PEOPLE STRATGY FORUM

EPISODE #9

Char Miller, Susan Venters, And Melissa Taylor

Managing From Anywhere: How To Lead And Empower A Remote Team With Char Miller, Susan Venters, And Melissa Taylor

The pandemic forced all of us to adapt to a work environment that we never imagined—working remotely. How do leaders effectively adapt to such a change and still manage a high-performing team? Today, we will be turning over the mic to one of our panelists Char Miller to speak with some of her team members at Rocky Mountain Health Advocates. Joining her are Director Susan Venters and Executive Assistant Melissa Taylor. They discuss what strategies and tools, such as the TMA method, allowed them to manage and develop their current employees and expand their team while adapting to remote work. Listen in for great advice on how leaders should think when it comes to their organization.

Managing From Anywhere: How To Lead And Empower A Remote Team With Char Miller, Susan Venters, And Melissa Taylor

If you are joining us for the first time, to give you a little rundown about what this is? What happens here each and every week? This is a mastermind full of leaders and we’re dedicated to creating workplaces where people are going to thrive, where employees reward and customers love. We have a full panel of hosts. Each and every week we will have Sam, the Founder and CEO of CompTeam. He transforms companies through talent management, talent initiatives and compensation programs. He is always bringing us the webinar. He’s in Iceland bringing it to us. He’s very committed. He shows up each and every week. It doesn’t matter where in the world he is. That’s important to our topic because we’re going to be talking about managing from anywhere.

You don’t have to go to an office, sit there for eight hours every day anymore. It is possible to work remotely, work from any part of the world, not from an office or home but anywhere. I’m going to introduce our guest speaker, who you see here each and every week but now she’s transforming into a guest speaker. Char, I think you’ve spoken on the panel many times before but welcome back if you don’t know who’s Char is, she is an HR expert. She’s a talent management consultant. She is the Owner and Founder of Rocky Mountain Health Advocates.

She’s brought her team along too. We have Susan who is a Director, Mentor, Coach and Master of All. We also have Melissa Taylor with us as well. She is an executive assistant handling about eighteen people. I can see that you have a busy schedule each and every day. She’s also a health advocate. I love that shot through this end, wind underwings. We all need a little bit of that and a dot connector. I’m going to pass it over to Sam and the ladies. I’m excited to hear this discussion on how we can make work happen from anywhere.

I also want to put it out that to Char, you mentioned that during the pandemic when everything was shut down. When there were lockdowns, your company thrived. You were able to give raises to your employees, promote them and shuffle them around to positions that better aligned with their talents and skills. I want to share that it is possible that even when there’s doom and gloom, there is a lot of hope and a lot of opportunities. I’m going to pass it over to you, everyone and welcome to the forum.

Thank you, Jules. How are you doing? Melissa and Susan, I tell you if I have any team that is surrounding me with all the love, support through sweat and tears, I would say these two have been my absolute rock. I have another amazing team that I like to talk about. Before I get into conversation with Melissa and Susan, I want to talk a high-level brief story about where Rocky Mountain Health Advocates came from and I won’t bore you.

Bruce Franklin and I met within an hour and a half, for some reason, he had the synergy, the excitement, the yin as I call it and then I had the yang. I’m such a people reader. I was like, “This dude is somebody.” I always knew that I needed to have a business partner. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Even though I was a successful HR person, a talent management person, I had huge six-figure jobs, big healthcare systems. I got laid off and I was disgruntled with the healthcare system.

I always knew that I wanted to start some form of health advocacy to get back to the community. Shortly within an hour, I drafted out this like Char’s going to go back and get a six-figure job. She’s going to sponsor Bruce’s sponsor. What do you guys think sponsored me? Bruce would go out and help me build this business and then we would buy a house. It was completely like a joke. We had just met. We got serious. We got involved. It was almost a self-fulfilling prophecy that this magically happened.

It was interesting because we both had the mindset and the focus and this was like 2014. By January 2015, I was standing on top of a mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. I was offered a six-figure job with Kaiser Permanente. I had my job and it was a talent management strategist position, which was great. At that point, I knew we were going to build something.

If you fast forward by 2017, we established our business but from the beginning, Bruce had always said to me, “I would like us to live somewhere “tropical” and warm. I want to be able to run our business somewhere warm and still also live in Colorado, the most beautiful state in the world during the summertime.” At the time, I was like, “We’ll see.” Susan, when was your first day with us?

