In This Episode:
Noel Andrews from JobRack.eu. He’s the CEO of JobRack, which helps business owners recruit amazing people from Eastern Europe…
Full Transcript Below:
Welcome to the Business Numbers podcast. Doing interviews again. This is the first of many with this interviews. I’m gonna bring in other experts to share tips and tactics to help increase your business numbers directly or indirectly. My guest for this episode is Noel Andrews from JobRack.eu. He’s the CEO of JobRack, which helps business owners recruit amazing people from Eastern Europe. And we’ll talk about Eastern Europe a little bit later.
He’s done a lot of workshops, been a high-rated guest on many podcasts, and co-written a book as well. So he’s got a deep background in all things hiring. Again, we’ll get into that. He’s also a good friend of many years. Welcome Noel. Thank you for joining me.
Thanks, Ben. Good to be here, buddy.
How was my intro? Would you add or tweak anything to the intro for you?
I think your intro’s pretty good. I mean, you left out the bit about how I’m based in London and I’m a kind of a cocktail bar fiend, but apart from that, I think it was all good.
Awesome. Good addition. That’s a good addition. All right. So what we’re going to talk about today, I’ve got three different main areas I want to talk to you about major topics to touch on where you’ve got deep expertise. You’ve helped a lot of people with it. Three topics are Eastern Europe, hiring and culture, but we’ll kind of see where the conversation leads. Does that sound good? Awesome. All right. Well, let’s start with Eastern Europe because I feel that
Sounds good, man.
In terms of like hiring a remote worker, people’s brains kind of go Philippines straight away, and there are a lot of other alternatives. And that’s partly why I brought you on the podcast is because there are some pros and cons of the Philippines and different options and Eastern Europe has a lot of pros. Um, so I guess why don’t, why don’t we start with like, what is Eastern Europe? Like what’s, what’s the area there? Uh, are there variations between the countries and regions? Tell me a bit about that.
Yeah, sure. So, I mean, Eastern Europe, for us, a job rack is, it’s around 24 countries and kind of, it’s a bit flexible. It’s not a kind of a concretely divine region. We tend to focus on areas like in the Balkans, in and around the Balkans. So places like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, North Macedonia, where else have we got kind of some little bit in kind of Romania, Bulgaria, places like that. And
My first kind of caveat is that you can hire great people all over the world, right? Anywhere in the world has great people. Depending on where you are and where your business is based, and what you need, then there’s some areas that might be better or kind of worse for you. And so what we found with Eastern Europe, and this is over many, many, many years, and Eastern Europe has a bit of a reputation as, you know, still, you know, saving you cost versus hiring locally in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, etc. But
with a really, really high quality, great English, great technical skills, great education, and crucially, really, really great cultural alignment. So whereas there’s regions of the world that, again, they can be great people, they can work really, really effectively, but sometimes there’s just a little bit of a kind of a jarring mismatch on the cultural side of things that you can work around, but sometimes takes a lot of effort. Whereas Eastern Europe, very, very culturally aligned, and they have that…
absolute amazing kind of qualities that they’re very, very direct in their communication and, stereotypically, almost blunt. So there’s much less kind of fluffiness and you know, just get to the point. They’re very happy to challenge you, which is a manager or a CEO is really, really great. You don’t want someone that’s just going to take what you’ve said and do it, even if it’s wrong. You know, they’re very, very happy to kind of feedback and kind of challenge you on stuff, which is which is so refreshing.
Awesome. Well, yeah, that, that flows into my next question was, which was going to be like, what’s the culture like? Is it? I don’t know. I definitely feel like we travel a lot , we’re kind of used to cultures are a little bit different. And that’s cool and interesting and fun. But there’s, like, some people who might be listening to this, they’re like, I have no idea. Like, is everything really different? How do I interact with people in a country that isn’t my own?
