ToiletTalk Episode 11: Hiring and Retaining Critical Roles

In this episode of ToiletTalk, we met with Tim and Becky Peltzer, the owners of Waste Solutions of Iowa (WSI). The topic of this episode is hiring and retaining employees in the portable sanitation industry.


Wendy: Hi, Wendy here in the ServiceCore studio. Today’s episode is about hiring and retaining critical roles within your company. We’re joined today by Tim and Becky Peltzer, the owners of Waste Solutions of Iowa. WSI not only specializes in portable restrooms, but also commercial grease trap cleaning and commercial and residential roll-off container services. Tim and Becky have a lot to share. So let’s get back in the studio right this way.

Thank you for joining us today to toilet talk. This episode is going to be a juicy one. What happens when one of your key roles leaves your company unexpectedly? Chaos? Right? So how do you minimize the risk of losing one of your key roles. That’s what we’re here to discuss today. But before we jump in, I would like to welcome Becky and Tim Peltzer, owners of Waste Solutions of Iowa and give you two a little bit of a chance to explain and tell us about Waste Solutions of Iowa.
Becky: Well, thank you, Wendy. And I appreciate the opportunity to be here with Service Corps today and explain to us, or explain to whoever is listening about our employee lifetime situation or what do you call it the lifeline not lifetime lifeline. When you reached out to me I said, Oh my gosh, I feel like an imposter. But the imposter syndrome. Because, you know, I would say we don’t have this nailed down. But I would say we definitely tried a lot of things and maybe we can tell you more what not to do than what to do. But this is something we actually have a lot of compassion for. And something that’s super important for us is to have a very good culture, and that the employees who are here really love it here and feel that they fit into our core values and that we live our core values.

So we started Waste Solutions of Iowa back in January of 2018. There was a situation where Tim was looking for a career change he was with a company that had recently shifted from dad to son, and you could tell his son was operating a little bit different and kind of maybe there wasn’t kind of but made several cues of how he could find perhaps someone else. So the time, Tim started looking for another job, and we had a friend who owned a business and put it in your ear, that maybe we could own a business. And I actually, I just never knew anything about that. And so they were out for the hunt. And they found what was called at the time Jim’s John’s and I thought it was gonna be a money tree. Super easy money.

So with that, they continue to pursue that. And we found I want to say a bank silly enough to finance us. And, you know, because we literally had no experience in the industry, let alone owning a business. I worked for someone, and Tim worked for someone. And it just seemed like a good idea at the time. And we jumped in and it was a rough ride. A really rough ride. It was not within but a couple of months. And we were having a hard time making payroll, our maintenance for our trucks was incredibly high, it was we really bought a company with a lot of junky assets, so to speak, and they needed a lot of repairs and maintenance. And we were not handymen. So we had to, you know, ask for help on those things and pay for that, that kind of stuff. And it was just a really rocky road.

And we ended up reaching out to some other entrepreneurs that we knew about, you know, suggestions they may have. And we kind of got a nice little team put together to give us good advice on business. And we were willing to take the actions that they asked us to take. And I’d say by the grace of God that we’re still here today and through a lot a lot of hard work and so it’s been a wonderful journey, it’s been days that have been amazing and days where I want to throw in the towel. And, but at the end of the day, it’s been a phenomenal experience that we’ve had.

And, you know, it’s just little by little, we had just a lifeline of, you know, things that have happened to make it who we are today where we’ve been. But I would say the biggest thing is getting good people in your corner who know business, and to give you good advice on like, next steps, and to know that no matter what business you’re in, you’re all in, you know, in it together, like we’re all struggling with maybe the employee aspect after 2020 or, you know, those are the kinds of things so anything else you’d like to add?

Tim: Yeah, just how about we learned in the whole process of how valuable it is to
two things to have good people around you. And in the second most important thing is be willing to do the action. And we had a ton of people that basically said, we’ll pray you do the work. And that’s what we did, you know, and they give us the actions and we just, you know, put our nose to the grindstone and did the work showed up every day and did the work and followed the direction of our advisory board and, and the people around us and things like the PSAI in involving ourselves in a PSAI really early on. And getting around the people of the PSAI in our industry, we have an amazing industry, in the sense that people are homegrown, naturally kind people, and willing to just help whoever’s around, not not out of anything other than it’s the right thing to do.

