Go to the bottom of the Show Notes for cavnessHR affiliates and resources.
The cavnessHR Podcast can be found at the following places or you can just type in cavnessHR on the respective app.
YouTube Pippa: https://cavnesshr.co/youtu63870
Pocket Casts: https://cavnesshr.co/theca9d4c0
Social Media links for John Below!!
Below is John’s book recommendations:
“Get Things Done: by David Allen
Below is the links to purchase the books on Amazon.
Go to https://willory.com/cavness/ and fill out the form on there. We're going to send you a Willory pilsner mug. Then of all those that register for the free pilsner mug. We're going to give away a huge discount on an HR audit. So part of the services that we offer in our employee lifecycle practice is a HR audit. So if you want to have an examination of your HR function from application to retirement, and get some sound counsel from some SHRM certified HR professionals that know their stuff in human resources. We’re going to give a 75% percent discount to one lucky listener today that registers for the pilsner and is interested in the HR audit.
Jason: Hello, and welcome to the cavnessHR Podcast. I’m your host, Jason Cavness. Today’s podcast is brought to you by Audible. Get a free audiobook download and a 30-day trial at www.audiotrial.com/cavnessHR. They have over 180,000 titles to choose from for your iPhone, Android, Kindle and MP3 player. Our guest today is John Bernatovicz. John, are you ready to be great today?
John: I'm ready. Are you?
Jason: Yes, definitely. John is a husband, father, entrepreneur, and Cleveland sports fan. In 2010, John started Willory, an award-winning organization focused solely on staffing and consulting for HR and payroll. His 22-year career has been focused on paying particular attention to understanding the needs of his clients, candidates, and partners. The Willory team helps clients transform their people, process, and technology by ensuring they have the best people in their HR and payroll departments, employee life cycle processes are efficient and compliant, and their HCM technology is optimized. John has made a name for himself through his board involvement with the Cleveland chapters of SHRM, APA, and IHRIM. He has presented across Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Married since 1997, John is a life-long Northeast Ohio resident. He spends time playing golf and with his kids, coaching their sports teams and encouraging their creative endeavors. John, thank you very much for being here, I really appreciate it.
John: Thank you, Jason.
Jason: So, John, what are you focusing on right now? What's keeping you busy?
John: Well, I’ll say the primary driver for me, nowadays, is the growth of my firm, Willory, as well as my kids and I think distinction or one of the things I wanted to kick off the conversation about was to give some love out to my family. My wife, Emily, who allows me to do what I do by being an amazing wife and an awesome mother to my two kids, Will and Mallory, which is the genesis or how the firm was named. Will is my ten year old son who’s into soccer and all kinds of cool stuff and my daughter, Mallory, who's eight, starting ice skating lessons in the middle the summer in Northeast, Ohio. So, instead of the pool, we’re going to spend our time at the ice skating rink. Will and Mallory were the reason why I started Willory. So I merged their two names together, and they really are my purpose. One of the things I encourage my clients and team members to make sure you know what your purpose is so when you go to work every day. You understand why you're working so hard, why you’re giving them so much dedication and time to the career that you're chasing. So that's what I really want to start off. Just love for my kids and my wife for giving me the form and ability and support to be able to do what I do.
Jason: That’s great, John. Thank you. John, it's graduation season coming up. I want to ask you advice for new college graduates who want to break into the HR profession.
John: So I've actually talked to quite a few of those candidates, recently, and it's intimidating. Number one, I think the job market is unique; unfortunately, or fortunately, however you want to look at it. Organizations expect immediate results from their employees right off the jump. So you have to, as a recent college grad, hopefully be able to leverage some internship experience that you've had or even be able to glean off of other things that you've done. Whether volunteering or working a retail job or at the local ice cream shop that you can correlate that to an HR career and how that ability for you to work together in a team, for you to have a high degree of emotional intelligence. For you to be able to connect dots between what the company was trying to do and what the people needed to get accomplished. You need to find a way to be able to tell that story most effectively. I think, to me, as a recent college grad, it can be intimidating because you're stepping into the workforce where everybody has tons of experience. But I think there's amazing things that the youth of our country can bring to the fold and I think individuals have to play that up and share that they have new ideas and not afraid to share them. And, at the same time, be able to leverage where they think their prior experiences will help them be successful in their work career as they start off a new job. So I would encourage them to make that clear to an interviewer, as well as to themselves. What value they're going to bring and how that experience they've had in the past could help them in that entry level HR position.
