How to Build Your Business Post-Pandemic

Episode 4

Episode Overview

In Episode 4, special guest Amy Bingam and host, Pete Newsome, dive into the strategies and tactics that you can do to help build your business in this very different world. 

33 minutes

View transcript

Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the president of 4 Corner Resources, the nationally acclaimed staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. His mission back then was the same as it is today: to do business in a personal way, while building an organization with boundless opportunities for ingenuity and advancement. When not managing 4 Corner’s growth or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his sales and business expertise through public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Hire Calling podcast.


Pete Newsome 0:00
You’re listening to the higher calling podcast. Today we are talking about how to build your business post pandemic. You don’t want to miss this one. Let’s go.

Welcome, everyone. And thank you for listening to Episode Four of the higher calling podcast. I’m really excited by My guest today because not only is this someone who I have a lot of respect for professionally, but someone who I’m also able to call a friend, and that’s Amy Bynum, who is a consultant in the staffing industry has seen a lot done a lot and is someone who just really has expert level knowledge for a lot of areas of the staffing industry. So Amy, thanks so much for doing this today.

Amy Bingam 0:51
absolutely happy to be here.

Pete Newsome 0:54
Awesome. Well, unfortunately, even though it’s a great opportunity for us to get together even though we’re over the phone. It’s unfortunately not under great, great circumstances due to what’s going on right now. We were scheduled today to talk about everything that has been impacting so many businesses due to COVID and the crisis, and how to get back to work. And we will talk about that. But over the last couple of days, the world’s changed on us again, and we would be remiss not to not to talk about that, at least for a few minutes. So, you know, we’re getting ready to go back to work, you know, post pandemic, and now we, we have, you know, a lot of protests and just, you know, very large group of upset people right now. So, what are your thoughts on on how that’s changed everything over the last few days?

Amy Bingam 1:44
Yeah, you know, Pete, I think knows is tragic, because we’ve seen it. This has been going on for many, many years. I remember when I was 17 years old. 40 years ago. Now everybody knows Halloween, four years ago. With the, the the Arthur McDuffie riots in Miami, very similar situation. And it’s just sad and tragic to see all this going on continually 40 years later, so, but But given the timing, I think it’s been really, really difficult for people who were already running on high anxiety on a number of fronts. on employment is approaching 20% people are stuck at home, and they’re worried about getting sick, they’re worried about their families getting sick, and they’re just really starting to open the world again, phase one reopening most states we were in the midst of and then this hits. So it’s driven people back into the state of high anxiety instruction, and notwithstanding the tragic nature of just the event in general, so I think people are weary and anxious and there’s a lot going on that makes it very difficult. somewhere.

Pete Newsome 3:01
Yeah, there was already so much talk about not knowing how to how to behave due to everything associated with with the virus. We’re all trying to feel out what the the the overused phrase of new normal was going to be. And I think, you know, we can safely throw that out the window now and realize that there’s going to be yet another normal all together, that we’re going to have to figure out as a society as a country. And it’s certainly not going to be easy, all while we have an economy to contend with and in to get back to work ultimately. So we’re going to do our part today, hopefully to help some folks understand what getting back to work really means right now and how leaders can handle that in the staffing industry. And I think what applies in our business is universally applicable. So let’s just let’s just get into that and help as much as we can and control the things that we can control. So what what’s your thought on the state of the staffing industry as a whole right now? I mean, of course, that that thought I’m sure is evolving right now. But as of as of today, what are you thinking?

Amy Bingam 4:19
Yeah, so the industry lost about 30 to 40% of its revenue over the course of a two week period. So we know historically, in and out of downturns, the staffing industry is the first to get hits. First thing employers do when they’re feeling the constraint of a reduction in economic activity is they let go of temps and contractors before they lay off their full time headcount. They let the tension the contractors go because the least risk is there for them. So we felt immediately 30 40% Hang on a second you’re in and if we bottomed out low, Now feel including ASAP just published some data last week. We’ve had three weeks of consecutive sequential week over week revenue gains as an industry. So we probably bottomed out early May and we’re on a what I would call a very slow crawl back to any semblance of normal, but there is demand for our services for the first as soon as there’s an upturn, any uptick at all. And certainly with phase one reopening we’re seeing that the central businesses we were seeing a need for staffing, suppliers for temporary labor and we began seeing it best so it’s not all gloom and doom by any means. Most of my clients are feeling things are in this steady state of improvement right now and all this of course was pre

you know, pre writing, right? So

what this week is over, I don’t know who knows

Pete Newsome 6:00
Right, we would need a crystal ball that doesn’t exist that is coincidentally that earlier this morning, I was on a call zoom call with 10 other staffing company leaders. It’s a group that I’ve been working with for the past few weeks and having very regular calls over zoom with this part of tech serve Alliance. And I can tell you that we’re all kind of struggling with the same thing. And one of those one of the big ones is how to treat our employees, how to help our employees, how to communicate with our employees, and as someone who, who helps guide tapping leaders in this I want to pick your brain for a few minutes on on some of these topics. And the probably the biggest one is communication. We are having to learn how to how to communicate differently. So what what would you have for us on that?

