Everyone is looking for employees right now. It may even be your single biggest challenge to growth. That’s how we felt, but not anymore. We’ve made fundamental changes to our business that have allowed us to staff significant growth over the last three years. In fact, Getting good at looking for Employees and keeping them landed Endsight back on the Inc. 5000 after a multi year absence.
In this episode I share a little more detail about the many of those changes including:
- Learning lean management principles
- Rethinking the way we recruit and retain team members
- Technology that helped us along the way
Welcome to the Jason Clause Show. I’m Jason Clause, your host, and today I’m going to get a little braggadocious. I am. It’s going to be obnoxious.
Welcome to the Jason Clause Show. My name’s Jason Clause fittingly and I’m your host. My experience is that the best leaders and managers out there, they’re idea collectors. They’re always on the lookout for great ways to help motivate their team, to build a culture, to help their people get from where they are to where they want to be, and that’s what this podcast is dedicated to. It’s about trying to find those ideas and share those ideas with a growing community of local leaders.
I got a great episode today. I’m going to be talking about something, and I know I led off I’m going to be braggadocious and I’m going to be obnoxious. I’m going to try not to do either of those two things really, but I do have a big announcement. Endsight, after a long absence, has reappeared on the Inc. 5000 list of the 5,000 fastest growing companies in the United States. We were on it once upon a time, we haven’t been on it for a while and we’ve returned to the list and I’m super excited and satisfied about that, and that probably by itself could warrant a podcast episode. But this episode is about some ideas that we had to come up with and implement in the business, from a talent and performance perspective, from a recruitment and retention perspective, that would allow us to fuel the growth that we have. Because our real challenge was not finding new clients, our real challenge was looking for people. And I think that probably resonates with you guys and we’re going to get into it right after this.
All right, welcome back from the break. So, like I said, the headline here is, After a Long Absence. The last time we were on this list was 2013, so after a multiple year absence on this list Endsight has returned to the Inc. 5000 5,000 fastest growing companies in the country. We were ranked 4,103, so we’re not even dead last, we’re respectable in the bottom quadrant there, and that represents better than 70% growth over the three year time period that’s tracked as part of this list. That’s awesome. But, what we’re super excited about, what I find incredibly satisfying is, is that the thing that was most important to what we’ve been able to accomplish isn’t our ability to bring on new clients. That’s really hard, but that was not our biggest challenge.
Our biggest challenge was one that I think a lot of us face. I found myself in new business meetings where prospects would ask me, “Jason, what’s the thing that you’re most worried about?” And I would shrug my shoulders and say something, “You know, it’s hard looking for employees.” And I would say it like it was an unsolvable problem because at the time it felt like an unsolvable problem. But, our leadership, in their wisdom, and they don’t do everything exactly right, they’re fallible just like anybody else. But there was some real brilliance here, and I just want to give a shout out to them. Mike Chaput, Joel Jacobs, Josh Carol and John Grover, this was really good work and I’m super excited to be a part of the team and just really grateful for what you’ve done.
So what they came up with was, let’s just not agree that this is the state of things, what if things were different? And so what they did was, they promoted John Grover, who was leading our professional services organization, they put him in charge of a new department called Talent and Performance. And he set off asking the right questions. Why is this the way that it is? Why do we have such a hard time attracting millennials? Why is it that we have a hard time keeping people? Why is it that we have to pay so much? All these great questions, and the answers that he got back over time were pretty insightful, I think.
So, I’ll never forget, John invited me into his office, he sat me down, he said, “Jason, I think I got this thing figured out. Let me try it.” And that’s usually how we brainstorm at Endsight. You noodle on it for a while, you come up with some ideas and then you stress test it with people that you trust in the company. And he’s, “Okay, so here’s what I’m thinking. It’s not that we can’t find enough qualified people, that’s not what’s true. What’s true is, we don’t have enough entry level positions and we’ve got really poorly defined job roles.” And I thought that was amazing. To put it in another way, what we were doing in effect, when we were saying it’s hard looking for employees, we would bring on new business and then we would go out to the open market and we would say, “Basically, I need the equivalent of a heart surgeon that’s also willing to roll the gurney down the hallway and empty the bed pan.”