And when you’re in an organization like that, where people are wanting to help the industry grow, and the industry change, it changes your trajectory, it changes your outlook. And, you know, the sky’s the limit on your knowledge base, you know, and there’s nothing, there is no situation that you’re going to come up with, that hasn’t been overcome or accomplished in the PSAI and in the group of people that are at the PSAI. So you don’t have to go out and recreate the wheel, you know, and that was a big deal for us. You know, and Arnold’s when we were at Arnold’s and, you know, talking to you and being at the roundtables and being able to tap into that is really a resource that I wish everybody had an opportunity to be a part of, because it’s a huge, huge deal.

Wendy: Great, well, thank you so much for sharing that about the history and the journey you have currently been on, I certainly admire the two of you and the work that you have been very transparent about with your progress. So let’s dive in a little bit. You know, so our topic today, you know, as we’re talking about some of those, the key roles and keeping them, the retention, the finding them. So, share with me, what are some effective strategies or incentives that you particularly do to attract the top talent?

Tim: Well, I’ll talk a little bit on the operation side of it, and the driver side of it. One of the things that we really tried to do is, we learned early on that nobody wants to drive vehicles that need a lot of maintenance that are unsafe, not properly maintained. And we try to make sure that our fleet is properly maintained and well taken care of. We try to make sure that everything in our fleet is operational up to the state safety standards of the DOT and organizations around that govern that situation. Some of the other things that we do, obviously, you got to have competitive pay. And you got to be competitive on that you can’t you don’t have to be the highest, you don’t have to be the lowest, you just have to be competitive and you have to, you have to be transparent about where you’re going at all times and letting people know that you have a vision, you have a goal and they can be a part of that. And that their input can have an impact on the trajectory of the company.

And I think people when you talk to them as an equal, when you talk to them as being a part of a team, they respond better to that type of environment. The type of environment that we bought was a very do it because I told you and shut up type of thing, and transforming that, and transitioning that to we’re in this together, you know, and that’s a big deal being able to do that.

Some other things that we have done is, you know, offering referral bonuses and being able to, you know, if you enjoy working here, you’re more apt to refer to that your company to your friends or family or other people that you may know and taken advantage of that, that we call it low lying fruit of finding people and, and rewarding people for that, you know. So that’s, that’s been a couple of the things that we’ve done.

And then always been able to pivot and change, you know, not being so entrenched that you can’t be wrong. And that, you know, something that you tried might not work, and being able to communicate that to your employees hey we were going we were trying this, it didn’t work, here’s why it didn’t work, here’s what we think we’re going to try now. And here’s why we think it’s going to work in getting that buy in on it. So those are the things that we’ve tried on the driver side.

Wendy: So I am hearing you correctly, making sure you have newer equipment and well running equipment, you’re organized internally, you have competitive wages and benefits. And then also, you know, as far as recruitment, kind of from within some hiring bonuses allowances, you know, for the, for the employees so that they remain happy and content and bring more into the fold, right? So what are some common challenges or obstacles when it comes to hiring some of these key roles? You know, you have, you’ve laid out what strategies you’re going with, but what are some of the challenges that you do face?

Becky: I’d say one thing that everybody’s facing right now, regardless, I think is what company you’re in is the, you know, it’s an employee market, right now, we’re all looking for new bodies to fill the roles and, and then on top of that, you have the, I would say you have a little bit of a stigma you have to overcome, which is, you know, you didn’t wake up one day saying, I want to work for a toilet company, that’s my dream. But to create a company that people work here, and I’m like, Oh, my gosh, this is the best job I’ve ever had. So it’s like being able to overcome the stigma, but also realizing like, this is amazing, it’s just a business, it’s a business, like any other business and what, you know, the quality of your job really has to do with, you know, what the, what the business is like itself inside. So I think that’s definitely been some challenges.

