Building Your Team the Right Way with Jamie Van Cuyk
Building Your Team the Right Way with Jamie Van Cuyk

Building Your Team the Right Way with Jamie Van Cuyk

You’re busy, and you know you need help—desperately. It’s time to hire. But rushing into hiring a new team member will not fix your problems. It might actually make them worse.

You have to know what you need to hire for, find the right person, and then onboard them correctly. I can say for certain that I’ve failed at onboarding on more than one occasion, and trust me you want to do it right.

Today I’m talking to Jamie Van Cuyk about how to know it’s the right time to hire and how to onboard your new hires well. Because even though you might be ready to have someone on your team NOW, it really does take some time.

Listen in!

Mentioned in This Episode

About Jamie Van Cuyk

Jamie Van Cuyk, the owner and lead strategist of Growing Your Team, is an expert in hiring, building teams, and people management within small businesses. Drawing from over ten years of leadership experience, Jamie teaches her clients how to hire and manage their first teams of loyal contractors and employees. She helps each client create, understand, and execute the right strategies so that they can find, manage, and retain their perfect-fit team members.

To learn more about Jamie check out her website or follow her on Instagram and Facebook.


Abby Herman  0:08  

Hey there, and welcome to Episode 125 of The Content Experiment podcast, a podcast that supports the idea that content and marketing are ever moving targets in any business. And it’s okay if you don’t feel like you’re doing it. All right all of the time, you have permission to experiment with little tweaks and changes in your content, to find out what works for you, what increases value for your audience, and what grows your business, and most importantly, what feels good for you. I’m Abby Herman, a content strategist and coach for online business owners who are ready to make a bigger impact online. I firmly believe that success isn’t about what big marketing brands and so called gurus think is the right thing. It’s about you and your business, your lifestyle, and, frankly, your values and belief systems, you get to do business in a way that works for you. Is what was working for you no longer working today? Maybe because you’ve grown and you need some support, you can no longer do it all on your own. I’ve certainly been in that place before more than a few times. 

Abby Herman  1:18  

But hiring can be really scary. Not only do you have to know what role you need to hire for, you need to find the right person. And then you need to onboard them correctly. And onboarding a new team member? Well, I can say for certain that I have failed at that on more than one occasion. Just like onboarding a new client, a new team member takes communication, training, content and a whole lot of time. In this episode, I’m talking to Jamie Van Cyuk, about how to know it’s the right time to hire and how to onboard your new hire as well. Because even though you might be ready to have someone on your team, like right now or yesterday, and you’re ready to let go of all of the things, it really does take some time to do it right. But before we get in, I want to welcome you if you are here, and you’re new to the podcast, it’s an honor to share this time with you. Thank you so much for being here. And if you’re a repeat listener, and you haven’t already left a rating and review, I would be so grateful if you’d hop over to your favorite podcast app and do just that. ratings and reviews are what helped tell Apple Spotify, Stitcher and all the other platforms and me that you like what you’re hearing, and it helps to get the podcast in more earbuds so others can benefit from the information I’m throwing down on a regular basis. 

Abby Herman  2:43  

This podcast is brought to you by content mastery lab, my membership community where we talk about content creation, idea generation, market research, social media strategies, and all the mindset blogs that get in the way of your own visibility plus a whole lot more. Sometimes it takes some time to be brave enough to share our message. And sometimes it takes some time to get the message right. In the lab, we focus on little tweaks and changes in our content to get the best ROI of our time investments. Because big sweeping changes take a lot of time, effort and money. And they don’t always pay off like we expect them to stop floundering by trying to figure it all out yourself and start creating content with the confidence that you are on the right path. Join us monthly or quarterly or commit to a whole year for some extra one on one time with me and quarterly planning parties where we work through your content together in an intimate group, head to the content slash lab for more information and to sign up and if you use the coupon code podcast, you can try out your first month for just $1.

Abby Herman  3:53  

Okay, back to our guests. Again, I’m chatting with Jamie Van Cyuk. Let me share more information about her before we dive in. Jamie Van Cyuk is the owner and lead strategist of growing your team. She’s an expert in hiring building teams and people management within small businesses. Drawing from over 10 years of leadership experience Jamie teaches her clients how to hire and manage their first teams of loyal contractors and employees. By learning the dynamics of each company and their needs. She helps each client create, understand and execute the right strategies so that they can find, manage and retain their perfect fit team members. On a personal side. Jamie lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her husband and two daughters, loves to travel and enjoys exercise that takes her feet off the ground, including rock climbing and aerial dance. And now here is our conversation. Hi Jamie, thank you so much for joining me today. 

Jamie Van Cuyk  4:56  

Thank you so much for having me Abby.

Abby Herman  4:58  

I am really excited to talk about all things hiring, and specifically the onboarding process of hiring, because I feel like that is like your make or break time when you’re bringing new team members on. But before we get into that, can you share with listeners what you do and who you do it for?

