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Check back here often for the latest news on our new product releases, awards, recognitions, and other exciting achievements.

Home Automation Podcast Episode #142: An Industry Q&A With Tina Baker

In this weeks home automation show of Automation Unplugged, Tina Baker of One Firefly shares tools One Firefly has implemented to improve their company culture as a fully remote team.

This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Tina Baker. Recorded live on Monday, October 30th, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. EST.

About Tina Baker

With over 15 years working in Recruiting and Human Resources, Tina joined One Firefly in the beginning of 2020 with a proven track record of implementing programs that focus on company culture and improving employee satisfaction.

At One Firefly, Tina’s responsibilities encompass all areas of Human Resources such as talent acquisition, performance management, benefits enrollment, and employee engagement.

Interview Recap

  • The importance of company culture
  • Best practices around hiring the right people
  • How the hiring process has changed at One Firefly since Tina joined the team
  • Tools One Firefly has implemented to improve their company culture as a fully remote team.

SEE ALSO: Home Automation Podcast Episode #141: A Custom Integration Industry Q&A With Harshul Parikh


Ron:  Hello! Ron Callis here with another episode of Automation Unplugged brought to you by my day job over at One Firefly. And we are here for episode 142. As you can notice today first of all is a different day than normal today is Friday, October 30th. It's 12:30 typically and historically we're coming to you on Wednesdays at 12:30 Eastern and due to some scheduling conflicts. We're coming to you today on Friday and it's the day before Halloween and here at One Firefly we're doing a costume contest and everyone on our team is in fact in costume all day long including internal meetings. Here, I'll move my mic. You can see my Star Trek. I'm a poor version of Captain Kirk. And although depending on how the spirit moves me maybe I'll speak in Captain Kirk a little bit into the interview. Today we have a special guest, Tina Baker here at One Firefly. She's a member of our leadership team. She helps manage really the people's side of the business. This was a newly created position that we created last year. I think she joined us in Q1 of 2020 and I'm getting a thumbs up so yes. Let's bring Tina in. And I think rumor has it Tina might have a surprise for us but we shall see here. Well, there you have it. We are interviewing a llama. Tina is that you or is this your friendly llama?

Tina: It's me.

Ron:  I love that. When we interviewed you, a year and a half ago. It was last Halloween wasn't it?

Tina: It was.

Ron:  And you showed up for the interview. I know you had other members of the team that had met you. But you showed up to the interview and you were wearing that exact mask. Were you not?

Tina: Yes I was. Thankfully I had already talked to you and Taylor at least one other time because I was you know pretty bold to show up video call with a llama mask on but I figured why not? If they don't like it then maybe it's not the right place for me.

Ron:  Maybe it's not the right culture for me. I don't even know that I've fully explained it. We are running a contest. You want to tell the audience what we're doing and why we're all in costume today.

Tina: Yeah for sure. Today we wanted to do something fun for Halloween and we asked everybody to share a picture of themselves had to be today. They had to give a thumbs up this morning and their pictures. We're sharing that and everybody gets to vote on the best costume. And the winner gets $100. Also, we love our One Firefly pets. So we have a pet costume contest as well. And the winner of the pet costume gets $50.

Ron:  Well, Tina for those that are watching or listening and they don't know you and they don't know maybe your background. I know I want to jump into a lot of topics relating to people and hiring and company culture. I know we're going to talk about some of your experiences at some of the places that you've worked before you joined us and certainly some of your experiences here at One Firefly. Tell us about your background. What did you study, what did you do before you landed in this industry?

Tina: Yeah. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and landed at the University of Illinois in Champaign Urbana, middle of the state. Lots of farms lots of corn and studied ended up studying Sociology, it was a study of people and groups. Just was really passionate about people and wasn't sure quite really what I wanted to go into but I loved working with people I loved being around people. I want to say my junior year I took some psychology classes as well and I ended up taking an organizational change in development class that really set me up for H.R. I knew as soon as I was in that class I absolutely loved it. The professor, Nathan Cuncil, I ended up doing working as a research assistant under him and just really loved that piece, loved learning about it and just knew that that was the path that I wanted to go.

