[Podcast] Workshop | Mapping Your Talent Organization for Future Growth: Career Pathing and Succession Planning with Dan Mori

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Show notes

On this episode of The Full Desk Experience, host Kortney Harmon sits down with special guest Dan Mori to discuss the importance of clear communication and instructions in achieving success in the workplace. In this episode, you’ll learn about how:

Clear communication and support are crucial for employee success. Managers should evaluate whether they have provided clear instructions, training, and support before assuming an employee is not the right fit.

Building a strong organizational chart and career development plan is essential. Regular check-ins, professional development plans, and identifying potential replacements for key roles help retain talent and future-proof the organization.

Succession planning is critical for a successful organization. By involving individuals in their own career path and development, organizations can avoid fractures and ensure continuity. “Try before you buy” promotions and shadow programs can help individuals explore higher roles before committing.


Dan Mori [00:00:00]:

The number one mistake, outside of not having a plan at all, the number one mistake that you can actually make is not involving the person that you’re thinking about in their own career path, in their own professional development, in their own performance management plan. It’s aligned and it has to be aligned. So make sure you’re talking to that person and you’re asking the question like, what do they want? And that will guide you.

Kortney Harmon [00:00:20]:

Hi, I’m Kortney Harmon, staffing and recruiting industry principal at Curl Eight Open. The past decade, I’ve trained thousands of frontline recruiters and have worked with hundreds of business owners and executives to help their firms and agencies grow. This is The Full Desk Experience, where we will be talking about growth blockers across your people, processes and technologies. Welcome to today’s episode of the Full Desk Experience. And I am thrilled to be diving into a topic that holds a special place in my heart and is crucial for every talent business out there. It’s something that I’ve noticed that is often overlooked in most organizations based on my experience working with those offices over the years. So today we’re actually going to talk about a few things performance management, career pathing, and maybe even a little bit more about succession planning, which are all ways to future proof your talent organization. Now, I know this isn’t the shiny, fun, appealing topic that everyone craves that AI, right? Everything’s AI. Wherever you look, Dan, I’m not sure about your newsfeed and your LinkedIn, but that’s all mine shows.

Dan Mori [00:01:30]:

Yeah, that’s it. AI doesn’t solve what we’re going to talk about today.

Kortney Harmon [00:01:35]:

You hit the nail on the head. AI does not solve the problem that we’re talking about today. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Our previous episode and accompanying ebook, we talked about AI, and Katie might just love me enough to put that episode in the chat. She may or may not love me enough, but we’ll be revisiting AI for sales next month in August, so be sure to sign up early. But right now, Dan hit it on the head. AI doesn’t solve this problem. We need to focus on something more essential and truly understanding, engaging, and retaining your teams today and into the future, and to guide us through this crucial topic, we’re incredibly fortunate to have Dan Mori with us. Dan is a true industry veteran, bringing with him a wealth of experience and expertise in the talent industry. With over two decades of dedicated work, dan has established himself as a respected leader and a Goto professional in our field. Dan’s career journey has been marked by significant roles and playing vital part in shaping his deep understanding in the industry and really understanding strong leadership, driving strategic talent acquisition initiatives, and guiding high performing teams. Dan holds the esteemed position of Managing Partner at Staffing Mastery Organization, dedicated to equipping agencies with the knowledge to thrive and increase revenue. In addition, he also serves as President and Chair of Employment Solutions and recently, I believe, assumed the leadership of the Nissa. I always forget that I always have to say the words in my head, the National Independent Staffing Association. Did I get that right?

Dan Mori [00:03:07]:

Dan nailed it.

Kortney Harmon [00:03:08]:

I love it. So, as Dan is not only known for his renowned extensive knowledge and experience, but also his ability to foster meaningful connections within the talent industry. So today we have the privilege of delving into Dan’s wealth of knowledge and gaining insights into that performance management, career pathing, succession planning for future proofing your talent businesses. So, Dan, thank you so much for joining us on the show today.

Dan Mori [00:03:31]:

My pleasure, Courtney. I am thrilled to be here finally.

Kortney Harmon [00:03:34]:

I love it. You have a wealth of knowledge. Tell us a little bit more about you, what you do within your many roles and maybe why this topic is important to you.

Dan Mori [00:03:42]:

Sure, I’ll keep the part about me brief because I think you did a nice job mentioning it. But really what all of that introduction really covers about me is I’ve learned a lot through trial and error and I’ve made probably every mistake under the sun growing up in this industry. And my passion truly lies with teaching others how to avoid those pitfalls. And that’s really what I focus on in the role of Employment Solutions, is just kind of help strategically advise that organization as well as the key leaders there. And then with Staffing Mastery, I do the same thing with other staffing organizations. I teach them the lessons that I’ve learned on my journey in hopes that it can help them achieve whatever level of success they want for themselves. And with taking over the National Independent Staffing Association, it’s directly aligned with that. I want to make sure that we’re providing knowledge, best practices, thought leadership, the best resources possible to the national independence out there. So that’s me. I really care a lot about just giving back to people and helping other people on their journey. And I think it ties very specifically, today’s topic is not just other owners or leaders of organizations, but the people that make up those organizations. The chart. Right. That is sorely a boring topic and usually overlooked. I care about that because people get up every single day and they trade to you or they trade to their company, their employer, something that is finite and the most precious thing that they’ll ever have, which is their time in order to grow or advance that organization. And I feel like we as employers and leaders should have a debt of gratitude, but we have an obligation to make sure that we’re serving those people in a way that provides them a healthy career path, which is what we’re going to get into.

Kortney Harmon [00:05:17]:

I love that. I don’t know about you, but in a lot of the conferences and the conversations that I’m having, retention is like, one of the main topics, like how are we retaining people, how do we keep people? And this conversation is really the foundational building blocks, I believe, of that conversation.

