The Modern CPA Success Show: Episode 87
With more than 25 years of experience in the HR field, John Baldino, President of Humareso, is well versed in the people problems and workforce trends that business owners face. John sat down with Adam and Tom to discuss organizational and leadership development, coaching and training, industry trends, and how business owners can lead their teams during these unprecedented times.
[00:00:20] Tom: Okay. Welcome to today's episode.
[00:00:21] I'm Tom Wadelton. I'm a virtual CFO at Summit CPA, a group, a division of Anders CPA Advisors. I'm joined as usual by Adam Hale, a partner at Anders CPA Advisors. Welcome Adam and also John.
Adam: Hello, Tom.
Tom: and John is the founder and CEO of Humareso, an HR outsource global consulting firm. John, welcome.
[00:00:41] Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and the company, and then we'll jump into other topics. .
[00:00:46] John: Sure. Thanks Tom. Humareso as you shared is an HR consulting firm and we have been around for over 10 years providing all kinds of HR support to organizations across the country. A lot of that work really being done either in partnership with HR practitioners that are working within an organization or even for organizations that have
[00:01:09] no HR presence internally. They'll lean on us for HR support. And I have been involved with Human Resources for a little over 30 years. I know it's shocking if you're looking at me in this study. It's been but it has been. And I am originally from the Philadelphia area and so got my start in the late 80’s.
[00:01:31] At in big box retail. And so started it for a department store there. And then just moved through various industries through the years up into. Primarily strategic HR roles. For the last probably 16 years of my career before I started Humareso again.
[00:01:52] Tom: So your career trajectory in HR started inside companies as an employee doing HR activities, and then got to the point where you're working with multiple [00:02:00] companies.
[00:02:00] John: It wasn't called HR back that time,, it was called.
Tom: Oh, I do remember that.
John: Yes. And I was .
[00:02:06] Adam: Yeah, I do actually. Yeah. Good call. Yep, good call. The you know, before we get started though, there's just something that I gotta get out of the way because we were discussing before we jumped on here. Like his superhero, if you'd slide to the side there, his, his great artwork back there.
[00:02:23] So we were having a small debate on who the best superhero was. And John, I have to say that your name alone just kind of speaks like you would be in one of those, John Baldino. That or a mobster movie, right? Like one or the other.
[00:02:36] John: Yes. Talk about Mobster.
[00:02:39] Tom: He did say Philly.
[00:02:40] John: Talk about Izzy and all that stuff.
[00:02:40] So there's a type guy.
[00:02:43] Adam: I know. Yeah. So he is, so, so there's some of that. But you know, I had said who my, you know, number one superhero was because I just think that he's, you know, Undefeatable, which would of course be Superman. I know everybody listening would agree with me, but what I didn't hear before we started, like if you could be a superhero or who you think the best one is, just real quick before we jump into it, just so people can get a understanding of who you actually are to decide whether they want keep listening or not.
[00:03:11] John: I agree with that. This is absolutely the litmus test of my veracity as a professional, right? I'm the Spider-Man guy, always have been.
[00:03:21] Tom: Oh, interesting. Okay. That's what's your, what is your main reason of saying you'd wanna be Spider-Man?
[00:03:26] John: I love I mean, a couple of reasons. One, I just love the idea of the extraordinarily ordinarily ordinary being accidentally given an entire different trajectory of life.
[00:03:40] Right. One spider bite and my entire world changed. Right. I think it's pretty cool. And he is one of the only superheroes where you don't see any of his skin and so anybody can be Spider-Man.
Tom: Interesting. .
[00:03:57] Adam: Oh, well there you go. Okay. Well, you passed the [00:04:00] test. This is, and now this is, this feels like it's a good segue into how you got started.
[00:04:03] you just the ordinary to extraordinary Right. .
[00:04:08] John: I have not, where I am Spider-Man, I'm hoping to ultimately find that universe, yes. I wanna find that,
[00:04:18] Tom: continue to pick up except, and get bit over and over and go through the trauma without the superhero. Huh.
[00:04:25] Adam: That's right.
[00:04:26] Well, what I do, what I do think is extraordinary though John, and, and the reason why we wanted to have you on the show is because what I think is atypical in your space at least it has been for us. So delivering Virtual CFO services and the financial side to clients for us in the way that we do it, is pretty unique.
[00:04:43] I think more and more firms are starting to kind of catch on to being more advisory and being able to offer, you know, this. The spectrum of services from the very tactical to the advisory you know, strategic level. You know, they live in different spots there, but rarely whenever we would engage with a client, you know, sometimes, like you said, they had internal resources in HR, like finance, though a lot of times they were just people that.
