Employee Engagement with a Hybrid Remote Workforce with Richard Hadden

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Employee Engagement with a Hybrid Remote Workforce with Richard Hadden

Richard Hadden is an author and workplace expert with a focus on the connection between Employee Engagement and business results.

He’s the co-author of four books on Leadership and Employee Engagement, including his latest book, Contented Cows Still Give Better Milk.

As a Certified Speaking Professional, Richard has spoken and conducted training, over the last 20-plus years, for more than 1200 audiences on five continents.


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Roy (00:02):

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the business of business podcast. This is Roy. Don’t forget. You can find us@wwwdotthebusinessofbusinesspodcast.com. We’re also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, under the same name. You can also please be sure and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues. You can find us on iTunes, Stitcher, Google, play, and Spotify. So we’re going to jump right into it today. I’ve been talking to this gentleman for the better part of a week, and very excited to jump in. We are very fortunate enough today to have Richard Hadden with us. He is an author and a workplace expert with the focus on the connection between employing engagement and business results.

Uh, this is kinda what caught my eye is, uh, you know. One of my soap boxes, hot buttons is employee retention, employee turnover. And I think that the employee engagement is a huge aspect of that. Uh, Richard is our, uh, also co authored four books on leadership and employee engagemen. The latest is, uh, contended cows still give better milk. And he’s also a certified professional speaker. Has conducted training over the last 20 plus years from more than 1200 audiences on five continents. Richard, thank you so much for taking time out of your day. It’s awesome to have you here.

Richard (01:42):

Thank you, Roy. It’s great to be here.

Roy (01:44):

So, um, what we kinda talked about, uh. Getting you to come on and talk about today, excuse me. Is the, uh, employee engagement and it has to do with the hybrid of remote and in office workers. You know, kind of this COVID situation that we find ourselves in. A lot of companies have sent people home. And, uh, you know, to be really honest, uh, a lot of times we don’t do well with employee engagement. When people are in the office and right under our feet.

So having them at home and being remote and distance. I can only imagine that, uh, employee engagement. You know, if we looked at it as a line graph, it would be going. Going to go in and then just like fall off a cliff about. You know, the same time when everybody got home. I’m going to turn it over to you. Kind of let you tell us, tell us a little bit about yourself. How you got here, why you found yourself on this journey of employee engagement and we’ll go from there.

Richard (02:48):

Okay. Well, great. Thank you. Yeah, I, uh, I have lived and worked in Jacksonville, Florida, all my life so far. And, uh, gosh, about 30 years ago, uh, I was kind of doing my own, uh, my own thing. I had been in the computer business and, uh, was a software engineer and all of that stuff.

And then I managed a group of highly technical people. Through a series of changes and corporate buyouts and things like that. I found myself kind of, uh, with my own business. It was funny because my clients kind of started to transition me from more of the technical stuff. To more of the people, part of the business. And, uh, you know, I’ve been at school and had an MBA and all that good stuff. And that really was, was more my interest even than the technical stuff. So I just kind of started doing that.

Richard (03:34):

I started doing trainings, started doing leadership training, started speaking at conferences and things like that. And then I ran into this fellow named bill Catlett, who lives in Memphis. Bill had been very instrumental in the, uh, early days of the FedEx leadership Institute. And bill was also an entrepreneur doing, uh, working with his clients. Um, and we had been put together on a couple of projects. We found out we kinda liked to hang out and we kind of thought the same way. And so, uh, at one point, bill came to me and he said, you know what? I’ve been looking for research. Now this was before the internet was really in wide used. It was there, but it wasn’t anything like it is today.

Speaker 3 (04:15):

Right? And this was about 90, 95 90. Yeah. Some of us remember those days.

Richard (04:20):

Yes, indeed. And, and bill said, you know, I’ve been trying to figure out. It seems to me intuitively that there must be some connection. Some correlation between organizations that treat their people well and how well they perform from a business standpoint. He said, you think there was all kinds of stuff out there, but there apparently isn’t.

And so we took the mantle on ourselves and decided to do our own research. The result of that ended up being our first book, which actually came out in 1998. It was called contented cows give better milk. And the phrase contented cows comes from the good folks at Nestle. Who now own Carnation milk and who have said for more than a hundred years. That their milk comes from contented cows. We have a very nice, nicely written letter giving a great anything that’s permission to use that phrase for our book and for our marketing.

