How to Sidestep The Great Resignation

How to Sidestep The Great Resignation

Check out the latest episode below. Mr.Biz Radio provides business owners with the knowledge and insights needed to drive their companies forward.

Mr. Biz Radio: How to Sidestep The Great Resignation

Unedited transcription of the show is included below:


Welcome to Mr. Biz Radio! Biz Talk for Biz Owners. During the next half hour, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth, a leading business advisor, and two-time best-selling author will cover topics that'll help business owners run their companies more profitably and more efficiently. If you're ready to stop faking the funk and take your business onward and upward. This show is for you. And now here's Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth.


All right. Welcome to another episode of Mr. Biz radio. Me, Mr. Biz, Ken Wentworth in this week, we're gonna cover topic that I am absolutely certain that everyone who's watching in or listening has heard of. And,uwe have not talked about it on Mr. Biz Radio yet. And so we have an absolute expert to discuss this with us. So everyone out there raise your hand. If you've heard about read about the great resignation. Oh yeah, I see. I see you. I see you. Oh, I see Meighan. I see everybody look at, I feel like,uit's gonna date me old show when I was a kid. Uwas it romper room where she would say, Hey, kids who's raise your hand for this. And it was on TV, right? So I'm, I'm, I'm in my living room at home going, Hey, me, me, me, you know, waiting for her to say my name.


They should pick random names, but anyway, we're gonna talk about the great resignation, what that means for us as business owners, entrepreneurs, and most importantly of like we always do during the third segment, we're gonna get some ideas from our guests this week on how we can improve retention, how we can combat that great resignation. So it doesn't negatively impact our businesses, right? Let it impact our competitors. Let's make sure that we're doing the right things to ensure that we're improving our retention to make sure that works for everybody in all of us. And so this week, our guest is none other than Mrs. Meighan Newhouse. She's the CEO and co-founder of Inspirant Group, the disruptive management consulting firm in home of the UNconsultants who guide clients from inspiration to transformation. They have three primary service areas, strategy and operations, technology, and data, and then talent and organization.


That's obviously what we're gonna focus on primarily today in an era ushering in more dig, digitization and automation. She believes that humans are any organization's greatest asset. And I happen to believe her. As you guys have heard me talk about before in the, customer's not number one, your employees are number one, happy employees, equal happy customers, happy customers equal what happy owners. So let's do it. It's known for its unique human focused culture and headquartered in Naperville, Illinois and spirit group was honored with not one, but two, 2022 Chicago built in awards, including best remote first places to work in the US and 22 startups to watch in Chicago. So Meighan Newhouse. I'm gonna call you me if that's okay. Welcome to Mr. Biz radio. Thank you


So much, Ken. I am thrilled to be here. This is wonderful at me on one of my favorite topics to talk about. So relevant, so pertinent the great resignation and I can't wait to share it with your listeners.


Yeah, absolutely. So, so let's get started a little bit here. Like we typically do with our guests. Everyone likes to know a little bit background. So if you would tell us a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey, what's led you up to where you're at today?


Sure. I grew up the child of a single mother who had to work to support her two children. And I would have to say that she didn't love her work. And so from a young age, I was like, man, that stinks like mom has to get up every day, you know, slogged through her eight to 10 hour day, make, you know, minimum wage or whatever she was making at the time to put food on our table. And I'm like, it's gotta be better than that. I mean, she's spending so much time at this job. It's gotta be better than that. So I think that was ingrained in me at a very young age. Couple that with the fact that I've always loved people, people just fascinate me. I, I love the similarities between you humans. I love the differences between humans.


And so I've always just been really fascinated hearing people's stories. I went to college at university of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and I majored in psychology with the full intent of being a practicing psychologist, having my own you know clientele and having a clinic. And the, my sophomore year I moved into the sorority house and it was great. I happened to be a very good listener. So folks would come into my room and tell me everything that was going on with boys, school, parents drama. And at the end of it, I was like, man, I was just like taking on all of that. I was like, I don't know if I could do this for a career. Like, listen to people, tell you what's going on all the time. So thank God I had a good counselor at school and he's like, well, have you heard of business psychology?


I was like, what is that human resources? So he started opening my eyes to that. So that's, that's where I ended up starting my career. I got my grad degree in instructional design. And so if you aren't familiar with that, that's adult learning programs. So I would create training programs. I started in technology, I'd say I grew up in technology. So I would turn ones and zeros into end user materials. If there was any sort of new technology that was being rolled out at our organization, whether it was created in house or for example, like moving from Lotus notes to outlook I'd create the, the end user training materials for that. I did that for for many years and I really enjoyed it, but in my late twenties, I got the bug for probably the title I was chasing the title, I think at that time which I'm not proud to admit, but it's true.