[00:05:06] it became an end job. And they handle payroll and they handle benefits administration. And some of it's due to the size of the company, right? Like if it's not big enough, then maybe it doesn't warrant having us or you involved, albeit they could probably use us at different degrees. But I think what was unique that whenever, and the reason why I clinging to you so fast is because most of the time I would find just individuals out there that were really good at
[00:05:33] one or the other. And most of the blocking and tackling was done by, you know, you'd have to go to the payroll company or the, you know, you would go to the PEOs of the world and. I mean, I couldn't tell you how many times, whenever I'd call them and ask 'em a question and they'd never know the answer and they'd say, well, you gotta ask your CPA.
[00:05:51] And I'm like that's me. And no, the payroll person should know this answer, which is the reason why I'm on the phone with you, cuz this is what you do every day. [00:06:00] You know, whenever it came to pay, you know, to benefits administration and all those kind of things. So again, what I found really unique and love to kind of dig into kinda your thought process and how you built that out.
[00:06:10] And we can maybe talk about some of the service lines, but is that you were able to scale to more than just you or two people. Like you have a good size company and you have that spectrum of services where you can kind of help somebody with, you know, again, the day-to-day blocking and tackling all the way up to some of those strategic services that are also desperately needed from the company.
[00:06:30] So again, I do think that you've already hit the extraordinary from my perspective, cuz again, I just don't run into that a whole lot. So can you tell us a little bit about that journey and how that started? Did it start with doing the blocking tackling or where did that go?
[00:06:45] John: First of all, thanks. I mean, really all jokes aside, thanks for the way in which you said that and I mean it really started I look at it in a couple of different ways, First, I think when it comes to the way in which an organization receives human resources, and what I mean by that is when I sit within an organization, what's my vibe of HR?
[00:07:07] If HR is only the police, then that's all they'll ever be. And so they're going to run around and be the employee compliance police. Now, that's not to say that compliance doesn't matter. . It's to say though that if the context of compliance is, that's the beginning, middle, and end, it's a stunted view and it really does a disservice not only to HR as a discipline, but to each employee's experience of what work ought to be like.
[00:07:38] That being said, you have to earn the right to be heard. And so in an organization, how do you do that? Well, you have to know your stuff. , you gotta know., to your question, Adam, about the blocking, and you gotta know the blocking and tackling. I gotta know that when someone comes to me and says I just found out that I'm pregnant.[00:08:00]
[00:08:00] Wanna know what leave will be like, it's not today. It's down the road. And if immediately my response is, ugh. It's over. Just stop. You don't, don't worry about the fact that I don't know what the compliance is. Let me go look it up. You already told them what the spirit of compliance is gonna look like, right?
[00:08:22] Yeah. And I think that there are too many HR people who. Ugh, a whole lot. And so what I noticed in my own journey within human resources and the last role that I had before I left to, to start Humareso, was VP of HR for our National Bank. And I would run into other, you know, banking professionals in this space who are just
[00:08:48] no fun. They just were a horrible human being. Except when they went to the annual, you know, banker's and insurance convention. Then they were the life of the party for about 10 minutes before they passed out. And lightweights and it was like, why, how come you can have 10 minutes
[00:09:12] Of an approachable personality there, but the rest of the year you, you're just in your office door shut, sitting at your desk, Ugh. That is just not the way HR is supposed to function. So I saw that reality, and I would also say I saw the reality of outsourcing. When I started, as I said, you know, a long time ago in personnel, we were doing payroll in-house.
[00:09:40] Literally, you know, the big book of the tax grids because Pennsylvania is very complicated and so Right. Like the right, the school tax, the local tax, and we had like two rulers to line up to find what that percentage was gonna be. And like you were doing that. Well, what ultimately happens, more [00:10:00] organizations are using
[00:10:01] payroll platforms, outsourcing that liability, bringing in technology to make the function of payroll easier, not only for finance, but for the employees who receive the pay. You know, we're at a place today where everybody's got an app and they can look at their pay stubs right on their phone and they can do this and that.
[00:10:17] It has traveled a path from that initial outsourcing. When I was in personnel again all that time ago, we had major medical. We weren't really doing all of the huge benefit plans for employees, for health benefits, that sort of thing. HMOs were there, but everybody was a little freaked out about them.
[00:10:33] Who pays $2 to go to a doctor? What the heck is this? Right? So those things started to influence a comfort around outsourcing and again, carrying that forward. I thought there's too many organizations that are under a hundred employees that aren't going to hire a VP of HR level expert to come in and help set their organization up for success
[00:11:01] in that discipline because it wouldn't be financially prudent. Yeah. They can't afford that level of expertise. Right. So what if we built something where they could access that level of expertise in an outsourced model, the way in which they're accessing that level of expertise in a payroll platform, in a benefits administration connection through a brokerage.
[00:11:21] And that's where Humareso was born out of. And so we took, I took a shot to see if my hunch was right. And you know, here we are and it's been right.