Jamie Van Cuyk  5:16  

Yes. So Hello, everyone, I am Jamie Van Cyuk, I am the owner and lead strategist at growing your team. So grow your team, small business owners hire us to guide them through the process of learning how to hire their early team members. So we typically work with businesses that range from the solopreneur, who’s looking to bring on their first long term team member, whether a contractor or an employee, all the way up to businesses that have about 10 employees, but are still trying to figure out how to do it right. They feel like they’re in this hiring and firing cycle, they feel like they bring on team members, but then they’re wasting their money because they’re not getting that return that they were hoping for when they hire. So we help them figure it all out. So they get the right person into that position, and then guide them through the onboarding process. So they not only get the right person in, but they get them situated in the company and to the role. So that way, they can produce that positive ROI. And as a business owner, you feel great having this person on your team, instead of feeling like it’s a drain on your time, money and energy.

Abby Herman  6:28  

So do you work one on one with clients? Or do you work in a group format? How do you actually work with clients?

Jamie Van Cuyk  6:35  

Right now it’s all one on one. So our biggest thing, we have three different ways that we work with our clients, but it’s all about making sure first that you know who you need to hire, and that you have the tools to hire that right person. So for some of our clients, all they need are the tools, we create their job posting, after we go through the process of let’s make sure we’re identifying the right person, and how do we identify that person, we provide them interview guides, and then they execute it all on their own. We do long term consulting, we’re guiding you through the entire process. So that way, you’re not doing it alone, we’re making sure we’re teaching you and, and everything there. So we go through the process once with you, and then you’re the expert. So you can do it again and again for your business as your business grows, and you have to bring on more team members. And then we also do recruiting for some of our clients. So some of our bigger clients that are like, Hey, we got this, but we no longer have time to do our own hiring, we then take them through the process of let’s make sure we’re getting the right person in. But then we lead the process of going out sourcing the candidates. And soon those first rounds of interviews, so they only have to spend time interviewing those top tier candidates and making that decision.

Abby Herman  7:49  

I love how you offer the support for all of the different levels of businesses because I feel like you know, when you find somebody you love working with, it’s nice to stick with them throughout the course of your business journey. So I love that you have that available to people. So I know that you have little ones at home, can you share about the way that you structure your day and the work with your clients and how that helps you to live the lifestyle that you want?

Jamie Van Cuyk  8:15  

Yes, so I do have two little ones, they are currently five and eight. So they are both now in full time school. So that definitely helps a little bit, they get dropped off at eight in the morning, come home at three. So I try to make sure that I have most of my meetings and everything during those hours. But there was a period of time actually our littles one just started about two months ago going to full time preschool before she was home in the afternoons and then so that I just made sure that I was getting a lot of stuff done in the mornings. So that way, she could have a little bit more attention and more of my time in the afternoons when she was there. And sometimes at first it meant when I was writing strategies for the clients to do a lot of the behind the scenes work where I didn’t have to be meeting with a client doing that at night or in those time periods where you know, the kids were settled and doing something else. But then I’m also really lucky that I have my husband who is a super active supportive father and everything. 

Jamie Van Cuyk  9:11  

So there’s a lot of times that when the kids are home, we kind of tag team everything we have the nights where he cooks dinner, the nights I cooked dinner, and it kind of just gives us that little bit of extra time to get some work done or schedule some meetings. But it’s super nice because we do a lot of traveling. So there’s a lot of times the kids just go with the flow with us. We take our laptops, we go work from wherever. And we just make sure we balance out our day especially when we’re coming up on summer right now when we’re recording this. My kids only have a week and a half left at school. And then they’re going to be home for most of the summer besides some summer camps here or there. And it’s just planning out the day where there’s gaps of time where I could be interactive with the kids, and then move to focusing on work and then go back to being with them. So just balancing out the day. So everything’s getting the attention that it needs.

Abby Herman  10:00  

Yeah, that’s so important. My daughter was older when I left my full time job to run my business full time. She was going into sixth grade. And so I can’t really relate to having the little ones and the neediness. But the kids still need us no matter what, how old they are, she’s going on 19 now and just living at home, you know, through COVID times. So I mean, like, she does still need our attention. So I love the flexibility of being able to, you know, work when we want to and or need to, and then being able to take time off, you know, and structure our days to be there for our kids when they need them. I love that.

Jamie Van Cuyk  10:38  

Yeah, I will actually say I started working from home when my youngest was eight months, and she was home full time with me. So it was really learning of, okay, when she’s napping, or when she was entertained, like entertaining herself. It’s like focus and do work, like, don’t do cleaning, don’t do anything else. Like, you could easily do that, while the kids are around. Like, when you have work time, you need to get work done. And then we have an open floor plan so that it was like interacting with the kids while making dinner, like doing their homework while making dinner or like doing that stuff where then you’re kind of multitasking doing chores and the parenting and interacting with the kids at the same time. Versus like trying to balance that work and everything else and the kids all at the same time. So just kind of building up the schedule. So you have that separation.

