Employees Leave Leaders, Not Companies: With Jim Martyn

Today we have a double episode of The Frame of Mind Coaching™ Podcast! That’s right, two value-packed episodes in one. Joining us in these episodes is Jim Martyn, Vice President of Human Resources at The Canadian Brewhouse.

Jim is worried that companies aren't able to keep their employees for long nowadays. This issue is directly related to the topic that keeps us talking for two episodes: mental health. Leaders who aren’t equipped with coaching skills end up losing employees.

So how can leaders keep their employees, and how can they create a safe space where their team can speak openly? Tune in for the answers.

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Kim Ades: Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I am the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and I am the Co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back. Today we invite a guest that comes to us from the west coast of Canada. His name is Jim Martin and he has the Vice President of Human Resources for an organization or a company called The Canadian Brewhouse. Jim, welcome.

[00:00:29] Jim Martyn: Thank you, Kim. I am very excited to be here.

[00:00:31] Kim Ades: So fill us in. What is The Canadian Brewhouse and where exactly are you located? 'Cause I remember you told me two different places and I kind of lost track.

[00:00:40] Jim Martyn: Sure.

[00:00:40] Kim Ades: So fill us in.

[00:00:41] Jim Martyn: Yeah, The Canadian Brewhouse, we're a company, we own 40 restaurants primarily in Western Canada. I'm actually in London, Ontario, oddly enough, today.

[00:00:50] Kim Ades: Oh!

[00:00:50] Jim Martyn: Yeah, we're opening our third Ontario based restaurant this week, which is very exciting. But we have another 37 or so at west, and then we have another restaurant concept called The Banquet Bar and we also have a chain of cannabis dispensaries out west. So my home base is Edmonton, Alberta, but I travel quite a bit for opening new concepts.

[00:01:11] Kim Ades: Okay, amazing. And so, what does that represent in terms of the amount of staff that you are overseeing or taking care of?

[00:01:20] Jim Martyn: Largely dependent on restrictions in various provinces at various times, but on average, we are somewhere between 2,500 and 4,000.

[00:01:31] Kim Ades: Okay. And I know that in Ontario things were pretty strict, pretty tight, pretty closed down, how did COVID affect your business?

[00:01:39] Jim Martyn: Well, we actually just opened our first location in Ontario a little bit over six months ago. So we're relatively new to the market. The most recent wave of restrictions wasn't as restrictive as we've seen in the past, in various provinces, even out here. I think Ontario was closed down for, I think, the longest period out of any province entirely.

So we didn't experience that, but in other provinces, we had periods where we were close to everything except for takeout delivery, et cetera. And yeah, it's a dramatic impact. I mean, in some cases up to, or north of 80% of our team was laid off for 2, 3, 4 months at a time.

[00:02:15] Kim Ades: Wow. And how did you deal with that? Because they were laid off, okay, your expenses are a little lower, but eventually you're going to open. Where's the staff coming from?

[00:02:25] Jim Martyn: Expenses are lower, but third-party delivery doesn't do you a lot of favors when it comes to the percentage of the pie, so to speak, that they take. So even though expenses were lower, sales were decimated, and the sales we did have were not a big profit margin on. So, when it came to bring in team members back, we did a really good job in my opinion, when we first closed of keeping in regular contact with the team.

So there would be weekly updates from the CEO and myself to everyone who had been employed with us immediately prior to the layoffs, from March to about May of 2020. I can't believe it's been that long...

[00:03:01] Kim Ades: I know.

[00:03:02] Jim Martyn: And we would tell them what's going on to the best of our knowledge and what our plans are. We had a great food program because we're a restaurant and we get really good prices on bulk quarters of protein, produce, dairy, et cetera.

We were able to have a food program for our teams of members that were laid off, where we could sell at our restaurant costs groceries that they would normally get at a grocery store, which-- So we put some systems like that into place to try and maintain them.

[00:03:30] Kim Ades: That's incredible.

[00:03:30] Jim Martyn: Thank you. Yeah, it was a great call by our ownership and that helped, but I would say around the second or third time that everybody was laid off, it was really hard for us to instill that hope that things would get better on a permanent scale. [Chuckles lightly]

[00:03:48] Kim Ades: Right. Right, right, right. So where are we now? Are we open? What's the current status?

[00:03:54] Jim Martyn: We're open. And in all of our provinces, the restrictions are showing a pathway of being... it looks like, right now, completely gone and everything, except for mask mandates here in Ontario, should be gone by March 1st. It sounds like most provinces are following a similar timeline, so that's optimistic.

