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Getting ready to hire your first agency employee

Before you decide to take the leap and put that first employee on your agency’s payroll, there are a few things you should think about.

In this episode, Patrick Rogan of Ignition HR talks with Chip Griffin of SAGA about pre-hiring considerations, as well as what you should be doing in terms of the paperwork and other administrivia associated with being an employer.

Patrick and Chip discuss where you can safely cut corners, but also where you need to make sure you cross all of your t’s and dot all of your i’s. They answer basic questions about the hiring process, including the difference between doing it yourself and using a PEO to handle some routine employment tasks for you.

Resources

Key takeaways

  • Patrick Rogan, on whether or not to have an employee handbook: “It depends on if you want to prepare for potential problems in the future, or deal with them when they smack up and hit you in the face.”
  • Chip Griffin: “If at all possible, avoid hiring someone for their first job out of school. The amount of time that you have to spend teaching someone how to be an employee is not worth it in most cases. And so if you can avoid having to do the potty training of a new employee, you’re going to be in much better shape.”
  • Patrick Rogan: “The analogy I always give if you look at general business law and employment law, it’s like going to a dermatologist for heart surgery. They’re both doctors.”
  • Chip Griffin: “If you expect someone straight out of college to be able to write for you, you are sorely mistaken. In the business world, nobody comes to you and says, write me a memo that’s at least five pages long and has at least 10 original sources. They tell you, give me a half a page. No more. And don’t bother footnoting anything.”

The following is a computer-generated transcript. Please listen to the audio to confirm accuracy.

Chip Griffin: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Small Agency Talk Show. I’m your host, Chip Griffin, the founder of SAGA, the Small Agency Growth Alliance, and I am delighted to have with me one of my most frequent panelists, Patrick Rogan of Ignition HR. Welcome to the show, Patrick.

Patrick Rogan: Thanks Chip. Happy to be here.

Chip Griffin: It is great to have you here. We’ve batted around a couple of ideas for things we’re gonna talk about today and, and we’re gonna kind of, we’ll, we’ll see where the conversation takes us, but it will all be around the talent side of your agency because that is really Patrick’s expertise and passion and he does a lot of work with agencies to help them make sure that they’re crossing their T’s, dotting their I’s, but also getting the most from their talent. So beyond that anything else you’d like to, to share about yourself, Patrick?

Patrick Rogan: No, just, I’m easy to reach. I’m at ignitionhr.com. I help organizations with their people challenges, do a lot of work with agencies. So, if you need me, feel free to give me a shout. Check me out.

Chip Griffin: And agencies always have people challenges. And in, for the last decade or so, anytime I’ve had a people challenge, Patrick has been my first phone call. So I would encourage you to, to consider doing the same because you want to try to, to make sure that, you’re getting the most from your talent and also not getting into trouble at the same time.

And, and that’s actually a perfect segue into to where I thought we would start, because I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately from agency owners who are thinking about hiring their first employee. Maybe they’ve either all been doing it all themselves all along, or maybe they’ve been using contractors for help, but they’ve hit that point where for whatever reason they’ve decided it’s time for me to, to think about hiring an employee, but that’s a scary proposition because now you’re responsible for someone else’s livelihood in a way that you aren’t really as a contractor, at least if you’re doing the contractor thing legally. , mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . So, so it’s scary and, and they’re trying to figure out.

What do I need to be thinking about before I pull the trigger on hiring? How much do I have to get into, you know, building out a whole infrastructure for employees, like employee handbooks and things like that? So I thought it would be worthwhile to, to talk a little bit about your experience working with folks when they’re hiring their first employee.

And, and let’s start with what should you be thinking about before you make the decision? Yes, an employee is the right choice versus something else.

Patrick Rogan: Well, I always start with the first thing is, is this the right employee? Like before you even get close to figuring out all of the regulatory things and payroll things, which are, which are super important, what, what I see gets people tripped up the most is they spend all their time on, well, how am I gonna do payrolls?

