132. Hiring and Firing

132. Hiring and Firing

In today’s episode, Fern is going solo again. He’s sharing his method of hiring and firing staff; with the mistakes and the lessons he’s learnt along the way. The aim here is too easy those awkward conversations that you will eventually have to go through as an affiliate owner. Looking at admin staff as well as, bring on new coaches. It’s all about creating an appropriate expectation for staff and then enforcing it.

Timestamp:

(2:44) Do you need to hire? 

(16:44) Firing – it sucks.

Resourses – 

https://www.loom.com/ (screen recording) 

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Fern:
All right, everybody, welcome back to the best out of their day. Fern here, I’m going to do solo again and today to talk a little bit about something that is largely falls in the unpleasant bucket. And that’s kind of the hiring and firing. So this came up at the at a Level 2 in this weekend that I was working with Chuck. And he kind of put me on the spot for a Q&A with the group. And. But I thought it was a relevant topic for discussion. And when I know that I’m thinking about this, I’m I think I’m going to have one of my members come on and do an interview and we’ll walk through it a little bit more because he has far more experience. And I’m gonna say my his number at this point is probably he is either done collectively between hiring and firing something between five hundred to a thousand hires and fires. And he’s got an incredible amount of experience in there. But I do want to give you guys my perspective on that. And it’s shifted over the years. And none of this is hard and fast. Obviously, with regard to firing, there are some hard and fast rules, meaning if if somebody does something unethical, if they steal. You know, if they’re sleeping with the help, all that stuff, like if they’re if they’re doing things that you would be embarrassed to tell your mother about, then probably firing is in order.

Fern:
But we will get to that. So first, what I would tell you is my position is switched over the years. And I like I am largely I wouldn’t say I’m fast on firing, but I’m excuse me, fast on hiring, but I’m much faster than I used to be on hiring. And I think the big takeaway with that is regardless of what your processes are, whatever your filter looks like, you’re never going to get it right all the time. So don’t put all your eggs in this basket of this perfectly thought out process that’s going to give you this immaculate end state at the end, because you will get it wrong. You will. You will get it wrong eventually. And that’s largely because we’re all flawed. But it’s also because of the nature of hiring. And I’ve had I’ve had had somebody told me once before that, you know, when somebody tries out or they do an interview, it’s deceiving. And we have to realize that that is the best that we’re ever going to see over them. That is the best version of them you are ever going to get. So in that instance, if it is not really, really good, that’s probably an easy no. And you can kind of fire this person before you end up firing them for something else later on down the road, because they just put on their, you know, their Sunday best for the interview and didn’t show you all the stuff they had in the closet.

Fern:
And so largely, I would say you both quickly and because you can just correct all the time. Now, with regard to hiring, I think before you do anything, I think there’s probably if I’m looking back on it, there’s like several relevant questions that I think need to be asked. And the first one is, do you need to hire? So if it’s just if it’s just you and you’re a one man band, depending on the number of athletes you have in the gym, you need to figure out, a, do I need to hire anybody? Because if I’m just starting this up and and I’m trying to keep my costs down, then you’re gonna have to do everything yourself. And that’s OK, because you need to develop some sort of some level of competency in all of those things anyway. And if you don’t have a ton of members, then, you know, guess what? You’re in luck. You’re not super busy anyway. So just continue to do everything but have a plan for hiring. Once you do get to that point and again, this is relative, there’s probably a sliding scale on this for when you should hire people. You need to figure out what you’re going to hire for.