Abby Herman  11:26  

Yeah, I love that. And they like to, you know, I think it’s important for kids to see us doing other things when they’re around. They can’t be 100% focused on the kids. Because, yeah, we need to feed people and the house needs to be cleaned up. And I think it’s great for them to see that to see us doing that. So yes, kudos for doing all that. So of course, I want to talk about content and the content that you need when onboarding new employees or new contractors to your business. But first, I want to take a step back and talk about how you know that you need to hire him? And I think that there’s, you know, we think we need to hire, we think we need to hire this particular type of person. But how do you really know? Can you talk us through that a little bit?

Jamie Van Cuyk  12:10  

Yeah. So first we’ll talk about the right time to hire, because I find many business owners because they start their business as just them. They wait too long to hire, because you’re so used to doing everything yourself. And you’re like, I got it, I got it since the beginning you have to. So then you get into this habit, and you overlook the science. And then you’re kind of like drowning and your business is stressing you out. But then there’s other business owners that jump too quickly into hiring, because they’re like everyone else around them is hiring. So they need to do it too. And then they’re like, they don’t have everything figured out they’re hiring before they can really afford it. They’re hiring before getting those extra people in their business that can actually help produce those positive impacts. And then they’re like, what did I do? I guess hiring is not for me. So the thing is, you want to make sure that you’re hiring at the right time. And I say there’s four signs that you need to look for in your business. And all you need is one of these signs. So you don’t need all four, you might find that you have a combination of them. 

Jamie Van Cuyk  13:09  

But you want to make sure you have at least one of these four signs. And I encourage business owners to do an audit of their business each quarter. So that way, you’re not getting too tied up and just going with the flow, that you’re not noticing that these things are there. So the one is you’re saying no to your ideal clients, so people want to give you their money. And it’s someone that you would love to work with. But you’re having to say no, because you don’t have the time. This also means having a waitlist. So weightless are great for events, products, launch dates, stuff like that. But if you’re having a waitlist for your services, simply because you can’t take on any more business, that’s a sign that you need to hire, and start figuring out Is it someone on the back end that can help you out or someone that can also be providing the services that you offer. So that way you can start taking people’s money and getting them as clients when they want to give you their money. site. Number two is that you’re losing customers due to poor customer service. And this typically happens because as your business grows, it’s taking you longer to respond and get things to your clients because you don’t have all the free time that you used to. Because you have more and more clients that you’re working with, but they’re feeling kind of like they don’t matter anymore. 

Jamie Van Cuyk  14:25  

Like they’re feeling like, okay, now I’m just one of her clients versus like her carrying that on the clients. So they start to feel that disconnect, they start to feel like they’re not getting what they paid for. So then they start taking their business elsewhere, when it’s time to renew or time to hire someone again for that type of service. It could also mean that customer service is that by the time someone inquires about your service, they’ve already gone to somebody else. So a realtor that I worked with. She had a philosophy that when she was working with a customer when she was face to face With a customer, she didn’t answer her phone, which meant she was losing out on new business, because people would call her about her services. And by the time she called them back, they would have already gone with another realtor. So she hired someone simply to answer the phone. So that way, she could get that additional business. And of course, that additional business paid for that assistant that she brought on to answer the phone, then sign number three is that you want to do something new in your business, but you can’t, because all your time is dedicated to what you currently have going on to your business. So maybe you want to launch a podcast, or a new product offering or a new service or open a new location. But you can’t do those things. Because you don’t have the time. You know, once those things are up and running, they would easily flow into your business, but getting them up and running. You can’t do it without having to work nights, weekends, maybe two hours a week. So getting it executed is going to take you a year to get done. 

Jamie Van Cuyk  15:58  

And then the fourth and final sign is that you lack a certain skill set or knowledge that you need in your business or you need to execute something, whether it’s a one off project early on in our businesses, we get used to having to learn at all, because there’s a lot of things we do need to learn at all, like we do need to know. But then there comes a point where your time is valuable. And it’s better value to spend your money to pay an expert than it is to take your time to learn it. Because when you’re taking that time, it means you’re not working with clients, which means you’re not bringing in revenue. And it’s going to take you way, way more time for you to learn it, perfect it, then execute it and then probably go back and re tweak your work that it would be just to hire the experts and them to do it right the first time because it’s what they do every day. So those are the four signs that you need to consider hiring somebody, then it’s looking to see who you should hire?