Is it gonna be QuickBooks, and then I’m gonna use a professional employer or a PEO to payroll somebody for me, do I need a handbook? Do what other state regulations do I need to, and they button up and they kind of lose sight of the fact that, is this my right first hire? Like, is this the person who I need to bring on in my organization right now as a full-time employee?

Lots of times I will get the question. It’s, from the angle of look I have someone who I don’t really know, but I think we’d be a good fit. And my response is we’ll get to know them better first before we cover all this other stuff. Because I think having the first hire to be a bad hire, is a really horrible place to start with your with where you’re going with your agency.

So that’s job number one is are you clear what the role of this individual’s going to be? Are you clear that you can work well with this individual? Is this individual, if you have other, say subcontractors that you’re working with, will this individual fit in well with them? How will this individual relate to the clients that you’re working with.

Will there be interaction there or that the level where that’s something you would expect and, and how would it work? Make sure you really understand that this critical first hire is your best first hire. And as you look at your glide path, is this someone who’s gonna be able to grow with you and is that gonna be a match?

So that’s kind of, that’s kind of where I like to start. But I always begin with, are you sure you wanna hire this person?

Chip Griffin: Right. Well, I, I, and I think thinking about the role is absolutely critically important because too often I see folks for their first employee or even at other employees down the road saying, you know, well, I need someone who does project management, or client service or business development.

And they focus just on the sort of the big picture title of the role, and they don’t really think about what does their week look like? How do I fill 40 hours? Because if you’ve never had a 40 hour a week, or 37 and a half, whatever you do employee, you have to really think through how am I gonna make sure I keep them busy?

And, and you don’t necessarily need to come up with a full 40 hours on the list. Because first of all, the things that you have, they’re gonna take longer than you think, right? Yeah. For them to execute on and, and new things are gonna develop. But if you can’t come up with at least 20 hours of absolutely for sure these things will be recurring every week you start to run into a place where you may be sitting there and saying, why did I even hire somebody? They’re just sitting around twiddling their thumbs. So really be sure that you know how you can fill their day up, what their role is, because that also impacts who you hire, right?

If, if you have to expand the scope in order to actually get someone who can eat that many hours. You may have to hire a different person than you would if you just said, well, I just need someone who can do project management.

Patrick Rogan: I totally agree, and I think it’s also important as an agency owner to look within yourself and understand how willing are you going to be to let some things go.

Because we all know, I mean, there, there are some people who are more than willing, you know? Yeah. I would love to have someone help me with this. There are others who are like, yeah, I’d like some help, but I, I feel more comfortable if I just do it myself and think about how it’s gonna work. You know? With that, with that first employee.

If you, for instance, have had contractors and you’ve done a good job in terms of handing work off to them and then back off to you, that’s a good sign as an employee, that’s gonna work out well. If on the other hand, , you have a very hard time doing that. Look within yourself and make sure you understand how this is going to work.

It has to be a two-way fit, fit here. So I think that’s, I think that’s important. And then on the, on the employee side, make sure as you have asked them for examples of things that they’ve done that will fit with what you’re gonna ask them to do, you understand what their attention to detail is, how good are their writing skills?

What are other things that are gonna be critical for you? Make sure you have a good fit from that perspective. And I always say with these questions, Chip. Please don’t forget to sell. Right? Not everyone wants to join your agency, particularly your first hire. Make sure you, you, you hit all their hot buttons as well too.

Chip Griffin: Right.

Yeah. We, we, you can look back in the, the SAGA archive. We have plenty of, of occasions where you and I have talked about how people fail miserably at recruiting because they don’t do a good job of selling the role. They don’t, they focus so much on screening the potential hire that they haven’t done anything to convince that prospective employee that you are actually providing them with a good opportunity and it’ll be a place where they can thrive and get what they’re looking to get. Because it really does need to be a two-way street. It’s not just labor hours for you, it is a relationship between employer mm-hmm. And employee. So, you know, one of the other things that I think people need to think about when they’re hiring that, that first person, and it, it’s part of that role thinking is at what level am I hiring somebody?

