Humanizing the Workplace: Building Strong Employee Relationships

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Marketing Podcast with Joey Coleman

Joey Coleman, a guest on the Duct Tape Marketing PodcastIn this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I interview Joey Coleman. He helps companies keep their customers. He is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Never Lose a Customer Again, an award-winning speaker, and works with organizations around the world ranging from small startups to major brands. His First 100 Days methodology fuels the remarkable experiences his clients deliver and dramatically improves their profits. 

His new book, Never Lose an Employee Again: The Simple Path to Remarkable Retention, offers a proven framework for increasing employees retention, engagement, and in the process, profits.

Key Takeaway:

Shockingly, almost half of the new employees quit before the 100-day anniversary, which is devastating to businesses, operationally, economically, and also emotionally. To make the experience remarkable, companies should focus on the employee journey from the first day on the job. A new employee’s first-day experience should be welcoming and inclusive, and companies should assign someone to be responsible for the entire journey from the first time the employee hears about the business until they’re up and running a hundred days later. By doing so, retention numbers can significantly improve.

It’s important to create meaningful relationships with the people of our organization to connect with them and understand that their personal lives are as important as their professional lives and may have an impact on the way they develop at the workplace. The main takeaway is to know that we have humans who work at our company and celebrate them for their humanity, not their product.


Questions I ask Joey Coleman:

  • [02:42] what’s the real cost of employee turnover?
  • [04:04] People talk about this crazy buyer’s and seller’s market. We are kind of in an employee’s market right now, aren’t we?
  • [05:47] How have you structured the employee journey throughout this book?
  • [11:05] What are some fun things we’re gonna encounter as actual intentional actions that companies could take?
  • [11:56] Where do you fall on the need for kinda long-term advertising and short-term advertising?
  • [16:11] After the first 100 days, how do you put more fun in to retain people?
  • [17:53] I can hear some listeners out there going, well, that’s none of my business to know about your employee’s lives after they leave the office, what can you say about that?
  • [20:39] How do you take that you’ve got this great culture that you’ve built, and make sure that people who are your customers are experiencing that?

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John Jantsch (00:00): This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast was brought to you by the MarTech Podcast, hosted by my friend Ben Shapiro, is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network, the audio destination for business professionals with episodes you can listen to in under 30 minutes. The MarTech Podcast share stories from world-class marketers who use technology to generate growth and achieve business and career success. And you can listen to it all on your lunch break. Recent, an episode featured Max Novak, the founder of Nova Cast, where he talked all about how podcast booking campaigns create value. For listeners and for brands. You know, I'm a huge fan of being guests on podcasts, so listen, check out the MarTech podcast wherever you get your podcast.

(00:57): Hello and welcome to another episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. This is John Jantsch. My guest today is Joey Coleman. Joey helps companies keep their customers and we're gonna talk about employees as well. Today. He's a Wall Street Journal best-selling author of Never Lose a Customer Again, an award-winning speaker and works with organizations around the world, from small startups to major brands. His first 100 days Methodology fuels the remarkable experiences as clients deliver and dramatically improves their profits. Today we're gonna talk about Never Lose An Employee Again: The Simple Path to Remarkable Retention. So Joey, welcome back to the show.

Joey Coleman (01:36): John, thank you so much for having me back. Big fan of the show, longtime listener, excited when I can be a guest. So, so appreciate that. And thanks to everybody who's listening in as well, looking forward to dive into the conversation.

John Jantsch (01:47): So I'm tempted to actually suggest that you could have just turned in the same manuscript and changed the title because really employees are probably our first customers, right

Joey Coleman (01:58): John? It's so true. And in fact this is maybe a reveal that I shouldn't be making publicly, but when I went to put together the first draft, I took the manuscript from my first book, I did a find and replace for every time I said customer, I changed it to employee. I'm not kidding you. Yeah, yeah. And that was the first draft of the book in the sense of do all the principles and all the concepts align. And to your point, they absolutely did. Now, after that, I erased the case studies from the first book and replaced them with new case studies that were more employee focused. But yes, you're absolutely right. It's the same story in a different direction.

John Jantsch (02:32): So, so let's start a little bit with the stats, because I know that you're a researcher when you write, everybody knows this, but let's just make the pain real for them. You know, what's the real cost of turnover? Employee turnover?