Dan Mori [00:05:32]:

It is. And I see the same thing, Courtney. People are struggling to retain even internal talent. There’s some things that I know we’re going to get into, but there’s some things that the employers, the managers could actually be doing differently to solve that problem. And it’s not complicated, honestly, I love keeping things simple.

Kortney Harmon [00:05:48]:

So with all of your experience and you thinking about this topic, what role does employee career development play in? I like to use the term future proofing your recruiting firm or your staffing agency because it’s truly about what your future looks like.

Dan Mori [00:06:04]:

Sure. So based on the way I see it, in my opinion, I think it’s two key areas. One, if you’re an organization, most organizations strive for growth. They set goals every year. They say, we want to grow. And the only way that you’re ever going to grow your organization is through the growth of your people. Right. So those success goes, they’re tied. They’re hand in hand. Like, you cannot grow your organization without the growth of your people. So if you’re losing more tenured, more skilled people, and you’re having to replace them with less skilled people or people that are just obviously not as familiar with the organization, you’re going to stunt your own growth. Right. So that’s a huge issue with it as well. But on the retention piece, another reason why it’s actually so important to develop this is that you don’t just lose the production, and in fact, most people think that it’s the production of the person that you might lose when they leave for something else. That’s the most damning in reality. It’s not. It’s the knowledge that they have about how to operate and perform within your organization. And that’s the part that you really want to be cultivating with your people. Because if you can grow and develop them and then retain that collective knowledge within your organization, ultimately that is going to spill over to the new people, and that becomes the foundation of your culture. So really, focusing on career pathing and career development plays an important role to the health and overall growth of your company.

Kortney Harmon [00:07:20]:

I love that. With all the offices that you work with, do you see this as something that organizations do well? Or maybe this is something that you’re like. No. Or maybe this is something that we’re too focused on AI, or we’re too focused on the next shiny thing to go focus on that versus doing these things that are almost like the run of the mill thing.

Dan Mori [00:07:41]:

The vast majority of companies that I speak to at conferences that I come across, they don’t do this well because it’s not intuitive, it’s not easy, and frankly, it’s the messy stuff because a lot of personal development takes a personal interest in an individual in your company. And when you think to that level of nuance, most people don’t want to get down in the weeds like that. Most people want to think about top line revenue, top line production, what is this person doing? What are the results? They don’t want to think about actually the inputs of developing that person to actually positively affect or impact those results that you’re truly striving for and overly focused on measuring. And then on top of that, you have to have these messy conversations. You have to ask people what is it that you actually would like to do? What do you see for yourself in this organization? Or hey, you’re not really producing at the level that we need you to or the level that this role would require. What’s going on? Let me help you get there. And those are oftentimes uncomfortable conversations for people to have, so they avoid it. And I think by default, they really just have this very sterile.org chart listed out in an Excel document somewhere that just kind of is a current mapping that they can see who’s where, and then they don’t really align that to the organization. And then they only promote people up when there’s an absolute need or that person’s like, hey, promote me or I’m leaving. And then you kind of feel held hostage. And no one feels good about promoting somebody in that scenario. Like most people want to be recognized for their achievements in advance. So I think that most companies do it wrong. They kind of get it wrong because it’s just non intuitive, uncomfortable process or conversation, frankly.

Kortney Harmon [00:09:13]:

Well, you said something very interesting and held hostage. No one wants to be that way. I feel that way. But I almost feel like the flip side of that coin is we oftentimes by nature, or I don’t want to say produce, we take our top producers and we’re like, well let’s give you a raise. You’re doing so good, let’s give you more. And sometimes it’s not necessarily as a beneficial to the employee, but it’s a beneficial for the company. And oftentimes we don’t give them the adequate training for that. And honestly, it’s more of a detriment because we’re trying to use that person as a player on the field. I like to use my sports analogies. We have the player, we have the manager and the coach and we want them to be all things and do all things well. And in reality it’s going to be lacking in some way, shape or form.

Dan Mori [00:09:53]:

I agree. And honestly, you hit on something that is so funny to me because when it comes to promotion, there’s kind of three scenarios, right? You have the person that legitimately earns it. They go to their manager and they’re like, hey, I want to be a manager someday, tell me what I need to do. And the manager is very good at this and they say, hey, this is what this next role looks like. We’ll start preparing you, training you, developing you for this role. And then when you show a level of comprehension, we’ll start giving you more. That’s how it should go. What happens most often is one what you just said, you get a high producer like, oh my God, this person’s amazing. Let’s move them into management. And they just assume that because they’re really good at doing the thing that they’d be good at managing the thing. But frankly, those are two very different skill sets and a lot of times that person might fail in a management role where they excelled in a production role. And it’s very hard to go backwards, right? It’s very difficult to kind of unscramble the egg. Or the other scenario is you get that top producer that’s like the Rainmaker, the big biller, and they would like to go to management, but leadership doesn’t want to lose the production out of the desk. So they’re like, no, we’re going to hire these other mediocre managers or we’re going to promote these other people that we don’t really care if we lose their production, but we need the manager filled and your own success becomes your detriment. Those are the two most common situations when it comes to promotions is you’re forced into it and you’re not trained or prepared for it, or you basically want it, but you can’t get it because you’re too good at your job. And I see that happen. Those two things happen more often, actually.

Kortney Harmon [00:11:16]:

I love that. I see it all the time. Now, as we’re thinking about this topic, how can staffing agencies or firms effectively support the development of career paths for their employees? What are some ways that they can do this?