Jason: Thank you, John. John, for your company, is there a certain size company or location that you focus on?
John: Yes. Our target market is 50 employees to 5,000. So we basically serve the midmarket; so typically not the super small, normally not the super big. And so, from my perspective, that's the size of the market we're based in Northeast Ohio – actually, Bath, Ohio, is our headquarters (the home of the Lebron James; so for all my Cavs fans out there. I had to give a shout out, hopefully can pull it off tomorrow and on Sunday for us to get to the NBA Finals again) But we actually serve the 50 to 5,000 employees/mid-market space. And, from a geographic perspective, our staffing business, which we provide, solely focused on HR in payroll, really serves the Ohio and western PA market; and our consulting practice really focuses on employee lifecycle and HR technology that can travel, not only the country, but beyond the United States. So hopefully that answers your question, Jason.
Jason: Yes, it does. From your point of view working with all these business owners, what do they consistently get wrong about HR or what do they not understand by HR?
John: I think, all too often, they diminish the role of HR and a lot of times, business owners will look at it as party planners or people that make sure that when you need to fire somebody. That they’re there to help you out. I think they totally missed the mark on having great assets with employees, and you know that’s a commonality that you hear in the marketplace – they find great people – and it's really difficult to do that. So I find companies that are not successful or are struggling from a leadership perspective, they're not putting the appropriate amount of value and attention on their human capital – on their people. Then I think, in addition to that they don't have a high enough degree of clarity around what it is the organization does, what their mission is and the purpose within the community so that that can then resonate with the rest of their employee population. So I think they missed the mark on taking advantage of the assets that they have with their people and finding great ones and developing them and then creating clarity.
Jason: John, next, can you talk a little bit about how expansive HR really is? Because some people I think say HR is recruiting or someone who does payroll and benefits. Can you talk some more about what HR really is and what it involves?
John: Sure, yeah, no problem. So HR is all-encompassing. So for those of you that maybe don't understand the touch of HR, when you apply to a job, that actually starts your process in working with an HR organization and a company. Then once you go on an interview, the interviewer’s typically a recruiter and then that recruiter coordinates that with a hiring manager. Usually, then whatever area of business that you're focused on, whether it’s IT or engineering or sales. Then once you're actually hired, then you're on boarded. Which is a bunch of paperwork and information that the employer needs to make sure that they properly vet you out and that they can pay you and make sure that all that’s set up from a payroll perspective and they’ll offer you benefits. Which, again, touches HR and how they administer those benefits, how they select them. How they make sure they fit within your family environment. Then throughout your career, how your manager works with you should be tied together with human resources. So your ability to do effective performance evaluations and reviews is part of HR. Your ability to potentially become a leader within the company and how they advance and create succession planning around you as an employee; and then when the time comes, that you've made your millions and you want to retire. Then HR will help get you successfully into your new venture in your life and work through retirement. I think the scope of HR is significant. The best practice tells me about one out of every hundred employees should be an HR professional, so that's a fairly significant number in my opinion, because the higher degree of service that a company wants to give, the more HR touch-points they’ll have, whether that be through people or improve prophecies or different HR technology.
Jason: John, from your point of view, what’s your vision for the future of HR? Where are we headed to in the field of HR?
