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HR Best Practices with LeiLani Quiray

George Grombacher February 8, 2023

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HR Best Practices with LeiLani Quiray

LifeBlood: We talked about HR best practices for small businesses, treating humans as the most valuable resources, how orgs can actually live their values instead of just talking about it, and how to get started, with LeiLani Quiray, Founder and CEO of Be the Change HR!

Listen to learn how to balance compliance and strategy priorities!

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


LeiLani Quiray

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Hi this is George G and the time is right welcome today’s guest strong, powerful Leilani curae Leilani. Are you ready to do this? I am. Alright, let’s go. We Lani is the founder and CEO of Be The Change HR. She’s a speaker, a social impact entrepreneur. She’s helping companies hire the right talent and create and support happy, healthy workplaces. Leilani excited to have you on tell us a little about your personal life’s more about your work. Why you do what you do.

LeiLani Quiray 0:43
Yeah, it’s winter right now. So in my personal life, I get super excited because it means it’s ice climbing time. i Yeah, I’m an Ice Climber. I’m a rock climber mountaineer, actually, so my personal life, I get my kicks by climbing up what I say sketchy shit, and and then trying to convince other people to come with me. When I’m not doing that I run BE THE CHANGE HR. It’s an amazing human resources consulting firm. That’s also a social impact business. So on one side of the business, we do HR consultant, consulting, exciting things like employee handbooks, or ask them prevention training people outsource they their HR to us. And then on the other side, we help trafficking survivors with job readiness skills. So that’s why we’re called Be The Change HR.

george grombacher 1:35
Lots of interesting stuff there too, to unpack. Why human trafficking.

Unknown Speaker 1:42
It is something that I’ve been called to do. And there was a moment, in my early years that I knew that I wanted to help individuals in that specific space. But I knew I wasn’t mentally prepared to support those individuals. Now I’ve done this job readiness work through nonprofits since 2008, with all kinds of survivors, but I knew this was a specific segment that I wanted to work with. It wasn’t till I was walking down the streets of Busan and South Korea, that it came to me like, oh, it’s time. And then that’s when I started to set out to do that specific thing, teach job readiness skills to trafficking survivors. Now, how do we do that? We team with the nonprofits that help that specific segment, these men and women are coming through a program. And at one point, they will meet us and learn the basics on how to write a resume, how to interview and then we also provide one on one coaching and this is completely free to the survivors in the nonprofit. Wow,

george grombacher 2:44
wow. Thank you for that work, man. You’re welcome. Why in the world would you climb ice? Oh, man,

Unknown Speaker 2:54
cuz I’m a little bit nutty. And I love adventure stuff. I go big or go home. So when I started hiking, I’ll put hiking in quotes. I just started summoning mountains. And then I realized at one point that I could only do them in like favorable conditions. And that winter was out. And so a natural step in my brain was like, Well, why don’t you learn how to ice climb. And so I went straight from hiking and backpacking to ice climbing. I found a mentor and started climbing in Northern California. And the rest is history. I really enjoy it. I feel I’m having fun and it’s safe. And I go with really safe, folks, but it is it is a bit sketchy.

george grombacher 3:35
Should you ask people to go with you? How often do they say yes,

Unknown Speaker 3:39
I have five women coming with me at the end of January to climb ice in the Adirondacks. But I think I actually I know, it’s because I can create that safe space of like, you’re going to be fine. It’s going to be fun. And the one thing I have to do for all of them is just keep them warm. That’s if people’s hands aren’t freezing, then they’ll have

george grombacher 4:00
a good time. All right, fair enough. Well, that sounds like a lot of fun, or not at all. That wasn’t a not a statement. That sounds terrible to me. But sounds awful. Good luck. Enjoy. Thank you human resources. When you tell people that you work in human resources, what’s what’s what’s the response you normally get?

Unknown Speaker 4:25
I mean, HR isn’t the most sexy thing out there. So it’s just a, okay, like, that’s cool. I feel fortunate enough to have grown up in HR and watched the profession really have an evolution because when I started a while ago, it was a personnel department and it was a necessary evil and it was the cop with a company and now we’re at a point where it is an integral piece of the business that helps drive it forward and when utilized properly and really valued can help drive The business to wherever it needs to go. It’s a it’s a huge component. So every once in a while, I’ll get a person who will be like, Oh, right. But for the most part where we’re at now, HR individuals are cherished, and the function is as well.

george grombacher 5:15
Yeah, it seems like there’s been a, a, an evolution, it’s certainly a progression towards that. And it strikes me that, as we’ve gotten to this really unique time where it was the great resignation, and now the job market is probably going to be a little bit tighter in 2023. So should be interesting to see. But for most business owners, they’ll say, my, my people are my most valuable asset. But they don’t necessarily know how to go about demonstrating that. Yeah, is that I think that it feels like HR, there’s an opportunity there to sort of help shepherd that process and to create culture and to create that happy, healthy workforce.

