Adam Robinson: Welcome to The Best Team Wins podcast where we feature entrepreneurs and business leaders whose exceptional approach to the people side of their business has led to incredible results. My name is Adam Robinson, and for the next 25 minutes, I’ll be your host as we explore how to build your business through better hiring. Today on the program, Glenn Pasch is the CEO of PCG Companies, located in New Jersey, founded in 2005. Glenn and his brother, Brian, have founded a company that now has 40 employees. The best learning happens through the experiences shared by our fellow entrepreneurs, and Glenn, we are so excited to have you on the show today to learn from you. Welcome.
Glenn Pasch: I appreciate it. Thanks very much, Adam.
Adam Robinson: So we’re focusing on the people side of your business, but before we dive in, set the stage for us. Give us 30 seconds on PCG and what you do.
Glenn Pasch: Great. We are a marketing agency. We focus on digital marketing. We help small to medium size businesses increase their visibility online handling their marketing. The other piece to it and what makes our clients want to work with us is we help educate them. We understand that digital marketing can be confusing, especially for entrepreneurs trying to build their business. So we make sure they understand what we’re doing. We’ve created online classes for them to also take, so we help not only generate traffic, but then we also can help them internally with their processes to deliver great customer experience and maximize those marketing dollars and create more opportunity for them to sell their products or services. So that’s in a nutshell.
Adam Robinson: And if listeners, Glenn, want to learn more, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Glenn Pasch: They can go to our website which is www.PCGCompanies, plural, Companies.com. Or you can also just reach out to me at Glenn, G-L-E-N-N, @PCGCompanies.com as well.
Adam Robinson: Excellent. All right, let’s talk about the people side of PCG and the customers you serve. Take us all the way back to 2005. You and your brother starting this business. Give us a little bit of the origin and what it was like moving forward hiring your very first employee.
Glenn Pasch: So interesting, my brother actually started it. I joined a few years after. So he saw the movement of digital marketing moving from traditional to digital, and he started a company by himself, basically out of his house, focusing on search engine optimization and, as always, with new businesses and you go to your friends and families. So he went to people like his eye doctor, or somewhere where he bought a car, and also a yearbook company, or a friend who had a company and said, “Well, you need search engine optimization.” And back then, no one really knew what it was. But he started to build the company and he started … He brought on I think when I joined him he had four other people there.
And I actually joined or came to his company because I was starting my own company. I had been … I left a company that I was with for about 12 years, so I was building up my own consulting firm. So he was teaching me how to market. The problem was is that I saw that he didn’t have processes underneath to be able to scale his business. He could just hire people, but it would crumble, so we traded services until his employees said, “Can Glenn stay here because he knows how to build a company. You have a great idea for a company. But you need that combination.” So I’ve been with him for about 10, 12 years and we’ve built our company together. I tend more to deal with the hiring, building the processes, all of that, where he’s out there leading the charge and coming up with the great ideas to put our company in position to be successful.
Adam Robinson: So tell me about the first person then you hired.
Glenn Pasch: Yeah, the first person I hired we were looking for entry level. We had somebody to help with the technical side. We had someone who was an account manager. And what we were looking for were content writers and the new account manager. So we put out ads through different places. Back then it was either Craigslist or you put it out on Monster or you put it out just through LinkedIn, posting, “Hey, we’re looking for some people.” And we got our responses and we started to vet them. And at that time I think I hired two content writers and one account manager in the span of about six weeks.
Adam Robinson: Wow. Okay. And what … You mentioned process earlier. Did you follow a particular process at this point?
Glenn Pasch: Yeah. My time, my history, so to speak, going backwards for me. I came up through the hospitality industry for … In my 20s I was an actor in New York City, so that meant you work in restaurants and I grew up working in restaurants. That was where I worked, so I took a lot of my processes, and more importantly, how you trained and looked for quality people from what I learned in the restaurant industry. So many times I tried new things or I trusted different things outside of my process, and sometimes they worked, sometimes they failed. But ultimately, it’s always been an ongoing refinement of a process. But it really always comes down to a few core things that we look for for our company now, and it’s always served me well to follow those core things that I look for in individuals.
Adam Robinson: So let’s talk about that. What are those core components of a successful candidate for your organization?
Glenn Pasch: There’s couple things that we look for. We’ve narrowed it down to sort of what we have in PCG as our core values. But they’re really things that we try to look for and try to understand during the interview process, which is not always easy because everyone’s on their best behavior during an interview. But I’m looking for things where someone is, or I can see examples of are you self-motivated? Meaning that either I look sometimes I see if someone was an athlete, they were part of a team, maybe they were in the military, they achieve things individually that I could see that they understood how to set goals and achieve them.