And, you know, to piggyback a little bit on what Tim was saying about some strategies to is I’m really, I’m really big into outsourcing because we have you know, we’re you’re a smaller company, not quite large enough, you have to have, you know, your own this department or your own that department. So I really like to outsource and so when I am out looking for trying to look for top recruiting for employees, I have a web-based version of, you know, systems that I use for hiring people to ask certain questions and kind of vets them for me before they even come in through the door. And one thing we are doing for a while it’s kind of expensive, but doing these personality tests, like do they actually blend and mix with your culture? And a lot of times, you know, we just want to go out there and find the best people possible without, you know, spending a lot of money or money at all. And the truth of the matter is, it costs you money to find good employees and to and to attract top talent.

And sometimes your budget, isn’t that. That great depends on what’s going on. And sometimes you have a bigger budget, but I personally, it’s something that I feel, you know, it’s really important in our budget is to have some sort of recruiting and hiring money set aside for that.

Tim: Real quick to piggyback on that one big deal on we’ve heard this at the PSA AI for years, and at the web show for years differ about the amount of money you’re spending on recruiting, it reflects on the quality of people that you’re getting, and you’ve got to think of it you got to switch your mindset to the fact it’s cost it costs you five to $10,000 or more for a bad hire, for a bad hire, so you might want to spend some time and some money upfront to make sure that that that hire fits your culture and fits with the people in your office, because it’s going to cost you either way.

Wendy: Yeah, that’s an excellent point. Because why you know, why spend that kind of money on something that you’re just going to kind of lose out in the end, you know, because of it, whether, you know, and as you mentioned, investing in the some of the processes and procedures to, you know, recruit the right talent. So do you specifically focus on attracting people from the portable sanitation industry or other similar industries, you know, or do you just really try and find the right fit?

Becky: Both a little bit, so not so much in I would say, our portable aside, we’re not really necessarily looking for talent that already knows how to serve as a toilet, we’re not really looking for that. But it would be great if they had some driving experience, especially driving bigger vehicles, being able to backup run trailers and stuff is, you know, a really good plus, although we can train them. And then when you’re hiring within, it’s great to have experience, come with the individual.

But another thing that we’ve learned, I would say, is we, we really like to hire for their attitude. And if they have a good attitude, and they’re in there, you know, teachable that’s really great. We just hired a couple of folks recently that didn’t really have an experience and the department we are hiring them for, but they’re just they totally fit our core values, and they’re excited, and they’re, you know, they’re eager to learn, where I’ve also hired people with experience, and then they’re like, Well, why are you doing it this way? You know, and there’s a give and take, right? So somebody with experience has some prior thoughts on how things should be done. And sometimes they can bring so much value to you, because they’re bringing stuff to your company. But sometimes, you know, it could be hard to match with, are they really a good fit for your company? And are they you know, the kind of personality you want as you grow your team so, but that we don’t really necessarily search for industry-specific, do we?

Tim: Not at all. What we really honestly and late as of late, we really found that getting people outside the industry, we’re a growing company, and we’re growing at a tremendous rate. And that creates its own problems and challenges. And sometimes when you hire people who are, you know, in the industry, we’re mainly talking about office side, you can get some, you know, they can be stuck in a rut, this is how I always did it, this is why we’re doing it this way. Well, that worked when we were this big, it doesn’t work when we’re this big, it doesn’t get us to this level. And so we’ve had some really great effects just doubling down on the culture. And are they going to fit the culture more than did they have this briefcase? You know, do they have the skill set and putting more about briefcase is important. But putting more you know, just as much if not more value on on the culture fit is way better than the than the other way around?

We’ve had some great employees that were like phenomenal, with skill set, knocked it out of the park skill set, but culture wise, they were cancer, you know, they were just, you’re constantly beating your head against the wall trying to you know, culturally, you know, this isn’t working. And, you know, it just became very apparent that we need to focus on the culture, and that that culture will eat briefcase for lunch every day.

Wendy: Like that. Good terminology. So let’s dig in a little bit more than on some of the best strategies for retaining key roles, WSI, I know, you guys have worked a lot on your culture, and a lot on your processes. So tell us more about, you know, the retention piece of these valuable employees.

Becky: So one thing that’s really been hit me I think, lately, is that I need to be very aware of my employees, especially my directs if I have any directs of how are they doing? And am I spending enough time with them about how they’re doing. And I’m the type of person that I’ve got a task, I’m gonna get it done. And I can just be you know, blinders on and the world does not exist around me. And I anticipate everybody else’s you know, working like that too, not knowing that I’ve got an employee who’s emotionally or physically drowning, in one sense or another.