Amy Bingam 6:54
Well, you know, this is a production business, right. So most of most people who own staffing companies for executives and staffing firms are very focused on the numbers as in corporate America in general. And with that comes a certain degree of matter of practice business as usual, let’s get back to business as usual, because that’s what’s natural for us as leaders. And, and many of us are having to exercise new muscles, we’re really having to amp up our emotional intelligence, our empathy factor and the reality is people are varying degrees of okay, right now. And I literally think it is a person by person decision when you’re the owner of any business. But when you’re a staffing firm, and you’re reaching back out to your team, and you’re saying, Hey, now here’s what we’re doing. From a safety perspective, CDC guidelines in place, you’re expected to come back to work. Would you like to come back to work magnet? That’s the key question. When are you ready to come back to work and if someone is not ready We have to resist the urge to get annoyed because we’re not going to have them historically in our industry. We have everybody, not only under one roof, we have everybody in a big bullpen. So, radically different way of doing business right now. leaders that are used to having everybody under one roof and in one big room are going to have to think differently and be okay with that. So the communication communication needs to be constant daily. Most of my clients are doing a really good job here have kept their people hold financially. Some have even paid out bonuses that were duly paid, despite losing significant revenue. Most are keeping a very open line of communication with their team. They’re having morning calls or having afternoon calls, and never ever want to lose and the dialogue is different. It’s not about that. Key Performance Indicators it’s not about to be friendly First of all, a executive any owner can put software on systems and see activity. It’s not really about the conversation isn’t about corruption right now it needs to be that or you have first and foremost Are you okay? Are you feeling well, family Well, how is it are you homeschooling Have you had to become a teacher now? There’s so much change that people have undergone. So the last thing I want to do is beat them up over the head for you know, production, which is that we’re serving them up ahead. We manage KPIs in this industry. So again, if for some people that’s a radical, suddenly there’s a radical shift, it’s really turning up your softer side and putting the production aside for from title very difficult.

Pete Newsome 9:51
And I’ve struggled with that a little bit myself it admittedly because there’s still a business to run. Okay, and we were already Trying to figure out and when I say we, every every leader I’ve spoken with, kind of is dealing with the same set of challenges. So it’s really independent of any specific industry. But we were already trying to figure out how much attention and care we really have to give to an individual’s feelings. And this is prior to all of the emotions that have been brought out by the tragedies surrounding George Floyd. This is just COVID situate. So the government is now said go back to work. You know, if you if you see what’s going on around me, I think most of us realize people are now coming out of the house and feeling more comfortable. But what do we do when the government says we can come back to work legally we can. We’ve taken all the precautions and yet there’s a couple of folks that still don’t feel comfortable doing it. Yeah, we want to be fair and equitable. Always as As a business organization, I think everyone strives for that. But what advice do you have? When a couple of maybe a handful of I don’t know what the percentages are, but in any given team, I suspect that there’s those who don’t want to go back to work even though the business needs it and may even have to demand it. That’s a tough one. And I that’s why I’m putting you on the spot for

Amy Bingam 11:24
now. No, it is. It is a tough one. And there’s no easy answer. I would go again, you know, you may you may point you said it we’re running a at the end of the day, we’re running a business right. So as a business owner could carry stuff so long that are producing so I think you’ve got to look after you don’t have a whole dialogue around. Are you okay? How’s your family? How are you managing things at home? You know, I want you to work when you can work. If you can’t work for chunk time during the day because you have to oversee it a child is homeschooling. I get it. That’s fine, no problem. Just get the work done. After we’ve had all that conversation, if someone isn’t, it is clear that somebody is not pulling his or her weight. And that may be defined differently business. I don’t business right now. And they say they’re not comfortable coming back to work, and they can’t quantify a reason or qualify reason

Pete Newsome 12:25
or cited reason.