Abby Herman  16:57  

Yeah. So I have two comments on what you just said. So on point number four, like you lack the skill set, and that’s a time to hire, this is so true. And I cannot tell you how much time and frustration I have wasted on trying to figure out certain things in my business. And I’m like, why didn’t I just hire somebody in the first place. For example, at the beginning of this year, I rebranded and I built a new website. I had this idea that my operations manager and I were going to build the new website ourselves. And then it just sat there and sat there and sat there because neither one of us really knew what to do or where to start. And it probably would have sucked if we had followed through and built it out ourselves. And finally, I’m like, I’m just hiring somebody, I’m just spending the money, I’m gonna hire somebody to do it. And she did a fantastic job. 

Abby Herman  17:49  

And then the other point I wanted to make is number three, where you said, you want to do something new, but you can’t, because you don’t have the time. And you would have to spend, you know, really long days and weekends trying to get something done. And I actually think that people push through this a lot. And they go ahead and they just do it themselves, and kind of falls back into number four, where you’re not going to do as good a job as an expert. And you’re letting other things go in your personal life and in your business by forcing it through. And by taking it all on yourself. And so I think I feel like and correct me if I’m wrong, but I feel like probably number three is the least likely reason for people to actually hire a lot of times they especially if they’ve been bootstrapping, they just go ahead and continue bootstrapping, and they continue to DIY versus bringing somebody onto their team to help. Have you found that to be true?

Jamie Van Cuyk  18:50  

Yeah, especially with early hires, like they’re like, okay, I can do it. I’m going to get it done. You know, really? Where is the house? Am I going to come in and change this and impact it? How can I bring someone into and pay them for something that’s not producing revenue in my business yet. And that’s like, the biggest thing when you’re thinking about like, okay, they’re going to help me get this into the market or expand in this way. But it takes time to get there. So then it’s like that thing where it’s like, I have to give out all this money, and hope that eventually I’ll get the return on it. And so it is one of those things where it really holds people back. But I can give you a quick example of someone where I had this conversation, and we realized that this was the sign that they needed to hire this person who wanted to launch a podcast, and they knew from being guests on other people’s podcast, what having their own podcast would do for their business. And we were talking about it and they’re like, you know, I guess I can just do all the podcasts myself, but by time I go and learn everything about editing and publishing. podcast episodes. 

Jamie Van Cuyk  20:01  

And of course, then I have to go and still record the episodes and do all that stuff, it will probably be six months from now that I’d be able to launch the podcast, and that we were talking about, but that really didn’t fit in with what they had going on in their business, they really wanted that podcast launch sooner, but they really didn’t have the time and they weren’t willing to sacrifice their family time to to get it into market quicker. And then we looked at it like, Okay, well, what does it mean for your business to get this into market quicker to have this marketing arm for your business. And we talked about that and realized that having that additional marketing arm for their business could increase their sales, especially for some of the upcoming programs that they had, and they wanted to launch. And once they factored in, what the revenue it could bring in hiring someone to help them with that podcast launch was more than feasible. It was 100% worth it financially. And then we went back and forth like, Okay, what exactly help do you need? And they didn’t, they decided at that point in time, they weren’t ready to take the risk and hire, like, outsource their podcast completely. So they’re like, what are the most critical steps, they hired someone for those most critical steps that would have taken them the most time, and they got their podcast launched in less than a month and a half. So it was like four and a half months early, that they were able to get the podcast into the market. And immediately, it had a return on investment for clients coming into their business.

Abby Herman  21:28  

Yeah, so I think that that is a great point, too. And you also do not have to do all of the production piece after you’ve launched either. So it’s okay to have somebody support you in your business in that way. There’s, you can hire employees to do that, you can get contractors to do that. There’s agencies that do that for you. So I think that that is such a great point that you can do things faster when you bring on help and support. So when you do that, so when you’re ready, Okay, I’m ready to hire, how do you find the right person? How do you know who the right person is to bring into your business?

Jamie Van Cuyk  22:03  

Yes. So the way I work with my clients, where we really identify this as I have what is called the hire method. And so the beginning part of it is all about identifying who you need, and then it’s about finding who you need. And then the final part is to finally onboarding who you need. So the beginning part, what goes under the age of this hire framework, is what we call the hiring details. And this is really identifying what type of person you need, what type of help you need. So one of the things out there, where I say is the worst advice ever for people is they say, Make a list of everything that you do for your business circle, the things you hate, and those are the things to outsource first, and I’m like, hold on, no, like, just because you hate doing them, doesn’t mean it’s worth your money to get them off your plates. So what I say to look at is going create that list, create the list included in there, what would be beneficial if like, if there were two of you like what things would you be able to do more of some of those things? Like what don’t you like? What would you be willing to give up? 

Jamie Van Cuyk  23:14  

And once you have that list, start prioritizing it based on if someone else did this, how would it impact your business. And once you have that list, and you prioritize it based on if someone else did this, it would have the biggest impact on my business, those are the things that you need to outsource first and get off your plate and hand off to a team member, whether it’s a contractor or an employee or a freelancer, because once you get those off your plate, it’s going to help bring in additional revenue, which is going to pay for that team member, help grow your business. So that way you’re in a position to then move to the next thing that’s on that list. So you want to start there. And that’s how you start really developing, what are the tasks and responsibilities of this position? Once you know that? Great, that’s step one. But what does this position actually look like inside your company, because you can take the same tasks and responsibilities and have it be an employee and company one, and save tasks, responsibilities and employee accompaniment to or a contractor for each company. And what those roles really look like once they’re inside those companies are going to look completely different. 