Am I bringing in someone who, you know, a senior person who is more like me and does similar things. Am I hiring someone mid-level who can mm-hmm. , you know, be pointed in the right direction and just kind of get things done? Or do I hire someone who’s junior so therefore, theoretically more affordable and I can just sort of, you know, dump all the, the boring stuff on them.

Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , any general per, I mean, obviously I, your answer’s probably gonna be what I would say, which is, it depends, right? Because there are a lot of factors that go into it. But in general, do you have guidance that people should be thinking about at, you know, as far as that first employee, should they be junior, mid, or senior?

Patrick Rogan: So, you’re right. It, it does depend indicators that the junior level person are gonna be the fit when you look at the tasks, the, the things you’re gonna have that person accomplish, if they’re things that are more administrative in nature then that is probably the level that you’re at, that that’s an indicator that you’re at that level.

It’s also an indicator that you’re gonna need a lot of your time to train this person, and if you don’t have the capacity to do that, you might want to rethink that option. The middle level is where I see it the most. That’s where you want someone who you can hand things to them and they can go and run with them.

If it’s super high level, you can help them and support them. They’re not gonna need as much hands-on training. They’re going to be more expensive than your entry level person. But that’s what I typically see more of as a first hire than others. It just has to fit what you, what you need. The senior level person, most of the agencies I work just can’t afford someone at that level as their first employee.

You, on the other hand, might have a pipeline and a workload that absolutely makes sense. And I, I would say that’s the one you really need to have your ducks in a row in terms of does this fit your budget? Is this the right person for your needs? Who’s gonna be responsible for what? Like, get that really, really granular with that one. The further down you go, you know, the, the more margin of error you have.

But it does seem to be the middle level that I see the most as that first hire.

Chip Griffin: Yeah. I, I think my advice typically mirrors much of what you’ve said there. I think the only things I would add to it is avoid, if at all possible hiring someone for their first job out of school. Yeah. It, for particularly for your first employee, but any small organization because the amount of time that you have to spend teaching someone how to be an employee.

Is not worth it in most cases. And so if you can avoid having to do, as I like to say, the potty training of a new employee, you’re gonna be in much better shape. So you know, the having a little bit more experience can be helpful in making sure that they can maybe not hit the ground running, but you can at least start focusing on training them for specific tasks as opposed to the basics of how do you show up for work on time?

How do you communicate properly in a business email? How do you attire yourself on a zoom call? All of those things that you find you have to do with folks who are new to the workforce. Sometimes you have to do with people who have been in the workforce for a while too, but that’s a whole different conversation, I suppose.

You know, one of the things I’d like to circle back to after we finish talking about first employees. Another question that came up, we had our, our monthly SAGA community meetup recently, and, and a couple of the questions were around Gen Z employees and how you work with them, and I think that’s a corollary to that.

But before we get to that, let’s talk now about we, okay, we, we’ve decided what we’re gonna hire, we’ve decided who we’re gonna hire. What do we need to be thinking about from a paperwork standpoint? Do I need to have a handbook? You mentioned earlier PEOs, it would probably be worthwhile at this point to explain what a PEO is.

Mm-hmm. and how that’s different from doing it all yourself.

Patrick Rogan: Yeah. So, yeah, that, that’s a, that’s important area. I’m happy to dive into that, but before I do, just one more thing with that entry level hire that I’ve observed over the years. None of them can write. I mean, they, they, a lot of ’em have the potential to write.

I’ve hired ’em out of Ivy League schools. They’re gonna need help with writing for business type purposes. Yes. So just, just expect it, make sure you have the time and capacity to, to do that.

Chip Griffin: Absolutely. Yeah. If, if you expect someone straight out of college to be able to write for you, you are sorely mistaken.

