The Sharpest Tool™

The Smart Guide to Cultivating Excellent Culture

Cheryl McRae
Josh Smith
Raphael Paris is the Vice President of People Operations at Scorpion. He focuses on creating a thriving company culture and making sure that employees love what they do. In the past, he says that Human Relations departments were focused on compliance and making sure that employees followed the rules. Today, they are much more people focused and want to create an environment where their teams are inspired.

Josh Smith (00:03):

Hello, and welcome to the sharpest tool where we take the sting out of marketing with everything that we love to bring to the table here. My name's Josh shall be your host. And I'm really excited today because we have one of my favorite people in the booth Raphael Paris, who is the vice president of people, operations at scorpion RAF. Welcome.

Raphael Paris (00:21):

Thank you, Josh. I am super excited to be here. You are also one of my favorite people in the building

Josh Smith (00:26):

And happy. I love being here with you. Vice-president people operations. It might be a little bit foreign from a title perspective for some of our listeners. What exactly do you handle here at scorpion?

Raphael Paris (00:36):

Great question. The idea is HR has kind of evolved. I feel like 20 years ago, human resources was basically a lot compliance focused on making sure you didn't break the rules and making sure the company was not exposed to liability and over time with the new culture and the new way that it's going in the workplace. We now people operations, which is more strategic focused and it's working on the employee experience and making everyone love what they do and how to evolve a culture, not just compliance.

Josh Smith (01:08):

That's amazing. That actually is really amazing when you really think about it, just how far business and the work environment has really come. We've seen what it takes to have teams and businesses organizations succeed in the marketplace today. And it almost shifted. Would you say from more like, Hey, here are the rules and you need to just abide by the rules to more like, Hey, let's have a conversation and all the interpersonal and people skills that are necessary in order to make sure somebody's satisfied at the company. Is that kind of the transition we've seen most of

Raphael Paris (01:39):

Great question. I saw a study a couple months ago where they said 40% of what a company produces is based on their leadership. And the change of leadership has definitely gone from just managing to leading and inspiring your employees instead of just telling them what to do. Yeah,

Josh Smith (01:55):

Yeah, absolutely. Well, for me, I'm a huge leadership advocate, so I could talk about leadership for days. So I know how much that boils into it's hits home to my heart, really. So that's really what we didn't want to talk about. Not necessarily the leadership aspect, but the change and shift that we're seeing internally and how to really maintain a company culture in a way that is going to make a business thrive and succeed in the industry and the marketplace today. So let's dive right into it. What are some of the best practices that you implement and utilize for hiring talent?

Raphael Paris (02:27):

Great question. And first off the bat, when you're talking about culture, I feel like hiring is the most important thing you can do. Yeah, this is just a guess on my part, but I would say that 90% of the problems that you run into is bad culture fit hires. When you bring on a new employee that is not a culture fit is not brought into your system. They're going to cause issues. And especially if you have a smaller company, sure. Hiring is the most important thing that people operations or HR can do is get you the right people. And you really gotta take the time to hire the people. If you think about the New York Yankees or even the Boston red Sox now, because I feel like the red Sox have been better or we're going to get some haters for that. Um, I'm a Chicago Cubs fan, so you know what I'll go Cubs cause everyone loves the Cubs. Yeah. In 2016, they had hired an ed cultivate the best talent. So when you're hiring, you got to get the best talent you have to take your time to do that.

Josh Smith (03:21):

Just makes me think of some of the challenges or I guess the impacts of not having solid hiring practices. What are some of the challenges or the costs that a company will endure when they don't have solid hiring practices in place and they can't seem to get the best talent?

Raphael Paris (03:38):

Well, cost-wise, I think it costs about 1.5, an annual salary for every single bad hire that you bring on. Wow. Why is that the cost of onboarding? The amount of time it takes for other people to train the person, the resources involved with that, and then the amount of noise that gets caused and then having to let them go, even in a three-month period that will cost you about nine months of salary for that employee. Sure.

Josh Smith (04:03):

Yeah. That's eyeopening that is mind blowing when I first heard something similar to that. And so it really boils down to like, get it right the first time. Otherwise you're going to be paying way more for having to deal with the aftermath of hiring the wrong person than if you just got it right. The first time. Right? Exactly.

