Streamlining the Onboarding Process and Building a Tightly Incorporated Team
You shouldn’t hire just anyone to join your work team. Thorough screening and assessment are essential to determine whether or not the potential hire is a perfect fit.
In today’s episode of the Process Breakdown Podcast, host Dr. Jeremy Weisz and guest Yonhee Choi Gordon, COO at JMG Financial Group, discuss this hiring process.
They talk about the steps that can be taken to vet candidates, manage talent, and make onboarding as smooth and efficient as possible.
Listen to the audio interview
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Key Resource List:
- SweetProcess.com, 14-day free trial, no credit card required
- JMG Financial
0:06 – Intro
0:26 – Dr. Jeremy Weisz shares the best solution that makes documenting standard operating procedures drop-dead easy, highlighting a 14-day free trial. No credit card required.
1:55 – Dr. Weisz introduces today’s guest, Yonhee Choi Gordon, COO and co-owner of JMG financial.
2:36 – Ms. Gordon talks a little about JMG Financial Group, the kinds of clients they work with, and the nature of their business.
3:51 – Ms. Gordon explains how she became part of the JMG company.
9:52 – The guest talks about the onboarding process and the best, most efficient way to interview candidates.
12:26 – The guest talks about mistakes she’s made and has seen other people make in job postings and the processes she uses for assessing and counseling candidates.
16:33 – She talks about the assessment, how long it lasts, and the different kinds.
17:51 – Ms. Gordon explains the phases in the assessment.
20:00 – Next, Ms. Gordon describes how she weeds out unwanted candidates.
22:25 – The guest talks about the next step after assessment before onboarding candidates.
23:47 – The last step in the process is discussed.
25:37 – Ms. Gordon points out red flags she watches out for when onboarding new workers.
29:24 – Ms. Gordon explains how she manages talent once candidates are onboarded.
32:46 – We learn about the new norm for the company and its employees and how they’re handling it.
37:36 – Finally, Ms. Gordon shares books and sources she recommends for COOs and team leaders.
40:08 – Outro
Yonhee Choi Gordon is COO and co-owner of JMG Financial Group.
She was recruited to join JMG in 1986. Since joining, she has served clients as a financial advisor and served on the firm’s executive leadership team and board of directors.
She obtained a bachelor’s degree in business/corporate communications from Dominican University.
Transcript of the Interview
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Welcome to the Process Breakdown podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your employees all the information they need to be successful at their jobs. Now let’s get started with the show.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, host of the process breakdown podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations in your company, getting rid of bottlenecks and giving your staff everything they need to be successful at their job. And I always like to mention past episodes, people could check out there was a really good one with David Allen on getting things done, Michael Gerber of the E-Myth. And there’s so many more amazing COO’s that talk about their operations. And it’s kind of the stuff that makes things run efficiently. So, check that out, check more episodes out of the podcast. And before I introduce today’s guest, this episode is brought to you by SweetProcess. If you’ve had team members ask you the same questions over and over, maybe the 10th time you spend explaining it, there’s a better way. There is a solution. SweetProcess is actually a software that makes it drop dead easy to train and onboard new staff and save time with existing staff.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: What we are actually going to talk about today, hiring and onboarding staff. But not only do universities, banks, hospitals and software companies use them, but first responder government agencies use them in life or death situations to run their operations and actually talk to those people. Yeah, I mean, it was amazing how they use SweetProcess to document things. And so nothing falls through the cracks. So, you can use SweetProcess to document all the repetitive tasks that eat up your team’s time, your precious time, so they can really do the best work and you could sign up for a free 14-day trial. No credit cards required. You can go to sweetprocess.com. It’s sweet like candy S-W-E-E-T process.com. I’m excited to introduce today’s guest. Yonhee Gordon is COO, and one of the owners of JMG financial. The firm was founded in 1984. She joined in 1986, right out of college. And she’s had an amazing track record in so many things, but specifically in hiring and she has hired over 75% of their current employee count during her career. So, Yonhee thanks for joining me.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Thank you so much, Jeremy. Thanks for having me. I’m really excited to talk to you today.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: It’s a great topic and we’re gonna talk about the importance of vetting candidates in the interview process to reduce turnover, how to do that, but give people an overview of what JMG financial does first.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Yeah. So, JMG Financial Group where our headquarters are located in Downers Grove, Illinois. We have offices all over actually because we have clients all over. So, they may not be brick and mortar offices, where our advisors travel to clients in over 45 states, of course, pre-pandemic, but that’s where they’re located. We do comprehensive financial planning, fee only, we don’t sell any products and that comprehensive nature of our business includes income tax planning. So, that’s a big part of our business, we were founded by accountants. So, we are in our busy season and very anxious to get our returns completed by the deadline.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I feel like it’s always busy season-
