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In this episode, Kortney Harmon joins Rob Mann and Lauren Jones on the You Own the Experience podcast.
In this week’s episode, LJ and Rob welcome Kortney Harmon of Crelate to the podcast.
Kortney’s quote can best sum up the conversation:
“As a staffing and recruiting industry principal, I’ve seen firsthand the impact of investing in technology and training. It’s not just about attracting and retaining top talent; it’s about creating a positive work environment and achieving better outcomes.”
The training trio also talks about:
🚨The danger of shadow processes in your team’s workflows
💡The importance of road mapping your tech stack & your people’s career paths in your organization
Kortney Harmon (00:00:00) – In this episode, I appear on the You Own the Experience Podcast with the great Rob Mann and Lauren Jones. Listen in on our wonderful conversation as we discuss the danger of shadow processes in your team’s workflows, honoring everyone’s learning style when thinking about training and development, and the importance of road mapping, your tech stack and your people’s career path in your organization. Hi, I’m Courtney Harmon, staffing and recruiting industry principal at Curate. Over the past decade, I’ve trained thousands of frontline recruiters and I’ve 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.
Speaker 2 (00:00:55) – Cardi
Rob Mann (00:00:55) – Harmon, how the hell are you? Thank you for being our guest today.
Kortney Harmon (00:00:59) – Thank you so much for
Lauren Jones (00:01:00) – Having me. I’ve smiled nothing but from picking up the phone, so this is a great
Rob Mann (00:01:04) – Yep. We educational good time. Let we try to put those things together. Yes sir. Alright. If you’re not familiar with Courtney, she is the host of a Kick Cast podcast called The Full Desk Podcast. Obviously it’s reference to having a 360 desk, which she’s also the staffing and recruiting industry principal at CRE eight, which is an at s crm. Been around in the industry for a while and Lauren and I love the content that Courtney has been putting out. So we had to have her on the show. So do you wanna say a quick hello and give it a little quick, quick breakdown of you? Don’t make it too long, cuz I know you’re your post. Her producer of her podcast gets mad when she talks about her software. Too much
Lauren Jones (00:01:39) – . I love it. Katie, if you’re listening Katie, we gotta make Katie happy. I love it. Thank you for having me. I’m so excited. Obviously our podcast is fairly new. We launched in September, so one of the things that Curate is passionate about is truly giving back in the form of content. I don’t know if everybody knows this, but curate actually stands for creating relationships. So, and that’s what we’re here to do. Yeah. And honestly, I didn’t know that until after I got hired either, so, and I thought that it was really, it was really unique and the idea that all of us here, uh, there’s a lot of us that were hired within industry and we’re deliberately investing in people, deep roots and giving back. So that’s essentially the, the concept of the podcast as well is to give back in the form of content. So we do workshops, we do interviews, and I love it. So had Lauren on our podcast and I’m so excited to be on your quest. Yes, yes. We had a good time. Yeah. And we’re gonna do a crossover event, everybody listening. We’re gonna do a crossover event at Thrive Live, which I’m cheering and it’s gonna be amazing. So you better be there.
Rob Mann (00:02:41) – I was just grateful that they include me in these events for women because you know,
Lauren Jones (00:02:44) – We do. Rob’s gonna be there corny. He is our champion. He comes to thrive, he does whatever he is told. It’s amazing. , we’ll give him a set of pony. Cheers. He’ll be great.
Rob Mann (00:02:56) – Oh, I have, I am fantastic with the set of pompoms. You
Lauren Jones (00:02:59) – Chair me. My pompom might be a mate.
Rob Mann (00:03:01) – Woo. All right, don’t, don’t threaten me with a good time. So guys, what we actually came to talk about with Courtney today was something we’re all very passionate about, which is, and these two themes are gonna tie together very, very neatly this idea of platform of having everything in your system of record and the influence that learning and development and ongoing learning and development and good onboarding, uh, really having it. And Courtney, you have a pretty significant background in l and d in some pretty large organizations in the industry. So maybe like you could deliver this however you think, but like the pitfalls or the, the best practices of helping your recruiters stay in the system and using all the tech that you guys, maybe the easiest way to break that.
Lauren Jones (00:03:41) – You know, that’s a great question. So I think it, not only it comes down to the people that are in our offices that are working, but a lot of times we see growth within organizations and it’s something that adoption, we often see struggle, right? But then we oftentimes don’t look back at the process. Do we have a defined process? Do we have a defined way of doing things or are we just going with our lead salesperson or our lead recruiter to be able to drive what’s right in our organization? So I think being from M R I working with new franchise owners, you really saw that from the ground up with someone that’s investing in a business. But what does that foundational building block look like and what does good look like as I start to try to think of scale, right? So I think number one is really having a defined way.