Raphael Paris (04:20):

So best practices. Yeah. A lot of people and especially in home services, I think the first thing they're looking for is the person's knowledge, skills and abilities. Sure. To me, that is the least important thing to look for. It's obviously extremely important. You got to make sure they know how to do that job, but the first thing you want is are they a culture fit? That to me is the most important thing. Do they get along with their team? Are they a leadership type? Do they inspire those around them? Do they work really well with others also? Are they smart? Do they have the cognitive ability to learn and pick up things fast? And then the last step is, do they know how to do the job and will they do it well?

Josh Smith (04:58):

Sure. Why do you think the culture aspect is so vital? And the first thing you would look for in terms of hiring an employee,

Raphael Paris (05:07):

I've seen, if you have a small team, you're like a family, when you're that size, you are a family, you become family. So if you have that person come in and they're not a cultural fit, the entire morale of the company or that group will go down and you have employees trying to act differently and do things definitely. Or if it's like an employee that you feel like you're walking on eggshells and sure you don't want to do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, or they're not doing it. How everyone else does it. All of those things will lower. The morale, not make people as excited to come to work. And in such a small, tight knit group, this doesn't help. You know,

Josh Smith (05:41):

There's something popped into my head. I want to kind of jump on it. I think it's really important. Some of our listeners might be thinking about this right now. I got that guy. I got that person who just doesn't seem to get it. Doesn't seem to be a culture fit. Now this is not to skirt the leadership responsibilities here. If you haven't your due diligence as a leader and trying to get them up to speed, get them integrated into the culture. Then that's the first step. But so often I think a lot of business owners might be struggling with when do you actually let someone go? When is the time when you need to let someone go and get somebody in the organization that's going to benefit the organization, maybe be a better culture fit. What's your perspective on that? Great question.

Raphael Paris (06:22):

And Josh, and it took me a long time to figure that one out. So I hope this helps. Yeah. You want to hire slow and fire fast in a way, but also on the same token, you want to make sure that it's not ever a shock to the employee that, Hey look, you haven't been performing for the last three quarters and we're going to have to let you go. So a part of having a good culture is you have to care enough about the high performance and the low performance. So if you have someone that is not performing, you need to let them know. A lot of people are scared to have those tough conversations. But to me, it's a care factor. It's a, Hey, look, I really want you to be amazing here, but you're not achieving your results. Let's see how we can get you there. Like what training do you need? What coaching I'm going to give you a buddy to help mentor you. And you do those steps. And if they don't have the will or the skill, you can't motivate someone, you can make them more motivated when they're motivated, but you can't motivate someone. If someone's not motivated, you're not going to motivate

Josh Smith (07:24):

Them. So there's an innate motivation that needs to be

Raphael Paris (07:27):

There, right? Do they have the intrinsic desire to do a good job? To me, the desire and the intrinsic desire to do the best job is what makes a culture. You hire those people that are smart enough, have the skill, but they really want to do a good job. And they really like your company. That is the people you want to grow and they will grow and they will take those extra steps to grow. But those people that don't have that will to do that, they will just bring the morale down. They will not help the entire company it's like in Siddiq. It's just kind of

Josh Smith (07:54):

Spreads. Yeah. It's like a cancer that you got to kind of eradicate, right? That makes a lot of sense. Just recapping that, hire slow and fire fast for the sole purpose of take your time, finding the right people. Again, it's cost more to make the wrong decision than it does actually take your time with it. And I think that can be a challenge, right? For some businesses probably like scorpion that are growing at such a rapid rate, the impetus is we have so much work. We just need to get people in. And so I think it's important to probably recognize the challenge that you face as a business. Like if you're growing with that level of growth in that speed, always being 10 steps ahead of the game in terms of your, what your hiring plan is, never put yourself into a bind to where you have to just hire somebody tomorrow to where you can't take the time to do your due diligence and get the right person for the right job, with the right fit.