Yeah. Because while they have done tons of writing in school, it’s the wrong kind of writing because in the business world, nobody comes to you and says, write me a memo that’s at least five pages long and has at least 10 original sources. They tell you, give me a half a page. No more. Yeah, don’t bother footnoting anything.

Just give me what I need to know.

Patrick Rogan: Or what you wrote that was five pages, condense it down to half a page. . Right. . Right. I see that as well too.

Chip Griffin: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, and, and even the writing style itself, I have made the mistake of hiring entry level people straight outta school, and the amount of time I have to spend unteaching them everything they’ve learned.

Even just the basic phrasing that you use in an academic paper is so wildly different. It’s just, it’s, it’s not something you want to get into unless you really have the time available, or perhaps it’s a passion of yours to teach people how to write, but most agency owners just want to get stuff done.

So, okay. So, so, let’s start. Our two paths are we can sort of build up the whole employment structure ourselves, or we can use what’s called a PEO. Yeah. What is a PEO?

Patrick Rogan: Yeah, A PEO is a professional employer organization, and what they will do is they will serve the role as your administrative hr.

Depending upon how you set it up. Your employee will actually be their employee. They’ll pay you a monthly fee for your employee. They will, you will input whatever their payroll information is through their portal. They will provide access to benefits. They will hire, do all filings that need to be done.

They can be a great deal. They’re, you, they’re pretty affordable. I mean, the market has really grown over the last 10 years, so there’s a lot of players in that field. Typically even with one employee, I’ll recommend going with a PEO just because they cover so much of the administrative.

If you don’t go with a PEO let’s say you want to use your QuickBooks, but you can, you can do payroll out of QuickBooks, you can do that. And I have clients who do, and they’re, and they’re good at it, but they’re, they do all their other stuff financially as well too. So they like, if you are relying heavily on your accountant then I would definitely recommend going the route of a PEO. If you work with your accountant and and you’re, and you’re, you’re pretty good, you know, with numbers and, and administration and those kind of things, and, and you wanna give it a shot for one or two employees? Yeah. Why not? You can use whatever accounting system you have, just make sure.

That you’re also doing research on state requirements that you have to do. For instance, if you’re in the state of California, you’ll probably have to do yearly sexual harassment trainings for all of your employees. There’s all types of rules that you need to be aware of, so you’ll need to do some research there.

Whereas the PEO is gonna give you access to that information as well, too. So so I think it’s, there’s a place for each, there’s a place for doing it yourself, and there’s a place for using outside resources like a PEO. , I would recommend, you know, unless there’s a strong reason not to, I would lean towards using a PEO.

Chip Griffin: So I, I think, you know, there, there’s a couple of other things that need to go into this consideration. One is, yeah, a lot of small agency owners have set up benefits and things for themselves. Mm-hmm. before they have an employee. And you need to think about what the impact is, regardless of which route you go.

Right. Right. Because as soon as you add a, a real employee to the mix mm-hmm. , it impacts what you can or can’t do in terms of healthcare benefits. Mm-hmm. and retirement benefits in particular. And those are things you need to, to understand how that’s going to impact you before you bring on this first true employee.

If you’re going to PEO route, make sure that you understand how that impacts benefits overall, because I, I’ve had, I’ll be honest, I’ve had a mixed experience with PEOs in the past. Most of it has been a little bit old, you know, not in the last five years or so. But. You know, sometimes with PEOs they can have great benefit structures that, and, and it can give you be a real advantage to what you can offer your team. But there are times where it can be fairly restrictive and so make sure you really understand what the impact on the benefits front is for the employee, but also for you because, because you are now in the same mix and most of the time you have to be considered, you know, the same as what your employees are.

You can’t have some gold plated, health insurance and retirement plan that’s not offered to your employees. And so make sure you understand that. And some of this will be a little bit different too, if you’ve already set yourself up as an employee, as the owner. And so you’re really hiring your second employee.