[00:11:32] Tom: That's a great story. And I'm sure over time I've found acceptance of more and more outsource and listening to them. An advisor is coming up so much that people are used to doing that.
[00:11:41] Now, 10 years ago is probably a challenge, wasn't it?
[00:11:44] John: That's right. That, well, and it's funny too, cuz one of the things that I would say as well, so this is true, right? So I left the organization I was with January, I'm sorry, July 31st, 2012. And, August 1st is when Humareso [00:12:00] started the next day, but I went to breakfast the next morning with someone that I knew was a CEO of an organization.
[00:12:07] He was like, I wanna pick your brain to see why you know you're left. Because I didn't have to leave. We were doing great work. Good stuff was happening. And I had breakfast with him and told him this vision and he said “Awesome. How do I sign up to have you come in and be a part of my company?” So I left breakfast that next morning.
[00:12:25] Honestly, not even have, I didn't even have Humareso like filed at the state yet. Right. As a company. And so I say that to say it was such an immediate, very, like what a kind blessing for me to get that immediate validation that this could have legs. Right. And I agree with you though, Tom, like, as the years have gone on now so many more people are comfortable with
[00:12:46] various types as you, you know, as both of you know as well, right? With outsourcing
[00:12:52] Adam: Yeah. Outsourcing, not having to be physically in the look. I mean, so yes, they're okay and they understand that there's , you know, there's not only a need, you know, so from a financial perspective it makes sense, but sometimes it's a trade off.
[00:13:04] Right. But the one thing there is, is it's not only the cost of the person that's there. You have, you take care of all the employee drama, cuz you've got that all on your side. If there's turnover, you know, you've got that kind of built in, you're managing that. But I think the other thing that people don't think about a lot of times is the project management.
[00:13:21] So whenever they bring in like a controller, or if they brought in an HR person, from your standpoint, it's like, , but who's their resources and who's watching over them and making sure those things are getting done on a regular basis. And with your company. And with our company, what we're able to do whenever we go into a situation like that is they have a team of a network around them and that project management kind of already built into it.
[00:13:44] So they have layers of support, both upstream and downstream to be able to help 'em and being able to bundle that in a fractional manner. Even though it's again, it's a subscription, you know, a fractional piece to a broader team. That's really what most of these small businesses need. [00:14:00] Now, whenever you get to 500 or 5,000 employees, well sure, now it makes sense to just bring us in for little, you know, small projects and stuff like that.
[00:14:07] But yeah, we were in the exact same boat and kind of had that same validation and I, you know, agree with like, over the years, it's just gotten, you know, where people almost expect it or really demand it, you know, cuz I don't wanna do that.
[00:14:19] John: Correct. And I would say when I started, I thought small to lower mid-market size organizations, were gonna be really the audience for me.
[00:14:31] And I wasn't wrong, right? The, certainly that group of organizations are my audience. But what's been really interesting to see as the years have gone on is how far upstream it's gotten that enterprise level organizations are reaching out, saying, Can you bring that expertise? I had a conversation with, I can't say the company, but a really, really, really, really, really big company.
[00:14:55] Really big company. Said can you come in and work with our organization on workforce planning? And I said to him, I was like, what? Are you kidding me? You have 300 people on the HR team. And his response was, they don't know how to do that thing.
[00:15:13] Adam: Interesting. Yeah, that's what I'm saying. It's like sometimes even in those bigger situations, and, and oftentimes it's just that outside insight too, right?
[00:15:21] Like Professional or an expert. Sometimes it's just somebody from out of town with a suitcase. You know, there is a lot of legitimacy to somebody from outside the organization being able to come in and say the same thing. Everybody's looking around the table going, that's what we've been talking about for the last couple of years,
[00:15:35] But now all of a sudden everybody's listening. So there's definitely value to that as well. But you know, not to say that you wouldn't bring in additional insight. In a perspective of doing stuff, but I'm just saying in general, I think there's a ton of value as it relates to that. But just kind of shifting gears a little bit, I think what would be what would be kind of a cool way to take the conversation, we can kind of move things around a little bit, but is to kind of break down some of the [00:16:00] services that you provide, because again, that's what attracted me to your team and everything was that it's like, oh, well for us, we'll do payroll, so we don't do the payroll.
[00:16:10] You know, the actual, like paying the liabilities and stuff like that. Everybody should be using a platform like Gusto or ADP. You like, name the software, it doesn't really matter, but there's still an administrative component that has to be done with that. You know, even PEOs that are hands off are
[00:16:28] oftentimes not even remotely close to being hands off . So there's a lot to that. And so we will handle that administration, we'll update people's stuff, we'll pay it, but we have to be very explicit in there. And actually in our SOW we have this thing that says we are not HR administrators, we do not do benefit administration.
