Home Automation Podcast Episode #10: An Industry Q&A With Gordon Isaac
A Deep Dive into Hiring and Training New Talent
This week's home automation podcast features our host Ron Callis interviewing Gordon Isaac. Recorded live on Wednesday, July 18th at 12:30 p.m. EST.
About Gordon Isaac
Gordon Isaac is a successful sales leader with nearly 25 years of experience in the CE/CI Industry. Highly analytical and process-driven, Gordon builds successful teams that get results and make companies grow. Gordon's industry experience includes roles as the National Director of Sales - CI Channel at Core Brands, West Coast Sales Manager at SpeakerCraft, and COO at R2W, Inc.
In this two-part interview, Ron and Gordon honed in on a clear challenge within this industry: recruiting and training new talent. Here are some of the questions Ron asked:
- Please tell our audience about yourself, what did you study in school, and how did you get involved in the custom integration industry?
- You have spent much of your career working with major brands such as Crestron and Elan, working closely with dealers. Do you see Hiring and Retainment as their current biggest obstacle to growth?
- How do you think integrators can solve this problem?
- From your experience, do you feel dealers are documenting their needs in the form or formal job descriptions?
- What do you think the hiring and interviewing process should be like within a typical integration firm?
- Where should integrators look for new hires?
- When is the right time to fire someone?
- What do you think are the main attributes of successful companies in this industry?
- Aside from finding new talent, what do you see as an obstacle to growth for most home technology professionals?
Ron: Hello everyone Ron Callis here with One Firefly. Thanks again for joining me on another episode of Automation Unplugged. What time is it it's 12:30. On Wednesday, July 19th. It's been a couple of weeks since I had an Automation Unplugged episode. You'll have to excuse me I took a vacation and spent the Fourth of July weekend down in Cancun Mexico with my family had a great time. And then last week I was traveling in Philadelphia for business. So anyway today we have a great guest. I've got a longtime industry veteran and friend a gentleman named Gordon Isaac. And we're gonna have a fun conversation. This is actually. I'll bring him in so you guys can see him. Hey Gordon how's it going?
Gordon: I'm good. How are you?
Ron: I am doing very well. You and I actually tried to do this before, didn't we?
Gordon: We did but technology got the best of us technologists.
Ron: It did. It tends to do that. Let me check over on our Facebook page and make sure our stream is coming through. Let me just wait for that to load. There we go. We've already got an audience. Hey, gang thanks for joining us. Thanks for joining Gordon and myself and appreciate you guys showing up. Yeah. There we go. Got some likes. If you're out there please share this stream so your friends in the industry can see the content and certainly give us likes and comments as we go along here it will be greatly appreciated. So, Gordon, I appreciate your patience. As we mentioned we try to do this about six episodes ago you were actually my guest number four. Before we had just a terrible microphone issue and I think we were probably 15 to 20 minutes in to the interview and we had to unfortunately just kill it because the technology was not cooperating. So I appreciate you making time in your schedule and joining me back here.
Gordon: You bet. Glad to be back.
Ron: Awesome. All right. So if you don't mind just to lay the foundation Gordon can you give our audience just a little bit of background on yourself and you've been a 24 year veteran of the custom integration industry. And I'd like to know kind of how you got started. How do you get pulled into this space?
Gordon: Sure. Absolutely. You know it started with getting into car audio back in the day. I was a kid looking at car magazines and Crutchfield magazines and playing around with car stereo stuff and started competing in car audio shows and ended up at an event in Minnesota at a local retailer Audio King and eventually ended up working there and growing through the company, became a store manager. And it's kind of just been moving along working at a lot of great companies over the years so you know I love this industry I love the space. It's a lot of fun as I say we get to sell toys for a living and the stuff that everybody else wants and it's always fresh and exciting. There's always something new and changing that's for sure.
Ron: Now what did that career path look like for you? So to me 24 years is a healthy career. What are the types of roles and positions that you've held in this space? Sounds like you started in the automotive audio side of the business.
Gordon: Yeah. So you know a lot of people ask What did you do? Where did you go to school? And I tell them I went to work. I didn't go to school also I got my education from the industry. So you know growing up within a large retail organization and understanding the business side of things managing large teams I've worked for manufacturers great manufacturers such as Bose and Crestron, Speakercraft, Elan, Panamax. And I've also worked for a rep firm before as well and I worked for a really large 20 million dollar integrator. So you know as opportunities have come up as I've seen those opportunities as ways to continue to grow and bring value to various organizations. And I've learned a lot throughout the way along the way. So one of those definitely being hiring and recruiting and the importance of building strong teams.
