Podcast

012 – The Importance of Contextual Training | Rebecca Fleetwood Hession

Rebecca Fleetwood Hession is the President of Fleetwood Hession Consulting, providing leadership development, sales training, and coaching for human resources and training teams. As a mother of child with Attention Deficit Disorder, she is a passionate speaker and advocate to increase awareness and knowledge of ADD, leading to her creation of the program “Not Wrong Just Different: Seeing ADD Differently.” Her TEDx talk on the subject has gathered more than 100,000 views.

She believes that dynamic staff development comes from the process of improving day-to-day work, not just from training sessions and classes. She fully endorses the idea of kinesthetic learning, in that the best leaders are the ones listening and learning from others on the front-line. It’s these direct conversations that foster educational opportunities for all levels of management.

For Rebecca, motivating employees is all about providing consistent context in addition to hosting deliberate and engaging trainings to build real skills. She preaches quality over quantity, the idea that companies should focus on doing better work, not more work.

Truth You Can Act On:

  1. Do Less, Better: Find the right training programs for the right people, and don’t focus on a mass quantity of programs. Are managers and leaders reinforcing the trained behaviors once everyone gets back to the job? Emphasize better work, not more work.
  2. Contextualize to Foster Engagement: Engagement is critical for a business to thrive – more specifically, employees need to know the context of how their learning ties into their day-to-day roles. You don’t have to provide entertainment or “bells and whistles” to foster emotional ownership within your business.
  3. Leaders Need Regular Interaction: The best leaders are the ones creating opportunities to learn from employees regarding their daily routines and pain points. These “in between the meetings” conversations are the basis for creating better top-level coaches and a more engaged workforce.
  4. Provide Opportunities for Deep-Thinking: Don’t just take employees off site to entertain them. It’s all about creating an environment for employees to think deeply about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of their work. Treat emotional bandwidth as a precious resource.

Nikki’s Book Recommendation:

Sponsors:

  • PurpleInk – Purple Ink’s customized HR services will help you make your workspace JoyPowered. Whether you’re looking for help with recruiting, compliance, or leadership training, they listen to what you need and tailor their solutions to you.
  • Custom Concrete – Custom Concrete has been creating foundations for the finest homes, commercial buildings and industrial facilities throughout Central Indiana since 1969. Builders, contractors, and homeowners rely on our expertise because so much depends on getting it right. Our knowledge and control of all aspects of the job, from excavation to waterproofing to backfill, means that extra value is built into every project. Codes don’t drive our business, excellence does.

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011 – The Keys to Developing Effective Mentorship Programs | Alison Martin-Books

Alison Martin-Books is the Founder of Pass the Torch for Women and CEO of Diverse Talent Strategies, a mentoring movement across the US seeking to elevate people in the workplace. She is also the author of Learning to Lead Through Mentoring: 8 Mentoring Lessons to Help You Pursue Meaningful Mentoring Relationships.

Alison’s passion for mentorship comes from reflecting on the opportunities she had early in her career. She credits her success to the great mentors who helped her realize her leadership potential. Because of the positive effect mentorship has had on both her professional and personal life, she now strives to equip others with the opportunity for meaningful mentor relationships.

She believes a mentorship program is one of the best ways to increase employee engagement. Not only does mentorship facilitate a transfer of knowledge and help to mold strong leaders, but it gives employees the feeling there’s someone else who invested in their development. They know where to turn when they need answers, and they feel like someone cares about them.

Truth You Can Act On:

  1. Feedback: The ability to give useful feedback is a skill all leaders need to learn and master. Sometimes those critical conversations aren’t the easiest to have, but with practice, you’ll be able to have them more comfortably. It’s not always fun, but it’s what ultimately leads to growth.
  2. Personal Board of Directors: Mentoring is not about one relationship; it’s multifaceted. It’s all based on the many different leadership skills you’re looking to develop. The key is having multiple mentors who serve as your board of directors for all areas you desire to grow in.
  3. Leader Participation: If we want to see engagement being driven throughout the organization by mentoring, we as leaders need to be mentors as well as mentees. We need to be sharing our experiences. If we’re looking for our employees to become more savvy in personal and professional development then we need to share with them the resources we used. It’s the same thing with mentoring. We need to share our participation, share our key takeaways, and walk the walk.
  4. Measuring Impact Through Intentionality: It’s essential to focus on why you’re mentoring in the first place. For example, if you want to improve diversity, you must first understand where your baseline is, where your numbers are, and where you want to go. Understanding this allows you to monitor specific trends, measure the impact your mentorship program is having on diversity, and make any necessary adjustments.