Dan Mori [00:11:29]:

Again, I like to keep things simple. So first and foremost, within an organization, an organization is a collection of people, but ultimately an organization has obligations to perform tasks in the service of their clients, right? So really every role within the chart is going to perform some level of service and some management leadership, I do like to map it out, but then I actually like to just talk to the people and say, hey, this within our organization, this is what our future looks like. These are some future positions that we might add. There might be some other stuff that gets added based on opportunities that come up that we can’t foresee right now. But this is what we think the organization is going to do in available positions. Is there something along this career path that is of particular interest to you? And you just ask that question and that person is going to say, no, I’m completely happy being right where I’m at. They could some people really just like a job and they just want to be in that job and that’s fine and there’s a different path for them. Right? It’s kind of a horizontal development path. Some people might say, hey, I’m in this kind of this desk role right now, but I really want to get more into sales. Like, I want to get out of the office more. I want to engage with clients. So if I had something to take me down the sales path, that would be cool. Okay, great. Let’s see what that looks like. Or, I really want to manage people. I want to get in training. I want to run an office. I want to run a region. They might start telling you what they’re interested in doing, and then from there, all you have to do is say, this is great. Let me tell you what these roles entail, what the expectation is of these roles, and kind of the skill set you would need. And that becomes the framework of their basically professional development plan. So if somebody wants to go from a desk into selling, they might not be the strongest at value selling, and they might need to learn those skills. So the manager could just work with that person and say, hey, in order to get you from here to the sales role, we need to make sure that basically you’re mastering the value selling skill set. Here’s how we’re going to do this. We’re going to put you in this course, or we want you to take this session or go to this conference or this workshop, or read this book or any or all of it and start learning these skills, or we’re going to mentor you. But there has to be some plan to get the person from where they’re at in their skill level to where you need them to be in their skill level. And now you have the framework for at least one piece of the performance management plan to say, okay, how are we progressing on this? What is your level of comprehension and mastery? And as they get to basically a level of comprehension that’s functional, then you can start giving them some of those tasks. Let them go on sales calls, let them get real world experience right, and see if they really want to do that role. And if they excel and it affirms their desire to move in that direction, then you keep moving them there until they get to a level of mastery, and you can put them in that role. Again, that’s just one skill example, but you would just do that for whatever role people might want to get into. But that’s how I start. You just ask the person, like, what is it you have interest in doing? And then you kind of build around that. And it seems a bit backwards because people would be like, why would I build my organization around individuals? That’s all it is. A company is just a collection of people. And how good your people are will determine the height of your own organization.

Kortney Harmon [00:14:21]:

Now, I know the answer to this, but I need our audience to hear this. How often do you have these conversations? Dan, you just said ask them. And I think this is whenever we see this problem, it’s like, well, we asked them one time three years ago, isn’t that sufficient? So tell our audience and your opinion of how you should handle this is how often should you be having those conversations? Should there be anything in between bridging that gap? What are your thoughts?

Dan Mori [00:14:43]:

So my thoughts, I prefer to kind of run business on like quarterly cycles. I think three months is a short enough period of time to not lose sight of some key things, but yet it’s a long enough period of time to make some meaningful impact towards something. So for me, in that same example, if I had a brand new person, I’m not going to be asking them really on day one like, hey, where do you want to go in the company? The first thing is going to be like, let us help you be masterful in your current role and let’s build that plan to get you there, right? And then you might lay out a one year kind of training and development plan and say, hey, this is where you’re at today. Here’s the skills we want to work on and develop with you, and here’s the results that we would expect from you that we’re going to review in a year, right. Your annual performance review. And then quarterly, you just check in and you have an informal check in to say, hey, this is where you’re at. You’re progressing on track or you’re not on track. And we need to focus on improving in these areas. I like that you can actually get informal down to the month. I wouldn’t do it more frequent than that, but at least checking and saying, hey, how are things going? Do you feel good about this professional development? Do you feel about good about your progress towards this goal? That’s how I like to do it. But really there should be some quarterly check in where you’re literally looking at the actual development, you’re looking at the progress, you’re looking at the results. And that way you can make course corrections to make sure that you’re getting that person where they need to be by that timeline. Like I say, maybe it’s a year. And then at some point through there, if you see someone really shining, it’s like, hey, this person is a superstar, right? And they’re only six months into their job, right? I know someone mentioned that they got a healthcare startup and they’re just kind of brand new, haven’t hired anybody, but they’re going to have to hire someone eventually and maybe they get a rock star right out of the gate and they’ve got this one year plan, but they’re shining six months in it’s. Okay. If you see somebody that is investable, that is like someone that was like, wow, this is the fabric of who we want to be as a company. Go ask them. Go affirm like, you’re amazing, you’re doing great work. Is there anything here at this company that you would like to take on? Is there anything in the future that you would like to go and do? Is there a role you would like to have? Is there a branch geographically that you would like to go open? Like, let’s build around the best people. And that’s once you start doing that and you start investing in your people, that way they feel vested and they will not be quick to jump ship. So that’s kind of how I do it and the frequency is kind of that quarterly time frame in my opinion.

Kortney Harmon [00:16:56]:

That’s wonderful. Thank you for your insights. So as we talk about these performance plans, what strategies or practices have you found most effective working with offices in.

Dan Mori [00:17:04]:

The talent industry, it really comes back to how well you actually map it out, right? Again, if you understand that the organization grows to the growth of the people. If you map out the functions of your company, and I’m going to make it super simple. Kind of sales and marketing is like one silo or one department recruiting and fulfillment and then back office administration, if that’s what it looks like. Spread your chart across your chart out across that. And then you say, okay, these are the roles and they’re going to basically converge eventually into certain levels of management. And you’re going to be looking at that piece right there. Have a well defined job description or role description for each thing. And not just the actual functions, but the core competencies that the person needs to be good at. That way you have that for every single role. And then what I like to do is I like to actually put the person’s name in each one of those spots like a typical chart, but then right beneath it I like to identify somebody. I like to say, hey, here’s somebody that’s a brand new producer. They’ve got this talent. They seem like they’d be a great branch manager. So I’m going to slot their name in that slot. I’m going to talk to them and say, hey, is this of interest? And if they affirm that, then we’re going to slot them in there. And now we have the beginnings of a performance management system and a career development plan being overlined with each other. The beautiful thing about this is if you don’t have someone to slot in there, you’re identifying a vulnerability, a weakness. If you have a manager in a slot and you haven’t identified any potential replacement for that person, you know, either A, you should have an outside recruiting plan going on. It should be funneling talent to be reviewing for that role. Because if that manager leaves you’re stuck and you’re going to basically hurt the entire branches below them or, you know, that I need to be looking at developing one of these people underneath them. And you can take an active approach there. So that’s what I see people do that do it really well, or how I kind of manage it myself. That works really well. And basically what you’re doing is you’re aligning the chart with career development, with basically professional management or performance management.

