The Wize Guys

Episode 6: How to Onboard Your Team Members - Finders, Minders & Grinders

October 21, 2021 Season 1 Episode 6
The Wize Guys
Episode 6: How to Onboard Your Team Members - Finders, Minders & Grinders
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Episode 6: How to Onboard Your Team Members - Finders, Minders & Grinders

“You got to micro train upfront so that you don't have to micromanage them later on because really good output people don't like to be micromanaged.”

In this episode of The Wize Guys, Brenton Ward, Jamie Johns, and Ed Chan talk about tips for onboarding new members of your team. 

Define the roles of Finders, Minders & Grinders. Also, they discuss different types of training that you’ll need to provide to your team members (depending on the size of your firm) and how to monitor their progress. Learn more on this episode!

Timestamps:

0:45 - Tips for onboarding new members

1:52 - The importance of communication in a service business

2:32 - Input-focused vs Output-focused

3:16 - Experience staff vs Inexperienced staff

4:06 - How critical is the first 3 months for new hires’ performance

8:22 - The great value of building client connections and relationship

9:58 - Ways to evaluate productivity

10:52 - How to handle clients

Quotations:

“The thing that differentiates your firm from the one down the road is your responsiveness. And if you can just put yourself in the client's shoes, if you are dealing with two businesses and one responded to you quickly, and the other one just didn't respond to you, the body language they give you is that they don't care.” - Ed Chan

“Just because you're busy doesn't mean that you're productive.” - Ed Chan

“You got to micro-train upfront so that you don't have to micromanage them later on because really good outflow output people. Don't like to be micromanaged. They do the work they're very productive and I want to get on with it. They need some direction as to what they should do, and what they should. They just want you to let them get on with the job and you measure them by their productivity, micro-train them upfront. So you don't have to micromanage later on.”  - Ed Chan

“...our business is about people connecting and communicating with people. And if you can't communicate, then you're not going to be suited for a senior client manager. So the training for a senior client manager is different from that of a senior production manager.” - Ed Chan

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Download the full transcript here.

Episode 6: How to Onboard Your Team Members - Finders, Minders & Grinders

“You got to micro train upfront so that you don't have to micromanage them later on because really good output people don't like to be micromanaged.”

Brenton Ward: The importance and the difference in training and how we onboard based on whether we're onboarding a finder, a minder, or a grinder. Any suggestions or contributions there? 

Ed Chan: I just wanted to echo what Jamie was saying to begin with every staff member that comes on board. I give them what's called a chairman's welcome. And in there it itemizes what we expect of them and right up at the top is they need to return their emails and phone calls on the same day they get, they receive the email. At the very latest, the next morning, because often you might be in a meeting and you can't do that day, but that's the first thing you do the next morning. And if you can't get back to the client the next morning, you've got to get somebody else to call the client, to let the client know that you'll get back to them later in the day. And that's the first thing I write. I give it to them. That's part of the chairman's welcome. And it's a second war fence if they don't do it. 

So I set the bar really, really high. The reason for that is that you can imagine if you had 1 person who took their time to respond to the clients, it's easy. If you have one staff and the staff sitting right next to you, and you're making sure that they're doing it, but when you've got 160 in their right across Australia, it's near impossible to manage 160. If they don't reply instantly. And we are in a business of service. 

And then, the thing that differentiates your firm from the one down the road is your responsiveness. And if you can just put yourself in the client's shoes, if you are dealing with two businesses and one responded to you quickly, and the other one just didn't respond to you, the body language they give you is that they don't care. They've got other more important things to do, and you're very low on their priority list. Whereas the one that responds to you very quickly tells you that you're very important to them, and you're really high on their priority list. So that the message that we give the owners that have. 

Businesses can do that instinctively. And they understand that. But it's the stuff that doesn't particularly understand that because a lot of the staff input focus and they're not output focused, meaning if they grind, they're focused on doing the work and getting the workout, but they're not particularly focused on the client. And then another staff is more input-focused, meaning it's about working hard and working fast, but they may not necessarily produce anything.

So just because you're busy doesn't mean that you're productive. So it's a bit like the salesman who works seven days a week but doesn't sell anything. You know, it is about the output. And so I put that right out there, right up there because often the staff that comes on board, don't realize that we're here for one thing and that's to service the clients. So that's, that's really important. 

The second thing then in the first three months you've got to watch out for is that it depends on whether the person that you've recruited is an experienced person, or that person is a graduate. If it's an experienced person, then in the first three months, whatever they do in the first three months is going to be like that for the next three years or thirty years. Okay. That's my experience. 

So that's for experienced staff. Now, if they're inexperienced like graduates, then you want to see a trend. They're learning something new that they're sort of learning the improving every day. You need to see that trend. They're improving their learning. They're improving and they're getting better every day. And if they're not improving every day, then there's something wrong. 

So just go back to the experienced person. If that person is very slow, for example. So you see in our industry, we can't have staff that's very slow because we charge our time out to clients. And if someone takes two hours to do something, instead of one hour, then whatever you're paying them, just doubled. It's like it's costing you twice as much because they are twice as slow to produce output because it's all about productivity and output. They shouldn't be working in our industry. They should be working in maybe a con in commerce or they should be working in, in the public service. They're not suited to our industry. We think that we can just go out there and hire accountants, but they're accountants. And then there are accountants and there are different types to suit different industries. And in our industry, it's about speed getting through the work, and getting production out the door. 