Amy Bingam 12:27
Perhaps character caregiving would be top a list. If they can’t, and they’re under producing then I think the business owner has a decision to make in terms of Okay, it’s this is someone who is engaged and passionate about being on our team and I just had this luck

with a client every day.

And we talked it through and he said, You know, I just, I’m just thinking I need to let her go. I just not seeing it. We’ve had numerous conversations. She’s not doing anything. I can see He’s not doing anything you can terminate for cause obviously, somebody’s not doing anything. But it’s it’s that balance between empathy and in reality, which is running a business and your employees. So I think it’s a very delicate balance right now.

Pete Newsome 13:17
That’s a great way to phrase it, you know, empathy versus reality. And, you know, oftentimes they’re not going to line up very well, when it’s time to pay bills in both for the individual as well as for the business. And that’s, that’s just one of the many harsh realities that we’re all having to contend with right now. I doubt there’s an organization around right now who hasn’t realized that they have the ability to function remotely in a way that they probably never considered before. We’ve been that’s been forced upon us as we were talking about prior to starting this podcast that you know, as someone in your business as a consultant who travels so much, you know, you’ve now realized some of that is unnecessary. Your clients have realized that unnecessary everyone wins financially in those situations. I’m looking at it in our business, we are in the heart of downtown Orlando and just paying for parking is a significant expense to business like ours. So, all these things are now on the table. What what’s your sense for how staffing companies or are you looking at the future and working remotely versus being in the office?

Amy Bingam 14:34
Well, I think there are a lot of people thinking the way you are right now. In the professional staffing sector, in particular, in light, industrial staffing, it’s a little harder. So depends on the sector that you’re in. Whether brick and mortar is necessary, but even even my big light industrial clients right now are managing without mean they’re terrifying, you know? As you know, Id remotely things they never do before they’re for going drug testing, and they’re in partnership with their employer client, which is something they certainly not not done. So there’s concessions that people are making. I do think in that sector in particular, people will go back to work in and I already have many clients or they’re all back in the office already managing things in a new way, right, keeping people safe. And scheduled appointments versus having to walk in the door. And that’s in that particular sector professional staffing. friendly. You us, me and my travel last year made a conscious decision to drive my cost down for my clients by offering more services virtually, and I think they appreciate that Meaning, if I go get on a plane and stay overnight somewhere, it’s gonna cost my fine a million bucks, minimum $1,000. So it’s and that’s me For one night, more, if I’m saying more than one night, that may not be necessary, we may be able to break up a strategic planning meeting into a half day meeting into three or four one hour sessions. After which we both go back to our desk, do some more work, come back together, reconvene and take part two of it. So I think there’s a lot more openness to that now. I’m in professional staffing in my business, frankly, you can do it virtually you don’t need to you can meet a client face to face the way you and I are talking right now on zoom, or on Skype, or on teams, or any number of the other platforms that most definitely will be coming out in the next six

months to a year as people say there’s money to be made here.

So I think I think virtual is is a staffing firms that had resisted it in the past and we’re forced to make this change are now saying you know what, just like you are I think I think there’s this now you’re looking at this

Pete Newsome 17:03

Yeah, there’s no brick and mortar.

So no, there’s no doubt and for all the wrong reasons, we’re coming out with some some realizations that Yeah, there’s some good that can come from this in terms of efficiencies gained cost savings,

time given back, right commute time alone

adds value to people’s life if they don’t have to spend the time in the car on a train. And, you know, we’re we’re trying to find all the positives where they are tight, we’re where we can find them. But I think that’s one that that you know, over time will really be a benefit to employees and employers alike, and figuring out a way to maximize their productivity at work but also maximize their their enjoyment of life. And I think we can all agree that’s something we need more of right now. For sure.

Amy Bingam 18:00
Without a doubt, and and, you know, from a production perspective, there’s a lot of data that suggests that that people are more productive at home than they are in an office without interruptions. The primary reason is the interruption factor. It’s the distraction of somebody walking by the desk. Hey, you have a minute or minutes never met. It’s at least 15 minutes. It’s not half hour or more. So when you take that away, right, the upside is you get more done in a short period of time and the lines between work and home, and I noticed I had a home office for 20 years now. So the lines are somewhat blurred you it’s it’s incumbent upon the worker to draw a line and stand between my office times and the home time. But yes, without a commute, without the distraction in the office. But those are the good things about working remotely. On the downside is this isolation factor here Many beings are not human beings are social creatures. So there are a lot of there’s a lot of concern about isolation and the effects of isolation on mental and emotional health.