But again, if you look back to 2020, it was open for summer. They didn't fail to mention that it was open only for summer.

[00:04:24] Kim Ades: Right.

[00:04:25] Jim Martyn: So we're cautiously optimistic as always.

[00:04:27] Kim Ades: Okay.

[00:04:28] Jim Martyn: And we're going to do our best to operate within the rules and guidelines, and we can really, the best thing we can control is the team member experience while we have the ability to operate at full capacity.

[00:04:40] Kim Ades: Right. Now, given the fact that you just basically opened a restaurant in Ontario six months ago, it sounds like you're very optimistic, because Ontario, it seems that most people are kind of staying away from right now because of the tight attitude, the tight restrictions around here.

[00:05:00] Jim Martyn: You know, that's the greater pandemic is that what's happening as far as job opportunities, across Canada, I wouldn't say that's an Ontario issue specifically. I mean, in Alberta we have functioned historically off of the price of oil, and until recently that's been at all time lows, the past two and a half, three years, even before COVID and that didn't help.

So I would say a lot of our competitors, so to speak, you know, we kind of view them as friends doing the same thing for a different company, but the [...], Earl's, Boston Pizza, you name it, Jack Astor's, et cetera, they didn't seem keen on opening through a COVID understandably so, it's just such an uncertain landscape, but that the us was an opportunity.

We are really big out west. Everyone in Alberta knows The Canadian Brewhouse, not a lot of people in Alberta might know Jack Astor's, which is an Ontario based restaurant.

[00:05:49] Kim Ades: Yeah.

[00:05:50] Jim Martyn: But coming out here, not a lot of people knew who we were, and that gave us an opportunity to showcase our brand to some of the larger developers, larger property managers, and be like, you want our restaurant because we want to be there, and a lot of the restaurants that you would normally have dealings with might not want to open right now.

[00:06:06] Kim Ades: That is very true, actually, because I'm imagining a lot of the property developments are desperately seeking people to take up their land and to pay them rent and on and on. So you're right, there was probably a good opportunity in that for you.

[00:06:22] Jim Martyn: Yeah.

[00:06:23] Kim Ades: So let's kind of turn the corner a little bit, but tell us at this point, you're opening up, things are starting to feel a little better. What is your current greatest challenge?

[00:06:34] Jim Martyn: I would say... Initially my answer was simple, it was recruitment. Now it's a little bit deeper than that, I would say. It's we don't want to recruit exclusively part-time temporary workers, and right now there's greater than ever concerns in hospitality, particularly. Is this a good career path? Is this something long-term sustainable? Can I get a house? Can I raise a family on the income and stability of a career in hospitality?

And that's the biggest challenge we're facing right now is not convincing people, but demonstrating to people that absolutely there's as much opportunity as there ever has been.

[00:07:18] Kim Ades: So that is the challenge. It's not just finding the people, but putting them on a path to a long-term career with you.

[00:07:25] Jim Martyn: Yeah, I mean, have you worked in hospitality, Kim?

[00:07:29] Kim Ades: You know what? I will tell you a little tiny secret. Years and years and years ago when I was, I don't know, 17 years old, I worked at a place called Mike's Submarine.

[00:07:38] Jim Martyn: Okay, nice.

[00:07:40] Kim Ades: In Montreal and I was the salad bar girl. So I had to make sure the salad bar was filled at all times. But here's what happened. One day they said, "Kim, we need you to go do the cash" and I didn't have any experience, I didn't know what the heck I was doing.

And all of a sudden there was a lineup of people coming to pay there and I wanted to move quickly and I didn't know what to do with myself. I was totally stressed out of my mind. And so I would take their money and put it in my pocket.

[00:08:08] Jim Martyn: [Laughs]

[00:08:08] Kim Ades: You're not supposed to do that, right? Not supposed to do that! But I was stressed out of my mind.

[00:08:14] Jim Martyn: Yeah.

[00:08:14] Kim Ades: And so after I did this, I'm like, "oh my God, I'm in deep... Shit". So I went up to the manager of the place, I said, "here's all the money" and I poured it out of my pocket and I gave it back to them. And I think that that made an impression.

[00:08:30] Jim Martyn: Yeah.

[00:08:30] Kim Ades: Right? [Chuckles] It made an impression. There were two impressions I left. Number one is "don't give her the cash again".

