Enriching human resources with technology - Joey Price [Interview]

Shruti Pawar
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Enriching human resources with technology - Joey Price [Interview]
Enriching human resources with technology - Joey Price [Interview] | peopleHum

About Joey Price

Joey Price is an award-winning human resources executive, business coach, thought leader, and professor. He is the founder of Jumpstart: HR, an HR consulting practice, specifically built for small businesses and startups. He also hosts Business, Life, and Coffee, a weekly personal and professional development podcast. Joey is a recent SHRM, top 30 under 30 award winner, and one of Forbes magazine's top 100 employee engagement experts in the world and a frequently cited HR and startup thought leader in the publication of Forbes and HR magazine.

Sumitha Mariyam

Enriching human resources with technology - Joey Price [Interview] | peopleHum

We have the pleasure of welcoming Joey Price today to our interview series. I am Sumitha Mariyam from the peopleHum team. Before we begin, just a quick introduction of peopleHum. peopleHum is an end-to-end, one-view, integrated human capital management automation platform, the winner of the 2019 global Codie Award for HCM that is specifically built for crafted employee experiences and the future of work.

We run the peopleHum blog and video channel which receives upwards of 200,000 visitors a year and publish around 2 interviews with well-known names globally, every month.

Sumitha

Welcome, Joey. We’re thrilled to have you.

Joey

Sumitha, I am honored to be here. And thank you for including me in your podcast series. 

Sumitha

It's our pleasure, Joey. So, going to the questions.

The first question I have for you, Joey, is, can you tell us a little bit about Jumpstart: HR? What was your inspiration to come up with such an idea? 

Joey

Yes. So, Jumpstart: HR provides HR outsourcing and consulting for small businesses and startups across the U.S as well as multinational corporations that are looking to establish or oversee their U.S presence. I started the company back in 2011 because I noticed the disconnect between the way that HR was run for small businesses and the way that it was run for mid or larger sized companies.

"I noticed the disconnect between the way that HR was run for small businesses and the way that it was run for mid or larger sized companies."

And I asked myself, Why is that disconnect there? And is it necessary? 

What I was seeing on the small business front is that HR was really being guided by administrative voices or CEOs or executives who may not have had an intimate understanding of the power and the true potential that HR could bring to your organization.

And with that we were seeing that HR is really just about paperwork, making sure new hires got their health insurance, making sure open enrolment happened on time, making sure people's leave requests were calculated accurately. But there's so much more potential to human resources and the opportunity that it can bring to a small business. And so I wanted to bridge that gap.

"There's so much more potential to human resources and the opportunity that it can bring to a small business. And so I wanted to bridge that gap."

So providing the administrative services such as recruitment, boarding, being there for employees and doing employee handbooks and policies, but also strategic matters such as, 'hey, where do we need to expand next or where is the best talent for the type of jobs that we're offering? How do we go from a brick and mortar to a remote operation? And what type of talent do we need to make that happen?' So that's why I started Jumpstart: HR.

And over the years, we've had clients in most of the states and, everything from federal contractors that service naval submarines to small-batch granola makers to nonprofits, religious institutions, you name it. It's been fun, diverse years and I continue to look forward to the future of JumpStart.

Sumitha

Oh, when you explain the concept of how you started it, it really, you know, helps us understand why the name. Jumpstart HR. So that’s, that's wonderful. And so, you know, coming to our next question.

So we have the current scenario of the Coronavirus. And with respect to what we have right now, how do you think the future workplace is going to look like?

So you've been designing these fabulous HR spaces for a lot of small and medium businesses. So all of us are working from home, and what the future holds for us is a surprise.

So how do you think the workplace of the future, where all of these businesses, small, medium, large, how does it look like?

Joey

Yeah, so. I believe that the Coronavirus is going to radically change the way that we do business for a lot of the companies who thrived exclusively on being a brick and mortar presence where everyone had to gather together. I think at the very least, there's a need to strengthen emergency plans for how to make the transition smooth, to a more remote workforce and remote way of servicing clients.

"There's a need to strengthen emergency plans for how to make the transition smooth, to a more remote workforce and remote way of servicing clients."

And I do understand that not all businesses have those capabilities. For example, if you are in a warehouse or manufacturing or hospitality. But there's just going to be a more intentional focus of how can we better prepare for and survive and thrive in the midst of a potential pandemic?