So I think

remains to be seen. I think what we’re going to find is that some people can very, very easily work from home, and they’re wired for it. And it’s not a problem. Others want to be in the office and they want that social factor. Similarly, by the way, you may have experienced this with your own kids. When we had to transition education online overnight. Some kids can do their schoolwork online and they can do it very effectively. Others like they can’t wait to get back to campus. They cannot wait. So maybe it’s an individual thing, but can it be done? Absolutely can be done. And I think we know that.

Pete Newsome 19:55
There may or may not have been a little complaining at my house over the past. With with my four kids and during the runtime work, but I suspected their teachers were complaining significantly more than that. Because that is not what they signed up for anything else. Even though collectively, I think they’ve done an outstanding job. And that is a group that we all need to be thankful for and appreciate it when we think about working at home, we don’t necessarily have our eyes on the employee. So even though zoom gives us the ability to have virtual meetings on the fly, and those tools have been wonderful, and thank goodness, we’ve had them, but we still have to manage and when you don’t see someone and know that they’re at their desk or know that they’re on their phone, especially in an industry like ours, that so metrics driven at times, right. You have to be some many companies will measure their employees by how many phone calls they make the talk time they have and yes, technology allows us to do all of this Things remotely, we know that. But we also don’t want people to feel as if they’re being a micromanager. Right, that word that everyone everyone hates. What guidance Do you have or advice to staffing leaders on how to handle that delicate process because we still have to manage them, right? We still have to manage employee productive.

Amy Bingam 21:22
My boss operated under two guidelines is like I coach people on extend trust until you have a reason not to. And make sure that you have a minimum expectation of productivity, whatever you have purchased, you define what does that mean? And it may change week to week based on your rep flow, right. But so all the best practices I know you’ve had in place for a long, long time, the morning huddle, the what’s on your you know, I’m assigning a rep these two reps to you today. At the end of the day, we’ll regroup and determine where you are or, you know, the expectation is he would have two submittals by 2pm, or whatever the numbers are. The good news is that our business pretty easy to know somebody’s working. We know what it takes to find and vet and lock up candidates to be submitted for open positions. I think the challenge right now, the bigger challenge is keeping our recruiters VC when we want to keep them employed, defining that that production number is a lot harder. We’ve always defined in terms of candidates, middles or spread, assess where the rubber meets the road spread added per week gross profit dollars added per week, easy to measure. A challenge right now because the numbers we held them for accountable to in normal times pre coded have been So you have to first look at what’s realistic to expect from them. And I think, look at the numbers. If you’re, if you’re having those daily touch points with your recruiters, you’ll know what they’re doing. A lot of my clients and this is for idle recruiters, people are just we just don’t have enough to do right now, to these conversations with as many candidates and their database as they possibly can, because we know those conversations lead to referrals, they need to leave. And if we’re operating for best practice, we know that the more they talk to people, the more those things have to happen. So that would be point one and point two is they can implement a business development test plan completely virtually from the desk. So a recruiter who’s only recruited can be turned into, you know what we call a full desk on both sides of the desk recruiter and do sales outreach. If they’re given specific activities to do, what to do, how to do it, when to do it and what to say. There’s no reason they can’t become those people if we try to write.

Pete Newsome 24:09
So there’s no doubt right now that there’s a need for creativity and in really flexibility and agility as well. And I think that there has to be you have to get out of your comfort zone, we’ve been forced to whether we want to or not, we have to get out of our comfort zone and those who are going to win on the other side of this are those who are willing to you know, consider all of the options and then take advantage of opportunities as they arise. And it unfortunately, it is such a moving target right now as we have seen we can’t really get away from this this week in particular and probably for a long time to come. That we don’t know we don’t have a history to point to we don’t we don’t have examples. In books, a roadmap for any of this. So one of the things that I think is you touched on it is the emotional state of being at home and feeling isolated. And you and I’ve had this discussion many times over the years, that emotional, emotional quotient of the employees is something that is going to often dictates success or failure in normal times. So now, I think that’s heightened. I think that is that is going to be the key to success as much if not more than anything else.