So, it's really important that in the first three months, if that person has the experience and they're very, very slow, they're not going to change. So it's better to move them on because you're going to lose three months. Three months of getting somebody else in there and training them up. So in three, if you don't move that person on quickly, then in three months' time, you've got to start again. It might take you another month to find another person, that's four months and you've lost four months of training the right person. So, so move them on very quickly. And that's extremely important. 

Now, just to break it up between finders, minders, and grinders, ‘What you should do in that first three months?’ Depending on obviously how big you are, because it changes if you're a large firm compared to a small firm. And I always say that you've got to micro-train so that you don't have to micromanage them later on. If you put the time and effort into training them. And often some accountants see that as a waste of time, they see it as spending time with them. I've got to write the time off. It's just a waste of time. Whereas I see it as a balance sheet investment. If you invest the balance sheet investment with these people. I'm saying this on the assumption that these are competent people, not incompetent people, which you've got to let go of. You got to micro-train upfront so that you don't have to micromanage them later on because really good outflow output people. Don't like to be micromanaged. They do the work they're very productive and I want to get on with it. They need some direction as to what they should do, and what they should. They just want you to let them get on with the job and you measure them by their productivity, micro-train them upfront. So you don't have to micromanage later on. 

Breaking them up into grinders miners and finding yourself, obviously, if you're a small firm and you're training a grinder, then you've got to get in there and teach them to technique is it's about techniques. Someone could take an extra 30%, 40%, or 50% longer to do something based on their technique. So as an experienced accountant, you can go a long way to get a result, or you can take two or three steps and get there very quickly. And it's just the experience that you have in getting to the point very quickly, and you need to pass it on to them. They don't know that they just bring their baggage with them from the previous firm that they've worked with. And often you've got to get that out of them, get that out of them. 

If they're a minder and find it, then it's a different technique to train them because it's more about their interpersonal skills. So you have to work with the senior client managers on how to communicate with the clients. And I'm not talking about speaking English. I'm talking about being able to communicate to the clients at their level. And often when you, when you're getting in front of clients, that they're at different levels of knowledge, and you can with, with someone that's financially illiterate, you can use terms like kind of Alysia debtors. And can I lose this, your creditors? But if you're talking to a tradesman who doesn't understand the financial language, then you've got to use language like, ‘Can I have a list of the people that owe you money?’ or  ‘Can you have the list of people that you owe money to?’ And if you can communicate and connect with them at their level, you're at a heightened level of connection with your clients. And as I said, our business is about people connecting and communicating with people. And if you can't communicate, then you're not going to be suited for a senior client manager. So the training for a senior client manager is different from that of a senior production manager. 

For senior client managers, you're looking for that connection with the clients the ability to have rapport, instant rapport, and the likability factor to people. You have to be a likable kind of a person and a people person, that's right at the top. The things you look for a different for the different roles in this statement. A narrow team that we recommend and how you approach it depends on that. And also it depends on how large your business is. Now, if you're small, you've got to do that. It's hands-on training from yourself. But if you've got a large organization, then your senior production manager should be doing the training for the grinders and his or her team. And then the senior client manager should be doing the training for the assistant client manager for the communication skills and interpersonal skills. 

So it just depends on those categories. But at the end of the day, you've got to look for, if it's an experienced person, first three months, whatever they like that first three months, they're going to be like that for the next three years or 30 years, if they stay there. And then if it's a graduate, you want to see an improvement every day. And they're there, the trend lines going upwards, and you need to see that otherwise, it's best to move them on.

Jamie Johns: Particularly with the growth the way that you say that they improve is through their review points. So what you never want to do is just say, ‘Oh, it's quicker that it's quicker to do it myself as.’ As much as humanly possible, and often get this question. ‘Well, how do I know they're improving?’ Well, you'll only know if they're improving if you do review points and then over time, they repeat their review points become less and less and less. 

I remember my experience when I started as an accountant and there were a couple of really good firms that I worked for. And I knew that I was progressing because the review points got less, but you're not going to know what review points will be lesser. If you continually are it's quicker. If I just do it myself, all fix their mistake, don't fix their mistakes, let them fix their own mistakes. So I'd only add that. 

And then what Ed said about the finders is, I've trained senior client managers and trying to assist the client managers. And I'll always double back the meetings with the clients when so that they can see my interpersonal skills. They can see how I handle a particular client, whether it's a doctor or whether it's a trainee, and even phone calls. A lot of the times when I'm training a client manager, I will join them in the phone calls and will mimic you and they'll watch you, but you've already hired them for that likeability factor and the people skills that had said, then you just need to fine-tune and tweak their skills so that they can do their roles. 


Tips for onboarding new members
The importance of communication in a service business
Input-focused vs Output-focused
Experience staff vs Inexperienced staff
How critical is the first 3 months for new hires’ performance
The great value of building client connections and relationship
Ways to evaluate productivity
How to handle clients