A huge part of being able to work remotely is the trust that you have between the employee and the employer. Click To Tweet

It was May 2, 2019.

Melissa, when was your first day with us?

June 11, 2020.

I am here to tell you guys I am a business owner. I am an HR executive and a talent management strategist. I could sit here and show you pictures of beautiful Puerto Vallarta, beautiful police, beautiful crystal blue waters and gorgeous sunsets. I’m not here to showcase the beautiful sights and sceneries and everything that I experienced but Bruce and I were able to achieve to do the snowbird thing because of people like Susan and Melissa. In this episode, I want to talk about the story. I want to talk about the good, bad and ugly because the last we left, we had invited Susan over for dinner, which was another fiasco with a burning grill and her husband had to put it out with a fire extinguisher. What summer was that Susan?

That was the summer of 2021.

We thought we were going to have a nice, beautiful $70 steak. We’re going to enjoy this and then we’re going to break the news to Susan that even though we’ve been talking about this, we’re going to do this. Susan, what was your reaction?

At first, I was a little apprehensive and a little bit nervous because I knew that you guys were going to be physically further away but still reachable by phone, email and Zoom if need be. I was a little nervous because you guys are the wind beneath my wings and you give me the love and support that I need. Naturally, my mind automatically jumped to, “I’m being abandoned.” You guys were great and reassured me, “We’re not going to be that far. Physically we are but we’re still going to be here for you. We’re still here to support you.” Thankfully, that was the case. You guys did not let me down in that area for sure.

Can you spend a few minutes describing what your role is, your responsibilities and the number of people you manage? Your little star thing, I always do a little star diagram around you.

My job consists of managing the people, the leaders of our locations. We do have five separate locations at which we generally have anywhere from 2 to 4 employees each. I manage them and I’m there to be their support system and their ear to talk to. In addition, I’ve also taken on responsibilities to set up kiosks and get the signage done, started out with our HR department through paychecks and have been working with them. Thankfully, I’ve been able to delegate that to Melissa. That’s been a fantastic help to me as I had a lot on my plate during these store openings. It was a lot going on and thankfully, Melissa was there to help me pick up the slack.

Pretty much anything from dealing with mall managers, talking to you and Bruce on a regular basis and reporting what’s been going on. Being overall the eyes and the ears and also making sure that our company is being compliant and where everybody is projecting the same goals and everybody is on the same page. I’m being the glue that keeps everything together so that we don’t have anybody who’s feeling they’re left out on an island all by themselves. I make sure everybody feels wrangled in, feels heard, listened to and understood.

Melissa, when did you start with us?

June 11, 2020.

You came on at the mid of COVID time.

Right when they were letting us open up a little bit after COVID, yes.

You came on right after we had shut down.

You guys are shut down for a while.

Yes because we had to get PPP loans and you came on. You were our initial hire right after the shutdown. Can you tell us a little bit about what your work is?

PSF 9 | Remote Team

Remote Team: Make sure that the company is being compliant, and everybody is projecting the same goals and on the same page.

 

I transitioned into helping to pick up the small pieces that is too time-consuming for Susan. Now that we have over average about eighteen employees, I do all the onboarding. I make sure the workman’s comp insurance is in place. All the little things that Susan doesn’t have time to do, she can concentrate on being that people person leader that she is. I try to stay in the background but I text her a lot, “Remember this, remember to do this.”

Several years of constantly having to be on and sales and traveling. It’s nice to take a step back and be a support system for you guys because I’m enjoying it. I’m somewhat detail-oriented and time-sensitive on things. I can help all the employees with benefits. I help a little bit with recruiting now, screening the initial people because Susan doesn’t have time to do all that. Anything I can do to help the managers. I still fill in as a health advocate. Some when we get a little bit crazy and things need to be switched around. I go out to the sites, meet the new people, take it all in and help out however I can. Some days I don’t know what I’m going to be doing, that’s it.

I would like to get to Susan and Melissa. I want to know this. Susan, tell me about when the COVID hit. Do you remember you and I were on the phone? Can you describe your conversations with me and how you were feeling? What was going through your brain at the time? We work in malls. We’re face to face with our clients. Tell me what you were thinking about our survival and our sustainability as a company during that period?