So, as a leader and an owner of a business, I’ve had to kind of pivot a little bit and just say, okay, Becky second, and they’re first. And so I have to look at what did they need from me. And it may be they don’t understand how to put out an invoice or they’re overwhelmed with the amount of tasks or they don’t understand, like, I have to be aware of like, what tips them over and what makes them tick. What, what makes them want to, you know, keep charging for the next one, and what’s what’s, what’s making them stop.

And so, so I think, for me, retaining them is knowing them, and being able to speak their language, regardless of it’s my language, you know. So it’s so basically like, like I was saying, it’s Becky, second, third verse, maybe I’m third or fourth, but and I have to be okay with that. Like, I have to be okay, that as the owner, maybe I’m here a couple hours later than everybody else because I had to help an employee, master their day, as opposed to me mastering my day.

Wendy: You and I, you and I had talked previously about this, and you shared a really great story about something specific that you guys did within the leadership team. Can you share that with us? Because I know it really hits.

Becky: Yeah, yes. So just was yesterday. So um, Tim and I, as we’ve grown this business, we, again, are always seeking how to better our business, reading books, talking to other entrepreneurs, whatever it is. And so we have a kind of like this operation management thing that we do, which looks like Quarterly, we get together annually, we get together and weekly, we get together with different parts of our team. So we had a leadership meeting yesterday, but we also have, well, we have actually well, it was we had an office meeting yesterday. And in the office meeting…

Well, let me back up just a little bit more. In our quarterly meeting, we talked about what are some of the challenges that we see that we’re going to face this next quarter, and it is now June, whatever it is late June, and I’m thinking, Okay, we’re in our season, and I am hearing and I am I’m hearing my people are starting to break down a little bit. They’re physically overloaded, there emotionally overloaded, it’s our busy season. And toilets are like that, because of all the special events and then you just don’t have you don’t need that manpower in the winter, at least not in a seasonal like we are.

And so I’m hearing this, I’m thinking, Ah, you know, we’ve been through this a couple of times, what is it that we could possibly do for these folks not to get too overwhelmed. As we know, this is just temporary. And so in our quarterly meeting, the leadership team came together. And we were like, Well, we think we need to try at least to verbally tell everybody, that if you’re feeling overwhelmed, or in any sense of any sense, you come and tell your manager, you let people know, and we are going to try to create a space for you, in order to make you feel heard and supported.

So now fast forward. We were in our office meeting a couple days ago or yesterday, I can’t remember now. And one of one of my team members said they were really overwhelmed to the point where they were emotionally feeling like it was affecting them it was, you know, they can’t get their work done and those kinds of things. So we as a group in that office group we put on the board, okay, what’s your problem? And what are the obstacles you have? And then we look together and we try to solve that problem for that person.

So what we did was, we took some things off of their plate, we divided it amongst other people. And we said during these hours you’re doing you know, you’re not doing this or you are doing this will that help? Yes. Okay, great. And we even offered this person, a separate room to be able to focus on certain hours of the day so they can feel like they’re getting their job done. And, you know, they felt so much relief and felt so supported. So not only did that person feel that way, but the members around the room are also like, I’ve heard people talk about this before that, you know, if you have a problem, come say something but I’ve never actually seen it, you know, in action and they were just like blown away. And that’s something that we are really working on with our culture, so one of our core values is team. And for us, you know, we’re trying to always say what that means. But yesterday was a really good example of what that could look like to be a team and how we all surrounded that person, it took things away from that person to help them, like offload some of their work. And it really helps the morale, and I think makes them feel like they’re going to help, they’re going to help next time too, you know, like, they want to, they want to be a part of that.

Wendy: That that is just a beautiful example. And thank you for sharing, because it exhibits the trust that has been built amongst your team and within your culture. And once you have that trust, then, you know, you can take on anything, right? So now you have employees that feel supported and heard, and they trust everyone around them to be vulnerable to, you know, say, Hey, I got a problem. Let’s work together, you know, to figure it out and get past it, which, you know, in turns, you know, so many people are gonna be like, I’ve never felt like that, or witnessed that elsewhere. This is fantastic. I know, I’m in the right spot, you know, for my employment. So thanks for sharing that. That’s a really great story.