Richard (05:13):

So all we’re saying here, we’re certainly not comparing people to cows. What we’re saying is, you know, in the same way that contented cows give better milk. And that has been pretty well scientifically established, uh, satisfied, engaged employees give better performances at work. And that always finds its way to your bottom line. Right? So our approach over the last really 25 years has been to look at this idea of employee engagement in terms of the. The business implications of it.

And we have, we’ve done tons and tons of research over the last 25 years. Everything, everything consistently points to the fact that there is a strong correlation between organizations where a strategy as an intentional deliberate strategy. It’s not an accident around getting their people engaged, treating them like adults, uh, demanding a lot of, uh, performance from them, but also giving them the support that they need in order to be successful. And when you do that and you create the right environment, it’s just amazing. People start doing stuff and you start making more money. Right. So that’s been our, that’s been our approach to it.

Roy (06:21):

Yeah. And I’m surprised that how many, uh, companies even today with, uh, with all the research out there, there’s still a lot of people that, uh, you know, think that this is a bunch of hooey or that engagement is that, uh, you know, we sent you a Christmas card, uh, last Christmas, what really, what more do you need from us? Or what do you,

Richard (06:41):

What else are you looking for? You know, you know, this idea of, Hey, you know, you get a paycheck every two weeks. Was there something else that you wanted? Uh, so I mean, what we have seen consistently, I mean, there really is, there is a, you know, we all compete for business, but you know, we’re competing for talent to every organization in the country, in the world really is competing for talent with other similar countries.

And it’s interesting as things go up and down, uh, how that works and we’ve, you know, bill and I have had our business through now, this is our third recession. Um, and you know, after, after nine 11, we saw unemployment go up. And then after the global financial crisis that began in 2008, we saw unemployment go up and now we’re seeing unemployment go up. Do you know what, as they say, everything that goes up must come down.

Richard (07:33):

And in every case we’ve seen that the labor supply and demand tends toward one of scarcity. Right? And so we, you know, we have times right now where there’s a labor over supply, but in general, uh, there has been a labor under supply. And I fully believe that that will happen again. We don’t know when and under what circumstances, but you know, here’s the thing. If you treat people well in good times and bad, that affects your reputation in a positive way.

And when people then when you start to be on the needy end of that equation, and you start, you say, listen, we’re trying to find good people who want to come and learn and grow and develop and do great work and help us make great money. Uh, if you have a reputation as an organization that doesn’t really care about its people here, and I have a hard time getting the really talented people, you may find people who don’t have many other options, but that’s not really who you want.

Richard (08:29):

Right. And so, you know, we spent a lot of time in the last few months really saying folks, we, you know, some of us kind of blew it that last time out the last time we had a recession and I literally heard people say, Hey, you know, they gotta be, they gotta feel lucky to have a job. Um, so we don’t, it doesn’t matter how we treat them or what we pay them or what the conditions are like or anything like that. And as soon as the tables got turned, uh, they found themselves eating their words. I don’t think the same thing will happen again.

Roy (08:58):

I was going to ask you if there was a correlation that when unemployment is high and you know, and it’s kind of

Richard (09:06):

Absolutely, it’s predictable when unemployment is when unemployment is low bill and my bills and my business is really flourishing high. It’s a little bit loud. So yeah, it’s just amazing what we see, but there are companies, and there are organizations that, uh, continue to create a great workplace, you know, in good times and bad. I think those are the ones who have the real staying power.

Roy (09:33):

Yeah. And, you know, I talk a lot about that on the employee retention side about, uh, you know, don’t want to get into the hiring practices as much, but what you said earlier is that these, uh, recruiters in HR, they need to take the stance that they are marketing for talent, just like you market for sales in your business. That, and the other thing I always say is that you want to be an employer of choice, not an employer of last resort, which kind of goes along to the engagement thing as well.

Richard (10:06):

Yeah. Yeah. So when things started changing really fast in March, a whole new series of a whole new set of challenges kind of started to face employers all over the world. And it’s funny because the last five or six years, I would say we’ve been really, really busy in terms of speaking and training and consulting and coaching with organizations that have said, Hey, Richard wheat, we can’t find people. And when we find them, it’s hard to keep them, right.

Why do we do to, to, you know, determine that back in our favor. And so we’ve spent a lot of time talking about recruiting retention, about marketing, as you said, marketing yourself as an employer about having an employer brand and about the real value proposition that you bring to people that would cause them to say, Hey, it’s going to be to my advantage, to work in this organization as opposed to working in that organization.