Ron: Yes. So I wanted to zoom in on that particular topic. And in fact a lot of the times when I'm interviewing and I have guests on we cover a very broad set of topics. But if you will allow me I'd like to zero in on something that I know is close to your heart and mind as well as mine because I think it's affecting our industry as a whole. And that is around the hiring and the retainment of staff. So you've had a as you mentioned a nice career you've been in a lot of different both on the dealer side and the manufacturers' side of the equation. Would you agree with the premise that hiring is, the problems and challenges around hiring today and retain many of team members are one of the bigger maybe challenges to the growth for an integrator growth within this industry?
Gordon: Absolutely. You know I think that the challenge that we face is that this isn't t an industry that a lot of people go to school for and you know it's not a trade. While it is a trade that you can go and get an education and it's not something that you see offered as much as you would say to be an electrician or to be a plumber or architect or those types of things and so a lot of our industry has been built organically. And so I think that's part of the challenge is that as we continue to grow and expand rapidly because technology is growing so fast we need to find good people and there isn't enough education out there for our industry and so we find ourselves kind of recruiting and training our own people. And that's a challenging thing especially considering that a lot of business owners are running smaller companies and aren't taking the time or don't have the time to focus on this part of it.
Ron: So the million-dollar question is how do integrators fix that problem? I mean in basic sense right now, integrators there's a lot of opportunities. There's a lot of growth you know maybe they've hired One Firefly and their marketing is just you know taking off and really helping them with those new opportunities and lead gen. So they're growing but you can only do so many jobs with the people you have and so you need new installers. You need new programmers you need project managers you need people in the warehouse. So what's your perspective? I mean is there an easy solution or maybe what are some of the talking points around how integrators could address that?
Gordon: Sure absolutely. Great question. You know it's a challenge that I run into with a lot of dealers, especially recently I'm hearing it from a lot of dealers saying they need more people to grow. And I think the first thing is that you have to realize that recruiting people is a full-time job. You know hiring people is a job skill and there's a reason why there's recruiting companies out there because they spend all their time trying to find good people and pair them up with good opportunities. So if you want to use a recruiting company that's certainly a good option. But if you're planning on doing it yourself it's really about taking the time for you to step away from being in the middle of your day to day stuff and to work on your business instead of being stuck in your business. And so I know that's something that is starting to be said a lot more and it's very important. And I know it's easier said than done but shutting down for a few days. Taking a look at your company and evaluating what your operating efficiency is and seeing what type of bandwidth your team has in order to be able to know whether you're operating at 50 percent capacity or 75 percent capacity and then looking for what are the people that you need to fill the holes that you have and putting a plan together to go after that. But if you feel that hiring a new sales guy is just something you need because you need more sales what you're probably missing is that you're going to not just be the sales guy but you're going to possibly need other people as well and they need to have a clear understanding as to how big is your company right now. How is it working with the team that it has and then what is going to happen when you have that new body whether that's a new installer or a new project manager a new salesperson? What's the workload that's going to be generated by that person and does it create any other challenges as well?
Ron: So here at One Firefly I'm a big advocate of the requirement that when we're growing or scaling our business we always make sure we have a job description, a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities that we need mechanically the mechanics of the business requires these set of capabilities and then we take the next step to not only define that job description but then look at what's the type of person what's the type of human being we would want on our team fulfilling that job description. What is your perspective, what's normal out there in the industry? And I think my video just froze. I'm actually going to switch over to you here but the question is what do you think is the normal out there for the industry?