Nikki’s Book Recommendation:

Sponsors:

  • Emplify Are you still using pulse surveys? How about annual questionnaires? If your organization relies on either of these, it’s time to discover Emplify. • Emplify has created a new way to measure employee engagement. It’s where CEOs who want to know what’s really happening within a workforce go… to get honest feedback… and to understand what needs to change for people to love their work using simple and trustworthy data.
  • Titus – In our conversations with CEOs and hiring managers, we hear they are frustrated with traditional recruiting… From outrageous fees to focusing on candidates before clients, the process was broken and needed to be fixed. Enter Titus Talent. Titus Talent Strategies serves its clients using passionate people, a proven process, and unparalleled performance. Oh, did we mention they guarantee the PERFORMANCE of their candidates for 12 months?

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010 – Increasing Employee Loyalty With Personal Development Programs | Steve Sanner

Steve Sanner, the President of Hoosier Automotive Services, has been an entrepreneur since 1983. Today, his company includes 48 Jiffy Lubes, six Tuffy Auto Repair shops, and four Mighty Auto Parts franchises. In addition to his successful automotive business, he has also held the self-appointed position of Chief Childraising Officer at Dad and Husband, Inc. for the past 28 years.

Through the “growing people through work” program, Steve has managed to create a company culture that focuses on and encourages personal development in all aspects of life. The majority of his blue collar workforce face similar life struggles and often share feelings of hopelessness. In identifying these patterns, Steve realized that building a successful company isn’t just about training good workers; it’s about developing good people.

Genuinely caring about the well-being of his workforce, he’s implemented several programs that have literally changed the lives of his employees. His onboarding process includes mandatory training programs aimed at developing positive attitudes, personal finance skills, goal setting skills, and healthy eating habits. In addition, he offers his employees tuition reimbursement, short-term interest-free loans, and much more. Steve’s success has come from showing his employees that he cares, not just with what he says, but by what he does.

Truth You Can Act On:

  1. Recognition or reward is best with a personal touch from the leader. When quality work is recognized by a leader, employees feel more validated and cared about. Make it a priority to schedule time for personally rewarding your employees. Simple acts of recognition and small unexpected rewards are surefire ways of boosting engagement.
  2. Innovation comes from listening. The best way to come up with creative ideas for increasing employee satisfaction and loyalty is by listening. Ask your employees questions, show genuine interest in their needs, and listen to what they have to say. Do this on a regular basis and you’re guaranteed to get some great ideas.
  3. Strict on-boarding predicts future sustainability. During the onboarding process, set clear guidelines for the type of person you’re looking to hire. Make it clear that your company is a serious place to work and that you’re looking for the best. The extra effort required to find the right person will always be worth it in the long run.
  4. The key to on-boarding engagement is trust. Many employees have the preconception that business owners and corporations are out to get them. Your job is to change that perception as quickly as possible. During the onboarding process, find ways to show each new hire that the company cares about them.

Nikki’s Book Recommendation:

Sponsors:

  • Custom Concrete – Custom Concrete has been creating foundations for the finest homes, commercial buildings and industrial facilities throughout Central Indiana since 1969. Builders, contractors, and homeowners rely on our expertise because so much depends on getting it right. Our knowledge and control of all aspects of the job, from excavation to waterproofing to backfill, means that extra value is built into every project. Codes don’t drive our business, excellence does.
  • LHD Benefits – LHD is a full-service employee benefits firm, that empowers their clients to make the best possible decisions for their employees — to define optimal objectives, monitor outcomes, improve health, and engage and advocate for employees and their loved ones.

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009 – LEGOs + Core Values—the building blocks of an authentic culture | Seth Morales

Seth Morales is the President and COO of Morales Group, a recruitment and staffing agency dedicated to giving back to the community. In addition to running a $100 million organization, Seth was recently appointed by Governor Pence to serve on Indiana’s Commission for Hispanic Latino Affairs. Here, he leads Project Stepping Stone, a program helping Hispanic high school students successfully prepare for college.

Seth attributes much of his success to Morales Group’s Core Values – Be Humble, Be Courageous, Be Alive. These principles ooze throughout every part of the organization. Unlike in many companies, where employees have no idea what their core values are, Seth has found creative ways to weave these values into everything Morales does.

One way he has achieved this is through the LEGOs Program. In this program, employees are nominated every month for acts displaying the core values of Morales. Every nominee receives a LEGO, which is used to build model houses proudly displayed in each office. For every LEGO house built, his team takes an annual trip to Mexico to build a real house for an impoverished family. This program has been hugely effective in getting the entire organization on board with Morales’ mission.

