Momentum Podcast: 232
by Alex Charfen
I had a great question from our Grow and Scale group the other day. How do you compete with some of the benefits larger companies offer?
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast. Made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers, and creators of all kinds, those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat, because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real.
We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world ,because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.
Recruiting rock stars. I got a question in one of my private coaching groups this week from Matthew [Giovanelli 00:01:20] who is the chief operating officer of DoorGrow, a company that helps real estate agents who are in the property management business get way more successful. Way more doors, way more efficiency. DoorGrow's amazing. Jason Hull is the CEO. Jason and Ashley Hull are the owners. And I've been working with them for over a year.
Matthew came on as COO and he asked a really good question about recruiting and it is, "As a small company, it is impossible to compete with the benefits some larger companies offer." Then he has as an example, 100 percent paid health insurance, three to four weeks vacation, extensive maternity leave, very high salaries, etc. "Culture aside, I'd like to learn more about how to create added value as to why an employee should join our company versus a larger company that has all of those extra benefits we don't."
First I want to make a note about recruiting. So, I don't have any of those benefits in my company. Literally zero. We don't pay health insurance, we don't give three to four weeks time off. We don't do any of those things. In fact, if somebody asks us how much vacation time we give in the interview process and we don't feel like it's at the appropriate time, they're removed from the interview process. I'm not looking for somebody who's coming to work so that they can go on vacation. And when you look at the salaries we offer, they're competitive. They're similar to market. But we aren't offering salaries that are above and beyond what people who work with us could go get somewhere else.
If someone's on an incentive program with us, our executives will eventually be at the point where they will not be able to be hired away from our company. That's what I do, but they earn that incentive. They earn it over time. That being said, I want you to understand something about my organization. I don't have a normal team. I have one of the most incredible teams on the planet. And I recruited them into our company to work with us without any of the bells and whistles that you just heard. We never talked about vacation time. None of them ever even asked about benefits and all of those things.
Because here's what happens in the world today that we all have to be conscious of. Matthew, you think you're competing with those larger companies, but I have news for you. You aren't. You're not. The people who are going to come towards you are going to be looking for a different type of opportunity. Because a small business opportunity and entrepreneurial opportunity attracts completely different people. So Matthew, step one is get everything out of your head about how you're competing with these companies.
Here's what I want you to know. The new mantra you have is, "I'm not competing with anyone for the people we hire." Because what you're looking for is to attract people who are going to want to work in the environment you have. What you're looking for is you're going to want to attract people who are true believers to your company, to what you're doing, to the business that you're in. And there is insane benefits to working in a small business.
I'll share these with you, but first I just want to give you some details on the types of people that I have working in my company and again recruited into an entrepreneurial organization with no bells and whistles, no benefits, none of the things that that Matthew talks about.
So [Ayla Brook 00:04:32], who is our chief products officer, previously built the training and communications development department for Bank of Queensland in Australia. That's the largest bank in Australia. She did so well there she was recruited by Virgin, by Richard Branson's company, to go do the same thing. So she runs out product department, but she's done it for two of the largest organizations on the planet and she did it in such a high value way that she continued to move up doing it.
Matt [Olaya 00:05:04], who works with us, he's home grown. He worked with us before, but in 2013 he left. One of the greatest guys I've ever had work with me in my career left. He left and he went and gained incredible amounts of experience. He went and did tons of consulting. He worked with [Organify 00:05:21] and helped them go from 40,000 to four million a month. Four million a month, isn't that sick? And Matt is our chief marketing officer.
And Justin Light, who has worked with us on and off, is incredible as our director of coaching. He runs our whole leverage program, our $300,000 to sometimes over a million dollar clients, but our entry level coaching program, Justin runs the whole thing. Just yesterday he did a strategic direction call with one of our clients, Jamie Palmer, and she put in our Facebook group how incredible it was and the awakening she had and how much she's realized from being on the phone with Justin.
So when I talk about recruiting a rock star team, I don't just talk about it. I have it. And today, this morning, on one of the most awesome calls I've been on in a long time, we recruited a director of sales. And I can't talk about who it is yet because he hasn't had a chance to tell his current employer, but you will hear about it on this podcast and you will be blown away at the type of talent and the arsenal of human beings that we've assembled for our company because they're extraordinary.
And everybody who thinks that you have to have huge salaries and massive benefits a cool office and all of those things, I got news for you. Not one of the people on my team could care about any of those things, but you know what they care about? They care about growing the business. They care about affecting more people. They care about showing up as a congruent member of a team of rocks tars so that they can be a member of the team. They care about earning their spot every single day, and they care about the people we serve.
And so when you go out looking for talent, I want you to disavow this feeling of competition. You just have to present yourself in a completely and totally different way. See if DoorGrow, Jason and Matthew go out and say, "We have a corporate opportunity. You can come work with us and here's all our benefits and here's all this other stuff." You know what? You're never going to compete with the likes of Apple and Facebook and Google and every other major corporation out there. In fact, you're going to get slaughtered by them.
So don't. Go out and talk about the opportunIty to you have. A small organization is looking for a rock star person who's ready to come and get excited about going to work. And talk to people about an opportunity where they can be self sufficient. They can see the impact that they're making.
So one of the biggest things ... I'm going to give you four different reasons why you're a better position, why you're a better company to work for than any of the companies who have all those benefits. So number one, when you recruit talent, you know what they want to be able to do? When you recruit rock stars, they want to be able to see the effect that they're making. They want to be able to do somethIng and then see the effect and see the impact and make a difference.
And in a small business, you can do that every single day. In a huge multinational, you might change something today and someone might congratulate you next June. The fact is there's not a lot of human connection in those huge companies. There's not a lot of interpersonal connection. You become a piece of a system. In a small business, you are a major part of getting things done and you are a huge part of the productivity for the team.