Yeah, so I mean fundamentally, they’re humans like you and me. And I would say the things that kind of like tend to we see a lot is one is they’re very direct, right? They’re friendly, but they are direct. And sometimes that can come across as a bit blunt, almost a bit rude. And so we tend to warn the kind of clients and business owners that we work with that “hey, look, it’s not rude. It’s just that, you know,they’re being straight with you. So if they say they don’t like something or if they say, and hey, that could be better or that is wrong, it’s just them being straight about it. So yeah, it tends to be very, very friendly, great fun. I love getting together and having kind of team time with my team. We just had a great kind of weekly session this morning and we got face-to-face last year on a team retreat which was amazing. So yeah.
Really, the direct communication is the biggest thing. Outside of that, probably the most common thing that I hear from our clients is just how hardworking people are. So they really want to commit, they really want to, we specialize in finding team members that are gonna be with you for the long term, not just kind of nomads that wanna sit on the beach with their laptop, that’s not our jam. So yeah, people that are really, really hardworking, great English.
Really, really great education, and that cultural bit comes through with that communication and that work ethic. Aside from that, you know, a lot of them have grown up on kind of Western TV. Every now and again, we get people that have got like a kind of more American or kind of more English accent than we have, which is super, super interesting. But yeah, super direct communication is probably the main thing, and then that incredible work ethic.
Hmm. Nice. So good work ethic, they can be direct, which is, it suits me right down on the ground. I’ve had Eastern Europeans working for me. And I’m like, “It’s so simple!” It’s like, you don’t have to worry. It’s like, okay, they said they got it, but then they’re taking forever to do the thing. And I asked them if they’re okay. And they say, “no, no, no, it’s fine boss.” But Eastern Europeans, like, “Do you understand?” They say yes or no. They mean yes or no!
So I found that pretty refreshing. So Eastern European, you said they can be a little bit cheaper than hiring locally for those of us in the UK, US, Australia even. What kind of guidelines would you give people on what are reasonable rates to expect for some of the most common roles?
Yeah, so I mean, as a rule of thumb, we’d, we’d expect it to be around 50%. So half the cost of hiring locally, maybe a little bit lower than that. And the key caveat there is that is for equal or better quality than you can hire locally. And that’s not just a kind of sales pitch. That’s genuinely, genuinely true. So if we were to think about like, if we think kind of at the more entry-level kind of roles, you might be thinking about getting a really great executive assistant, then that’s typically going to start from around about $ 7 or $8 an hour. So this isn’t just, you know, the lowest-level virtual assistant just doing data entry or doing very low-level tasks. This is for someone really smart, really switched on, that’s kind of going to run you and your life right and help take a lot of things off your plate. So from around about $7 an hour and upwards, we tend to find around $10 an hour is an absolute is a really, really great sweet spot really, really great people. And there’s almost no upper limit. I’ve got clients that pay their EAs, you know, really, really, really well because of the huge value that they bring.
You then come into things like kind of operations managers, project managers, account managers, where typically you’re probably looking between $2,500 and $3,500 US dollars a month full time. So, you know, you’re getting someone who is gonna kind of run your business, you know, run the operations side of things, look after clients. And yeah, so what’s that? That’s probably from around about kind of 18 to $25 an hour, something like that. But yeah, if you think monthly, $2,500- $3,500 a month gets you a full-time person, you know, committed. You’re getting their shower thoughts. An amazing quality. We see similar with things like SEO specialists, PPC specialists, again, absolute kind of gurus in their roles, similar kind of $2,500 to $3,500 a month.
And then, you know, software developers, again, normally around about 50% of the cost. So a mid-level software dev, depending on the tech, is going to be about $4,500-$5,500 US a month. And then seniors, maybe going up from maybe $6K up to kind of about $7K a month. So again, normally, like I said, about half what you’d expect to pay kind of in the kind of Western world.
Hmm. Nice. Yeah. That was one of the things that definitely tempted me. It’s like hardworking cultural aligns with, you know, what I’m looking for for my management style. Great English, often like university educated and half the cost. I’m like…it is too good to be true. No, actually, I’ve hired a couple of people. They’re great. They’re amazing. Does take a bit of getting used to. It’s like, okay, where’s the trick here?