Raphael Paris (08:44):

Right. Exactly. And the way that I feel like you get around that is you try to create a pool of people. So even when you're not hiring for a specific role, like you need another plumber or an electrician, but you don't need one just yet, keep hiring, keep interviewing, build up a pool of people that they have a job or they're out of work. And they want to come back in a couple of months and you've already interviewed them and they seem like a good culture fit. And they know the skills of the role. Then when you do need that position filled, it's not like you have a manager. That's like, I need it right away. And then some you, their requirements of what they want slowly goes down as the workload builds up. And they're like, they start to just ignore the red flags like, oh no, this guy will do great. So you build up a pool of people to choose from that, you know, are amazing. Totally

Josh Smith (09:28):

Feed me a lot right now here. Just cause this is ringing true to me. This is something I needed to hear this right now. So thank you Raph. Next thought though. How do you go about finding top talent?

Raphael Paris (09:38):

Well, there's a couple ways, you know, a lot of people who work for you, they will know people like I know HR people and if I need an HR person, I can think of people on my social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, or just friends of mine that I've met over the years that I liked that person. I would totally bring them in to interview and I'd love to work with them. So your employees is a great referral. Source and referrals are usually one of the best ways to get employees because the employee already knows how the company is, how operates the processes, the culture. And generally when you bring someone in, you don't want to bring in someone that's a bad hire because it's a reflection of use for employees. Usually have those communication lines. You also have social media now to reach out, to find people, you have your job boards, you have and LinkedIn jobs. Those are all great places to find talent. And if you have time to even get aggressive with your town and reach out to people that are on leave and not working, or even employees that are working at competitors sounds bad, but you know, it's business and people still you and you still others. Boy, you are

Josh Smith (10:44):

Right into the fire pit here. And I'm going to fan the flame a little bit on ya or AF I want to get your perspective on this because I know a lot of our business owners are thinking right now, I got a lot of top talent, but that doesn't stop exactly what you said my competitors from coming in and trying to poach him. How do you retain your top talent?

Raphael Paris (11:02):

Great question. You really want to make sure that you've hired the best. You want to make sure that you expect a lot from the employees, but you also empower your employees. So compensation is only a small aspect of retaining someone. Sure. Because that's a extrinsic motivation and say, no, you give a bonus and they're really happy for a couple of weeks, but then that dies down. But if they love what you do as a company, if they love the boss, I mean, 60% of people leave that job because of their boss. So leadership going back to the leadership job, leadership is so important. And our company's scorpion. We do a lot of training on leadership and there are great books, you know, from Disney and Google on leadership leadership to me is the second most important thing, hiring the right person, having the right leadership. And then the processes, those, the three things, you also have games and you recognize your employees for doing the work when they do a good job openly recognize them. Yeah. You know you correct in private, you recognize in public.

Josh Smith (12:04):

Yeah. So definitely empowering your employees, giving them some intrinsic motivation, something that goes above and beyond the paycheck. Cause it motivates to a point. And then beyond that, it's like, well, I got him taken care of financially, but what else can somebody offer me? So staying on top of that from a leadership perspective is super valuable. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Raphael Paris (12:23):

Another way you empowering employees, you don't micromanage them. Micro management is mismanagement. Totally. You want to let them do their job with their flavor. And obviously if they're making mistakes, you want to help coach them and correct them, but let them be their own boss. So to speak totally. You also surveys. Do happiness surveys find out what things you can do to improve their experience. Yeah. All these things can be non-monetary base. Like you do like a team outing or like you have a staff meeting where you acknowledge people who did really good and you give them a little bonus. But those things where it's like you a crane, that team comradery. Sure. Also you want to be transparent. This is the direction we want to go as a company. This is what we're trying to achieve. A great example is you give them the why. Like a lot of people buy apple products because they love what apple stands for. Not just because apple makes good products, but apple goes into a new industry and they dominate because people love what the company stands for. So you get them behind your why and your purpose as a company. And that just creates loyalty.

Josh Smith (13:23):

Yeah, absolutely. What are some of the things that you think are the most important aspects of like a company culture and really, how do you provide a work environment where employees can thrive?

