Creating Superfans Podcast Episode 211: Joey Coleman

Creating Superfans podcast - How to transform your employees into advocates with Joey Coleman

What if I told you the way that you think about recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, and retaining your team members could be wrong?

My guest on this week’s episode of the Creating Superfans podcast is my good friend, Joey Coleman. Joey is a two-time Wall Street Journal bestseller and the author of one of my favorite books, Never Lose An Employee Again.  He’s an award-winning speaker who’s worked with organizations ranging from small start-ups to global brands, such as Whirpool, Volkswagen Australia, and Zappos.  In today’s episode, we talk about how your employees are a much bigger piece of the puzzle than you may have realized and the things that you need to do to get them to advocate on your behalf.

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show notes

4:15 –  The funny reaction Joey is getting when CEOs read his new book, “Never Lose An Employee Again.”

5:09 – Why Covid has been the biggest influence on the employee experience throughout history

6:21 – Why the workforce will eventually decline

8:30 – Joey believes that employees are not driven by paychecks

10:33 – Employees should have good stories to share about their experiences working for the company.  How do you ensure that your team members are advocates of the company?

12:29 – What percentage of your new hires are coming from internal referrals?

14:03 – Joey’s interesting experience as an intern that taught him a lot about workplace culture

20:01 – Many employers fail to understand the goals and aspirations of their employees, both professionally and personally.

22:21 – How corporations have set the wrong precedent for work/life balance

26:25 – The difference in workplace culture pre-IPO and post-IPO

27:52 – How Japan does business differently and how it relates to employee loyalty

32:52 – How immigration relates to employee experience, the future of our workforce, 

37:33 – Brittany shares one of her most recent newsletters about how to talk to your employees about challenging world events, especially in light of the Israel-Hamas War.

40:02 – 63% of customers want to do business with a company that says what the organization stands for. For employees, it goes up to 69%

44:28 – Find Never Lose An Employee Again on Amazon or anywhere else you buy your books

Visit Joey’s Website


Brittany Hodak [00:00:02]:

Hello, and welcome to the Creating Superfans podcast, where you learn how to turn your customers and employee into Superfans. I’m your host, Brittany Hodak, and I’m a speaker, author, and entrepreneur obsessed with all things customer experience. Here’s the thing. We’re living in an experienced economy right now, and regardless of the size or age of your company or even the products or services you’re selling, one thing’s for sure if your customers aren’t telling their friends about you, you’re in trouble. If you want to create Superfans, being great is no longer good enough. You’ve got to be super. This is the show that teaches you how. 

Brittany Hodak [00:00:59]:

What if I told you the way that you think about recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, and retaining your team members could be wrong.

My guest today is bestselling author Joey Coleman. He’s a two times Wall Street Journal bestseller and author of one of my favorite books that’s come out this year. It’s called never lose an employee again. He’s an award winning speaker who’s worked with brilliant brands like Zappos, Volkswagen, and Whirlpool to help them keep their team members longer. In today’s episode, we’re going to talk about how your employees are a much bigger piece of the puzzle than you may have realized and the things that you need to do to get them not just talking, but sharing the stories you want them to share about your organization. Now, my conversation with Joey is up next. But first, here’s a message from today’s sponsor. 

Brittany Hodak [00:01:52]:

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Brittany Hodak [00:02:37]:

Slash Brittanyhodak today to schedule your free strategy session. Joey friend, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Joey Coleman [00:02:45]:

Oh, please, Brittany, thank you so much for the kind welcome, the Kind introduction. It is such a thrill to get a chance to be on the show and connect with you. And thanks to everybody who’s kind enough to be listening in or watching a little clip of this on Social. It’s super excited to be here with all of you.

Brittany Hodak [00:03:01]:

Well, I want to start things off with a question. Now, Joey, you and I met gosh, probably like four or five years ago at an event. I’ve been a fan of your work since even before then. Your book, Never Lose a Customer Again is a classic. Earlier this year, you came out with Never Lose an Employee Again, and I want to know now that the book has been in the world for a few months. People have read it, you’re traveling, people are seeing you. What is the thing that people are saying to you most often about the book? Like, I read the book and what are you hearing again and again and again?

Joey Coleman [00:03:37]:

So I would say there’s two things that come to mind. Number one, what is different than my first book? With my first book, somebody would read the book and I’d get a call from the CEO of a company and they would say, oh, my gosh, love the book. I want to buy 100 copies for everybody in my company because everybody in my company works in customer experience. They all need to get better at how we treat our customers. With this book, what happens is a CEO calls me and says, oh, Joey, I love the book. I want to buy one copy for my head of HR. One copy. And we want to hire you to come in to work with us to make our employee experience better.

Joey Coleman [00:04:15]:

And what I often ask in those conversations is, why don’t you want more people to read the book or be exposed to this? And I kid you not, Brittany, I have heard this more than a dozen times now. They’ve said, well, we don’t want our employees to know how bad it actually is here. And I’m like, Folks, they already know this is spoiler alert. They’re not going to read my book and suddenly realize, oh, it’s not a great place to work here. No, this is the situation. And so my empathy for leaders everywhere when they’re thinking about their employee experience is the game has changed radically in the last three years. I mean, radically. I would posit that COVID did more to shift employee experience than any singular impact or extraneous force in the history of the human species.