Fern:
So what am I hiring or who am I hiring? And you basically kind of have two buckets with regard to who I’m going to hire. So there’s kind of administrative roles and tasks within the business. And then there’s coaching. And I would tell you, in my experience, most gym owners are or were probably coaches and then had a passion for Crossfit, and then they opened the gym. So kind of coach is their thing and they’re probably one of the better coaches on the floor. So you should continue to coach. So in those instances, it is generally not always it is generally better if that person looks and start to seek out help on the admin side before they do anything else. So I would take a look at, OK, if I’m going to be on the floor and that’s where I’m best utilize water, the admin functions that I can hire for first. Right. And the reality is like the admin side of the house, let’s say they have a you know, if you’re running five to seven classes a day, you have anything between a hundred to one hundred thirty five classes a month. That’s a lot of hours. Admin is generally cheaper to pay for, and it generally requires less total time on the calendar than coaching does, particularly when you’re a startup or a new gym.

Fern:
So admin is generally your probably better option and you just need to figure out like what those admin functions are that you want to get rid of first. And I would tell you, like most things like scheduling, inputting stuff into the Web site, you know, and scheduling problems, even a thing if you’re the only person. So that’s not even a function have to worry about, that’s only really becomes an issue as the team grows. So then you’re looking at like Web site input, maybe doing some social media posts, account or member account maintenance. So all of those things collectively in any given gym, I don’t know, six hours a week, you know, let’s just call it ten hours a week, two hours a day doing admin functions, which is very realistic. Most of them don’t really take that long. If you just sit down and jam for two hours. You can outsource that. You can bring in somebody, pay them, you know, 20 bucks an hour, something like that, maybe 15, 10, depending on what it is that you can afford and then start offloading those things. And a lot of these things, if you can find a V.A. or so a virtual assistant who can do this for the right price, you can outsource that to somebody and avoid the whole kind of H.R. thing just right out of the gate and not even worry about that.

Fern:
You can just deal with somebody virtually who you can give access to your Wodfiy account, you give ’em access to your email and then you just create protocols with that person. And I played around with this in the past. And there there does. There is some kind of irony out in that process when you’re looking for a V.A. to do things because they’re not all great there like anything else. Not all great Crossfit, coaches, not all great doctors. And there’s also not all great VA. But if you can find VA that are that can help you, that can they can be a tremendous help because they’re usually they’re usually very admin savvy and they can do most things that would take us an hour and 20 minutes, because that’s just what they do all day. Their VA, because that is their super skill. So if you can do that, generally, I would give them like the immediate functions that probably cause you pain points and that probably don’t have significant impact on the business, meaning like they’re not going to be managing money or anything like that. And then what you do is you kind of give them some preset parameters, be like this is how it’s done if you want to put in redundancies of any type. For instance, if it was email communication that you want them to take over.

Fern:
Pretty simple. Kind of. Fix or kind of means for oversight is have them. BCSE You are blind carbon copy on you. The what? Any response that they do to anybody? That way you can see all of the correspondence. And because most of VA, if you don’t know this, you do have to coach them like you’re gonna have to coach them on how you want things done and when and where and all and stuff. So look into that. There’s a ton of different I’m not going to go through any VA services, but like, you know, you can do a lot of that stuff and you can find that are really, really good. And there are actually VA out there who who kind of specialize in the Crossfit, space so they know all how to do wodfiy and push push press and Zenplanner and all that stuff. So you can look at that and and maybe go that route if you’re gonna bring somebody in. Then again, you still need to look at all of those functions. And the first thing you do before you hire anybody is you need to make a job description and probably have a coach contract. So you can’t just bring somebody in. Okay, you’re gonna do this. A couple of things you have to have. And there is I need to have all of the specifics about what it is that they’re going to do.

Fern:
Right. So I need the who, what, when, where and why I need who it is that I’m looking for with regard to the job. Then from there, I need. Who do they report to? So they can’t just come in and just never report anybody. They need to have like specific, you know, report to you on certain things. When do they need to report? What do they need to report? And how do do they need to report it? So, for instance, if they’re going to report things to you, let’s just call let’s just say it’s admin functions and you want monthly metrics pushed you on a weekly basis, you would say, hey, you’re going to pull these reports. This is exactly how you pull them. I want you to export an exile Excel spreadsheet. I want you to put them in an email and then I want you to take this template in the body or the text body of the email and highlight those things in there with the with the numbers in there. And I want that. Were those reports sent to me at 8:15 every Wednesday, unless I tell you otherwise. And that’s pretty clear. They know what they’re supposed to do. They know who they’re supposed to give it to. They know when they’re supposed to give it to you and they know how to do it.