Joey Coleman (02:46): You know, it's staggering, John, and it really depends on whether you look at the cost of what it takes to rehire someone, the cost of what it takes to get them up to speed, the cost of loss, productivity. But when you factor in all different ways that someone might measure the cost of losing an employee and having to find a new one, all the research combined shows that it's somewhere between two and four x the annual salary of the employee you're trying to replace. So if you're looking for a hundred thousand dollars more senior member of your team, imagine three to $400,000 in loss. While you're going through that process of the turnover. It's also important to recognize that for more entry level members of your team or maybe frontline members of your team, you're not only losing the economic cost, but there you have an even more significant morale cost. Yes. When you have four or five salespeople on the team and you lose one of 'em, the other remaining four turn around and say, well, what did that person know that I don't know, why are they leaving?

John Jantsch (03:51): What's wrong with me? What's

Joey Coleman (03:52): Wrong with me? Why am I saying here? So there's this whole, you know, non-monetary aspect of loss that occurs with employee turnover too.

John Jantsch (04:01): So, so you know, when people talk about like, we've gone through this crazy buying and selling homes, you know, it's like a buyer's market, a seller's market. I mean, we're kind of in an employee's market right now, aren't we?

Joey Coleman (04:13): We really are. And John, I would posit that we're gonna be in that market for the foreseeable future. And here's why. There were a lot of tragic and a lot of fascinating and a lot of interesting things that came out of Covid. But I think the biggest thing in the employer context that came outta Covid is employers globally learned that they could have their people work from home cuz they had to, and the employees globally learned that they could work from home because they had to. Yeah. What this did is it created an environment where maybe 40 years ago, 50 years ago, chances were better than not, your employer had their headquarters somewhere within 30 miles of your house. Now it's the case that if your employer is within 30 miles of your house, I know two things about you. Number one, you probably have a very specific job.

(05:06): E i e, you have a job that requires manual involvement with the responsibilities you have. Mm-hmm. , or you and your employer have not realized that there are markets beyond 30 miles from here that might be willing to pay you more, do other things with you, give you more opportunities, et cetera. The last thing I'll say on this, it's the number of phone calls I have fielded in the last six months from clients saying to me, Joey, our best talent is being poached by companies outside the United States who are hiring employees. To get a beachhead or get a footprint right in the US has been staggering. And I think that's only gonna increase in the future.

John Jantsch (05:47): So let's talk, you know, a lot of marketers talk about this idea of the customer journey. I've, I talk a lot about the customer journey and the last year or two years people have been saying, can you actually change that a little bit to talk about the employee journey? And I think that, you know, when I look at it, my customer journey is no like trust, try, buy, repeat and refer. And I'm just like, yeah, no, like trust, try, hire, retain, , you know, and refer, I mean it's like, it kind of works. So absolutely what I see is a lot of companies, you know, freaking out saying, we gotta find new talent, we gotta find new talent, right? And it's like, marketers, we gotta run an ad so we can sell more. And really this whole idea of having a great customer or employee experience so that they certainly stay but also become, you know, loyalists to, to bring in other folks. H how have you kind of structure, I know you talk about the journey as well. How have you structured that thinking throughout this book?

Joey Coleman (06:40): Yeah, John, I'm a big fan of the, the duct tape path, if you will, of the customer. And I have a slightly similar, slightly different path that I outlined in my first book about the customer journey. I think of the employee journey as follows. It's eight key phases and I'll go through them real quick and give you an overview. The first phase is the assess phase. This is when a prospective employee is deciding whether or not they wanna work for you. So they're checking out your job listings, they're on your website, they might be talking to employees that you have to see what it's like to work there. They're going through your interview and hiring process. We then come to the accept phase. The accept phase has two key components. We make an offer of employment and the prospective employee accepts our offer. We then go to the third phase, the affirm phase.

(07:28): Now I imagine everyone listening has heard of the phrase buyer's remorse, . I've coined a phrase, new hires, remorse. Because every new hire begins to doubt the decision they just made to accept your job offer. And what are we doing to address that? We then come to the activate phase, phase four, this is the first day on the job. What does that first day look like? What are we doing to really energize it to make it a memorable moment in their career journey? We then come to the acclimate phase. The acclimate phase is when this new hire is getting used to your way of doing business. This can last weeks, maybe even months. As they get up to speed, they learn the job, they figure out your roles, your ways you're figuring out as the employer about them. We then come to phase six, the accomplish phase when the employee achieves the goal they had when they originally decided to do business with you.