Yonhee Choi Gordon: It is.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: … in the tax world.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: It is for us. And since the tax component is such a focus, essential focus of our planning, the investments, the estate planning, all of that are really components. And I really believe that’s how we add value to the client relationship and we’re relationship driven with our clients.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: How did you discover JMG financial because at this point, the company is two years old. You’re getting involved in infancy. How’d you discover them?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Well, they discovered me. It was actually one person and that kind of really translates into why I spend so much time on the vetting process. Somebody gave me an opportunity right out of college. Back in the 80s, there really was no financial planning industry. There was no fee only industry. Financial planning was really insurance sales back then. And out of college, my dad’s a CPA, who’s also a professor. And so he thought I should be an accountant and I actually hated accounting. So, to be honest he laughs today because I am a CFP and I help him with his taxes and we talk taxes all the time. So, I hate it when your parents are right sometimes. But after college, I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. So, I went to a career fair and they talked about being a financial advisor and I thought, “Oh, that’s, that sounds pretty interesting.”
Yonhee Choi Gordon: So, they hired me right on the spot, I should have known by then. I was very naive at the time. And then I come to realize, I reported for my first day of work and it was classroom and there was a bunch of us and we had to start studying for our exams to sell life insurance. And that took about a month. And then the dreaded question of, “Okay, let’s make a list of your friends and family and let’s go sell them whole life and universal policies.” It was awful. And we got to evenings and I really just had no idea what I was getting into. And so I did that for a month and decided it was not for me. And learned a lot from that experience, learned what questions I needed to ask. And so, I was actually thinking about going to graduate school. Then by chance, I ran into an old Sunday school teacher of mine. And we parted ways because-
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: This was not JMG, this insurance?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Right. It was a different company.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Got it.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Different company. And then when we just by chance ran into each other at a mutual friend’s wedding. And at that time I was a Sunday school teacher and he had just joined JMG coming from public accounting and he got his JD. And, so he asked me what I was doing. And I told him, I said, well, I gave him my experience. And I said, “I think I’m going to go back to graduate school.” So, he said, he goes, “Why didn’t you think about this? I just joined this company, small company. And you might enjoy what we’re doing.” And I was just a little gun shy. And I said, “I’m really not sure, because I just had this bad experience.” So, he came up with this idea. He goes, “You know what, why don’t you spend a few weeks?” He goes, “I’ll leave some assignments for you at my home.” And I knew his wife they’re also Korean, I’m Korean.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: And so he said, “Why don’t you try it and see what you think?” So, he left me a wall street journal, which I had never read before. He left me a book with investments terminology. And he said, “Read that.” He left me an audio recording of projects to do. And he left me a small suitcase type computer, which was a really big thing back then. And I really [inaudible 00:07:17] myself. [crosstalk 00:07:21] Your younger listeners are probably thinking, “What is she talking about?” So, that’s what I did. And then I would do the assignments. I had to teach myself Lotus 1-2-3 which is pretty Excel.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: And, then the next day he would tell me my corrections and I would do this for a little bit. So, after a few weeks, he said, “What do you think?” And I said, “Okay.” I said, “I’ll give it a try.” So, I joined a firm and when I joined the firm, there was maybe about 15 people at most and some of them were actually part-time. And I realized afterwards what he was doing. He was really trying to give me a little bit of credibility and setting me up so that I wouldn’t get pummeled because I was the first college graduate to join the firm in a support position. I was female. I was in the minority. All the other women in the office were experienced and more on the administrative side. And so that’s what he did for me.