[00:16:46] We do not, you know, we can't do that stuff. That's not in our wheelhouse. Whereas whenever I was talking to you, you do that and then you kind of, you built upon all those things so you can handle the payroll administration. Which we would gladly off , like send to you. So thank you. But then on top of it, a parallel service that makes sense naturally.
[00:17:07] And the reason why we had so much client confusion was because naturally then it's like, well, then you also handle the benefits administration. It's like, no, we don't. But with you, you do. So can you kind of talk to us about kind of the differences there and how those services work? You just, you know, problems and things of that nature.
[00:17:23] John: I mean, I would say just to sort of set the table, I'd say from Service Category standpoint, we really function in five areas and the first area we've been talking about, which is compliance and administration, right? So that is going to be very much considerate of law, case law, policy looking at city, state, federal.
[00:17:50] You know, again, not that I wanna keep hearkening back to when I was in personnel, but it was so much simpler then as far as law was concerned, because most of it was federal. There was [00:18:00] a little bit of state, very little city. The only little bit of city that we ever really had to work about worry about was taxation.
[00:18:07] Right? If you were in Philadelphia, you had wage tax, so that made a, you know, a difference into how you did some process, but it really didn't affect employment law. Well, fast forward, we even have municipalities that now, you know, are passing things thatin fact, employment related relationships. And so it is a very robust component when you're thoughtful about being compliant and what that means.
[00:18:33] Add on to the fact that we have more organizations that are distributed because of the net effect for many organizations of the pandemic. We already had offer as Humareso. We actually were already a distributed workforce. We were operating in that model before the pandemic. That actually was really great for us, not only to keep things steady internally, but we were so familiar that all of our clients that needed to make this transition, we were firsthand right about what had to happen and how you had to handle it and how much compliance, so that organization that's in Shaboygan, that hired their first person in LA and they wanna know.
[00:19:13] There's no difference.
[00:19:15] Adam: And you said that's a mistake. Sorry, everybody
[00:19:17] John: You're allowed to discriminate by geography. That's not a protective class, so no one from California. The, but the reality is, again, they wouldn't have a reason to know these things, right? These organizations don't, that's not their wheelhouse, that's not their expertise.
[00:19:33] So that compliance component married to the administration, Adam, that you're talking about. So that full employee life cycle, we call it from offer to offboarding. Right. Like, so if that ever happens, right. So all the benefits administration, we can we jump in, as you said, with payroll processing, we're jumping in with leave administration and leave management is a beast,
[00:19:55] in and of itself. It’s actually an entire department within our organization [00:20:00] because of how complicated and complex it is. To have someone who, within an organization who really anecdotally, you know, knows that there's four letters called FMLA, who's responsible for this. It's a big deal and there's a lot more case law happening as a result of mismanagement of leave.
[00:20:16] And that's not to be scare tactic. That's just to sort of accentuate the fact that that's why this sort of tandem of compliance and administration makes so much sense. And so we'll manage that full employee life cycle corrective action. But promotion management as well. Right? Where does performance fit into that?
[00:20:33] But if somebody leaves helping with Cobra or helping with unemployment responses or verifications of employment, whatever these areas are, we're gonna, that's gonna sit in that bucket for us. And it's a great gateway to build rapport and relationship, quite frankly. And so when we get involved with organizations at that level, it doesn't take very long before they're like,
[00:20:57] Well, what else do you do? Uhhuh, , how could we, could you do this? How could, how about this? Right? And so that's where again, just to do the lay of the land training and development is another area for us. So that's not only the things that are have to, right? Anti-discrimination, anti-harassment, but growth opportunities.
[00:21:12] We see a lot of potential in Adam. How do we, how do we help?
[00:21:17] Adam: Oh, thank you. That's the first time I heard that.
[00:21:19] John: A, for example, . But the idea of like. What about his soft skills? Right. Adam's an employee, a line level employee right now. We have a desire to promote him to supervisor.
[00:21:35] Well, he's a colleague last week. He's their supervisor next week. That's a little bit of a transition. Right. How does Adam get set up for success in that? And so helping to sort of develop that whole, all learning management right? Kind of fits into that bucket for us. Third area is direct tire recruiting.
[00:21:52] Which is connected back. Right? They overlap so much, but there's an expertise in these areas. You can't just throw an ad on Indeed and [00:22:00] say, gosh, I hope it works out. It's you know, we're gonna get 7,000 resumes, you know, 6,999, not having anything to do with the job that you're trying to fill.
[00:22:12] Right. So, and again, not to kinda get into all it, but that just gives you this idea of like, when you start touching on some of these initial blocking and tackling needs, it opens the door then, right? From more and more engagement.
[00:22:25] Adam: Because you've earned the trust. Yeah. I mean, I can see how the direct to hire stuff.