Kortney Harmon [00:19:00]:

I love that. That’s such great advice. All of us have good intentions for our companies when we’re running them, right? Have you seen anything across the board maybe that had good intentions in the beginning but came back to be not quite effective and maybe counterintuitive in the process besides not even having a plan.

Dan Mori [00:19:18]:

I’m going to call in my own experience here, and this goes into why I didn’t want to share any other insight about what I just shared, about having that plan and mapping it out that way is that the most critical part that you can focus on is the person that’s within your focus, right? If you’re looking at that full desk recruiter or salesperson or whatever producer they are, the worst thing you can do is start mapping it out and planning their career path for them without involving them. And there was a time in my own years and years and years ago, this is kind of where I learned this lesson. The first time I had your chart build out, I was mapping people in. I was like, okay, this person’s going to go here and then we’re going to work on our development from there. And we basically started doing all this without even asking the person what they on it for themselves. So we go into a review and then we start basically telling them this is where they’re going to go. And they were like, I’m not interested. I don’t want that. And they basically were like, if that’s my future here, I’m out. And it basically created a divide. It fractured the relationship because they were like, why are you planning this for me, but not even involving me? And they felt like just a pawn. They felt like we didn’t me. They felt like I didn’t consider them. And that’s like the worst thing. That was not my intention. My intention was, how do I advance this person? How do I give them more opportunity? How do I invest in a shining star? And I wanted to do all of this amazing thing. Promotion raises all of this great stuff that would have been amazing for a career. But I was viewing it through my own lens, not theirs. And I didn’t ask the person. So the number one mistake, outside of not having a plan at all, the number one mistake that you can actually make is not involving the person that you’re thinking about in their own career path, in their own professional development, in their own performance management, plan. It’s aligned, and it has to be aligned. So make sure you’re talking to that person, and you’re asking the question, like, what do they want? And that will guide you.

Kortney Harmon [00:21:02]:

I love that. That’s big insights. We all have a vision, and we’re like, this person would make a great fill in the blank. But what if they don’t want it? That’s crazy to think that we think it from our perspective. Well, it’s more growth. They will want that. But in reality, there’s a lot of people that have a vision for what their career is, and they might just want to go to work. They might not want to manage people. There are plenty of people that I’ve seen across the board that have no desire to lead a team or manage people for the rest of their days.

Dan Mori [00:21:29]:

I remember one time we were opening again, way back decade or so, almost two decades ago, we were opening up our first organic office. I was recruiting for a salesperson, and this one resume I got was so stellar that I’m like, I can’t afford this guy. There’s no reason this guy would really come to work here. But I can’t not interview him. I’ve got to figure out why he applied. What’s wrong with this guy, right? And I remember I bring him in the interview, and his resume is impeccable. Success at every turn, high positions. I mean, I’m like, Why is this guy asking for this, applying for an entry level sales position? Like, did he do something wrong at his last job? And he’s just trying to work it like that? I don’t know. We sit down. The interview comes in completely dressed professionally. I mean, he looks, talks the part, the whole nine. And I’m like, first question, why are you even applying to this job? And he just goes, you know, I’ve been to the top of the mountain. I’ve managed people. I’ve had all these big budgets the whole night. He’s like, at this point in my career, he’s like, I just want somewhere where I can hang out for 6810 years, and I just want to do my job the best that I can and just be judge my own merits. And that’s it. That’s all I want. I don’t want to manage anybody anymore. I don’t want to manage budgets. I don’t want to do any of that stuff. And I’m just like, I can give that to you. I can give that to you.

Kortney Harmon [00:22:40]:

That’s perfect.

Dan Mori [00:22:41]:

And we hired him, and to this day, he was one of the top producers. In fact, he actually moved on years ago, and I think he’s still in the top five for production even today. It’s insane and funny. Quick, funny story about not involving people. He was always the top salesperson, every single month, month in, month out, top salesperson. I wanted to do something to incentivize everyone else to kind of beat this guy, right? Like, I. Want to take this guy down, take the champ down, right? So I put this competition out there, and I’m like, hey, whoever wins this competition, I think it was for October or November. It might have been October because I wanted to kick the fourth quarter off strong. So whoever wins this competition, I’m going to send you on all expense paid vacation for two. It’s like three day weekend, 40 weekend, something like that, and we’ll do this fast forward to the month. It worked. This guy did not finish first. And I’m like, this is amazing. We finally got some movement out of this. But once I started looking at the numbers, I realized not everyone went up. He just dropped down. And I was like, this is weird. So I called him, and I was like, hey, out of curiosity, what happened? I was like, you don’t ever produce it this, like, lower level. Like, what really happened? He goes, man, as soon as you put that promotion out there to win a trip for two, he’s like, I had a sandbag. He’s like, I had this is the same guy, actually, that I hired. He goes, I have no interest. He’s like, I’m a homebody. I don’t like the travel. He’s like, I’ve done all the traveling. He’s like, I just want to sit at home. He’s like, I want to enjoy myself. So I did everything I could not to bring in business and just kind of delay stuff so I can roll it out in November, just do anything I could not to win that trip, because I don’t want to go anywhere. And I’m just like like, lesson learned. I didn’t ask the team what they would feel was exciting. I just put on an incentive that I would feel exciting because I love the travel, right? And I’m like, So talk to your people.