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: And I really learned a lot from that and preparing me for that situation. And then since then I just took the attitude of learn everything I could about the business. And so I worked with him for about five years. Then he got hired from one of our clients in a different industry. And of course, I thought I’d be going with him. And he said, “No, I need you to stay because they need to transition the clients, they know you, and you need to transition the clients to the advisors.” And that of course opened up a lot of doors for me. Just working with different advisors in the firm, creating different processes. I guess I have a knack for training and organizing. So, I organized staff meetings and just different procedural things of sharing information. And so that was my start.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: I want to talk about any of the onboarding process, because it seemed like this person who was your mentor at the time at this company really did a good job, even pre-onboarding you to onboarding you so that you had a good experience at the company and the industry in general. So, I want to talk through that, but let’s start at the beginning, which is vetting candidates in the interview process. And then we can talk about onboarding, which ultimately reduces the turnover. So, what do you look for in candidates? How do you vet the candidates?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Well, I think it’s really important to be transparent with candidates. And so we can only do so much to win the job posting and be as descriptive as possible. And really understanding what the candidates, their mindset is. They’re looking for a job. And so try to put as much information in the job posting as possible so that they can have some kind of idea. But I always start with a conversation and it’s an initial conversation just to get to know the candidate. I want to see if they checked out our website, and maybe their background may not be relevant, but in our industry, actually candidates are coming out of college already going through financial planning curriculum, which is super helpful for us. That did not exist 10 years ago even. And so, the career path at our firm has actually been compressed over time just because of that, students being more educated and having internships and things.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: I am finding that they’re much more educated in our industry. But that initial conversation is really important because that is really more of learning about the background of the candidate, asking what they’re looking for and then talking about our company and talking about the position. And I really try to give as much information as possible. The feedback I get from candidates is that nobody has ever spent that much time with them in a first conversation. It usually lasts about an hour, sometimes even a little longer just to make sure they have a good idea of our culture, of the job. And I actually tell them what doesn’t work, what type of personality doesn’t fit.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: What doesn’t work?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: If they don’t like taxes, I tell them, “If you don’t like the idea of taxes, you will not like this job.” And of course the one key element too is, this is not a sales position. Because a lot of them, just like myself, have gone and been recruited in colleges by sales positions. And so that’s the first question. I put that in the job posting right away. So, that’s kind of the initial conversation.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So, job posting first, conversation second. With a job posting, what are maybe mistakes you’ve made or you’ve seen other people make with the job posting that now you’ve corrected or you keep in there?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Yeah. I mean, I’ve also found out and realized that a lot of people don’t read the job postings in detail. They look at certain words and I get so many different backgrounds where I kind of say, “Did you look at the job posting?” I’m thinking that in my mind. So, I think that it has to be enough information where you give them a general idea of the company and kind of what the job is. And then they do a lot of research themselves. I mean, everything is, we have information about employees on our website. I mean, they can do a lot of in-depth research. So, that’s one thing with the job posting. But then beyond that, I go through assessments. And this is why I also tell them upfront, if you’re interested in this job, that’s going to take some time in the interview process because it is a process.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Sometimes I think people rush, rush to hire, to fill bodies. I don’t like turnover. Nobody likes turnover, it’s expensive. And so I’ve always taken the approach to spend the time and invest the time upfront so that people know exactly what they’re getting into. And so after that initial conversation, I’ll ask them, “Do you want to move forward?” And I’ll tell them what the process is. And it’s about three more meetings actually, and some time for them to go through these assessments. So, I created these assessments years ago when I was trying to figure out a way, how to convey to a candidate what the job is really like. I mean, you can talk about it all you want, and if somebody really wants a job, they’re going to say, “Oh yeah, I’d love to do that.”