Well I think a lot of a lot of integrators are you know they're small entrepreneurial businesses which is a beautiful thing. I mean this is one of the cool areas of business where you can have an idea, start a company and that's a great thing. However. If you want to turn it into a long-lasting business then you do have to start to apply some process to it. And so I think one of the challenges for entrepreneurs is getting their grasp around all the different aspects of a company and one of those is creating an appropriate culture, a business culture that's there. And so part of creating a good culture is to have job descriptions. It's to make sure that people understand what's expected of them. And what their day's going to look like what their week's going to look like what their career looks like with an organization. And you know that's tough. If you're a two-man three-man show. And you're looking to hire that fourth person. You're probably not thinking yourself that that fourth person is going to have a dedicated job description. Because they're going to just have to pull their weight wherever they're needed. But that's OK though and it's OK to have that be in your job description that your job consist of all of these different types of tasks. That you feel that they're going to be responsible for. But at least by having that job description. The future employee can have an idea as to what to expect when they get there. And as your company grows and as those job descriptions become more narrow and finite. Then people really know how they work together as a team. And who's responsible for what. Because I think we've all worked for companies where we felt like we've done work that wasn't necessarily in our job description. And meanwhile we looked over at other people doing the job and that causes a dip in morale. So I think having a documented job description even if it means you're putting on every single thing that you do on a given day at least that employee that comes on knows. These are all the different things that I'm responsible for doing and there isn't any type of miscommunication when they're asked to do something.
Ron: From your experience Gordon, what number of integrators out there in fact have job descriptions and the formulation of that before they post a job? I mean that's like the basics right? To put that in place before you go in and try to start your hiring process. I mean who are you looking for and what do they need to be capable of doing? What's your view of the integrators you've known in the marketplace and whether or not they're doing that first step?
Gordon: I think it's a challenge for a lot of dealers and again it really comes down to time management and when you're running a company there's so many things that you have to be responsible for. And I think for most business owners if they need to hire somebody you know they go out and they look for people they ask for people to refer someone to maybe they take an ad out but the plan and process you do start to see it more with some of the larger companies that are out there. But again this is something that it's like writing a business plan. There's not a lot of companies that have an up to date business plan and that's because it takes a lot of time and effort and most people that are entrepreneurs are spending their time and effort running their company getting sales keeping the business moving and are not spending a lot of time on these operational foundational things.
Ron: No I completely agree. What are your recommendations Gordon? Once a job description has been written and it's posted where does an integrator look for people? What are your recommendations or ideas around finding talent finding good talent?
Gordon: Sure. Well I can tell you I hope I've hired six people in the last excuse me in the last six months and a majority of the people came through my social media networks through LinkedIn, I did use a recruiter as well and was able to use a recruiter for one of the positions. But the majority came through my social media network. So the first thing is understand that recruiting is not something you do only when you absolutely need somebody. It's something that you should be doing throughout the year. What I mean by that is that don't spend all your time screwing around on social media. You know reading a bunch of unnecessary stuff that's distracting you from your business. But post articles about your company and about projects that you've done that will entice people to want to know more to installers salespeople programmers financial people throughout LinkedIn and throughout the social media networks and get connected with those people because again you might not need somebody today but down the road if you grow large enough. What ends up happening is when you post a test for trying to find someone you'll have the audience that either A might be the person that you're looking to try to hire or secondly it might be somebody who says Gosh this is such a great company. I know somebody that might be a good fit. And that's really one of the first things is make sure you're using your social media on a regular basis. You don't have to spend hours a week on it spend one hour a week spend 10 minutes a day and just post some interesting stuff that makes your company stand out and look like a place that people want to be a part of and also connect with people that you might need those resources down the road. The other thing is always to keep your eyes open when you're out there as a consumer as an example. My internet provider talks struggle constantly to try to do business with them over the phone. But I went into a local branch and on two occasions had the same person help me and the person's customer service skills were just through the roof. And his technical knowledge was exceptional. And I said to myself I wrote his name down and I said if there's ever a time where I need a person with this skill set or somebody says I need a person that has the skill set that I'm going to recommend that they try to reach out to this person because they're in a position where I don't know that they have much of a career and they could potentially move up into a better organization down the road. So you know whether it's looking at you know go to Target and go walk through the camera section or TV section of Wal-Mart go to obviously Best Buy is a great place because they have a good training program that's in place there. But also look at like your waiters and waitresses and things like that, there are great people everywhere. And it's a matter of just keeping your eyes open for people to give you good customer service, seem to be intelligent, and then focus your search locations based on if you're looking for someone who has an existing skill set that can come in or if you're looking for just good talented people that you can go and train and coach and kind of mold to what you want them to be in your organization.