Kortney Harmon [00:24:21]:

I love that it’s funny and hindsight and there’s beauty in that, honestly. But that talk to your people. You are absolutely right. All right, so I’m going to skip down one here, elaborate on the concept. I know when we talked previously, we kind of talked about the whole try before you buy concept and promotion style. How can it be beneficial for both agencies and employees or firms and employees whenever you think about the concept of try before you buy? And have you seen people do that effectively? And what is that to you?

Dan Mori [00:24:53]:

I have. So try before you buy is a concept that we obviously use in attempt to hire space. So I think using it synonymously can get a little bit confusing. So to basically clarify here, it’s basically allowing somebody that says, hey, I would like to take on this higher role, I would like to take on this more responsibility, but not knowing what that really is. Some people want something without knowing what it actually is to do it, and then when they get there to do it, they realize they don’t want it anymore and it’s tough to go backwards, like we mentioned earlier. So the try before you buy concept is how do you work in development and progression of skills and competencies towards that role and then allow them to start taking on some of the functionality of that role to experience it without doing an official promotion that might be hard to recover from. And this way, if they actually affirm it and you do make the official promotion, you know it’s rock solid, right? So the way that I’ve seen it work really, really well. And I’m going to give R1 life example between let’s say it’s a recruiting operation set up where you have recruiters that primarily do the sourcing and the filling of the interview calendars and they’re basically bringing in all the talent to the organization, and that’s handed off to an account manager that kind of cultivates it. And then they present the candidates to the clients. Right? If that’s the structure that they have for the operational structure, what you might do is you might have a natural progression for the recruiter to be promoted into an account manager role. But if they’ve never done it, they might not actually like that side of it. They might be like, I want to go back to recruiter, which is hard to do. So what you can do is you can create this interim internal title. It’s not an official kind of promotional level where you basically say, hey, we’re just going to have you be a junior account manager or assistant account manager or some sort of intermediary position that’s a bit of a hybrid between the two roles. And say the key competencies and the key experiences of this account manager position that you’re going to experience are going to be this, this, and this. So we’re going to train you on these three things to make sure you have a level of comprehension. Not mastery, but a level of comprehension. And once you get there, then we’re going to put you into the role and let you do some of these things. And if you excel at it and still feel really good about continuing down that path to promotion, then we’ll work it out the rest of the way and then we’ll get you into that slot. But if you get there and you realize this really isn’t for me, then we can actually kind of just take that off your plate, put you back in this recruiter spot and then revisit where we think you want to go next together. And that’s really the try before you buy. Let people kind of experience the role a little bit. You can also I’ve seen shadow programs work really well, where it’s like, hey, you’re going to go work with this person as a team one day a week to kind of experience it that way to see if they really can grasp the concepts of it and if they really want to take that position on. So anything like that works really well. And it’s also a great way to cement that professional development of people because even if they don’t ascend into that role, they’re still gaining new skills and understanding about other people in the organization, which creates better empathy, which creates better teamwork.

Kortney Harmon [00:27:45]:

I love that. And honestly, thinking about that generationally too, some of our younger workers, they want more, they want bigger, they want different understandings of maybe even different departments. The marketing versus whatever, I love that. And they like the variety. So think about that. And again, ask your people, ask your people what they’re interested in.

Dan Mori [00:28:04]:

It’s true. One quick sidebar on it because again, I’m always growth minded. So I’m like, how do we grow? How do we grow? How do we grow? I remember recently we had a meeting probably within the last six months with a new team of ours and it was like, hey, we’re going to grow. This is going to be exciting. And the whole nine and one of the people that were in the meeting were like a little bit reluctant and then they came in for a one on one later and they’re like, how much are we going to grow? Like, what do you mean grow? And I realized in that moment what growth meant to me in that context was very different. And they thought that we were just going to try to expand like double, triple at a rate that was just unsustainable and it would put a lot of work and pressure on her in this situation. And we’re like, actually, we weren’t thinking like that. Our growth, believe it or not, was like sustenance and then incremental growth up. And then she’s like, oh, that makes way more sense. That’s great. So sometimes, again, it goes back to talking to your people and making sure that everyone has a level of understanding. But yeah, so just talk to your people.

Kortney Harmon [00:28:56]:

I love it. Great insights. So let’s take it one step further beyond career pathing, beyond performance management. And a lot of people are talking succession planning, right? There are people that are thinking about getting out of the business or there’s a downturn of the economy. How important is succession planning for recruiting firms or staffing agencies, particularly when it comes to retirement? And maybe, I mean, just in preparation. I’m a Type A personality. Dan. I’m sure you’ve gathered that thus far. Not everybody’s like that. So talk about the importance of that. Where do you start when you even think about something like that?

Dan Mori [00:29:32]:

Obviously, I think succession planning is incredibly important because when you think about succession planning, there’s no success without a successor, right? Like, that’s how it is. So if you want to have a successful organization and you want to be able to succeed out of it and the way that I see it, there’s kind of three ways that people succeed up like an owner or leaders, right? One, they sell their company. Two, they kind of go board level and they just kind of stay on like an owner board level, but they don’t really get involved in the operations. And then three, there’s the unexpected demise. And that’s unfortunate, but it does happen, right, in all three of those situations, having a plan in place for how you leave the organization and how the organization can function without you after any of those three things happens is critical because that’s going to determine how well the organization is going to live, grow and succeed. After you, right? So when I look at this, the reason that I line all this with the chart and professional development plans and performance management, all of that stuff, when I look at that, it all leads to a healthy succession plan option. I’m going to cover all three in a second. So when you’re there, if you are having the collective knowledge that you’ve built through your entire organization retained, you’re going to have a stronger culture, you’re going to have stronger management teams that can actually run your business without you, which makes you not as much of the linchpin to your organization. So if your desire is to sell your company, your company is going to be worth much more, many more multiples, if the organization does not depend on you as the owner or the key executive of that organization. Right, because it’s shared, because you have a strong chart that can function without your daily involvement option two, let’s say you want to elevate and delegate. If you just want to go to the board role and let the kind of the money roll in and fund your golden years, if you have a strong chart that can manage the operations without your direct involvement, it can do that without you having to always jump back in and put out a fire or always be worrying, like, is this organization going to survive without me? And then, God forbid, if there’s an untimely demise with someone and someone passes away unexpectedly. If you have a strong chart and you’ve been practicing these principles of developing people for that next role, even the owner or even the key leaders, whatever the role they’re serving, if that happens, you know that someone is going to be ready to step into it and the organization continue to grow and also continue to have the positive impact that you’ve had for your customers and your communities, but more importantly, for the employees that are working there. So I think it’s incredibly important to be focused on succession planning and use what we’ve already talked about today as the foundation to do it.

