe you posted it or I don’t know, something was happening on LinkedIn. I’m just getting back into it and I was just like, you know what? I never even thought of it. And another thing that I thought was really interesting, was unlimited time off and we might have had this conversation inside of agency where it’s actually it discourages people from taking time off because there’s not like the boundary set and people don’t know what the expectation is and then feel bad asking and depending, I think it probably depends on the culture of the business, but also it’s like, how could we make this more supportive for the people who are here?
I have unlimited time off. And I did that because I thought it was going to be such a great benefit for people and that I trusted my team and we have great, I mean I have a team of one employee. We have a great dialogue. And I think it would be a good conversation for me to have with her to say would you like me to set, how do you feel?
Do you feel comfortable asking for a time off? And Absolutely. Cuz I was doing it with the intention. Yeah. Yeah. That’s, remember taking it back to the employee engagement cycle. That’s the attract. Let’s take a look at our policies. Yeah. Let’s ask our employees. You know when I started engagement with a client, I don’t only just say, Hey, what do you wanna change?
I asked to speak to the employees, whether it’s survey or focus groups, because I wanna make sure as we’re making these policy decisions, that were really centering their needs. . And we’re taking like, what do they need? And it’s interesting, I had one client, they were like, we need policies. We need guidelines.
I. I wanna know what I can or cannot do. I wanna totally. Something so simple, right? Something so simple. They didn’t realize it. They were like, we didn’t wanna be like corporate. We just, take, do what you can. And you that was the sense of the business owner.
But the team didn’t know that and they, especially the more that you become a little more removed from being a direct manager and having that one on one relationship, they dunno that. And so it’s just really, again, going. Your team, like always ask your team every quarter a part. I hate performance reviews.
Yes. I’m hr, I hate that term. performance reviews I call it a quarterly check-in. And so during that time I’m asking like, what are things that really made you feel supported? This quarter, what are some things that we did that get you done that really made you feel supported and where, what are some things that didn’t make you feel supported?
And then I always ask them like, from on a scale to one to five, how supported are you feeling? And and then during our conversation, really digging through that and really getting a. Of that, how we can support. Cause the more you support your team, the more you can delegate to them and the more you can focus on growing your business.
Ok. Let’s bring that back. Like the more you can retain your team and have them grow, the more you can like start to take a step back from client delivery. Yes. And I think it’s also I’ve heard from business owners throughout the years and leaders when I worked inside of corporate, that they would ask team for feedback and they wouldn’t
they wouldn’t get any feedback. And yeah, that was always really interesting to me because I do think, I’m curious on your perspective on this. , I think. It’s our job as leaders and the people who are asking the questions to create a culture where people feel comfortable giving feedback.
And I think that’s definitely, it’s like what do we have control over here? And that is something that we do have control over. And I think that goes back to being transparent and like owning up when you make a mistake and just like really living into your values. And then you know, the people that you’re working with also.
They have control over what they’re willing to share and not share. And so I’m curious if you’ve seen that happening with clients or even in work environments that you’ve been in, juggling that balance. Yeah. I’ve seen it in workplaces and that’s why I’ve done the exact opposite Yes. As I’ve been building my business.
I remember being like, you. Behind the doors and only certain people knew certain conversations, and you only needed to know what you needed to know. Listen, every week I do an update from my team. Hey, these are the sales calls that are coming up. Hey, I lost a sales call. Let me tell you why I suck at that discovery call.
Or, Hey, like I am like. Super transparent as to this is what’s coming in, this is what’s going out. Whether it relates to that person’s job or not, whether they’re a contractor or employee. And it allows people to really feel like they’re a part of the organization. And then I’m asking, what do you all think?
Do you all have any suggestions? We’re growing this together. So you know, what do you all think? What are some feedback? Cause I remember people, I know I would have plenty of feedback or constructive criticism, but no one really asked me right back to what I thought would be the best way to do things.
And I’m the one doing the work. I have someone else telling me you should do this. And I would provide feedback like, Hey, I’m happy to do that, but it’s gonna take me the time. Like this is the process, fully understanding the process and this is what I do. So just being super transparent and really asking questions along the way so that, and you
intentionally create that culture of feedback and if you ask for feedback and you can’t move forward with it, let people know Hey. The great feedback. Unfortunately we can’t do this, here’s why. But definitely gonna add this to our list of things to to do because sometimes people just wanna be heard and they wanna, they don’t wanna just give feedback and nothing happens.
I know with our team, like as people are saying things in our weekly check-ins, making sure that we’re making those changes and if we’re not providing feedback as to why we can’t at that time. So I would love to shift now to talking a little bit about your agency and your journey and curious. I know over the past year that you’ve gone through some like changes and transformations, and I’d love for you to share what some of the biggest shifts were for you this year inside of your agency.
Woo. So Nicole, the journey and then, there was one call during one of our calls where I literally broke down and was like, I, it was like, I think one of our very first calls together. It may have been like my second call and I, I, my first year of business, I really was just doing all of the things and seeing what stuck, and that caused me to do a lot of things.
And I was doing a lot of day to day work. I didn’t have ideal clients. And the transition now is, now we’re doing, I’ve realized what I’m good at, what the team is good at, what I like working on, and also what the team likes working on, and have shifted our model that way. So day to day is not for me.
I’ve realized that’s not my strong point. Or, and my team like it either. So we’ve kinda transitioned to more of a project base and really what are those pro I’m looking at. The project that we worked on and the types of clients that we worked on, I’m really trying to figure out, okay, what are those characteristics sets of our ideal clients?
Which again, with the, through the agency course was able to really figure out that process. And then just making sure that I’m doing that on a regular basis. And then, building, offering that scale, right? And then realizing I can’t continue to do all of the things for everyone and customize everything.