Ron: I'm reminded of a story, you and I both used to work at Crestron. At one point in time in our careers. And I remember Randy Cline. I don't know his formal title now you know the guy running the show at Crestron. He was getting his car serviced and it was a BMW and he ran into someone that was delivering great customer service to him. That guy's name I believe Brian Chelley who is was ultimately led that kind of meeting off chance meeting led to Brian being pulled in for interviews and now he's been at Crestron running the New York showroom for the better part of the last I want to say six or seven plus years if not longer. I don't have those dates exactly but it's exactly what you're referencing. Just always have your eyes open for talent wherever that talent might be and wherever you might be.
Gordon: Yeah Brian's a great guy. I know him well and pretty great. I didn't know that background but that's a great example of just keeping your eyes open for talent. And again keep in mind too that recruiters are a good option. You're going to typically pay around twenty-five percent of the person's salary to use the recruiter. But again if you don't have a lot of time that might be an option. But the reality is we all have time because we're all consumers. We're all shopping around we're all going to different places. We're all researching our competition and as we're doing that we're seeing people that have skill sets that if you're looking for it you'll find probably could bring value to your organization.
Ron: It's a great point. Gordon, do you mind shedding some light on what you think the process should be for an integrator? I mean what is the hiring process from what we've zeroed in a little bit on writing a job description, but do you mind just giving a broad brush of what you think a hiring process could look like for a typical integrator?
Gordon: Absolutely. I think a lot of times the owner ends up becoming you know a lot of times the owner wants to be kind of the final decision-maker. And I really think the owner needs to be the initial person doing the work looking for that talent. And once they find the talent one of the most important things, in my opinion, is to involve the rest of the team. Because you want to get buy-in from the team, you this new person to fit into your culture and you want to make sure that the people that the company of two or whether you're running a 40 or 50 or 100 person organization you want to make sure that the person you hire is going to be supported by the people that they're going to work with. And so I think you know the first thing is to identify talent. Find somebody that you feel has a skill set and the personality to fit in your culture. Then it's about getting buy-in from your team by having other people in your organization interviewing. And there's a variety of different ways to do this. You can do a group interview which is definitely a test for anybody to go through. You can do one on one type of interviews. You know you could do it over the phone. It doesn't have to always be in person. One of the things that's nice about this as well is that you'll find a lot of people in your company probably don't have experience interviewing people. So this is an opportunity for you to coach and train your other employees to help them be more successful in their careers and in business as well by developing a skill set and experience on how to interview people. And so not only do they get to learn something from it as well but they also are able to feel like they're a part of the process. And so once you've gone through all of those interviews and everybody agrees you found a good person then it's a matter of going through the actual hiring process and onboarding process. And I won't get into too much detail just as I know we're short on time but I do think that hiring good people is important onboarding people and making sure that they're successful and that they feel like they're part of the team as fast as possible is equally as important. So little things like if they're going to have business cards, having those business cards ready for them on their first day, having their computer, their phone their first day, having a letter or a note or a card at their desk signed by the company signed by the people welcoming them to the company you know taking them to lunch at their favorite restaurant that you would qualify during the interview process and surprising them. You know there's a variety of different ways to do this but ultimately once somebody makes that decision to join your company once you've decided they're a good fit for your company then the real work starts. And that is making sure that that person is comfortable, joins the organization, the team supports. And then you give them the tools that they need to be successful so that you don't find yourself going out trying to hire a replacement in a short time because it was the wrong fit.
Ron: So speaking of the concept of onboarding, ie you've found the right person you've hired them. A lot of the I would propose a lot of the success of that individual in that role will be dictated by the training and support that they're given by the organization. And that sounds like that's exactly what you're talking about. What does that mean to you and what do you think that our audience the integrators and the folks listening should be doing with their new hires to increase the likelihood of their success?