And so I, I left this company that I really enjoyed working at and I I'd kind of grown up at and I went and started working for a big consulting firm and it was my husband joked with me. He's like, you're going from JV to varsity. I'm like, what do you mean? And I just did it. I did it the wrong way. Honestly, Ken, I should have done that right out of school. Like most people do. Because I was, you know, in my early thirties had two young kids and I, it really was like, oh, wow. You know, very, very busy high demands. I went from working in an office to working remotely and this was in 2012. So this is prior to everything we're seeing right now. And I, I didn't really fit in with the culture right away.


It just, wasn't a great fit. What, what I do appreciate about that time in my life is that one, it led me to where I am today, of course. And two that's where I learned about this idea of having vendor partners or contract based workers to help with work. So I, I was a full-timer, but I was working with contract based workers. I was like, oh, I could do that. That seems to be really great. So with two young kids and a new house in the suburbs, I put my full-time job at this great company and went out on my own. And that was company number one for me. So I did a, a small boutique learning and development consulting firm. It was just me sometimes I'd have some contract partners I'd work with, to develop, you know, it started as the technology training and I evolved into more leadership development, emerging leaders, executive coaching.


And I did that for a while and I, I loved it. But I really missed a team. And so about four years into this, so we're looking about 2016. I was like, man, I would love to join a startup and be in charge of their culture and help build their people. And, you know, thinking back to my origin story with my mom, like create a place for people really enjoy coming to work. They wake up every day, like excited and invigorated and they wanna come and, and do good work. And I said, you know, before we started the show today, Ken, I don't believe in coincidences. So this was something I've been thinking about looking for for a while. And one of my really good friends came to me successful executive at a company. He had done consulting in the past and he is like, Hey, I'm gonna quit my great job.


And I'm gonna start a consulting firm where I think we can do things differently. We can disrupt not only the way we provide consulting services to our clients, but also the way that we create our culture and treat our team internally. Would you wanna do that? Would you wanna come and build a culture at this company? This that's literally exactly what I wanna do. Yes. So that was in 2016. We officially start in sprint group in January of 2017. So we just celebrated five years, as you said, as the intro. I mean, we are, we are, thank you. We survived, you know, 2020, what? But here we are thriving. I mean, we already, you know, in February, we're at record breaking revenue, our team is growing, we're winning these awards, getting on these lists and it's like, how is this real? Wow. Right. This is so exciting.


Yeah. So, so much to unpack there. Unfortunately, we gotta hit a break here, but I we'll come back after the break. We'll give the Mr. Biz tip of the week, and then we're going to dive into some of what, what Meighan just shared with us on Mr. Biz radio


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All right. Welcome back to the show. And as I mentioned, it's time as always at beginning the segment of the show for the Mr. Biz tip of the week, and this week's tip is drum roll. Please take the risk business is like the UFC for those unfamiliar that's, that's mixed martial arts. I don't even know what UFC stands for United fighting something. I don't know. It's it's mixed martial. Sky's beating the crap out of each other. The point is businesses like the UFC in that no one goes undefeated. So don't be afraid to take the risk. Sometimes you gotta jump off that cliff and figure out how to build the wings on the way down. That's a risk you take. Sometimes you might crash on the ground, hopefully it's patted. But you're not gonna go undefeated. It doesn't matter how smart you will are. Doesn't matter how many connections you have. It doesn't matter. You are going to hit bumps in the road. That's okay. That's part of the journey. That's part. If you're truly an entrepreneur, that's part of the journey and you are going to enjoy it. That's what you learn from those things. They're not failures, they're learning opportunities. And so that's, that's the Mr. Biz tip of the week. This week, don't be afraid to take the risk. You are going, going to have some losses. You're gonna take some L's along the way. That's okay. It's part of the journey. So that is the Mr. Biz tip of the week. Let's get back into talking with this week's guest, Meg Newhouse. So Meg, look, I want to go back into just a little bit of your journey before we dive into talking more about the great resignation, the segment.


But one of the things that I saw in a, I heard, I guess I should say throughout your entrepreneurial journey is you mentioned at the outset that you love people and you like dealing with people. And so obviously you kind of pushed all your chips in and said, I want to go into psychology initially. Right. but even as you've you, you veered and steered around throughout your career. Each one of those way, I interpret it anyway. Is there it's people, it was people involved. It was people, even the educational learning. You're helping people, you're educating people. There's a people element to each, each, you know Bob anding, bobbing and weaving and twists and turns you've had in your career. So clearly you are a people person. I think that's pretty evident from all the different twists and turns you've had.