Fern:
This is generally how you avoid big, big problems, because firings generally tend to happen because there was expectation issues and we’ll talk about that. We get to the firing. But usually people are just like, I don’t want to do this. You take it. And there’s not a ton of real clear guidance there. And that becomes a really, really big problem in the long term because that’s my fault for not really, really outlining that and how it’s supposed to happen. So in my experience and a lot of instances, the admin stuff is the first thing you should take off your plate. Because when people are getting burned out, it’s because they’re doing both. So if you’re if you’re getting back 10 hours a week, you’re probably OK to coach fifteen to twenty five classes a week, particularly if there’s gaps in between those. So if you’re into do that, I highly recommend looking at the admin side of the house and then looking at both in-house and V.A. functions, if that’s something you’re interested in. But again, don’t go into this with rose colored glasses and think you’re just gonna dump a bunch of stuff on a V.A. and they’re just gonna do it. Both of these scenarios are going to require very clear expectations, probably some sort of outline and and doing that stuff. Now, when you’re talking about creating a job description, you can look most of the stuff out.

Fern:
But it’s basically like, you know, a list of tasks that they would have to do what the job requires, all of that stuff. And then when you’re training them, if you want to do that, if you guys have not looked up, most of this admin stuff is like it’s all done in a computer, which means you don’t have to write an S.O.P. Right. That’s that’s I don’t know. This is 2020 almost. You need to write an S.O.P. If you guys are not familiar with Loom. So Loom, it’s just an online platform and there’s an app for it too. You can there’s an app for your desktop and app for your phone as well, but it’s basically just a screen capture is kind of like QuickTime, but loom is a little interesting because it does screenshot and kind of like screen and screen video of you. So as I’m walking through something that would I don’t know, I’m doing building a membership in a lot of AI or something like that. You it’s going to have a screenshot of you in the corner and you can move that around. But what this allows you to do is it allows you to take some of the intricacies that can be problematic with some of these processes and really walk them out on screen and verbally.

Fern:
You can talk about it. You can tell people that, hey, this little toggle switch is not really as intuitive and easy to find as it may seem. It’s right over here in the corner. You’re going to hit this. It’ll drop down. And this is how you’ll go from there. The other beautiful thing about that is it records everything and gives you links there. So you don’t have to download files for this. So I can QuickTime I’m going to do a recording. It’s going to give me a file that I have to take and transport to something like Vimeo or YouTube. Loom is just going to it’s just going to share it to that Web site. And then that is now a link that you can post somewhere and be like, here’s how you build membership’s. Watch this video so you can start handing those functions off. If you’re if you’re going to do an inversion, that’s what I would tell you first, is if you if you’re in that position, we’re like looking to hire. Then I would do the admin first. And I forgot to mention this before, but the first thing you should be looking for is like, can you afford it? And if you can’t afford it, then guess what? You’re stuck like Chuck and you should still be doing that. But then what you need to figure out is like roughly what’s it going to cost me to do this if it’s four to five hundred bucks, as soon as you can hit that revenue number. You should have all the stuff lined out. You can start going through the vetting process and figure out if I can hand that off. Free up 10 hours and then I’m just gonna move on to the next process.

Fern:
And the good thing about those things is.

Fern:
With regard to like having to potentially take those back in the event of some sort of like financial catastrophe, you could probably keep those pretty low hanging fruit and pretty minimal costs. Because if that’s the issue and you need to be out on the floor more like you’re going to want to try to want to be out on the floor as much as possible. So. Now, on the other hand, if you have got all that covered and you want to hire new coaches, that’s a little bit of a different ballgame. And there’s probably two tracks in my mind. And and this is one where. I think most Crossfit, gyms do it.