So. Let’s kind of move on to hiring a bit. So someone’s thinking about they need a specific role. You know, they’ve got this idea of maybe I’ll try hiring in Eastern Europe. They’ve got some guidelines about what the rates are. We could go through and like, you know, what are the standard things you should do with hiring? But I’m actually curious to find out what, what do most business owners not know about hiring or what do they commonly get wrong?
So you’ve got a lot of experience with hiring. I don’t know how many hundreds or thousands of people are hired through job rack. Um, can we save people some mistakes when they go out and hire someone from Eastern Europe or anywhere?
Yeah, definitely. So the first thing that most people do, right, is they’re like, “Hey, I need to hire an operations manager.” As an example, right, and they go out and they Google operations manager job description, right? And then they copy a job description, or they write, they follow a template or a format for like a job description. And the problem with that is it’s all focused around responsibilities, um, character traits, things like that and it often doesn’t focus on what you actually want them to do. And so I’m a big fan of just turn this on its head and just start out with a “What is the list of stuff that you want them to do?”. “What are their outputs?” is maybe a kind of a simpler way to say it. So what are their outputs going to be? Start there. And then in order to do those things, what therefore, is the skills, the experience, the attitude that they’re going to need so that they can actually do those things in the way that you want them to be done?
There’s a…A friend of mine, Austin Netsley from 2X. He talks about the A to FSO, which is the “Ability to Figure Stuff Out”. And you want people, especially in an assistant role, but actually for me in any role, I want really high A to FSO. I want them to be able to take something because, hey, I’m a business owner, I’m an entrepreneur, I don’t always brief things that clearly. I’m not always that clear on what I want.
And so what I want is people that can just take that, challenge me and ask me questions, but then go and figure it out. I don’t have to hand feed every bit of the thing that I want. So the first bit is yeah, be really thinking about what do you actually want them to do? That’s the first thing. The second thing is wherever you go to hire, wherever in the world you’re looking for, whether you’re getting help from a kind of recruitment service or from a job board, go where the people that you want are actually hanging out.
And so, you know, if you’ve got particular time zone constraints, if you’ve got particular language needs, if you’ve got particular skills, go where the people are, right? Kind of like fish in the right pond. Um, and be mindful that a lot of the time, the best people are not hanging out on job boards, just waiting for your job to kind of appear thrilled to apply to it. Sometimes it takes kind of a lot more work.
So yeah, outputs, be fishing in the right pond. And then I think the other thing for me is I am a big believer in that the way for us to build a successful, scalable, sustainable business is with real team members, right? Ben, you and I have got some friends, Dan and Ian, and they once mentioned about “You want people, you want their shower thoughts”. And so you don’t get…
When someone’s in the shower in the morning, if they’re just a freelancer or kind of a contractor and they’re just doing a few hours or a few tasks, they’re less likely to be focused and really thinking about you and how do they make your business better. For me, I want people that are passionate about my business or passionate about your business and helping you kind of grow, make things better for the clients. Not just thinking, “oh, well, I’ve done those tasks now, I’m gonna stop work, I’m gonna do something else”. I want them going, “Hey, what else can I do with my time?” So those kind of shower thoughts. And so again, in order to hire real team members, you’ve got to make it clear that that’s what you’re looking for. And yeah, that leads into, yeah, we’ll chat about kind of team culture and that sort of thing. But yeah, aim to hire team members. It doesn’t matter what their legal status is. It doesn’t matter if they’re an independent contractor working under a service agreement because legally it’s difficult to have them as a true employee, in the legal sense. Ultimately, you want team members.
OK, excellent. Yeah, we’ll definitely come back to that one. That one is something I’m definitely seeing the benefit of, through a lot of my clients’ businesses over the years. “Hey, my team member just came to me with this great idea”. Like, that doesn’t happen if they’re freelance, I was just saying, you need the shower thoughts. And so, is there any particular difference in the way you would hire for that, or is it just get them full-time?