So, you know, as you’re, as we’re talking about creating that supportive and engaging work environment.
Let’s also talk, you know, we do know that people will move on, that’s just a fact. So what, let’s talk a little bit about turnover in some of these critical roles, and some of the things you have faced and, you know, incentives or applications you’re currently using to handle all of that.

Becky: Yeah, so for me, this has been a big pivot that I’ve had to with my mindset, I’ve had to really shift here, as of late, we’ve had turnover. So that’s why I’m like, I feel like an imposter on this topic. Like, we do not have this nailed. But it’s something we’ve really put a lot of effort into, but turnover is going to happen. And I think that’s the mindset that I’ve had to shift like, it’s, first of all, it’s okay to have turnover. Sometimes new blood really keeps the company going. So that’s, that’s the good thing.

But every time somebody leaves, I do like to have a exit review, or, you know, interview and say kind of what happened, did you get the support you needed What was you know, and they may or may not tell you all the reasons, but at least you’re giving them the opportunity.

And I’ve had to, for myself, I’ve had to mentally shift my mindset to say, to go ahead and expect turnover, and to know that maybe it’s not always about you as the company or WSI, or whatever. And maybe it’s they needed, they needed a little bit more money, maybe they needed something closer to home, there’s all sorts of different reasons why people leave, you know, your company. And so I’ve had to mentally shift on that.

The other thing about that is to prepare for that shift, I’ve realized, I feel like I’m in a lot of, you know, I can be easily in burnout because I’m constantly training new people. So I’m the other thing I’m really pushing hard right now within our team is and, and I explained it this way, which is so true, though, is that we are growing at a pretty substantial rate. So we need to help our next person be like, we don’t know who that is yet, but we need to help them be able to come onboard with us. Where it doesn’t suck the life out of any individual that we have something prepared for them. There’s a process, there’s whatever it takes. And that way when someone comes on board, first of all, it’s a good introduction to the company, because it looks like we have our ducks in a row. And second of all, it does help all the employees if there’s something already prepared and written up for, for the individual to come on.

So one of my biggest goals right now is to kind of get that up and going and have something that’s really solid. So that way, it takes more of that heavy lifting off of every individual when a new person comes on. But also, we’re looking at it as they do transition or we have turnover, we need more employees that we have a really good onboarding program.

And so I was just talking today on our we have a meeting or a morning huddle, thank you every day, and I said here’s my vision, you know, of what we’re going to look like, you know, and about the onboarding and about the training and who WSI is going to continue to be and, you know, let them know that because then they know we’re going in that direction as well. And I’m excited about like this is where we’re gonna be, you know.

Tim: Yeah, being able to have processes that are in place so that people can succeed and they can follow, you know, if they have a question they can, you know, first find it in those areas, like Becky was saying about something that’s really become very apparent in our culture, in our, in our, you know, in the world today is, like Becky said, there are so many reasons that people leave, it’s not it may not be personal, you know, it may be the fact that they need to do what’s right for them, and you have to be okay with that and, and to be able to shift and just say okay, to the next one we need to go and, and to not get mired down in the emotion of that situation, to think that it’s always something about you are something wrong with the company, you know, stick close to your core values, follow your core values and, and stay true to them. And it will work out, you know because somebody leaves doesn’t mean your core values are wrong, you know.

Becky: That’s so I was just thinking like, I thought core values was kind of a tough thing to create in your company. Like, you know, we’ve done a lot of work on that and, we, we are pretty comfortable with what those are today. And, I just have a really great example with our leadership team. I feel it doesn’t necessarily mean that, even people who are turning over and leaving, but who are you getting married to, who are you bringing in? Because when you hire somebody, you’re hoping that, it’s a good relationship. And so it’s gotta be like a good fit.

And so the other, not this month, we had an employee who had, been here before and they had left, out of, you know, her, her reasoning was she was a little afraid of what the busy season might look like and so I went to somewhere else and then asked, I guess, reach out to one of my employees and said, hey, you know, they, they do you think they’d take me back?

