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Building a Better Team from a Human Resources Perspective with Rene Davis

Special Guests

Rene Davis

Rene is the Human Resources Director for Paragon School of Pet Grooming, Learn2Groom and Whiskers Resort & Pet Spa. Rene began her career in finance. However, she was quickly given human resources and leadership opportunities that grew her into a seasoned Human Resources Business Partner and Leader with strong business acumen. Rene has worked in small, mid-size and large companies ranging from non-profit, manufacturing, healthcare, property management/development, hospitality, golf resorts, and trucking/logistics. She holds the Senior Professional in Human Resources certification, a certification held by less than 52,000 HR professionals amongst an estimated 900,000 HR professionals in the US. Rene has proven to have the knowledge and experience to work among all levels of an organization as a strategic partner and technical/subject matter expert. She is passionate about developing leadership and individual contributor roles. She finds her current role “the best in her career” due to growth and opportunity in the organizations – and also because she can bring her two dogs, Maddie and Lili, to the office with her.

Joe Zucarello talks to Rene Davis about adopting a people-centered approach to your business. Find out the three major steps that can build your team – and yourself!

  • What can I do every day to develop my team?
  • How much feedback should I give my employees?
  • When should I point out issues in the workplace?
  • How can I keep track of positive behavior?
  • How do I view my staff?

Tune in to find out.

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Transcript
Announcer: Welcome to the Hey Joe, a podcast answering questions asked by our listeners, created by pet professionals for pet professionals. And now your host, Hey Joe’s very own, Joe Zuccerello.

Joe Zuccarello: What’s up, everyone? Joe Zuccarello here and welcome to Hey Joe, a podcast brought to you by Paragon School of Pet Grooming. Check out our site at paragonpetschool.com for lots of really cool information on a variety of programs, products, and to connect to educational resources such as webinars, podcasts, current events, special news, certifications, and lots of other helpful information to help you grow yourself, your team, and, of course, your business. Let’s get started with this week’s episode.

Joe Zuccarello: Hey, everyone. This is Joe Zuccarello, your host of the Hey Joe podcast. As we often do, we kind of collect a lot of the questions from the subscribers and the audience members just like yourself. And one of the heavy-hitting topics that we get asked all of the time is how to either grow our team, manage our team, lead our team, and sometimes just how to grow, manage, and lead ourselves. So I thought what we could do is bring on one of our resident experts, if you would, to the Hey Joe podcast and to you the audience members out there.

Joe Zuccarello: We’re going to talk today about building a better you or building a better team, because it really doesn’t really matter if you’re just a solo act or you do have the opportunity to lead other people, growth and building our talents as far as how do we relate to each other is so important in today’s workplace. I am joined today by a very special person. Her name is Rene Davis.

Joe Zuccarello: Rene is at Paragon and learn2groomdogs.com, Whiskers Pet Resort and Spa. She is our resident HR manager. Yes, human resources manager. I am joined by her today and she’s going to share some incredible information with you. So, again, whether you are a solo act or you supervise 1 to 100 people, 1000 people, if you’re fortunate enough, Rene’s going to have something for you that will be very interested. Rene, thanks for hopping on the podcast with us today.

Rene Davis: Cool. Thank you for having me, Joe.

Joe Zuccarello: So Rene, as I say all the time with all of my subject matter experts, all of the Hey Joe podcast guests, nobody introduces themselves better than themselves. So can you tell us a little bit about Rene Davis?

Rene Davis:Sure. I have been working in the arena of HR for probably a good 20 years. Kind of developed coming from roles that were a finance and HR combo. And now have just refined myself to working into HR. I am a certified Senior HR Professional, which is a certification, the highest level of certification that you can receive in HR, in the United States anyway. And I have really just developed my HR teeth working for a variety of different companies between smaller companies, a hundred companies, to companies that are publicly traded of 10,000 employees. Worked in nonprofit, several different industries. And I am just thrilled to be part of this team now, and I’m working in another arena of the pet-related services.

Joe Zuccarello: Well, and I know you’re just a fanatic for your pets that you have. So, having a pet-friendly workplace and everything hopefully is an extra benefit that an HR professional can definitely appreciate as well.