When I graduated, I worked a lot in college I put myself through school so I didn't have any internships because I was working for pay most of the time and so I didn't have any H.R. experience under my belt but I was able to get into recruiting and I worked for a couple of different staffing agencies early on placing travel nurses placing some I.T. folks but those companies really gave me the sense of like what I wasn't looking for in a culture. It was a really good learning lesson for me. I bounced around to a couple of those and then realized that culture was really important to me when I was looking for a company to work for and then I landed at a client and they had a fantastic culture. I was actually temping and working with them and they made a position for me. They are a creative and marketing staffing agency so that was my first exposure to working with creative people that worked in marketing media agencies doing different graphic design stuff. And I loved it. I loved working with those folks. I loved that job but it was in Chicago and I had been there about a year and I said, I really want to go somewhere warmer. I'm so over the Chicago winters.

Ron:  Chicago can get pretty cold. I have some people listening here from Chicago or Minneapolis or up north.

Tina: I love to go for a visit anytime between May and September. But I started looking at places and this is kind of a cool story. I ended up looking at a map and just saying OK. Where where is it warm and where could I see myself? I just looked all over the country and I landed on Texas and I started talking to people and that was my way of just bouncing ideas off people. Everybody was talking about Austin. This was 2008 a little bit before everybody had started moving here but I ended up visiting loved it and decided I wanted to move here. I was really sad because I felt like I just loved this position that I'm in. But I talked to my boss I was trying to give them a three-month notice and help them hire and replace me and she was like you just work from there? This was 2008. People weren't working remotely as much then.

Ron:  This is early. Yeah.

Tina: She gave me that opportunity. I moved down here with a job which was fantastic and I loved what I was doing and they had a small office here so I was able to go in and be around other people too which is cool. And then 2008 was not a good time. I ended up actually getting the taste of marketing recruiting focused around SEO and SEM because really that was the start of SEO and SEM, there was a lot of new pieces in that world. But it was 2008 2009 and nobody was hiring. It was a really hard time to be a recruiter trying to get people in the door when people couldn't even keep their jobs.

I ended up working at a marketing agency called Milkshake Media. They were looking for someone and I applied and loved the culture there. I was there for five years. I loved working with creative people, I loved the stuff that we were working on the clients we were working for.

Ron:  That agency is really well known because they created a campaign that probably everyone watching or listening might be aware of. Right?

Tina: Yes. Before I started, unfortunately, I didn't get to be a part of the time but they were the ones that came up with the term Livestrong. They were working with the Lance Armstrong Foundation and they proposed Livestrong as this is gonna be our campaign. They came up with the bracelets all of that. I mean they crashed the Internet. It was. And if you think about I started there, it was twenty-two people I think they even had less than that when they were doing that. Really crazy to think about but we did a lot of foundation work. We did a lot of charity work so that was really cool to be a part of and see what people were doing out there and just feel like I was even though I was an Office Manager slash wearer of all hats. It really made me feel good to be a part of that.

Ron:  Well, how did you end up transitioning? What happened next?

Tina: I ended up getting into financial consulting. Milkshake had fizzled. The owner started to do her own thing wanted to just really branch off and focus on just small branding projects that she could run with herself. I ended up getting into financial consulting and really the cool part about that was I got to do HR like 100 percent H.R. I was able to help the first consulting company that I worked for. They actually did a process called topgrading and that's where I got really into recruiting and I was able to help with recruiting but also focus on a lot of the H.R. pieces and helped build their culture. But that was my first taste of this topgrading piece where you really focus on that finding the right people for your team taking the time upfront as you're hiring. And I learned a lot from that.

The second financial consulting company that I worked for I was solely H.R. I had a recruiting team that was really focused on their recruiting part but I got to really focus on the employee engagement, the culture, onboarding and focus on the upfront part of that so that the person is really set up for success in their company. From there, I ended up did a small short stint in the travel agent industry and pretty much found that that wasn't for me. I was getting to recruit which I was excited to be back in and focused on but I was Manager of Recruitment. I had recruiters underneath me. We ended up placing 300 people in a year.