We also look for self-motivation right? So self-education, self-motivation. I look for in the interview when I ask certain questions, I look for them to be willing to, as much as they can, to be themselves versus the canned answers that everybody’s taught to tell. And then ultimately, I want to see if I connect with them on a, I call it a voice. Meaning are they willing to ask me questions? Are they comfortable in their own skin? Are they nervous? Because ultimately, I’m looking for someone who when they join our team, they’re willing to raise their hand and say, “I have a question,” or, “I think we should do it this way.” They want to be that collaborative type of a person.
So those are the things I look for because I can ultimately teach people skills. I learned all about digital marketing. So I had to. So skills I can teach. Can’t teach work ethic. I can’t teach that you’re going to educate yourself. I can’t teach that you’re willing to put in the work. That I can’t teach. I can hold you accountable, but I don’t really want to do all of that all the time.
Adam Robinson: You mentioned core values and that you have them. Can you share those with us?
Glenn Pasch: Yeah. We narrowed it down. We have our mission statement, but ultimately our core values are the collaborative. Our team is collaborative. Our team is self-motivated. Our team is self-educated. Our team is they take accountability, self-accountability. And then ultimately, they have a voice, meaning that they are able to communicate with each other, challenge each other in a positive way without making it feel that it’s personal. And ultimately, our one main core value is that our clients are … That is our focus. We make sure the clients, one, are clear on what we’re doing, we’re partnering with them, they understand what we’re doing. They see the value of what we’re doing. And we can explain results in common language, not mumbo jumbo and metrics. So the core values of that collaboration, self-education, those took awhile to narrow down and bucket so to speak so that everybody understands them.
Adam Robinson: Let’s talk about how you lead and manage the organization. And so in the company of the 40 team members, how many of them would you say are managers versus individual contributors?
Glenn Pasch: Well, everybody contributes, meaning that we do have our controller who handles all the finances and billings and numbers and tax, all of that. So she doesn’t have anyone really under her, but that’s her own. I have someone who heads up the operations. But they still have a couple accounts because they moved up through the company and they were an account manager, so they still have one or two accounts that they manage and oversee and collaborate, but they run the day to day operations. Then you sort of have team leads who oversee someone who oversees the content team, someone who oversees the account managers, someone who oversees the technical aspects of the websites that we monitor or our own. And we have someone over marketing.
But it really is, because in a company this small, you definitely still have, even at that level, you’re watching a few different things. So it isn’t just, “I can only … I’m only looking at this.” So I would say there’s probably on my leadership team probably about seven people that sit at the table, help make those decisions, direction of the company, address issues that we need to address. So I would say probably seven then.
Adam Robinson: Okay. And you recently led a session at a large industry conference that … NADA, Auto Dealers Association national conference that we were both at. And the title of your session was interesting. I found it really interesting. It was called Manager Employee Conflict: Secret Killer of Your Bottom Line. Tell me what you meant by that.
Glenn Pasch: Well, what I see often, I’ve seen it in my own company, and I’ve seen it when I’m brought in to consult or advice other organizations, what I find sometimes is conflict, not … When the word conflict comes out, sometimes people think it’s knock down, drag out, screaming and that type of. And I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about conflict internally, not understanding what I’m supposed to be doing, so I’m doing something and then there’s a conflict of, “Well, why aren’t you doing what you’re supposed to be? Or what I think you should be doing?” So if I’m a manager and you’re working on my team, there could be a conflict in the fact of what you think you should be doing and what I think you should be doing. So that’s number one conflict, because we’re not clear.
Number two is maybe my training wasn’t done correctly, so again, I do more telling than training. So there’s a conflict of expectations. And then same thing with accountability, it comes around to when I’m talking about accountability, I could be sitting here going, “Well, Adam, you never trained me.” I may not vocalize that, but I have my guard up. Or there’s conflict of managing a group of people where someone’s perception of you’re giving Adam, you’re giving that person special treatment, or you’re holding me accountable to different rules than that person, and so again, there’s this conflict that lies underneath the surface that a lot of times is never voiced, but it impacts performance because if I start seeing special treatment given by you, Adam, to someone else, well then maybe I go back and say, “Well, I’m never going to get that. I’m never going to get rewarded that way.”
So my production goes instead of that I’m supposed to produce eight, I’m at six and a half now. It’s still within the reason of, “Oh, Glenn’s having a bad month.” Or, “Glenn’ll get better.” Or I don’t even notice it. But the mere fact that I’ve given up, that’s what I’m talking about conflict is that you don’t see it all the time, but there’s hidden angst, or hidden things that are going on that are impacting your production, and you may never see it. So we talked about how you fix that, how you clean that up, and I have them some things that they could take back to do.