Lauren Jones (00:04:24) – Lauren, I’m sure you’ve seen it a bunch of times, like, well they’re not doing what I want them to do. Well, hasn’t been communicated to them that you want them to do it a certain way. Oftentimes it’s no. And number two is really the idea of being able, it’s not just about training coming into an organization, but it’s also helping people develop. I mean we see that with retention in organizations today, but being able to upscale people, being able to develop them. And oftentimes our younger generations aren’t even taking jobs without looking to see what kind of development an organization offers. So don’t just think about onboarding training where you can have a big influence on that. I went in my last organization just by creating a baseline training. We were able to increase gross margin by like 146% within the first three months of production. So that is huge. But what does that mean long term? How do we develop those people? Do we get the help get then certifications or what else is on the list for them? They really need to know a thanks in order to stay and retain those people.
Rob Mann (00:05:24) – By the way, we’re good friends of talent launch on the podcast. Erin was our first guest ever. Interesting. I love it. Yeah. Cause I was working at Abel when we, when we started this bad boy, Lauren was our third guest or fourth guest, and then she became a contributor and then a couldn’t get rid of me Provost by the way, it’s a little history, little history, but what I, so what I think I what I heard was that we always say, Hey, if you don’t have a good text act then you know your new recruits, your new recruiters are going to, you know, maybe not be as attracted to you. Right? And then we’re adding onto that with this, what I think I heard you say is you need to have learning like training and development upskilling where their career path is going already laid out for ’em. Cuz they’re gonna start asking, they’re gonna be asking those questions when they interview you. Cuz we are in kind of this cycle now where, where the employee e or the potential employee is interviewing the organization and you gotta have that stuff together.
Lauren Jones (00:06:18) – You have to be an employer of a choice. The data’s behind this, right? So in my most recent keynote, you know, I, I was talking about there are three customers when we think about user experience. And so often agencies just think about the candidate and the customer. But over 80% of recruiters in our industry, this is from s i A, are now looking at an agency’s tech stack as either an a tractor or a detractor. Because recruiters wanna be competitive. They’re ex very a competitive individuals. If they feel like they don’t have the tools that they need to get their job done or perform at peak performance, they’re gonna move on. You will not be the agency of choice. So it is no longer a client imperative or an agency imperative that you need to digitally transform to scale or do all of these things. It is an imperative to attract great talent. And so, you know, now I think there’s even more responsibility to ensure that you put time, care and consideration under the technology that you invest in.
Rob Mann (00:07:22) – I love it. And Courtney, what was the stat again when you started the training and development for the gross margin?
Lauren Jones (00:07:27) – It was 146% over three months. And that progressed. We not only created new hire training, obviously they came in, they either went through a recruiter training or a sales training, but they really got one-on-one attention after that. So a lot of times our organizations don’t have time to develop that one-on-one training. They look at a metric and say, okay, we’ll just go do more of that in order to excel or succeed in this organization. But in reality, it’s not always that the do more mentality is great. And we know that phone calls really, you know, they lead to good things just by picking up the phone. But being able to coach people differently is where you can say, you know what, I notice you’ve been making these types of calls having a lot of meetings, but maybe it’s just, maybe it could be working different for you or having a different ratio or a rate that you’d expect. So instead of just beating your head against the wall is really focusing on the things that we can do better. Was it your script? Is it your workflow and you’re it, are you following where your organization has led, where your technology to use a sequencing tool or to use these things to work smarter and not harder?
Rob Mann (00:08:36) – Or you’re calling at the wrong time because physicians don’t get off until 7:00 PM Yeah. Or most people don’t leave their job until five. Yeah. I love the individualized coaching. So
Lauren Jones (00:08:45) – Look, the way that people learn everyone is different, right? You have your kinesthetic learner, you know, your tactile learner, your auditory learner, your visual learner. And it does put a large responsibility on what is normally in our industry, very small training departments. So how do you honor the different ways that people learn to ensure and you do it with a reasonable budget? Because I think this is where, you know, we, we butt up against the want versus need and you know, we all want to have a 12 person training department that, you know, goes and spend individualized time with everyone. But we know that that’s not the reality. And typically, you know, training, marketing, um, those are the departments that get cut first because, which Rob and I have said time and time again, we think that’s the dumbest thing ever because when the T gets going, marketing is the one that’s gonna pull you through. But last we digress. We don’t make those decisions. Yeah,
Rob Mann (00:09:41) – We we’re not making those. Well, not yet one day. Alright, we’ll be those
Lauren Jones (00:09:44) – Decisions for people. Uh, we’re we’re not necessarily making those decisions. In many cases we have influence upon those decisions with customers that we’re working with, but at the end of the day, that’s not our call. So there’s tons of technology to honor that, but I think it starts with and starts and ends with the stack, how easy it is to use. I hate saying tech stack, you know, the ecosystem that you’ve, you’ve built the platform that you are scaling what
Rob Mann (00:10:10) – Platform that you built, Lauren. I know, right? And you, my platform that you’re scaling is the best way we’ve said it.