[00:22:29] I mean, a lot of times you have to do recruiting, but there's just, there's a big portion of that. I mean, yeah. I mean, I remember one time the guy was aspiring to be a football couch. He couldn't even spell coach like on his thing. I'm like, do we really need to be looking at these? We could totally do a blooper reel on some of the stuff that came our way.
[00:22:48] Yes. So what about in like just kind of. Digging into a couple of those areas. I think the training one, you know, obviously on the HR front there's some software packages that have good, you know, learning training modules there. I think where most places struggle, from my experience is understanding like bands and how to move people along.
[00:23:12] Like everybody wants to feel useful, sometimes people want to create trajectories and paths for people, but it's really hard to create those bright lines between moving from one to the other. Because it's not just technical skills, like you mentioned, A lot of times it's the soft skills. Those are the things that really move people up.
[00:23:28] The upstream, it's, you know, a lot of the technical stuff is kind of permission to play. Like you have, you're great at doing X, Y, Z, but can you manage people or can you oversee a department or can you do those things? So do you also help them not just with like, a soft skill, but do you also help them develop what those plans could look like or what those bands would look like?
[00:23:51] And then does that bleed into compensation also, like compensation planning or how does that,
[00:23:56] John: Yes. To all of that. Right. So the idea . .
Adam: Sweet, sign me up.
[00:24:00] John: The idea there is, it's a really good question because what we still see in so many organizations is. Tom's here at line level, entry level employee.
[00:24:14] We like Tom. Tom then gets to move to senior. X X of the role that that he's doing. And then the next step is Tom to be manager. And the next step is Tom to be director. And the next step is Tom to be VP, hoping along the way for either turnover or death. Because that's the only way Tom is gonna move forward, right?
[00:24:33] Oh, good. Good job, Tom. You get to be director because Bob died last week and so now we need somebody to be director. So congratulations.
[00:24:41] Adam: Make sure Tom was a part of that first then. Then he can have the succession.
[00:24:44] John: That is that Id channel on cable, whatever. You'll see the story, the, it's such a linear course that most organizations really map and say, well, we have career mapping.
[00:24:57] No, you have a career map, right? A, that's not career mapping. It's a career map. Not everyone fits into that. And quite frankly, not everyone should fit into that. We see this most often when we get involved with organizations in sales. When they say, you know Bobby was, he's great. I mean, he's killing it.
[00:25:20] And so we're gonna make him sales manager. And what happens when Bobby becomes sales manager? He's terrible. He's horrible. It happens. It's a story as old as time. It happens over and over and over again. Why is that the case? Well, it's the same reason why all star superstar athletes are terrible coaches.
[00:25:41] Because they've been trained to be hunters and selfish and focused on what they bring to the game. , the best coaches are often the people who sat the bench and were the B and C level player who learned how to have the lay of the land of the whole thing. So if you just keep telling the A [00:26:00] level person you are next to be a manager, don't come to me and complain that six months later they're unhappy, they left, they got scooped up by a competitor because they want to get back to what they do well.
[00:26:13] And I'm just gonna, it is what it is. Self-centered hunting that they're really good at. That's why they're the MVP, right? So we have to work with organizations to have, it used to be called, something called Dual Ladder Progression. Well, you can go this way or this way as you grow in the organization, but quite frankly, it, where we are right now, it can be 3, 4, 5 different paths that you can create.
[00:26:34] And with that Adam, though, to your point, there's always thoughtfulness and we do quite a bit of work in compensation and pay equity analytics because the market moves so much externally from a competitive standpoint. , but we also find that internally it's outta whack and I think 2021 as an example.
[00:26:55] We were just overpaying all kinds of people to do all kinds of jobs and to just get them. We needed the talent so badly. Sure. I'm gonna give you 10,000 more than the job is even listed at because I need you. Right. Please say yes. What happens to the people in the organization who've been loyal, who are there, their trend for compensation increase just got crushed.
[00:27:17] Because this person's starting here, they may be making more right now, the experienced person. But as you look at it on, you know, math, and I know math is scary for HR people in regression analytics, you're gonna see that the longer you work for the company, the less beneficial it'll be for you.
[00:27:34] Is that what you wanna be about? Well, you also have some states that are saying, Nope, you can't do that Colorado, New Jersey. That mean they're saying No, you can't do that. You gotta make it equitable for the long term, not just for today. That's hard to manage, right? When you're trying to figure out how to map people for a path forward and be thoughtful about how far you can stretch that dollar,
[00:27:58] Adam: Right.
[00:27:59] Because again, like [00:28:00] you said though, a lot of times it's about how do you create head space for somebody without the management path or the director path, like how can you create room for growth, you know, professionally and, you know, and I know titles aren't everything, but they are to the people that don't have 'em.