Jamie Van Cuyk  24:24  

Because the makeup of the companies are different, what that business owner is, so what you are going to identify as measurements of success are going to be different, how you communicate to those team members are going to be different, the level of responsibility and authority you put on those roles are going to be different. So after you know what tasks that person is going to do, you then need to start really figuring out what are the characteristics of this ideal team member. And once you have that it really starts painting this full picture of who you need to look for, because someone can be great at doing the tasks but if they’re Not going to fit into what you want in a team member, it doesn’t matter how great they are. So you need to not only find the good duer, you need to find the person that fits into your company.

Abby Herman  25:10  

So that’s the first step, right? That’s the age and the hire method for what comes next.

Jamie Van Cuyk  25:14  

Yeah. So next comes the AI, which we break down to call it initiate the advertising plan. So as you know, with marketing, it doesn’t matter. If you have like, Great copy, and everything to put out there, it all comes down to you getting it in front of the right people, and you get to speak to the right people. So you could have an amazing position. But if you don’t communicate it well, and you don’t get it in front of the right people, you’re never gonna find your ideal team member. So initiate the advertising plan, that’s where we go through, you have to create that job posting, job posting is more than just, hey, we’re hiring. Or we need someone to complete these tasks. We like to write it as really describing who your ideal team member is, we use phrases like the ideal candidate is this position is for you, if and things like that, where you really paint the picture of who is going to do well in this position and who you want to apply for this position. So that way, people can say, yes, this is me, and they apply or no, this is not me. And then they move on to something else. And then of course, it’s also about putting it in the right places, you got to get it in front of the right eyes. So where do you post it? Where do you, the people who match what you’re looking for, look for opportunities, because if you’re not getting it, where they’re gonna look for opportunities, it doesn’t matter, you got to get it in front of the right eyes for the right people to apply. 

Jamie Van Cuyk  26:38  

And once you get that executed, then the resumes and the application start coming in as resumes they are or is that the next step resumes fall into the ER so interviewing the candidates. So they are in the higher framework of reviewing the candidates. So this includes reviewing the resumes that come in. So having a plan to review the resumes, what I find is that many business owners like to review resumes based on feelings and gut instincts. And guess what, that’s not going to get you the best candidates. So you need to have a plan of what you are actually looking for with each resume you look at to identify if a candidate is worthy of an interview. So once you know that it is a breeze to review resumes, we’ve had clients before, back when the pandemic was closing down things and a lot of people were losing their jobs and being furloughed. There were a lot of candidates that were scrambling to get any job that was available. So I had some clients that they post a job, and they would immediately have 100 plus resumes in there. And it was a little overwhelming at first they’re like, Oh my god, I have 100 resumes. How do I have time to look through this? But because we had this plan of what to look for on the resumes, they were able to breeze through them and quickly identify Yep, no, yes, no, yes, no, and come up with the people that were worthy of their time for an interview.

Abby Herman  27:58  

And then with interviews, he is like in teaching when we would have these rubrics to grade these, you know, five page papers, and we would use a rubric to help guide us. So it kind of reminds me of that.

Jamie Van Cuyk  28:09  

Yes, yes, exactly. And then you need to have a plan for your interview, you don’t want to go and just ask random questions, because you want to be able to properly compare one candidate to the next. So you want to ask everybody the same questions. And you want to make sure that there are questions about the value because you don’t want to waste their time and you don’t want to waste your time. So remember, we’ve talked about the hiring details, really figuring out who that ideal team member is both in characteristics. And in skill sets. And everything. Every question you ask should tie back to something about that idea team member, and help you uncover this person, what you picture when you have that idea team member in your head. And so that brings us all the way through the eye, which is at the end of the our and our hire method. You’ve then identified the candidate that you want to hire.

Abby Herman  29:01  

And so then you hire them. So what does he do then?

Jamie Van Cuyk  29:04  

So he is evaluating his success. And so with the E, that is the onboarding process, and we go through the onboarding process, because like we mentioned before, you can hire the best person. But if you don’t spend your time really onboarding them, and training them and getting them up to speed in your business, they’re never going to meet your expectations, then you’re going to be disappointed with their performance. So you need to make sure that you have a plan laid out. That includes what you need to train them on, when you’re going to train them and how you are going to measure their success. So that whole evaluating their success is part of those markers that you put it in to say, are they meeting expectations? If not, why? And what can be done about it? And one of the things you’ll find out is that a lot of times when people aren’t meeting your expectations, it’s because you actually didn’t train them the way that they needed to be trained, or that you’re making assumptions that they know how to do things. And they really don’t. So just remember, they’re not mind reader’s, they’re not in your head. So sometimes we forget to tell them things, because we just assume that it’s second nature to us. So they must already know how to do it.