Lauren Jones (00:10:16) – Yeah, yeah. That platform that you’re scaling is everything integrated and I think integration absolutely 100% has an impact on retention of content.
Rob Mann (00:10:26) – Yeah, you shared a great points on this before.
Lauren Jones (00:10:28) – Yeah. One of my favorite things in what we kind of see oftentimes is we’re adding these new shiny technologies is really the idea of this shadow process, right? Something that may be happening outside of our system. It’s really, you have this playbook, you have this methodology of how you want your business done, but maybe you’ve added something outside, hold onto your et s and maybe they just don’t talk to each other to give you the actual metrics that your team’s completing. So maybe only you have half the picture, half the data, half the decision making abilities to run your business the way you want to. So it’s never more important than now to make sure those systems integrate, to make sure they talk to help you make business decisions because it does help give you that holistic view of your business. And we’re adding technologies by the day. I mean, I watch Lauren’s Tech Talk Tuesday where she tells all of her wonderful things every Tuesday and I know other people are listening to that kind of stuff and they’re adding to, to their organizations weekly.
Rob Mann (00:11:21) – Weekly, monthly, quarterly. Yeah. Lauren, by the way, it is Tuesday. So a a technology Tuesday is probably, oh,
Lauren Jones (00:11:26) – Don’t worry, don’t worry. I got one chambered. Sorry Laura.
Rob Mann (00:11:32) – Uh, sorry.
Lauren Jones (00:11:32) – That’s all right. We, I lost technology. There’s lots of Tuesday we’re
Rob Mann (00:11:35) – Having lots of inside jokes, but the uh,
Lauren Jones (00:11:37) – Yes, yes. Everybody who’s listening, I thought today was Monday. Okay. It was an aging thing. I didn’t realize that I’d already been through Monday, but that just tells you how committed I am to all of my customers is that I work night and day and don’t even know what day it is. .
Rob Mann (00:11:56) – Ooh, look at this. That was a soap pop, like hold on. Did you, can you put your soapbox away? Alright. Right, I
Lauren Jones (00:12:02) – Will. Well lemme step down. Hang on a sec. Hold my beer. .
Rob Mann (00:12:05) – Alright, so shadow processes that happen outside, going back to the, that’s the actual conversation. Oh, by the way, Lord, there’s no transformation without,
Lauren Jones (00:12:14) – Without integration. Guys, come on. If you, we’ve
Rob Mann (00:12:18) – Really gotta work on this call and repeat here.
Lauren Jones (00:12:20) – I know if you want to have your technology, your ecosystem, your platform adopted, it does have to be easy to use and what’s easier than when it’s integrated and you’re having one experience. So this idea of pivoting all over from one technology to the other does not create the stickiness that you need to create long-term learning.
Rob Mann (00:12:40) – Lauren, I’m really excited for you to, uh, to lead a chant of that as we kick off engage. That’s my new idea for engage. Like you say, there’s no transformation and everyone yells at you back from the audience.
Lauren Jones (00:12:52) – I say transformation, you say integrated .
Rob Mann (00:12:56) – All right, that’s what we’re doing. Okay. Okay. So I think Courtney, that there is this, something that I kind of preach when I go in and do an assessment is I ask the organization to reverse demo back to me how they’re, this might just be like a simple like, Hey, are you ready for automation kind of conversation. And I make them reverse demo back to me how they do things and then I ask ’em how much that actually happens as they just showed me. And I usually try to get a recruiter or a salesperson who’s at the field on that reverse demo. And without getting anybody in trouble, I’m like, Hey, like how often does this actually happen this way? And is there anything you do outside of, of whatever system? Usually it is bullhorn, but you know, whatever’s happening outside of the system, it could be any system, right? It’s just the way this is my record works and I do feel like there’s a little bit of a fitting that happens when I do it. So I kind of like take, I figure like 30% of it’s false, but shadow processes will kind of kill the momentum of using your system of record now at MRI and at talent launch, did you, did you find yourself fighting that a lot? Like
Lauren Jones (00:13:58) – R I was different because they were all essentially offices of their own. There was no joint reporting with ads count launch. It was interesting. It was to be able to come in and see how each of those 10 operating companies were working was very interesting because maybe someone was using, they were at that point in time using Bullhorn, but there was like one offices was using a node action type for one method, one was using it for another and it was like, okay, that’s great, I love that. But in reality, what that was doing, it was reporting up numbers to the leadership and executive team that they were thinking that they understood what their organizations were doing. But there was a disconnect because, well everybody wasn’t using that term or that action type the right way. And it was eye-opening. So it was where we really went back to that baseline training to say, all right, we’re revamping these, we’re really understanding what these notes mean.