Joey Coleman [00:05:09]:

And I know that’s a broad statement, but even if we think of, like, electrification, there are plenty of places in the world where workplaces don’t have lights and they’re not electrified. What about the Industrial Revolution, Joey? Well, there are plenty of places in the world where the Industrial Revolution still hasn’t reached. But you know what reached everywhere? COVID. And you know what it forced every business to do, except the fact that they were going to have to have people working remotely. And that shift not only changed how businesses approach business, but more importantly, it changed how employees are approaching their employers and what they’re looking for, what they’re expecting, what they’re demanding as it relates to a work environment.

Brittany Hodak [00:05:51]:

Yeah. Really a huge shift in the power.

Joey Coleman [00:05:55]:

Absolutely, absolutely. And here’s the thing. I talk to a lot of leaders who say, well, Joey, just wait. Wait till the pendulum swings back and it’ll be back to being an employer’s market instead of an employee’s market. Friends, it’s not going to happen. And it’s not going to happen for a variety of reasons that are well beyond your control. The major one being demographics. We increasingly have fewer people on the planet now.

Joey Coleman [00:06:21]:

Some people look at that and they’re like, wait, Joey, the population is rising. Yes, I get it. But the number of children that the average family is having is decreasing. So we’re getting fewer and fewer people entering the workforce every year. That creates a vacuum. As we have the generations that are in place right now start to retire, there is going to be a big gap. I’ve yet to meet an employer who isn’t actively looking for people. And not only are they looking for anyone, let alone the top talent, the really A plus performers who are going to do a remarkable job.

Brittany Hodak [00:06:57]:

Yeah. And I think what your book does a really great job of is spotlighting A, what that gap is between what the experience at your organization likely is and what it could be, but also B, what is now required, like what is now table stakes that used to be great. And one of the lines from your book that I just absolutely love is I’m going to paraphrase here, but leaders will say, I wish my employees cared about this business as much as I do. But what employees are saying that you may not be even aware of is they are saying, I really wish my boss cared about me as much as they cared about this business. And I think that was one of those things that I was like, wow, I think some people are going to read that and it’s going to be the first time they’ve ever thought of that.

Joey Coleman [00:07:49]:

I think you’re right, Brittany. And here’s the thing. I don’t judge that as a leader or a business owner, you haven’t thought of that before. I actually have empathy for you. I’m a fellow business owner. I get it. It’s hard. But here’s the thing.

Joey Coleman [00:08:03]:

You didn’t get into business because you wanted to go the easy path. You got into business because you wanted to be part of something bigger than yourself. You wanted to have an impact. You wanted to have opportunities for advancement and success and new experiences and new roles and new responsibilities. And your employee, your team members are exactly the same. They’re not in it for the paycheck. I know that’s an easy thing. That like, oh, they’re just driven by the paycheck and I know we’ll pay them more and that’ll get them to stay.

Joey Coleman [00:08:33]:

No. They’re driven by this belief that they can put in their hard earned time, the time they have on the calendar to create something of value, to create something where they feel like they’re making a contribution, where they’re having an impact, where they’re being seen, where they’re being heard, where they’re being appreciation for their role and their participation. And that path, that kind of evolution of the human species and what we want to do and how we want to contribute is something almost every employee on the planet is desperately seeking and very few employers are actually delivering on.

Brittany Hodak [00:09:10]:

Yeah. And I think the ones who are understand the power of that, not just for the retention of those employees, but attracting new employees who are referred. And one of the things that you talk about in the book, actually, that I’d love for you to talk about is sort of the advice for encouraging this referrals, because you make the point which I think anybody hearing this is like, oh, yeah, duh, of course. But I had never thought about it is how much people actually talk about their jobs. And you said people might be talking about their jobs more than they talk about anything else. And one of the things that I talk about a lot and write about a lot is that everyone is an influencer because of how interconnected our world now is, every single person, including you listening to this show, are an influencer. There are people in your life who are solely forming their opinions about companies, people, things based on what they hear secondhand from you. And that is, of course, true of every employee as well.

Brittany Hodak [00:10:10]:

The things that they are saying to friends, to colleagues, to strangers on the Internet shape the perception that people who have not worked at that company before think when they think of what it might feel like to work at that company. So I’d love for you to kind of talk about this and some of the really great pointers that you share in the book for the things that you can do to encourage the right kind of conversations to help drive some of those referrals.