Adam Robinson: Excellent. And in your work, what would you say is the single most common or most impactful thing that managers aren’t doing but should be doing to get better output from their team?
Glenn Pasch: Communication, communication, communication. Everything boils down to communication. And it can be verbal, it can be written. I am working on a new project, and it’s this concept of these pillars in any business. And I believe there’s three things that if any one of these sort of legs of the tripod is wobbly or out of whack, it’s going to hurt your business. But it all comes down to communication. And it starts with your structure of your company. I mean, you have your organization. I’m sure there’s … You would say if someone came in from the outside and sat with you and said, “Are all of the job descriptions written out? Does everybody know exactly what they’re supposed to do? Have they been shown, written down, told, whatever, here’s what you have to do.” And is everyone clear on that’s the way we do things?
So is there one way of doing what we need to do? And then are they trained and are they trained correctly? Where I find a lot of problems in an organization is the trainers who are supposed to be training people, or the managers who are supposed to be training never were taught how to train. Right? So they’re just trying to mimic and tell people what they did or just tell people what to do. That doesn’t mean you understand how to really coach and develop a team or develop individuals.
And then the last piece is accountability. What really is accountability, how do you do it? So any of those pillars, it all comes down to communication. So if I communicate what you should be doing for me, Adam, and you’re clear, and if I communicate how to do it and train you properly, and then I communicate again how to hold you accountable, giving you feedback on when you’re doing well, when you’re not doing well, we win. Most of the time, I find one of those structures is out of place because we either didn’t communicate, we don’t know how to communicate, or we communicate incorrectly and we don’t get the results that we want.
Adam Robinson: So one of the things I often find is that, at least in terms of management, when you ask managers, “How did you get this job?” Often times, the manager of the team was the best sales person, or the best doer, which in many cases, makes them not the best manager of others. I know you run into this frequently. How do you coach a manger who was an exceptional individual performer, but may not be exceptional at watching other people share that spotlight?
Glenn Pasch: Well, I try to get the word manager out of the equation. Because when most people, at least when I do, when I think of the word manager, I have a picture of someone behind a desk. Most teams, when you’re leading a team, be it a sales team, be it a client service team, any group of people that you’re leading, I tend to push the word coach. Because when we sit and we say to individuals, “Was there a coach who was really impactful?” They always go to somebody. And I say, “Okay, great. Well where were they during game time?” “Well, they were on the sidelines.” “What did they do?” “Oh, they were at practice.” “Where were they at practice?” “They were right with me. They showed me what to do.”
And that’s the keyword, “They showed me what to do. They just didn’t tell me. They showed me.” So your example is one of my biggest pet peeves. The best performer is not always the best, and probably 9 times out of 10, not the right person to lead because they don’t know what they do. They just do it. It comes natural to them. Number two is the biggest thing they lack is patience. They get frustrated because people don’t pick it up as quickly as they do. So that’s the frustration that they have. So if I was going to coach, and I have coached top performers and helped them to become good coaches, the biggest one is patience.
You really have to get them to slow down and show them what they have to do, not tell them what to do. Show them what to do then watch them do it and tweak it. And if you get into a top performer’s head that you’re coaching someone, it seems to click a little bit better because they go back to what a coach did, which is, “Let me show you.” Think of it, you have young children, think of it same way. Like when I had to teach my son to throw a baseball, I didn’t tell him how to do it, I showed him. I showed him, “Heres how you hold the ball. Here’s how you put your arm. Here’s how you throw it.” And then he would do it and then you’d readjust and you’d … But you never got frustrated.
The more that you can get an individual to slow down and think more of a coach, they can be successful. A lot of top performers can’t do it because they’re not patient. They get frustrated. They don’t know how to do it and they don’t want to be held accountable for someone else’s performance that won’t either work as hard as they did, doesn’t catch on as quick enough. But it is really getting them to understand that they’re going to take this on, patience, and willingness to put in the effort to show people what they do.
Adam Robinson: One of the most critical components of getting the behavior or activity you want in a particular position is the comp plan. I want to ask two questions about this. One for PCG and one for the customers that you work with. What’s your philosophy around compensation at your company? Is it base pay for what you do and bonuses? Is there some kind of incentive program? Just talk to us about how you’ve learned over the last 13 years of being in business how pay plans impact performance for you. And then, share with us what you see out there on the market and how things may be changing.