Fern:
I’ll say less than ideal in a less ideal scenario in what they do as they do a ton of assumption. They don’t do any vetting or they’re overly.

Fern:
Critical and married to their process that they have this perfect onboarding an on ramp process and they’re going to get this perfect product on the back end. I just I’m not really sure that’s a thing. And I think, you know, you should be prepared to do both. And so with the Adnan stuff, that’s usually just a quick interview in my mind. Be like, does this person have the background? Is this something that falls into their skill set? And then if it’s if it check both those boxes, then I’m probably bring that person on, because those are the easiest ones to like. It’s not a ton of work. It’s generally part part time. And it’s easy to take back if you need to. Coaching is a little bit different because that’s a personal interaction on the floor. However, most people, you know, I’ve seen people have like a 12 month intern process and I’m not sure. I mean, if that works for you, great. I’m not hating on it, but you might be in a position where you might need to bring somebody on sooner. So the there’s probably like two tracks. I’ve noticed somebody has no experience and something that is experience. And if you’re not planning for both, I think there’s this weird assumption that people can only come from in the community. A lot of Crossfit, gyms. And I just don’t think that’s the case. I think as the Crossfit, community matures. There’s gonna be coaching opportunities as we all get better at business and we can hire outside. And that’s probably a really, really good thing. You know, I would hope to think that, you know, if myself or, you know somebody else who has been working on some of our staff for several Sauveur years was looking for a job opportunity that you probably wouldn’t require that they go through a full three to six month internship.

Fern:
I would, however, expect that.

Fern:
There is some degree of vetting, meaning they have to do some sort of interview. There might be some sort of trial period with regard to all of that. So I think he should be set up for both. And you do need to screen everybody.

Fern:
You know, you need make sure you know. You know, you check all your P’s and Q’s.

Fern:
Cross all your T’s, dot all your eyes as far as like what it is that you’re looking for, what they’re going to be responsible for. And then what their job entails. And then I need to see, like, are they good enough? And that’s a pretty simple task, meaning like they can come in and they can do an in-person interview and sit down. I do. I even like you. Because if I don’t like you, then I’m sure as shit I can hire you. But then from there, you know, you can do some controlled environment coaching where I maybe have them coach five or six athletes and give them some stuff to do. And you can have a pretty good idea of where their skillset lies by simply watching something like that.

Fern:
And then one level pass that maybe I’ll have them come in and guest coach and I just see if I like what they got going on and then ask him like, you know, some typical interview questions, but.

Fern:
I think the hiring process is I think we all like to think that we have like the greatest I for, you know, human beings and all that stuff, and you’re gonna get it wrong. I might tell you right now you’re going to get it wrong. And that kind of leads me into the next piece, which is the firing aspect. And firing sucks. I think anybody that enjoys firing people’s huge asshole. And I’ve done I’ve done pretty much all of it. I’ve I’ve had to let people go in other professions, lay people off. I’ve had to do, you know, firings for cause. And people absolutely deserved to be fired. You know, we’ve had let people go. We didn’t want to let go in certain scenarios. It all sucks. And there is no sugarcoating that. Like, there’s nothing cool about sitting across from somebody else, even somebody who has wronged you in some instances and saying.

Fern:
We are no longer need your services.

Fern:
And it’s just a bummer, right, because you probably have some degree of relationship with this person, particularly if it’s in a micro gym Crossfit, gym. You’ve probably created. You probably developed some sort of relationship and you have to break that relationship and it generally will not be mended. In my experience, we’re not going to be amicable. We’re not going to be friends afterwards. So you just have to know that going in now, some ways you can kind of make this easier for yourself and.