Gordon: Sure absolutely. Well, first part is finding the right person obviously which we talked about and you know don't hire out of desperation a lot of times people need somebody so bad that they're willing to look past certain things in an effort to get a body on board. So you've got to make sure you're hiring the right bodies that you're asking the tough questions that you're getting all that information out of the interview process. Once they get started now it's really a matter of making them comfortable and successful. So I think I think that the job description is an important thing to go over and the interview process. And it's an important thing to go over again in the onboarding process so they understand what's expected of them. And then it's a matter of showing them and teaching them how you do things and how you want things to be done and that again is not just your job it's the responsibility of the team to do as well. So again you might be a two or three-person company and you might find that you feel you need to take a let's just say it's a new installer you might find that you need to take that new installer around yourself and personally make sure that they're installing stuff properly. Well if you hired the right person then you really don't need to sit there micromanage them. You really need to let them do their work and then inspect them and give them feedback. So in another case, you might decide hey you know what. I'm too busy and I'm not an installer I'm a business owner and a salesperson. So you're going to team up with that second or third person on your team and have them go and work with them side by side. That's great as well. But at the end of the day you're still the owner you're the one that took responsibility to bring them in your company and you're the one that has to make sure they're successful. So following up with them after their first day asking them how did it go. Asking for feedback from the employee you partnered them with and saying you know what was their perspective getting their support of the process is important. And again regardless of how small or how big of a company you are the most important thing is just to make sure that these people are getting the support they need not just the first day, not the first week not the first month but until they're performing at the level that you feel is appropriate for the position and for your company and that can be three or six months. You know the people that I was responsible for hiring recently, the complexities of managing multiple brands and multiple territories and such. It was a lot of work. And it was something that the expectations cleared that it was going to take six months to a year before they were truly competent and comfortable in that role. And that means that that six months to a year of nonstop training and touching base and asking how you can help and asking what challenges they run into and making sure that the again that they're successful in that position.
Ron: Do you think that most integration firms? You mentioned that two or three-man shop you know a lot of businesses out there by volume or this you know 5 to 15 man shop. Not to be sexist woman or man but you know people on staff do you think that most integrators are successfully onboarding and supporting their new hires or do you think maybe one of the reasons for churn is that they're burning through people by not maybe properly supporting them once they've hired them?
Gordon: Yeah. So it's a great question and from what I see a lot of times there's not enough question and answer time spent in the interview process to make sure that the person you're bringing on really is the right person. And that could be from a skill set standpoint that could be from a culture fit. There's a variety of reasons why maybe you just hired the wrong person and a lot of times it really comes down to do you really have a set of questions that you ask? Or do you just sit down and have a casual conversation and call it an interview? You know there are things that you're trying to understand about that person and have you spent the time to preplan that interview to make sure that you can find that information out and it doesn't matter whether it's an installer or a programmer or a salesperson you know a finance person? There are things that are important to your company that you need to understand about anybody joining it. And do you have that? Did you put the time into making sure that you developed and figured out that information? Once they get on board a lot of times people try to hire people that have skill sets that allow them to quickly get up to speed in that position and the challenge is if you hire a guy that's got 10 years of installation experience, that doesn't mean that he has ten years of installation experience doing the level of work and quality of work that you expect. It means that he knows how to install stuff. It doesn't mean that he knows how to install stuff the way that your company wants things installed. And so I think regardless of skill set coming in you have to treat each new hire with kind of a similar approach. And that is again making sure that they're out there doing the jobs that they need to do inspecting it making sure that they're living up to your expectations making sure you're answering questions that they have concerns they have. I think one of the biggest missed opportunities, when you hire new people, is not finding out from them in the first 90 days what they would do differently. They say that you either in the first three months you either change the culture or become part of it. And so when you have someone who comes in new, how much time are you spending with them in those first three months to find out what they see as opportunities that could be better for your company? And again that's going to make somebody really feel like they're part of your organization. But yes to answer your question more specifically, you know I think a lot of times guys kind of get thrown to the wolves because they've got so much work that the business owner is trying to do or the installation manager is trying to do or the sales manager is trying to do. And so they hire a body the body comes in the body starts to do their thing and the body doesn't work out because they lack the direction that they needed .
"When you guys are running strong profitable rewarding businesses it means our industry is growing and everybody wins."
Ron: That makes sense. I want to acknowledge our audience, thanks everyone for watching. And please if you have any questions for Gordon type it into the comments and we'll be sure to have him answer those questions live. Gordon brings a wealth of experience and at this point, it's probably fair to say he's worked with thousands of integrators across North America. So he brings an interesting perspective to this H.R. related topic and many other topics we're actually depending on the feedback you guys give us. We're looking at having Gordon back and talking to him about a number of fun more business and operations related topics with the goal of he and I really wanting to help all of you out there improve your business. You know when you guys are running strong profitable rewarding businesses it means our industry is growing and everybody wins. So it's not always about trying to you know sell a black box and sell more of them it's really about the people in this industry and us helping each other better ourselves and better our businesses. So please if you have questions post the questions and if Facebook cooperates and posts real time then I'll read that question off to Gordon. Even if you're out there just say hi. Give us a comment. Don't be shy. Don't don't be a lurker and just watching but you know give us a thumbs up and let us know you're out there. We always love to hear from you folks. Gordon I just want to switch gears a little bit. We've talked about you know some high-level principles around hiring people. The market is, fortunately, knock on wood everyone. Most people are busy they're busy trying to find new people. What's your perspective on when it's time to let someone go and maybe you're short on labor and on installers but maybe they're just a bad apple or maybe they're not that good maybe they're not that efficient maybe they're a bad influence on other people in the organization? When should an integrator decide that it's better to be without that person than to have the muscle to be on the job site?