Yeah. I mean, I couldn't agree with you more. It's all about, for me, it's all about the people and that will feed right into, I think this next conversation that we're going to have about now, you know people are in the driver's seat of their careers during the, the great resignation.


Yeah. So let's just dive right into that. It's a, a decent segue there, you know, tell us what you see and what you've seen so far with the great resignation. What are some of the causes of that? You know, did you see this kind of coming along the way you you've been had the advantage you had mentioned working remotely since 2012. So you've, you've really been on the forefront of all this.


Sure. And, and we founded Inspirant as a remote first company in 2017. You know, we figured we're all a bunch of recovering consultants, road warriors. Most people had, you know, family, kids, and we figured we're hiring really talented people to do their job. They can do it from anywhere. They know when and how to do their job a best. And that's really what it is. And this I'm, I'm calling this, it's almost like a worker revolution. I think the history books will write about this time as a revolution for the way work is being done. So the great resignation was bubbling and boiling under the surface. And as soon as the pandemic threw us into this remote work environment, there were so many companies that were like, they didn't even have work policies, or they didn't have the technology in place to make this happen.


They had to make it happen at that time. And now they wanna go back to the way things were. Cause, you know, change is hard. But people have proven time and time again that they can do their jobs from anywhere. So why on earth would they wanna go back and add in those long commutes and add in unhealthy habits? I mean, when we were talking to our clients during the pandemic, trying to find some silver linings and some right spots, people were talking about, I'm having dinner with my family for the first time in 15 years, I've lost 20 pounds because I, I can prioritize how I eat and, and take a walk every day. You know? I'm, I'm getting more done in my day because I have the time to work in these other things. They don't have to cram it all into the weekend.


Why on earth would people wanna go back to the way things were? So employees, job seekers are really in the driver's seat right now. They're able to choose the companies that are gonna give them pretty much everything that they want. I mean, you think about like house shopping, you look at the housing market. I mean, same thing, right? People are looking for these like perfect homes and they're finding them because the market's just saturated with homes right now. And it's, it's the same. I mean, people are looking at companies, that's gonna give them everything that they want.


Yeah. And interesting thing. Kind of a side note to that, but I think related, you know, you talk about the housing market. I think you're seeing as well, a lot of people are moving out of the inner city because now a lot of people I think move were in, are in the city to avoid the commute. Yes. Right along commute with a, in a larger city. And now they, they say, gosh, if I can work remotely, I can live. I don't have to commute an hour or two. I, when I worked at JP Morgan, I had a couple of people who worked for me who had two hour, one way commutes, oh, I spent four hours a day commuting back and forth. And I even told them, I'm like, I wouldn't do it. Like, there's just no way. I mean, they were riding trains and things, so they could do other things while they were doing it.


But still, I look at that as four hours of semi wasted time, time every day. So yeah, like you said, people get used to that and they go like, I, I get it. I mean, holy crap, this is awesome. You know, you can, you don't have the two hour commute home. You, you walk down the hallway perhaps from your, in your house to, to do dinner with your family, et cetera. And not having been able to do that maybe in the past with, especially if you have a long commute either quality of life just improve so much.


It absolutely does. And what people have also been doing Ken during this time is they've been more reflective, you know, and they're really thinking about what matters to me and, and do my values align with my company's values or with my family's values and my company's values. You mentioned moving out of the city. I have two very good friends that left the Chicago area, where they lived and had their kids in school and everything. They moved to the coast because they wanted better weather and they wanted be outside more. And this time has made them say like, this is actually, what's really important to me. And I'm gonna focus on that. And that's what we're seeing with employees. When they're looking for these jobs, they they're looking for this human centered experience. And that's really what it is. That's why I'm so happy to be doing what I'm doing right now, because it really is about people. I mean, I will say that people are always an organization's most important asset. UJosh Bersin,uhe would just, he was doing Bersin by Deloitte. He's a really well known human capital expert. He just published an article yesterday and fortune talking about how work is no longer business focused or business centered. It's, it's more about people and human centered and human focused, and those are gonna be the companies that really get ahead and have the competitive advantage going forward in the 21st century.