Abby Herman  30:24  

Why can’t people just read our minds? I mean, come on. I think it’s so much easier. Yes, I’ve talked before about some of my first hiring experiences several years ago, where the relationship fell apart really quickly. And at first I, of course, it wasn’t my fault, right? It was, you know, that person didn’t know how to do the thing that I needed them to do. But the reality was, which I totally own and understand now is that it was my fault, because I was expecting other people to read my mind. And that’s not fair to them. And so yeah, you have to be able to onboard properly. And so I want to talk about that, what onboarding should look like, what it looks like, for new employees. I know that there is content that we should have created internally for our new employees, and what are ways that we can be ahead of the game and have a great first experience, because you want them to have a great experience coming on, because you want them to stick around, hopefully. So what can we do to support new team members, whether they’re employees or contractors as they get acclimated to the responsibilities and the business as a whole?

Jamie Van Cuyk  31:44  

Yeah, so here is one of the biggest things I’m going to tell you the difference between employees and contractors, when it comes to onboarding is everyone can go through onboarding, but just remember, you cannot train your contractors. And this is clearly spelled out on the IRS website, that if you’re training someone, they are an employee. So what training means is teaching someone how to do their job. So you can onboard your contractor to say, this is what my brand is this is you know what you need to know about the brands, what you need to know about our workflows, our processes, but you’re not teaching them how to be the experts at what they should be doing, because they should already know how to do that. So that’s one of the biggest differences there is that you don’t train your contractors, but you can train your employees with onboarding, the way that I like to approach it is you have to remember that it takes your time to onboard them. So what this means is, you need to think about how much time you have each day or each week to onboard them. 

Jamie Van Cuyk  32:49  

What you’re going to do for onboarding during that time, and then what your team member can be doing before you have the opportunity to train them or onboard them on everything else. So one of the things that people tend to fall into the trap of is, well, I want this person to be up and running in a week. okay for them to be up and running in a week. How much time does that take from you? Do you have the ability to give the team member that much time during week one during day one. If not, then you need to kind of adjust your plan and know that it’s going to take longer than a week to get them up and running. Typically, when we look at that, where we say how much time a business owner has to train a new team member on the systems that they’re using everything they need to know about their processes, and stuff, we’re looking at an average of eight weeks to get through everything. Now, it doesn’t mean your team members are not producing work during those first eight weeks. So the way we outline our onboarding and training plan is, what can they learn at first, that’s going to give them the ability to start producing projects to start producing items that you need for your business, that they can start taking over those items, while balancing the training and learning of the additional things. 

Jamie Van Cuyk  34:08  

So for example, week one, what are you going to train on? And what tasks can they do then? Because they’ve learned that because you’ve had the opportunity to train them on those items? Same with week two, what are you going to have the ability to teach them or go over with them? Then what can they do? Because you went through those items with them. So we continue going through that with our onboarding and training plan. And then we set goals around that. So we say, Okay, if in the first 30 days, we train around these items, then that means at the end of the first 30 days, these are the things that they should be able to do. And this is how we’re going to measure if they are able to do those things so we set up goals around what they can realistically cover and those first 30 days and then we do the same with the next 30 days. So by the end of the season. days, they should be able to do this. This is how we’re going to measure their success. And then we do another set of goals for the end of the first 90 days.

Abby Herman  35:08  

What can we have prepared in advance? As far as training? What does that look like? Because obviously, you know, when you’re bringing on a new team member, you can’t sit and handhold them the whole way through, you can’t be present the entire time that their onboarding and other training because the business still needs to run, you still need to take care of other things. So how can we do that in a way that is nurturing to the new team member, but yet a little more hands off on the business owners side, or whoever happens to be training that person.

Jamie Van Cuyk  35:41  

So the one thing I will say is, no matter what training, you prepare ahead of time, you need to spend time with your new team member, because the human brain says if someone doesn’t actually take the time to go over this with me, it must not really be that important. So if it is important that your team member knows and understands this, you need to spend time with them. So yes, that means that maybe during that first few weeks, you’re gonna have to sacrifice some client time, in order to get this team member up to speed. But you’re going to get the return on that time, like later as they’re able to take more things off your plate. So you need to balance that into your time. However, it doesn’t mean that you need to spend eight hours every day training an employee, if they’re full time, it could mean going over the basics of a process, showing them how to do something quickly like one time, and then giving them training videos, one of the things that I want to caution against is, don’t worry about going and creating this whole extensive like video training program and everything before you ever hire your first team member. 