To be 100% honest, I questioned the sustainability and the longevity because we rely heavily on the mall locations and they were shutting down. It was a scary time. I have two children, a family to take care of and knowing that not only the malls but everything were being shut down was scary and intimidating because you think, “Where’s my next paycheck going to come from? How am I going to feed my family?” It wasn’t long that a few conversations in that you had stepped up and said, “We’re going to get through this. I don’t know how but we’re going to do it.” Your confidence and your sincerity to me made me feel, “This is all going to be okay. We’re going to be okay and I have to be strong for my employees.”

I remember we cried together and we had to let our emotions out and begin that healing almost. It was great for you and I appreciate you because you gave me that confidence that I don’t know how we’re going to make it through this but we’re going to make it through this. I was able to convey that to employees. Some felt that passion and some didn’t. The ones that didn’t end up leaving and the ones that did are still with us very glad and have been rewarded for sticking with us. Overall it was scary in the beginning. However, I think that we were able to band together and figure out plans A, B and C so that we could stay afloat and everybody could rest a little easier at night.

Bruce is one of these people that’s like, “Drive.” He’s telling me that we are now going to move to Puerto Vallarta and we’re going to live there for several months. I am like, “Okay.” At the same time, Susan and I had developed such a trusting and loving relationship. I shouldn’t say loving as part of being employee-oriented but I had such respect and honor for this woman because we knew that transparency, communication and treating people with compassion, getting any respect always.

We were already working in a remote fashion for X season because we live probably not quite an hour away from each other. I’m way out here by the airport and you’re way over by the beautiful foothills. We were already working in this fashion. We were already doing Zoom calls every week in staff Zoom calls. We were already doing the in-person management meetings. We were already doing the one-on-ones and Susan you were doing all of the one-to-one coaching. You were doing that all along.

In fact, we were already into the TMA method, which is one of our sponsors that we’re going to talk about and I can’t remember the exact timeframe. All of our current leaders, including both Susan and Melissa, had gone through the TMA method and we had adopted the TMA method to our recruitment process and our coaching and fellowshipping process. That was also a helpful communication tool. Susan described to me when you knew that I was on an airplane and I was going to be thousands of miles away. What were your thoughts about that? What I kept telling you is that everything will remain the same and you were thinking what?

I was thinking, “We’ll see how much the same they remain.” I don’t know. I’ll have to try this out and see because it was experimental in the beginning. My initial thought is, “We’ll have to wait and find out. We’ll see.” I trust you and Bruce, I think that’s a huge part of being able to remotely work and the leaders working remotely. It’s that trust that you have between the employee and the employer that is huge. I trusted you and I thought, “We’ll figure this out and nothing changed.” It was flawless.

Didn’t we have one particular high-level employee who says, “What’s going on here? Are owners of our company taking an extended vacation?

Making sure we make physical accommodation one of our priorities has just been invaluable. Click To Tweet

We had one employee that was not happy about the departure. Even though through constant coaching, mentoring, talking and having several one-on-ones with her. She didn’t seem to believe that things were still going to be functioning the same. She got nervous because she thought that the company that you guys were almost going to disappear. She thought you guys were going to hop on the plane and we’re never going to hear from you again, which I told her repeatedly, that’s not the case. I think she didn’t have that trust that I was talking about. That’s important to have between the employer and the employee. She didn’t trust the process that she didn’t trust us enough to have that faith.

One thing with Susan’s TMA method is that I learned through hers is that she’s extremely detail-oriented. She loves structure. She likes organization and now you’re looking at me, I’m this colorful peacock. She’s miss elephant, I’m missing hummingbird peacock. I’m the hummingbird floating all over the place with my beautiful feathers and she’s wanting to focus on detail. What Susan and I worked on was to things consistent.

Everything from our weekly Zoom meetings, our one-on-ones with staff and that we always have an in-person staff meeting every month that would have at least one of us there. Bruce and I would rotate back and forth. At least one of us is physically there and the other one was on Zoom. Also, we have a location in Montana. They always are remote with us too. Susan, can you describe some of the other promotions that we did that were more remote jobs? Why don’t you describe what you think happened to Joseph? What do we do with Joseph’s job?

We hired Joseph to be an advocate for our rural location. He has been proven to be a phenomenal employee and we have since transitioned him to a leader. After getting to know Joseph and his life experience and work experience, we quickly discovered that he could be valuable to us in the compliancy aspect of our job and to keep him more engaged because he has much more to offer than being an advocate. We thought we would add him as a compliancy manager because he cares.