[00:28:14] You know what I mean? Like, you know, it gets really easy to sit on the top of the mountain and go, oh, they don't matter.
[00:28:20] John: Well, like, Adam, congratulations. We're making you Customer Service Manager III, and you're like, what's the three mean? Like what does the HR people will say, we've got Customer Service I, Customer Service II, Customer Service III.
[00:28:34] I don't know that anybody goes home excited at night because there are two instead of a one now. I don't know what that means, right? If that's, but if you can cast the picture, make, you know, somebody sit and help that individual have the same vision that you wanna say the company has, we believe in you, , the progression is not just about title.
[00:28:58] It's because of what you'll bring to that title to help us advance, which will then continue to open doors for you to continue to move forward. That's what we see in you. But quite frankly, the other path at times, and here's an example, Adam, very specific to answer the question. There are times where we'll say Jimmy's been here for three years.
[00:29:19] Jimmy's great he needs to leave. What? What? Jimmy's gotta leave. Jimmy needs to go work for maybe a bigger competitor of yours so that Jimmy can pick up the skillsets that you're not prepared to offer at this point, or you don't have exposure to at this point. And keep the door open. I know it's a risk, but if Jimmy goes and works somewhere for a year, year and a half and boomerangs back, he's bringing everything with him that he's just learned where he was.
[00:29:51] The number of Boomerang employees that were tracked last year increased by 23% from the year before. People leaving, [00:30:00] working elsewhere and coming back because they loved the company, but they understood that they could garner skillsets and experiences that they could bring back, and they wanted to come back to the community and culture that they were a part of, and now also bring back skillsets that they couldn't get if they had stayed there.
[00:30:15] And it benefits the company as well. , that's huge to see that kind of number happen of employees returning. Even at Humareso, we had two that left and returned within the past year. It's awesome. Cause what they brought back is,
[00:30:32] Tom: That's why you're describing it, John, are you, is your hypothesis that people were leaving with the intent of, I'm gonna get skill and come back?
[00:30:37] Not as much. I left. It was kind of cool, but then I looked and the grass really was pretty green where I was. Yeah.
[00:30:43] John: Interesting. Yeah, I mean they're very transparent conversations and it's, you can't, everybody can't have these conversations. Meaning you are people that are like, “Tom, we think you should leave.”
[00:30:54] So you can learn something and then think about us in a year that don't take that Asian person outta the room immediately.
[00:31:01] Adam: Oh, I just wrote that down. That's what I was gonna do. That my goodness. Nevermind. Scratch that thought that was a tip.
[00:31:06] John: You don't want me, but sit with somebody in the premise of the conversation first is, what do you think you don't know yet?
[00:31:16] What are you observing that you're like, gosh, I wish I could, and you'll hear right from their mouth, things that you can address and things that you can't. Okay. And when you get to the things that you can't, I ask the question, where do you think you could get that? If I, if we can't give it, what could happen now?
[00:31:33] Sometimes, again, this is why there's multiple ladders. Sometimes it is about a sabbatical to go and do a training for a month on something specific. And I see this a lot more in those that are I'd say more physical type jobs, construction, manufacturing, certain kinds of engineering, where they go and do this sort of immersive opportunity.
[00:31:57] I mean, I've even seen organizations pay for an [00:32:00] employee to go on a mission’s trip. To go build and engineer wells in certain parts of the world to bring water because what they were going to learn through the project management of that they could bring back and now have experience in that. It's creative.
[00:32:16] We have to be much more creative with our talent today, we just had,
[00:32:21] Adam: so we should just lease employees and share 'em amongst each other. I mean, you were definitely a half glass full kind of guy. I would say my more pessimistic view of this and, and I'm kind of this guy, so I don't despise or discredit anybody for this, but a lot of times what I find is that folks get to a certain point of their career.
[00:32:39] They feel like they should be taken two or three leaves at a time instead of one. And on paper, whenever competitor sees them, they're like, oh, wow, you're doing A, B, C, D, E, F, G. Like, whew, we would pay you 10 or $15,000 more for that. What they don't realize is what they wrote on paper and what they actually do, or their competency inside of that, there's oftentimes a gap in the reason why you're not making that.
[00:33:03] So then they jump and then they get in over their head a little bit, and sometimes they realize the demand and the culture, like you said, of that other job, isn't quite what they had.
[00:33:13] John: That's perfect. Listen, lemme make sure I qualify this. When I said the statistic on Boomerang, there's no way to know if it was an intentional boomerang or a, oh my gosh, that grass was greener, but it's all weeds and I'm coming back.
[00:33:26] Right. No way to know that. So your point is well made. And quite frankly, there are people that I think are. . We have to be thoughtful about our time as well, and that's one of the things we talk about with organizations. You have fought to keep this person who's always been on the precipice of quitting for the last two years.