Jamie Van Cuyk  36:47  

Because chances are, you’re going to figure out that, Oh, I forgot to explain that because I’m so used to doing it, or Oh, I didn’t actually explain that, right, because I’m explaining it from my point of view and not someone who’s learning. So if you spend a lot of time creating too much stuff, you’re probably going to have to recreate it anyway. However, one of the things where my clients have done this has been really effective, is they just get on like a zoom, or they use a loom or something that’s recording their screen and their audio. And they just start talking through the process that they’re taking as they’re going and doing their tasks. I have a business friend of mine that actually started doing this months before she ever was going to go hire some money because she knew she eventually was going to need to hire someone. And she just started recording herself talking through her process as she was doing it. So her team members at least had that for reference, they later went through and her team has grown a lot since then. So they’ve now done a lot more. They’ve redone a lot of the videos. But at least for the first few hires, she had these rough cut videos that a team member could go through as reference. So after they went through it and the team member was then on their own to do the task, they could use that as guidance instead of that business owner having to be there for hours at a time going over the item again and again. 

Abby Herman  38:05  

And again. Yeah, I love that one of the things that we’re doing on my team. So I have three employees. Right now we have a team call every Monday and one of the things that we’re doing is taking our workflows that we use for our client work and for the internal projects that we do. And every week, my operations manager is choosing one of those for us to review as a team. So she has it all typed up, she has all of the steps that happen, who is responsible for each step, we run through it together, and then everybody’s able to give their input. So like we think we know what the whole process looks like. However, there are pieces that other people do that maybe we’re not aware of, or it’s just something like a little tiny detail that slipped our mind or whatever. And so we’ll run through that. And then everyone has an opportunity to give input so that we can really perfect each of those workflows for everything that we do. So we’re doing that slowly. We’ve done a couple of them so far. But I’m finding that for me, it’s kind of opening my eyes to the things that as the business owner, I’m not even aware of that’s going on anymore. Yeah, which is a good thing that I’m not aware of, at all. But it’s also, I think, really helping everyone else to understand what everybody’s role is in the process. So I don’t know how we’re going to do it. I know we’re adjusting our project management system with that. And then I see us potentially using those written workflows and like a Google Doc as some sort of training for new employees, or at least like an awareness for new employees, whether they get trained on a particular step of it or not. 

Jamie Van Cuyk  39:46  

So yeah, you just need something that’s really important as you continue to grow your team. So you have your first team member, then you have three, then you have five, then you have 10. It’s really important for them to be aware of what everybody else does. How everything interacts as a whole. So to not know how they don’t necessarily have to know how to do other people’s jobs, but at least like to be aware of what’s going on. And each role is something that’s really smart to do.

Abby Herman  40:13  

That helps with communication. I feel like it helps with bottlenecks. And it helps with frustration levels. Why isn’t this thing done? Well, because, you know, this is why there’s a missing step there someplace. And that’s why something hasn’t triggered to be on your task list yet, or whatever. So I feel like it, it just helps the whole and for everybody to feel like they’re part of a team, rather than working in a silo. Because we’re all working virtually, we’re all working in our own home offices and or living rooms, or wherever we’re working. So it helps to, like I think, feel more as a team.

Jamie Van Cuyk  40:48  

Yes. So I just want to give one more quick tip about onboarding, especially if you’re a business that already has a lot of content created, whether it’s podcasts, or if even if you don’t have your own podcast, you’ve been on a bunch of other people’s podcasts, or you have blog contents, one of good things to do during onboarding, especially during that first week. And especially if you’re a remote team, it’s not like they’re coming in and being immersed in your culture, because they’re coming into your office in their first week where they go listen to your podcast episodes, or they read a bunch of your blog posts. Because then they’re really going to get that sense of what you talk about, what you train on, what you teach, how you work with your clients. And it’s a great way to just emerge them into your brands and business, where they can do it on their own, without you having to be there holding their hands and teaching them everything. And then they can come back and tell you like, oh, here’s what I noticed, which is also a really good thing, because you know all your content, because you most likely were involved putting it out there, especially at first. Now you get someone else’s point of view of that content. And they might pick up on here’s the big takeaway that you didn’t even think about where it’s like, oh, now I can, like repurpose that or promote against my audience with this takeaway, versus what I have been just because you had a different set of eyes looking at things.

Abby Herman  42:12  

Yeah, that’s such a great tip. That’s such a great tip. And I think it’s important that team members consume your content on an ongoing basis, not just when they’re onboarding because businesses change our messaging a little bit over time. And yeah, I think that we need to ask them to, especially if their employees continually immerse themselves in our content. What before we go, because I know we’re coming up on time, but I want to touch really quickly on ongoing content that is needed with a team. So we have the onboarding training, we have the onboarding, you know, one on one conversations, what can we do moving forward to ensure that we are a team, that our employees or contractors feel like they are a part of the business? Because I know we all get busy, and then we tend to forget, because things are triggering the way they should. And everybody’s doing their jobs. And so we forget to have that communication.