He’s detail-oriented as well. He cares about doing things the right way and making sure that everybody is lawful and following company policy which is important to him. We saw that in him. He still is an advocate. However, he does our compliancy as well, which is a perfect fit for him and it also makes him feel more valuable because he has such extensive knowledge and such extensive background in healthcare. That makes him feel good to be able to contribute more to the company and to be more of a support than in the advocate field.

In addition, Joseph is also in a wheelchair. I don’t exactly know how much mobility has but he has limited mobility in his hands. He’s open because he’s an advocate for disability and how to accommodate employees with disabilities. He got promoted. I can’t remember the exact timeframe but then he could also work remotely because his lifestyle requires being able to do all his exercises, home therapies and gym therapy therapies. He was afforded the opportunity to have flexible work hours and be able to do remote jobs, which is a perfect fit for him and be able to utilize his expertise, particularly while we were out of the country.

We could rely on the fact that our compliance program, our Americans with Disabilities Act and making sure that our workplaces were compliant from an ADA standpoint. Not only that, he’s one of our top producers as an advocate. He has a great way of communicating with our clients. Would you not agree that that was a real win-win and what do you think is morale levels like now, Susan?

His morale is through the roof. He loves the company. He knows that we have some hiccups and some bumps in the road but he’s wonderful. He reached out to me and said, “If there’s anything I can do to help out. If you need me for anything additional, let me know.” He has been a blessing to the company and he feels rewarded and valued. He’s an important part of our team and he knows that. I can tell he beams from the inside. He’s happy and feels fulfilled with his role. He calls this the unicorn job because it’s bad. He says, “It’s perfect. I get paid and I love this company. I love what we do.”

He does have quite a few physical therapy appointments, doctor appointments and things because of his disability. We’re able to be flexible with him and allow him that time to take care of himself. He values that as well because we’re supportive of everybody taking care of themselves but him especially because he does have a disability. He requires a little bit more as far as the doctor’s appointments, physical therapy and things like that.

PSF 9 | Remote Team

Remote Team: The TMA Method really helped us see what their strengths are.

 

From the OSHA standpoint and making sure we make physical accommodation, one of our priorities. He’s been invaluable. We adore him. Now I’d like to talk with Melissa. I’d like you to talk not only that you are Ms. Master of being the dot connector and when beneath everyone’s wings and your executive assistant role. Let’s talk a little bit about your transformation because you were one of the original ones that took the TMA method with us. Can you briefly describe you were a health advocate? Tell us what you thought when we gave you that TMA method. What time did we do that?

It was July 2021. It hit home on a lot of points I’d never had. The company I worked for before was small. They didn’t even do reviews. It was a negative environment and one thing I want to say about this company now is you guys, even if we have a bump in the road or something, you never dwell on it. It’s like, “That happened. We’re moving on. Here’s how we’re moving on. Here’s who’s moving on. Here’s your role and doing it.” It’s such a positive environment and that’s what I like about the company because it’s like, “I know what my role is.” I’m in total support for you guys in many different factors now but the TMA method, hit home except for one thing I didn’t agree upon but then I had room for you. We were deciding, “Should I try to be a manager at one of the locations or not?”

We then decided probably I’m a little too overbearing in that role and that probably wouldn’t be a good fit. I have to agree with that now that I’m doing the support role. I enjoy it a lot more. I don’t want to do the same thing every day. I came to find out I was in such a routine at my other job and I was so stuck if you will internally. Let me do many different things and I’m always trying to be forward-thinking because that’s the environment you guys have created.

You were being transparent as we always are. We were looking forward to having you promoted as a health advocate manager job, which meant that you would have been over a couple of employees at one of our mall locations in Colorado, mainly the Denver Metro area. It wasn’t not that after we got to talking, we were talking about your TMA method. Thank you, Andre, if you’re on. Thank you. You spent the time to do some coaching and I did an assessment review with Melissa and you also talked to me. It was Andre that said to me, “I’m not sure Melissa is going to yell out of joy and passion out of being a manager and operations manager.” There may be a different type of role that she’s going to thrive in.