Rene Davis:Absolutely. I say that is one of the things that makes this, frankly and honestly, the best job I’ve ever had.

Joe Zuccarello: So, Rene, was I accurate in the introduction of this podcast to say that it really doesn’t matter, again, because the Hey Joe listener audience out there come in a variety of different shapes and sizes of their businesses and such. But was I correct in saying it really doesn’t matter if you’re a solo act or if you supervise or manage or own, or even just work amongst several people, HR personal relationship building skills are important no matter what size workplace we have.

Rene Davis:Oh, absolutely believe that. There is opportunity for everyone to develop themselves, whether they’re working just on developing their own self, whether they’re helping someone else to develop, or whether you’re taking the approach as a team and you’re trying to develop together. The learning process never ends, and development never ends. And I see people development and having them rise to the next level of whatever kind of career that they are in, is one of the most exciting things and most important things about my job.

Rene Davis:HR is the one that can be the HR police, making sure that all the policies are followed and things are signed. But we have to do that because we have to do that. To get into this role and really love it, you really have to be dedicated to that, developing people. And sometimes we’re not developing for the role that they’re in right now. We’re developing for another role somewhere else. So I wholeheartedly believe that there is room for this in any organization, even with any person.

Joe Zuccarello: This is just one of those multiple hats that sole proprietors get to wear until you get to a certain size. And then at a certain point, the business just makes sense to have this extra support within as a… We’ve often referred to people’s talents as are their super powers. So Rene’s super powers are helping the organization now maybe take a step further, or any HR manager to help an organization take a step further in their development. So if we do have the sole proprietors out there, if we have just individuals working amongst other team members, the concepts that we’re going to share with you today, I’ve asked Rene to make sure that they’re relative and that they do relate to everybody of all shapes and sizes of your business.

Joe Zuccarello: A real quick story. I remember when I worked for a multi-unit pet service provider years ago, I had the opportunity, really the honor, to kind of grow within this company. And I remember the point, Rene, when we got to a size as very similar to what we just experienced at Paragon, learn2groomdogs.com and whiskers, we got to a certain size. But we needed somebody like yourself to come in and help our leadership team grow themselves, grow others, and really grow the business.

Joe Zuccarello: And the acceleration that then happened was phenomenal. But I’ll tell you what. At first, and you’re talking to an ops guy. I know you remind me that all the time, right?

Rene Davis:Yes.

Joe Zuccarello: But you [inaudible 00:06:55] that operations and HR we kind of butt heads sometimes because operations is like… Especially when you’re growing in a business, operations might be like, “They just don’t have it. That person just doesn’t have it. They don’t have what it takes to be successful.” And HR pushes back politely, which we have a rule around Paragon and such, polite pushbacks. HR pushes back and says, “Well, define it.” Oh, that’s so frustrating for operations. But you know what happens really, really quickly is we get past ourselves, we get past this resistance.

Joe Zuccarello: I personally grew an appreciation for a people-centered approach very quickly because I was convinced, and yeah, okay, I had a little bit of a hard outer shell for a little bit. But I was convinced that our greatest strength is our people and investing in them and investing in ourselves was the best way forward. That was the best path forward. So Rene, we kind of talked in our planning session, on our show prep, about bringing maybe three big concepts to our audience today in the short amount of time that we have to spend with them.

Joe Zuccarello: The number one topic or the number one step, and these are things, Rene, you’ve told me so I can’t wait to unpack these, the very first one is develop self and that open-mindedness to learning. So let’s unpack that for a moment. What are some of the characteristics about developing self? What are your words of wisdom in that area?

Rene Davis:Well, one thing that I coach too is when we think about develop self, many people think of adult learning, going out to seminars, going to a training course somewhere, when really when you’re developing yourself, I use the 70-20-10 model, which means 10… I’m sorry, I start over. That’s 70% of your learning occurs on the job. It’s what you learn while you’re doing it. And that can mean anything from developing a skill, learning something new, perhaps how you groom a dog, or run your shop, whatever that looks like.