Raphael Paris (13:34):

Well, you want to give them a vision. You want to give them a voice. You want to get that feedback. You want to make changes. Companies pivot a lot. The smaller the company is the more, I think it has the chance to pivot and it will pivot fast. Right? So include your employees in that process. Get their feedback. Constant feedback from your employees is extremely important. If you're a manager and you just meet with your employee once a quarter to do a review or you meet with them once a month, you're not getting everything that they have to offer. You're not getting that feedback. You're not letting them share their thoughts and feel a part of the company and how it's changing and growing you're growing as a family. So you have to include everyone in the family. You don't want to have the cousin that no one likes. So it feels like no one likes this one cousin in another state and never gets included. And also obviously it goes back to hiring the best talent because that to me is the most important thing to start out.

Josh Smith (14:26):

Absolutely. You mentioned something key. I want to jump on there too. Cause I saw this graph. I think a lot of our business owners, the ones who are a bit more seasoned in their profession and in their career, they might be struggling with this challenge of like the millennial generation, the younger generation, where they don't seem to be motivated. They're not hard work. And that's like, we have the stereotype of the millennial worker. And I saw this really interesting, that was contrasting management styles 50 years ago and management styles for a millennial generation. And it was really, really interesting to see that the millennial generation isn't that they're not willing or they're not hardworking and that sort of aspect, but the way they're looking to be managed, operates more like a family environment. Like you were mentioning. What's your thought on that?

Raphael Paris (15:15):

Great question, Josh. And I've studied a lot of this subject because it's definitely a different approach. Yeah. 20 years ago you were happy just to have a job. You knew the company was stable and they liked you. And you could just keep working. That was like, Hey, I'm happy. I'm going to work here forever. But I read a article recently where generally people change jobs about six times in their career now as opposed to used to be one to two. So a, the economy is doing better. So that does pose a little bit of a challenge. Right? And that's why I feel culture is so important because everyone is trying to grab talent. And you know, we have people get taken from us all the time. Sure. Because there's so much choice. There's more choice. Now, 20 years ago, it was like, I got this job and I'm going to keep to this job and I'm going to grow. So the leadership is really important. It used to be management. Now it's like this idea of trait leadership versus behavioral leadership. And now you have to cultivate the employees behaviors and help them grow as opposed to telling them to grow. Sure. Yeah.

Josh Smith (16:16):

Yeah. You mentioned helping them grow versus just telling them to grow. And you know, what I think is really interesting about this? I think about this a lot too. I think it just boils back to kind of our fundamental nature just as people. I don't think that it's necessarily anything novel as much as it is, or just re thinking or re-engaging this thought process that that's what people need to really feel fulfilled. And we kind of go through these periods where it's like up we're at this high where we kind of forget that. And then all of a sudden we're at this low where businesses aren't performing, we're entering recessions and things like that. So in order to overcome her sessions, we have to make a change. It's no longer just about, oh, do this, do that. And then stay inside your lane. It's how do you fit into the overall vision of the organization and what can you really provide value wise to make sure that the business is growing? And so that takes a different level. It takes modeling. It takes caring about a person above and beyond the professional aspect of their life, but actually engaging and involving yourself into their life to help them grow from a personal perspective, because that translates over to the professional. And so it's an interesting change that we've seen. What other thoughts do you have on that?

Raphael Paris (17:22):

That's a great point, Josh and I feel the one thing we're millennials is they do work more in a different aspect because of technology. We're always connected to email and texts and all that. So there is the aspect of when someone comes on, they're coming into a family, you can text them at night, you can email. You're always able to be connected. Whereas, you know, 30 years ago it was like at five o'clock by 30, you were done. And that was it. So there's a care factor. I feel like as a owner of a company and especially a small one, you're bringing them into your family and it's not just, they leave now you care and you show that you care for the employees. So when you bring an employee on you give them a career path, you show them, look, this is how you can grow. It doesn't even have to be linear, but just grow in that role. This is how I'm going to help you fine tune your skills. And I actually care for you because you care for someone, people treat you how you are treated. So if I care for you, Josh, you're going to care for me. Totally. And that is where I see. Even for us at scorpion, we try to really go above and beyond in caring for our people. And that's how we keep most of our talent.