Gordon: That's a good question, Ron. And I think it comes down to introspect as a business owner and really what I've always said to myself and I've always said to managers that have worked with me is that it's important to look at yourself and ask yourself, have you done everything you can to help this employee be successful in their role? It's easy to fire people. It really is. I mean it's most places are will to work state. And so you can pretty much get away with just cutting somebody for no reason or for you know simple reasons and move on in life. But the fact is is that that person has a livelihood. That person has a family that person might have stresses going on in their life that's impacted their performance. And you don't know about. And so I think as people we have to be sensitive to that and we need to make sure that we're asking ourselves did I coach this person when I saw that they weren't performing the way that I needed them to? Did I document to make sure that they clearly saw that there was a path going in a direction that was not advantageous for them maintaining their position and career? And you know did I do in this role and you know if the answer is yes to those things and you've truly done all that you can for this person and by the way, this doesn't have to be a six-month process or a 90-day process it can be it can be a conversation to yourself you know as soon as you start to see a problem with an individual and continue that conversation. If those problems continue to exist but you know if you felt like you hired the right person and they don't work out then you've really got to look at yourself and ask yourself why? If you ended up hiring the wrong person well then at least you know that that's something you can improve on as you go to interview and hire for a replacement. But there is something about that person when you originally hired them or when maybe you took over a position in the company so someone else hired them that that gave someone confidence that that person could do a job and for some reason over time that person has not performed and it's your responsibility to understand why. And so I think it's important that if you have people that are causing damaging the morale of your team not doing quality work not selling or performing not showing up. If you have people that are doing things like that there's something else going on in their life that's probably causing it. And it's important to try to understand the why. Now that doesn't mean sitting down with somebody and saying hey you know I need to know why you're late. Constantly you know because may not be a bad question to ask if they're constantly late you know. But how about Hey I've noticed that you showed up to work late today and I really need to make sure you're here on time moving forward. Are there other challenges that you're going through at all that are impacting your ability to be here that maybe I can help you with? You know something like that makes the person feel like hey you know what. Yeah I screwed up and here's somebody who's offering to help me. Now if they're late again the conversation can be like hey you know what we had this conversation already and it's important that you're here on time moving forward. I've offered to help. I'm here to help if there's something I can do. But if you're going to continue to be late then you're not going to be able to work here. And then you document it and that could be twice that could be back to back days for all you know. I mean it really could be something that quickly and then eventually maybe the next time, hey next time you're late I'm going to have to let you go I can't do this anymore. So as long as there's a process. I think what oftentimes happens though is people just decide that somebody is not good anymore and they just fire them. And the only time that that really should be the case is if somebody is stealing from you, does something really really stupid, assaults somebody, does something like that. But if people are showing up late, maybe their work quality has gone down. You know I think you owe it to yourself you owe it to the individual and you owe it to your team to try to dig into it and figure out if there's something you can do to coach and help them turn around.
"If you look at the finances related to that it's probably a lot more cost-effective for a business to make people on your team more effective and to help them work through problems than to let them go and start a recruiting process."
Ron: If you look at the finances related to that it's probably a lot more cost-effective for a business to make people on your team more effective and to help them work through problems than to let them go and start a recruiting process. I mean that is, everyone that's watching here has either been a part of that or been actively managing that. That can be very expensive and time consuming for an organization.
Gordon: Well that's why I said earlier that recruiting is a job and hiring people is a job. And I say it's a job because it has an extremely high cost to it. And so you know it is very important you know the amount of time and effort you put into finding somebody, having to start with your company introducing him to people in your organization introduce you to your customers having them go on job sites all of those types of things. There is so much cost associated with that. And then you look at the costs associated with insurance benefits and the costs associated with equipment and the time that it takes for you to onboard and like we spoke about and then you think about the potential for them to sue you if you let them go and they want to claim that there's you know harassment or they want to claim that you know some other issue and then you have the risks of unemployment and the cost of unemployment involved. So all those things make it a very expensive part of business which is why we have got to do better as an industry of hiring the right people training the right people and making sure they're successful in our businesses.