The problem with the HR leaders, people leaders, executives, HR director role is that if everything is all buried on that HR director, you got to fix culture, you got to fix the compliance, probably. You got to fix compensation. Do all the hiring. You got to do all the recruiting. It’s a tough position for the director. Everybody’s piled on you, Susan. Strategically from a talent management perspective, maybe Melissa would be a great person to support Susan. How did you feel about that, Melissa, when we started going down the route. What are your thoughts about being an executive assistant for our company?

The fact that you guys gave me a chance to grow into this position and learn and make a few mistakes, wasn’t even like, “You made a mistake.” It’s like, “Let’s try this. This is what you’re going to do now. This is your directive. If you need support, you’re going to go to this person.” I call Joseph a lot. He’s been so valuable. If I need to get in touch with Bruce. I know I text him. If I need to get in touch with this person, I know the way to communicate now. It doesn’t matter if you guys are Puerto Vallarta or wherever. I wish we could try to meet up once a week but sometimes that can’t happen. We just text each other and sometimes it’s a phone call later after hours because we got to get our mesh our stuff together so I can be more supportive for her.

There are many little things to do when you’re running a company that I didn’t realize at all. It’s been a good transition for me personally. It lets me work part-time hours now, which I need to do because we all have kids and we’re doing with the pandemic and transitioning them out of some things. It’s been a good learning job that I feel everyone appreciates me because when I am able to help the employees with some things, I feel valued.

I’m going to say one quick story and I’d love for Sam to interject with a couple of questions because usually, he does the questions. Before I do that, I want to say one of the major a-ha moments. Bruce and I were down in Puerto Vallarta, we were sitting under a palapa and he had his little laptop and sitting on the phone with the stupid whole music. I’ll say it that way, one of the most major internet carriers out there. Bruce is on the phone. Bruce is frustrated as heck. I finally looked at him and said, “Hello did you know that you’re the CEO and founder of this company?” He’s like, “Yeah.” I said, “Did you know that we have an executive assistant that could probably sit on hold for you for the next two hours. Multitask and still do other things and then conference you in.” Tell us about that, Melissa, that happened that day.

That was funny because I was right out doing an errand near the provider you needed to talk to. I pulled in and went into the actual store. I got Bruce on the phone, he had him talk to one of the guys there and he had what you guys needed in like five minutes. I was like, “I’m not waiting on hold. I’m going to the place.”

Sometimes, you have to take this big company concept from a talent management perspective and drill that down into even a small little company. Click To Tweet

We’re sitting way down there and you’re up here, like boom. Drove right in, took care of it. Sam, did you have a couple of questions for us?

I do. I remember when you first went remote and started managing remotely. I think maybe this was the individual that you were talking about when a member of your management team wasn’t quite on board with that and had some issues with that. I remember you dealing with that. Upon your leadership team, it seemed like one of your individuals was not quite convinced that this was the right approach. How did you create or build that trust with that individual and get them in line?

My background is also in organizational effectiveness and organizational design. I used to do that for big companies and organizations. Even though we’re a small startup, a little baby company, sometimes you have to take this big company concept from a talent management perspective and be able to drill that down into even a small little company. You will not get 100% executive buy-in at all the executive levels but one of the things that I needed to think about and again back to the teammate because a couple of those individuals also got the teammate. Both Bruce and our other business owner, Adam. They are the operations guys. They’re the finance guys. They are the hard cold negotiation people.

In my mind, I started developing a thorough talent management strategy. It got down to this. Adam and Bruce do what you guys are good at. That’s negotiating with the laboratories, the telemedicine, the doctors, the business contracts, do what you’re good at. Make sure that when we do these employee meetings, that you can give all the updates that you can because we’re very transparent with our employees. If you think of like a four grid, we have operations on the top finance and then we have a customer here or client as we call them and then we have people.

Both Melissa and Susan, I saw them as my champion for people support underneath me mainly although Melissa was supporting with things on the operation side, like the technology challenges and the phone challenges. I knew that Susan had a talk with Adam on the mall negotiations and some of those types of things but how I decided to do it? Psychologically, you can’t necessarily convince some of the top leaders 100% with the philosophy around telling management strategy and communication strategy. We can talk until the cows come home but in my philosophy, it’s better to demonstrate that we can be a successful, thriving company with our strategies and if they want to participate in that, great but we’re going to put this under the people’s strategy column. That way, Bruce and Adam knew that Char’s world.