Ron:  That's a lot of hiring. Oh my goodness.

Tina: And with that, we couldn't because of the high demand that industry has quite a bit of turnover because of that high demand we didn't get to focus as much on putting that time into the hiring. And then I stumbled on One Firefly. And one of the things that stuck out to me was that you guys use a top form of top grading. And I just absolutely loved that in my previous company and I was very excited to see that. I read the job description. I looked at my husband I was like custom integration, isn't that what you're into? Don't you like to do all that to our house? We have a keypad on our door, everything's connected to Internet. We've got the dimming lights everywhere. He just loves that stuff. I started asking him questions about that. I read the job description I was like I think if I were to apply for it like if I were the recruiter looking for somebody I would hire me. I just couldn't believe how well aligned it was with my background. I was really excited to apply. I was really excited to hear back. I was really excited to show up in my llama hat and meet you guys.

Ron:  You are our Manager of People Operations.

Tina: Right.

Ron:  What do we have you responsible for doing here in One Firefly?

"Just this past quarter, we really redefined our process and how we're putting people through the recruiting process. I'm helping with employee engagement, running employee surveys. I rolled out an employee handbook."

Tina: Yeah. I'm helping with recruiting a lot as well. Just this past quarter, we really redefined our process and how we're putting people through the recruiting process. I'm helping with employee engagement, running employee surveys. I rolled out an employee handbook. I love this role for me because I love to be a part of both H.R. and recruiting. In the past when I focused on one or the other I missed the other piece if that makes sense. I just love that I get to have my hands in both.

Ron:  Well about how much hiring have you done in the last year?What does that mean? It sounds like you've spent a lot of time on the kind of building infrastructure. Maybe we had a little bit of an infrastructure in place but you've been working on that infrastructure you mentioned the company handbook and documenting the hiring process. And you've also you and Allison on your team have also been doing a lot of recruiting and hiring. What have you done just so that our listeners understand what's your experience been just in the last 12 months?

"We have hired eleven people already this year so we're in October and we have plans to hire more before the end of the year so that's quite a feat. Over one-fourth of our team."

Tina: Yes. When I started I think I was around number 40 or so on the team but we have hired eleven people already this year so we're in October and we have plans to hire more before the end of the year so that's quite a feat. Over one-fourth of our team. I'm really excited to continue to help the team grow. It's been awesome to see that we have that opportunity to grow especially in these times. Eleven people , we're really proud of every single person that's come on the team we feel really good about everybody on this team.

"There's been a large or significant in rush of projects and opportunities.These companies are very busy to the point where they actually in many cases can't get all the work done that they would like to because they have manpower limitations."

Ron:  And some of them are very good at cosplay and making spectacular costumes for Halloween and anyone listening or watching should follow our Instagram and Facebook pages because I have a feeling Stephanie and her team are gonna be posting some pretty fun images here over the maybe today maybe over the weekend. But I'm pretty sure some of that's going to make it up there. Tina, a lot of the folks that are listening are not exclusively but a lot of them are on the residential integration side of the business. Certainly some commercial some security some different flavors some manufacturers and whatnot. But on the residential integration side, the last let's just say May or June to the present. There's been a large or significant in rush of projects and opportunities.

These companies are very busy to the point where they actually in many cases can't get all the work done that they would like to because they have manpower limitations. And they're in some cases some people have just pause to say that we can only do what we can do. Other people are at varying stages trying to hire or trying to figure out how to hire. And so could you give us a little bit of hiring 101 or some best practices around hiring. Understanding that a lot of folks listening are probably going to be tuning in very intently to everything you say here.

Tina: Sure yeah happy to. I think one of the things going in is just always making sure that you know exactly what you are looking for whether it's you know having a job description making sure that you just have what you're looking for because if you just put feelers out there, you may talk to some people and they may seem great and you're like yeah let's just hire them but they might not have the skills that you're actually looking for. You really need to make sure that you know exactly what skills you're looking for so that you can start in that in that way.