Because from all accounts, we're hearing that this won't be the last one. And there may even be a wave of ramifications from this for months to come. I'm seeing even rolling lockdowns for the next 18 months. Who knows what is going to happen?

So I think that businesses are going to need to have better emergency planning and how to respond. I also think that the Coronavirus is providing an opportunity for employers to really show that they value their employees.

If you really get down to the bottom of it, we're all experiencing a vulnerable moment, a stressful, high anxiety moment, from the CEO to the intern, and for smart business leaders, they're really going to connect on that human level. And that's what's going to separate the companies that weather the storm and their best people leave and those companies who weather the storm and their best people stay.

"That's what's going to separate the companies that weather the storm and their best people leave and those companies who weather the storm and their best people stay."

So a high commitment to employee experience. A high commitment to connecting to the individuals at work with you on a personal level is really going to be important. And hopefully, that doesn't change when this is all over and things go back to, I can't say that, go back to normal. But when things lighten up a little bit and we're not confined in our houses.

Sumitha

Yeah, I think you're absolutely right. I was reading an article the other day and they were saying that the most important and the most frequent question that candidates are going to be asking organizations are that how did you manage during the crisis? How many people did you lay off during the crisis? How did you manage your employees during the crisis? So I think that's a very important point. 

And also, you know, like we, we are all working remotely right now.

So how would you advise, you know, leaders or, say, HR to keep up the engagement of employees while they are working from home? They’re, all of them are in, like different cities or different houses, different localities. How can you keep all of them engaged?

Joey

Sumitha, I love that you asked that question. And it's one of the things that even I've had to ask myself as a leader of a team and how can I make the most of engagement? And so what's worked for me so far is making sure that I'm communicating every day with my team in a Slack channel just to say, 'hey, I acknowledge you, you're not somewhere off in a faraway land that I no longer want to talk to you. I still value conversation with you that has nothing to do with work.

Everything about how did your weekend go? What were you excited about? And what, you know, new recipes are you trying at home now that you have more time to cook? So having those personable conversations that have nothing to do with work is going to be important with connecting your team.

"Having those personable conversations that have nothing to do with work is going to be important with connecting your team."

Another thing that I did is for the last staff meeting, I actually provided gift cards for my team so that they can order their own takeout. As a small business ourselves, and with small businesses as our customers, you know, it was an opportunity for us to even support our local small businesses, our local shops who provide food.

So that was a way to not only show that I care about my employees, but that I care about their neighborhood and the restaurateurs that are in their neighborhood. And so I hope they spent their money with some small businesses there. 

And then the last thing that I recommend is, you know, have a schedule for performance conversations. Don't just assume that you have given clarity with guidelines of the role, of projects that you're working on, assignments that you, that you'd like to see your team working on.

Make sure that you're having frequent check-ins at least once a day, once every two days to make sure that you're showing that you care about coaching the employees, giving them feedback and saying, 'Hey, okay, this looks good. Now here's the next directive.' So make sure that you're connecting about everything that has to do with work and even things that don't. Again just remain human, remain personable. It's okay to connect outside of the ongoing task list.

"Remain human, remain personable. It's okay to connect outside of the ongoing task list."

Sumitha

Yeah, I think that's a fantastic way to keep your employees engaged as well as give them an amazing experience of working with you and just reminding them that Hey, we're, we're still friends, even if I'm your leader.

So that’s fantastic. So you’re talking about remote workers and you know, like with the increase in the millennial workforce, with an increase in ourselves, so the gig economy is on the rise and we have gig workers for all sorts of jobs. It's not just delivery boys anymore. It's, you have video editors, you have sales professionals. You have marketing executives. Everyone wants to be a part of the gig economy.

So how do you think, you know such a huge transition is going to fit in the organizational cultures we have today?

Joey

Well, fortunately, and unfortunately, I think that many businesses are going to be going to the drawing board and saying, similar to 2008, with the recession that happened then and saying that that buzz word that scares so many people about what we need to do more with less.

And so we may be seeing businesses thinking that they can run a leaner operation and then plug in individuals from the gig economy to drive business performance. So that is for better or for worse conversation, it really just depends on the perspective there. 