Truth You Can Act On:

  1. Leadership Development. Make sure your leadership is aligned. If there is one thing that hinders growth, it’s having leaders who are not on the same page. Cultural alignment and clarity are essential throughout every tier of your company – from the executive team to middle management. Also, don’t forget to invest in your team’s professional development. You are only as strong as your top leadership.
  2. Recognition Programs. Create a recognition program that ties back into your company’s mission. Make it meaningful – something that your employees are proud to participate in. It can’t be an afterthought. Make it a focal part of your company culture. This means creating a system with a frequent (and mandatory) cadence.
  3. Diversity. There are two keys to attracting a diverse workforce. The first is creating a company culture that gives off a diverse vibe. You should be able to walk into your office and just feel it. The second key is going out and developing partnerships with entities connected with diverse populations. An effective way to do this is to hire an Outreach Manager whose main responsibility is to foster these relationships.

Sponsors:

  • Emplify – Are you still using pulse surveys? How about annual questionnaires? If your organization relies on either of these, it’s time to discover Emplify. • Emplify has created a new way to measure employee engagement. It’s where CEOs who want to know what’s really happening within a workforce go… to get honest feedback… and to understand what needs to change for people to love their work using simple and trustworthy data.
  • Purple Ink – Purple Ink’s customized HR services will help you make your workspace JoyPowered. Whether you’re looking for help with recruiting, compliance, or leadership training, they listen to what you need and tailor their solutions to you.

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008 – Perception is Reality: How to care for your culture | Patrick Broccolo

Patrick Broccolo, Co-Owner of Senior1Care, has been in business for over a decade and has been featured on the Inc 500 list multiple years. Beyond their unique approach to home health care, Senior1Care stands apart due to its values, providing high-quality service, hiring the best of the best employees, and seeking continuous improvement.

From day one Patrick has focused on exceeding expectations whether it’s his employees or his clients. He is continually seeking to improve the employee experience by soliciting direct feedback. As a family-owned business, it can be easy to assume that everyone is engaged in the company’s values. After being in business for more than ten years, he’s learned not to assume and to be intentional about having conversations with his team members.

In today’s world, it’s so easy to lose the personal touch. Patrick strives to have those face-to-face moments with his employees to stay in touch with what they need. This ability to keep in touch is paramount when you have a remote workforce. So as a leader, you have to bring your culture to the team by providing development opportunities and asking a lot of questions.

Truth You Can Act On:

  1. Don’t Assume. Go and have the conversation to help you understand how your employees feel about your company. Seek first to understand then promptly respond. It’s easy to assume everyone is engaged when there are no apparent conflicts. Avoid this mistake by asking questions, seeking out conversations, and continually identifying opportunities for improvement.
  2. Leverage Personal Touch. Go beyond using technology to engage with your team. The workforce is becoming more and more remote which means adding personal touches is even more critical. Technology is necessary but never underestimate the power of face-to-face interaction. As leaders, we need to seek out opportunities to connect personally.
  3. Solicit Feedback. Asking for feedback should be done regularly not just annually. By surveying and asking for feedback, you can improve your culture. Employees notice when their feedback gets implemented. You can’t improve anything if you’re not sure what’s wrong.
  4. Innovate with Your Team. Seek out opportunities to connect and innovate with your team by going off-site. The best ideas stem from your employees.

Nikki’s Book Recommendations:

Sponsors:

  • Purple Ink – Purple Ink’s customized HR services will help you make your workspace JoyPowered. Whether you’re looking for help with recruiting, compliance, or leadership training, they listen to what you need and tailor their solutions to you.
  • Titus – In our conversations with CEOs and hiring managers, we hear they are frustrated with traditional recruiting. From outrageous fees to focusing on candidates before clients, the process was broken and needed to be fixed. Enter Titus Talent. Titus Talent Strategies serves its clients using passionate people, a proven process, and unparalleled performance.

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007 – Fostering Internal Fans for Long-term Wins | Casey Wright

Casey Wright is an entrepreneur and founder of NinjaZone, a fusion of gymnastics, martial arts, obstacle training, and parkour, for kids. Committed to changing the face of youth athletics, Wright created a curriculum focused on character and movement pillars designed to build confidence in young children. With over 80,000 Ninjas in 270 locations, in 42 states, on four continents, it’s one of the fastest growing youth sport this decade, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping.