Jamie Van Cuyk  43:15  

Yes. So one of the things I think is really needed is you need to have check-ins with your team members, figure out the right cadence for you. But they’re very important, especially when your team is operating in remote environments. And these aren’t necessarily like, okay, run down your to-do list type check ins, but just seeing how things are going, any roadblocks that I can help you with? Where do you need my support? What questions do you have, where you could also start talking about and giving them some insight into things that are coming up? Where it’s just more of those, like, tell me how you’re feeling conversations? Where can I support you? conversations, that really helps like, open up that relationship where then they know they can come and talk to you about the important things going on in the business. So those are really important, have those check ins, have them on an individual basis. But then if you have multiple people on your team, make sure you’re also scheduling time where the team can come together and talk about big picture things and stuff like that. 

Jamie Van Cuyk  44:12  

So that way, it’s not always, okay, we need to get this done. We need to get this done. We need to get this done. It’s like, well, let’s look forward, let’s remind ourselves like, why are we working so hard on these things? Here’s this goal that we’re trying to get to. And just kind of reminding them about those things, so they feel more connected. Sometimes, especially if you’re having your like lower level team members, your assistance, a lot of them that are working on the back end, they don’t always get to see the results of the things that they help produce. So helping them see you did this, it produced this, the results are great conversations to have every once in a while. The other thing that I would say you definitely need is some sort of feedback loop on are they meeting the x affectations? Are they actually achieving their goals? Sometimes we can get so much into love, they’re great at what they’re doing. But are they actually doing what you need them to do? 

Jamie Van Cuyk  45:09  

I talked about how like 30 60 90 days, goals are important during that onboarding process. But having goals should never end, you don’t necessarily need a whole big formal yearly review process where you’re setting these kind of like goals that they’re like, okay, like, they don’t really matter, because they’re like silly goals, but having things like, what sort of impact should they be having in their role? What quality levels, he thinks that really makes sense to the role, you know, if they are more client facing, getting a certain level of client reviews, like client satisfaction ratings, you know, things like that, like what actually matters to the role that you can measure, and then making sure that you’re continually checking in? Are they on track to be on top of that goal, and if not, what can be done about it? And if the thing is, if they can’t actually achieve that goal, and it’s important, then you know, you need to exit them from your organization, even if they seem great, and everything else, because if they’re not having the impact on your organization, that you need that role to have, in order for your business to be successful, in order for that money to give you a positive ROI, then they’re not worth giving them the money to be there, you need to find a new team member who is going to be that great team member for you.

Abby Herman  46:22  

And you have a checklist to help with that. Can you talk a little bit about that? And where can people find that? 

Jamie Van Cuyk  46:29  

Yeah, so I have the expectations checklist that people can download. So this checklist brings you through how to set expectations for your business, and how to make sure that they’re following the expectations and what to do when then those expectations aren’t being met. And you need to have those conversations or you need to like to revisit your plans to say, oh, maybe it was me. Maybe I screwed up. I didn’t actually train them on what they needed to know. Because that happens. It will happen with your first few team members, like as we talked about before, totally guilty over here. They’re not mind reader’s, you’re going to realize, Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you that you didn’t know that. So you can download the expectations checklist at growing your slash expectations dash checklist.

Abby Herman  47:20  

Awesome. This has been such a helpful conversation. I have so many more questions to ask, but I won’t. I will save it for next time. Can you share with listeners before we go where people can find you online?

Jamie Van Cuyk  47:33  

Yes. So as I mentioned, the name of my company is growing your team. So you can pretty much find me everything to grow your team. So I’m on Facebook and Instagram at growing your team. My website is, I have the Growing Your Team podcast. And if you want to reach out to me directly, if you’re thinking I have a question that I would love answered, you can reach out to me and send me an email at using the subject Hiring Question and I will answer one question that you have. And you can get specific as you want to about your business. And I will answer one question for you.

Abby Herman  48:09  

Oh, thank you for that. That’s so generous, we’ll make sure that we have links to all of the places in the show notes. Jamie, thank you so much for being here today. I really appreciate your expertise and all of your knowledge and all of the information that you shared. Yes, thank you so much for having me, Abby. I just love Jamie’s hire acronym. Knowing the step by step process to hiring and onboarding before you actually get started really helps and I can speak from experience there. And her expectations checklist is a must if you’re growing a team, you can grab a link in the show notes. If you’re ready to start experimenting with content and marketing in your own business without having to do all the guesswork yourself. Remember that you can join us inside content mastery lab at the content slash lab and use the coupon code podcast to get your first month for $1 Pricing starts at just $97 A month after that. If you found value in what you learned here today, be sure to share it on social media. Take a screenshot of the episode on your phone and share it over on Instagram stories. tag me at the content experiment and tag Jamie at growing your team. The more you share the more we can get the podcast into the hands of more business owners just like you who need to hear the message that they are not alone. Until next time, take care.

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