Yeah. Like we talk about it. I mean, it's all, it's all about people, you know, and I, I correct some of my clients, you know, working as a fractional CFO and working whole holistically in the businesses. So often I think, you know, I mentioned it earlier, alluded to it earlier is people think, and they've been ingrained that the, that the customer's number one, I'm not saying the customer's not ultra important of course, but number one should be your employees. Because again, as I mentioned, you know, if you have happy employees, they're going to treat your customers better. That means you're gonna have happy customers, happy customers, and happy employees equals a happy owner. So it all starts though with employees and, and being able to treat them well. And, you know, I think this with the great resignation, not only with with workers kind of a little bit of revolution, as you had mentioned, but it, it gives them an opportunity, a, an employer to be an opportunity to be a, an employer of choice because you can offer, it's not always about money, those, those extra little tiny perks that people really appreciate, especially now.


And I think those have grown as people have seen and may been opened up to some of those opportunities as we go along.


So I want we we're actually gonna up against the break here again. So I wanna mention, first of all, you can find out more about the Inspirant at, inspirit, G R P and that's I N S P I R A N T. I had to look to make sure I got it right. You can find out more there about what they're doing, how they might be able to help you with some of, if you're having some of these challenges, how they can help you. We're gonna come back after the break. And Megan is gonna walk us through some, some opportunities of how we can combat the great resignation, make sure it doesn't negatively impact our own businesses by creating an evolved culture. So it's gonna, I'm sure we're gonna talk about some of the things and elude to some things you talked about earlier, but it's gonna be absolutely mind blowing. I cannot wait, come back after the break on Mr. Biz Radio,


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All right. Welcome back to the show. And as we talked about before, a little bit of a, a worker revolution going on right now, and some of you that are watching or listening might be, may, may have been fallen a little bit of victim to that. You may be losing some folks. And so I want to have Meighan with all of her experience, give us some tips on how, you know, how can we combat that. And I, I think one of the things I know I'd meant I'd seen with some of the show prep, you talk about an evolved culture. And I think that probably has something to do with this. How can we re become employers of choice by creating that evolved culture, et cetera.


Yeah. Thanks Ken. I mean, this, this is something I'm really passionate about. Like I said, this was what I was hoping to do with my life back in, you know, 2012 when I started my first company. And you know, whether you have two employees or 10,000 employees, I think that these tips can work for you. The first thing honestly to do is ask your employees what they want. And then you need to be prepared to act upon what they say. So, you know, you can do this in a multitude of ways. You can send out a survey, you could have small focus groups. You could call people on the phone. What, yes, you can actually like pick up the phone and call people and ask for


Not a text message. Meighan, not a text message.


Yeah, you could do that too, but there's a variety of ways. You know we advise one of our clients to send out their annual. They only do it once a year, which is a whole other thing to talk about. You should do it more than once a year, please. But an annual employee, you know, engagement survey, they didn't wanna do it right now because they were asking their team at the time to come back into the office. And so there's all sorts of feelings around that and they didn't wanna send it out cause they knew they get bad results back. And I'd say, do that. Here are what people are saying. What's bothering them because if you don't ask and don't listen and then aren't prepared to act on it, people are gonna hit the road. You also need to think about, so when you do that and you hear are, they're saying and asking for, think about how you can implement what they need and, and it's hard, right?


You, you, aren't gonna be able to implement something that meets every person where they are, but you can come pretty close. You know, there really is no longer one size fits all management in the 21st century. It's really a bespoke way of being and because every other aspect, our life really is customized and individualized to us now, you know, since the advent of the smartphone since the evolution of, you know, the internet, we can kinda get anything we want. However we want it whenever we want it. So I don't know why people wouldn't want that from work where they spend 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 hours a, a week, a third of their, you know, probably like half of their waking time doing this. So why would they not want something that's customized to them? So, so be mindful of that. You know, there's a lot of models and this is probably a whole of their show, but there's a lot of models of, of management that were developed in the 20th century that no longer are relevant now in, in the way that our world has evolved.


Think about the employee experience from the moment, an applicant, contacts, your company and ensure that it is reflective of who you are because you want to attract people with the same values who are going to, you know, fit in and be a part of your culture. So show them how you are from, from day one, you know, be responsive maybe have a less formal interview, maybe just have a conversation, you know, think about how you wanna bring people into your organization. Think about what that onboarding experience looks like. You can create a really full culture remotely. You, you don't have to be in person. I know a lot of folks coming from an, an in person environment and going remote are kind of scrambling, oh my gosh, what's this gonna do for our culture? You can still really have a very robust culture as Inspirant Group does.