John: So I know there's a lot of talk out in the market right now about this whole AI (artificial intelligence), Jason that I think is getting a lot of people’s attention because you saw some of those futuristic movies 20/30/40 years ago and now we’re all going to be taken over by aliens and the robots that we're developing. I think that fictitious scare is potentially becoming a reality in people's minds. I actually go the opposite way. I know the technology and AI are going to be a part of what we do. But in the field of HR, in the field of serving employees. It is a scenario in which people need to be involved in that and they need to leverage technology and leverage intelligence to be able to make more informed decisions, Jason. I think that we get far too away from assuming that technology is going to be able to do everything that we want it to, that we can eliminate the need of people. I just I don't see it happening successfully. I think what people's jobs are going to be different, obviously; that has more throughout the history of industry and business. But I think HR, what they're going to be focused on, is going to be different. I think it's really around, again, creating clarity for an organization, developing their talented people that they have, doing it in a way like coaching, as an example. Coaching is a huge part of HR. I see NBA coaches, like the Cavs, using artificial intelligence, but there’s not a robot going into the game and there's not a robot coaching the game – they're just using those tools in a way to make more informed decisions. I think, as a result, there'll be more business that is done, which means you're going to have potentially more people and then need to better understand how to best utilize those folks. So I really see it as the reverse of more technology, more AI, will mean that the job is just different for the human resource professional.
Jason: I definitely agree with you; I think that is our future. Next, can you talk about a time you were successful in the past, what you learned from this success, and what our listeners can learn from this?
John: Yes. So I would say my passion for sports started with my dad and my brothers and I actually, something that some that know me well realize that I have a passion for golf. I’ve played golf since I was seven years old, played through the junior golf ranks and I then went to high school with an all-state golfer and I got a scholarship to play golf at Kent State (go Flashes) we were in the NCAA golf tournament in the coming weeks. So that's pretty cool. I had a great career doing that and I actually learned so many things out of those experiences and it taught me how to interact with people. It taught me how to work in a team even though I was in an individual sport because it was important for not only I to do well, but the team to do well. It also taught me just basic fundamentals in life around your ability to control your emotions. Your ability to not get too high when things go well and not get too low when things do not go well. If you ever watch PGA Golf, rarely do you see a golfer throwing his golf club when he hits a bad shot because he knows he's got to go and pick himself up or herself up and go get that shot back on the green and hopefully not make anything worse of a score than they hope to. So I think golf taught me the ability to manage my emotions and control them because in the course of life and business and being a parent, there are highs and lows and I think as an effective leader, which as the CEO or president of Willory. I need to be able to control my emotions and keep my thoughts clear so that I can make sure we have a clear path forward for my teams. So I think golf is a huge part of my success in my career and I still do it to this day, just not as often as I would like.
Jason: John, talk about a time you failed, what you learned from this and what our listeners can learn from this.
John: Sure. I thought about this question; 2016 was the unique year for our firm. So we started in 2010, Jason. We had exponential growth, we’re recognized for fastest growing companies in northeast Ohio, we’re on the Inc 5000, and we had great success in our first six years of business. And in 2016, we made a lot of internal changes – technology changes, we made some process changes internally, we worked to get more efficient within our company. As a byproduct of that, we actually weren't as successful in growing our top line revenue or what we used in our business gross margin to track our success. And it was the unique year. I think what I primarily learned from that is I, as an owner, as the leader, did not do a good enough job of creating that level of clarity that my team needed. We took on more, we, at the firm and I myself, took on more than I could handle and as a result our productivity was impacted by that. So we had a lot of good things happen in 2016 but from a comparison of years before and years after. I think you can definitely make that as a step back. But I do not regret it for a second. I’ve became a better owner of this firm and have been able to be more effective in my job because of it.
Jason: Yes. And I’m sure you learned a lot of great lessons from that time period, too, that you’re probably using even today.
John: Yeah, no doubt. The primary thing that we did that was pretty unique in 2016 is we did something called an efficiency project. So we looked at everything in our business that we thought was not efficient. The reason why we did that is that we wanted to grow the firm, geographically, which were in the midst of launching into Columbus and we’ll go into other parts of our region to take this little company on the road, as I call it. And in that efficiency project, we had 65/70 things that we looked at that we could do better and more efficiently and we a wanted time to kind of pick them off. And some were small, they really didn't have a huge impact; some were significant – new systems, new onboarding process, a whole slew of other things that it took us time to adjust and change and we had to take a couple steps back before we took a bunch forward.