So just make sure you understand the difference because depending on how you’ve worked with your tax advisor, you may already be technically a W2 employee. Mm-hmm. And so that, that can have an impact as well. So just make sure that you don’t overlook that. Yep. Because I’ve seen a lot of owners focus so much on what it means for their new hire and they don’t realize it’s also impacting them in their personal situation.

Patrick Rogan: All the ones I’ve worked with, the owner has been in the PEO as well. Right. So I, that would be little, that’s outside of my area, but that, I think that would be a little bit tricky not to go that way if that’s the route you’re going to go.

Chip Griffin: Yeah. I’ve never seen a case where someone has, as an owner, been an employee outside the PEO. I think that would be incredibly challenging.

if, if you’re gonna go that route, make sure you get lots of good professional advice on it, because it, it feels like the kind of thing that’s gonna come back and bite you at some point. Okay. But let’s, let’s say for some re let’s say, you know, I look into PEOs and for whatever reason, I don’t want to do that.

 And I guess I should ask you, beyond, beyond having to, to work within their structures for benefits and such, are there any other cons that, that people should be thinking about? I mean, can you just, can you hire and fire the same way that you normally would? Are there processes that you have to go through with a PEO that you wouldn’t have to go through yourself?

Are there other things that people should be thinking about if they go to the PEO?

Patrick Rogan: Well, it depends upon the PEO you choose. So some can be very restrictive and others not so much. So I think you’re gonna have to do your research to make sure you, you pick one that you feel is a good fit for you and the direction you’re going.

The other thing too is, you know, if you’re, if it is your first employee and you know you want to do it yourself, More than half of the agencies I work with, when they’re at the first employee stage, they don’t begin with a PEO right? That be because they’re pretty strong at the accounting stuff, and it’s really not that hard, you know, to put one person on payroll.

When you get 2, 3, 4, and five, then all of a sudden you’ve, you’ve reached a point where you look at the amount of time you’re putting into the administration and it’s like, this isn’t like I either need to hire someone else to do this, but I don’t want to do, you know, it just, right, right. So, you know, there’s a point at which that option works better than others and it isn’t a fit for everyone for sure.

But it is one that I’ve used successfully in the past with a number of my clients and it makes my work a little bit easier when I support them from a policy perspective and on all those kind of things.

Chip Griffin: Right, so, so if I don’t go to the PEO route, then, you know, obviously I’ve gotta do the basics.

I’ve gotta set up payroll either in QuickBooks or with ADP or something like that. So, yep. So I know I have to do that.

Patrick Rogan: Review all your state regulations, make sure you have that, and be careful. If the, where that employee’s gonna be working because, you know, or if they move you know, because that could happen.

You may be inadvertently setting up a nexus in another state. There are additional filings you have to do. There are additional compliance things you need to be aware of. Just be very careful with that.

Chip Griffin: It’s safe to say before you hire anybody, whether it’s your first employee or otherwise, it’s good to have at least a brief conversation with your accountant so that they can flag anything for sure that you may need to look at as well as either an HR consultant or an employment lawyer, or, mm-hmm a business lawyer if they have some familiarity with it.

But be careful. A lot of business lawyers don’t really know much about employment law, and I’m not gonna say they’re gonna steer you wrong. But if, if, if they think they know more than they do, you can run into trouble there. So, so really make sure you’re talking to someone who understands what they’re talking about.

And if you’re talking with your accountant and they don’t know California regulations, make sure that they’re telling you that. Don’t, don’t just have them say, well, you know, in New Hampshire we have to do this. So it’s probably similar. It may not be.

Patrick Rogan: The, the analogy I always give if you look at, you know, general business law and employment law, it’s like going to a dermatologist for heart surgery. They’re both doctors.

Chip Griffin: Yeah. And, and on some level, and, and honestly, my experience is most lawyers will tell you what they don’t know, but they Yeah, sure. But, but when you’re dealing with general business lawyers, sometimes they feel a little bit more confident than they do, perhaps because they haven’t dealt with a business just like yours.