Now it doesn’t even need to be full-time, so you can do it part-time as well. I think it’s all about the expectation.
And it’s all about the conversation that you’re having and maybe perhaps what you’re interviewing them for as you go through the process. So if you’re just looking for a freelancer to do some tasks or a project, then the thing that matters most is the skills and their ability to actually do it. And then maybe a little bit about how they’re going to communicate. Whereas when you’re looking for a team member, you’re looking for someone to be, it was a term that was given to me recently that you want to be a culture add. So we often talk about someone being a culture fit with us and our culture, but actually want to be a culture add.
So they’re going to add something to your culture and to your team. So you’re going to look a little bit kind of broader than just “Can they do the job today and can they communicate effectively?” It’s also about “What’s their job going to look like in six months or 12 months? What’s the business going to look like? Can they grow with you? Are they interested in that?” And so the conversation you’re going to have, yes, you’ve got to ascertain that they can really do what they need.
But you also want to be looking and saying, hey, is this the kind of person that is going to be great for our team that we want to work with? Are they going to help me drive this business forward? Are they interested in doing that?
Mm, I like that. So it’s a bit more than just, “Oh God, I’m so busy. I need to hire someone to do these things, and I hope they speak good English.” Um, and use Slack or something. Yeah. But a bit more thought behind it. Yep. That makes sense. I like it. Well, why don’t we kind of segue into the culture since we’re sort of talking about that at the moment. Um,
There’s probably some people out there that have no idea what we mean by culture or team culture, or maybe they have the wrong idea, and they don’t know. Or maybe they kind of have an idea what it is, but they don’t understand why we should care. Um, take, could you just talk a little bit about that? The sales pitch for culture.
Yeah, so culture’s this like messy, amorphous blob. It’s like, what is it? And what I’ve realized over years and years in the corporate world, and then now a fair few years running JobRack and kind of building my team out, is that for me, culture is about, you do the little things, right? That help to make people, or help people to enjoy working for you, working for the business, and then actually kind of culture comes as a result. So…
For me, there’s things that we do. So I’m really a massive fan of spending time with the team, and getting to know them. So obviously we do team meetings, we do one-to-ones, we also do kind of coffee calls and afternoon tea. So every Friday we’ll get together as a team for half an hour. It’s optional, but most people come along, and we’ll just kind of chat. There’s only one rule, no chat about work.
It’s just getting to know each other. Much like you would if you were in an office, you might be having, I don’t know, someone’s birthday and you’re all having a slice of cake, right, that doesn’t really happen remotely. So we’re looking for those ways to say, how can we get to know each other? One of the controversial things that I do, and this tip is not in traction or scaling up or any of the other frameworks, when you’re doing a team meeting, when you put your agenda together and your structure, it doesn’t all need to be about work.
So we have a section in every single meeting that we do, team meeting, we have a little fun question, and we go around the team, and it might be that as your team gets bigger, you need to split this out, but we’ll ask questions like, what’s the funniest or most embarrassing accident you’ve ever had?
What did you want to be? What did you want to do for a career when you were a child? What are you saving up for right now? What are you excited about? These kinds of little things that just help you get to know people, which we, which, and it’s a lot of fun, and it just kind of livens things up and it just helps to build connection. And what we find is that the better people know each other and the better people are connected, the better they support each other, you know, in the day-to-day side of things, and it’s just a, it’s a more fun place to work.
So we do a whole bunch of things. I can share a link in the show notes with a talk that I’ve done around 10 ways to build remote team culture. Really actionable things like sending group birthday cards electronically to make it super simple when remote. How to do really good team meetings. Values is super important. Can be tricky to put your values together. It can be quite a lot of work.
And initially, when you’re very small, it’s easy to go, “Ah, values, that’s just corporate fluff that big corporations put on the wall”, right? And right now, well, I’m sat in a WeWork office right now and WeWork has these LCD TVs all over the place, and their values flash up about every other two or three minutes. And I always look at them, and I’m kind of like, do the staff really resonate with them?