Jason: Yes. John, tell us about someone who’s helped you in the past and how it helped you.
John: Yes. So I would say Kevin Hudson is the first name that comes to mind – I have to give praise to my wife, she’s a huge part of my success, and my kids. But Kevin Hudson was my first boss out of college, turns out to be the godfather of my son, Will, and in September, I helped him start a company doing fractional sales management. But Kevin has taught me so many things about how to be a better man, how to be a son of the Man above, and he also has given me so many wise nuggets throughout the course of my career. And, in turn, I've been able to give him some advice and counsel. He's always aspired to own his own company, and we set a course about a year ago to help him start that and I was just with him today for lunch and he's doing famously well. So we’ve been able to, as we describe it, make appropriate amounts of deposits and withdraws within our relationship so that there's uncounted equity – we don't keep score of that. But it’s just in our head that we're doing right by each other all the time and when I need something from him, or he needs something from me, we know there's no hesitation to ask.
Jason: Yes. That withdraw and deposit is great advice. I’m trying to follow that myself. John, I understand you have a book to recommend for our listeners.
Jason: Yeah, I'm currently reading Get Things Done by David Allen. It's a productivity book – stress-free productivity. So I was searching on Amazon and I've had some of my team share with me that they have a lot going on and maybe the stress level is high and I think that's pretty common in corporate America these days. Jason, so from my perspective, I was just checking out how could I learn to do that more effectively. So stress-free productivity sounded great and David did a great job many years ago writing a book. I'm about a third of the way through that book and I'd recommend it; got me hooked. I'm not a huge book reader, to be honest with your fans and followers. But that one certainly has my attention because they think it can help me out in what I do every day and hopefully help others.
Jason: John, I also understand you have something for our listeners.
Free Resources Below!!!!
John: Yes. So we have a link out on our website – the website is willory.com. And if you go to willory.com/cavness, if you fill out the form on there. We're going to send you a Willory pilsner mug filled with candy, a nice cold beer or iced tea tastes really good out of it I’ve been told. And then of all those that register for the free pilsner, we're going to give away a huge discount on an HR audit. So part of the services that we offer in our employee lifecycle practice is HR audit. So if you want to have an examination of your HR function from application to retirement, and get some sound counsel from some SHRM certified HR professionals that know their stuff in human resources, we’re going to give a 75% percent discount to one lucky listener today that registers for the pilsner and is interested in the HR audit.
Jason: Thank you, John. That’s very valuable for everyone. John, can you provide your social media links for both yourself and your company for people to reach out to you?
John: Yeah, sure can. So you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. My Twitter handle is @JohnBernatovicz and you can follow us, Willory, on Twitter at @willory1.
Jason: And for our listeners, we’ll have the links to the platforms in the show notes. John, we’ve come to the end of our talk, can you provide our listeners with any last words of advice or wisdom on any subject you’d like to talk about?
John: Yes. So one of the things I heard recently again – sorry for the continuation on the sports plug – but Joe Thomas is a now retired Cleveland Brown. The best Brown that we've had in the last twenty years, which, unfortunately, for our team not being very good, maybe that was easy for Joe. But in his retirement speech, he said he did three things that made him a hall of famer that he thought could help anyone have a hall of fame career. It was show up on time, it was pay attention and it was to work hard. So I'd encourage your listeners to do that.
Jason: And it is actually that simple to be successful from my point of view. Those three simple things.
John: Yeah. How can it not be? If they’re on time, pay attention when you're there and work hard when you're doing it.
Jason: Yes. John, thank you for your time, I know you’re a busy person with your company doing great things in the HR community, so thank you one more time.
John: You got it. Thank you.
Jason: To our listeners, thank you for your time as well and remember to be great every day.
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