Joey Coleman [00:10:33]:

Well, I think there’s a couple pieces to this puzzle, Brittany. Number one is your employees are talking about what it’s like to work for you. The question is, are you giving them good stories to know? There’s the country music legend Bonnie Rait, who has a great song that says, let’s give them something to talk about. And that song is constantly running in my head when I meet with heads of HR departments or people departments. What are we doing to actively create an environment that when those employee go home, when they leave the office, when they log off their computer, when they’re hanging out with their friends, where they’re talking to their relatives and someone says, how’s work going? Or how was your day to day? That they actually have substantive, meaningful, energized stories to share. So that’s to your point earlier, the table stakes, what we need to be striving for now if we want to go to the next level, how do we get our employees to speak positively about us? How do we get them to refer new business? How do we get them to refer new employees? How do we get them to go on Glassdoor and write reviews about how amazing we are? That’s, I think, a concept of moving an employee to being an advocate. And in the book, I outline eight phases of the employee journey. Now, the punchline here, Brittany, is the last phase is the advocate phase.

Joey Coleman [00:11:52]:

The problem is, I think most employers want to hop from your first day on the job to you referring other people. I mean, I’ve been in a scenario where I’ve been in a training session at a company where I was going to work, and they said, by the way, we’re looking for our next class of new hires. If you have any friends, you should come over here and tell this HR person their names and emails so that we can try to recruit them to join. And I’m thinking, and we’ll give you.

Brittany Hodak [00:12:17]:

$50 if they start here. Right.

Joey Coleman [00:12:20]:

Even sure if I like being here yet, and you want me to open my personal Rolodex? That’s not going to happen.

Brittany Hodak [00:12:26]:

You want to buy my contacts before I’ve had lunch.

Joey Coleman [00:12:29]:

Exactly. And one of the things I like to ask leaders, especially those who are like, oh, Joey, our employees love working here, I’m like, great, do you think that they’re advocates? And invariably they say, oh, yes, they totally are advocates. To which I respond brilliant, do you have any open positions in your organization right now you’re looking to hire for? And most of them say yes. I say, great. What percentage of the candidates are direct referrals from your existing employee? And suddenly it gets really quiet. Oh, well, I’m not really sure. I’ll have to get back to you. And the answer is a very small percentage, if any.

Joey Coleman [00:13:05]:

And the reason for that is because we don’t actually have advocates within the organization. If we had advocates, our top employees would be recruiting the smartest people they know, the best people they’ve ever worked with, the people they went to school with, who’s ever in their network that they know is amazing. They’d be trying to get them to come work with you as well. And if they’re not doing that, you don’t actually have advocates. You might have adopters, you might have fans, you might have people that are enjoying working for you, but they’re not the superfan advocates that we all want and desire.

Brittany Hodak [00:13:40]:

Right. It’s a paycheck or maybe a passion, but certainly not a purpose.

Joey Coleman [00:13:45]:


Brittany Hodak [00:13:46]:

Because everybody wants to have an A team around them if they love their job. Anybody who is not just an advocate of their company but actively engaged in what they’re doing wants the best, smartest, brightest people around them so that everyone can flourish together.

Joey Coleman [00:14:03]:

I think they do, Brittany, but I also think there’s a huge percentage of humans that are scared to do that. I think there’s a huge percentage of humans that are. Well, I want to work with people that I like, and I want to work with great people, but I don’t want to work with people that are too great, because if they’re too great, then I don’t look good enough. And so there’s this constant effort. I worked years ago, I worked for a company, an organization that I’ll avoid naming to protect the guilty here. And as part of my job, first week on the job, they trained us to review these files and write up a report. So I had to review a file that might be anywhere from 30 to 50 pages and write up a one page summary of everything that was in the file. Kind of pretty standard entry level work for new associate, new member of the.

Brittany Hodak [00:14:53]:

Organization, the Joey GPT. Of Joey GPT.

Joey Coleman [00:14:59]:

So my job was to kind of review this situation, write it up. And so I did one under the supervision of my boss, and my boss looked it over and was like, oh, you want to change this, this and this. And then on the next day, I did another one. Do this, this, and this. And on the third day, my boss said, okay, now just go do these. And I mean, there were thousands of these files in the office to go through. And I said, out of curiosity, how many am I supposed to do in a day? Because I understand I was doing the ones to learn, but what’s the goal? And he said, well, give it a try, but maybe try to get through three in a day. Like, if you could get three in a day, that’d be great.

Joey Coleman [00:15:41]:

And I’m a little bit of a Taipei personality. So the first day, I got through six, and I handed him into my boss, and he’s like, Holy cow. Did twice the amount I was expecting. I said, yeah, I appreciate that, but more importantly, review my work. Do you feel like I’m doing a good job? Because if I’m doing a good job, I feel like I’ve got this. I can step down on the gas pedal and do more, but I want to make sure before I do 50 of these, we’ve got it right. He says, wow, these look great. Joey.

Joey Coleman [00:16:08]:

The next day, I did ten. The next day in the morning, a couple of my coworkers say, hey, Joey, do you like to go to lunch today? Now, mind you, Brittany, this is week two on the job. And I’m like, oh, my gosh, my coworkers are asking me for lunch. This is amazing. And we go to lunch, and there’s three other guys sitting there with me. We sit down and they’re like, So how’s it going? I was like, It’s going really well. And they said, well, how are you thinking about the file review? I say no, I think I’m doing pretty good. I actually got ten reviewed yesterday.