And that’s my wonder. And I see a lot, I’ve looked into this a lot, and I see some amazing sets of values, and then I see others that I’m like, “hmm, I can see why you’ve chosen them, but do the team really get behind them?” And so when I set out to do mine, I wanted them to be real. I didn’t want them just to be, you know, stuff that’s on the wall on a TV screen. I wanted them to be things that we really lived and breathed every day.
And values for me are hugely important because… A: The biggest thing is it lets me delegate more. Because if the team, if we’ve got a clear consistent set of values and that the team understands that that is how I make decisions, well, it means they can make decisions in the same way. So it means I can delegate not just tasks but I can delegate decisions, responsibilities, et cetera. And so values has…kind of turned into something really, really important. It also kind of just drives how we work. So one of ours is “focused speed”, for instance. So we wanna move quickly, but not in every direction at once, we wanna be focused. What’s the thing that we’re doing? We wanna wow our clients, you know, that’s a big thing. So we’re, you know, when a team member is making a decision, they can look at our values or think about our values and go, “is that in line with what we’re doing?”
So there’s a whole bunch of these kinds of things, and we can go into tons and tons of detail. I love this kind of stuff. But for me, the big thing with culture is it’s the little things that you do, right? It’s the little things that you do that make people feel good about working for you, working in your business, and supporting your clients. That’s the thing that then builds the kind of culture and the kind of fun place to work that I think that we all wanna build.
Mm. Yeah, I like that. It’s definitely like as, as your team gets bigger, you eventually realize you can’t be monitoring absolutely every single thing that people do and you’re like, okay, I’ve got to like have some SOPs in place, I’ve got to have some reports and some ways to figure out what people are doing, but then the other missing pieces, like you need culture for like, how are they going to behave when you’re not like staring over their shoulder like a creep. Um.
And, you know, values, how are they going to make decisions when you’re not there to make them so that you don’t get all the questions. These kinds of things that maybe some of us who’ve worked in a corporate background are like, “I hated corporate and culture, and value stuff has done poorly in our previous jobs”, like, “No, we don’t want to deal with any of that. We’re not going to have any of that nonsense”. But that’s just because it was done poorly, like when it’s done really well it solves a lot of problems that we don’t think can be solved and that we just have to put up with. So yes, thank you for the sales pitch on that.
Like I said, the simplest things are the best, right? Us sending birthday cards to our team, right? We use Send Wish Online, which is an e-card site that, you know, it kind of looks like e-card sites from about 2005, but it works really, really well. And you can all collaborate, and you can put little GIFs and videos and images and stuff.
And the best, the thing that I find that makes the biggest difference, and like a bit of a news flash for anyone listening, if you’ve got a team right now, it is almost certain that they have no idea what you do day to day. You own the business. You run the business, maybe you’re CEO, founder, whatever. They don’t actually know what you do. And if, like kind of Ben, like you and me, if you spend a good amount of time traveling around the world, going to conferences and events, they might just think you’re having a lovely time of it while they’re working really hard.
And so what I found is that I, and I don’t actually wanna disprove them of that myth because generally the pictures I take as I’m meeting up with people, normally there’s a beer or a wine involved. So they really do believe that. But one of the things that I do is I do quick little Loom videos. So when I’m walking somewhere, maybe I’m walking to WeWork, or I don’t know, on the way back from the gym or something like that. So I’m walking to WeWork I’ll just grab my phone, and I’ll shoot a quick selfie video using Loom, just letting the team know what’s going on. So if there’s some really good news, we’ve had some great client feedback or…If we’ve got some great kind of client calls coming up, or we’ve got great candidates coming in, or this is what I’m up to today, or I’ve just met up with someone. So I just give them a little loom of just letting them know what I’m up to, and I try and do that about once a week or more often if there’s something going on.