[00:08:37] Jim Martyn: [Laughs]

[00:08:37] Kim Ades: I mean, I had no training!

[00:08:38] Jim Martyn: Of course.

[00:08:38] Kim Ades: Zero training, zero prep, zero anything. But the second thing was "she's trustworthy". And so then they invited me to go with them on the road to train people how to do salad bars.

[00:08:49] Jim Martyn: Amazing.

[00:08:49] Kim Ades: I didn't take them up on that offer because I had other plans, right? Like, I never-- "I'm going to work in a restaurant", that's not for me. It wasn't in my mind anywhere close to a career path and didn't even consider it.

[00:09:02] Jim Martyn: So, Kim, you nailed exactly what I was getting at on the head there. When you got into Mike's Submarine in Montreal, you weren't going there saying "I want to be here forever", or "I want to see where this can take me". You said "I've got other plans. Maybe it's school. Maybe it's a career path that I've been interested in for a long time".

[00:09:18] Kim Ades: Yeah.

[00:09:19] Jim Martyn: That's the majority of employees that we get typically. And it's an even greater thing now. The hospitality more than ever is a means to an end.

[00:09:28] Kim Ades: Yeah. And I'll tell you, I mean, I understand the challenge and you have, I think, two challenges. One is perception and the other one is reality.

[00:09:39] Jim Martyn: Sure.

[00:09:40] Kim Ades: Right? And so the perception is people who work in restaurants, especially as servers, they're entry-level, they're not on a career path, they're there for the moment, they're there on their way, they're there to get some kind of income on their path to doing whatever it is that they really want to do. So that's number one is, you know, the perception is "this is not a career path".

The second thing is it's unclear what that career path looks like. It's unclear that when I go to work for you, that actually this is very, very prestigious and that it gives me an opportunity and it opens a whole bunch of doors. And so that's not evident to me.

[00:10:20] Jim Martyn: That's interesting. I have a lot of friends who-- I didn't pursue post-secondary immediately upon graduating high school, I have a lot of friends who did, and they did that with the mindset of "I'll have a clear career path once I get my degree".

I'd say 80% of them aren't working in whatever field they got for their degrees. So their career path was as muddied as ours. It's just a historical perception that school and a degree is a way to further your career.

[00:10:43] Kim Ades: Hundred percent! It is perception. From my perspective, from a coaching standpoint, I would suggest a couple of things. I think that literally visually we need to outline career path, you know? So "here's the career path Jim took. Here's the career path Carol took. Here are the opportunities here. And here is what is possible for you".

So that is very, very clear that this is the starting point, but here's what happens next and then next, and then next after that, and that is not clear to anybody, to be honest.

[00:11:15] Jim Martyn: For sure.

[00:11:17] Kim Ades: And that's part of the way you communicate. Not only to your recruits, but what happens on your website, what happens everywhere, the way you highlight and you create client spotlights or we call them clients spotlights, but employee spotlights. For your organization and how that gets communicated internally and externally.

So for example, if I made you my spotlight then I would say "here's where Jim started, here's how we climb through the organization, and this is possible for you". And I would highlight you to all the 2,500 or 4,000 team members that you have, but also externally.

[00:11:55] Jim Martyn: It's fascinating because it's such a great piece of advice. I just, two days ago, orientated all of the new team members for our store here in London. And one of the stories I love to tell during orientation is the story of our CEO, Mike Wheeler. He started out in 2005 as a dishwasher for The Canadian Brewhouse and that doesn't make a natural transition, dishwasher of a single restaurant to CEO of a $200 million company.

[00:12:24] Kim Ades: Right.

[00:12:24] Jim Martyn: But to your point, we don't have that story in print, we don't have it on our website, we don't have it on our social media.

[00:12:32] Kim Ades: Well, you don't have that story, but also that story is extraordinary and we want to make it a little more ordinary.

[00:12:38] Jim Martyn: Right.

[00:12:39] Kim Ades: Do you understand what I'm saying?

[00:12:40] Jim Martyn: No, absolutely.

[00:12:41] Kim Ades: Like, Mike Wheeler is probably super smart, he's the exception, not the rule. And you want to say "here's the rule".

[00:12:49] Jim Martyn: Totally. I would argue it a little bit. I surround myself-- we're surrounded by people in our organization who have the same story. I'm one of those, I didn't come out of a hospitality program-- sorry, a human resources program. I came out of hospitality. One of our owners here, same deal. Everyone in a regional management position, you know, it's really interesting. Our head of construction, once upon a time he worked as somebody that built restaurants for us.