Joey Coleman [00:16:35]:

One of the guys goes, yeah, that’s a problem. Said excuse me. He said, three. We do three a day. Not six, not ten, three. And in fact, on some days, if you can only get to two, that’s okay. And this is early in my career. Brittany I didn’t understand what was happening.

Joey Coleman [00:16:56]:

I was like, wait a second. You want me to slow down? Like, yeah, you’re making us look bad. And in that moment, I had this revelation that not everyone wants to be an A player. Not everyone wants to go above and beyond. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. But what I am saying is, as leaders, we need to recognize that there’s the difference between the person who wants to go above and beyond and the person who wants to do the bare minimum. And hopefully we’re not hiring bare minimum folks. But there also is a gap between the bare minimum and the type A.

Joey Coleman [00:17:30]:

Crazy, how many can I do today? And it’s okay to have employee in that sweet spot between those two ends of the spectrum.

Brittany Hodak [00:17:37]:

So how many did you do the next day?

Joey Coleman [00:17:39]:

Oh, that’d be 15. I don’t take well to threats and to that kind of thing. Actually, I ended the lunch by saying, look, I really appreciate you all inviting me to lunch, and I appreciate but.

Brittany Hodak [00:17:51]:

I’ve got to get back to the office and do more recaps. Is that what you said?

Joey Coleman [00:17:55]:

But here’s the deal. I said my job is to perform at the best level that I can, and the best level I can perform at is not three per day. And maybe it’s an opportunity for you to explore what the level you want to perform at is. I’m not saying you have to do more than me, and frankly, I’m not going to be here very long, and you just govern yourselves accordingly. I’m going to do my own thing. And then we were off to the races.

Brittany Hodak [00:18:22]:

And how long were you there?

Joey Coleman [00:18:25]:

As it turns out, this was actually an internship, so that almost makes it even worse. I was an intern, so I was only there for about four months, and I had a remarkable experience. And pretty quickly about a month in, my boss came and is like, you’ve got this thing figured out. You can do this review all day long. We’re going to move you to work on some more complex projects. So what happened is I was able to develop and enhance my career, get new roles, new responsibilities, new experience, because I had done the thing they asked me to do really well and at a high level, and that opened up other doors. This is what I think is available to most employees. So if you’re an employee listening, I’d be willing to share and bet that your boss, whoever you report to, if you were doing everything they needed you to do.

Joey Coleman [00:19:17]:

You’re going to be seen as a rising star, and they’re going to give you more opportunities, more possibilities, more responsibilities, and they might be in things that go beyond the scope of what you’re currently doing. That’s certainly what has happened to me at multiple times in my career. I think we’re only limited by the bounds that we put on ourselves or that others try to put on us, and we have the opportunity, where possible, to push through those.

Brittany Hodak [00:19:41]:

Absolutely. And since you’re talking about what you accomplish, this feels like a really great segue to ask you about something else that you write about in the book, which is that leaders should really over aggrandize what it means to accomplish something. I want you to unpack that a little bit, talk a little bit about it so we can dissect the point that you make.

Joey Coleman [00:20:01]:

Eric so employees, when they decide to accept a job offer in your organization, have a vision of what they’re hoping to achieve, what they’re hoping to accomplishment. The challenge is many employers don’t know what that goal is, nor do they track progress towards that goal. And most importantly, nor do they celebrate when that employee achieves that goal. Now, employees also have personal goals. They have those professional work related goals, but they have personal goals maybe to buy a house or start a family or go back to school or be a good parent or be a good child of an aging parent. All of us have things that we’re trying to do. And I think the opportunity for employers is to pay closer retention to what our people are hoping to accomplish, to track their progress towards those milestones, and then celebrate with them when they achieve those milestones. Because as a general rule, humans aren’t the best at celebrating their accomplishments.

Joey Coleman [00:21:00]:

And the more you become like a type A player or somebody that’s an overachiever, the worse you get at celebrating things. So your top performers aren’t that great at celebrating their accomplishments. They’re probably pretty good at beating themselves up for falling short, or I could have done more, or I know next tomorrow I’ll do 20 review reports instead of the 15 I did today. They’re constantly pushing into it, but if we as leaders aren’t taking the time to say, let’s actually celebrate the achievement, we’re missing an opportunity. The last thing I’ll say on this is I think the employer of the future, the employer who’s going to be able to attract the best talent on the planet, is going to be the one who cares as much about what happens between 05:00 P.m. And 09:00 A.m. In their employees lives as they care about what happens between 09:00 A.m. And 05:00 P.m..

Joey Coleman [00:21:50]:

What I mean by that is what is driving this person outside of the workplace? What are the things they’re hoping to accomplish, to achieve? What are their roles? What are their responsibilities and how can we as an organization help them, encourage them, foster them to succeed in those areas as well?