Rene Davis:And then, 20% of your learning comes from learning from others. So do you have a mentor? Are you part of a community? One good example we have is the Learn 2 Groom community. On Facebook, people can ask other people in similar businesses, how do you do this? And that’s how we learn 20%. The final part, the 10% is only that in which we go to formal trainings. So I encourage people to really think of their job every day, what they’re doing, as developing themselves, as learning.

Rene Davis:I think we all need to be open-minded to learning and understand that, again, like I said with the 70-20-10 model, that it comes from different sources in different ways. So just think about how you define that developed self, and how you define learning and development. You’ll find lots of opportunities in which you’re developing yourself, whether it’s modeling how to have empathy with someone else, whether that be a customer. I’m not talking about sympathy, I’m talking about empathy with a customer, with a student, with another member of your team, whether it’s a peer-to-peer relationship or a supervisor-to-employee relationship. Learning how to be disciplined in your work, how to be consistent, and to demonstrate that confidence, those are all things that you really got to learn more from, from working on the job, watching others, and practicing your own behaviors.

Rene Davis:Then the 20% is what you’re going to learn from others. Find somebody that’s a good example of how you want to conduct yourself, and model them, and work on it. Make it forefront of your mind. And then, you certainly can find some classes on those kinds of things that can help in some of these softer skills. But it’s really stuff that you learn on the job.

Joe Zuccarello: You know what I really appreciate about what you’re saying as well is that even though, let’s say, 70% of what you learn, you learn on the job, 20% is what you learn from others and 10% is actual sort of formalized training and skill enhancement. I would like to think then that if you kind of flip the table just a little bit, now that I’m kind of going out on a limb, so, of course, correct me if you need to. But I think that sometimes that 20% and that 10% might have a greater impact even than the 70% that you learn on the job, just long range. And especially, and it may be as it relates to leading and growing others.

Rene Davis:Well, and here’s how I see it, and I agree with that, Joe. But what I see is that the 10 and 20% has to be practiced. If you don’t practice it, you’re not going to retain it. It’s not going to make a difference for you. So that’s where the 70% comes in. You take the 10 and the 20 and you use it in that 70% of your time.

Joe Zuccarello: Great point.

Rene Davis:That’s how it becomes a part of you.

Joe Zuccarello: Yeah. Yeah. No. Okay, I see how you’re tying that together. So that becomes the 70%, so that becomes how you practice. And you know what? You’re absolutely right. I had somebody tell me a long time ago that, especially as it relates to empathy, two real quick, I call them Joe-isms, but two things I want to bring to the audience. The very first one is, be careful you’re not writing stories in your head, right?

Rene Davis:Yep.

Joe Zuccarello: Sometimes our imagination just takes us down paths that all it does is create sometimes worry and frustration. At the worst case scenario, creates an opinion that’s not validated, either about a person, a pet, a procedure, or whatever, politician, whatever it is that you are thinking about. So be careful not to write stories in your head. So we’re going to get a little bit to documentation later. It helps you get centered, again, as far as what is real and what is something you might be making up inside your own head.

Joe Zuccarello: The second one is there’s always a thing behind the thing. So if somebody’s frustrated, if somebody is having a bad day, if somebody’s having a good day. So not all things with HR are bad. I’m not trying to set you up here, Rene.

Rene Davis:Absolutely.

Joe Zuccarello: Rene brings a lot of great things too.

Rene Davis:It’s the good stuff that brings me back.

Joe Zuccarello: Yeah, yeah, exactly. But there’s always a thing behind the thing. Sometimes if a customer is borderline unreasonable, you don’t know what you don’t know. You don’t know what’s going on in their own life. So just have some empathy, and I really appreciate that particular… Empathy and humility. So that’s part of developing yourself. I love that 70-20-10 model and… Oh, and for the Hey Joe listener audience out there, we are going to, at the very end of this, and you can go to paragonpetschool.com to download a…

Joe Zuccarello: Rene has developed some really great easy guides and information for you to follow. So we’re going to make those available to you by going to paragonpetschool.com and downloading the free resources. So, definitely want to check that out. So number two point, if you’re developing yourself, of course, if you are a leader or in… Again, even if you’re just working inside a team with others, you do have the ability to develop others. So selfless, number one, develop others is number two. And, Rene, as we start talking about developing others, now we start getting into the meat and potatoes of the expectations. What do you expect? What is expected of you?