Richard (11:04):

So we spent a lot of time doing that suddenly about the 15th of March bang, everything started to change and we have two issues now. And one is that, uh, organizations are struggling. Many organizations are struggling, not all, but many organizations are struggling simply because of what’s happened with COVID and the reduced demand for their products and services and the increased costs of providing those, uh, products and services. And, uh, then at the same time, you have people who are working, who are number one, scared, number two, confused, uh, and then you have this issue.

Well, at first it was that everyone who could was, we was working in a remote setting and of course, companies have been doing that for, uh, more than a decade, you know, 10, 15 years that’s been fairly common, some companies, but when you look at the numbers, I mean, as of February 29th of this year, about 3.4% of the U S workforce was working remotely.

Richard (12:04):

Wow. 30 days later, that number was 46%. So, you know, it was not a zero, but working from home before, but it just wasn’t nearly as much. And so we thought for a couple of months that the whole issue was going to be how to help people who are working from home. And that continues to be the issue. But now we’ve got an overlay on that. And that is a very different dynamic of having some percentage of the workforce working remotely and some percentage of the workforce working on site. You know, so that brings its own set of challenges.

And there’s a fellow named shrunk Costa rack who is CEO of a company called Airship. He said, one of the most insightful things that I’ve seen about this situation, he says, you know, if one person is remote, everyone is remote. Okay. And we have to treat the workforce that way. Right.

Roy (13:00):

Yeah. And it it’s, I guess the other thing that gets kind of lost in that is, is the mix of people. You know, there’s some people that want to work in the office that are being forced to work at home. There’s some people that want to work at home, being forced to come on into the office. And, um, I’m very surprised to hear that the, um, you know, prior to the pandemic, that the percent of working at home is so low. Um, and, and with technology increasing, I just find it hard to believe that companies aren’t embracing that more and, you know, not every job allows you to work from home. I get that. But, um, anyway, it’s kind of an awful small number.

Richard (13:44):

Yeah. And yet, uh, you know, that’s, uh, that, and then I’ve seen that number in similar numbers in more than one independent source. So yeah, I think it’s probably probably pretty accurate. So then we have to look at, well, what are the pros and cons of working remotely? And there are some pros to it, but there clearly are some cons both for the organization and for the, uh, for the employee as well.

So that’s another thing that’s gone into the mix is, you know, w what do we, where do we want to end up with this? Because one thing you have to consider very strongly, I, you know, it would be great. I, you know, some employer, because as soon as the pandemic hit, a lot of them were rubbing their hands together saying, Oh, look, we can, we can cancel our leases. And, uh, and you know, all this space, we don’t have to rent and so forth.

Richard (14:33):

And, uh, you know, that was one of the first things people looked at as an advantage. And clearly that is an advantage from the cost standpoint. Now, when you’re, you know, if you’re in the business of leasing commercial property, then that’s a whole different story. But the thing we have to think about is something I called the spirit of the hive, you know, and it’s, it’s sometimes difficult to put your finger on it, but we all know when we have it, when we have an organization and people are communicating well, there is a sense of a spree decor.

There is a camaraderie, there is the ability to collaborate and be creative together, and that has real monetary value. And so, you know, I don’t, I just don’t think we can come down too hard on one side or the other, because for an organization to say, Hey, look, all right.

Richard (15:22):

Yeah. We’re going to let everybody work from home. Um, then you’re going to have a lot of employees who, you know, in the short term we’ll celebrate that. And some won’t, but then others will over a period of time say, we’re already hearing, we’re saying, I can give you, I can give you examples of people saying, Oh, wow. I sure do miss a, I miss that working together from time to time. Yeah. I love being at home working cause I can get more done and no distractions and no commute. And I saved money on lunch and stuff like that, but gosh, we’re, we’re giving up something. So it comes at a cost as, as so many things. Yeah.

Roy (15:58):

Interesting. So, um, kind of while we’re on that subject, how, how are we doing at replacing the, um, that comradery in person with virtual it, is it a replacement? Can we replace it? Is it, is it something that can be replicated online?

Richard (16:21):

You know, I think not entirely, I think we’re gonna have to wait. We’ll, you’ll have to look at it. Maybe it’s even a different question. And that is what are the objectives that, you know, what were the objectives of people being together and what can we agree? We can’t replicate the experience, but we may can replicate the objective.