Yonhee Choi Gordon: But how do they know? And how do I know if how they think? And so that’s the process. And so, I created these assessments, and they’re timed. And that’s the other thing. These assessments have evolved over time because I’ve learned. One time at the beginning, I didn’t give a time limit. And when I had a candidate in the office for hours and I was just like, “What are they doing?” So, then I realized, I said, “Okay, I have to give them a time limit.” And also that’s a good indication of how they deal with deadlines because they have to deal with deadlines in the job. And so, I created these assessments that takes a little bit of the job. And so I tell them, “This is what you would be doing every day. But it’s just a little piece of it. So, if you like it, then that’s great. If you don’t then tell me, and then let’s talk about, maybe what direction you should go.” Then I switch to more of a career counselor.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: So, these assessments are really important because, twofold. One is for the candidate to really understand what they’re going to be doing every day. It’s abbreviated, of course, but it gives them an idea. Secondly, for me, it gives me an idea of how they think, I’m trying to get into their brain. How do they approach problem solving? How do they approach information that they’re not familiar with? And so that’s a big part of the process. And after if we decide that it’s great fit and they come on board, after they’ve been with us for a few weeks I call them in to my office and I actually have a senior director of organizational development that manages our talent. And she just recently joined us about six months ago. And that’s just because of our growth. But the first question we ask is, “Is there anything about the job that surprised you?” 100% “No. This is exactly what you told me I would be doing and I remember this from the assessments.” So, I think the assessments are key and I would suggest to other employers that it’s really important to figure out a way to let the candidate know what it’s like to do the job. And when you actually do it, it’s different than hearing about it.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Talking about the assessments, so, how long do you give them and what’s the format? Is it a multiple choice? Can you give people a chance to write things out? How long are the assessments?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Yeah, well, there’s nine of them. And so some of them range from 20 minutes, some of them range to 45 minutes and 50 minutes long. And now that we’ve gone remote, we do a few of them. We can do them virtually where we send them a document, have them print it out, do some work on it, and some of them is calculations. And then it’s also following directions. How do they follow directions? I’m very detailed in terms of what I want to see. And then showing calculations, just like back in school, show your work. And I want to see how they actually go through the calculations. And that tells me a lot because with technology, which has been great and has evolved over time, especially in our industry and I’m sure everybody else too. Just like, platforms like SweetProcess, streamlining things like that. But it really gives me an idea of how they think and going through that instead of just filling in numbers on a template-
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: The different phases, Yonhee. So, you give people three and if it’s not a good fit, then they go to the next three or do you give them all nine in the beginning?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: No. I give them three in the beginning and that kind of gives me an indication of their learning agility going forward. I go through with them and I actually give them the corrected answers and I go through that process because also that tells you how one accepts criticism, how they listen and you can tell if they get it or not, and say, “Oh yeah, I was thinking about doing that way, but I decided this way.” And so again, that’s giving them a chance to actually explain their reasoning. And that’s a big part of it. And so that’s the first phase. And then the other phase is more technical skills. And we use Excel a lot. And so I give them a couple, this is also can be done virtually. I give them assignment on Excel. One of them is 45 minutes long. The other one is 20 minutes long.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: And actually it’s very interesting because students, coming out of college, they have the most difficulty actually creating something from scratch. And if you think about it, today in all industries, what do we have? We have set up templates, we already have set up databases. They just have to learn where to put the numbers. And I think they’re missing out on understanding how the engine works, lifting up that hood and understanding how do the parts work together. And that’s what I’m trying to figure out, how do they think and go problem solving?
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: So, people may drop out or be weeded out at different phases, right? So, we have the job posting, the conversation, conversation assessments. Maybe they do the first three assessments, and then they do the next set of assessments. I want to back up to the job posting piece for a second, because you’re busy, you’re a busy person. You get a hundred of these things. How do you weed people out from the job posting, the conversation? Do people, I mean, fill something out wrong that you’re looking at so that… You don’t have to have 30 hours of conversations with different people.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: No, well, a few things. It’s not only me. We have some managers and we have a senior level person who can also screen these resumes. The cover letters are really important. And I’ll tell you few things that completely discount candidates. If they get our company name wrong, which I’ve seen, then I know they’re not paying attention to all these details.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: If they’re going to miss your company name, they’re going to miss something on the taxes.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Correct. Yes. And also my name, actually. If they find out that maybe it’s coming to me, I have gotten letters addressed to Mr.Gordon. And if they would go to our website, clearly they would see that I am not a Mr.Gordon. So, things like that. And so those things kind of weed out. And also writing skills. Things in the letter, things that they convey. So, as all candidates know, it’s kind of what they have to illustrate and convey in the cover letter and resumes. How am I going to add value to you as the employer? And so those are the things I look for.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: That’s great. So, I see how people kind of weed themselves out, or they drop out. And then from the conversation, the same thing, when you go over it, they may say, “Well,” you ask what they’re looking for and maybe it has nothing to do with the industry. And they may just weed themselves out as far as that goes as well once they get to that. And the next step would be, the assessments are just key. And I love what you said about, it’s not just technical things, but there’s a coachability factor of someone taking criticism there that you wouldn’t get, even by just looking at the assessment itself.