And I think that to your point, though, for the layman, the day-to-day, the hourly team members, we do have a lot of those success stories. And I think that something that we don't maybe highlight too to that scale is what skills they develop while working here. Even if it isn't a long-term career path.

[00:13:47] Kim Ades: What skills and how they got from one place to the next, so that, you know, where's the starting point, what's the next part? I think that pathway is very important. What are the stops along the path. So that people say, "okay, I get it. I start here and here's my next opportunity. Here's my next destination. I see the path clearly laid out in front of me".

Because when people don't see a clear path in front of them, they think that there's a dead end. They don't imagine that there could be a path in front of them. But I want to address a second thing.

[00:14:16] Jim Martyn: Sure.

[00:14:16] Kim Ades: So the first thing was perception. The second thing was reality. And what I mean by reality is, what is the program in place that you have when you speak to a potential recruit and you say "here's what we're going to do for you. Here's only the path, but here's the development plan ahead of you".

And of course I am biased, and I often say that on this podcast, I am biased. I have a very particular perspective. But how do we offer coaching to recruits that we want to nurture and move up through the organization? The high potential part-time employees who we want to have as full-time employees. What is the program we're putting them into so that The Canadian Brewhouse is kind of like a university of hospitality?

[00:15:03] Jim Martyn: Right.

[00:15:04] Kim Ades: Right? And so, from my perspective, we have all kinds of coaching programs. The Journal That Talks Back is a perfect opportunity, but that's probably one of the many things that you could offer or put together that says "you're not just coming here to work, you're coming here to grow, you're coming here to learn, you're coming here to pursue your education. And here's what it looks like".

Because most structures like yours, most restaurants don't think that way. They think they have to execute the final outcome, which is serving clients. And what they don't see is that actually the people who work for them are their clients too, the most important clients.

[00:15:43] Jim Martyn: The people who work for them and the people who may choose not to, I think the recruitment and courting process, even when it doesn't go the way potential employee wants, you don't want to lose a guest out of the same transaction or interaction, so...

[00:15:58] Kim Ades: Exactly, exactly.

[00:16:00] Jim Martyn: But I agree and I'll be honest, we probably are just starting to think that way and leverage that ourselves this year. And I think that, to your point, a lot of restaurants, especially over COVID have had the mentality of "we've got enough on our minds". [Chuckles lightly] "We have enough to try and contend with everyday. We're trying to keep our doors open".

[00:16:20] Kim Ades: Yep.

[00:16:21] Jim Martyn: But in order to prepare for the future and, once things start to get normal, be ahead of the competition above the standard or base expectation, I think you have to start thinking like that now.

[00:16:32] Kim Ades: Yeah. And the other piece of it is I think that there are some leaders in your organizations... Not just yours, but in organizations like yours, who are not really equipped with leadership skills. They have skills in the kitchen, perhaps they have skills at their craft, but they don't have leadership skills. And I think that there's a massive opportunity to create those leadership skills, because even if we look at pre COVID days, why do people leave organizations?

It's not only that they don't have a career path, but there's something that's gone wrong and it usually has to do with leadership. And I'm personally quite exposed to what that looks like in the restaurant industry. And I would say to you that a lot of chefs who are super, super talented, don't always necessarily know how to lead their teams effectively, and end up creating a lot of friction in their kitchens that are not the goals we're after. That's not the key to retention at all.

And so I would look at that too, and see if there are some people, in the group, at that level who could use a little bit of support, a little bit of nurturing, a little bit of training in terms of how to lead. And for me, it comes back to coaching.

[00:17:48] Jim Martyn: Yeah, I think I took, personally even, a different approach to that historically, and this is an opportunity for me to learn. But I always felt that learning leadership was a bit of a self-directed operation and the people that wanted to grow as a leader needed to take that first step. Now, I can see that that might not be the best mindset, because it's not showing that we have the same commitment to the leadership development of our team members as we expect them to have of themselves.

[00:18:17] Kim Ades: Well, and I will say to you that I think that... again, even from my own personal experience, I remember being, I don't know, 15 years old on a ski trip, and I was the worst skier in the group. The worst. I was so bad, but they gave me my own private instructor. The worst. I couldn't get up. And I hated it. I was hurting myself, I kept falling, but I kept getting up.