Rene Davis:Yep. I’m sure Joe has heard me with this, as other members of the management team here, is until we can define what we expect out of an employee, it is nearly impossible to hold them accountable. On the reverse side of that, if you don’t define for yourself what expectations you have, how are you going to measure yourself in being successful or not? I say often, if we can’t articulate it to ourselves, how are we going to articulate that to someone else? So, taking the time to really set up what expectations look like.

Rene Davis:Not that they have to be set in stone, that that is all we’re ever going to do. This is the expectations. It’s never going to change. That’s not the point. We still need to be fluid, but we need to be able to define them in a way that anyone else could understand, because if they don’t understand them, you can’t hold them accountable and they’re not going to be able to reach them in a meaningful way.

Joe Zuccarello: I’ll tell you, I think from an operation standpoint, believe it or not, it should be the easiest for operations to define expectations. But I’ve often found in all of my leadership roles, in all of my consulting roles, believe it or not, I think that’s the hardest thing for operators to define.

Rene Davis:Oh, it absolutely is. Absolutely. I challenge management in all different environments, not only operation, but sales and accounting and my R&D department at one job that I worked at. And can you tell me what good looks like? If you need to set this employee up to succeed, you need to be able to define what good looks like. And that really sometimes is very difficult for employers or managers to define.

Joe Zuccarello: Well, and a good HR professional or somebody that is at least… Again, if you’re listening to the Hey Joe podcast out there, you’re getting some great information from Rene that normally you’d have to probably go out and hire somebody to talk to you about or pay for a consultant to tell you. So you’re getting this served up to you. And I’m just going to offer one very strong piece of advice, is sometimes you have to get over yourself, especially in operations because sometimes you’re just too tired. Sometimes the day was too long. You dealt with too many customers.

Joe Zuccarello: But at a moment when you can have a clear head, defining expectations is an incredible investment of time for yourself. There’s a couple of different ways that we can define expectations. Again, there’s thousands of ways. Rene, you’d probably sit for days and talk to the audience about this, but two ways are written and video. And written, as you would imagine, describes what correct looks like. What does correct look like? But there is this growing, especially I think in our… Probably in a lot of industries, but we’re obviously just talking specifically to pet care providers. But especially in our industry, the onset or the popularity of video modeling is becoming more prevalent. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Rene Davis:Yeah, actually, I’m very excited for us here, other companies that Melissa Verplank owns, and that we are having new HRIS system that we now are able to connect videos to and whether it’s a new employee coming in, and we want to show them some certain things, Maybe it’s around safety or how to open the building, many different things, that we can push a video out to them now to watch and be able to see it performed rather than just living in the world of either talking to them about that, maybe showing them.

Rene Davis:But people forget things. And so, if you have that video, you can go back and look at. Often that helps. So we’re really excited to be able to bring that model into our organization. And with today’s cell phones, it’s easy. You don’t have to hire a big tech company to come in and shoot some short videos. So we all have to learn things on a variety of different platforms. You have to see it. You have to do it. And maybe then, even when you really learn something, is teaching somebody else to do it. So I think having the different platforms, if you will, to provide to people to develop themselves is very, very helpful.

Joe Zuccarello: Well, and again, coming from an operation standpoint, sometimes we’re almost dumbfounded because somebody doesn’t understand how to do something so simple. To us, it’s like breathing, right?

Rene Davis:Right.

Joe Zuccarello: Like, for example, I had the opportunity to talk with a consulting client not too long ago, and they shared with me the frustration that they had about somebody not knowing how to mop a floor, that are talking about a 19-year old young person who didn’t understand mopping. This person that owned the company, she said instinctively she pulled out her cell phone and had somebody record her mopping the floor. And she said, believe it or not, it changed their world. So these basic tasks, and to your point, Rene, with technology being the way that it is now, and so easy with cell phones, I mean, oh my gosh, you don’t need that big expensive equipment anymore. You need a cell phone and a place to store the files, and email the files to [inaudible 00:20:01].