Or perhaps they haven’t dealt with employees in other states and things like that. Mm-hmm. and so they’re just, they’re just not informed enough to know that it is different. So just make sure that you’re, you’re comfortable with that. Particularly as more and more agencies are hiring remote employees, employees are moving to other locations, it becomes a really big deal potentially, and can have impacts beyond just that employee.

You mentioned Nexus, and that’s one of those fancy terms that probably a lot of our listeners don’t understand, but that can mean that you have to pay business income taxes and or at least file business taxes in those states where you have remote workers even if you don’t live there and you’re like, I’m not registered there.

You may even have to register your business there. So just be aware of all the requirements before you go down that path. But let’s, I mean, obviously there are other things you, it’s logical that you would be setting up, you know a healthcare plan in all likelihood, right? Most employees want those these days since you need to figure those out and work with someone on that.

Right? But what about things like, you know, do I need to have them sign an employment contract? Do I need to, do I need to put together an employee handbook? Right. I mean, employee handbooks can be unwieldy large documents. You and I believe that they’re important. Yes. And, and, and, and, and in fact, I, if anybody listens to us, they will know that we always say your offer letter should refer back to an employee handbook for all your policies.

Don’t put them all in that initial letter of or letter offer or letter for employment. But do I really need to do that for the first employee or can I kind of kick that can down the road.

Patrick Rogan: Well, it depends on if you want to prepare for potential problems in the future or deal with them when they smack up and hit you in the face.

My perspective…

Chip Griffin: I think we just got your perspective, Patrick .

Patrick Rogan: It’s almost like the process of putting together your first employee handbook almost has more value than the handbook itself because it makes you think about things down the road that you will definitely have to deal with. And having the reference to the employee handbook in the offer letter itself, I think is a real good best practice.

It’s not super, super painful. It does take a little bit time. It’s kind of like, it’s, it’s similar to having a compensation philosophy, which we’ll we’ve talked about before and we can talk about again, it’s, it’s important to take the time to think it through. How am I paying my employee? How, what employee practices and policies do I need to have in place?

It makes it so much easier when things go sideways. So I definitely recommend, not that things will always will go sideways, but if they do, My heavens, it’s always better to be prepared and ooh, what do I do about that? Yeah, this right here.

Chip Griffin: Absolutely. And, and look, and, and I’m a big proponent of employee handbooks because they are so helpful in just dealing with the simple questions you get from employees on a regular basis.

You know, what, what can I take for time off? What happens if I get jury duty? You know, how do I handle this situation? Or that if you’ve got a document that you’ve already put together you can just refer them to that, and you don’t have to sit there and contemplate it in the moment and try to figure it out. So it’s, it’s not even just for the real problems that can smack you in the face, it’s just those annoying things that you don’t want to have to deal with.

And sometimes employees don’t even want to ask you the question. They just wanna look it up, right? They wanna know what’s, you know, how do you handle it? You know, if, if I need to go on maternity leave, well, we’ve got that right here in the employee handbook, right? And so now, now they don’t have to ask that question when perhaps they’re not ready to tell you that they’re even pregnant, right?

So there are those little things that the employee handbooks can really help you with on a day-to-day basis. So I’m a proponent of them. Even from the first employee, what I would say is, do keep it simple. Mm-hmm. , you don’t need to overcomplicate these things. You are not a Fortune 500 company. You do not need to have a 200 page employee handbook that covers every possible scenario.

Have enough detail that, that you’ve covered your bases, but not so much that you actually potentially create new issues. Because the more you write, the more problems that you can introduce.

Patrick Rogan: Unless you’re in California when you need 50 pages just for the state requirement.

Chip Griffin: If you’re in California, just shut down.

Sorry.

Patrick Rogan: And you better not have any contractors either.