Unknown Speaker 5:59
100%. And it’s always top down. And I know it’s, it’s, it’s difficult for leaders, myself included, sometimes on really living that value. You can say it all day long, hey, my people are my most important asset, I always put them first. But do you really, when it comes to taking a look at you know, how the business is growing? How you’re moving it forward? What, what tools, resources and people you’re using in order to grow it? Are they really being put first, I make this joke all the time that everyone should every leader should get a therapist and a coach. Because I think that’s really where it starts to be able to make do the work of putting your people first. And then it is yes, utilizing your HR department, your HR professionals or HR consultants to come in and really help you develop what does that mean? Like? What are your core values? And how do you make sure that that gets filtered through all pieces of your business? And how do you align the business’s goals with that? And what’s great for your people to create a wonderful work experience because we spend so much time at work?

george grombacher 7:04
That intellectually makes sense to me. And at the same time, it’s, it’s sort of sounds like niceties, right, we need to align our values, we have to have values, we need to align them. What is the impact of not doing that, versus actually doing that?

Unknown Speaker 7:23
Yeah, I mean, yes, it does sound great. One thing I’ve learned, and I think a lot of HR professionals have learned is that it’s great to see that kind of thing. But you need to put the metrics where your mouth is right. And so start measuring any all the key metrics for our business, whether it’s, you know, the regular ones we’re used to are the ones with human resources to see like a baseline of where at before you start any type of insert program, right, we’re gonna measure culture, we’re going to measure engagement, we’re gonna measure performance, we want to increase like sale, whatever it might be, there’s metrics in order to prove is the thing that we’re doing with the humans working or not. And that’s it key one would be turnover, right, or employee retention. And when you turn over employees, it’s easy. Just Google, everybody, just Google it. And you can, you can assign a value of what it costs to lose someone, and then figure out what you need to do to make sure that you reduce that number. And then assign of what you you’ve saved right year over year. And so that’s a way of really like proving, especially to see CFO because they’re, you know, show them the numbers. So I think that’s yeah, definitely important to do.

george grombacher 8:39
Yeah, I think that that’s such a, it’s such an important thing to be able to measure it. Then the costs of recruiting the costs of of firing and have to redo the process. It is it is a mess. And there’s a financial toll and emotional toll, and it’s a time suck and everything else. So the more than an organization can do to help people to appreciate this is a great place to work. It’s as great as it was the first day when I was so excited about it as it is, you know, after the first year after three years. And it strikes me that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So are there best practices around communicating? This is the direction the company’s going in? This is how we’re actually living our values without bogging people down by 100 meetings a week.

Unknown Speaker 9:34
Yes, I just did a tic toc on this yesterday. As leaders, you know, I we we sit down and we create these great plans. And you know, it takes us time to do that. And then we turn around to our people. And we tell them the thing that we’re going to do now, but I think what’s really important is to take them on the journey, not with you in the meetings. Don’t annoy everybody with all the meetings, but give the give the reasoning behind it give the journey of what the leadership team has done to go from one point to another, so that you garner more people being on board and understanding where your leadership brain was to make this decision.

george grombacher 10:14
Yeah, do you think that it’s, we’re not doing that is it I’m not comfortable with that, or I’m just not not accustomed to doing it. And so just making that shift of I need to let people in on where we’re going?

Unknown Speaker 10:29
Yeah, you hit on a key thing that I live in my organization and really in my life, and that is vulnerability, right? When we’re leaders, I’ll speak for myself, and I’m sure this will resonate with a lot, we are in charge, we are, we’re here to make sure that our people are safe, that they make a living, that they’ll be able to support whatever they want to support in their lives. And, and I know me, I’m like, I kind of do all of this right? With them for the purpose of the business. But at the end of the day, I’m human, right. And so I think it is a strength to talk about the things you know, all the things that you’re doing and be open about the good stuff, right, you can start there, that’s might be the easiest place, but also about the mistakes that you make, and the stuff that isn’t so great. And you will be amazed. I know, I always am as a leader of the support that you will get in being vulnerable. Now you don’t just tell the problems, you got to tell the solutions. Do we all know that as leaders, we want to hear that from our people as well. You can’t be like, Oh, Everything’s bad. I don’t know what to do. You got to be everything is going this bad way. But here’s what I’m doing in order to get us to here. And I think when you do that, you also get a lot of support from your people. Because again, they understand the journey, and they’re there to support you as well. But that comes with the foundation of always supporting them to it’s very symbiotic.

george grombacher 11:58
Yeah. So how do how do organizations know how does a founder know? How does the CEO President know, when it’s time to maybe breed hiring, bringing people on versus outsourcing the human resources function?