(08:16): Every employee who accepts a job offer has a vision of what their future at their organization's gonna be. Whether that's an increase in title, an increase in salary, a promotion, something like that. So what have they accomplished? We then come to phase seven, the adopt phase where they become loyal to you and only you, they're committed. They're not gonna answer the other recruiter or head hunter calls. And last but not least, the advocate phase where they become a raving fan for your organization. This includes writing reviews on Glassdoor and sites like that, as well as recruiting people to fill other open positions you have in your organization. So if we do it right, it's very similar to a customer journey going through these emotional phases of the employee rollercoaster.

John Jantsch (08:58): Well, and as in a good customer journey, there are intentional actions taken by, you know, the organization to move people through those stages.

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(11:05): So your 100 days framework shows up again of course in in this book. So talk a little bit about some of those intentional actions that companies can or should take to make like that first day, you know, you don't just show up and go Yeah, you know, just follow this person around and you know. Right. , so, so what are some of your kind of fun things we're gonna encounter as actual intentional actions?

Joey Coleman (11:29): Well, two thoughts to that, John. Number one, you mentioned kind of this first a hundred days methodology. All the research shows that the first a hundred days of the employee journey are the most important time period in the entire relationship. This is where the foundation is laid. This is where we really get things off to a good start. And what was staggering to me is that on average, across all industries, about 40%, 40 to 45% of new quit before the 100 day anniversary. Yeah. So stop and think about all this time and effort we made recruiting and interviewing and making an offer and negotiating. Almost half the people are leaving before they've been there three months. This is devastating not only to businesses operationally, but in terms of emotionally in their morale. So what can we do to make that experience remarkable? Well, to your point, and you hit it right on the head that day one experience, their first day on the job is really important.

(12:23): What happens in most organizations is that it's an afterthought. Oh, we're not exactly sure when they're showing up. Oh, we need to do some HR stuff, fill out some paperwork. Oh, you better watch this training video from the seventies about sexual harassment and discrimination. Not to say those aren't important things, but we're not, we're opening from a place of negative, we're opening from a place of scarcity. As opposed to saying, what would it be like if we thought about what's actually gonna happen at the end of the day, at the end of the first day on the job, your new employee is gonna get in their vehicle or they're gonna get on public transportation, or they're gonna start walking home if they have roommates when they get home. Whether that's a spouse, children, a significant other, whoever it may be. The first thing that somebody asks when they walk in the door is, how is the first day on the chops ?

(13:13): That's gonna be the first que, because they already know it's the first day on the job and if they live by themself, they're probably calling mom and dad or a friend or to tell them about the first day on the job. If nothing else, everybody who's listening, I would ask you this. How is a new employee gonna answer that question based on what your typical first day looks like? Are they gonna be raving about how welcome they felt? Or are they gonna be raving about what a great experience they had, the new people they met, the work they got to do? Or are they gonna say, well, you know, I actually spent the first half of the day in a boardroom watching old videos and filling out paperwork. And then I went to lunch with somebody who had, seemed like they didn't really even know they were gonna take me to lunch, but was excited to be able to put it on the company expense account. Then it came back in the afternoon to find out that I actually don't have a desk with a computer set up cuz it wasn't ready. I don't really have my phone. I was supposed to have business cards. They said, I'll have those in three weeks. And I basically got told to just look through some of our marketing materials and I'd meet with my actual manager tomorrow.

John Jantsch (14:10): , you know what, you just,

Joey Coleman (14:13): There's a reason why that hypothetical works. It's because we've lived it. Yeah. We've lived

John Jantsch (14:17): It. Yeah. So, so you know, well, as I heard you describing that, one of the things I encountered is that the problem with is it's no one's job, right? It's like this person came along and they're actually kind of like a nuisance because I've like already got a full plate . Right? And I think that's really it, isn't it,

Joey Coleman (14:37): John? A hundred percent. Two thoughts on that. Number one, in many organizations there's someone who has the job of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring, making the offer, whether that's a head of HR or a talent development person, et cetera. Then invariably we have someone who eventually that person is gonna report to a manager, a boss, a direct rep report, you know, a director of that kind of thing. The gap we have is in the middle. Yeah. The gap we have is the handoff from the recruiter to the manager. And most managers, I read that some fascinating research about a week ago. Most managers, the first time they get any type of managerial training happens at the age of 46

John Jantsch (15:20): .