So last week, I was in Chicago, so I did one as I was crossing a bridge over the river and they get to see a little bit about where I am.I can shout out to the team for anything kind of particularly great that’s going on. And, you know, again, it’s another little kind of way of keeping in touch with the team and helping them feel really, really connected with me. And again, it’s super simple. Normally it’s like one to two minutes if that, and the team loves it. And again, it’s just a way of helping to feel more connected.
Hmm. This is kind of inspiring me to ask, you know, a question a little bit off the beaten path, but it’s related to culture. Like, how do you retain good team members? Because if you’re putting all this effort into hiring, well, putting effort into like building a good culture and values and things like that. How do you retain good people? And part of the reason why I’m asking is because I’ve seen a question a lot. And this is something that people ask me about a lot. It’s like“What do you think of this incentive scheme or this bonus scheme or this commission scheme?”
My first question is always, why do you need it? And usually, there’s some, like they finally found their first amazing team member after like going through a bunch of terrible people learning how to hire better, all that kind of stuff. They finally found their first amazing team member, and they’re so scared that that person will one day leave. They’re like, how can I stop that from happening? Oh, I know I will throw money at the problem and come up with some incentive scheme.
Or the other scenarios, not someone amazing they’re worried about leaving. It’s like, they can’t seem to get the team members to do what they’re supposed to do, and they think, “Oh if I just can put money incentive behind it, they’ll do the job they’re supposed to be doing.” I’m not a big fan of either of those. I’d rather like deal with the fear that they’re going to leave. And I’d rather like have them become a better manager or fire the person who’s obviously a C player when they wanted an A player.
However… as you can see, this is something I get passionate about because it comes up often. However, let’s say there are great team members, and you do want to retain them. Do you have any tips, any suggestions about that, whether it’s incentives and bonuses or other ways?
Yeah, the number one thing to do is talk to them about it. And I talk to tons and tons of business owners that are asking exactly these same kinds of questions, and they’re, “oh, I need to do this,” or “I wanna give them equity or phantom equity,” or “I wanna give them a bonus or commission” or whatever it might be. And I’m kinda like, “Have you talked to them?” And they’re like, “What?”
And I’m like, yeah, talk to them about, you know, what is it that actually drives them? What’s most important? And there are two particular times that I want to do this. One is before I make an offer to them to join the business right at the very start. So when I’m kind of at the point of making an offer, I always hop on a call, and I’m like, hey, how are you feeling about the hiring process, about the jobs, or anything you want to ask me? Like before I make the offer.
It gives them a chance to ask any questions. I’m like, “Cool, love to offer you the job. What I wanted to understand is what is important to you?” Because it might be, you know, they’ve put down an expected salary, and they’ve seen what holiday we offer, for instance, but I wanna understand what’s really important to them. And I’ll also ask them at that point, I’m like, “Hey, okay, well look, you saw the salary range for the role, and you put down this number.
I want to know where that is. Is that, were you lowballing it, thinking that you’d haggle upwards? Were you highballing it, thinking I was going to negotiate you down? Or is it about right for what you’re really looking for?” And so we set the scene right up front at having that kind of conversation. Then, probably not every month, but certainly every quarter, I’m having a financial conversation with them. I’m just been like, hey, and I wanna link it to their life. So I wanna know what’s going on in their life, what are they working towards? And so we’ll generally, certainly as part of the annual process, be saying, “Hey, how much do you wanna be earning in a year’s time and in three years’ time?” And getting that understanding, and it’s linked to life. You know, are they getting married? Are they wanting to buy an apartment or a house? What’s going on that drives it?
And then when it comes to retention, again, it’s asking that thing and saying, “Hey, look, you are a really valued member of this team, and I want you here for the long term. What is important to you?” And for some people, that is a feeling of ownership and equity, despite the fact that you may have no plans to ever sell the business, right? But for some people, that feeling is super important. To some people, it’s recognition and reward, financial. To other people, it might be having their birthday off, right? To some people, that’s a huge, huge deal. And so, adding one day of extra leave a year makes a massive difference.