Brittany Hodak [00:22:07]:

Yeah, being a good steward of the person of while I’m lucky enough to have you in this organization, I care about both your professional and your personal goals, which is I think, a huge paradigm shift, especially if you look at everything sort of post industrial revolution.

Joey Coleman [00:22:21]:

It really is. And I say this with not total judgment, maybe like a thimble full of judgment. I try to keep it small. Corporations brought this upon themselves, right? Corporations did things like saying, oh, this is work. It’s not personal, folks. It’s all personal. And corporations had no problems leaning into saying to an employee, we’re going to need you to stay late tonight or we’re going to need you to come in on your day off to do some extra work. Or increasingly in this modern era, we’re going to need you to get on that Zoom conference call while you’re on vacation.

Joey Coleman [00:22:53]:

It’ll just be an hour. Or answer emails in the night while you’re on the road. It’ll just be a little bit and yet whenever an employee said something like, oh, my kid got the lead in the school play and I’d like to go to the performance and it’s at 03:00, it was, you’re going to have to take vacation to do that. Or, oh, I’ve got a parent who’s sick, I’m going to need to take some time. Well, is this bereavement leave? And it’s like, oh, dear God, no, it’s not bereavement. They haven’t died. I hope they don’t, but I need to go provide some caregiving. Oh, well, let’s see what kind of PTO you have saved up.

Joey Coleman [00:23:26]:

I’m not saying that we can willy nilly let employees just work whenever they want to work, take whatever time they want to take and produce whatever they want to produce. The organization still has to run. But what I am saying is that for all too long, I think we’ve been over indexing on the resources part of the human resources phrase instead of the humans part. I don’t think we should think of them as human resources. I think we should think of them as humans. That if we do a good job, we can collaborate to create something bigger, to create an impact, to create opportunities and achievements.

Brittany Hodak [00:24:03]:

Preach, brother Joey. It’s funny, I was having a conversation with somebody the other day. I know you and I share the belief that it is possible to treat your people well and also be insanely profitable, but you have to put the people before the profits. And somebody was telling me about how great it used to be to work at their company before it IPOed and how now they felt like not only is there a reduced focus on people, but this added pressure of trying to make every employee care about the stock price, the shareholder, the quarterly earnings report. And what this mid level employee said to me was, it was bad enough when I just had a board of directors that didn’t know my name and didn’t care about me. Now I’ve got a board of directors beholden to millions of shareholders who don’t know who I am, will never learn my name, don’t care about me at all, and yet I’m the one being tasked with their retirement. This pressure is like, we’ve got to do this because these millions of people who would not cross the street to help me out are dependent on me for all of their futures. And I think, again, we can have a whole philosophical conversation about the economic relevance and what everything means for employees.

Brittany Hodak [00:25:20]:

But I did think it was very interesting to hear that take from somebody who was like, I have millions and millions of bosses who hate me, don’t care anything about me, and it makes it suck now and want me to.

Joey Coleman [00:25:32]:

Work harder and want me to work.

Brittany Hodak [00:25:33]:

Harder, but there is no hard enough.

Joey Coleman [00:25:35]:

Right? Exactly. And here’s the crazy thing. I actually had the opportunity to work at a privately held company that went public while I was there. And it was fascinating to watch because, Brittany, to the point that your friend was making in the conversation, it was almost like a light switch. The week before we went public, we would have a regular in office happy hours with top shelf liquor and signature microbrews and amazing spreads of appetizers. And I kid you not, it was like a scene from a movie. Two weeks after we went public, we had one of our regular happy hours, and it was a vegetable and dip tray from the local grocery store and two cases of American beer. And that was the happy hour.

Joey Coleman [00:26:25]:

And I’m thinking you just created the most stark counterposition between Life pre IPO and life post IPO. And that was just the beginning of seeing things that were not in the best interest of the employees, because everything became quarterly driven. Then I was in a sales function. We were forced to try to drive as many sales as we could to show up on this quarter’s books, even if that meant harassing a prospect to sign a deal at a lower price point than if we just would have given them three or four more weeks. We could have gotten the full thing we were trying for and had a much better relationship. There’s so many aspects of this IPO, publicly traded, driven world that just are not in the best interest of anyone except the people who have millions of shares. It’s not even in the best interest of individual shareholders. Well, and it’s certainly not in the interest of institutional.

Brittany Hodak [00:27:22]:

Well, and I was going to say institutional. And also people who make very clear they don’t care about your company by the fact that they’re looking to sell very quickly because. Obviously, if you do do some of the things that you talk about in the book and some of the things that we both believe in, long term, they absolutely would be in the interest of your shareholders because they are in the interest of your customers and your employees. But you’re right. When we sort of live by that quarterly earnings report driven world, there are a lot of losers.

Joey Coleman [00:27:52]:

There are a lot of losers. And here’s the thing I’ve always found fascinating. In Japan, they write 500 year business plans. So a business plan is written. It is anticipating the growth of the business over the course of 500 years. When we think in that scale, a bad quarter, a bad year, a bad decade doesn’t matter when you have that scale. But when you’re operating from a quarterly driven model, a bad week can be the end all, be all. And I don’t think having that belief as humans that whatever happened today is going to make or break my life whatever happened this week is going to make or break my life is in the best interest of our human experience and the human condition.