There is a, an author named dr. Thomas Chamorro, pre music, he’s an Argentine, a consultant speaker author. And one of the things that he said is, you know, virtual contact is still seen by most people as a cheap substitute for the real thing. And one of the best pieces of advice I heard was stopped trying to equate virtual within person interaction. It is not a, I mean, there are things that we can do, but the best way I, the metaphor that I use is this a little bit like fat free mayonnaise,

Roy (17:15):

You know what I mean? Right. Exactly. I mean,

Richard (17:17):

Yeah. How excited are you about fat-free, Manet’s maybe we’ll do the job kind of, but you’re, you’re giving up something. And so back when this whole thing started, people are, Oh, we’ll solve our problem by having a virtual happy hours. You know, I heard somebody the other day said, Oh, that is so April. Um, you know, um, and I think people eventually lost their appetite for seeing their coworkers in various States of sobriety and undressed, uh, in little boxes on the screen and started saying, okay, maybe this is what we want to do.

So how do we, how do we make sure that, that we still have that personal interaction? So I, you know, I’ve talked with people around, I’ve spent most of the last seven months talking with observing, learning from doing some reading, but a lot of it’s been, you know, people whom I know clients, former clients, uh, prospective clients, just anyone who would talk with me to say, Hey, why are you doing it?

Richard (18:22):

I’ve heard some great ideas. So one of them is, um, I have a friend who lives in Madrid, Spain, and he is a manager in a, um, in a, an advertising agency. Now, I don’t know if you, you know, Madrid has been hit pretty hard by this. And so people are really not working in the office, but some of the restaurants are open and in Madrid they have these great coffee bar, cafe terrace, outdoor things. And so what my friend Jose does is he’ll just take members of his team and say like, let’s get together outdoors with a mask socially distance, um, at a coffee bar,

Speaker 3 (19:02):

Uh, I will drive my mobile,

Richard (19:04):

Add my motor scooter to your part of town. Let’s go and have coffee and we can sit and talk for an hour. We haven’t done in month. Right. You know, it’s not breaking any rules. It’s not creating any unsafe situation for people in the office. And yet he’s getting that one on one time with his employees. And by the way, it’s completely opt in, opt out if they don’t want to do it, he is perfectly blue with that.

No stigma, no issue with that. So, yeah, that’s one example of, of what, of what people were doing. Um, that’s another, another great example I heard was from someone who, um, said that they were having all these, you know, they were having zoom meetings. They were having people in the office, uh, all in one big conference room. And then they would have the people who were working at home and they were in their little zoom boxes on the screen.

Richard (19:57):

And he noticed clearly that the people who were joining remotely were not nearly as engaged as those who were joining from the office. And so he said, let’s do this from time to time. We’ll have a meeting where everybody, whether you’re in the office or not, everybody will join from their office, from their computer from zoom. And he said, now you can’t tell the difference. That’s, who’s in the office and who’s on, you know, who’s working virtually. And he said, the level of engagement has become equalized in those meetings. So it’s that kind of thing, I think, is the creative thinking that I’m seeing where people were saying, right. Let’s see what the objective of something was. And let’s see if we can replicate that to some degree.

Speaker 3 (20:44):

Yeah. And, um, you know, that kind of, I’ll,

Roy (20:48):

I’m gonna volunteer my guilty self here and say that, you know, uh, Friday I was on a conference call, I really was, it was on a zoom call and I really wasn’t, um, a participant. I was more monitoring it. And, um, I caught myself on, uh, you know, I opened up my, uh, my iPad and I caught myself over here, typing out some emails and doing some other stuff. You know, I wasn’t an active part of the meeting, but I needed to be paying attention. And I find my found myself not doing that. You know? So I, I guess I can see that the, um, you know, the attention span or the engagement from being remote, because I would never do that in a live

Richard (21:33):

If you were in person. If I, let me ask you, were you on, did you have your camera on? Yes. Yeah, I did. But the way it’s, cause that’s another piece of advice that I give to leaders is I, you know, don’t be a bully about it, but just to encourage people to say, Hey, come on, you know, we want to see you turn on your camera. Um, don’t give us a little black space with your name on it, or that said, dad, laptop or whatever might be on your zoom account. Um, let’s, let’s engage as, as much as we can and people will hold each other accountable for that. When, uh, when they see that, that, uh, somebody who maybe shouldn’t be very involved with the meeting is, is not

Roy (22:13):

Well. And we, we had a, uh, pretty lively debate about that a few months ago that when it’s just dudes on the call, no cameras. Now when the women get on there, they’re like, okay, turn your camera on. We want to see you, you know, we want to see effort. And we’re like, Oh my gosh, you gotta be kidding me. I’ve gotten where I’ve got a, I’ve got a collared shirt that I keep over here on my printer. Whenever, whenever somebody makes me turn the camera on, I can throw that thing on over my tee shirt right quick.

