The Bottom Liine Ep. 9

Hiring the right people - and keeping them, with Judy Kozlicki of Skytale Group

Judy Kozlicki joins us to talk about hiring and retaining top talent for your practice. Judy is a management consultant with Skytale Group, and has over 17 years of experience working with aesthetics practices. We talk about her team building approach and cover some of the tools and techniques she uses to develop healthy, high-performance teams.



Ken: Welcome back to The Bottom Liine. Today we have Judy Kozlicki, Director of Aesthetics for Skytale Group. And we’re very excited to have her here. We’re going to talk about staffing, so we’ll see what we get.

Charlie: People, people Ken. It’s a broader topic than that. Gosh.

Ken: Okay. We’ll talk about people… Well, that… we talk about people all the time, but in a different way. Yeah. So recruiting, interviewing, retention, whatever might go into that topic. But Judy, as always, we want to give you a chance to tell us who you are. So do you mind introducing yourself.

Judy: Absolutely. Hey, Charlie, thank you for having me. And thanks Ken for the intro. Judy Kozlicki. What is the Director of Aesthetics for Skytale group? Basically I’m a management consultant. My claim to fame really is that I have worked with medical aesthetic practices for 17 plus years, so I started in a single location med spa.

I started at the front desk, worked my way up to COO and slash title CCO Chief Culture Officer Which is why this topic is near and dear to my heart, talking about people and team building. But having managed practices really with multiple locations, I had 33 locations MedSpa locations under my belt at one point and I was managing and have also worked with Solo and small group plastic surgery practices.

So the whole industry is kind of embedded in my blood, as are the people and the providers and that and just the teams that make up these groups. And today, as a consultant, I just have more than one. I won’t say how many, but several clients that I get to work with and help their teams grow and scale and all of the above.

Ken: Well Judy, your job is unlocking growth for health care practices, right? So I think I know what you’re going to say, but what’s the number one thing that’s the biggest driver of growth?

Judy: Your biggest driver of growth is your team. It’s the people. This is very much a relationship business. Ah, we’re a service industry, right? And we provide a service. Our providers are helping people look and feel their best and part of what they do is not only skill and science and art, it’s developing a trust with their patients and having led teams of really amazing providers.

It was always really super important to me for our providers and our team, really across the board. I say providers a lot, but I want to make sure that I think of the team as a whole – front desk associates, coordinators OR staff nurses, etc. but all of the above. My job as a leader is to help empower you to feel successful, right?

What can I do to support you in your role? Because you’re the one taking care of our patients. So that’s a one hat I probably never wore in a practice is being the actual provider and taking care of patients, you know, directly. So my job was really to support them in their role because when they’re successful, the whole the whole business, the whole practice wins.

Charlie: What do you guys do, I imagine in your when you’re doing a consulting engagement that this is a part of your initial assessment, Like when you go into a practice day one, right near the beginning, what do you how do you evaluate their people situation?

Judy: Yeah, as you can imagine, I mean, straight out, our consulting efforts are really very, very focused on financials and deep dive and really understanding and getting a clear picture of that. But your question is super valid because part of also what we do is we want to understand the operations and the team dynamics. So one of the things I recommend is a staff survey.

So we’ve devised a pretty robust but very, very confidential staff survey that each of the individual staff members will fill out. It’s like I said, it’s confidential, but it allows me to get just an initial glimpse of what’s the vibe like at this place, Right? I haven’t been there yet. I don’t know. How are people feeling in their roles?

Do they feel like they understand their actual role? Do they have a good picture of a job description? Do they know who they report to? And one of the biggest questions that I find empowering is “Do you feel in the know”? Because if oftentimes you know, practices are either growing really rapidly or they’re changing for multiple different reasons, we have to change processes.

Change equals growth, right? And a lot of people can feel uncomfortable with that. And if they don’t know what’s happening or what’s coming down the pike, that’s very unsettling. So keeping people feeling like they know what’s happening is also really important. So that helps me know how great is our communication? Like, are we meeting on a weekly basis?

Are we having one on ones with our staff? Do we have performance reviews? Do I get just a pat on the back here and there? I mean, there’s so many elements to taking care of your team.

Charlie: Yeah, that’s yeah, I mean, so many practices, whether they’re getting involved with like considering joining a platform or opening new locations or taking funding or whatever, there’s a lot of stuff going on, especially in the aesthetic space. So I bet it’s, I bet that’s something that’s overlooked quite a bit. You mentioned a couple of examples of like one on ones and performance reviews.

What are like the core elements of keeping your staff feeling like they are, or actually keeping them in the know, making them not feel unsettled? What’s like the core things that you think that need to be in place structurally so that staff have a grasp on what’s going on? Yeah.