And after the ski trip was over, the vice principal of my school sent me a private letter saying "I'm very proud of you because you kept going". And so, in the moment I was defeated, in the moment I felt like a loser, in the moment I felt so the opposite of athletic, right? [Chuckles]

[00:19:06] Jim Martyn: Sure, yeah.

[00:19:07] Kim Ades: I just felt terrible about myself, but there was someone else, someone at a higher level than me, who saw me as having some grit, some determination, and in his words, some leadership skills. And so, suddenly I'm like, "who me? You see me that way? Do I really have something in me?"

And so, I think a lot of times we think that leaders will just surface to the top, sometimes they have to be nurtured along, and the way they need to be nurtured along is by noticing those characteristics in a person and saying, "I see this in you".

[00:19:42] Jim Martyn: I completely agree. I have a hilariously similar snowboarding story. And the owner of our company, actually, he had lessons booked that day for himself [chuckles] but he quickly saw that I needed them more than him, he provided me with the lessons. He didn't know this at the time, but I told the instructor, "I don't want any lessons", I said, "just tell me how to get to the top of the hill", it was in Whistler, so...

"Tell me how to get to seventh heaven, and if I'm up there, I have to make my way to the bottom of the mountain somehow, so I'll do that". And so, that's where my old leadership mentality came from. It was just like, I knew that that was how I developed personally.

[00:20:20] Kim Ades: I would've sat down on my snowboard and [chuckles] slide all the way down.

[00:20:26] Jim Martyn: I had some wicked bruises.

[00:20:28] Kim Ades: [Laughs]

[00:20:28] Jim Martyn: It was a nasty way down the mountain, not the right way, not the right approach. But to your point, we actually held-- so we collaborated with the University of Alberta during the shutdowns from COVID, and we spent hundreds of thousands of dollars creating with them a proprietary leadership development program that we put all of our management through.

And the goal now for us is to take this and create our own ongoing manager development and team member leadership development programs that we can use on an ongoing basis. Again, I think we're just starting to think that way and take those more dynamic approaches and treat this as it could be an education to your point, you know, Brewniversity or whatever you'd want to call it, right?

[00:21:13] Kim Ades: Love it!

[00:21:14] Jim Martyn: And I think that that's a great idea and we're definitely, after talking to you, I'm more keen to get back and start leveraging that approach.

[00:21:22] Kim Ades: Amazing. And if we can help you and support you, we'd be happy to do that.

[00:21:26] Jim Martyn: Absolutely!

[00:21:26] Kim Ades: But I honestly think you guys are forward-thinking as it is, so I think you're on the right path and it's just a matter of taking one step at a time and rolling things out as they appear.

[00:21:38] Jim Martyn: Yeah. It's always important to talk to other thought leaders regardless. I mean, and that is you and your organization.

[00:21:44] Kim Ades: So Canadian Brewhouse, we got to go visit!

[00:21:47] Jim Martyn: Come on down!

[00:21:48] Kim Ades: I'm going to keep my eyes out for it. I have five young adult children who are... one in particular, who's a brew master himself, so we're going to be there. We're going to be there. We won't have a choice.

Jim, thank you so much for coming onto the podcast. Thank you for sharing your challenge. For those of you who are listening, I think that recruitment and retention are a big, huge deal today. It's an issue that many, many organizations are struggling with.

And the question that I have for you is, how are you supporting your team? How are you reinforcing them? How are you nurturing them? How are you helping them to grow? Is there a growth plan in place? And have you even thought about that? And perhaps not only do they need help with their skills, but in today's day and age, they also need a little bit of support with their mental health.

We've been through a lot in the past couple of years, and maybe it's time to look outside of the organization for a little support with that. If there's anything we can do to help you, please reach out. We'd be happy to have the conversation at the very least.

But if you're listening and there's a challenge that you want to share on the podcast, please reach out to me. My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com. And if you have a challenge, but you don't want to share it on the podcast, please reach out to me as well. Again, my email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com.

Jim, thank you so much for being on the podcast. Everybody, go and visit The Canadian Brewhouse.

[00:23:14] : [STICK AROUND FOR PART 2]

[00:23:23] Kim Ades: Hello, hello. My name is Kim Ades, I'm the President and Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching and the Co-founder of The Journal That Talks Back. Today we have a return guest. Actually, he never left.