Another big piece of advice that we love at One Firefly is to ask people for referrals. Reach out to your networks reach out to the folks that already work for you they may have somebody that they know that they can stand behind. They can put their stamp on and that shows referrals statistically are much better hires than just finding somebody off the street. That is a good outlet.

Ron:  I'm sorry for interrupting but what would someone interviewing a candidate pauses or is hesitant around giving referrals, what do you read into that?

Tina: You mean references?

Ron:  References.

Tina: Yeah. I always think it's a good idea to check references so that you know I do realize that people could have somebody you know have you call somebody that might vouch for them. But I think any hesitation is a red flag. You would want to look for. And one of the tactics that we use is we ask you what would your supervisor say about you? Knowing that we're going to check references in the future. We walk them through what our process is so that there is that fact check piece to it but if they're hesitant that's definitely somewhere you know that you want to make sure and I feel that I feel good about this or do I not feel good about it and kind of go with that gut feeling. Usually, it's a red flag.

Ron:  You and I Tina, did a joint presentation for CEDIA. We did it around the A-method of hiring. And that comes from a book. There you go you have the book. This is our hiring Bible so again for anyone. I'll have Stephanie put the link to The Who Book by Randy Street and Jeff Smart. We'll put that down in the comments. Can we at a high level take the audience through. We'll do it in quick succession. There's a CEDIA course I think recorded I think they would make that available to you if you're a CEDIA member you guys can go watch that. But if we were to give Cliff's Notes versions to the A-method of hiring, what are the Cliff Notes?

Tina: Yeah. One of the big things that they mentioned is to develop a scorecard. What does the scorecard mean? I know that that may just seem like a weird term but really it's a matter of similar to a job description. Understanding exactly what the outcomes are of what you're gonna want this person to do once they get started. Even if it's looking at the first year, it is something in the outcomes right. For example, if this is a technician that you're gonna have going door to door meeting your customers, going in the house installing things. Can that person do that job? Is that person capable? And then you are going through this checklist as you're chatting with them to make sure that they're hitting those marks. That would be the big piece of like I said getting that set up before you go out and look for the right person.

"For those listening you notice she says it's further than a job description. I'm going to challenge you. Do you even have a job description and is it something you copied and pasted from Indeed or some job board or have you thought critically about what you've said you want and need?"

Ron:  I'm going to pause you there and I'm going to say for those listening you notice she says it's further than a job description. I'm going to challenge you. Do you even have a job description and is it something you copied and pasted from Indeed or some job board or have you thought critically about what you've said you want and need? And then it's really that next step which is really the outcomes you expect them to be able to perform from that project. It's harder but it's better because you know exactly what you're expecting from that candidate.

Tina: It is like anything, taking a little bit of that time upfront. I know that you may feel the pressure. I gotta get somebody in the door right away but if you just spend a little bit more time upfront to get that ready and good to go before you start looking for the right person, you're gonna be better set up for success. But yeah, to your point I think having a job description is a clear way for you to communicate to candidates what you're looking for and then you go beyond that and pull that those outcomes and make sure that you know as you're talking to people you could see that person doing well with those outcomes.

Ron:  OK, what's next?

Tina: Then we do a screening interview and that piece is really a quick four question so on screen it's a quick you decide the person's right or not. And that way you can get through as many people as you can. Once they've done well in that, we've added a skills assessment to our process so that you can really test the person on the skills that you're looking for. You may have them do some sort of skills assessment as well. I always suggest if you can, definitely put that into your process and then the next piece is a top grading interview which is really where you're diving into this person's background and your understanding what accomplishments they have had over their previous jobs.

Somebody who does well on a top grading interview is gonna be the person that has no problem giving great examples of what they've accomplished. And even sometimes what they weren't very good at. Right. They're going to rise to the top. You're going to see the difference in somebody that is a really good worker that somebody you know is proud of their work and can really rise to the top. You'll see that happen as you're talking to them and top grading somebody who doesn't do well is going to give not so solid examples. They're going to struggle through some of the questions and those questions are, how have you performed in that role? How are you measured? And how did you do according to those measurements?