Judy: One of my mantras has been overcommunicate, and that can get frustrating to people in business like us, where it’s like, how many emails do I have to go through a day? But when you’re taking care of a team, you really want to make sure again that they feel in the know. So if they’ve heard it once, well, here’s part of the reason – if they heard it once, they probably didn’t hear it.

You know, if they see it in writing, maybe they read it. But if they see it, then in a recap on a monthly, you know, newsletter or something like that and we’ve now said it three times, hopefully it’s sunk in and you can’t be the one to point the finger and say, No one told me that, right? So that’s a starter.

One on ones I think are really critical, meaning you have to take time to listen and sit down with each of your team members individually and just allow them time to say, you know what? What are the big rocks you’re facing right now? What’s making you feel either successful or unsuccessful throughout your day? Like, how can I help you feel?

Again, successful team meetings are critical and not team meetings just for the sake of someone listing off. Here’s what’s going on. But team meetings that actually include everyone in some way. And now that’s not always comfortable for everybody. I just had this conversation with someone, one of my clients actually, that, you know, you you bring a team together and there might be two or three out of ten that really never talk.

They never chime in. They don’t contribute. I was always very, very intentional about finding a way to include those type of people because maybe they’re just a little bit shy, but, you know, they’re on your team and maybe they’ve been on your team for eight years. Well, guess what? They’ve got some really good knowledge up here and they probably have some good insights to to weigh in with if we just give them the time and space to do that.

So I think as a leader, we also have to be very inclusive and thoughtful about how we conduct our meetings. And then I think overall, it’s very, very hard in the practices I work with. I mean, you’ve got surgeons and surgery and those that whole our staff is is busy from, you know, Lord knows the sun hasn’t come up and they’re in there getting ready and prepping for the day and then they’re seeing that patient out the door and it could be 12 hours later.

So they’re tired, they’re out the door going home. So how do you catch that team and how do you catch the surgeons who are busy in clinic or operating and or it’s same with you know, that’s what nonsurgical providers who are potentially seeing patients all day long. So making time to bring the whole team together or even if we can do that once a quarter, everybody like take 2 hours. Just do it.

Charlie: Yeah.

Ken: And obviously they will appreciate that. But what are like the tangible benefits to convince the practices why they need to do this obviously like turnover would go down. What’s that list of things.

Judy: Oh, you hit it. You hit it Ken. My biggest thing right there is about retaining your team. Right. As soon as people feel or start to feel disconnected in some way with either what’s going on, the owners or the rest of the team, their their minds going elsewhere. So this is really, really critical, in my opinion, to retaining people.

And we all know that staffing is a huge issue right now. We are losing people and we’re finding it harder and harder to replace them. So I know we’re going to go down this band The vote. Yeah, viewing and recruiting and that piece of it, what to do. But I really think that’s the biggest tangible can and making sure that day in and day out, everyone’s thinking what is our vision, our mission?

You want everybody on the step, We’re all in the same direction. And so keeping our mission top of mind is really it’s critical.

Charlie: Hey, one non valuable side note I was thinking about what to do with the over communication and the three things you remember in Austin Powers when they ask. I think it’s Will Ferrell doing a cameo and he like won’t tell them where Dr. Evil is and if they ask him three times he will. Where’s Dr. Evil, Honey? I’ll never tell you.

Where’s our Do you hiding? No way. Where’s that damn three times? That is the secret to communication. Yes.

Judy: Right. Three times. Maps. I’m glad like Charlie did.

Charlie: I’m glad I could contribute. Finally, I’ve been sitting here waiting to drop that end ad value. Good gosh.

Yeah, that. Yeah, that. In all seriousness, the team meeting thing with everybody. I bet. I bet. I bet like 90% of practices don’t do that. Maybe more because they would just look at this go, Oh my God, there’s just no way because of the 12 hour stop, whatever you just said. But I can see that being really valuable for a number of reasons.

And so that there’s that there’s team meetings maybe with like different departments on a more consistent weekly basis. And then the one on ones, those seem to be the core components of how do you have everyone feeling like they’re in the know and, and also as a leader getting feedback, that’s another thing you’re not in the know if you’re about them either.

If you’re not talking to them about this stuff. Right. And then you have no idea that someone’s like about to leave or like starting to consider being catch it so much earlier or prevent it altogether. You were alluding to the staffing thing and recruiting massive issue for many reasons. You know, post-COVID, everybody’s waiting on a stimulus check. Nobody wants to work but the pool.

It feels like the pool of people and talent is like shrinking all the time. For some reason, even though the world is overpopulated, I can’t figure that out. And then retention is a problem. So you and I, before we started recording this today, we’re talking about the gut reaction a practice has when they lose, especially a top producer or just like a really quality team member.

So what’s the biggest mistake that happens in that moment when the practice loses somebody like that? And then like in general, what’s the approach they should take when they’re recruiting and hiring people to make sure they get the right ones?