Fern:
You know, the first thing is like, why are we having this conversation about firing somebody? And I think that one usually gets skipped over. And like I said, there’s the easy ones. There’s so-and-so stole or. You know, they did something completely unethical and negligent in the sense that, you know, like no mindful, logical human being would have done that. And we’ve come to the conclusion that this probably not the place for you. That’s the easy stuff. That’s not the stuff anybody’s really worried about. It’s all the other ones that are kind of passive aggressive.

Fern:
You know, people will become, you know.

Fern:
So kind of like non-confrontational but, you know, passive aggressive at the same time while being, you know, like you guys all know what I’m talking about, they sense, you know, snide emails and, you know, put it like gently poking other coaches in the eyes, stuff like that, like that stuff starts to rear its head. And it’s not that they’ve done anything wrong, but they generally have like these mild conflicts with either the staff or the members. It happens like there’s just kind of this bug that keeps getting dropped near that so and so is, you know, somewhat of a turd. But again, so the question is, why is this going on? And generally, it is because me or you as the leader with a boss has not created the appropriate expectation.

Fern:
And I said this at the seminar when I got to ask the question. And I know this sounds absolutely ridiculous, but if you do not tell people, you will be fired for doing X, Y and Z, they probably assume that it’s OK. And it’s not. So you have to tell people that if you steal, you’ll be fired if you show up late for class. You get one warning because we’ve all done that. If you miss multiple classes, you’re going on a one month vacation and then you have to do that. So if you have contracts in place that outline what they’re supposed to do and if they sign it, well, everything’s really easy at that point. And then if you don’t want to sign it, then they don’t work for you. Remember, this is not something where like the person who is in there doing that, like it’s not really a negotiation. Like they either sign it or they don’t. They don’t have an option because they’re the one looking for the job. You don’t have to give them a job. They don’t have to take it. So just get coach contracts in place, if at all possible, because it just really makes everything really clear, because when they break the rules that were clearly outlined in the contract, then you can just reference that instead of having weird pissing contest about like I like the way that I do it more than I like the way that you do it.

Fern:
And that makes you a bad person, that just makes you a crappy leader and doesn’t help you have an objective conversation. Now, with regard to the expectations, here’s where I have fallen short on many, many occasions and here’s where most of us fall short. And that is there’s a difference between setting expectation and enforcing expectation. And most people have a problem setting expectation when compared to enforcing expectation. It’s cool to say, hey, we show up on time. It’s much more difficult to say. If you show up late to take out the schedule for a month and then they show up late and then you actually have to take them off the schedule for a month. So if you’re gonna do that, the biggest thing you can do is you have to set that standard because typically. Once you set the standard, everybody will abide. Once people realize that there are repercussions for their actions, they tend to get in line. When problems tend to start creeping up and rear in their head, it’s because the standard is no longer being enforced. This is no different than people who kind of shave reps in the gym.

Fern:
It’s just like as long as you let them do that and you kind of like don’t either not acknowledge it or just kind of call them out and go there and count the reps and do stuff like that. Then they’ll do it. Know it’s no different in judging an athlete at the games. They will take what you give them. So. If they don’t abide by their standard, the best bet as a judge is like, I don’t feel bad. You just got to take that rap and then guess what? They all fall line very, very quickly because they’re professionals and they want to win. And your coaches are largely the same. Like nobody wants to be fired. Nobody wakes up in the morning is like, man, I can’t wait to really suck at doing the thing that I like today. And it’s usually because we just didn’t set the expectations. So we really have to set the expectation of what is expected and then we have to enforce it. And enforcing it can be very, very difficult and have hard conversations. You need to have hard conversations frequently. Don’t avoid them if there’s a problem. Nip it in the bud. If you hear something, you know, the watercooler stuff going on.