Ron:  Tina in that top grading interview in classic top grading you always have two people conducting that interview. And that's expensive. Right? Two valuable members of your team sitting in that interview with someone you may not hire or you may hire them. Why two people?

Tina: Really it's having that option of somebody else asking other questions, toggling back and forth. I think there's a benefit to that. Not just one person running the interview but having somebody who says I'm going to ask you a question about you know how are you measured and then the other person can jump in and say. But how did you perform? How did you perform compared to other people in the role? And just being able to go back and forth and as you're talking there's going to be stuff that comes up that you may not think to ask. But the other person might. It's just always better to have two people to be able to conduct that interview. And it's a really big piece of our process. If we feel really good about somebody after the top grading interview and they move on to the next step, there's a really high chance that we're going to hire that person.

Ron:  OK so let's say they moved through that gauntlet and they have now been moved on. What happens?

Tina: Then we do more of a focused interview.

Ron:  Same day same time?

Tina: No. The top grading interview just so you know can be an hour or even two hours long depending on the person's experience. The focus interview is gonna be a little bit shorter maybe 45 minutes to an hour but that is focusing on the skills needed to do the job. Asking questions behavioral questions asking the questions as far as can you do this? Tell me about a time where you've done this and going and diving really and deeply into those skills.

Ron:  I'm going to say it the One Firefly way, do we have the same people doing the phone screen as doing the top grading as doing the focused interview? No. Why?

Tina: Because we want our team, first of all, we want to get different opinions. We want to get different questions and we want the person to get different understandings from each person that they're talking to at the team and they're also getting a taste of our culture and we're getting a taste of what they're looking for in a culture which is also really important to us. These are questions that we asked throughout this process in regards to culture. And so it is really important for multiple people on the team to meet with the candidates.

Ron:  OK. Let's say they go through the focused interview and they get a thumbs up or what are they getting? Is it qualitatively scored or is it just pass-fail? What is it?

Tina: We actually have measures on our end where we are scoring each competency. How are they in regards to integrity and honesty is one. Are they a team player? We're giving them a score on a scale of 1 to 5. And they have to get a certain percentage in order to pass in addition to that, we also have this human component that we talk about, would we want to work with this person? Do we feel like this is the right culture fit as well? But that is definitely quantitative where we're adding those up and we're scoring it and deciding whether that person should move on. From there, we check references and we do. We ask them questions about their strengths. We bring up hey this person said that this was one of their weaknesses. Can you expand on that? We are asking those questions.

We're also asking for one of my favorite reference check questions. A little insight for you guys is if you feel really good about somebody ask their previous manager what can you do to set that person up for success at this company? What advice would they tell their future manager because that person is invested in the candidate, clearly they work together. They're willing to take that reference check call and that is super valuable information that you can give to the manager of that person.

Ron:  I love that. Just another question, I know in the past it's been a little while since I've been making the reference calls but I used to like to ask, would you rehire this person?

Tina: Definitely. That's number one on the question list for sure.

Ron:  If it's a quick yes you know that's a good sign. Now if they go through the references and they're all thumbs up. What happens?

Tina: Well then they get to meet you and Taylor and that meeting it's a little bit more of we're actually selling them on us. Telling them about our culture really making sure this is who we are and we want we believe you'll fit in with our family with our culture with our team. And really getting them excited about the position and that way a lot of times Ron has offered somebody on the spot and they say yeah I'm in, let's do this. It's really cool to see that. Not just trying to find the right people but selling yourself, don't just expect people to sell them to sell themselves to you. It's both ways it's a two-way street.

Ron:  Yeah. Certainly with top candidates. I mean if they're a top candidate they likely are sitting on many offers or many opportunities. You may have even recruited them or headhunted them and they might have a great job and don't need a job. And so if they're awesome or they're an A player as we'd say then there might need to be some selling involved to get them to ultimately join us. Now at a high level, when one goes through this type of process and I want to say you gave me some stats I know we used it in our CEDIA presentation I may be putting you on the spot. But what happens in terms of your ability to retain employees if they've gone through this process and is there any anecdotal data or high-level data of what it means?