Joe Zuccarello: And everybody that joins your team, you sit them down and they watch these basic things, and it’s so easy. And how wonderful is that it’s duplicatable or replicatable, I guess. That’s something you could do over and over and over again, sharing the exact same message. So I love that-

Rene Davis:And that’s one of the… Go ahead, Joe.

Joe Zuccarello: No, no, no. I’ll switch. Go ahead.

Rene Davis:That’s one of the things that is a challenge often, especially with new employers or employees maybe doing something different, is they may have several different people training them. So they don’t get the consistent training because one person does it one way and maybe someone else does it another way. With the videos, you can set the standard and then take it from there.

Joe Zuccarello: You can even set the video… I think we might have talked about this on another, Hey Joe podcast, or maybe for our learn2groomdogs.com members out there. I did a JayZ10, or I can’t remember where we talked about this. But one of the things I know that came up was a suggestion of, even if you video or even take photos even, of what a model employee looks like on the job, because it’s difficult to explain what professional looks like, because, again, listen, everybody comes in different shapes and sizes and heights and widths and weights and whatever. But if you took a moment and said, “This is what correct mostly looks like based on maybe a male, a female, maybe it varies by department, if you’ve got a company that…

Joe Zuccarello: We used to, in extreme heat situations, used to allow the back of the house, the people back in the boarding and lodging area and daycare to wear shorts outside. But we would not allow people in at the front desk door shorts because it was just a different appearance expectation for our customer’s experience. But taking pictures of that, how do you explain khaki? That was always the most difficult thing. You’d see khaki pants. I’ve seen khaki pants be nearly white, or maybe they were white and they were just dirty, all the way up to almost dark brown. Right?

Rene Davis:Right.

Joe Zuccarello: So how do you define khaki? And that’s kind of the example I’ve used over time of saying, you know what? Maybe we need to take a picture and say, “This is what I mean when I say khaki.”

Rene Davis:Right. It’s also a good tool to use to retrain. Many times when I sit down with a leader about performance with someone, the opportunity as well, let’s retrain them. Let’s make sure they understand what they’re supposed to be doing. Have they just kind of moved away from our standard? And so, you can bring these videos back out as part of the performance management piece of HR and retraining the employees as well.

Joe Zuccarello: Real quick, just a real quick reminder, I know we’re probably pretty deep into our podcast session with Rene Davis. She’s the human resources guru, if you would, at Melissa Verplank companies at Paragon School of Pet Grooming, learn2groomdogs.com, and also Whiskers Pet Resort and Spa. What she’s sharing with us is a lot of very valuable information on how companies can start to employ the techniques of human resources management, whether you’re one person, a one-person show, or a multi-person organization, or just working inside of a larger team as well.

Joe Zuccarello: We’re talking about some of these really cool, very helpful points about growing of the strength of our business. And we talked about first develop self. So we talked a little bit about that. And now we’re almost wrapping up the second topic, which is developing others. And Rene, you’ve talked often about frequent feedback, and not just feedback but face-to-face feedback. Tell us why you’re so adamant about that type of interaction.

Rene Davis:I think in today’s world with so many… I can text people, I can message people, I can email people. It’s really easy to provide feedback to each other using one of those methods. But I’m sure everyone has heard or experienced receiving something electronically, something in writing, and you completely lose the tone. So you read it and you take it completely different than what the person intended. So maybe now you end up being a little miffed at that person because you read it with a certain tone of where you were at the moment you read it.

Rene Davis:So I really encourage the face to face so that we don’t lose that. We don’t lose the back and forth in a healthy way. We have opportunities, even if we don’t work in the same office, maybe you’ve got some locations around the city or people that work remotely, whatever that might look like. We do have now the ability to do video conferencing, really inexpensive methods. So get on your computer with them and have a face-to-face conversation that way as well.