Glenn Pasch: Well, we continue to try to develop and revise what we do. In the past, you hire someone in at a base salary. We would always have an annual … Two pieces. We’d have a performance review, which was separate from any salary increase, and then we would look at a salary increase. Now, we have in the past felt that we should give everyone something. We have changed that to say, “Well, that’s not fair to everyone.” If someone is just coming in and fulfilling the job that you’re paying them for, and not exceeding at any level of goals that we’ve set for them, well why does that merit any increase?
So we’ve got to a little bit of definitely some compensation if people sell products, or upsell the current clients, they definitely get compensation in terms of a commission base, a small commission. But for the most part it’s yearly, unless they change positions. If they move to a different position that merits a different salary, we move them up to that new salary level. But no, this year and last year, we have really gotten to more of a meritocracy type of a position where if you just show up to work and do your job, even if you do it well, well that’s what you’re being compensated for. It does not merit more money unless you’ve hit certain goals. And we’ve gotten much better setting clear goals for them at one thing and saying, “Okay, by next year, if you achieve these goals, well now you qualify for that.” So I think that, for us, has gotten better.
It’s just the problem is salaries and the qualifications and trying to find good talent at certain levels, especially in New Jersey. It’s very competitive, so what you could get an entry level employee for two years ago, it’s probably about 10 to 15% more just as an entry level because you’re just not getting qualified people now. So then that also influxes where someone said, “Well, I started here and now new person comes and they’re at here.” And they don’t sit on our side of the table to understand, “Well, I had to pay that to get that qualification.”
So that’s what we do now. In terms of out there, we work with a variety of different clients. Some are built like we are from an agency standpoint or a small business where annual reviews. We’ve worked with sales organizations which is commission based. But what we do find for some, we do have some clients in automotive where they have not … I still fight them on this because I think they’re compensation model is incorrect, 100% commission works for very small amount of people. And that concept of a draw, which means that I will give you money but you have to sell a certain amount. And so if I give you $300, that equates to X number of sales at the end of the month.
If you don’t hit that, well then you owe me money. That concept just doesn’t work with individual now, so I’ve seen more successful automotive dealers going to a hourly wage or a base salary for their sales people, and then commissions on top. Now, the amount of commissions may have changed because you have the base, or at what level do commissions trigger may have changed. But that allow the sales people to not worry about money on a weekly basis, where if they had a bad week and didn’t sell anything, that doesn’t … In the other system of full commissions, maybe you don’t get a paycheck. That just doesn’t sort of sit well with individuals today.
Adam Robinson: Yeah, absolutely. So Glenn, as we answer the final couple minutes here, what would you say is the greatest lesson you’ve learned about managing the people side of your business?
Glenn Pasch: I think the best lesson I’ve learned through my whole career is I am part of the team. I am not above the team.
Adam Robinson: Tell me what you mean by that.
Glenn Pasch: Well, I strive … It’s hard because people still will go, “Well you’re the boss.” And I understand that as much as I say I have an open door and I try to be part of the team, again, they still look at me as the owner and there’s still that little divide. But the majority of my team understands that I do just a different role than they do. My role is not more important. I go out and deal with clients. I go out and sell. Or I set things up so that we all have a framework to create the business. But at the end of the day, if my account managers don’t do a good job and we lose business, or the content writers aren’t writing good content, or the pay per click people are not doing their job, it doesn’t matter how great I am. The team’s not there.
Or vice versa. They could be great, but if I don’t do my part, well then it doesn’t work. So I look at me as saying, “I’m no better than you. I just have a different role than you do.” And I think the more that you can be part of the team I think the better off you are. The minute you separate yourself or distance yourself and it really becomes, “This is my company.” And me and I instead of we and us, I think that has always served me very well. Especially growing up in hospitality, working in kitchens. Doesn’t matter, we all got to get through the day and make sure we serve people. So I think that is the lesson has always served me to building a good team.
Adam Robinson: Ladies and gentlemen, that’s the final word. You’ve been learning from Glenn Pasch, CEO at PCG Companies. Glenn, thank you for being with us on the show today.
Glenn Pasch: My pleasure, thank you so much for having me, Adam.
Adam Robinson: And that is a wrap for this week’s episode of The Best Team Wins podcast. We’re featuring entrepreneurs and business leaders whose exceptional approach to the people side of their business has led to incredible results. My name is Adam Robinson, author of the book, The Best Team Wins, which you can find online at www.TheBestTeamWins.com. Thanks for tuning in as always. And we will see you here next week.
Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to The Best Team Wins podcast with Adam Robinson. You can find out more information about Adam and his book, The Best Team Wins: Building Your Business Through Predictive Hiring at TheBestTeamWins.com. Thanks again for listening and we’ll see you next week.