Chip Griffin: I actually have, I actually have a bunch of clients in California, so I honestly would wouldn’t advocate that. But at the same time, I mean, look in, in California, you really need to talk to the professionals and make sure that you’re, you’re doing it correctly.

And that’s whether you’re based in California or you have employees, employees or contractors. Mm-hmm. or, you know, you even think about a person in California. I mean, if, if you watch the Los Angeles Dodgers on tv, you probably should call a lawyer and figure out, figure out what that now means, for you. So, okay.

So you, you know, we, we’ve touched on some of those things. Are there other things that people need to be thinking about from more of the logistics standpoint when they’re bringing that first employee on board?

Patrick Rogan: Yeah, so make sure you definitely do, make sure before you extend on offer letter. That you’ve had a conversation.

You’ve covered the basics. So the, you’ve had a conversation, you’ve interviewed, maybe you’ve talked with two or three different people or this individual two or three times. Make sure they really know what the role would be, what the expectations are, specifically what they’re gonna do. When it comes to extending an offer, from my perspective, it should always be – no, from anyone’s perspective, who knows what they’re doing. It should be a verbal conversation first. Make sure before you take the time to draft an offer letter, you have a pretty good idea they’re going to say yes. And if, if they’re, if they’re confused or if there’s a problem area, get that resolved before you do the letter.

And then send the offer letter, reference the employee handbook. There are numerous examples of offer letters that are out there that have really good solid content. Make sure you have the offer amount, the prospective start date. You know, not like there’s a ton of other legal things that need to be in there.

It’s not super complicated.

Chip Griffin: Yeah, we, we, we, we have a sample one in the SAGA community, which I, I believe is probably one that, that you vetted probably years ago . So, so, so at, at least it reflects your thinking from, you know, a, a few years back. You, you know, so there are all these things and actually we will, for those people watching this on replay and not live we will include in the show notes links to a previous two-part episode that you and I had where we talked about the recruiting and the, and the whole offer process where we go into a lot of detail, whether it’s your first employee or your hundredth, how you ought to be handling that situation.

So there’s a lot more detail than what we’re able to cover here that. That will be beneficial to folks for that. The, the last thing I do want to touch on here though, is something that we alluded to earlier and, and let’s say that I am hiring a more junior employee. Maybe they, maybe they at least have a little bit of experience somewhere else.

So they’ve, they’ve got, you know, a year at another agency or some other kind of employer. I’ve brought them on. They are a Gen Z. . Yes. One of the questions that I got in the last SAGA community meetup that we had was, I’ve got a Gen Z employee and they pretty much do only exactly what I tell them to do, and I have to be very explicit and give them a lot of detail.

I can’t just tell ’em to take that hill. I have to tell them, put your left foot in front of your right foot and then your left foot, and then you do this, and then do that. Is there, first of all, is this fair or is this the, the old, you know, get off my lawn kind of mentality?

Patrick Rogan: No, there’s a, there’s a thing, right?

So, you know, gen Z, we’re talking roughly people who were born 1995 to 2010. So they’re gonna be like early twenties, early, early to mid twenties are kind of what, what we’re going to, what we’re seeing in the workplace from the Gen Z population. And when you look at…so, so they’re our first purely digital generation, right?

They’re digital from the, from the cradle, right? So that has some impact on where they are. When you look at the world events, when they grew up. They influence, uh, influences a lot about where they are. You know, the, we’ve had racisms sexual harassment, Harvey Weinstein, black Lives Matter. Gun Gun violence has been a horrible, horrible impact they’ve seen on the Daily News.

So, you know, they are a little bit disillusioned as a group. You know, they’re not real crazy about capitalism as a group, you know, they are very mistrustful of status quo, things like that. They’re sort of like, so, like their mistrust isn’t an individual who doesn’t care about you or your organization that’s endemic in, in, in their group of people.

So that’s that’s just something that we have to be aware of. Not to go too far down a rabbit hole, but this is also in a group that has high level stress, high level suicide rate. There, there are issues with this group that we need to be aware of and we need to be proactive in helping to get them to a good place.