[00:23:33] Jim Martyn: [Laughs]

[00:23:33] Kim Ades: We just kept talking and we're offering you part two of the conversation. I did change my clothes cause I thought, well, you should see a new look and feel, but here we go. We have Jim Martyn back and he is the VP of HR for The Canadian Brewhouse. Jim, welcome.

[00:23:49] Jim Martyn: Happy to be back or still be here, however you'd like to frame it.

[00:23:53] Kim Ades: Okay, so total transparency. Here's what happened. We ended the last podcast and Jim and I kept talking and he said, you know, "we should really talk about mental health. I could do hours on that subject". Then I said, "well, why don't we just do it? I've got a half an hour before my next appointment. So let's go". Jim, tell me about mental health in your organization. Why is that an issue that you can talk about for that?

[00:24:16] Jim Martyn: Well, I think you touched on it at the very end there. You said the mental health of our team members in all industries, not just hospitality, is something that needs to be a bigger focus, now more than ever.

And in hospitality, I can say that there's obviously no exception, you know, especially considering we work with controlled substances and there's a huge stigma. And you mentioned earlier in the podcast, you know, chefs, the old mentality of a little bit of brute force and power back there gets things done, and that may not be the way into the future.

But there's the leaders out there that behave that way and I interact with their team that way, and it definitely doesn't foster a safe work environment, which can lead to real mental health issues. Our organization, myself in particular, we've worked hand-in-hand with the Canadian Mental Health Association in helping try to develop more resources and materials for hospitality in the mental health space.

And I have the privilege this year of hosting a panel at their annual working stronger conference, where they bring in a bunch of industry people, and we get to do the first ever hospitality panel. Where we're going to talk about mental health in the industry with some partners and I'm very excited for that.

So have you had any challenges in your organization with people who have openly, or not so openly, had mental health challenges?

Yeah. I work side-by-side with people who have been very open about it and you know, there's some of my best friends, coworkers, all of it. And I think people-- that's the one good thing about mental health nowadays is that there is a lot more openness about it. Is it where it needs to be? Probably not, probably not even close.

But I definitely have had more people be open about it, and I think that it's on us as employers to... Not to fix everyone's problems, but to provide at least, at the very minimum, that safe space where they can at least feel comfortable talking about it.

[00:26:13] Kim Ades: Yeah. And I don't know if it's possible, to be honest, to be the safe space, because there's a conflict of interest. Right?

[00:26:21] Jim Martyn: Sure.

[00:26:21] Kim Ades: It's a natural conflict of interest. Can I honestly tell you that I'm burnt out, I'm exhausted, and I hate my job? I don't know that I can, right? Because I still need this job. So even though you're well-intentioned, even though you're doing all the right things and getting involved with all the right programs, it's a bit tough for you as an organization to be that safe space for your team members.

And so the question is, what needs to be in place? What needs to happen? And from my perspective, it's important to create a safe space, but one that is truly safe. One that is safe from any kind of repercussion or consequence of being open and honest.

[00:27:03] Jim Martyn: Yeah.

[00:27:03] Kim Ades: And so that's where a partnership, again, as I said, last time, I am biased, but like a partnership with a third party unbiased organization, who can really provide a listening space, who can day everything, personally and professionally. 'Cause when someone has a mental health challenge, it doesn't only show up at work.

[00:27:26] Jim Martyn: No, not at all. It can impact every area of their lives. And with family, with friends, you know, some of my close friends who have mental health concerns, you're right, they might talk to me even if they work with me, but will they go to our CEO or go to the president? Probably not because that's the personal relationship that we have.

[00:27:47] Kim Ades: Right.

[00:27:47] Jim Martyn: And then I also have employees, to your point, that report directly to me, who won't have those conversations with me because we don't have that personal relationship.

[00:27:55] Kim Ades: Exactly. And, you know, you're human, you can't have a personal relationship with every single person in the world. And so the question is, what do you need to have in place that supports you? Supports the intention and kind of puts your intention to work. In other words, there's proof in this pudding, right?

We're not only saying we're creating a safe environment, we're providing an outlet for you to speak. And that's why-- honestly, we've seen this issue come up so many times with our clients and their employees, but also with our clients and their adult children, where their adult children were struggling with mental health issues, stress, anxiety, overwhelm, all of those kinds of things, depression...

And so, we created this program specifically for them, called The Journal That Talks Back, where an individual gets assigned to a coach and they can journal as much as they want with that coach, and their coach will read and respond to their journal within a 24 hour time period.