For a lot of us hiring remotely, what’s becoming more and more important is that depending on which country you’re hiring from is the ability for them to get a mortgage, right? To buy a place. And so there’s sometimes there are things that you can do to support that, you know, even without them being a legal employee. It might be if someone’s, if you’ve got a female employee and they’re thinking about having children, for instance, well, it might be maternity cover. So all of these things that are completely common in the employee, you know, normal conventional business type world, but are much less common when people go remote and employ people as independent contractors or 1099s as it’s referred to in the US, it’s much less common. But actually, there are still ways and means of doing it. Even as an independent contractor, you can do it as stipends on the invoice. There’s various different ways you can do it. Always happy to chat about it. But it all comes down to having a conversation with them about what’s important to them.
Hmm. I liked it. Okay, there’s a couple of things that I want to underline in what you just said. Number one, talk to the team member about what they actually care about. Like if you want them to stay, just because more money might motivate us, or you’ve heard that other people might want more money, doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s what the team member wants. As you say, it could be that they just want their birthday off, or maybe they want flexible hours, or they want to change the hours, or they want a sense of ownership or reward or appreciation and recognition, or training and a career progression. There’s lots of ways to keep people interested in wanting to stay.
I also want to underline the question you asked was “How much do you want to earn in a year’s time?” And I liked that that takes the conversation away from, you know, the employee or the team member saying, “I want to pay rise!” and the employer has to go, you know, try and negotiate and potentially spoils the short term relationship or it’s a difficult thing to do. Whereas like, “How much do you want to earn in 12 months’ time?” It’s then like, I would like to go here and then you can create a path that they can get there. I love that idea. I do want to ask about the helping people get a mortgage when they’re not in your country. Um, how do you do that? I mean, most countries, they need to see pay slips from being employed.
Yeah, so it depends on the country and how it works. So here in the UK, for instance, someone who is self-employed can show evidence of income and evidence of a contract, for instance, that’s going to help them. In much of Eastern Europe, if they have a service agreement that shows they’re on a particular salary, et cetera, banks and mortgage companies will take that as evidence of income coupled with their bank statements, for instance. So there’s lots of ways to do it. And sometimes it can just be a case if we had it with one of my team members, they’d had a significant pay rise and we just, you know, we’ve done a pay rise we hadn’t actually updated their contract and so but by updating their contract again sometimes they need this for compliance purposes, but actually it meant it was it was easier for them to get a mortgage as well so there’s often little things like that no kind of hardship for you as the business owner that can help them in the things that they want
And to kind of clarify something I said earlier on, you know, I’m not having a financial conversation every month or every three months. We tend to do that kind of once a year, but what I am doing is having a, what do you want? How’s this working for you? Is there anything that could be, you know, how can we work better? And a big part of me is all around the financial stuff is what you want to do is you want to get it right, and then you want to get it out of sight. Right? We had a little period of time, a while ago, about a year ago, where we just kind of asking for pay rises, relatively small amounts, but a little more often than we’d want. And that was just an indication that we weren’t keeping pace with the increasing costs. So in Europe, it’s been a crazy kind of 12-15 months or so, inflation, everything going on, and cost increases, especially with energy and fuel. And we actually chose to do a kind of add an extra bump for everybody flat across the whole board towards kind of a cost increase. Because actually, I didn’t feel that that necessarily needs to be percentage. But so I want to be kind of getting it right, getting out of the way, but always talking about, “Hey, you know, what’s going on for you? What’s important to you right now?” And then just building that. And then the other thing I want to do is I want to pay well. And then I want to expect a lot.
And so I would whatever people ask for, I will normally give a little bit more, especially when it’s like when I’m first bringing them in, you know, so if they ask for, let’s say, it’s $2,000 a month, I’m probably going to pay them $2,100, right? If I’m doing a pay rise or something like that, I’m normally just going to go a little bit over because I do not want them going, feeling, “Oh, that was right. I kind of got what I asked for”. I want them to feel really valued because then I want to be able to expect a whole ton from them and know that they’re really fired up and committed. That’s, that’s super, super important to me.