Amy Bingam 25:32
Yeah, I, you know, and again, we go back to how we’re sort of hardened in business, most of us at an executive level. Look at numbers, we’re in business to make profit. We don’t like to talk about fluffy stuff. Generally speaking, we don’t we don’t like to talk about getting up every day and reflecting for a few minutes on what you’re grateful for before you start the day, which can change your mindset from negative to positive studies, neuroscience, Studies show that even just taking a couple minutes to reflect on what you’re grateful for will change the outlook of your day. It’s managing your mindset. So we’re all talking right now about things like that, like gratefulness with what I have a roof over my head, I can pay my bills. These are the realities of the way you need to manage yourself today in very challenging time. Meditation, something you know, people would laugh at when I was talking about five, 610 years ago, they laugh about it. I don’t have time to meditate on that stuff. You have to talk about that stuff now. Because there’s just too much evidence that supports that these kinds of practices, keep people feeling emotionally healthy.

Unknown Speaker 26:43
And in the absence of that

Amy Bingam 26:47
is left to chance, right. So why would anything change? So talking as a leader about that stuff right now, is necessary. So again, for someone who’s not used to thinking that way. These are new muscles you’re working.

Pete Newsome 27:03
So you really brings up a question that I know so many leaders are struggling with in terms of use, speaking to things and talking about issues that they normally wouldn’t address. And one of those right now is the future there the current state and near term future state of their organizations as it relates to furloughs and layoffs. And there’s always a call for transparency everyone wants it but do they really has is what I always wondered, you know, how transparent should leaders be right now with their staff? We have employees are not are not stupid. They, especially in the staffing business where it’s not hard to figure out how well things are going, you know, how many open positions do you have that in? How are you what’s what are the quality of those positions, those are the things that everyone in this industry can look at and make a quick determination on the health of the business? So what are your thoughts on that? I mean, how transparent should we be?

Amy Bingam 28:12
So yeah, so it was easy to be many of us small business loans. Right. So that protected us to some degree for at least eight weeks time, if not more, allows us to maintain continuity with our stuff. how quickly the commander this will determine how much how much staff we can actually retain. I think you have to be candid in saying people right now things are things are okay. Right. And that’s going to be a week to week decision. I don’t think we can guarantee you anybody that no one can be guaranteed. They’re not gonna be laid off next week. No one says Nope, no one can be guaranteed their business will be sustainable. We would hope we do. All right things we would hope it will be. But it may be a business. I’m at my hospitality clients right now, our business out of this, they have no business. This is a revenue. So I immediately had to lay off staff. Um, you can’t you can be candid and let people know where we are right now. I don’t think you can ever say to anybody, we’re going to be fine for the foreseeable future. I don’t know if that’s possible. And the last thing I do is make a promise that you can’t keep.

Pete Newsome 29:37
That’s it. That’s just such a great point and a powerful thing to say that we should all adhere to. Without question. Now unfortunately, I heard your alarm going. I promised you that I would only keep it for 30 minutes today. But unfortunately, this is becoming a theme over the last. This is podcast number four, for higher calling and number three siren was going off outside, which indicated it was time to wrap it up. So maybe that’ll be something that continues. But we did not unfortunately get a chance to talk on the thing that you do as well as anyone which is helping staffing companies improve their sales processes and their sales success. And I will ask if you will come on spot right now if you’ll come back and join me and talk about that, because that is also uncharted territory for us as it relates to the sensitivities we need to show and he’s trying times but we still need to sell.

Amy Bingam 30:40
We do we do. So I’ll leave you with two parting words. And yes, I’d like to come back to parting words and this is not you know, you and I’ve talked about this numerous times. Persistent, stay in front of them, be of service and persist until you get a response with your clients and your prospects. We historically the firm’s that stay out in front of their client base, take market share from those who are consumed with worrying about operations and not at all focused on selling. So selling looks different now. Selling is about being of service and waiting to be there when there’s a need.

Pete Newsome 31:22
For everything to close with, thank you so much and I will hold you through it. I’m going to ask you that, but in the meantime, Amy if someone wants to get a hold of you, how can they do that?

Amy Bingam 31:33
They can My website is bingum see as in consulting p Ism The MCP comm email is a thing at being a CP Comm. Phone is 407-864-2849 and I pick up my own phone so you will get a hold of me.

Pete Newsome 31:53
I love talking to you like he wants to call the aq and anyone who does call is going to be glad that they did this Like I was years ago when when we first met and I just can’t thank you enough for doing this today. I know you’re very busy. The alarm indicated that it is time to say goodbye. So we will do that and we will talk very soon.

Amy Bingam 32:13
Okay, thanks so much. Thanks for having

Pete Newsome 32:17
sort of the higher calling podcast Your source for all things job related please subscribe and visit our website at four corner resources comm also if you have any questions or topics that you’d like to suggest, we’d love to hear from you over email higher calling at four corner resources. com. Thanks and have a great day.

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