Joey Coleman (15:21): Now stop and think about how many managers there are under the age of 46. Right? Do we have to wait a decade, a month, you know, years to get to any type of training. So I agree with you, the, if there was one thing that people took away from my book, it would be my hope that they find someone in their organization to be responsible for taking a new employee from the first time they hear about the business until they're up and running a hundred days later. If there was one person that was responsible for that whole journey, our retention numbers would go through the roof.

John Jantsch (15:54): Yeah. And it's not com it's not a compliance act is it? ? No,

Joey Coleman (15:58): Exactly. No, it's an emotional connection. How do we create personal relationships with the people that we're bringing into our organization?

John Jantsch (16:06): Well, and it's kind of like the restaurant, you know, when you go in there and somebody's birthday and like they show up and instead of just your server, like every, all the servers come over and sing Happy Birthday. And it's like that's, you know, making that kind of party is, it just has become part of the culture. And so since I used the C word, but , you know, how do organizations who read this book go, yeah, we're gonna retain our people now by, you know, changing everything. Well, the first a hundred days were a long time ago. You know, and it's like how, you know, how do you put more fun in, put the experience in? I mean, how do you do that after the ship's kind of already sailed?

Joey Coleman (16:47): Yeah. I think it's never too late. Right. To make the experiences you're creating better. And I totally appreciate and empathize with the fact, John, that many of the people that might be thinking, oh, this is something we need to pay attention to, already have team members that are well past the a hundred days. Exactly. So what can you do? I think you can do a couple things. Number one, I think you can acknowledge the positive and the negative aspects of your existing culture. What's great about your culture, what does everybody know needs improvement. There isn't an organization on the planet that couldn't enhance their culture, couldn't improve it in some way. So I think there's always possibilities to do that. Number two, how can we connect with our people on a more personal and emotional level? If there was one question that I would hope people would ponder, it's this, what would it take for us to care as much about what happens between 5:00 PM and 9:00 AM as we do about what happens between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM Yeah. What's going on in your employee's lives after they leave the office, after they log off?

John Jantsch (17:53): Let me push back just a little bit. I, one a hundred percent agree with you, but I can also hear some listeners out there going, well that's none of my business. You know, , I don't want 'em to, you know, care about. That's when they go home.

Joey Coleman (18:07): Totally. Well, here's the thing, John, if I made the phrase you used is, well that's none of my business

John Jantsch (18:13): .

Joey Coleman (18:14): I get it . But it is their business and it is their life. And that's the point I'm trying to make. Yeah. When we recognize that we have human beings that work for us who have lives outside of the office, outside of the work they do for us, we're better able to show up with empathy. We're better able to show up emotionally to connect to them. Now, I'm not saying that you wanna say to all of your employees, Hey, make sure you send me an email and tell me everything you're gonna do tonight between 10:00 PM and midnight. No, that is not at all what I'm talking about. But what I am talking about is the opportunity that so many employers miss to recognize that we expect the very best version of our employees during the workday without taking into any consideration what's going on outside of the workday for them.

(18:58): Do they have a child that's sick or are they struggling with childcare? Do they have a parent that's aging that they're trying to navigate? Do they have something going on in their personal life? I'm not saying you wanna pry into those things. Yep. But you do wanna create the space in your culture for those type of conversations to happen. And there's a whole aspect of the book where we talk about, you know, how do we recognize milestones like births, marriages, deaths, divorces, all the things that are going on in our employees personal lives that very well we know impact their professional lives. But if we pretend like they're not happening, that doesn't build any type of rapport with our team.

John Jantsch (19:35): Well, and I think, you know, some would suggest that work for many is just a, you know, a means to an end. Right? And that that, you know, they're, if we can activate the other things they're passionate about, then the work becomes more important to achieving what they're trying to achieve.

Joey Coleman (19:51): 100%. And I think you and I, John have both been around the block enough to know that if you've got employees where work is a means to an end, the work isn't gonna be that great.