Unknown Speaker 12:15
Yeah, I mean, it’s money, money budgets, and, you know, doing the exercise of what your org looks like it, the design of it, and the structure and who do you need to insert and what’s the, you know, always the costs, what’s the cost? Typically, in human resources, we see a ratio of one to 50. And that’s, that’s on the very generous side, or one to 100, where you at that point, you need an HR professional, and most likely full time, maybe they might wear another hat when you’re at 50. And I think that’s a good good marker. And then you’ll feel you will feel the pains of not having that HR professional. And that can look so many different ways. Some of the scarier ways that some business owners think about it, oh, I’ve got a claim, or I got audited about a thing. But some of the more subtle ways is, you know, communicating things like benefits or the rules, or, you know, maybe there are some issues in performance. People don’t know if there’s a handbook or not like that type of thing. And it’s like, okay, we need to get someone in there. So I think if you hire one employee, you should always have an HR consultant or some type of tool that you use. And then at one point, you’ll bring it in house, and then maybe have a consultative HR person outside of that just to guide if you have like a junior person in the role. We do that a lot, actually, junior person in the role we come in and architecting kind of put scaffolding up for them, and then allow them to be boots on the ground. Yeah, I

george grombacher 13:45
think that that makes a ton of sense. I’m sure that there are a lot of these are must haves from a human resources perspective. And then there’s nice to haves, and then there’s, you know, sort of a spectrum.

Unknown Speaker 13:59
Yeah, 100%. There’s, there’s two sides, right, two buckets, compliance strategy. And both are needed. And it’s just not so obvious what the strategy is, as you’re growing your business. But if you sit and you strategize, like for a day, what do I need with my people, you can figure it out. And then the compliance stuff is just, it’s just compliance, but it’s also the scariest stuff, especially when you’re in states like California, or New York or in a city like San Francisco, where it’s like, what, how much do I have to pay in sickbay? So that’s definitely where you need to hire an HR HR Pro or an attorney come in and help you with those things.

george grombacher 14:36
Yeah, yeah. Scary, challenging opportunities, all of it? Yes. What are what are some things that that make you want to pull your hair out? Just in general, certainly about HR.

Unknown Speaker 14:52
I’m, well, I’m like a really grounded calm person. So take So a lot for me to want to pull my hair out. But that would be anything that a business does that is just egregious. And, and we see and we see it, I just asked me to yesterday like crazy HR stories from 2022. And one of them was a California based business decided to zero out everyone’s vacation. First of all, that’s not legal. But second, like ethically, even if it was in any way, shape or form, that’s just gonna kill morale. And so it’s stuff like that where it’s like, you not only are you not trying to treat your employees well, but you are doing something egregious like that. It just floors me anytime I hear anything like that I don’t necessarily want to pull my hair out because I have nice hair. But it’s one of those. It’s one of those things where I’m like, watch, and every HR professional that has a ton of those stories.

george grombacher 16:01
Yeah. So many different landmines. And I think all over the place and need to obviously be mindful of not breaking the law and being in compliance with with all the all the different rules and the laws, and also not being an absolutely horrible person and destroy morale. opportunities abound. And, you know, always want to give people the benefit of the doubt and say, That’s just probably bad decision. It wasn’t malicious. But you never know. When it comes to a small company, I don’t have a dedicated HR person at this point. And I’m wondering about, you know, can I just go ahead and zero out these sick days, these vacation days? How do you interact with companies like that?

Unknown Speaker 16:47
Yeah, that’s our typical client, actually, they come to us because they don’t have human resources. And they don’t know. I mean, there’s risk there. There are things out there that you can do you could or newsletter, actually, every month will tell you what laws have changed. And you can have a resource like that. There’s resources like Sherm so the Society for Human Resource Management Dotto, so sh, you can you know, you can be part of that and do your own research. But at one point, as a business owner, you just don’t have time to do this type of thing. And so it helps to have either the, their payroll company resources, if you have a payroll company right now, they most likely have some type of do it yourself HR arm, or they might have an HR professional that can help you that’s tacked on to payroll. It’s it’s one of those things where you have to push the buttons is what I say. So you have to reach out their HR person and say, Hey, I need help with this. They won’t be proactive with you. But it is a solution. There’s others like bamboo HR. But when you get to the point where you need someone to step in, be proactive, you know, do things for you, right, so you can sleep at night, because I know some of this stuff probably keeps business owners up. Then you work with an HR consulting firm like ours until one day you outgrow that because you’re doing so well in taking care of your humans and having a fantastic sensible business that you hire an HR person. So that’s typically the journey of someone who has a business from DIY all the way to having your first in house human resources professional.

george grombacher 18:18
That makes a ton of sense. I like it. Well, let me thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 18:27
so you can check us out on our website be the change And we are on every single social media channel at Be The Change HR and if you want to talk to me about all things HR, just head to the website, and we have a free consult.

george grombacher 18:41
Excellent. If you enjoyed as much as I did che show Leilani your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to be the change And check out other great resources find them on social media. I’ll list all those in the notes of the show. And if you’ve got a question, click on that button and have conversation with Leilani thanks again Leilani.

Unknown Speaker 19:04
Thank you for having me.

george grombacher 19:05
Until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

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