Lauren Jones (00:14:48) – We’re really understanding where these process maps when the idea of we’re adding a new conversation or adding a new piece of the workflow or a new technology, this is where you record it, this is how you record it. It might sound very tedious, but it was the idea, it was almost like getting everybody on the same page. And with that being said, I also own communications there because let’s face it, all of our internal communications was about technology changes, about new contests that were going on. It was all based around learning for the organization certifications. So it was really, I think it was eye-opening for everybody to understand that just because it was one thing doesn’t mean everyone was using it that same way. So to level set that and get everyone on the same page was crucial. Wait, and you said something at the beginning that was really important and that is that idea of road mapping, your training content, you know, career pathing, having transparency in that process is wildly impactful to adopting the training that you are providing.
Lauren Jones (00:15:50) – And you know, little things, it’s so funny to me that I did a certification process at the end. My old organ in previous life, I did this certification process and wouldn’t, you know, when I gave them a little logo that they got to have next to their signature, oh my god, we saw this massive increase in people attending the trainings all for a little loco that they were gonna get next to their signature and there were three of them. So of course everybody wanted all the flare, so they were gonna do all the training to get all the signature flare and that was all that it took to incentivize the behavior that we wanted. It doesn’t take this massive incentive package to get people to do certain things. It’s really just rewarding and recognizing the hard work that goes into learning a new system or learning a new workflow or what have you. And there are inexpensive methods of training, uh, we’ve uh, partnered with what fix. Yeah, right, that’s embedded. That’s a beautiful way to get all sort of learning types to learn, but it doesn’t take a ton of money and it doesn’t take a ton of thought.
Rob Mann (00:16:54) – Well it’s super interesting Lauren, because I, and Courtney, maybe you can give your thoughts on this too. This idea that having a platform doing training well doesn’t have to be super expensive. And in my mind it goes back to having good people leading those functions. Because if you want things to be cost effective, you need good talent helping you with it. And if you need to attract talent, you probably need to have good technology. This sounds like it’s a flywheel of either hell for you if you don’t wanna invest in good people or an incredible opportunity to grow your organization in, in a positive way. Courtney, what have your experiences been?
Lauren Jones (00:17:30) – I 100% agree. I think we see, I think there’s a small percentage that people actually use the software they have in hand. So having people become accountable for their own software or their own process is really where I saw a lot of people excel. There are a lot of people that are techy and nerdy and they’re like, oh my gosh, let me involved in this. They just wanted to do that to help make processes easier for everybody. So I think it’s really crucial to have, and I’m saying this coming from a software company, but have someone who understands the ins and the outs outside of your platform to understand are you using it to the full extent? There’s a lot, I mean, heck, we have a lot of features that there are a lot of offices that are like, I didn’t even know you had that, or I didn’t see what the latest updates were. I didn’t know how that impacted my organization. So I think that is number one is make sure you have a team or a person or a resource dedicated to that because that truly is understanding where you’re going. Make sure we’re making our processes easier. But if you don’t have someone leading that charge, it’s gonna kind of get lost in the wayside.
Rob Mann (00:18:32) – So would you, this might be more controversial than I than want it to be, but like would you say that you could actually do digital transformation more effectively if you just add a person in charge of it? If you’re paying someone to be in charge of it part-time or like half-time or, or full-time and
Lauren Jones (00:18:46) – It doesn’t always have to be someone outside or that’s what they’re doing, but just to, to kind of keep your eye on the prize, the concept of that. I mean, Lauren and her organization, they do amazing things and they come in, that’s not what someone individually can do, but just even to say, oh my gosh, there’s a new feature, we can improve our skill marketing process or we can improve. Maybe it’s time. Sales hasn’t been a muscle that we’ve had to pl so frequently. So let’s go back to make sure our sales process is mapped appropriately with our technology. So we’re getting the re read on our metrics to know we have better forecasting. So if you think it’s just comes down to yes, I think yes, essentially having someone in charge of that will help the end goal of what you’re trying to achieve. But it doesn’t always have to be that one person. I know I was that person at other organizations, even when I was running a desk, I was like, Hey Courtney, how do you create a form? Or Hey Courtney, how do you do this? So there are people that are passionate about it that will help to drive your outcome.