[00:33:46] You just keep wasting energy fighting, increasing salary, giving them, changing their job description, really making this unicorn role for this person who's still not happy. Yes. John, what do you think we should do? Let him go. . [00:34:00] If you look at the ROI of how much time you've spent on managing this one situation, is it worth it?
[00:34:08] I can't imagine that it is.
[00:34:10] Tom: I wonder how long your list is of hearing people, you know, Adam is indispensable. We couldn't get along without him and once Adam is gone you're like, wow, people are, seem to be doing okay. And that just seems like it's such a long line of that one better. Adam, as just an example,
[00:34:26] John: That's a great point because I will tell you, you see this for us, cuz we are supportive of organizations, of all kinds of industries, right? So for instance, we support some CPA firms and this, if this tax manager leaves, we are screwed. The entire business will fall apart. But I'm hearing the same thing from restaurants that are saying if this particular server leaves or bartender leaves we're screwed, and my, you know, my response is, I hear you.
[00:34:55] Let's talk about how we are affirming that to be true for in the those, in those particular people. But what happens when that bartender does leave? Let's, let's not tell everybody it's going to be terrible if they leave. Just shut up. Stop saying things because if that bartender leaves and we are doing fine, now you can say, woo.
[00:35:19] Truth be told, I thought we were gonna be in trouble if so and so left. But all those same customers are coming in. Nobody's coming in and saying, oh, you know, Billy's not bartending. Susan's not my server tonight. I we're outta here. Nobody's doing that. They're eating. They're. So the same thing with the tax manager.
[00:35:37] Is it, I'm not saying it's easy, but if that, if it's really true that if that tax manager leaves the entire company's in trouble, then you've set up your company incorrectly.
[00:35:47] Tom: Yeah. You know, John, as you talk about, as you talk to prospective clients, I'm curious, is there a division in your business and more, here's people who use us for HR outsourcing as sort of a, you're my virtual hr, if that's a term you use, as [00:36:00] opposed to more project related, where people are coming in saying, okay, in the next X number of months, can you deliver something?
[00:36:06] And the thought is you'll leave after that. .
[00:36:09] John: Yeah. Yeah. Typically, I would say though, not always, typically the larger clients, I'll say upper mid-market to enterprise level organization sized organizations, we're doing a lot more projects for them. And so we're taking something off the project that an HR team's trying to get to but can’t, either because they don't have the expertise or the time.
[00:36:33] And so we'll do that and then we're just always at the ready if they need us for something else in the future, I'll say we see a lot of that work being done in diversity, equity, inclusion. Work that we do for these organizations. Overall organizational design and development constructs around mergers and acquisitions.
[00:36:50] Centralized, decentralized organization changes, those kinds of things. . But sometimes honestly, Tom, we'll get even small company, very small companies, startups that are like, we're kind of afraid to have HR cuz you know, HR has been terrible for all of us where we've come from. Sure. And so we don't wanna like completely commit to HR.
[00:37:09] So can you do this project and just do a handbook for us? Because our insurance broker says in order to have liability insurance, we have to have a handbook. Okay, we'll do that. And then they go through that process and they're like, okay, you guys aren't so bad. Thank you.
[00:37:26] Adam: Yeah. Or they're like, you guys are terrible. Thanks. But , I'm just kidding.
[00:37:31] John: Of course not. That does happen. Because sometimes they're like, we don't like the way you wrote this handbook. What part? You know, we don't like the way that you wrote the Americans with Disabilities. Okay, here's the good news.
[00:37:43] We didn't write that. It's actual law , and so if you get there to be a change in the way that law reads, I'd encourage you to vote differently in the next. . .
[00:37:58] Tom: That's kind of how we approach tax a lot of times. ,
Adam: Same kinda thing. Not us,
[00:38:00] John: you know? I can own what I can own, but when I can, I'm gonna just tell you like, you don't, well, we don't wanna give them 12 weeks. We only wanna give them six weeks of leave. Well, that's cool, but the law says 12.
[00:38:13] Well, we're changing it to six. Well then our name's not gonna be on this handbook. That's not the way this spell, right, .
[00:38:20] Adam: Yeah. No, that makes sense.
[00:38:22] Tom: For the outsourced HR part, it, would it be common that people would say, yeah, I'm gonna continue working with we mentioned Gusto earlier, so Gusto continue doing my payroll and I'll have benefits with someone.
[00:38:31] Can you provide sort of a high level that would be also something we'd say? Yes. Yeah. If you're needing the guidance consulting, we do that too. ,
[00:38:37] John: we don't mandate any software, right? So we are supporting clients that are on Gusto, actually, that are on Bamboo, that are on ADP, that are on Paycom, that are on, you know, fill in.