John Jantsch (20:01): Yeah.

Joey Coleman (20:02): , it just is. And that's not a criticism against somebody who is like, Hey, I'm just there to earn my paycheck, but you're not gonna be attracting the kind of talent and producing the kind of results then if you had an employee who was bought into your mission, bought into your vision, bought into your culture and what you're trying to accomplish.

John Jantsch (20:20): So the term employer branding is kind of bantered around quite a bit in marketing circles these days with the idea of not only creating this great culture, this great place to work, but that becomes a huge aspect of your messaging, of your positioning that you know, who would wanna buy from a company that was a great place to work? , right? So Exactly. You know how, but obviously people can pay lip service to stuff like that too. So, you know, how do you, how do you take that got this great culture that you've built, this great experience and make sure that people are, people who are your customers are experiencing that.

Joey Coleman (20:55): You know, it's interesting, John, one of my favorite things to do when I'm trying to evaluate what a company's gonna be like to do business with or maybe to work at or anything like that is I go to the About Us page on their website, and I know you do a lot of research around websites and I'm sure familiar with the same stats I am. That the About Us page as a general rule is the most visited page of any organization's website. It's usually number two right on, on their site. But it's in the top two regard. Sometimes some organizations, it's number one, it's always in the top two. What I always like to do, John, is when I go to the About Us page for a company, can I see a photograph of every employee they have? Can I see a bio in a description on every employee? Not only what they do for their work, but what their interests are, their passions? Do they have a pet? Where do they live? Those type of things. To me, that's how you take aspects of the uniqueness of your organization, your people, and showcase it to the world. Now, because I can also imagine the pushback of some employees saying, well, I don't want my dog's name on the website, , have you ever met a dog owner? Most dog owners wanna talk about their dog all day long.

John Jantsch (22:03): Okay. So the practical reality is most of them will be pictured with their dog.

Joey Coleman (22:07): Exactly. And we'll love to do that. And if you've got somebody who doesn't want their picture on the website, that's fine. Maybe we can do a caricature, maybe we can include the logo. Maybe we can at least include two or three things, their favorite book, their favorite movie, something that lets the outside world know we have humans that work at our company and we celebrate them for their humanity, not their productivity.

John Jantsch (22:31): Yeah. So Joey, we've run Outta time. I appreciate you coming by the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. I, you know, listeners out there, if you have anything to do with having speakers come talk about this topic, Joey on, on top of writing Incredible books is an amazing, entertaining and you know, wonderful speaker as well. So, you know, keep that in mind. Joey. Where would you invite people to, I know the book will be available everywhere, but uh, to connect with you.

Joey Coleman (22:56): Oh, John, thanks so much, first of all, for those kind words about the speaking, I appreciate it. I do love it. The best place to find information about this, the book is called Never Lose an Employee Again, as you mentioned, it's available wherever books are sold, both as a hardcover, an ebook, and an audiobook that I narrate. So whatever version you like to consume content, it's available. Best place to find me is at my website, That's j o e y, like a baby kangaroo or a five-year-old, you know, Coleman, c o l e m a n, like the Camping Equipment, but no relation, You'll find information about the book, you'll find extra resources. One cool thing we did for the book, John, is there's an opportunity to access the vault and in the vault are videos and templates and all kinds of information to help people take the ideas and the tactics and the techniques in the book and actually apply them as part of their business. And you can access that all at the website,

John Jantsch (23:49): Awesome. Well, Joey, again, thanks for taking a few moments to stop by the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. Hopefully we'll see you soon, one of these days out there on the road.

Joey Coleman (23:56): That sounds good. Thanks John, appreciate it. And thanks to everybody for listening in.

John Jantsch (24:00): Hey, and one final thing before you go. You know how I talk about marketing strategy, strategy before tactics? Well, sometimes it can be hard to understand where you stand in that, what needs to be done with regard to creating a marketing strategy. So we created a free tool for you. It's called the Marketing Strategy Assessment. You can find it Co. Check out our free marketing assessment and learn where you are with your strategy today. That's just marketing I'd love to chat with you about the results that you get.

This episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network.

HubSpot Podcast Network is the audio destination for business professionals who seek the best education and inspiration on how to grow a business.



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