Tina: I don't remember the stats off the top of my head. I can't think of a time where we've offered somebody after going through this process that I've been here that they have said no. I believe it's happened here in the past but it is very very rare. By the time you get to that final meeting with you, folks are ready to sign up and we're ready to sign them up. I think ongoing because they've had such insight to our culture they've met with more of our team upfront. They know what they're getting into that we've talked about what outcomes we're looking from them. We have that scorecard and actually we take that scorecard and we give it to them as most of the time it's their bonus program. It's already in place. They already know what's expected and you hear so many people that start jobs and they get in there like it wasn't what I thought I was it wasn't what I was sold on it wasn't what I thought it was going to be and I'm really disappointed.

When you've already set all that upfront those expectations the person's going to come and be so much happier. They're already prepared for what exactly is gonna be expected of them and people do stay longer. I have seen that as proof in the last place that they used top grading. I want to say there I remember we kept track of it. It was like ninety-eight ninety-nine percent acceptance rate. Very cool. It's just a great process. Like I said the more you can put upfront the better it is going forward.

Ron:  You've used the word culture many times you used it when you talked about some of the places that you worked before one Firefly and you liked places because of their culture you didn't like places because of their culture. We hire people at One Firefly around cultural fit. What does that mean? What does it mean to have culture that I want to transition that to in the time of COVID here. Where there's less activity happening in the office, how do we ultimately cultivate a stronger company culture?

Tina: Yes. For me, culture is I mean it's really giving people a picture of the team, how we act, how we work together. For us, you can see that as an example in your core values. One Firefly has also used this book called Traction and we've implemented the EOS program for systems operations. We were in that process. We set up a purpose, our North Star, a mission, and our core values. We have five core values. And I can bet you anybody on our team knows every single one of them because we talk about them all the time. We use them when we give kudos to each other which is another thing we may talk about in a minute.

When we're hiring we actually ask questions around those core values and we also have this screening process all the way at the front. When we do a phone interview we are asking people what they look for in a culture. And we try and match that up with what our core values are. I think even more and more people are wanting to have fun at work. They're wanting to not just show up on the job and do the widgets and then leave. It's more about how can I really make an experience about where I'm working where I'm spending so much of my life and have fun with it.

Ron:  What are examples without you naming any companies in your past. But what's the type of environment you've been in where it was not a good culture. What's an example of what that means?

Tina: Yeah, I think one of the previous experiences I had was I was expected to do some things that I didn't feel were morally right. One of the examples and I won't name where this was but to actually get references upfront so that I could call them and then try and because they were managers at companies call those places and try and get business opportunities that way without even having the candidate up for a job. I may talk to a candidate because I knew that they had worked at a company that we're trying to get into. And for me, I couldn't do it and I ended up leaving within three months in that company because that was against my.

Ron:  That's pretty dirty. Yeah, that's pretty bad. I'm going to put some shout outs here on the screen. I've got a bunch of folks making comments Tina and I just saw Wes pop up.

Tina: I'm going to plug in my computer. I didn't realize I was getting low.

Ron:  Let me just see. My software on occasion doesn't like to cooperate and it's not cooperating. It won't let me share it. But I see it. Is it on the screen?

Tina: It was you took it down. There it is.

Ron:  OK. I don't see it but I'm glad that you do so. I'll read it. It says "One Firefly's culture is the greatest. I've been a part of." Thank you. Wes is a rock star of ours down in the Carolinas and me to see a few more comments here. I think this was Brandi actually. She's on our team as an Account Manager I think that's when she heard there might be a $500 bounty on pet costumes. I think she said she was gonna go run out and buy a costume, get the dog first or the cat and then dress them up.

Tina: We fully encourage adoption of cats or dogs at One Firefly.