So what are those things that we’re really good at? And those things that really fill my bucket and give me life and how can we do more of that? How can we package that to scale it and do more of that? And then really just getting comfortable with delegating. I think sometimes, especially if you’ve been doing it on your own you’re just like no one else cares enough to like, do it this way, or, or I know everyone’s busy, I don’t wanna put so it’s just really being okay.
I could do it. But I shouldn’t do it right, because I wanna make sure my team member feels empowered and they’re learning. And even if it’s not necessarily the way I would do it, they’re gonna learn. And it’s so funny during our weekly check-ins to see like when my team is reflecting on what went well and then what maybe didn’t go so well they always reflect on those.
Things and they’re like, yeah, I need to use my time appropriately for Pico. I definitely recognize that and I’m definitely learning that this time around with this project I love and just again that like culture of feedback and sharing what went well. And what didn’t go well and that you’re really leading, you really leading
them and creating that environment for them to feel comfortable sharing those things, which is actually, I think when we’re able to share those things, that’s when we can learn and grow and evolve. Absolutely. Absolutely. Absolutely. And I always ask for feedback about how I’m doing, right? I’m not perfect at all.
Even though I’m in HR and I’m about, I know like I’ve made a lot of mistakes, right? Please, even as I’m hiring, I need people that will call me out please feel that you can call me out. if I’m doing something like, please Know that I’m, I am showing up and I’m, my intention is to do the best and to support you.
And if I’m not doing that, just lemme know. And if you don’t feel comfortable, let Danielle know who’s my obm now. Just having other avenues where they can go to for agency owners out there who are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the workload and knowing probably that a lot of things need to shift.
You had mentioned. Shifting your packages and shifting some clients and that can feel I know it’s almost felt paralyzing for some people because it feels like, oh my gosh, nothing’s working. I have to change everything. Is there a end in sight? And so for someone who’s in that position, what advice would you share with them?
It’s supposed to feel that way at first. I definitely went through that, Nicole. I shared like I had just a really tough situation and I felt like I was failing my team. I felt like I was failing my clients and I was just like, I just need to take a break. And I started applying for full time jobs and got one, and I was like, okay, maybe I can get this full paint job and.
take a step back and grow my organizational thoughtfully, right? And then I got into the full time gig for a few months and I was like, oh no, I need to, yeah, this is not for me. Let me go back full time into my business. So it’s gonna feel hard. It’s gonna be really hard. But then you start seeing little things and you start like making, you do one thing every day, you’ll start to see changes, right? So it’s not, a year ago I didn’t have my team was still rather new and I was still doing a lot of it. Now, a year later, almost two years later, I have team members that are grown in their roles and are taking on more.
And these are contractors. Taking on more responsibility and now operating suggestions on how to improve processes and how we can do more, right? And so it’s all part of the process. Do not give up. Do not give up. There is something there, I promise. If you’re gonna feel like you’re gonna wanna burn everything down, You might burn everything down.
I pretty much did . I pretty much did. Yeah. And then, I really got centered in my, why am I doing this? And then went and then got clearer on who I wanna serve, what we wanna do. And I’m like, okay, let’s go full steam ahead. And that has. Really paid off. And it’s just been really exciting to see it grow.
Yeah. I love that you say, just expect it to be hard. I think that we go into these situations sometimes. I know, even I do this where it’s like, where’s the magic pill? Like I just want the magic pill to make this all go away so that I don’t have to go through any like feelings of discomfort and Right.
And I think that by having that mentality, it can actually make it worse. And so I think that just by expecting. Expecting it to be hard. I was just having this conversation with a friend about something totally personal, but I was reflecting back actually on my journey having my son and it was very challenging, especially during the first year.
And I was reflecting back and sharing, I’ve realized that anything great. Requires struggle and require, requires challenge. And it wasn’t really until that moment where I’m like, wow, that actually really applies to business as well. And that by taking those actions every day, like even when you don’t want to, even when you feel like giving up, just doing that one thing Those really, they add up and they do.
They do. And I never wanted to be a manager, Nicole, five years ago when I was in my HR gig, I was like, I don’t like managing. I’ve already built a department from the ground up. Like I don’t wanna manage, I wanna come in, clock out and do my thing, right? Like I, five years later running an agency and I’m, supervising a team and I’m actually good at it, right?
Cause, so it’s just funny how things turn out. I never thought I would be, Managing people and really enjoying it. And it’s been really exciting to see like the growth and even where we were three months ago to where we are now and really just celebrating all of the wins along the way, I think is super important.
Totally. Jusa, thank you so much for being here today and just for being. So open and honest and sharing not only your expertise, but also like your journey. I think that like for a topic, especially like HR , that can feel like really intimidating to people. Yeah. It’s so helpful to hear. Your take in perspective that just makes it.
Feel so much more attainable and doable. And then also just to hear how you show up and lead your company and your team even, and that you struggle even though your expertise is in hr. I think it’s just, I’m there with you, I consult with people on growing an agency and leading teams, and.
Listen, I’m not perfect either. And there’s times where, right? No, it’s, no, you have to go back to the drawing board. And I think the more that you can share and admit that and be honest and transparent, like that’s where you can get like the help. That’s where from unexpected sources too, like the team coming in and telling you where you can improve and just wow, I would’ve never been able to get that information if I hadn’t shared this in the first place.
So thank you. Thank you for being here and for sharing your journey with. Aw. Thank you for asking me. Thank you for asking to be here. I’ve been been listening to the podcast for a long time, so I’m a little geeked out inside . Awesome. For everyone who’s listening thank you for being here with us today, and we will see you next week.