Rob Mann (00:19:41) – So when I was in my org, my last full-time recruiting gig, we had person in charge of the platform. That person was also in charge of learning and development and that person was also in charge of the ongoing training slash communications around it. So it seems like very similar Courtney to what you were doing.
Lauren Jones (00:19:55) – So what Courtney’s referring to is what we call like a change champion or a subject matter expert. And those can be leveraged in a really powerful way. Training has to go hand in hand with like internal digital marketing. You have to prepare people for the change appropriately. We would love eight weeks if you would let us campaign for eight weeks, we would take it, you know, four weeks is the norm and it’s the minimum that I’ll allow before we do some big change because you need to make sure the change is coming in front of your end user so they don’t freak out because when they freak out, the visceral reaction is, I’m not listening to you, you are making me do something and I won’t be told what to do. That’s just human nature, right? We don’t Yeah, naturally like being told what to do.
Lauren Jones (00:20:40) – And so making sure that you have that digital marketing and then combine that with change champions, the ones that are so excited, like you Courtney, right? You were the end user that was excited about the change that embraced it, that wanted to learn all the things about it. There are naturally and organically, those people in your organization, finding them and enabling them and a change champion or a subject matter expert, whatever you wanna call it, way is a great way to have this peer-to-peer connection that so not only can a training culture help with that stickiness and retention, but it can also bring your people closer together in really great ways. So I’m a huge fan of the idea of, of having these change champions.
Rob Mann (00:21:22) – All right. Courtney, any last thoughts on this, like l and d and platform conversation? We were partaking in with lots of fits of laughter,
Lauren Jones (00:21:31) – A lot of fits of laughter. That is for sure. Really it comes down to making sure that you don’t have to do this all at once. Like it’s really the idea of yeah, that you wanna make sure these processes are are taught or you wanna make sure that you’re doing the things the right way. But it doesn’t have to be like a revamp all at once. Like I have to change everything right now. Start with one process at a time, start with one value, add at a time, start with one champion at a time, whatever that means. I think it’s really the idea of us as leaders to help empower those people within our organization. Not only is that training and change management and foundational processes building really going to help us in the long term on our own, but it’s going to also show for the people that work for us, it’s gonna help with our retention overall.
Lauren Jones (00:22:14) – It’s going to help not only make more money for our organizations, but more money for our individual contributors as well. So, uh, really coming down to the idea of taking one bite at a time, realizing and understanding the value and the difference that training can make within your organization. Just because you might have seen a recruiter doesn’t mean that they couldn’t or shouldn’t be a part of a improv session for other people to listen to them or to learn new things. We are all, all here and to be lifelong learners is only gonna make everyone better in the long run. Love it. And for the recruiters and salespeople and the leaders that lead them, that listen to this podcast, let me just tell you something right now. I’m gonna leave you with like some very stern words of wisdom. It is imperative for you to know or have some expectation of your partner and the way that they use technology.
Lauren Jones (00:23:09) – And let me explain of a, a customer, you know, we’re doing this really large training rollout and the attitude, what we did was we totally changed the way and it was all users on the same call because I want recruiters to learn what the expectations are for salespeople. I want salespeople to learn what the expectations are for recruiters. And you know what, when we did the survey on day one, everybody was mad that they wasted their time having to listen to the recruiter’s response. That’s not my job. Let me tell you. It is all your job and you are only limiting yourself with that kind of attitude. You need to know and have some level of expectation for your sales partner or your recruiting partner and cutting that off or being irritated by it or not learning it is o again, only limiting your ability to be successful. So learn all the parts. What do you have to lose? That’s my soapbox. A
Rob Mann (00:24:05) – Little bit extra to get really
Lauren Jones (00:24:06) – Fresh.
Rob Mann (00:24:06) – You gotta do a little bit extra to get promoted. Oh, that happened, huh? That’s right. Alright, got it. That’s great. That’s real. All right, real talk LJ Courtney, this has been fantastic. Lauren, you’re amazing. Put her
Lauren Jones (00:24:17) – Away so much for being here. Yes, I did. I did. I folded it up and put it away. Little foldable soapbox is cool.
Rob Mann (00:24:23) – Happy birthday, Courtney. Oh,
Lauren Jones (00:24:25) – Thank you very much. The text for Thank you car Nathan,
Rob Mann (00:24:29) – We appreciate it.
Kortney Harmon (00:24:33) – I’m Courtney Harmon with Curate. Thanks for joining the full desk experience. Please feel free to submit any questions for next session to full [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.