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Yeah. And now with the power of Zoom and the Excel exercises, for instance. So, what they do is they have to create a spreadsheet and then they share their screen and they actually have to go through their thought process and their methodology and how to explain something. And really in our business, that’s key. How are you going to be able to explain something to a client? And so just being able to communicate, I mean, those are all involved in that assessment process.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: And then after the assessment, is the onboarding? So, let’s say they get through all these or is there another step in between?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Yeah, there’s another step. So, I really want the candidates to understand about our culture. So, in round three is what I call it, I set up another meeting where they actually get to interview us. And I select employees who might have similar backgrounds, similar age, maybe coming from the same college and where the candidate can ask them questions. And I tell them, “Find out about their journey.” A lot of them are newer, actually. I’ve included some employees who have just been with us for about three months and they’re in the training process. So, what better person to talk about the training than somebody who’s actually going through it, not somebody who’s been with us for 10 years, for example. And so that’s really important for the candidate to talk to people who are just ahead of them in the career path and in the learning, just to understand whether or not the job sounds appealing to me.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: And so I always tell the candidates, this is your show. Now this is really not us interviewing you. This is you interviewing the company. And so they get an opportunity to ask those questions. Then the next phase is bringing them into the office, and that’s the last part of the interview. Bringing them into the office, showing them the office. I think it’s really important. Even though they may not be in the office 100% now, just because of the situation that we’re in, in the environment that we’re in right now. But actually meeting more people. And so there’s a couple more assessments they have to do in the office. I have them talk to our IT department so that we can assess technical skills and their experience with technology in general. But then I have lunch brought in and they get to meet people who are in different positions.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: And again, understanding the culture and hearing how everybody interacts and works together. So, by this time they had a real good feel for the job, but also the culture of our firm and whether or not they’re comfortable in that culture or not. It’s not for everybody. And so, by this time we have a pretty good indication that it might be a good fit, but we’ve also had applicants maybe go in a different direction or maybe when they come in, maybe there’s something that might be a red flag to us. And so I think that part is really important too, to spend that time together.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. I appreciate you saying that. And I’d love to hear some of the red flags that you’ve seen. Because I could see how someone gets at this point. They’ve gone through a lot of vetting. You’ve gone the vetting them and they’ve vetted you, right? And there’s been a lot that’s going on. So, if someone drops out at this part of the process, it’s good because there’s a lot of points where, “Great, we’re not going to spend like 10 more years and find something out.” So, what would be a red flag? They get through this whole process, you’re onboarding them. What’s a red flag look like?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Well, I guess for us it’s more of how they handle criticism, ongoing. That’s one part of it. The other is how, because everything we’ve done up to this point is kind of a building block of, what do they learn from the first assessment and how do they apply that knowledge to the next one? Because it’s really at the very end of the assessments that they do. It’s a big case study they work on. And actually it’s a culmination of everything that they’ve gone through. So, I look for, what did they remember? Do they remember this part, this aspect of this calculation and did they incorporate that? And then also when you’re in person and going through something like this, you can tell if somebody gets very defensive then that might be an issue, where they can’t be wrong and they’re always going to defend their answer.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: So, those are some red flags. From the candidate, I’ve actually had candidates get this far and may have another opportunity and actually might even say to me, “I think that this firm might be a little too large for me.” And so there’s another opportunity that as a smaller firm… And so then I have a conversation, because you never want to force somebody into joining you when you know maybe in their heart, it’s not what they want. And so that’s why during this process, I’m really not always the interviewer, it’s really counselor too. Because I also know what it’s like to not know what you want to do when you’re young and because you’re afraid to make a mistake. You’re afraid to make a decision. And so as much information you can get, the better.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: And so I think that we can all reflect on that, can’t we? In all of our careers, I’m sure you could too Jeremy as you look back and always look and “Gosh, I wish somebody could have explained that to me at this point in my career.” And so, I approach things that way. And so where I kind of say, “Okay, let me take off my JMG hat now. And let’s talk about what you want and what you are comfortable with and what are you not comfortable with?” I’ve actually talked some candidates out of joining us and pursuing that position, because I could just tell. I’ve even helped employees leave after they’ve been with us. Now we have really high retention, but if we have turnover, it usually happens at about two to four years.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: That’s still pretty good. And at that time it’s usually, someone going through the maturation process and just kind of realizing, “Yeah, maybe this may not be for me.” And then you can tell in their job performance too. And so I’ve actually helped some people redirect their career. And they’re so appreciative and I always tell them too, “You don’t want to burn bridges at a young age either the world is small and so let’s figure out a good exit plan for you and let’s figure out what you’re really good at and what might be a good fit for you in the future.”