Ron:  Yeah, we have. I've got a few more shall let me put a few more. Becca says Happy Halloween. Allison says hello. Thank you, Allison. Taylor says Fortune favors the bold. I completely agree I think he was referring to wearing the costume. We use a tool called Slack at One Firefly and there's really my mind. There were three major pieces of software that we've deployed over the 13 years. I remember the day that we went down the path of turning on something called Basecamp. It was January 2011 and that was the first time in a systematic way we were able to log client communication our communication with the clients and the client replies in an organized way. Oh my goodness. The Excel spreadsheets we had before that, I had people on my team trying to keep projects organized. And this is before Google Sheets. This is Excel. This was bad. This was painful.

Tina: We actually interviewed somebody this week who mentioned that she implemented Slack at her company because prior to that they were doing a group text.

Ron:  Yes. All right. Then there was Workfront which is our enterprise project management environment where we design all of our projects. And then there was Slack and I'm going to give Chris Smith formerly of Cloud Nine Smart. He was on the Azione board and he has since gone out on his own as the co-team. He's now a consultant for integrators and he said, "Ron My goodness you have to be running on Slack. Like how are you not doing this?" Knowing what we know now about our business and all of our team all over North America. I literally do not know how we would be One Firefly today without Slack or some equivalent. How do we use Slack and how do we use Slack around the company culture side of the equation?

Tina: Yeah. We have lots of fun channels and we even set up a new one for Halloween called "spooky." But we have as I mentioned "pets." We have a pretty much it's a dog enthusiast channel but we have lots of other pets on there as well. It's really our replacement for the water cooler talk. We're all remote so we don't get to just stop at some base asking chit chat how their weekend was but the fun food channel, you could say hey I've cooked this over the weekend for my husband it was our anniversary and it turned out great. Here's the recipe. I mean it's almost like we have more than just water cooler talk because you can share things and pictures and all that.

It's been really great for our culture. And I absolutely love it. I think our team loves it. It's nice to just if you need five minutes to go look at cute puppies you can do that if you need five minutes to check out the movie channel. You can check that out see what you're going to watch later that night. Just absolutely love it.

Ron:  Also Motivosity. What is that? How do we use it?

Tina: Yes. Motivosity is something that I knew we were looking for an engagement survey software so that we could get a feel of how our folks were feeling about working for One Firefly but it ended up really tying in with our core values. We had already rolled out these core values. You and I Ron were trying to figure out how can we really instill the core values on a day to day basis where people are thinking about them and Motivosity had this opportunity for us to give our team kudos based on those core values. Our team every month gets three dollars to give out to other people. And if they don't use their three dollars they completely lose it. It's something you definitely want to do. Reminder to the team they expire tomorrow.

Ron:  I gave my last dollar out last night.

Tina: We use that to give each other kudos and it's cool too because you don't always know what other projects people are working on and you get to see these success stories and people are saying this person found a way because they did this and that and they really helped this client out and here's what they did. We're seeing real-life examples and we're hearing about that and it gives folks a lot more insight to what everybody's doing which is really cool.

Ron:  I love that. Now for those that are listening are our integrators aren't fully virtual right. Because their guys and gals have to go out to houses and do installations or go up to commercial sites and do installations. They probably have to go to their offices or warehouses and pick up gear. It's like a pseudo virtual. I imagine some of them are together less than they were pre-COVID. Just from a people standpoint and management of people or understanding people's standpoint Tina, what are any ideas or considerations that you would have owners or GMs think about as they are working with their people given the stresses on all of us right now.

Tina: Yeah, I'm glad you brought that up because I've been thinking about that too and then today I actually had somebody show up to fix my fridge. Just the safety aspect, before he walked in.

Ron:  Was he wearing PPE?

Tina: Oh yeah. I mean he was covered decked out in it. And I think as you all think about your folks going into residential homes and commercial spaces where there's a lot of people giving them that extra time that it might take them to get the PPE together, making them feel comfortable with it, making sure you are asking questions how are you doing with this situation? Just showing that you care because it is a tough time for everybody and I think people that actually have to be you know out and I'm thankful that you know I work from home and I'm here in my safe space.