Kortney Harmon [00:32:03]:

I feel like they go hand in hand and especially the way you’re explaining them. And the thing that comes to my mind as you’re talking is you’re eliminating as many disruptors as possible. It’s business as usual. It’s what’s next? It’s really just I like being able to think about that, like you said, about being able to do business as usual. If you’re not there, if you’re not in that seat, you’re preparing those leaders in your organization to take over.

Dan Mori [00:32:25]:

In the military, obviously, I have a military background, but it was one up, one down. You had to 100% know the job of the person above you and the job of the person below you in case either one of them went out. But that’s the same concept here. And all managers should know that all managers, if they lose someone on their team beneath them due to an attrition issue or an unexpected illness or whatever it might be, they should know that job intimately well. So they can actually step in and fill while they develop and put the replacement in place there or vice versa. They should be ready to step up and do their superior’s job if that opening happens quickly.

Kortney Harmon [00:32:58]:

Yeah, I love that. And thank you for your service, by the way. I’m a big fan. So with the concept and I know Katie is going to yell at me if I’m on air for too much longer. My last question is looking ahead in our industry, what do you foresee in the staffing industry whenever it comes to future proofing ourselves? Whenever it comes to engagement retention, boomers are retiring at record speeds. People are wanting or only needing certain type of hourly or gig style basis. Right? So how do businesses, maybe a plan or try to think of this proactively with this topic at hand, this is.

Dan Mori [00:33:35]:

Going to be a massive opportunity for the people that actually put what we just talked about into play. Because if you think about how disruptive the gig economy is going to be and attrition and all those retention issues are going to be to all of your competitors, and if you think about how disruptive retirement of the boomers. And even some of the Upper Gen Xers is going to be to your industry, to your competitors, because that knowledge is leaving. You have the ability to position yourself. So I don’t know if this is so much of a trend as an observation of something I see happening in this industry. If you double down on really, I mean, defining your policies, what makes you special, what makes you so great in your industry? Like, how do you really sell your organization, how do you sell your services, how do you market it really well, how do you source talent, how do you vet your talent? Every piece of the process that you do really well, define it to the point where it’s a great training manual that you can actually use to train and develop your people. Identify the core, competencies to succeed at each one of these processes and then do what we just said. Map out your chart with the two layers the people that occupy the role and the person that you think would be the next person being groomed for that role. Right. And then you have these professional development plans. And if you do this, you’re going to retain the best talent within your organization. And when your competitors start to falter, because they’re not doing that, you’re going to capture more market share. You’re going to have better success. You’re going to become the expert in your respective field or respective markets. Which means you will get to charge the premium pricing. So all of this stuff will help you take advantage of the opportunity that is coming because most organizations aren’t doing this. And when this resignation keeps happening, your competitors will feel it.

Kortney Harmon [00:35:09]:

I love that. And I didn’t even pay you to say that. Dan. Like learning development is my jam. So. I didn’t even pay you to say that.

Dan Mori [00:35:16]:

There you go.

Kortney Harmon [00:35:17]:

I don’t have any other questions. Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you maybe want to speak to around? Succession planning, career pathing? Maybe? I want to get your off the cuff idea. Something that we did at one of my previous organizations is really incentivized learning, essentially. So I’ve had companies and I’ve seen companies invest in certification programs to help develop their talent. I know. That’s a double edged sword. Depending who you ask, they’re like, well, I’m not going to give the money to this person. They’re going to get it and go somewhere else. But in reality, you have people that say that. I know you’ve heard it, but really incentivizing your people to do better, gain better, be there for people. Because let’s face it, not only are we people people for our industry we’re people people for our organization as well. Any thoughts on certification programs? I know we talked about the try before your by trying out things, running meetings. But what do you think about the certification program to help people grow?

Dan Mori [00:36:11]:

I love the idea of training and development. And I love the idea of the certification program. So long as they align with your core competencies. Right. If it’s something that your organization needs to do really well and your people need to do it well for your organization to succeed, then you should 100% make sure that they get trained and certified. And every single person that’s ever said to me, and I’ve heard it countless times, and they’re like, why do I want to invest all this money in these people if they’re just going to leave or my competitors are just going to poach them? I have the same response. What is a worse situation. That you train your people and they leave or that you don’t train them and they stay. I want to know if my people are getting poached away, that means they’re the best. And that’s what I want. And Honestly, if they Get Poached away because I Train Them and Develop them to a level where they hit a ceiling in my own organization and they had to go outside of my organization to go find their next step on their path. I can live with that because I did them right. But if I don’t invest in them and I hold them back because I’m afraid of them leaving, that’s just small minded thinking and I’m never going to grow. I’m never going to grow me, I’m never going to grow my people, which means I’m never going to be a desirable organization to work for. So that’s my thought about that. I train your people at the risk of them leaving because it’s a whole lot better than not training them and having them stay.

Kortney Harmon [00:37:19]:

I love that and that’s great insights and I will make sure I use that same line because royalty free. We hear that quite often. I love that. All right, Katie, I see you down there. So I’m sure you’re ready and maybe so at this point in time. It leads us to our ask me anything. If you have any questions for Dan or myself, more Dan at this point. If you have any questions for Dan, feel free to write them in the chat. I’ve seen the chat going. So Katie, I’m sure you already have a question or two at this point in time and we’ll sit and wait for listen to you and what those questions might be.