Now, what's amazing about that is if we are partnering with you as an organization, you trust that they're in good hands, that your employees can say whatever they want and it is safe. But also that if they're in danger or if they're in trouble, we're going to flag them.

[00:29:16] Jim Martyn: Right.

[00:29:17] Kim Ades: Right? Because you don't want that to go under the radar.

[00:29:21] Jim Martyn: No, and to your point, we're asking what can employers do, and I appreciate you answering that because I was just going to ask the question right back, "tell me, Kim, what can employers do?" Because I didn't even have that thought process of, you know, we can do everything we can to make an environment truly safe.

But to your point about a conflict of interest, there will always be an employer/employee relationship.

[00:29:46] Kim Ades: Yes.

[00:29:47] Jim Martyn: Unless they're owning a part of the business. But I think that having a third-party or secondary outlet that has no financial interest or gain with being partners with the company, makes a lot of sense.

[00:30:01] Kim Ades: Yeah. And I think it's very important because what you want to do is say, you know, "we really, really want to support your wellbeing and here are the options you have to tap into for that to happen". And so again, you're proving it with your actions.

[00:30:22] Jim Martyn: Sure. And I think-- Go ahead, sorry.

[00:30:24] Kim Ades: Why? Because you could tell me all day long "you can talk to me, you can talk to me, you can talk to me", but if in the heart of my heart's, in the pit of my pits, I think, well, you know, if I tell them what I really think, he's gonna think less of me or he's going to fire me, or he's not going to give me the promotion or he's not going to think I'm cut out for it, I will never tell you my deepest, darkest secrets.

[00:30:45] Jim Martyn: Of course not. And I think that we as companies see that in the form of surveys that we send out. The Gallup Q12 is a perfect example, and employee engagement survey. You won't even get complete honesty through there if you can't somehow prove that it's completely anonymous.

[00:31:04] Kim Ades: Exactly.

[00:31:05] Jim Martyn: Even the people that you would trust most, to be honest, may not just out of fear of safety, for sure.

[00:31:10] Kim Ades: Exactly. And so it's interesting what we're talking about because companies may have all the best intentions, right? But they still need some support themselves to actually execute this plan, just because of that dynamic, it's just the way it is.

[00:31:29] Jim Martyn: I appreciate that. And what was your resource that you guys have?

[00:31:34] Kim Ades: It's called The Journal That Talks Back.

[00:31:36] Jim Martyn: Okay.

[00:31:37] Kim Ades: Yeah.

[00:31:37] Jim Martyn: Something we'd look into for sure, because it's a question that I've struggled to answer for awhile. Again, I think that as employers, I do believe that providing more resources, even education from our own ability to do so is important. But this would be that kind of next level beyond that, for sure.

[00:31:57] Kim Ades: Exactly. And really what you're trying to do is tell your people with absolute, not only clarity and honesty, but like, you're committing to their wellbeing.

[00:32:12] Jim Martyn: I've been in business for most of my adult life in some capacity or another, and the one greatest thing I've learned is... Not greatest, but is that it's important for a lot of business minds, especially in the wake of COVID, to tie things to how is this going to benefit both the team and the company.

And for me, this is a very clear ROI proven time and time again, that employee performance is one like, not 100, but very large precipitated on their sense of safety, their buying into the organization, and people that get what they need on a personal level will work harder on a work level.

[00:32:54] Kim Ades: Can I take you on the road with me, please?

[00:32:57] Jim Martyn: [Laughs]

[00:32:57] Kim Ades: Let's go!

[00:32:58] Jim Martyn: Sure! I'm in, yeah. I'd be happy to do that. Pitch our brands together.

[00:33:03] Kim Ades: Oh, let's do it.

[00:33:04] Jim Martyn: But it's the truth. It's in every peer reviewed study about employee work ethic. It's almost entirely based on what the organization does to make them feel like they're part of the organization, they're part of the long-term strategy and planning, they have that sense of family, all of those things, and those are controlled by this. What are you doing for the employee, that's not just paying them? Which is a legal obligation to have an employee. [Chuckles]

[00:33:32] Kim Ades: Exactly. So I'll throw one more thing at you because I think this is an important conversation. I think that when we look at, and I think we spoke about this together, at one point, people don't leave organizations, people leave their managers or their bosses, the people they report to.

[00:33:49] Jim Martyn: Yeah.