Brittany Hodak [00:28:43]:

Oh, I 100% agree, and I’d never heard that about Japanese business plans. But it’s fascinating, and I can’t wait to research and dive in. I would be willing to bet a ton of money. But I’m going to ask you because you probably actually know the answer. What is the difference between the average amount of years tenured at a company for a Japanese employee versus an American employee? Because what I feel like that one of the side effects of that would be that you have much more of a sense of company pride being a part of building this thing that’s going to outlive and outlast you, something greater than yourself, and that you would probably stay longer in that position and be more engaged. But I would love to know if you actually know the answer, what the truth is.

Joey Coleman [00:29:29]:

So I don’t know exactly what the average number of years, but what I do know is and some of this has shifted in the last few years, but it’s still very strong in the Japanese culture many folks that go to work for an organization in Japan, this becomes your kind of end all, be all. You are part of this organization that is going to be part of your life going forward. And there’s a lot more loyalty on the employee side. There’s a lot more loyalty on the organizational side. Even though this is a place where total quality management came from and zero defects, and a lot of that came out of Japanese manufacturing, there’s still this idea of we are honing and refining things to create the best possible experience that we can. I had the chance a few years ago to be in Tokyo, and one of the things that I found fascinating about shopping in Tokyo I went out and I did some. Souvenir shopping is every place I went. Not just the kind of interesting, fancy boutique stores, but any store that I went to when I checked out with my items, they were wrapped in a beautiful presentation.

Joey Coleman [00:30:42]:

I mean, this is like the kind of presentation, think of the greatest gift you ever received and how it was beautifully wrapped and packaged and everything was amazing. That’s what your banana at the grocery store would be wrapped in. And I’m like, I’m going to eat this as I walk out of the store. How is this working? And it was just that commitment to creating something remarkable, that commitment to the pride in the work that was done. And it really is pervasive in a lot of aspects in the Japanese culture. The bigger problem they have in Japan as it relates to the workplace is demographics. It’s an aging society. There are more old people than young people.

Joey Coleman [00:31:20]:

And so what they’re finding is a real need to shore up the workforce with people, and they don’t have it in their society. And anybody that looks at Japan and the economics over the last 20 years has seen how this has impacted their growth, their stability, et cetera. The crazy thing is, if you look at the drop in population that is occurring in China and in the United States and in most of Western Europe, we see a similar trend that the Japanese have been through over the last two or three decades. So, regrettably, I think this is coming for us because in what is probably not the cleanest or best way to say this, to make another worker in the United States is going to take us 18 years, right? We’ve got to decide to have a baby and have them grow up, and then they’ll enter the workforce and it’s like, okay, we’re not going to be able to solve some of these demographic problems as quickly as we would like to.

Brittany Hodak [00:32:12]:

Well, but luckily for us, the United States is known for its very generous maternity and paternity policies. So clearly this is something being prioritized by the companies of today and increasingly.

Joey Coleman [00:32:23]:

Very generous immigration policies of, let’s just let other people come and live. No. And this is the challenge. And at the risk of getting political on this stuff, we’re not going to solve these issues if we don’t start thinking differently about supporting families and allowing for immigration. We don’t have a choice. I’m not saying we should just have everybody who wants to come to the United States can come to the United States. No immigration policy. That’s not an immigration policy.

Joey Coleman [00:32:52]:

That’s a nice knee jerk reaction that we hear on the news. But in the same instance that we can’t just have anyone can come here, we also can’t say, build a wall 100ft tall, and no one can come here. Neither of those approaches are going to work. It’s got to be more strategic. It’s got to be more intentional. And I think there’s still a lot of people around the world that would love to come and contribute and be part of the American story. We just have to decide as a country and our leaders and our politicians what we want to do in terms of our policies to foster that type of growth and opportunity.

Brittany Hodak [00:33:26]:

Yeah, I think that’s a really good point on how interconnected all of these issues are. And it’s so easy to look at one thing in a vacuum and say, we’re going to just do XYZ, but it’s all connected. And I, over the past couple of years, have followed this practitioner of functional medicine. His name is Dr. Mark Hyman, and he talks about how you have to look at your body holistically. You have to look at every single part because everything’s interconnected. And his frustration with the US medical system is know, you might go to your primary care physician who then sends you out to nine different specialists for nine different things, rather than saying, I think all of these nine things that are happening in different parts of your body are symptoms of the same underlying cause. Let’s figure out what that is, treat that, and then everything’s going to get better.

Brittany Hodak [00:34:20]:

Rather than like, we’re going to put you on medicine for this thing that’s going to spike something else over here and cause inflammation that’s going to make this other system upset. And he talks about how over the past 50 years or so, the United States has become so separate in the way we treat and diagnose parts of the body. And he’s sort of jumping up and down saying, like, guys, it’s one body. Like, it’s one system. It’s all together. The body does not know that somebody has decided that kidneys should be treated differently from lungs, from the brain, from the heart, from the gut, biome. And I think when we talk about all of these factors, economically, socially, politically, you’re right, all of it matters and all of it has far reaching consequences beyond its borders.