That is what helped resolve it. I had to communicate to Susan and Melissa about my new strategical approach about how we were going to communicate to the other executive leaders. It wasn’t to keep them in the dark. It was to say, “The people world is Char Miller, Susan and Melissa as a support role.” I would say it’s ultimately proved to be successful because as they’ve enabled us to focus on some of the big rocks in the organization that needed to occur. They weren’t constantly bombarded with all of our ideas, like talent management assessment, TMA assessments, TMA development and coaching, the way we’re doing recruiting, the way we’re doing the developing, onboarding and succession management,

To be clear, this decision to manage remotely was not a wild lifestyle change. It was also a way to make your company more resilient to some of these changes and so forth. Is that correct?

Yeah, even before I hired Susan and the team, I realized that my business partner at this time, I chose this particular partner for the fact that you wanted to be an entrepreneur and build a business with me. We weren’t going to start a family or anything like that. That’s why I chose to do that but I also knew that it was not about me. Although I could be in Susan’s role and I could be the HR manager, I knew it was going to be all about the talent. I knew that I had to design a talent framework that could help Susan as a director. I forgot to mention a gentleman by the name of Sam cook. He’s the head of our administration straight of side, which is the paperwork side.

I knew that we needed a fab work of a manager of compliance, manager of administration. We needed the head of our operations, the head of model negotiations and to build this entire fabric that Susan, as our pivotal center point, could have an entire network of people, expertise and subject matter experts that she could direct to, that she wouldn’t always have to rely on the owners that are sitting in another country for all her resources. In addition, that’s why we hired a professional paychecks company with an actual HR manager. I could do HR management 24/7 but I didn’t want to. I’ve been there, done that unless it’s a big issue.

Char, you use the TMA method to identify managers across your company that didn’t need constant oversight and they are autonomous. Does that help with your mission of having a more resilient and agile company where managers can work remotely?

PSF 9 | Remote Team

Remote Team: Our company is going to be providing many job opportunities to come, and that will also offer internal promotions for our employees all along the way.

 

I would tell you Melissa’s an example but Ben is another manager that we utilize the TMA method with. Susan, did you maybe describe a little bit of Ben’s personality type, why he’s a good manager and your thoughts about when he took the TMA?

He is a compassionate, caring, big teddy bear type but he’s also such a great leader. He’s compassionate but also firm and fair. He’s been a great leader but he’s been somebody that I don’t think we’ve had one complaint about where anybody working with him. Everybody enjoys working with him and the TMA method helped us to see that he thrives in a leadership role. He thrives to be someone that people can count on, come to and rely on. That’s what fills his cup. He feels rewarded and is happy doing his job because the TMA method helped us to see what his strengths are. His strengths are leadership and being there for people. Guiding them, coaching and mentoring. As we saw at the staff meeting, he’s trained over half of our staff. He loves to be able to help, train and mentor.

One thing I’ll tell you about this, I would say in a traditional work environment or traditional company. Because of the specific location and the demographic, the “numbers” or “the meat of what we get paid for” his location struggled but because he’s such a fine leader in everything we identified in the TMA, as well as working with him. The way he coaches, mentors, supports and takes care of our people, he’s still a manager. We are going through career mobility as we are the TMA. He’s going to stay a manager. We’re going to be moving that to other opportunities because we change every day and which will most likely be a manager of operations.

I want to make this clear for our readers because, in your business, people are required to show up. They have to show up on location to be able to serve the public and come in. Then on the other part, when your managers and other parts of your organization, there are opportunities to work remotely and manage remotely. I think that the key piece that you brought up, I want to make sure our readers don’t oversee is the fact that you had a conversation with your leadership team about the desire to have more agile, work remotely and manage remotely as a company. Part of this is, is that you had parts of your company that had a mindset that they had to show up to work no matter what and at others that have the flexibility to remote work remotely. Were there any complications of delivering this message across the organization that you had to be concerned about or that happened rather smoothly?

I think Susan and I both answered this but the reality is we do have positions, particularly the advocate positions. Now, we don’t offer mobile in some of our offers or options for health advocacy. Some jobs simply are face to face. We can’t get around that but if at any time a position can work remotely as we talk about Joseph’s compliance role. Susan, why don’t you describe your transition of working at the office and now you mainly work remotely. How is that transition for you?