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: [crosstalk 00:28:44] in touch with me.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah, yeah. I love this because it’s so thorough and there’s different points all along the way that make sure both parties are happy, the company and the individual. And I imagine from the job posting, the conversation to the assessments, to the actual meeting of the team and actually going through more kind of onboarding like activities. So, now we get to this point and we talked before we hit record about the next step is really managing talent. So, what are some of the things that you do once people are onboarded to manage talent?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Well, it’s continuing development professionally and personally. And so we really need to spend time with that. It’s talking to the individuals and I would also say that it’s important to train the managers. Not all great doers are great managers. And I’m sure the audience can attest to that and already probably you’re picturing some people in their mind who were superstars and then they get promoted to that next level and then they’re out of the comfort zone. They need training on that too. We also have to realize, not everybody’s wired the same way. And so, some people are really on a fast pace and really are, gung-ho and very ambitious. And we have others who are also ambitious that maybe just want to take a little bit more caution or a little bit more cautious, very detailed. They may want to get to the same place, but just at a different pace. And we have to respect that. And I think that it’s really, talking to the individuals.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: So, managing our talent is having structure, managing expectations. And you got to let people know what they’re looking at. What does the path look like? But don’t tie them down to a specific timing, but give them a range. And so you’re managing their expectations too, but also setting them up for them so that they understand, what are my milestones that I have to reach? What are you looking for me to do and to accomplish by six months, one year, two years and so on. And so I think that development part is really important. So, we spend a lot of time on professional and personal development, public speaking, giving them opportunities to do that, giving them opportunities to train new people. Because again, explaining concepts to somebody and because that translates to ultimately explaining something to a client or being a manager and explaining something to a group of individuals. So, that’s really important. And I think the managers, and we talk a lot about self-awareness at our firm. We go through a lot of assessments on self-awareness and also emotional intelligence. Everybody’s different and that’s what makes it work. And so I think understanding that and respecting that is really important, in any culture, really, no matter what size you are.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yeah. It’s those small steps that steps them into doing these leadership activities and gaining an understanding of people so by the time they get into those positions, they’ve already practiced it and done it a bunch of times. Even, maybe they realize that maybe they don’t. I’d love to have you talk about adjusting to the new normal. So, adjusting back to the office, I mean, whatever that new normal looks like over the next few years. So, we talked about the importance of vetting candidates, obviously through all these steps and doing the assessments, making sure you’re looking for those key things, looking for those red flags and then onboarding, and then now it’s, what is the new normal look like? So, how are you navigating, adjusting back into virtual/office world?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Yeah, well, I think one key thing is getting input from the employees. There’s one thing in terms of trying to figure out what our strategy is, but really, I think it’s making sure we get feedback from the employees. But also them understanding, just because you say you want to work 100% remote doesn’t mean you’re going to be able to do that, but it’s good to know that you would like to do that. So, let’s figure out maybe how we can have a balance and why it’s important for you to be in the office especially in our business. We did a survey, we surveyed all the employees and we said, “Listen, we’re trying to get a feel for what you guys want and what would work best for you now that you’ve had some experience working remotely and you used to work in the office.” And so that’s been important.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: What do people say, I mean, obviously some people said, “I 100% love this. I want to work remotely 100%.” What were some of the other answers that you found people giving?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: It was a smaller percentage of those that wanted to work 100% remotely, smaller percentage. The majority asked for some kind of a hybrid schedule where they appreciate the human interaction because really that’s what they’re missing out on. By going remote, they’re missing out on the impromptu discussions that just occur. And so there’s a lot of training that happens, there’s a lot of learning that happens just because of these discussions. So, they’re missing out on that. But the majority asked for some kind of a hybrid schedule, which is very doable. So, it’s just a matter of what makes sense. Is it Teams, is it certain groups that come in to the office? And also let’s be fair to the employees. It should be a schedule too.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: And so where we can’t, it doesn’t make sense to really have someone say, “Well, you know I feel like coming in today. So, I think I’m going to come in.” When really they’re scheduled for Wednesday and instead of a Monday. So, we’re working on that schedule too. So, I think that’s probably where we’re going towards. There has to be a good reason, good purpose for the people in the office where they’re together and where it makes sense. And so I think that’s really what we’re working towards.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: It’s a tough one because people are now used to rolling out of bed, going in front of their computer and, I mean, they have a schedule, but not with going anywhere.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: I know they can put on a nice top and they’re in their yoga pants, right?