But I really think the gig economy is going to increase because more individuals are going to realize that it benefits them to have additional streams of income.

"The gig economy is going to increase because more individuals are going to realize that it benefits them to have additional streams of income."

So maybe they work from 9 to 5. But then they are part of the gig economy, doing something as a consultant or freelancer that can generate money. People will need to replenish savings. People will need to replenish retirement accounts. People may even want to test the waters of entrepreneurship.

And so the gig worker, there's no such thing as one type of gig worker. I think people are part of it for many different reasons, some transitioning into gig work full time, some transitioning to just do it for part-time and, and extra money.

But businesses are going to take a really hard look at gig workers and how they can plug in and further accelerate their business growth, from a financial perspective, from a business strategy perspective and all the more reason for gig workers to do what they need to, to protect themselves in, in the event of a future pandemic like this. 

Sumitha

But how do you think that we can keep the gig workers engaged like, they're not there for a long period of time? So how do you think you can integrate them to the system that you have?
Suppose you’re a leader and you have gig workers working under you and you won't be seeing them after a given time frame. So how do you think that you can engage them efficiently? 

Joey

Well, so I have a few gigs workers that work with me on my podcast and some of my marketing efforts. And what works for us is to develop a schedule, develop a rhythm of tasks that are recurring, that we always know are going to happen.

And, we also have moments where we can check-in and provide feedback. And so that way, the gig worker always know what's expected for the upcoming week, for the upcoming month, and then we have opportunities to connect and either pivot into another direction or provide feedback so that we can continue to moving forward. 

So I would say, if you're looking to include gig workers into your operations, carve out the space for them, not just on a one-off project basis, but for an ongoing, recurring type of role or ongoing, recurring type of function that supports your business while also remaining compliant with any labor loss.

"Carve out the space for them, not just on a one-off project basis, but for an ongoing, recurring type of role"

Sumitha

Yes, so we talk a lot about employee engagement and experiences, for sure.

So how do you think technology can help us in improving the employee engagement of an organization?
Do you really think, a human capital management software is, you know, helpful in improving the engagement and experience of employees in an organization? 

Joey

Yes, absolutely. HR tech is pivotal in increasing the employee experience at work because there are, there are two types of people that will realize HR tech. On one hand, you have the internal customer which, internal or external, being your employee or your candidate or the person that is going through the recruitment process.

Being able to interact with HR in a way that is fluid, that is responsive and minimizes error is going to reflect very favorably upon the HR department.

"Being able to interact with HR in a way that is fluid, that is responsive and minimizes error is going to reflect very favorably upon the HR department."

And so that is going to be a major win for your employer brand and for your HR department as a whole if you can say that you are using best in class technology that allows your employees to have fast and efficient interactions with HR and go on about their workday.

And then on the other side of that, you have the HR worker who benefits from great HR technology because the scale of what's being asked of an HR employee has radically changed. So there used to be a day where you would put out a job description or, you know, post it in the newspaper, and maybe there would be a trickle of resumes that come in through the mail.

Now you're seeing jobs getting 100, 200, 1000 applicants. And how do you sort through all of that? HR technology allows you to set up a system that allows you to see the best fit for your business and not have to focus so much time on reviewing each application.

"HR technology allows you to set up a system that allows you to see the best fit for your business and not have to focus so much time on reviewing each application."

When you bring that inside of the business, we talk about how are you, the HR employee going to service a team of 100, a team of 1000, a team of 10,000 when it comes to updating payroll information, or rolling out open enrolment.

HR Tech allows you to set up your infrastructure in a way that makes the transactions more effective, and quicker. But then also likely, you're going to be able to glean data from the trends that you're seeing from the technology, and that's gonna allow you to forecast or story tale about emerging trends in your business from a people perspective. 

Sumitha

Yeah, that's, that's, I absolutely agree with you. So we, we just have this interview with a recruiter named Jackie Clayton and she was saying the same thing. She's like, there's an organization and they have 2000 applications for one particular job. How can you manually go through everything and screen it? You need AI. You need mission learning, and you need to take the help and, you know, get the right candidates for you. So, yeah, that is, that is a very valid point.

So talking about HR Tech Joey, you know, legacy software is still prevalent, you know, globally for HR tech, you know.