Richard (22:43):

Yeah. Well, and, and, you know, I heard somebody this week in a group, I was speaking for an in person speaking on eight days, but a small one and someone said, you know, w we feel like the way you’re dressed does come through. You know, even if you’re, even if you can’t be saying so we encourage people to at least be professional on the top, even if their party on the bottom know.

So let’s, uh, let’s at least at least look, look that way. But you know, the, the thing that I, that I found is I don’t think the best way to say it is when it comes to working remotely. The rabbit is out of the hat on, on working remotely. People have seen it. People have been to the promised land. They have seen what’s on the other side of the river. And many of them kind of like it, not everybody, some people are eager to get back all the time, uh, to the office.

Richard (23:35):

But so we were having a conversation for another conversation this week about the same thing. And there was one guy, he was just, you know, he was a CEO of a company and he was pretty adamant. He said, well, you know, if you’re, if you’re not committed enough to come back to the office at work, uh, you know, unless you have a legitimate health issue.

And he said, I understand that, but unless you have a legitimate health concern, um, if you don’t come back to the office to work here, then I’m going to question your commitment to the organization. And when it comes time for considering people for promotion, you’re probably not going to be in line for that. Wow. And I said, well, you know, you’re paying me to give you advice. So I’m going to give you a little bit of an insight on what I think.

Richard (24:14):

And I said, if that works for you, and if you are able to find enough people who are willing to work under that set of conditions, then, then by all means, go for it. It’s your company. You can make the rules. Be open to the possibility that once things begin to come back to something that we’re a little bit more comfortable and accustomed to, you may not be able to find people enough, people who are willing to work under that set of conditions. You may find that the most talented people are saying I’m evaluating five different offers right now. Those that will allow me to work remotely are the only ones that I’m really going to consider. And I think that’s where we’re where we’re heading. And I don’t think we have to look at that.

Roy (24:57):

Yeah. It brings up a good question. Uh, and let’s kind of, let’s take your, uh, you know, take your guy out of the equation, but let’s talk in general terms that, so yeah, the, the companies that feel like they need to have people on site that could do their job remotely. So what percent would you say, um, are more control freaks, and they just want people there to be under their thumb versus those that really feel like there’s a creative benefit or the hive benefit to everybody being together. Do you have any feel for that?

Richard (25:35):

Well, I certainly don’t know any, any factual numbers, but you said, do I have a field for my field? Is that it is probably more, it is probably more heavily weighted toward those who just are not comfortable with that change and who do, I don’t want to call them control freaks, but they just, it’s easier. It’s, you know, it’s just easier for them. If they’re everybody there and they can watch that.

I think there is a legitimate, um, uh, there is a legitimate value in people of being together from time to time. And so there’s a, you know, there is a real move toward, uh, not everybody has to be here all the time for one thing, just from a logistic stand point when it comes to social distancing, uh, in your facilities, uh, if you have maybe a third of your people there at one time, then you can accommodate them in a safe and socially distant way.

Richard (26:31):

But if you have, you can’t do that with everybody there. So let’s have people come in two days a week or three days a week. Uh, and then that way they’re not completely away from, uh, from their colleagues, but they’re not there with all of them all the time. So that is one compromise. One hybrid that is, that does seem, seem to work, but I’ll also throw this in a talk.

I was sitting in on a virtual meeting with a group who was talking about going to just that three day in to day off option or an hour out, you know, not off but out working remotely. And somebody said, well, that’s a pretty good idea, but you know why those two days that they work remote, they can pick whatever two days they want, as long as they’re not Monday or Friday. Cause we know how that would turn out.