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: [crosstalk 00:35:29]
Yonhee Choi Gordon: And it looks great. But I think-
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: [crosstalk 00:35:33] of everyone, you have to come work the first day with what you normally wear. Some of it is a dress shirt and shorts or a sweat… you have to come into what you normally wear just for the first day so [inaudible 00:35:46] to see you. What would it looking like?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: We did that actually, when we first went remote last March. We had everybody send in pictures of what their home office looked like. And it was really fun. So, they did their home office, they had their pets near them and it was really kind of fun, but yeah. And actually it’s funny you say that Jeremy, because on interviews, when the applicants are all dressed up, their suits and everything, and then I kind of asked him, I said, “So, are you wearing sweat pants or shorts?” And some of them will stand up and say, “No, I’m wearing a full suit, because I thought you might ask that question.”
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Well, I was on a call the other week with someone and they stood up and they were wearing a full suit. Now, I was shocked. I said, “Good for you. I don’t think I will be putting on a [inaudible 00:36:36] suit.” But no, I love that. Yeah. So, I appreciate it. This has been really valuable. The importance of vetting. So, I have one last question before we get off and it’s around some of your favorite books, business books, leadership books, whatever books that you find would be valuable. Because I remember when you first started your career, someone gave you some books, some trainings, the wall street journal. So, I’m wondering what you recommend as far as that goes. But before I ask it, I want to point people towards jmgfinancial.com. I actually do research too. I looked at it originally when I saw your name. I wasn’t sure if it was a male or female, but when I went on your bio, really impressive bio. So, check out jmgfinancial.com. Checkout SweetProcess, check out more episodes of the podcast and re-listen to this really hearing how they vet candidates and go through this interview process to reduce turnover ultimately. So Yonhee, last question is, what books, resources do you recommend to people?
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Well, two come to mind and more so because they’re great references. I think a lot of times and now maybe it has changed where people are reading more, but I found that this next generation, they don’t like to read as many long books and maybe that’s because of their used to the texting and the quick snippets that they get on newsfeeds with social media. But one is StrengthsFinder 2.0. There’s an assessment at the back, but it’s just a great reminder that we’re not great at all things and really kind of understanding what are we good at and capitalizing on how do you use those strengths in each of us to apply to our daily life? The other is Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Again, talking about personal competencies, social competencies, which are really important. And they have strategies in there too. I talk to a lot of college students and those are the two I recommend. I even use those as a reference for myself sometimes because I get to meet so many people and it allows me to kind of reinforce the things that I know about myself, but also just reminding me about other people as I assess other individuals.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: And I think those two references are great. And leadership books, they are so many out there talking about, finding the right fit. How to be an impactful leader. And I think anything like that is always a great reference. I’d also just remind people to… I think it’s important when you go through the training and development, just one thing I just thought about. I think it’s important to tell people why you’re going through something, why you’re having them go through this. Because when you tell them why they have to learn something, then it kind of gives a different relevance to them, gives them background. And then they’re like, “Oh, I see. So, you’re kind of setting me up for the next phase of my career.” So, then it gives them more meaning as they’re learning versus, “Just learn this,” but you have to explain why, why do I need you to learn this? And I think that’s really important.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Yonhee I first want to thank you, check out more episodes of the podcast and thanks Yonhee. Appreciate it.
Yonhee Choi Gordon: Thank you so much for having me Jeremy. I really appreciated the conversation.
Dr. Jeremy Weisz: Thanks for listening to the Process Breakdown podcast. Before you go, quick question. Do you want a tool that makes it easy to document processes, procedures, and or policies for your company so that your employees have all the information they need to be successful at their job? If yes, sign up for a free 14 day trial of SweetProcess. No credit card is required to sign up, go to sweetprocess.com, sweet like candy and process like process.com. Go now to sweet process.com and sign up for your risk-free 14 day trial.
Owen: Hi, this is Owen the CEO and co-founder here at SweetProcess. If you’ve enjoyed listening to this podcast interview, actually, you know what I want you to do, go ahead and leave us a five star review on iTunes, that way we get more people aware of the good stuff that you get here on this podcast. Again, go on to iTunes and leave us a five star review. We’ll look forward to reading your review. Have a good day.
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