So we were like, well, she was a good employee. Absolutely. Let’s talk to her. And, and, you know, she was saying it wasn’t about money. She just needed to leave and she would sign us whatever, which we would have never made her do. But anyways, long story short, we offered her the job and, her boss and her current position had offered, offered her like $4 more an hour than what she was making and she wanted to know what we could do for her and I explained our pay situation and that she would actually be making more, it may not be per hour, but she would make more at the end of the year. And she continued to, yeah, it wasn’t about paying. But can you keep paying me more like type of thing? And so I took it to my leadership team. I said, you know, super excited about the potential of this person. But personally I’m feeling it’s kind of gone sour. Like I don’t feel like it’s a team. I don’t feel the team there. I feel it’s more something’s breaking down for me and I, I’m not feeling it and I’m expected we’re a team.

So I expected my leadership team to say, oh, Becky, get over it, you know, because that happens at times and they all were in all of them were in agreement to, yeah, we’re gonna pass on this one and we’re willing to hire from within and or to look for somebody else out, but that would be a good core, you know, fit our core values. It’s really important.

Yeah, I just think it’s really important to think about who are you bringing on and, you know, sometimes you get desperate or it’s like my dad always says, there’s nothing like a new guy, you know, it’s not a new person coming in, you know, all the potential and, but you also gotta, you gotta be able to, I think mass some of that energy and look at, ok, well, you know, trust your gut and what you’re seeing as well because you’re, you know, it’s gonna be somebody coming into your entire outfit, you know.

Wendy: So it sounds like you’ve put a lot of hard work into, you know, establishing those core values and obviously running with them and really getting the buy-in from the rest of the team and, and being part of that team and then the process for creating this onboarding package. Tell me just a little bit more about like, how did, how did that come to fruition? Like, where did you start if you were to give advice to somebody else to make sure that they’re creating this onboarding package for new hires and retaining employees, you know, making everybody’s job easier in the future. What kind of tips would you give someone else who might not have that in place right now?

Becky: Oh, it’s mammoth. So, processes are mammoth and I’ve actually been held on this for what, three years? And we, what we’ve done is, when we sit down to go do a task, we try to create, you know, at some point when it, when you’re doing it to just side by side, you know, screenshots or, how-tos or whatever, just kind of write it up and then after that, it’s really good to see. Ok, now the new person comes on board. Ok, will you take a look at that and tell me how it goes? I don’t understand this. I understand. Ok, great. So, or maybe our processes have changed a little bit. So you kind of tweak that a little. And again, I tell, tell you that I’m a big thing on outsourcing. So there’s another web software out there that I am currently getting ready to tap into, that can house some of this for me and help train the new people with you know, testing or whatever I wanna do to set that up and, and all your documentations that can have videos and all, all sorts of things like that on there.

But for right now it’s a big team effort. So what I’ve done is I’ve divided and conquered and I said, OK, I, I would like you in the next quarter to handle this, you handle this, you handle this. And then I got someone overseeing all that to make sure that it comes to fruition and that’s just one piece in one department in one division and we want to keep growing outward towards that. I have heroes in the industry that I watch, you know, I, I watch what they’re doing and I’m like, oh my gosh, that’s what I want that’s exactly what I’m trying to accomplish with my onboarding or my training or whatever.

And, we’re gonna get there. But process, I would say if I were to say to anybody, it’s, it takes forever. And so like one of the things in my, in that management software, I was telling you about that, how we run our company. It’s the last process that you work on in, you know, the all the bullet points that you work on for your company is the processes because it’s, it’s such an over huge overtaking.

But the other thing that they talk about is you take, it’s like the 80 20 rule which I’m not very good at following, which is you take 20% of the instructions. Just to kind of the major bullet points don’t be like every detailed aspect, I’m very detailed. So it’s hard for me and I think it’s hard in the division that I’m working in right now with it. But others I think it could be, here’s your basic outline, boom, boom, boom.

There’s so much, I guess the other thing I’m saying, there’s so many resources out there to help you make your processes whenever you want them to be. If you want, you know, I even know and I’m not using this right now, but I know you could, there’s this thing where you can literally have a scan code like next to your pump, your driver can scan it and you can watch the video on how to, you know, clean your, whatever your pump or whatever. So there’s, that’s an option of something I’ve seen out there.