Some keys to her organization’s success have been her focus on outcomes and establishing the why. By articulating the reasons why something needs, or why a project should get started allows her team to buy-in to the effort. For Casey, employee engagement is creating a fan club. If her employees are engaged, they are the organization’s biggest cheerleaders. When she sees them engaged she knows efforts are aligned, they understand how and why they’re moving forward, and they are excited about the mission.

A turning point for Casey’s was realizing it was okay to be completely vulnerable. In allowing herself to be authentic, her people embraced her in new ways, and she gained their respect. In her leadership position, Casey has found the more she can connect and create whether it’s project or people related the more significant the outcomes.

Truth You Can Act On:

  1. Regular Communication: Having the one-on-one cadence is great but tailor it to what that specific person needs. For some it might be every week for others it could be every other. Then keep track of what you discuss with your team through a shared document. This document keeps you both on track with development and communication.
  2. Be a Role Model: Share your personal development journey with your team. The more they see you taking action, the more inspired they will be to take action on their own.
  3. Show Weakness: Many leaders don’t do this for fear of losing their employees respect. In reality, showing this vulnerability elicits more respect and buy-in. When you show you’re human, you become more relatable as a leader generating a deeper level of understanding.
  4. Write Notes: Acknowledge the wins either through a shared channel or take the time to write handwritten notes to your employees. Recognizing the effort and the outcome they created develops a layer of trust and appreciation between your employees and your leaders.

Nikki’s Book Recommendations:

Sponsors:

  • LHD Benefits – LHD is a full-service employee benefits firm, that empowers their clients to make the best possible decisions for their employees — to define optimal objectives, monitor outcomes, improve health, and engage and advocate for employees and their loved ones.
  • PurpleInk – Purple Ink’s customized HR services will help you make your workspace JoyPowered. Whether you’re looking for help with recruiting, compliance, or leadership training, they listen to what you need and tailor their solutions to you.  

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006 – Owning the Tough Conversations | Jonathan Reynolds

This week’s guest Jonathan Reynolds, CEO at Titus Talent and Certified Partner at The Predictive Index, is passionate about building employees. Jonathan is committed to creating a great culture and aligning his employees with the company values.

For Jonathan, he doesn’t hire new employees based solely on their credentials. He won’t jeopardize the company culture. Instead, he intentionally works with his leaders to recognize that people not only bring their skills to the table but they also take from the company. So you have to look at how someone aligns with the culture and values otherwise they can drain those around them.

Values genuinely drive the culture. If anyone, including Jonathan, falls outside of those values the team members will have those uncomfortable conversations. Having tough conversations creates accountability and trust within the organization.

Truth You Can Act On

  1. Define Your Culture: Values create your culture code. These should be established as a company rather than dictated. The company values also drive decision making whether it’s a question of hiring or letting go.
  2. Challenge your people: When having tough conversations, it’s essential to talk facts not opinions. To eliminate the rumor mill or gossip, empower your people to have tough conversations. These shouldn’t be arguments rather frank discussions helping to make each other better.
  3. Learn from Others: Take the time to meet and engage with others outside your organization. When you spend time networking and meeting with peers one-on-one, you gain new perspectives and opportunities to learn from others successes.

Book Recommendation

Sponsors

  • Emplify-Are you still using pulse surveys? How about annual questionnaires? If your organization relies on either of these, it’s time to discover Emplify. Emplify has created a new way to measure employee engagement. It’s where CEOs who want to know what’s really happening within a workforce go… to get honest feedback… and to understand what needs to change for people to love their work using simple and trustworthy data. To see their latest research on employee engagement, visit emplify.com.
  • Custom Concrete – Custom Concrete has been creating foundations for the finest homes, commercial buildings and industrial facilities throughout Central Indiana since 1969. Builders, contractors, and homeowners rely on our expertise because so much depends on getting it right. Our knowledge and control of all aspects of the job, from excavation to waterproofing to backfill, means that extra value is built into every project. Codes don’t drive our business, excellence does. See the difference at customeconcrete.com

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005 – Cultivating a Culture of Trust Through Failure | Mary Beth Oakes

Mary Beth Oakes serves as CEO of two companies, Business Furniture and Choreo. One of the biggest engagement drivers in any organization is trust. Mary has more than twenty years of experience building and growing her team to leverage workplace as a strategic tool.

One of her biggest motivators is her desire to help people love their work. Mary strives to create a community feel for her organization through the use of space. She shares her tips on how to organize your office to foster interpersonal relationships. However, for Mary, it’s not just about renovating or creating an open space. It’s about understanding why you’re building the space and understanding how your employees do their best work through consistent feedback and reviewing the data.