But I think about all the people who are out there working their butts off and going in and out of these places and just not knowing how safe it is. Just making sure that you know they feel supported. Whether it's just asking them a question every once in awhile of how are you doing with this. Is there anything else I can do to help provide anything that you need? That sort of thing. Because it really is tough on everybody.

Ron:  No, I agree. Any closing thoughts, Tina? Any words of advice around the management of people either whether on the hiring side or even on just the ongoing management and growth of one's team. Any ideas or thoughts that come to mind for you to share?

Tina: Yeah, just thinking and thinking back and all the amazing mentors and leaders I've had in my life, including you Ron, I think just being open and transparent in all aspects hiring. I think we have a great rapport with our team because we are so clear and transparent with what we're doing and then communicating with empathy is my biggest thing. And what do I mean by that? Like really understanding where somebody is coming from and also providing that, "I'm so sorry that you're going through that. Let me know if I can do anything." Just those little words like that instead of just expecting we've got to get this done. Let's go let's go let's go. Take a minute to have that have a conversation with your folks have a real conversation with your folks even that, "How is your family doing?" It can make a really big impact.

Ron:  I love that. For those that are listening Tina that would like to get in touch with you directly. How do you want them to do that?

Tina: They can email me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find me on LinkedIn message me. I'm just Tina Baker I have my SPHR so you'll see an S P H R after my name.

Ron:  I think I'm doing it on the screen, is that right?

Tina: Yeah.

Ron:  For those that are listening to the podcast I'm using my software and I got a little scroller moving across the screen with Tina's email address. Tina, it has been a pleasure to have you on episode 142 of Automation Unplugged. Thank you for joining us.

Tina: Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed it.

Ron:  Awesome thank you. All right gang so there you have it. That was episode 142 went down the HR, the people's side of things. I know that in all of the conversations I'm having with you as my customers, integrators around the world. I know that you guys are maybe in a position of stress and frustration as if COVID wasn't enough. You have a caviar problem.

Many of you in that is you have a lot of business closing right now. A lot of demand on you and if I were to get out my magic eight ball and predict I'm thinking we're gonna at least have a few more quarters of that if not much more of that and it's just well what do you do if there's so much demand that you can't convert it because you're short on manpower? Which means you have to know that it's a competitive landscape out there and there are companies that are gonna try to take your people and there are going to be demands on you to grow or add people to your team. And I know there are lots of questions about how to do that and how to do that in the best way.

Hopefully, you found some of this sage advice from Tina helpful and certainly we've enjoyed having her on our team. She definitely makes us a better company and she certainly helps us take better care of our people. And without your people you're nothing. At least that's what I believe. If you are listening or watching and you have not already gone to your favorite podcast software and typed in Automation Unplugged. Please do so, you can subscribe and if you feel so compelled leave a review or share this show with others. The more the merrier. We're trying to get the word out and share all the interesting people that make up our fun industry. And on that note, I'm going to leave you definitely have a happy and safe Halloween this weekend. I hope if you are sending your kids out or if you're greeting kids you're keeping everyone's health and safety top of mind and make it a safe and fun weekend. 

I will see you guys next week. Actually I'm thinking about this next week. I'm doing a bunch of video shoots. I don't know if I'm doing Automation Unplugged next week. I think we might have a hiatus for a week and then we'll be back the following week. On that note, I will see you soon.


Tina joined One Firefly in the beginning of 2020 with a proven track record of implementing programs that focus on company culture and improving employee satisfaction. Her responsibilities encompass all areas of Human Resources such as talent acquisition, performance management, benefits enrollment, and employee engagement.

Ron Callis is the CEO of One Firefly, LLC, a digital marketing agency based out of South Florida and creator of Automation Unplugged. Founded in 2007, One Firefly has quickly became the leading marketing firm specializing within the integrated technology and security space. The One Firefly team work hard to create innovative solutions to help Integrators boost their online presence, such as the elite website solution, Mercury Pro.

Resources and links from the interview:

Tina can be reached directly by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Be sure to follow One Firefly on Facebook and Instagram.

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