[00:38:48] That part is okay with us because we're agnostic. Yep. When it comes to the technology, we're agnostic when it comes to the industry. So we have to be agnostic when it comes to the technology. So, for instance, we support car dealerships. They have very specific software. And even some of the payroll software is very specific.
[00:39:07] Some of their training software is very specific. We have to be able to be flexible to those platforms because good HR, if you're doing good HR, it's applicable across the board. Don't let the systems throw you. Right? You can learn the system. It's harder to learn good HR and implement good hr. So we don't, we try not to let people get in the weeds with that.
[00:39:27] The only difference I would say, Tom, for some clients would be on that PEO model. So some clients that are on a PEO, they get HR support as part of the PEO. See, I do. Great. Yes.
[00:39:42] Adam: And yeah, been on the other end of that. Yep. Understood. .
[00:39:48] John: So obviously that PEO is mandating the payroll platform and benefits and that sort of stuff.
[00:39:53] Because we don't sit as a PEO, there are times where our client will have to peel away from the PEO in [00:40:00] order to be able to not have competing HR. Right. We're not here to like, you know, speak ill of TriNet or Insperity or any of these places. That's not what it's about. But you already are paying for an HR support, so if you're coming to me saying we're not getting HR support, I have to still function because they're the employer of record.
[00:40:17] On the pay stubs and their name is what's there, so I can't ignore them.
[00:40:22] Adam: Yeah. Right. . So in terms of size wise, I mean I've, what I've heard you say too is like very small startup company, and I've heard you say enterprise. Yeah. But you know, in terms of the majority of the folks that are coming to you at what point, like what size?
[00:40:37] I assume it's, you know, headcount. Yeah. And what size are you typically?
[00:40:41] John: We're a little over 65% are between 15 and 500 employees. Of the regular project or retained based HRO type. Yeah, that's about where they are. .
[00:40:56] Adam: Yeah. We find that for ours it's like, I don't know why.
[00:40:59] It's just like the magic number's right around 30 or 35. And so this makes a lot of sense to me cuz obviously there's that magic 50 number that everybody hears about, but it seems like the COO is the one doing operations, HR, and finance to some degree, whether that's the owner COO, right? Or. An actual, you know, so they have, they wear all three of those hats and it seems right around 30, 35, they've raised their hand up and they're like, okay, I can still handle the HR stuff.
[00:41:27] I can't handle the finance stuff. Right. So then they find us around 30 to 35 people. and then right around 50 people, they're like, okay, now we're getting to the size where it's time to talk to a PEO or it's time to talk to an outsource solution, you know, to start piecemealing that out. So I think that, I mean, that lands well with like what we see too from a lot of our clients asking us to do those sources, you know, or find somebody that can't do it.
[00:41:50] John: You're, I think you're right cuz by the time it gets to us, at that size. The finance person is, is trying to wear the hat of HR as well and most finance people [00:42:00] respectfully are, you know, hate it and they really stuck with it cause of payroll and so they're right. That's why. . Yeah,
[00:42:09] Tom: I think it sounds like a great solution that you offer, and Adam and I do coaching of small CPA firms, but any company would have this.
[00:42:16] But as people try to move in a different direction, so many people are moving toward that advising role. Often what we're coaching people is think about who the right people are. in doing that kind of thing for the role. Think about your internal pay for how you pay people and all these things that are very HR related, and knowing you would have that service.
[00:42:32] I'm sure it's overwhelming to them to say. And also your hiring process. Yeah. Are you good at hiring the right people? I could see them reaching out to you and saying, okay, I wanna move a different direction. I'm hearing all these to-dos and don't know how. Yeah. I could see them coming to you and saying, here's what I think the future looks like.
[00:42:46] Help me with that, I think is a great resource for them to have.
[00:42:49] John: Absolutely. Totally. And and I think that, , one of the, probably the most refreshing things that happens in those conversations is literally just having the conversation. Like when they feel they can sit with somebody and just say, this is what I think I see.
[00:43:07] This is honestly how it feels when I see this. Because there are times where they'll talk to us and I'll say, you don't need us. That's not what you're describing. What you see is this, this, and this. Let you know we can help you get there, but you don't need us the way that you think you do.
[00:43:24] Here's what, and that's honestly for that person, it's like, honestly, 90% of it is I'm heard. Sure. And I didn't know where to go with this. And the other 10% is okay. Now I have sort of marching orders to know where to go with it.
[00:43:39] Tom: That's good. John, this has been so enjoyable. Thank you very much.
[00:43:43] We've gotten some really good tips, and I think also an offering that you have that many companies would look and say, oh, I need to talk to them about either ongoing service or a specific project that's in there.
[00:43:52] John: Thanks. It's been great. Thank you for having me. Really, it's been fun.
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