Joey Coleman [00:35:06]:

Absolutely. Brittany yeah, exactly. And I love Mark’s work and I think it’s fantastic. And I think it does have an analogous application to the workplace and how we interact with our employee. It’s not enough to say, well, they came to work and we provided them a desk and computer and so they should be able to just produce. And it’s like, well, what happened before they got to work? How are things going at home and what’s going to happen after work? What do they have to deal with? What are the appointments they’re trying to fit into their schedule? What are the things they’re trying to do to just keep moving forward? I know very few people who are not completely overwhelmed by their lives. They’re completely overwhelmed by the number of emails they’re getting, by the number of things they’re taking, their kids to by the number of responsibilities they have, not only potentially for children they’re raising or the relationship they’re in or the parents they’re caring for. There are so many extraneous factors that are contributing to our human condition, and yet too many employers are like, if it doesn’t happen in this window at work, I kind of don’t care.

Joey Coleman [00:36:11]:

And yet the reality is all of those things are influencing, to your point, the whole human being that’s showing up for work every day.

Brittany Hodak [00:36:19]:

Yeah, I have, I don’t know, 10,000, let’s call it, subscribers on a newsletter that I send out twice a month, which is fabulous, by the way.

Joey Coleman [00:36:31]:

And if you don’t get the newsletter, you should. I read the news, Brittany. I got to tell you, it’s one of the only newsletters I read with regularity. I love it. I’m a huge fan.

Brittany Hodak [00:36:39]:

Well, thank you, my friend. You nailed it, by the way. Thank you for following that script exactly as we read.

Joey Coleman [00:36:45]:

Folks, I am a Brittany Hodak superfan. Okay? I know that the book is creating superfans, but I like to think that I was a superfan before there even was the fans movement and superfans book. So, yes, big fan of it.

Brittany Hodak [00:36:58]:

Well, thank you. And I can attest that you were because we have been friends for many, many years, long since before the book. You actually were so kind to help me write this book. This book would not exist in the form and fashion that it does without all of the generous counsel that you have given me for so long, for so many years. I owe so, so much to you, my friend. Since you read the newsletter, you may have seen that I guess it was the most recent one that I sent out was about how to talk to your team about difficult things in the world. And I was talking about the Israeli Hamas war that’s happening. But it was like that.

Brittany Hodak [00:37:33]:

You can’t just say, like, people are going to hit pause on their emotions and not think about things when they get to work. It matters. When you see headlines about a war that’s happening, when you see headlines about mass shootings, when you see headlines about disease or these awful, awful things, it’s not like people are like, oh, I’m at work now. Let me suspend my anxiety. So I tried to write a newsletter talking about how to do a better job of talking to your employees, what it means, why you should, and how, even if you say something that’s clunky or inarticulate, it is better than saying nothing at all. It is better than being perceived as not caring or not aware or completely cold hearted. And I used, again, perhaps clunky, definitely imperfect analogy of when I was in high school. I was a senior in high school on 911, and when my friends and I were all shell shocked from watching the first two planes hit the towers and the bell rang, and we all sort of, like, shuffled helplessly to second period class.

Brittany Hodak [00:38:34]:

And the accounting teacher was like, okay, everybody, I know there’s some stuff going on. Put it aside. We’ve got to work on balance sheets today. And we as seniors are like, Are you kidding? They’re saying there’s more airplanes. And a bunch of us walked out, and we were like, Fine, have your accounting class. We’re going to go see what’s happening in our country right now, because we’re under attack. And again, maybe a clunky and perfect analogy, but the point that I was trying to make was you can’t be seen as indifferent. You can’t be seen as uncaring.

Brittany Hodak [00:39:05]:

You can’t just pretend it doesn’t matter when you’re at work. And the reason I’m telling this story is because I received dozens and dozens and dozens of responses to that email. I’m actually still writing back to people because I’ve been traveling nonstop for ten days. But I did not expect that newsletter to hit a nerve in the way that it did with so many people who said, thank you for helping me articulate this thing that I have been grappling with. Like, I’ve been wondering if I should say something, if it’s better not to say anything at all. If I do say something, how do I say it? And what are the potential legal ramifications? And what if I say something and then something else in the world happens and it changes? And I think that it’s so important to remember your employees are people in the same way that you wouldn’t be like, Whatever, I’ll just ignore my kids. I’ll figure that out later. Your people are your people.

Brittany Hodak [00:39:53]:

They need your help and support all the time, not just during the work hours. They’re on the clock. And not just about things that are happening while they’re on the clock.