You know, like I said, we've been remote from day one just because of, of these, you know, very engaged and intentional ways that we interact with our, our folks that start with day one when they contact the company find ways, you know, especially if you are going to be remote for the foreseeable future, some sort of hybrid solution,ufind ways to pair people up in different ways. So they can really understand what it means, means to show up at your company and be a part of your company. And that all comes to communication. You hear this, you know, it's, none of this is rocket science. This is all pretty straightforward, but,uthe, the way you communicate, if you communicate frequently, be honest, be transparent. You hear this all the time. What does that mean? Tell people the truth, tell people what's really going on.


You know, I alluded to, we made it through 2020. It was a really hard year and we weren't making a lot of money. And we had a lot to put a lot of people on the bench, as you would say. And we were totally transparent and honest and upfront about it, the entire way we had our, our, you know, optimism and hopefulness ringing through it all. But we were telling people how it was and what was happening and, and always doing right by our people. You know, you can't, you can't do wrong if you do right by your people.


Yeah. I think it's so important. It's and, and like you said, it's not rocket science, but I think a lot of times people forget and the, the whole aspect and, and I don't think it's in a bad way. I think it's with good intention, but you had mentioned, you know, always being transparent and telling people the truth, obviously that sounds like, oh, duh, why wouldn't we do that? But I think a lot of times what people ha and especially when times are tight, think times are tough is you, you don't wanna deliver bad news as a leader, as a manager. And so you end up kind of twisting the message and making it frankly, a little too positive, a little bit too optimistic in some situations, which you're doing it with good intentions, but it's, it's not completely transparent because you're not being completely forthright because you're trying to shield them. You're trying to protect the, your, your employees, et cetera. And I think that's one of, I think the easy trap to fall into with good intentions,


You will gain employee loyalty by always being honest, even, even when it's hard, you know, we we have our core values that Inspirant Group lives by, and one of them is having integrity. And we talk about behaviors that you exhibit to show that you're living our core values. And one of them is telling the truth, even when it's hard to do, you know? Yeah. We also have a, have a very candid culture of feedback. And that's another one of those. Like sometimes we have to tell people that, you know, whatever they're hoping their intent is that's coming across. That's not how people are perceiving it on this end. And so sometimes you have to give hard feedback to say, you know, it's not landing. And that's, that's another way to, to build an evolved culture is it's okay. You know, to, to make mistakes. What was your tip of the week? Take risks.


That's right,


Right. I mean, yes, but you have to have a culture. You have to have an environment where that is actually, okay. People are gonna make mistakes. We're all human there. Nobody amongst us is perfect as much as we can try to be and, and put up that, you know, facade. And, and the more real you are, and the more you let people, you know, show up authentically and, and fail and support them through that and learn from it and then do better next time, the more successful and you'll have your employees be.


And I love what you said about, there are just so many different ways to create that culture, even with having a remote workforce. I mean, I remember before I left JP Morgan, I had employees in six locations and I left there in 2015 and I'd had people in multiple locations, all of, of the globe, different time zones, et cetera. And we used to do video conferences and we treated the video conference as though people were in the room. We experimented, of course. And then after every single one, as you mentioned before, we would do a survey, what anonymous survey, what was good? What, what was terrible? Like, please don't do that again. That was awful. We need that feedback. Right. But you would do things like you would do when you're having a staff meeting or, or, or some sort of a meeting with your folks in person to where we would say, you know, we'd go around and have every single person in all six locations. For example, I remember one time we said, if you were stranded on a desert island and you could only take one thing with you, what would it be? And you get two sentences to tell why. Cause we had like a whole bunch of people to go through, but it gave everyone a chance to, to meet, greet and learn a little bit about that person. And like, gosh, I can't believe so. And so said this or so, and so said that. So you know, just a simple example, but man, it worked so well.


I love that. And that's a really good way. That's probably the last thing. The last tip we can give is just have some fun. We do those icebreakers every weekend. I, I have a team of folks I've been working together five years. We play games like that every week just to have a little bit of fun on our team meetings.


Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. Well look fantastic information, Meg. I so appreciate you coming on the show this week again, we've been talking with Meg Newhouse, Jesus, the CEO and co-founder of experiment group. You can find out more at That's I N S P I R A N T G R Meg, thanks so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it.


Oh, it was my pleasure. I really enjoyed the conversation and good luck to everybody retaining your workforce and combating this great resignation.


Yes, yes, absolutely. Well, thanks for listening and watching guys as always. Don't forget. Cashflow is king.


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