Josh Smith (18:27):

And it's reciprocated, you know, it's interesting, it's a marketing principle, right? The principle of reciprocity, you know, you do something for someone else and there's this impetus that they do it back for. You know, they feel the need, like I give a gift to you Raph. You're like, ah, it wasn't going to get Josh a gift, but now I need to, it's just, it's part of our fundamental DNA. So it's an interesting principle when you put it to leadership like you did.

Raphael Paris (18:47):

Right. And it's all about communication. It's all about relationship building. I feel. Yeah. I always say that you build the relationship first. So when you're hiring an employee, they're going to buy into your relationship and buy into you before they buy into the company. Right. A hundred percent just Maxwell on leadership. They find to lead it before they buy into the vision. Yeah, absolutely. So all of the leadership books, you read a lot of, it's about establishing a relationship and creating that bond between you and your team. And that is what to me is the strongest thing that you can possibly do regardless of any extrinsic motivation from monetary to bonuses, but those all help. But to really get that guy who's already motivated and motivated more is to create that relationship.

Josh Smith (19:28):

Definitely. And for those who are wondering Maxwell, John Maxwell is whoever referencing here in terms of his leadership books, great books. We're big on them here at scorpion. And they really focus on just the interpersonal aspect of leadership. And it's game-changing, it really is. It opened my eyes. When I started reading something, I got one more question for you, and then we're gonna wrap up here. What are some of the ways that the workforce is really evolving in relation to how talent likes to really be managed?

Raphael Paris (19:54):

I was thinking about this actually a couple of weeks ago. And especially with the millennial culture, if you notice, I've heard this concept, millennials are entitled, sure. Cats out the bag, they will say miles on title. I don't think it's entitlement. I think because of technology, there is this instant aspect to everything. You order something on Amazon, you get it the next day, you want to book a ticket, you can go online. And there's so many things that are so instantaneous that sometimes you have to let the employee know that like here's the mountain and this is how you climb the mountain. We can't just jump into a helicopter and fly to the top. There's this progression. But the great thing is, is when you give them a path or help them create their own path and give them the tools that you can to help them grow, that changes that aspect of, oh, I just want to be the CEO six months into my, into my work

Josh Smith (20:47):

Career. Yeah. That's going to happen.

Raphael Paris (20:50):

You'd be surprised. Yeah.

Josh Smith (20:52):

And what's so interesting about that. It's almost like the millennial generation questions, everything. Oh yeah. And I think it's because they feel in a sense probably their parents didn't and their parents just were told what to do. And so that was how their parents' generation told them to do. They just expected to tell somebody what to do and then they would do it. And so the millennial generation, and we have this kind of academia re-engaging of the academic and scholarship and things like that, which is engaging more critical thinking, which is prompting them to ask questions. Well, why do I have to do that? And so I think the fundamental shift from a leadership perspective is not just telling them, Hey, well, you got to climb the mountain to get to the top of it, but here's why you should. And here's what you get from doing that rather than just taking a helicopter. And here's why it's more beneficial to you to empower and invigorate this sense of desire to do that thing. Overtaken the easy path. It's just an interesting thing.

Raphael Paris (21:49):

Agreed. And also, if you think about what Google and social media, the information is 100% readily available. So obviously people nowadays going to ask more questions because they can go to that computer and say, why this, or what is this? And they will get all the information you need. It's instantaneous. We didn't have that. You'd have to go to library before looking at encyclopedia Botanica for information or a book. And now it's all there at your fingertips a hundred percent. So they definitely do ask questions, which is great because it keeps you on your toes. You got to make sure you, when you write a policy or you're rolling out a new process, you've looked at all the angles. So it actually helps you to create a better process off the bat instead of having to revise it over time. Definitely like the technology has made everything faster. Yeah. How you market to, how you hire talent to how you retain that the technology is changing again.

Josh Smith (22:40):

Absolutely. I couldn't agree more well wrap. This has been awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your schedule to join us on the podcast today. Really appreciate it, man.

Raphael Paris (22:47):

Always a pleasure. Josh. Thank you for having me. You

Josh Smith (22:49):

Bet. And for all of you listening, if you enjoyed this episode and found it valuable, definitely hit that subscribe button wherever you're at, maybe hit that share button so you can share it with your friends. If they need to hear this. And from all of us here at the sharpest tool, we'll catch you next time.

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