Judy: Yeah, it’s a loaded question. The the initial…

Charlie: Do the first part.

Judy: Yeah. The initial gut reaction is to hire quickly. Just fill the, fill the void. And of course if you’ve got someone who is a top producer, meaning, you know, they’re creating a lot of revenue or generating a lot of revenue, we tend to look for someone with even a book of business, which is like everyone’s dream, like, can I just fill this provider?

You know, can I find someone else to book a business? He’s just going to steal them from, you know, this clinic to bring them over here. Quite honestly, we really need to be focusing on our individual team members and how they fit together in our culture, Right? This isn’t just about their skill, their ability to sell or their, you know, personalities.

I mean, they’re there’s so many elements, again, to hiring the right person. They do need to have good training and they do need to have good values, but their personality needs to be also a good fit with the team. So I’m I’m very I preach a lot of being very early in the interview process because oftentimes we rush that through and then, oh, I love her, let’s hire her, make her an offer tomorrow.

And we’ve we’ve literally maybe had one, you know, conversation on the phone and one face to face is there’s a lot more to learn and a lot more that we can do ahead of actually hiring. And I am going to say those first 90 days are still critical. Like you just don’t know what you don’t know. Yeah, until they’re working in your space, like if somebody has a true fit, but being thorough means have them shadow in your practice for a day or a half a day.

Like let them see the inner workings of your practice, but also let your team see how it is this person interact. One of the things I love, and I know you’re waiting for me to say it is I do utilize. I really like to utilize, I should say. Yeah, personality tests.

Charlie: Love it.

Judy: I’ve done them enough. I’ve worked with them enough. And specifically DiSC is one, although I’ve, I’ve done them all and can see value in all of them. Just pick one and use it because you start to learn what people drivers are, what their natural drivers are and how they adapt. And in a work environment and you see that right in front of you.

These things just don’t lie. Can you fudge a little bit on? I’m sure people can, but if if they’re doing it, you know.

Charlie: Largely it’s going to be helpful. Yeah. Even if it’s directionally helpful, it’s better than not having it.

Judy: You start to learn a lot about what are the key kind of we use benchmarks and in our Skytale world all the time, like clients, you know, we have KPIs and benchmarks. What do we want to hit You start to find benchmarks for certain types of employees, right? A nurse has a different kind of background. They’re usually very detail oriented, black and white.

They know because they’re rule followers and they have to be there in medical industry and they’ve got to complete their notes and things like this. So but that’s very different from an abstract salesperson like yourself, Charlie.

Charlie: I sell tangible, concrete benefits. Judy I don’t know what abstract’s in there for.

Judy: Right.

Charlie: Proven ROI value prop. Yeah. How does one start messing with that? You just go on the internet and say Good personality test. You mentioned DiSC like you sort of have to get you don’t have to be certified, but how do you get to a place where you could actually leverage that?

Judy: You do have to go through enough to understand what they mean. And I had the benefit for some years of having worked with kind of a hiring coach who really taught me a lot about them, because in one of the practices I worked for, literally every top candidate, every hire that we made had to go through that. We didn’t make every candidate take it right because that would be expensive and time consuming.

But once we got to our top contenders, we wanted to take it and not to roll someone in or out necessarily, but to be aware of the type of drivers but also their communication style. What should we be aware of when we do hire this person? How’s there fit with the team, what might be a strength and a great way to utilize them going forward.

You know, most and ways maybe they’re not going to be perfect.

Charlie: That you mentioned something earlier related to just how do they interact in the workplace shadowing. So that’s something you did commonplace where maybe you’re like down to two people or maybe maybe you just have one and you think they’re right, but you’re just you’re going to bring them in and they literally will spend the day shadowing someone in a similar role.

And what does that look like? You just meet with them at the beginning in the end, or how how do you sort of set that up and what are the, you know, components of it?

Judy: Yeah, shadowing. Well, it’s different for different roles. Right. But right. Let’s let’s take just a clinical role. You want them to shadow someone like you said, in a similar position. And so but also I would purposely set up ways for them to interact with other members of the team and not just this one or two people in a department.

I like to meet with them, you know, at the beginning, talk about, hey, here’s what your day is going to look like. Have really though, the team member take take ownership of that. It’s also a way to empower your team to feel like leaders and that you know and be part of the decision but then meet with them at the end of the day as well to kind of get any feedback from the individual who is interviewing and then obviously meet with the team members who meet with them.

So you really pulling information from both sides. You know, how did it feel? What was environment? I’ve seen these kind of go wrong, right? Yeah. Yeah. They’re the shadow, you should be shadowing meaning watching what’s happening and then wait for a moment. If you have a question, wait for an appropriate time frame to maybe ask about what that was or that process or what did the doctor just say.