Joey Coleman [00:40:02]:

Brittany, you are so right. You are so right, and I did read that, and I loved what you shared and I loved what you wrote because I agree with you. And actually, the research supports your hypothesis. If we look at the Edelman Trust barometer from 2023 so Edelman does this research every year about what do people trust? How do they trust? What are relationships like, 63% 63% of customers want to do business with a company, with a CEO who says what the organization stands for that speaks out and says what the organization is in favor of. When we look to employees, it goes up to 69% of employee want their leaders to take a stand on things and to speak out. And so then the question I often get from audience is, well, Joey, if that’s true, how do we know which side to stand on? How do we know which position to take? Right. Are we on the left side or the right side? Are we on the liberal side or the conservative side? Are we on the strong side or the weak side? Where are we at? And it’s like, here’s what the research also shows. If you do it from a place where you’re trying your best to come up with a position, you’re trying your best to understand that there are multiple sides to every story and you’re not being absolutist, and you’re acknowledging the pain and the challenge and the suffering that is often occurring at multiple places in the circumstance and in the situation.

Joey Coleman [00:41:29]:

If you just do your best to take the stance, the majority of employee, even if you’ve taken a position different than their personal position, will both appreciation that and score you higher on the amount that they trust you because at least you said something. And I think that’s really interesting. Now, do I personally believe that every leader needs to take a position on every topic of the day? No. I think that’s an exercise in overwhelm and futility that is not going to serve anyone. And do I think that we as humans need to be guardians of the amount of information that comes into our lives? I say this just to illustrate the point. The other day my phone vibrated and it was an Amber Alert for a missing child in North Carolina. I live in Minnesota. I was in Minnesota at the time.

Joey Coleman [00:42:31]:

Why I got this alert, I don’t know. Probably some technological glitch. But what immediately happens when I see that alert is I get emotional hits. I get serotonin spikes, dopamine spikes. I get things happening that make me go, oh, my gosh, I should be afraid of this. I don’t know this person. Again, I’m not trying to be insensitive to the family that was going through this, but it’s like we are exposed to so many things that actually have no impact on our day to day lives, but they’re having impact on our bodies and our psyches and our emotions. We’ve got to pay attention to that.

Joey Coleman [00:43:08]:

And I think we’ve got to create space to have conversations with that, not only with our employees, with our coworkers, with our colleagues, but with our friends and our families and being able to say, hey, how are you doing? Are you okay? What’s going on? Because there’s a lot of people that I think increasingly tune out to what’s going on in the world because they’re so overwhelmed with what’s going on in their personal life that they can’t take anymore.

Brittany Hodak [00:43:33]:

Yeah, well, I agree 100%, Joey. I wish we had so much more time for anyone that we haven’t lost yet. Let’s see, we’ve covered. You have to care about your employees. You have to care about their mental health. Immigration could help shore up the company of your business. You need to be thinking 500 years in advance. If those things haven’t yet spooked, you definitely read the book where you will find more fun ideas.

Brittany Hodak [00:43:57]:

Like maybe your employees should be in charge of all the bonuses, why Joey thinks that’s a good idea and what you can do to let those people those people, I say with absolutely no hint of irony, be in charge of the bag of money who gets what. So many super radical ideas like treat your people better and they’ll stay longer and like you more. Joey, my friend, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Where should people go to find out more about you so that they can never lose an employee again?

Joey Coleman [00:44:28]:

Well, the book is called Never Lose an Employee Again. It’s available wherever you like to get your books. And I always like to share with folks. If you like physically holding a book in your hand and reading it, great. There’s a hardcover version for you. If you like highlighting in your Kindle or on your nook, there’s a digital version. And if you’ve liked the sound of my voice on this podcast, there’s an audiobook that I narrate, so I’ll read the book to you if you want. The best place to find me is on my website.

Joey Coleman [00:44:52]: 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. There you’ll find information about how to keep your customers, how to keep your employees, and how to try to create the types of experience that will keep people coming back for more.

Brittany Hodak [00:45:14]:

From now on, I will only be referring to you as camping kangaroo.

Joey Coleman [00:45:18]:


Brittany Hodak [00:45:18]:

I love every piece of it, Joey. Thank you. Thank you again. And I would just like to say if anybody out there is getting a copy of this book for their nook, send me photographic evidence. And I have a surprise that I will send your way in the mail. Because if you are reading this book on a nook, then I stand a legend and you deserve something fun, my friend.

Joey Coleman [00:45:39]:

I love it. Brittany, thanks so much for having me on the show. And thanks to everybody for listening in.

Brittany Hodak [00:45:44]:

Thanks, Joey. Come back soon.

Joey Coleman [00:45:45]:

I will.

Brittany Hodak [00:45:47]:

All right, that’s all the time we have for today’s episode of the Creating Superfans podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in. Now, remember, if you’re a Superfan of today’s episode, you can help us out in a big way by leaving a review and a rating wherever you get your podcasts. It may seem like a little thing, but it can make a huge difference in helping others discover the show. Now, until next time, remember, Superfandom is a two way street. Show your love for your customers and your employee, and they’ll love you right back. We’ve got an exciting show lined up for next week, so I hope we’ll see you right back here. Bye.

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