The transition has been pretty smooth. I still do go out visit locations. I do still stay in contact with everybody but for the most part, I do work remotely. All of our employees are comfortable with the fact that they can reach out to me. I have my phone with me all the time. I’m easy to access. The leaders that we have in place are phenomenal in that they don’t need me to micromanage. They need me as, “I need somebody to help me with this, helping with that.” I can be that lifeline for them but I don’t have to be at the location all the time.

I’d like to maybe talk a little bit about the locations. Susan, why don’t you talk about this slide real quick and briefly say who these people are.

There is Joseph and Sophia. To the upper left corner, Joseph is the one we’ve been talking about, the gentleman in the wheelchair and Sophia is the manager at that location. That’s our rural location. The next one is our Park Meadows location that has been doing phenomenally well. The leader of that location is Ashley and the photo right below that also is Ashley as well without her mask. She’s beautiful. The next line down is Zed Padgett. He is the manager of our Colorado Mills location, which is the photo there in the middle. That’s a few of the locations that we have but all of the locations are carts like that kiosks and they do all relatively look the same.

We do have storefronts as well and we have our head of administration. We have an office area for him in the back and then we have beautiful locations where we do staff meetings. We’re in transition. Why do we need all that square footage? I wish we had a picture of the most glorious Park Meadows location but we don’t need all this space. I could have sent you all of our eighteen staff members, all of them are fabulous. The reason why I think the beautiful little picture of Ashley down below, she’s the one that I frequently talk about. That one who is going to school to get our PhD to be an epidemiologist. She loves working with us.

It’s better to demonstrate that we can be a successful, thriving company with our strategies. Click To Tweet

What gives her the confidence and the ability is to be a coach, a mentor because she understands medical terminology. She understands healthcare because she’s in school for that. She has decided that she wants this to be a full-time career for her and thank you, Sam, because you’re the one that did our compensation analysis and architecture. Even during the time of this pandemic, a majority of all of our employees got raises. Also, we’re able to realign to more of a flat pay type of structure as well as a salary and hourly. Thank you, Sam, for doing that. Do you want to say anything about your architecture work with this?

I have a question. I know that you mentioned mentoring, coaching and so forth. When you were working remotely in Puerto Vallarta, did your approach change as far as how you’re mentoring your staff because I know you do a lot of mentoring yourself?

I know I’m Char, I’m the Head of the company and I’m the Founder but I wanted Susan, Melissa and the leaders of my company to be seen as the real leader go-to. I’m behind the curtain. I’m the Wizard of Oz, I guess, you could call me. I say that jokingly but I like to be on display. I like to talk. I like to be a little showcase or if you haven’t gotten that idea. I didn’t think that would be anything inspiring to my employees. I want them to know me, trust me and then like me but I knew that Susan, Ashley, Joseph, Sophia, Ben, Zed and Melissa, I want them to be the individuals and employees that see, trust and appreciate. A lot of my mentoring, coaching is going on behind the scenes with the managers. I coach and mentor them. Susan, can you describe the coaching I give you?

We talk frequently and the coaching that you give me is perfect because I’m able to coach and mentor the employees and it’s mirrored. I do try to mimic what you teach me, that I can trickle that down and teach them as a succession, that they can become stronger and better leaders as well.

I’m going to personally have my one-on-ones. Melissa, you are a team administrator. You have set up the TMA for the remainder. We had a little bit of to get around to get the technology. Did you want to mention your work now? You’re getting the TMA method out and then you’re going to help me set up those one-on-one coaching meetings.

I sent those out after the gentleman who helped me. He was instrumental. We got everything working. I don’t know what I was doing wrong but we got everything figured and sent those out to four more leaders that needed to take it. I will give them a timeframe of when we want those back you will be able to view those. I can show you that as well. Then we’ll set up the one-on-ones. Whenever you want me to get that started, I’m ready to rock and roll with that. I know Sophia is ready to go.

Since I’m the one that’s a certified coach with the TMA. Thank you, Andre, the TMA team, Sam and the team for sponsoring me. Now that I’m certified, I am going to finish up our coaching for all those leaders, which is only going to increase our talent management strategy. Also, our leaders are going through a TMA learning portal to understand talent management strategy. I think in the future here, we’re going to have a management portal for our employees and I’m excited to work with you, Sam and Andre on the management portal because we want to be the beta company and demonstrate.