There’s just so many great resources but it takes time and effort and I think it’s worth paying your people and yourself to, to make those happen because everybody feels better when they know, oh, I know what to do or I can watch a video or I can look at my SOP or whatever it is and, and understand how to do something.

Tim: Yeah, I think it’s just to write it down first, just write it down and like Becky said that 80 20 rule, you’re gonna write down 100% of everything that needs to be done and then just reducing that to the 20%. So you allow people to, you know, be able to conceptually get it, you know. So I, I think it’s very important.

Wendy: Yeah, that’s, that’s great. Thanks for sharing that. So, let’s talk a little bit about succession, you know, succession plan within some of your key roles. You know, what does that look like for you? What do you hope to have it look like for you?

Tim: Well, we are, so it’s important to have a, a chart of where you currently are with your positions. And I’m losing the word that I’m looking for our chart, organizational chart where you’re at, but to also have your future positions on there and, and part of the management, the business management software program that we follow, encourages us to have these BAGs, these big audacious goals and to put those down on paper and then map out the process to get to that and then allow your, allow your employees to see where you’re gonna be and the process that you’re gonna take to get there, that they have a way to grow within your company. And to be able to do that visually, we, we’re really good at doing it orally and this is where we wanna go. But when we’re, we’re about to move into a new place and we’re, we’re talking about getting this stuff printed out and putting on the walls and having it everywhere so that everybody sees a part of where you’re going and how you’re going to get there.

It might not be the perfect layout of steps you need this, this, this, and this person in place, but it, it’s at least a visual representation that people have a place to grow, you know, and, and that this is not, I’m here for the rest of my life in this position and it people are, are visually stimulated by those things. That’s our, you know, that’s our next, we have quarterly meetings and we have monthly meetings where we are constantly communicating that to our teams.

But then the next step for us is to visually, we’ve seen some heroes, you know, some people that we have followed that do a really good job of posting that around everywhere in their company, where everybody knows where they’re going and how they’re gonna get there.

And that’s our next step is to go from the oral to the visual of being able to, here it is when you walk in the door, you see it everywhere and the, the map of how, how you can grow in this company and how you can get more training, more skills and, and have more opportunities to grow as we grow.

Some things that we have done is we have, you know, our company, we’ve started lead, you know, you have lead drivers, you have lead the lead program that we have started with, you know, being able to grow into that where you’re not just the regular driver, you now have, you know, some more skill set and some more opportunity to train people or to at least mentor people in that sense of doing ride-alongs doing quality audits and things of that nature.

So, I think it’s super important to visually… Remember it’s a dream and, and dream big, dream big and put it out there and people will help you attain your dreams if you give them the road map, they will help you attain their, those dreams because they’re, they’ll become their dreams too because it’s about seeing the success. And I think that’s been a really big success with us in the sense of being able to communicate that, that this is where we’re going and we want you to be a part of it and here’s how you can participate. And you know, so I think that’s super important.

Wendy: Yeah, that is thank you for sharing. And so what I’m hearing you say is, you know, there’s all these tools out there, resources and tools out there, not only for this industry but for any, you know, industry that is looking to get some organization around you know, hiring, retention, succession planning internally that it doesn’t have to just be, you know, verbally communicated. So this is, you know, these tools that you guys are definitely making use of end up becoming your, your coaching programs, right, for the rest of the staff. How did you find, you know, these tools, did somebody tell you about them? Can you share any of the specific, you know, tools or Software, you know, that you’re using you know, to kind of help to help, you know, somebody else out there who might be looking for it? Like did you just search for it or did you hear about it through any of your other heroes?

Tim: So we have always had mentors in our lives and different, you know, different things. It in situations where we’ve had people in our lives that have been in that mentorship rule. And when we got to this business, we didn’t have a business mentor, we didn’t have any of that type of thing and, and we re, you know, we failed, we were, you know, the first couple of years we were failing miserably and it was hurting and we got, we started surrounding ourselves with, with people willing to help us.

And we got to a gentleman who we sat down with him and he, he just kept asking us why, you know, why can’t you do that? You know, and every obstacle we came up with, he just kept saying, why can’t you, you know, just why can’t you do that? Why can’t you do that? And, and he introduced us to a program. There’s lots of lots and lots of programs, but he introduced us to a program that’s called EO entrepreneur organization. And they’re everywhere. It’s a worldwide organization and, and we, you know, very, it’s not inexpensive but it’s been very helpful.