So how can we help them in our workplace? What are things we can do to understand them and make them be more productive? They really, as a group want to know. How am – as a, as an entry level employee, how am I making an impact? So my generation, your generation Chip, we were like, I’m happy to have a job.

I’ll do whatever you tell me to do. I’ll just, I’m just gonna crank it out. They will still do that. But they, it’s important for them to know, and this contributed this way. This is how we got this done for this client. This is how you know. So that doesn’t take a lot of time. That will have huge impact on this group.

They want to know how the agency is performing. Normally we don’t share that information. There’s only so much information you can share, but you can say if things are going well or things aren’t going well. Or these are challenges going forward. They want to know a lot more of that kind of information because they tend to be sort of distrustful as a group, so they need like a little bit more of that information.

The next area for them is compensation. Like they’re all sharing their compensation on TikTok right now. I mean, not all of them,. Roughly I think the data is saying 42% of Gen Zers have shared salary information with others. Most digitally, I think it was 40% for millennials. So that is not going away.

That’s a whole nother talk right there. But that’s something you need to be aware of and make sure your compensation philosophy is locked down and you’re thinking about how you’re paying and how does that work, and all those kind of things. And the final area for the Gen Zers is they want to know, how am I going – I know I just started here, but how am I gonna grow here? Like I want to grow in my career. That’s just normal conversations about, well these are, there’s, this is a stretch role I’m putting you in and the reason why I’m putting you in the stretch role is I think this is gonna help your own trajectory on future things you’re gonna do here.

Like little conversations like that I think can go a long, long way. But this is a group I think we need to pay real, real close attention to because there’s a lot of risk there for them. And I think there are a lot of little things we can do as agency owners to kind of smooth it over for them and make it resonate well.

Does that make sense?

Chip Griffin: It does. And it, it sounds to me like this, you know, may be worth a, a longer, more in-depth conversation. Yeah. About how to handle it. So if you’re listening now and this, that’s something that you would be interested in, absolutely. Leave a comment on whatever platform you’re listening on, or send me an email and, and we’ll try to get something on the books so that Patrick and I can, can delve into this a little bit deeper.

Because I think there are a lot of issues to look at with, you know, how, how we approach management given Gen Z. And, and I don’t think and I, I wanna be careful about talking about just managing Gen Zers because it really requires us to change how we’re managing all of our team. You don’t, you don’t separate one group out and say, okay, we’re gonna treat them entirely differently.

What we need to do is understand how this is changing the workforce and how we can adapt and, and frankly, use some things that the Gen Z wants that actually is, is helpful to the overall organization. And, and you know, we sit here and, and we may, you know, be like old codgers saying Get off my lawn, but at the same time, , they bring some, some good ideas to the table that we need to be thinking about and, and how we approach them.

So if you are interested in that, let me know and, and then I will put pressure on Patrick to come back, twist, twist his arm to spend a little bit more time talking about that topic. So but that does bring us to the end of the time that we have available today. Hopefully we’ve given you some good ideas of things to think about if you’re considering hiring your first employee, probably some things to think about, even if you already have that first employee and, and wondering if you’re doing it all right to begin with. Patrick again, just remind folks where they can find you if they’d like to connect or ask you additional questions.

Patrick Rogan: Sure, sure.

It’s real easy. Ignitionhr.com.

Chip Griffin: It could not be any simpler than that, and I do encourage you to check it out. Patrick puts out a lot of great content on his own website and is always very friendly and, and if he can’t help you with something, he will point you in the right direction so that you get the answer that you need and the help that you need.

So, With that, that draws to an end this episode of The Small Agency Talk Show. If you’re interested in watching previous episodes of the show or any of the other videos that I put out, just go to smallagency.tv. I had to remember what the name of the site was. . If you’d like to learn more about Saga, go to small agencygrowth.com.

And with that, I look forward to seeing you all back here on another episode very soon.

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