I can’t give you guys financials but I’m telling you that our company is thriving. Even though this very challenging time, I’m proud to say we have thrived and our company not only financially but we’re going to be providing many job opportunities to come. That will also offer internal promotions for our employees all along the way. I do attach the TMA method to help me have a structure on being able to implement all of that.

I do want to acknowledge our sponsor that the TMA. If you want to take a TMA talent assessment, you can see what it would bring out as far as telling you about your talents, your work preferences and so forth. That’s what we’ve been trying to drive here in this conversation is that the TMA is a great tool to be able to use to evaluate your staff at how much interaction that they will need with you as a manager and their working style. If you are working remotely, managing them remotely or are you giving them coaching then it’ll tell you the best approach you’ll have that will resonate with them, their learning styles. There’s a lot of information there to help you navigate this new hybrid workplace that companies are facing now.

PSF 9 | Remote Team

Remote Team: We are also very big about helping off-board our employees in a very compassionate way. As long as they’ve treated us well, we will treat them well.

 

I know you’re going to talk about this as far as some of the other applications that TMA has. There’s a lot of mobile applications that are free to use. First, there’s the competency library that is out there, CompetenceLibrary.com will have all the different competencies that you can use across your organization. These are time-tested and used across the globe. Also, there are other aspects that you can use here, that is, a handheld mobile application that will help go through the entire integrated talent management as far as sourcing people. There’s some support there. If you want to look at that TMA application and if anybody has any trouble finding that, you can contact me at this Support@CompTeam.net and I’ll show you where that’s at. Take a look at those applications and they give you a lot of good remote capability there as a manager.

I believe that we could have handled this entire remote process, maybe without such a tool but I do think that it was helpful. For example, when Susan and I were talking about hiring new staff and trying to come up with more consistency in our interviewing questions that were aligned to the actual competencies that we’re looking for. Our positions require an assertive personality, a detailed personality, even a sales type of personality, as well as compassion about health advocacy. It’s hard to find that unicorn because it’s hard to find a fine balance.

Most people in the healthcare field are more about the compassion of healing people. They’re not necessarily into post-sales and more of the salespeople are more about hitting that commission and getting that number that they need in order to get the figure that they want. Meshing the two personality types is challenging. Having this tool and there is a career coach app, which I adore. We haven’t quite utilized it to the degree that I want to but the fact that my managers have in their hands onsite all the tools to develop mentor support. Even if there’s an employee that has said, “I’m considering leaving in a month.” We are also big about helping off-board our employees in a compassionate way.

As long as they’ve treated us well, we will treat them well. Even the TMA gives us tools and support to help off-board employees from a career mobility standpoint. Having this has been a great help so we are gone for several months. I think we’re leaving again and by then, we will fully have matured. With Melissa’s help and getting everybody through the teammate and then also the managers are going to make a decision if we’re going to do this for all employees and new hires. I want that to be a management decision. I would guess that our managers are fully supported as long as they know that we can integrate this and easily. It doesn’t need to interrupt a lot of their time and it’s not going to take a lot of extra administrative work for them to do that. We’re pleased with how that’s done.

We’re approaching the top of the hour here but I do want to let our readers know if you were thinking about making your company more agile and resistant to these types of shocks, such as a pandemic. Hopefully, you will have a future iteration of this but the important thing is to increase agility. It’s going to make your company much more resistant to these types of shocks. If you’re interested in learning more, go ahead and reach out to Char. You can sign up through that poll and she’ll be glad to share her experiences with you on how to make that happen for your company as she’s done to her own.

Our company website is RockyMountainHealthAdvocates.com. If you want to email me, if you’re curious to talk to me as a real-life former corporate HR executive and now still an HR executive but I own my own company. If you want to talk to me personally about how my journey went and how I can help you look at what we can help you to do with your company or if you’re looking to start up a new company. I do have a unique perspective. I call it the HR from the inside out. One of my big mottos is HR with the heart. I also do career coaching but that’s more of a hobby. I love doing career coaching. You can reach out to me because I’ve lived it, I’ve done it for a while and I’ve successfully done it. Please reach out to me at Char@CompTeam.net or you can reach out to Sam and then RockyMountainHealthAdvocates.com.

I want to thank you and your team for sharing your wisdom on this important topic and how to be more agile and managing remotely. Thank you so much

Thank you so much for sharing and being honest and giving us the real deal.

Thank you for having us.

You all take care. See you on the next episode. Bye.

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