So number one, you got to tell people that if they come to work with you, they have an ability to make a massive difference. Number two, flexibility. We're not a multinational, we're a small business. So when Ayla told me that there was a couple of days a week that she wanted to be able to take the mornings off and take her daughter to be able to go to a swimming class and spend that time with her kids, I was thrilled. Of course you can.
I mean, not one person on my team is afraid of working. Every person that I have working with me today, I coach them to work less. Honest to god. I all the time am coaching them to work less, to take time off, to turn in, to stop obsessing on the weekends, because they're absolutely incredible rock stars and they do that because they know that we care about them. They know that when they say ... Today, Justin Light is not in the office today. He wanted some time off with his family. Ironically, I just talked to him a few minutes ago by accident, but ... And that's how I remembered he was out of the office... But when Justin and asked for time off, here's what I know. One, he's covered everything he needs to do, Two, he earned the time off. Three, if he's asking for it, he needs it. So let him go. He has a ton of flexibility because he runs the business that he is responsible for at the very highest level and he's making a massive impact.
So three, when you're competing with talent ... So number one is the ability to make a difference. Number two is the flexibility that you offer. Number three is independence. You know what people really want? You know what rock stars really want? They want autonomy. They want to be able to be responsible for something. They want to be able to go crush something and say, "I did that." They want to be able to be part of a team that actually gives a shit about getting stuff done. They want to be part of an organization where everyone gets up everyday and says, "Let's go crush the outcomes that we set for each other and support each other along the way."
And so when you find incredible people and you describe to them the company that you have, especially you, Matthew, because you and Jason are running our cadence ... So you describe to people the way that you manage people, the independence that you give people, how you're outcome driven, not task driven, how you're going to tell them where you want things to end up and they're going to be able to figure out the way there.
And you know what happens when rock stars, when talent, when incredible people hear that? They say, "Oh man, this is different. This sounds like an opportunity where I can be who I am, show up, make a difference, and make an impact." And that's what people are looking to do. There's an entire population of people looking for a job out there that have a chip on their shoulder about proving how amazing they are in your company. They can't do that in a big multinational. They can't do that if they become a number. They can't do that in a place that them an employee badge and says, "There's your desk. We'll give you your review in 90 days." They need to be in a small company that's agile in adjusting and moving and making things happen, and they will have that ability.
So the first one's ability to make a difference. The second one is flexibility. The third reason people should come work with you is independence. And then here's a big one: connection. The fourth reason is connection. In a small business like yours, they have the ability to become part of a small team where every single person matters. They have the ability to come in and show how much they're able to do. And they will connect with the people around them in a way that you just don't do in large organizations because in a small entrepreneurial business, it is literally you against the world. And so when you're interviewing people, you have to let them know, "We are a small connected team. We are congruent. We love each other. We have each other's backs. We go out every single day and we bring home success together." And here's what will happen: the right person won't even think about benefits.
Somebody who's been looking for the right opportunity won't even ask you about vacation time. You know what's funny, as I sit here thinking about it? The director of sales that we just hired, never asked about vacation time. I don't even think he and I had the conversation. That shows you how little it matters to a rock star. Because you know what? He's confident enough and I'm confident enough that regardless of what he asked for, regardless of what comes up, we're going to work it out. And the fact is, in my experience, when I find the right people, I have to tell them to go on vacation. I have to suggest they go on vacation. It's not like I'm approving vacation time. I'm sometimes mandating vacation time because I want them to take care of themselves.
So when it comes to recruiting rock stars and competing, my point is, stop. Stop competing. Stop pretending like you're going to be Apple or Facebook or Google.
The person that wants to go work there, they're never going to work for you. They're never going to even consider you. My cousin's a program manager at Apple. He wouldn't work in a small entrepreneurial organization that he didn't own because he's just not that person. He wants the huge infrastructure, the massive team around him. He wants to manage an 85 person cross functional team. When we were kids, when Eric and I were younger, he told me, "I think I'm going to work at Apple one day." And I remember thinking, "Yeah, right." That's always been his goal.
You're not going to ever talk somebody like that out of their goal. But if you want to recruit rock stars, I want you to raise awareness to the fact that there's an entirely different population out there. People who don't give a shit about vacation time, people who don't really care about all of the niceties of being in a business. People who want the following: they want a place where they can make an impact every single day and people care about it. They want a place where there's flexibility, where they're seen as a human being, not a cog in a machine. They want a place where they can be independent and succeed and show how much they can be responsible for and what they're capable of. And they want connection with the team around them, the people around them, and the success that they are creating, the clients that they are affecting. They want to see that reality in the world.
And if you do these things and you provide a system through which your team recognizes each other and thanks each other and gives each other accolade, over time, you won't have to compete with anyone. There will be a line of people waiting to work with you. I know.
We put an ad up recently for an assistant in Australia, where we're not even that well known, and we had to take the ad down within just a few days because we got an overwhelming amount of responses. When you're doing the right thing and running your business the right way and you show people the benefits to working in a small entrepreneurial company, Matthew, you won't ever have to compete again. You'll just be choosing from the best of the candidates that have been in front of you.
Don't ever let anyone tell you you're competing with those guys. What you're doing is finding true believers that are looking for the right opportunity and the right team to show who they really are, and that is a profound opportunity to give someone.
If you're ready to start growing your business at a rate you previously didn't know as possible, you may want to attend one of our events. And if you'd like some more information, go to charfen.com/apply and fill out a few questions for us and let us tell you about the live events we have here in Austin. This next one is for million dollar plus business owners only. However, if you'd like information about future events and connecting with us so that you can grow your business to the next level, go to charfen.com/apply. We look forward to hearing from you.