We joined that and through that process, through joining that, we got introduced to amazing people outside of our industry who are business people. And we have weekly, monthly and quarterly, we get some of the best speakers in the world at these events that we get to participate in and listen to people who have ran Fortune 500 companies. People who are, you know, great in this space are in that space and being exposed to people who want to help you run your business. They don’t care what your business is because business is business and you know, and we have to get out of that mindset. We get so entrenched with our blinders on that. We can’t do that because we’re a portable sanitation company. Well, no, that’s not true. We’re a business first, you know, and business principles apply across the board and they helped us get out of that.

Then we also went and did the, the PSAI being a member of the PSAI has, you know, being surrounded in that industry and with people who are always ahead of you and successful going to the PSAI does a great job of, of their nuts and bolts and of their different conferences where you get to go visit people and then we’ve taken the time and build relationships where we’ve been able to go visit other organizations that are doing what we want to do and, and take the time to go do that. Take the time to, to go visit those and just you will through osmosis of being there, you will get two or three nuggets of information that you bring back, that move you forward, they pay, they move you forward and, always being able to constantly know the fact that all you have to do is do the work. You don’t have to have the answers. We get stuck in that idea that we have to have the answers and we don’t have to have the answers.

We have to have the, the, but it’s just like going to college, college doesn’t teach you all the answers, but it teaches you how to find how to research answers, how to look for different answers. And I think being part of PSAI and entrepreneur organization and there’s several other, there’s C12 out there, there’s, there’s several organizations out there that are dedicated to helping you be a better business person, you know, and getting those blinders off that you’re a portable sanitation company and can’t, you can’t benefit from those organizations because you’re somehow different.

Wendy: And that’s, that’s a fantastic point, I think. And definitely worth repeating several times over is that this industry, you’re not just a portable restroom operator, you’re not just a, you know, dumpster roll off, you’re not just, you are a, you know, a business with, you know, thriving individuals within it that can all work together to bring continued success. So, and I love what you shared about, you know, being involved in the PSAI and building those relationships and, and learning from each other. I, I personally think this industry is one of the best for helping each other out for lifting each other up and, figuring out ways to all succeed together. So, I really appreciate everything you have been sharing.

Becky: Yeah, I was just thinking when he was speaking, there was a few things that came to my mind and that is, they tell you that, I don’t know I might kill this but they say that you are, you are like the five people you spend the most time with. So I know, I try to and that, and sometimes like, well, I’m so busy. I don’t spend time with anybody. But what are you feeding your brain? Like, are you listening to podcasts?Are you listening? You know, what are you doing, what’s going in, you know, and, and with that, you know, so all these organizations that Tim talked about the EO, I, all the different, you know, those kind of things, the, the people that you reach out to all those are people that qualify and they’re just always that next level up to help you. And so I would just say stay curious, be open. And, you know, I’ve been so much like a sponge, like, I just know there’s like the sky is the limit.

And, I think the other thing is, a friend of mine in the portable, she, she is a portable sanitation person. She said, you know, she’s been willing to share with me nuggets here and there and she goes, I’m willing to share whatever, whatever you want. She goes, she goes, it doesn’t mean that they’re gonna get your, success. You have to do the work. And so that’s the thing is no matter what, no matter what, like Tim said that too. It’s like, I think the only thing that keeps us going is that we just, you know, we’re constantly hammering away at trying to, go at the dream that we’re at and we just dream big and I, I believe 100% that we’ll, you know, anybody can get to any, anywhere they want to be. You just gotta believe in yourself and know that there is a road, there is a way and the sky is the limit.

Wendy: I think that’s a perfect ending thought for us. Again, thank you so much for taking the time today. Both of you to share your story, your journey, a lot of the information that has gotten to you to where you are today and of course, is going to continue to, you know, launch you right down the road into the future with continued success and growth. And, but really, again, thank you for taking the time today.

About the Author: Liam Sabot

Liam is an author of over 70 articles about portable toilet rental, septic pumping, and dumpster business management. He is dedicated to providing important information to help sanitation businesses succeed.
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