Katie Jones: I sure do. So this question is coming from Brenda and Brenda has a new startup healthcare staffing agency during the setup phase and they haven’t hired anyone yet. Her question for Dan is is it feasible to have a staffing agency that only works with candidates who are independent contractors?

Dan Mori [00:38:09]:

So there probably is a use case for this. However, I will tell you it is very risky from federal government IRS standpoint, there is a huge push to really crack down on the use of the independent contractor. Basically title. Unfortunately the federal government and the IRS views this as the most common tax avoidance mechanism that employers, I guess utilize, which is sad. So my advice to you, if you want to try to deploy it, you really have to deploy someone that’s an independent contractor that is just that like you’re sending somebody out to do a job and they are in total control of how that job gets done. The schedule that they keep, they might have to hit certain milestone deadlines to get a job done but outside of that they have to have a lot of control and autonomy within that otherwise they would be considered an employee. I guess my follow up question to you would be is there a reason that you would prefer or that you’re looking at independent contractor versus just hiring a w two employee? I don’t know how two way dialogue goes with this channel but if you want to discuss it further, I’m happy to take that offline. But that is my feedback on your question.

Katie Jones [00:39:12]:

Brenda, I’m not sure if you’re still with us. We’re still getting used to this new platform, so I can’t 100% see all of who is physically here with us, but she’ll definitely get the answer on the podcast recording. If not. Thanks, Dan. So you kept saying something that was just like so popular in the chat and it was, talk to your people. Talk to your people about what kind of incentives they get excited about. I loved your story about instead of everybody in the chat about how you had this really cool incentive about travel and that it didn’t necessarily work for it, didn’t have the results that you wanted. There’s kind of also a common theme in the chat of how else have you incentivized your people into having these kinds of discussions about career pathing them and what other kinds of things have you done in your practices that have worked and what was the success?

Dan Mori [00:40:10]:

Sure. So when it comes to incentives, I’ve found that people are so diverse and what they might be interested in is so far reaching that it’s very hard to kind of have like one big incentive for a large population. The two that tend to work the best, obviously money. If you just put a cash prize out there for something, I mean, most people can get excited about that because in their mind they can view how they’re going to spend the money. You might say, here, I’m going to do a sales promo and whoever exceeds this or wins this is going to get $5,000.01. Person might say, hey, I’m going to take a cruise. And someone else might say, hey, I’m going to put this in my down payment for my house account. Right. Neither one of those. I might have come up with an incentive for somebody, which I got a story to kind of affirm. Talk to your people on that one. So that’s money is a good one, obviously. Another one that’s super simple that actually brings a sense of teamwork and camaraderie. Team lunches. If you can actually incentivize somebody in your office for achieving a certain goal or a certain milestone and then you actually buy the entire organ, like the entire team or the entire office or whatever, lunch on behalf of that person, they get to break bread with their team. They get to feel good about it because this is really a team sport. But really the entire team will know that they get to enjoy that because of this person’s productivity or their performance. So that’s another good one that we do. Yeah, I guess I want to get to the Q and A. I don’t want to tell too many side stories because I dan, talk forever about this.

Kortney Harmon [00:41:31]:

No, I think it’s great. I have a follow up question, just from what you said. One of the things with engagement and the organizations that I’ve been in. Yes, these are conversations that we have in our one on ones, whatever. What are your thoughts on surveys to getting people’s opinion unfiltered? So we have the idea of surveys. Sometimes people are jaded. They don’t want to answer those because they don’t know if they’re truly anonymous or not anonymous. But what are your thoughts on using that as a tool to supplement that conversation?

Dan Mori [00:42:01]:

So I do like it. I do like surveys. But again, I’m fully aware that people are always thinking, is this really anonymous? Are they going to be able to do like an IP trace and track me down to my laptop? I feel like if people are wondering that about you, you might have a toxic culture in your company. So I would say surveys are a great tool to use as a secondary piece. If you have a strong culture of transparency and you’re like, hey, we know we’ve got a lot of trust here. We’re kind of open handed with our dialogue or conversation. That being said, we know that no matter how transparent we are, we no matter how strong of our trust there is, there’s still some things that people would prefer to say transparently. And then you have to go to a platform that is completely off of yours. And if it means you have to pay a third party to do this so it is truly anonymous, so they can kind of scrub the data to make your people feel comfortable with sharing openly and transparently, then that’s what you need to do. And just explain to people that those are the lengths that you’re going to to get that feedback. And the most important thing is if you get this feedback, even if it’s negative, even if someone’s like, oh, this person is such a terrible manager. And even if they got it wrong, even if their feedback is completely out of line. You cannot shun them or a department or the entire company or even respond and say, hey, we got this feedback about this manager. You just can’t do that because then you’re going to shut people up. People are going to be afraid to talk, even if it is anonymous. And if they’re afraid to talk and you don’t get that feedback, you’re going to hurt your organization in the long run. So I do like it, but that’s how I use it.

Kortney Harmon [00:43:32]:

I love that. I think that’s great insights and it’s something that I’ve seen over the years. But again, I don’t think it should like you said, I don’t think it should be the sole basis of your information, but it can be a supporting.

Dan Mori [00:43:43]:

Process throughout primary source should be just talking to your people. Just have an honest times. When managers talk to people, it’s all about the production, like what are you doing for the organization? But very rarely do they actually talk about them the person, because it’s a taboo. Am I crossing a line, am I going to get in trouble with HR? But it’s human to human, right? You need to be able to have that conversation with someone and say, hey, what’s going on with you? How can I help you better achieve your goals with this organization and just make sure that everyone’s aware on the alignment and why it matters.

Kortney Harmon [00:44:10]:

Love it. Are you bringing Brenda up?

Katie Jones: I’m bringing Brenda. Okay. So, Dan, Brenda was like, this would just be easier for us to have a conversation. So, Brenda, I’m going to go ahead and pull you on stage.