[00:33:50] Kim Ades: And so when we have poor leaders, we have a weakness or a vulnerability in our workforce. And so what we want to do is we want to equip these leaders, not only with leadership skills, but from my perspective, amazing leaders are also amazing coaches. Most leaders don't have coaching skills. Like, no clue.

[00:34:17] Jim Martyn: I can tell you that when I became a leader, when I was put into-- I was a manager, I'll be honest. I was put into a managerial position with key performance indicators and managerial responsibility lists. And I'd walk into work and I'd say, you know, "is this getting done? Is this getting done? Is this getting done?"

And I would never say, "how are you? What's going on in your life and how can I help you be successful?" And I think that was my operation for years, and the business was doing okay.

[00:34:48] Kim Ades: You were task-oriented.

[00:34:50] Jim Martyn: Yeah, a hundred percent. But our turnover was high, and I think that, to your point, coaching is something that takes such an active approach and a willingness on the leadership above the people they're trying to develop as coaches to really buy into those people.

[00:35:08] Kim Ades: Excatly.

[00:35:09] Jim Martyn: You know, you hear about the CEO or whoever, who will walk into a store and they'll point a few things out and then they'll leave. And then you hear about the CEO go in CMS on the floor and they'll mop it up, and then they'll ask the team how they're doing. And it's pretty clear which organization is going to have more buy in from their team.

[00:35:28] Kim Ades: Exactly. That's exactly it. And you know, that's basically leading by example, and that's really, really important too. But how do we lead by example? We learn how to coach as well. They go hand in hand, they're not separate.

[00:35:44] Jim Martyn: Oh, coaching isn't always a verbal thing.

[00:35:46] Kim Ades: Exactly.

[00:35:48] Jim Martyn: You coach behaviors by showing them a lot of the times.

[00:35:50] Kim Ades: Exactly, a hundred percent.

[00:35:52] Jim Martyn: Yeah. I agree. Developing your coaches is... And your coaching ability personally is-- I had a manager tell me the other day, he said, "this is hard having this conversation". I had a critical conversation with the manager and the manager said to me, "this is hard having this conversation because I was just informed about these issues a few months ago, and I've just stopped working on my leadership. I'm not there yet". And I said, you're never going to be, and I'm not going to be either. There is no "there", there is no set destination for a leader".

[00:36:23] Kim Ades: I agree.

[00:36:24] Jim Martyn: It's an ongoing growing and changing style of management. And I think that helped put it into perspective for that individual.

[00:36:33] Kim Ades: You never get it done.

[00:36:34] Jim Martyn: Yeah. And so having tools, that's the point though, is all of these tools that are coming into the marketplace. Employers have a responsibility to their team and to their future coaches to get invested and spend time learning about as many of these as possible.

[00:36:49] Kim Ades: I agree wholeheartedly. But it sounds like your team is in good hands. They have a good VP of HR, who's totally open and cool and modern and hip. So I applaud you for all of the things you're involved with, for all of the forward thinking initiatives that you're putting in place. I'm thrilled about this conversation. So thrilled that we did it twice.

[00:37:11] Jim Martyn: I learn from people like you, Kim, and that's the truth.

[00:37:13] Kim Ades: Well, you're smart. What can I tell you? You're smart. Thank you again for being on the podcast. Thank you for doing a round two, without any preparation.

[00:37:24] Jim Martyn: [Laughs]

[00:37:24] Kim Ades: I threw you into the deep end with no warning whatsoever. Thank you for being willing to play along. I really, really appreciate it. For those of you who are listening, if there's a challenge that you want to share on the podcast, please reach out to me.

And that challenge, by the way, can be personal, it can be professional, it could be related to your staff, your partners, your children, your spouse. It could be anything at all. It could be simply that you just don't feel great and you're looking for something to help you feel a little bit better.

Reach out to me. We'd love to have you on the podcast. And if there's a challenge that you want to talk about, but maybe not so much on the podcast, please reach out to me as well. My email address is Kim@frameofmindcoaching.com.

Jim, thank you. I think this is the beginning of a great relationship. I look forward to what's next.

[00:38:14] Jim Martyn: Thank you, Kim. And as Kim mentioned, reach out to her. Take the opportunity to have your self coached. It's a great process. Loved it.

[00:38:21] Kim Ades: And check out The Canadian Brewhouse!

[00:38:25] Jim Martyn: Yeah, do that too, I guess.

[00:38:27] Kim Ades: Of course. We'll see you next time.

[00:38:29] Jim Martyn: Cheers.

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