Richard (27:17):

And the CEO, the CEO, and I was really proud of her. The CEO said, uh, listen, we say we trust our people. Do we trust our people? Right? Yeah. I think they ended up, they ended up going with a three, two, you pick whatever days and if it’s Friday or Monday, whatever, and that they started that in July. This is now October. And they said, it’s worked fine. Nobody has abused that. And maybe not everybody is in that place, but yeah, I think it’s so important to trust your people. We got to stop policing. We got to hire the right people and hold people accountable for performance, stop policing that and trust them.

Roy (28:03):

Exactly. And not. Um, again, I don’t have any, uh, factual data on that as well, but I feel like that’s what typically what it turns out to be is that they just distrust their workforce. If, if you can actually do your job remotely, cause they’re, you know, that’s a fine line about being able to do everything. And some of us, you know, I’m fortunate enough to be in that position, but, um, it’s um, well I lost my train of thought there, but anyway,

I think that that control issue, we have to hire the right people that we feel that we can send home, uh, and not have to worry about them. And I’m maybe I’m, I’ve always been in more of an analytical role and not creative now, no creative people like an ad agency, they all need to be there and brainstorm, but some, some brainstorming that I’ve done, you know, over Slack or over teams, you can open up a window and, uh, we can accomplish some brainstorm in there and then by the phone.

Roy (29:05):

But, um, I’ve actually find myself more productive at home. I, I, there was a time I worked in an office environment downtown and um, I always found myself having to work late because in the middle of the day, people were just cycling in and out of my office sometimes for work sometimes not, but you know, it got to be funny.

So first, you know, you shut the door and then people just quit knocking and just come in. And as like, I used to put a chair in front of it to kind of block it where, when they opened the door, he get some resistance to be like, Hey, I’ve got to get some stuff done, you know, and I’m coming home or being at home. Um, I feel like I’m much more productive. And then I am the guy that, you know, works in his shorts and t-shirt every day that’s where I feel more productive.

Roy (29:52):

And I know, you know, there’s a lot of evidence on the other side of that, that if you, while you work the way you feel or you work the way you’re dressed or how you feel and makes you more professional and all that. But I’m kind of on the other side that, um, and I don’t have to get out and do the commute and you know what ha to be honest, what usually happens is I’ll end up starting my day a little bit earlier and I’ll end up staying a little bit later and I’m just thankful that I’m not out there on the roads, you know, try trying to commute. So yeah, I love it. And I know,

Richard (30:27):

Well, there’s a lot of research that shows that people are for the time being are more productive now during this situation, now that might level out that might even out. But right now it is because people are glad not to be commuting. Uh they’re you know, they’re not getting the same kinds of interruptions. And, uh, again, the data just show that, you know, by and large, not everybody, but by and large people are more productive. Right,

Roy (30:54):

Right. So do you have a feel on like, the people that you’ve worked with are they biding their time and, um, you know, 50% of them are gonna eventually kind of force people to come back. Are they gonna maybe get used to this over time and realize that it’s not a bad thing and let people who can do their job from home? Do you have any feel how that’s going to work kind of as we find our new normal?

Richard (31:20):

Yeah, yeah, I do. And it’s all over the board there. I think there are people who really think that this is a, that this is going to go away soon. And when I say this, I’m not talking about the virus, I’m talking about the, kind of the new, it’s what I call workplace next. You know, it’s the biggest upheaval we’ve had in the American workforce in the short period of time, probably in the history of the American workforce.

And, um, I, you know, I, I strongly believe that if the virus or to cease to be an issue, and I certainly hope that it does very soon. Uh, but regardless of whether it does or not, we’re not going back, we’re not going back completely as many things as have changed. There are some things that have not, but, uh, but a lot of things have changed.

Richard (32:11):

And so I, I think what we’re going to see is people will use the ability to work in a more flexible way and, and that includes working remotely. But it also includes in terms of when you get your work done, not only where, but when. And so I, when we see this move towards flexibility, that will be used as a competitive distinction. When we are back in the war for talent, and I strongly believe that it is back when we’re back in the war for talent, but then in order to compete effectively in that war for talent, you’re going to have to have things that make you distinctive. And, uh, this is going to be one of them.

Roy (32:52):

Okay. Well, Richard, it’s been awesome. Uh, getting a chance to talk to you. I know, um, I know you’ve been busy, we’re on the road in Houston and glad to see you got out to Texas and, uh, made it through some nice weather without getting either the hundred degree heat or, or hurricane blowing through on top of you. So, um, do me a favor though. I want you to, I want you to tell me a little bit about, uh, who your customer is and you know, how people can get ahold of you, what you can do for them. But before that, do you have one tool that you can’t live without in your daily life?