Mm-hmm.I like that. Excellent. Thank you for those additions.
OK, that’s good that talking about retention in ways other than bonuses, that that helps my soapbox topic. I can avoid ranting on that on the solo podcast episode now. Thank you.
We could do a whole episode on that. I mean, there’s lots of good reasons to do it but do it really carefully because there’s so much evidence that shows that once you put bonus structures in place, once you give a bonus, there’s then an expectation that that’s gonna happen again the next year. And there’s so many things we might do as business owners, we might invest, we might do all kinds of things or the business, you know, we might go through a recession, or things might change. And it then acts as this massive demotivator. And there’s a lot of stuff out there about how it doesn’t act as an incentive. So…
You know, I’m quite unusual in that. So I have a salesperson on the team, very consultative, non-salesy salesperson who is not on commission. And everyone said I was crazy. It was like, “You can’t have a salesperson that’s not on a commission. They’ve got to be hungry!” And I’m like, “No, breeds the wrong behaviors for me” because not every deal is a good deal. Not every client is a good client. So just think about it a lot and talk to people like us and others to kind of just get input and figure out what’s really, really right for you is so, so important because it creates such a drama and such a nightmare if you get it wrong.
Yeah, yeah, that was a surprising discovery for me is that you set up a bonus system and that becomes like the minimum that people expect. It’s no longer a treat every time it happens. And then the other thing that I’ve always spotted is that bonuses, uh, can kill the business that hasn’t really been thought through about what the actual financial impact is. If you know, things were to go right and yet wrong in the same way in this particular way, they know the employee is a bonus, but not actually be able to pay the thing. So yeah, it’s very, very big topic again, soapbox, I’m going to like move on. Um,
So what we’ve talked about so far… Eastern Europe, we’ve talked about hiring, talked about culture, and we talked a bit about bonus topic, retention, or retaining good team members. Any final tips you wanna leave with people? If this is the last that they ever hear from Noel, the hiring expert, what are some pitfalls you might hope to save them from or change their thinking in some way?
I think there’s two. So one is hire before you need to. So most business owners hire when they’re about 120% of capacity, right? Especially if you’re in the agency world, right? Because agency owners, you’re balancing profitability, utilization, all that kind of stuff. Oh, I can’t afford it, I can’t afford it. You get to 110%, 120% before you think about hiring, your team are going through, you’re kind of getting burnt out, your clients are getting hacked off.
It’s crazy, and hiring takes time. So, and even if you’re not running an agency, the earlier you hire, the earlier you can delegate, get more help and be in your, whatever you wanna refer to as your zone of genius, right? And you can grow your business and make it a real business as opposed to a job.
And the other thing is hire team members without any doubt. That is the number one thing, hire real team members that wanna commit to you, give you their shower thoughts that you can grow a real business around. And always happy to chat more about that, but that’s the thing that I find makes the biggest, biggest difference. And we see it from all of our clients. When we really focus on helping them hire team members, that is what gives them the, frankly gives them the life that they want as well as the business that they want.
Excellent. Sounds great. Wonderful place to wrap up on. So if people do want more hiring wisdom and culture and things like that, where can they get in touch with you? Where would be the best place to point them?
Yeah, best bet is simply to jump on over to Jobrack.eu. There’s a ton of information, there’s a link, you can always hop on a call with me or my team, and we’ll kind of help you out from there. We take a very kind of helpful and friendly approach to it, so we love having kind of chats and just helping people out.
Yes, yes, we align well on that one.
Awesome, well, thank you, Noel. Thank you for sharing all these valuable tips, valuable knowledge, I really appreciate it. And thank you everybody out there for listening and watching. Before you go, don’t forget to like, subscribe, rate, share, do all the things to help spread these ideas to more people. I think this is definitely an area that people need to know a bit more about.
And with that said, I’ll see you all on the next episode.