Explain that you don’t jump in and start to try to prove yourself to start. Yeah. The consultation or something. Right. That does not fly.

Charlie: That’s going to be that’s bad. But also the patient’s like, what the hell is going on here? Exactly. You know. Yeah, that’s. Is that something you think is common place for practices that they typically do have shadowing or most don’t do that?

Judy: No, I, I think most have really learned to incorporate that.

Charlie: And it’s good. It’s good. One other sort of the opposite of the I just this popped in my head so we’ll see how if you want to talk about it but but letting people go that aren’t a fit right So being methodical and not rushing to hire the right people, personality test, shadowing, etc., you talk about the first 90 days being so important, which I agree with.

Have you had a lot of experiences where you find that this is not working out, you just gotta abort pretty quick or what is? Tell me about your thoughts on that.

Judy: Laughing because I have to tell you this story. I once we once had a nurse join our team. That’s all I will say. Join our team in a role that was maybe different than what she had had before, but she was insistent this was definitely a change she wanted to make and what she wanted to do. And she told me that I mean, she literally came in my office as we were just doing opening orientation orientation, like filling paperwork and all that.

She said, I cried my whole way here. And should that have been a signal like, Oh, maybe this isn’t the right decision. It’s like, okay, so with that in mind, okay, checked in with her at the end of the day, how was the day? Well, honestly, throughout that 90 days, it really took about that long. But she gave it a college try to fit into this new type of role, but it wasn’t for her.

And her gut told her that when she came.

Charlie: Yeah. Before it, before she stepped foot as an employee of a facility.

Judy: She hadn’t even entered the building. Yeah. So 90 days? Yeah. Well, we would have thought that that might have helped her, you know, adjust and, and you know, grow into the role. But it was not the right fit.

Charlie: Yeah. Yeah. And so, but you’re, I mean, I think I’m not sure what is a bigger mistake people make hiring too fast in the wrong they’re in there related too right? If you’re hiring too quickly, it’s the wrong person. Then you have more people that are in the wrong place and you’re probably not letting them go fast enough because you’re not confident in your ability to hire another person.

And so you have people there that aren’t good for too long and it’s just like dragging everyone down, you know?

Judy: Yeah, you are 100% right. I think the bigger issue is not firing quick enough. Yeah, and being comfortable with doing that, saying this is we made a mistake, this is not the right fit. Because yeah, people are worried about, well, how am I going to fill it or what’s going to happen, you know, are these duties going to fall on my team who’s already exhausted?

And you know, it’s, it’s, it’s a myriad of thoughts and processes that go into these decisions. But keeping someone on here, again, that’s, you know, another story, keeping someone on who is a high producer but a really bad someone who started the lone wolf. Yeah, that’s a topic that people struggle with, though. Yeah. My my line continues to be, is the tail wagging the dog or is the dog wagging the tail?

Right. Who owns the business here? Right. And are you going to continue to let this person on your team, you know, spin and and really create the toxicity within the rest of the team that might be happening? Right. I’ve seen it.

Charlie: So yeah, it sounds like the biggest takeaway there is just like the when we think back to one on wins team meetings the once a quarter as often as possible with everybody, that environment and culture has to be prioritized. And in that example, if and if it’s someone who’s a top producer, it makes it harder. But then you’re just you’re prioritizing.

That really isn’t the business. The whole the start of this whole thing was how do you grow the business, the people. And so if you think about it that way, that’s actually not that difficult of a decision because that person is messing with the people. Exactly. Even though they’re a top producer and and they’re holding back the whole thing from expanding.

So tough situation to be in. But if you value my team is the way to grow that becomes cut and dry. I would think I figured it out. Judy.

Judy: You did it. Now why can’t everybody all my other clients, be like you.

Charlie: I know, I’m just like, I’m very intelligent.

Ken: We could talk about this all day. I love it. We do need to probably put a bow on it unfortunately, but we’ll happily have you back anytime. You’re welcome. Judy, do you want to tell people where they can find Skytale or find you online.

Judy: Yeah, it is www skytalegroup dot com for our website. We do have a podcast that Charlie was also featured on. So feel free to also tune in to Skytale Insights, love that I want to leave with one last thought about your team. Sure. Don’t forget to thank people. Don’t forget to pat them on the back.

Whenever you have the opportunity, go out of your way to do it.

Charlie: I love it.

Ken: Awesome. Charlie, you’re a great podcast host, by the way. Just want you to know that.

Charlie: What did I do? Oh, thank you. Haha.

I didn’t get that. I was like, I’m so flattered. Yeah. Great job, Ken. And thank you, Judy, for all you do.

Ken: Awesome. Thank you, Judy. We’ll see you again soon.

Judy: Thank you both. It’s a pleasure.