Rene Davis:Feedback is one of the things that I probably push the hardest. That’s how we make these adjustments throughout the day with our staff. And it’s about just giving these small nudges, I call them course corrections sometimes, just to kind of just keep things aligned. When I have the most difficulty is when we have let an employee act or do a certain thing on a frequent basis or for a long time. And then the manager gets to the boiling point of, I’ve got to do something. I’ve asked them, what kind of feedback have you given them? Well, they know how to do it. Well, how do you know they know how to do it? Have you provided them the feedback? And that’s a struggle.

Rene Davis:I talk about feedback in a couple of ways. One, that it has to be timely. You can’t wait till the end of the month to talk about something that happened at the beginning of the month. And it has to be specific. It can’t be, “Your demeanor towards the coworkers is not correct.” What am I supposed to do with that? Or even in a positive way, “Hey, great job today.” Well, what did you do today that was great? So I talk about it being specific, what did the employee do or what did your coworker do, whatever that was, why was it good or bad? There’s positive feedback and negative feedback, what that they did that was good or bad specifically?

Rene Davis:Then what do you want them to continue or to stop doing? So if I’m giving a positive feedback, I’m going to say, “Providing that level of service to our customer really helps us to be the leader in the community. Thank you. I appreciate your work.” Now they know exactly what they did and what you want to have them continue.

Joe Zuccarello: Well, and I like-

Rene Davis:Does that make sense?

Joe Zuccarello: Total sense, and I liked the frequency aspect of that. Some things have just kind of jumped in my mind as you were sharing that information with us, was, again, it’s not all about catching people doing something bad. Let’s try to challenge ourselves to find somebody doing something good. Find, and maybe it’s like an equal balance because, again, people say, and I’ve read this everywhere and maybe the folks out there, I know Rene, I know you have read this, there’s no such thing as a bad employee, just bad managers.

Rene Davis:Correct.

Joe Zuccarello: Now, again, there’s probably people right now just as those words left my lips, people are like, “You’re wrong. You’re wrong. Absolutely [inaudible 00:27:38]…” Okay, there might be people that are less inclined to be successful, but-

Rene Davis:Well, and here’s how I look at it, Joe-

Joe Zuccarello: But managing those people, so do you allow them to stay in your business? Do you try to course correct through feedback and trying to grow them? I almost think that if they’re less inclined to be successful, you do have kind of a responsibility to at least invest in them to see if they can amend that. And sometimes it’s just our fault for keeping them too long in some cases.

Rene Davis:Correct. Yeah.

Joe Zuccarello: We still are in control, believe it or not.

Rene Davis:Well, and my philosophy on that is you provide them the feedback. You provide them the opportunity. You give them all the tools that they need to be successful in that job. And frankly, some people aren’t suited for this job. It doesn’t mean they’re a bad person or a bad employee. They’re just not suited for that particular job. They could excel and be great at another job, just not this one.

Joe Zuccarello: That’s right. Square peg, round hole. Here’s an example, and I saw this out in the internet and was really, really a great example to make this point was… And again, we know what you’re talking about here, Rene, is relationship building, and communication. Open and frequent communication. I saw this example. It might be a little difficult to describe. So I’m going to give it my best shot.

Joe Zuccarello: If you take a bottle of water, just a regular bottle of water that’s full, and extend your arm all the way straight out… I believe this was a university professor that did this experiment. It talked about the weight of holding onto things too long and how heavy that conversation gets, how heavy that relationship gets, and so on and so on. But their example was hold a bottle of water out and ask yourself, “Is this easy to do?”

Joe Zuccarello: Of course, you’re going to say, “Well, yeah, it’s a bottle of water.” My arm is fully extended. I’m holding a bottle of water in my hand. I’m going to come back and check on you in an hour. And you tell me how heavy that bottle of water is. The water didn’t get any heavier. It’s just that the strain of holding onto something too long becomes painful. Hey, I did pretty good explaining that, didn’t I? Did you see it in your head?