In this episode, Nikki and Mary talk about creating ‘Saturday morning’ work environments going beyond the physical space. In her words, a good employee experience creates a good customer experience.

Truth You Can Act On:

  1. Dedicated open space: Your office space and make an impact on your employee’s engagement. Find and dedicate a space in your organization that can foster and allow for your employees to naturally build relationships. This space can be a place for community and enabling access to one another.
  2. Challenge your people: One of the most rewarding things a leader can do is see their employees grow. Carve out time for one-on-one coaching and working with your people to develop them personally and professionally.
  3. Get real feedback, regularly: Find the best tools for your organization to allow you to gain the truth. Then leverage that feedback to make organizational changes. Feedback is important as you continue to grow as a leader, but also for your team to know you’re listening, you care, and you are constantly improving. The feedback net can go beyond your employees rather cast a wider net to gain a broader perspective.

Nikki’s Book Recommendation:

Sponsors:

  • PurpleInk – Purple Ink’s customized HR services will help you make your workspace JoyPowered. Whether you’re looking for help with recruiting, compliance, or leadership training, they listen to what you need and tailor their solutions to you.  And look for The JoyPowered Workspace Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts!
  • LHD Benefits – LHD is a full-service employee benefits firm, that empowers their clients to make the best possible decisions for their employees — to define optimal objectives, monitor outcomes, improve health, and engage and advocate for employees and their loved ones.

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004 – Culture is a Team Sport | Tom Zupancic

Are you in a leadership position? If you’re listening to Gut + Science, then you’re answer is likely ‘yes.’ Joining us this week is Tom Zupancic, former Sr. VP of Sales and Marketing for the Indianapolis Colts and now GM for DEEM. Tom has more than thirty years of experience from landing multi-million dollar deals to managing thousands of employees.

In this week’s conversation, Tom shares his tools and processes to take your leadership team and company to the next level.

Interested in hearing what didn’t make the show? Send Nikki a message to get the unedited story on how Tom secured the naming rights for Lucas Oil Stadium.

Truth You Can Act On:

  1. Know people’s motivation: We can’t treat all of our people the same. Everyone’s motivated in different ways and we have to know what’s there why. We have to spend time listening and understanding how your employees are motivated.
  2. Employees first: Customer service should be a top priority but it can’t take precedence over your employees. When you help your employees win they’ll walk through fire for you and your customers.
  3. Build on their strengths: Always look for the good in people and acknowledge what they’re doing well. You can build loyalty by leading with positivity. When we have a strong relationship with people they stop expecting you to be perfect and start focusing on how they can help bring the company’s vision to life.

Nikki’s Book Recommendation:

Sponsors:

  • LHD Benefits – LHD is a full-service employee benefits firm, that empowers their clients to make the best possible decisions for their employees — to define optimal objectives, monitor outcomes, improve health, and engage and advocate for employees and their loved ones. Visit lhdbenefits.com
  • Custom Concrete – Custom Concrete has been creating foundations for the finest homes, commercial buildings and industrial facilities throughout Central Indiana since 1969. Builders, contractors, and homeowners rely on our expertise because so much depends on getting it right. Our knowledge and control of all aspects of the job, from excavation to waterproofing to backfill, means that extra value is built into every project. Codes don’t drive our business, excellence does. See the difference at customeconcrete.com

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003 – The Jackson 5: Five strategies to engage remote employees | Tom Jackson

The secret to good leadership is all about making the lives of your team members or workers better. Featured guest, Tom Jackson, President of Steel Encounters, inspires this episode’s conversation about the top five strategies for engaging and retaining employees.

Takeaways:

  1. Authenticity and vulnerability are key. It’s important as leaders to take off the ‘suit and tie’ and be authentic. Connect with your employees human being to human being. It’s really hard to do because it’s this balancing act. I think for a lot of us in leadership roles we want to make sure to walk the fine line on keeping things professional. However, the more authentic you are as a leader the better.
  2. Check-In often. Checking in and spending time with your team members talking through their personal growth journey as much as their professional growth. If you have a two hour meeting, break it in half by spending time helping your people develop individually, which is as important as growing professionally and meeting the goals of your business. In addition, figure out how to be present on a regular basis. Go and see your people out in the field and go travel to new locations to see just see people outside of your office
  3. Personal recognition. The power of personal recognition even in the smallest forms can make the greatest impact. So writing out a note on a notecard can go such a long way. Think about how you can add more personal recognition with simple touches can make such an impact.

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