Ron: I concur. We have a comment here on Facebook Gordon, Cameron he says really enlightening discussion. He says beyond the on-ramp phase. How do you encourage team members to influence company culture over time? Do you have a perspective on that?
"The company culture really should be defined by the mission statement or the culture statement of your company."
Gordon: Yeah. Great question Cameron. And I think if I'm understanding correctly the company culture really should be defined by the mission statement or the culture statement of your company. And I think it's something that needs to be talked about and lived day in and day out. The company I was recently with , we went so far as to actually create a culture statement plaque that everybody was responsible for this image was an image that I found online to try to create it in one of those motivational pictures you can't really read the fine print that the fine print is the culture statement of our team. And every Friday call that we had we went over to things whenever our mission statement Our culture statement. Now I'm not saying you need to do that if you're a small company you need to do that every single week. But I do think it's important to have regular sales meetings with your team or not sales meetings but team meetings and making sure that people have an environment where they can speak freely. And it's important to reiterate what your mission statement is as a company and ask your employees throughout the day or throughout the week. Give me an example of how you took care of a customer today or give me an example of how you did something relative to your mission statement. And I think that's how you build culture as you keep it you keep it front and center every single day and every single week as an important part of your company and you make sure that people are working together and you look for challenges within the organization or conflicts in your organization and you get people to talk it out and you create that culture of everybody working together towards a common goal. And I think that when you have that culture when you bring somebody into that culture that person can identify opportunities too that they see with a fresh set of eyes to help make that culture even better because you might feel when I think this is very common. You might feel like you've created this great company culture and you've got this mission statement that you live and die from and then you go ahead and have a new person come in and they go I don't really see it. And that's a challenge because sometimes I wonder if I get blinded by being owners. And so I think when you have a new employee that comes in ask them feedback Hey listen here's our culture. Here's our mission statement as a company. Do you feel we're living and breathing it every day? Do you see it happening right now? What can we do to be better? So I think that I hope that addresses your question but I think company culture is definitely important and it's not so much about developing it over time. It's creating an expectation upfront and then managing regularly or creating a culture regularly where everybody is working on that culture every day and they want to be a part of that.
Ron: Awesome. Thank you Gordon for that thoughtful answer to the question. Now you recently left Core brands and you were most recently the National Director of Sales for the CI channel. What are you looking for in your next challenge that you take on? What's next for Gordon?
"I'm looking for a good company that I can bring value to and help to apply some of this business and team-building process to have some great success and I love going out there and delighting their customers and building relationships."
Gordon: Well right now I'm looking for a good company that I can bring value to and help to apply some of this business and team-building process to have some great success and I love going out there and delighting their customers and building relationships. And so right now I'm doing a little bit of consulting work with some integrators that have expressed some need and interest. And I'm just looking for a good opportunity to come in and be a part of a good company.
Ron: OK well that sounds exciting. Gordon, are you open to coming back on here and we hit some maybe some other hard topics that are perhaps close to home for our audience?
Gordon: Absolutely I love it. I would love to. I think this is such a fun industry and it's made up with a bunch of great people and a lot of entrepreneurs. And if there's anything I can do to help in that and to just shed some observation some opinions some direction and help out I would love to do it. So happy to come back anytime.
Ron: Awesome. I appreciate that. Well, gang, this is Ron Callis with Automation Unplugged. Thank you so much again for joining us. And we will see you next time on the same bat time same bat channel. Stay tuned. Check out our website for Automation Unplugged to see news on our upcoming guests. And again thanks for watching. Thanks for commenting on Facebook. Always love the feedback in the comments so we'll see you guys next time. Thanks so much.
Gordon Isaac is a successful sales leader with nearly 25 years of experience in the CE/CI Industry. He is currently seeking the right opportunity for his next role in the industry. Gordon is highly analytical and process-driven. He builds successful teams that get results and make companies grow. Gordon's industry experience includes roles as the National Director of Sales - CI Channel at Core Brands, West Coast Sales Manager at SpeakerCraft, and COO at R2W, Inc.
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 in 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.
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