Rene Davis:You did. You did. That’s a great example. That’s a great example of letting the laundry list build before you decide that I’m going to HR or I’m going to sit down and talk with the employee. If you give them that frequent feedback and make these course corrections throughout the day, it’s much more successful than having that big sit down, “Well, we’re going to talk about all the things that you did wrong in the last six months.”

Joe Zuccarello: Yeah. Sort of deflating.

Rene Davis:That doesn’t work very well.

Joe Zuccarello: Deflating being on the receiving end of that, right?

Rene Davis:Yeah. And I encourage-

Joe Zuccarello: All right, so let’s talk about the… Go ahead. Go ahead. Finish your thought.

Rene Davis:I encourage people at whatever level, peer-to-peer relationships or relationships between supervisor and an employee to find those opportunities for positive feedback. That’s how you move a culture. There’s two different types of cultures, in my opinion. There is the punitive culture where all we do is write you up. We give you points for doing this wrong. It’s completely punitive, or there is the culture that you reward the good behavior. So you celebrate and recognize the good behaviors.

Rene Davis:You still deal with the bad behavior, so it’s things that are not meeting expectations through coach counseling and discipline, but you really highlight all the good things. That’s what you focus on. And then, that provides a more positive work environment and then people look to those doing the right thing. And that’s example that they’re looking for that they look to model.

Joe Zuccarello: We’ve talked about developing self. We’ve talked about developing others, but now we get into the how part of that. To a certain degree, it does require some documentation. I know a real estate professional and she’s always reminding me, location, location, location when it comes to investing in real estate. But I will tell you that all HR professionals I talk to, they have their own version in its document, document, document. So as I look at that, I look at the work involved with documentation.

Joe Zuccarello: Again, Rene, we’re talking to people out there and Hey Joe listener audience. These are probably owner operators or teammates in a very busy work environment. And before you know it, a 10-hour day has clicked by and all we can really even do is just barely keep our eyes open to drive home, make dinner, spend some time with the family, whatever. And then it’s like Groundhog day. We get up, wash, rinse, repeat. We get up and do it all over again tomorrow. But documentation is definitely worth the upfront effort. Would you agree?

Rene Davis:Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Again, it’s not about just disciplining the bad and the ugly. It is also about documenting the good things that people have done. Most especially if you’re in the environment that you want to sit down on a periodic basis and maybe each year, and just provide, how’s performance going. I encourage people to have those kind of meetings more frequently, whether they’re one on ones or just having a conversation over coffee, not waiting until the end of the year.

Rene Davis:But the point is when you sit down to have that, we can’t remember everything that someone did, whether it was good or maybe not so good. You need to document it in some way, whether you use the notes in your phone, whether you keep a notepad near you where you can jot things down. It doesn’t have to be big and formal. You’re just writing down the date, who it was and what happened.

Rene Davis:Then when we need to come back to that and build a performance appraisal, or in some cases, when it gets serious, when we have to go and defend ourselves in court, we’ve got the information that happened when it happened and wasn’t… We didn’t trust our minds to come up and our memory to rebuild what happened. Even small businesses have experienced where they’ve got drug into court for something and the courts won’t accept documentation that is not contemporaneous.

Joe Zuccarello: Well, and even if you just try to remember things you did personally. I mean, if you should be able to remember anything, it should be, what were your accomplishments or where were your areas of improvement over the course of the last week, month, six months, a year. That takes a lot of work and nobody knows you better than you. So how can you be expected to do that for anybody else? So to your point, making your point loud and clear, just jot it down.

Joe Zuccarello: I don’t care if it’s sticky notes and it’s thrown in somebody’s folder, or you put them in your pocket and at the end of the day, just like playing cards. Put them in somebody’s folder and then you can collect and organize those later. But at least you captured the moment, good or bad.

Rene Davis:Correct. Good or bad. And it’s very important. Again, kind of with the feedback thing, let’s look for people doing things right, and reward that behavior because that will get us further than having the environment of always pointing out when people do things wrong. We have to do that. But let’s overwhelm that with finding people doing things right.