Dan Mori [00:44:20]:

I’m in. All right, Brenda.

Brenda [00:44:22]:

What’s up? I’m just going to say the only reason that I thought about working with candidates is because a lot of the nurses that I run into, they just want to do it as a side job working for Dan agency. And they found a full time job with a hospital or company, and that’s where they get their benefits. So I was wondering if maybe I could just focus on them. And then also, since I’m just starting, it seemed like it’d be simpler and easier for me, too, to tell the truth.

Dan Mori [00:44:52]:

So I got your drift. I heard what you were saying there, and I will say it gets really difficult, especially in healthcare, because they’re going to be mandated about how they give their care, about how they actually service delivery in the healthcare facility, how they basically deliver their health care to the patients. Like the hospital or healthcare organization is going to really prescribe that. So it gets very difficult, in my opinion, to go 1099. Right. There’s just too many directives to that nurse or that healthcare provider to really get around that 1099 threshold. And I think if you actually file staffing legal news, there’s some articles about that that actually talk about 1099 and it’s only going to get worse. Brenda so I would look at it, and if you’re doing it because it’s simpler to do 1099, I get it. That being said, it is worth its weight and gold just to find a great partner that can process payroll for you. There’s a lot out there. I’m sure Courtney and Katie can recommend a bunch, but it’s worth it just to get the software, get the partnership. They can take care of all that headache for you. And once you get that piece and it’s not expensive, it really isn’t, it’s worth it. But once you get that piece, it’s literally no different than inputting the hours and billable that you would for 1099 versus payroll. And just let your payroll provider do all the burden stuff and make sure you’re compliant, but don’t cut corners on compliance. I’ve seen it take down too many agencies, especially early on.

Brenda [00:46:08]:

All right, well, thank you. Yeah, I’ll take your advice.

Dan Mori [00:46:12]:

All right, well, best of luck to you, Brenda. Congratulations on having a startup.

Kortney Harmon [00:46:16]:

All right. Thank you so much. Congrats, Brenda.

Katie Jones: I love when we get to do that. I think that’s all I’ve got in the chat right now, unless Dan wants to impart any other wisdom on us. But I’m going to hop off and let you guys wrap up.

Dan Mori [00:46:30]:

So the last thing I want to share, and again, it’s still around that theme and I think it’s the one thing that people take today is talk to your people, right? Put yourself in the shoes of the employee. Nobody shows up to work wanting to do a bad job. We all generally, most people generally want to do a good job. We want to succeed, we want to be recognized for our advancement. And we feel bad when we don’t hit the mark. Most times when employees don’t hit the mark, it’s because the instructions weren’t clear. In the military, there’s this thing, clear instructions, clear results, clear instructions, clear results, right. If you have clear instructions with your people, they’ll get clear results. Most of the time. Every once in a while, people fall short. That happens. We’re humans, right? So the big thing I would say is what happens in the mindset is you get a manager that’s like, oh, this person’s not hitting their sales goal, they’re not hitting their recruiting productivity. And instead of actually going through and seeing, did they have clear instruction, did they have training, development, support, all that stuff that would aid in the success of hitting their goals, they just automatically think, we got to replace this person. And when you think like that, you’re basically treating everyone in your organization as quickly expendable. And the main reason you’re doing that is because you’re not comfortable or equipped to have those conversations. So don’t jump to conclusions just because somebody didn’t do something the way that you want them to go look at it. Were the instructions clear? Were they given the training, development and support to be successful? And if all of that was the case, maybe they’re just not the right fit and that’s okay, that happens. But don’t let not the right fit or not a good fit or got to fire them, be the first. Don’t jump to that conclusion first as the main thing. Just go talk to them. Have that conversation. The more conversations you have like this, the easier it’s going to get. You’re going to become better at it, which means you’re going to become a better leader for your organization and you’ll be given those opportunities to do that.

Kortney Harmon [00:48:11]:

I love that. Dan, thank you so much for joining us today and your valuable insights. Some of these things seem basic or some of these things seem like, yeah, understanding. But taking the time to do them obviously is again, we have better things to do. We’re busier, we’re reactive in our industry. So thank you for sharing your insights with us today.

Dan Mori [00:48:33]:

My pleasure. Glad to be recording. Thank you for having me.

Kortney Harmon [00:48:35]:

Absolutely. As we talk about this conversation of performance, management, career pathing, succession planning in our industry. It’s clear from our conversation that these are topics that are not only crucial, but they also have significant impact on the success and the future of recruiting firms and staffing agencies. So throughout the show, we explored the importance of employee development and future proofing these organizations. And it’s evident while some organizations excel in this area, there is still a need for more attention and focus on supporting employees through their career and their journeys. And Dan gave us some really actionable advice that we can take. So the concept of try before you buy promotion style is interesting. I love it. Not just because I’ve been in this industry for a while, but again, it’s hard to go backwards. So by implementing this style, you can really provide opportunities for growth and advancement while ensuring the right fit for both parties, not just selfishly, your own and within your business. So once again, thank you Dan, for joining us and sharing your experience and your knowledge on these vital topics. Your insight will no doubt guide our listeners to better understanding and implementing key things around these areas. So as we conclude, I want to express gratitude to each and every one of you for tuning into this episode. We hope you found the exploration with Dan to be informative and thought provoking for your talent businesses. If you have any further questions that we didn’t get to today or that you’re thinking about at 03:00 a.m. I don’t know about you, I do that. Feel free to send us an email at [email protected] we dan also put you in touch with Dan. Thanks for joining us. I’m Courtney Harmon with crelate with the full desk experience. If you’ve enjoyed the show, be sure to subscribe Radar podcast wherever you listen and have a great day. I’m Courtney Harmon with Crelate. Thanks for joining the full Desk Experience. Please feel free to submit any questions for next session to [email protected] or ask us live next session. If you enjoyed our show, be sure to subscribe to our podcast wherever you listen and sign up to attend future events that happen once a month.

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