Fern:
Pull people in. Find out the exact specifics about it and address it head on. The best way to avoid problems in your job is to squash any sort of drama as fast as humanly possible. And that means you gonna to have some hard conversations. You’re gonna have to do some fact finding. You’re gonna have to do some research. You’re gonna have to get everything together. You have to put all that stuff and then you have to sit down with so-and-so and be like, this is what I know. Is there anything that I don’t know with regard to this? And then they’ll either give you. Yes. Or give, you know, and then you go from there and determine what needs to go on from there. But usually when this happens is because I either didn’t incite the expectation or I got lax with enforcing the expectation. And people started really kind of running away with themselves and and kind of doing whatever they want. And then when you decide you’re gonna fire somebody, just fire them quickly and don’t make an raw deal. One of the weird questions I get on a regular basis is should I send an email out to the member base? And the answer is no.

Fern:
No, it doesn’t matter. Like it’s none of their business.

Fern:
And I know you’re like, well, but the coop members really like them. Listen, I’m telling you, I’ve fortunately only had to let two employees go and they were both for cause in 10 years. I didn’t send an e-mail about either one of them. And eventually people will ask or they won’t ask. And you’d be surprised how many people will not ask. They’re just going to assume that so-and-so went away. But you do not need to make drama out of something that doesn’t need to be drama. And the reality is, that’s not how it works in the real world. If I worked at Starbucks, you know, I’m not going to make an announcement to them, to all of my customers that Johnny, the barista got fired. Johnny just not gonna be there tomorrow when we get coffee. And so and so is not gonna be there tomorrow when the 6:00 a.m. kicks off, it’s gonna be somebody else. People might ask. You can just say very politely, we parted ways. So you don’t need to do that. Who does need to know is the staff. And they need to know as much as they need to know. And that’s gonna be it for you to determine. But when you’re firing far quickly and and just move on, it doesn’t need to be this ordeal. In both instances, again, I fired both for cause and it was a non-issue moving forward. It was a thing for about 30 minutes and there isn’t.

Fern:
Okay, cool. Moving on.

Fern:
Excuse me. The members there might be some fear that the members might leave for the coach and large. If you’re doing your job, they’re far more attached to your gym in you than they are to the coach. And if they’re attached to the coach, then that’s a different conversation altogether. And I’m not even saying that’s a bad thing, but it is a different conversation altogether. So but that’s kind of my experience with it. You know, I think you should do. I think you should hire probably a little bit faster than than you do if you need it. But the first question you should be asking yourself is like, do I need to hire? What do we need to hire for? And am I prepared to hire, you know? Am I ready to take somebody on to take this role? And then when you’re firing, like, why am I firing? Is this my fault or is this their fault? And it’s not to say that you can’t fire somebody if that’s your fault. I mean, your fault the said that you did not lead well, you didn’t set the expectation you to make sure they understood what was supposed to happen and when and why and all those things. You can still fire people for that. And in the contract, it should say what you can and can’t fire people for and largely for the most part. Particularly there tonight nights you can fire people for pretty much anything. So that is my two cents on that. It was a question that came up and I think a lot of people struggle with that because it sucks. Like I said, if you enjoy firing people, you’re a gigantic asshole. And that’s weird. So.

Fern:
Hiring and firing. If you guys got questions, please hit us up.

Fern:
And if you have not ask somebody who has a ton of experience with this. Do that. I guarantee you have a member in your gym who works for a large company or owns a company who has significant amount of experience with this. Who will help you? Who will help guide you through that process? I know. And in the past, I have always leaned on a couple very specific people who are very well versed in this, who have been my litmus test and personally bounce ideas off of when this stuff comes up because they lived it already. So you don’t have to go through it. Crossfit, gyms are not special. You’re going to hire and fire people just like everybody else. And there’s people that do that really, really, really, really, really well. So reach out, ask for help. But again, hopefully you get to the point we don’t have to hire people. Eventually you’re going to have to fire people. So it’s not something you should put your head your head in the sand over. But.

Fern:
That’s all I got for today. Hope this was helpful. If you guys have questions. Hit me up, hit us in the DMM, hit me up on the DMM Jafer and 3 on I.G. We’ll see you next time to.

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