Joe Zuccarello: Well, and again, it goes back to what we talked about in the very beginning of this, and that is operating our businesses or our own behavior from a people-centered approach. I mean, let’s face it. We’re all human beings. I don’t know that anybody, if you supervise somebody, if you’re put in a role of being a manager, leader, supervisor, influencer, whoever you are, I really don’t believe that people get up in the morning and they’re getting dressed and they’re saying, “I’m going to go in and destroy Joe’s business today.” I don’t think people are wired that way. I really don’t.

Joe Zuccarello: I think it’s more so they get in and they just don’t know what is expected of them. And there’s this disconnect. And, guys, I’m going to exercise a great deal of humility in what I’m about to say. I fail at this often, but I’m working on it. And I expect that I’ll never perfect it, and that’s an okay position to be in. My team, that I’m fortunate to lead, I give them the ability and the license to politely push back because you know what, I don’t have all of the answers. And sometimes things are a test, and sometimes things are a trial. And I might even start by saying, “Listen, I think I know that this is the best way to do it, but you might need to prove me right and you might need to prove me wrong, but let’s prove it out one way or the other.”

Joe Zuccarello: Just that type of humility I’ve found serves me and my teams really well. I don’t pretend to know everything. And that, to me, it’s so liberating. It’s not saying, “Hey, I’m a miserable failure and I don’t deserve the role that I’ve been given.” It’s not that at all. I think it’s just the opposite. I hope that others then know that they’re allowed to craft and form and develop their own skills in those same guardrails.

Rene Davis:Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. I say often that we all have our own blind sides, things that we just can’t see in ourselves or in maybe the work that we’re doing, the planning we’re doing. So it’s really important to foster that environment where everyone can feel like they can have an equal voice and provide feedback up, down, sideways to each other. And when it comes to providing solutions, being collaborative in that approach, just takes things to a whole new level in the workplace.

Joe Zuccarello: It does. Absolutely. Gosh, it’s so rewarding and it reduces so much weight, if you would, in a relationship. So, again, maybe heck, take this to your personal life. Exercise some of the same characteristics and principles in your personal life. Maybe even in your child, growing your children and having a positive influence on your children. So what do you do next? So the Hey Joe listener audience out there, here’s what I challenge you to do. I challenge you to begin looking at people around you differently. And this is all people, in and outside the workplace. But here we’re talking a lot about the workplace right now.

Joe Zuccarello: So look at them differently. They are not just coworkers. They’re not just employees or employers in certain cases. And they’re not just friends right in the workplace, but what they are, they are partners in your business. So the question is what impact do you and everyone you work with have as partners on your business? So here’s kind of a call to action for you. Go to paragonpetschool.com and go to the resources center to the Hey Joe section in the resources center and take advantage of this free information that Rene is crafting and is going to be a placing out there for you to download.

Joe Zuccarello: It’s really simple to go get, and share your success stories back with us. Again, this is one of those topics that comes in a lot to the Hey Joe podcast. And the way that you submit questions and topics for future consideration on shows and episodes is submit your questions. It’s simple to do. Send us an email at heyjoequestions@paragonpetschool.com. So, again, we went through three very important teaching points today with Rene Davis, the human resources manager at Paragon, Whiskers Pet Resort and Spa, and learn2groomdogs.com. And those were develop self, develop others, and work on documentation.

Joe Zuccarello: Rene, thank you, thank you, thank you. I hope that you would agree to come back on a future podcast and even bring more wisdom to the Hey Joe audience.

Rene Davis:Absolutely. I would love to do so. I think there’s a lot of strategic human resources information that can be shared. But equally there’s some of the tactical and transactional stuff that sometimes we all forget about and that’s why you have people like me around. But to be able to share some of the information around hiring and firing and all of those kinds of things, I would be just honored to come back onto the podcast to help with.

Joe Zuccarello: Juicy topics for sure. And absolutely, you have an open invitation. So let’s start developing those topics now. Rene, thank you so much and have a great rest of your day.

Rene Davis:Thank you. All right.

About Joe

Joe Zuccarello is VP of the Paragon School of Pet Grooming, leaders in grooming education on campus and online. He possesses more than three decades of experience in the pet grooming, product development and pet business consulting disciplines.
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