Nobody qualified for that work, wanted that work, and so you couldn’t really find them. And if you could find somebody that did have the skills, you were stuck with them regardless of what sort of a values they had or if those values were consistent with the corporate values. The mindset of the person was irrelevant because the skillset was so hard to find and we had the have the skillset. So, by making these changes, we were actually able to just shift things around. It had a profound impact on the way that we recruited. So, first step, create the entry level positions that allowed us to attract talent in that zero to two year space that’s looking for an opportunity in technology.
We had to quit looking for employees as a collection of skills. We had to start looking for employees as people, and we had to start trying to figure out who they were as people and see if their values and their mindset, if that was consistent with Endsight. Because if we could get that match, then we could have a job for them where we could train them in what they needed to learn and level those skills up so that they could eventually become the heart surgeon. That would allow the heart surgeons to focus just on heart surgery, which was great for them. So, these were some big ideas that had huge impact on the way Endsight was recruiting. So, the next thing that we had to do, was we had to really think about who is Endsight, what is Endsight and why would anybody want to come work here?
And I’m going to steal some of John’s thunder. He tells a great story about when he was in high school. He broke up with his girlfriend and he shows up at wrestling practice, all crest fallen and his coach asks him, “Hey John, why are you so down in the dumps?” And John says, “You know, coach, I want to get all the girls to like me. How do you get all the girls to like me?” And the coach said, “John, you’re asking the wrong question. You don’t want all the girls to like you, you want one girl to like you. And the way you do that, is you spend a bunch of your time concentrating on being a good boyfriend. What are all the things that a good boyfriend does, do that? And the girlfriend is going to emerge.” And in a really simple way, that just makes perfect sense to me.
Not that Endsight’s ever been a bad place to work, I’ve worked for Endsight for years. I love working here, but we needed to really think about how do we improve the quality of the experience here? And so that prompted a whole bunch of different changes that we made, and some of them are really apparent. For example, we implemented some lunch programs and things like that, but everybody’s doing that. I think some of the more interesting things where we’ve always been a culture of learning, we’ve always valued leveling up your skills, but we had to just pump a whole bunch of energy and money and resources into that. And that was really consistent with some of the lean principles we’ve been implementing within the organization.
The two things are kind of separate, and so I’ll probably talk about that in another podcast episode, but one of the concepts that as a leadership team we’ve been implementing and working on, is that managers are coaches, leveling your team up, working with people, going to where the work gets done and then elevating them by investing your time and energy in them, and making that the most important thing. Concentrating on people. Anyway, there’s a lot more here. It’s been distilled into a process that we call the Soul of Endsight. S-O-U-L. It’s something that John Grover, our chief people officer, he’s going to be talking about it in detail in the future. So please stay tuned, we’re going to be sending out announcements of some webinars we’re going to be doing, because what we’ve decided is that what we’ve learned, is completely transferable to just about any business in the Bay Area. And, there’s nothing super earth shattering in the concepts but the way that it’s put together, we’ve been testing this with some of our clients and some of our partners and the feedback has been this is really good stuff and we want to share this with the broader community. So, we’ll be getting that to you here in the next few weeks. But I wanted to just share this with you because I’m excited about it.
That’s it. That’s all I got for us today. Stay tuned and we will be back with more information from John Grover about how we’ve implemented this and even how you might be able to implement this in your company and help you to move away from saying the same things that we were saying for so many years, “I just can’t find enough qualified people.”
All right, that’s it. I hope you have a great day, I’m going to let you go.
That was a lot, and I’m going to go back and listen to this and I’m certain it’s going to be a little bit over the top, but I’m going to publish it anyway. Until next time, until we get to talk again, I hope my good friend, Jesus, blesses you with peace in your heart, wisdom in your spirit, and a whole lot of laughter in your belly.
You take care now.