Richard (33:32):

Yes, I am a big fan of Evernote, which is just, yeah, it’s just, you know, you and your listeners may or may not know about it. You know, it’s an app, you can get it on your phone and your eye, your tablet and your, uh, and your laptop, your desktop, your computer. And it just allows you to make notes and to file them and characterize them. You can search on them. And I’ve got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of notes, um, where I can just go in and see if I have a question about something. I said, I bet I put that in Evernote a year and a half ago, and I’ll go in search for a key word and bang it. It pops right up and you can link to things and you can attach things. So I become a real Evernote fan.

Roy (34:14):

Yeah. You know, I’ve used it for a while myself. And one thing I do for clients is, um, you know, I have Google alerts. So I put key words in, I get the latest article that references those words. And so what I usually, and then you can use the Evernote as a web clipper. Cause what I will do is take that article and send it to my clients and prospects and just say, Hey, I saw this, here are three key points that I got out of it.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Just kind of, um, either marketing or follow up or, you know, some, just a point of touch for them. But that’s uh, to me that is the nicest thing about Evernote is not only being able to file stuff, but being able to clip stuff off of the web and then be able to go back and find it, you know, by doing a search for it.

Roy (35:04):

And we were just laughing the other day, a friend of ours that came over to the house and talking about like, you know, maybe five, six years ago, I still had a desktop. Then I had a huge, uh, five drawer, lateral file. And I had two, four drawer file cabinets. You know, I was just, even though I was in a, working in a paperless society, I was still very paper-centric that I printed off stuff kept copies. To be honest with you now, I’ve got little plastic bucket that I keep some important papers, but I have found a way, you know, through Evernote and through some other devices and ways to, you know, cut out all the printer paper and things like that. So yeah, that’s an awesome tool.

Richard (35:53):

Lots of it’s searchable. It’s just so much easier to just put in a search term and you find it and you try to, you stand there in front of your file cabinet and you holler a search term into it and nothing’s going to jump out.

Roy (36:03):

Right. And the funny thing is there’s somebody I used to work with very closely that, uh, he, he was an older gentleman, but he had every piece of paper that he had ever touched since like 19 and 65. He had, you know, his home was full. He had, uh, he had his spare bathroom was full of files and boxes.

The end. He had a couple of, uh, storage units that had files in them. And you know, at some point I told him like, well, you’ve got everything that you need, but good luck finding that. So, you know, that search, that searchable portion of Evernote makes it worth the time to take, to figure out how to use it and make it work for you. Well, Richard tell everybody, you know, who is your client? Who do you work with? Uh, you know, what you can do for them. And then of course, how can they reach you?

Richard (36:53):

Right. Well, uh, before COVID, uh, my client was generally someone who was planning some kind of a meeting, a conference or convention or an, you know, an inside company meeting and was looking for a speaker keynote speaker or someone to do leadership training. And that was the, that was, uh, about 80% of my business came from that today.

Uh, you know, we’re doing a small, what we call large rooms, small group meetings. So I have been traveling some and working with customers who want some, uh, in person training a speaker in a large room with a small number of people. So then, uh, everything is still, uh, safe and secure. And so doing a little bit of that, but then also doing a good bit of, uh, remote virtual training and speaking. So if you’re looking for a speaker looking for some leadership training, talking about employee engagement and the value of employee engagement to your bottom line, then I’d love to hear from you.

And I could be reached at our website, which is contented cows.com and contented cows.com. And I emphasized the S on the end of contented cows. Cause there is a website called [inaudible] dot com, but it’s for a pub in Minnesota. So go to cows.com. You’ll see some information on, on bill Catlett, my business partner and myself and bill also does a lot of executive coaching. He’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever known. Uh, so that’s, that’s how we work with our clients by training consulting, coaching.

Roy (38:22):

Okay. Awesome. Richard, well, thanks a lot. Y’all give Richard a call, see how he can help you and your organization with, um, uh, increasing and making it quality of employee engagement. That’s going to wrap it up for today. Again, don’t don’t forget. You can find us iTunes, Stitcher, Google play, and Spotify. Tell your friends and colleagues, uh, be sure and share sharing is caring. So share the podcast with them. Also check us out on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter until next time. This is Roy. Have a good day.