What time range will you see the most of them, you know replaced for a better cycle to begin?

Joey

Well, when it comes to legacy technology, the push for innovation in an organization, I can't say that every organization is going to replace legacy tech on the same timeline. But I do believe that there are certain triggers in our industry that call owners of legacy technology to take a look at, 'Is this technology best suited for our workforce of today and our workforce of the future?' 

There are certain innovations that happen by way of AI and machine that if you are a legacy technology company and you're not innovating fast enough to create, those solutions, what we're seeing is two things happening, we’re seeing the one-off HR technology companies providing that particular innovation and plugging into the legacy software. And then we're also seeing upstarts that come along the way and challenge the Giants. So we're seeing that in, in payroll. We're seeing that in recruiting. We're seeing that in a myriad of different industries within HR. 

So, legacy companies need to be paying attention to the innovations that are happening out there and either acquire the companies that are making those innovations or on the front lines of those innovations, or be prepared to pivot. You don't want to be the company that overlooked a trend.

"You don't want to be the company that overlooked a trend."

And it is harder to adapt now that other companies have come in and have made their, their foot in the market in the area.

So legacy companies, you know, don't be the blockbuster. Don't be the Kodak. Don't be the company that didn't pivot. You've earned the respect of your customers. But you're only as good as your next innovation. 

Sumitha

Yeah, that's, I think that is very important for all these companies because to a large extent, they determine the culture of an organization. So I think it's very important for them to maintain that, you know, going with, growing with the world's technological innovations.

So, how important do you think is it to build, you know, an employee brand or, say, a candidate brand for an emerging company?
You work with a lot of small businesses, so, can you give us a few insights? 

Joey

Yes. So, building an employee brand is one of the competitive advantages that will help you stand out when it comes to identifying and attracting the right candidates for your business, and not only attracting the right candidates for your business but also reinforcing the value for the employees that are already on your team.

Employer brand is not just about your ability to go out and attract new people, but it is reinforcing the value of, 'Hey, here's our mission. Here's our values.

"Employer brand is not just about your ability to go out and attract new people, but it is reinforcing the value of, 'Hey, here's our mission. Here's our values".

Here is the truth of what it means to work at our business and that resonating with your current team. 

When we look at what the Coronavirus is doing in the marketplace from a talent perspective, there is a need for businesses to really build their employer brand because there are companies that are hiring that may be in a less vulnerable position. And if you're not doing your best to retain the people that you want to retain, who's to say that they won't go and work for those companies that are actively hiring and perhaps in a less vulnerable position?

So employer brand is one of the competitive advantages that the emerging company can have, and it's going to set you apart and it's going to make your employees your biggest advocates. And they're going to be your biggest referrals source because they will be able to show the authenticity of what it means to work at your company. 

Sumitha

Yeah, yeah, that's, I totally agree with you on that one. That is so true. You need, you need the face of your employees to be there, to be out there, so that's fantastic.

So, Joey, coming to the conclusion, to wrap it up, the final question, if you have any important last sound bites to leave our viewers.

Joey

Yeah, well Sumitha again, I just, I want to thank you for having me on this show, and I love talking about innovation for small businesses and large businesses. We have at Jumpstart, some resources for people that are looking to navigate the Coronavirus.

If you have a U.S presence, if you're a U.S business, on our website, there is a training section. So, it’s courses.jumpstart@hr.com and all of our coronavirus related material is free.

We couldn't charge you for needing to figure out how to protect your business through this time. And also, I love having these conversations on my podcast Business, life, and coffee. So, Sumitha, I'd love to have you on my show sometime where we could talk about talent. And I just appreciate every listener who's going to listen to this podcast and take away some nugget of value that can help their team or help them become a better leader. So I just, I'm just full of gratitude right now. 

Sumitha

It's our pleasure to have you Joey and I enjoyed the conversation thoroughly also and, as you said, you love talking about innovation. I am a big HR enthusiast and talking to you about all of these things, it really warms my heart and I'm so happy.

So thank you so much for coming to our series and enriching us with a lot of knowledge. And we're very sure our viewers are going to gain a lot of, you know, a lot of new perspectives from this interview. Thank you so much for coming.

We hope you got some great insights from this blog. Its now time to apply it. Get started with peopleHum for free today. No credit card needed.

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