Working Smarter with People Ops

Paulina Song, Operations Expert
Jul 21, 2021

Automation has gotten a bad rap as something that will take over human jobs. But in a modern organization, automation isn’t meant to replace people, it’s meant to enhance their experience at work.

In this episode of PIVOT, automation expert and Zentist co-founder Paulina Song shares her journey as a consultant for dental practices, her approach to automating people ops, and the most common automation mistakes she sees in small businesses.

Automation has gotten a bad rap as something that will take over human jobs. But in a modern organization, automation isn’t meant to replace people, it’s meant to enhance their work experience. 

In fact, according to automation expert and Zentist co-founder Paulina Song, automation can actually help employees feel challenged and engaged.  

In this episode of PIVOT, Paulina explains why automating tasks can help employees do more of the work they love. You’ll hear her journey as a consultant for dental practices, her approach to automating people ops, and the most common automation mistakes she sees in small businesses.

On this episode, you’ll hear:

  • [00:33-03:07] Meet Paulina Song, automation expert and Zentist co-founder
  • [03:20-04:30] How automation helps employees feel challenged and engaged
  • [04:50-06:40] When it’s time for a small business to operationalize its people work
  • [06:42-07:56] How to think about new hires as long-term business investments
  • [09:01-11:26] Small business obstacles to automation
  • [11:49-15:43] How the pandemic changed the dental industry
  • [16:59-19:54] Empowering employees to be “mini engineers” using technology
  • [20:34-22:57] How to talk to your people about using technology to work smarter
  • [23:32-26:28] Enhancing the employee experience through expectation- and goal-setting
  • [26:28-29:35] Where small businesses should start with automating people ops
  • [29:43-31:19] Why Paulina is optimistic about small business: refreshed perspective

After you listen: 

Ask a SMB Workplace Question and get featured on POPS! The People Ops podcast.

POPS Star Bio

Paulina Song is the co-founder of Zentist, a platform that automates dental insurance claims processing and revenue cycle management for dental practices. As the daughter of a dentist and a doctor, Paulina has a deep passion for the business side of dentistry. She’s a firm believer that smoother operations and better healthcare efficiency leads to improved accessibility and affordability for patients. Paulina is passionate about seeing small businesses thrive, as she sees small businesses as the “backbone” of the communities they serve.

Transcript

Paulina: I always tell my staff that. I really want to see them work smarter and not harder. It means nothing to me. If you work 10 hours and get the same amount of work that I can get done into it doesn’t make you look better because you’re working longer and you’re working harder and you’re more stressed out.

Didi: POPS! It’s the People Ops Podcast. The only show dedicated to small businesses, sharing stories of pivotal people, moments. I’m your host Didi D’Errico. In this episode Paulina Song, an operations expert, talks about the power of automation. Now before you press skip or stop, hear me out for Paulina. Automation can help grow your people and your business by eliminating tasks as the daughter of a dentist and a doctor, Paulina planned to follow in one of her parents’ footsteps.

Yet she discovered two things. While in college, first clinical work wasn’t really her jam. And second, she discovered a deep passion. And the market need for the business side of 

Paulina: dentistry. That a lot of times the healthcare delivery could just be so much better accessibility and affordability. And a lot of these issues can be addressed by having.

Much smoother operations and better efficiency. And so it became a really interesting task for me to figure out how could I save us some money and therefore pass on some savings to patients. And so that’s really where I grew to really like operations. And I felt like it was like conducting an orchestra.

You have to manage so many different things without things falling apart. And so that just became a really interesting challenge to me. Far more interesting than actually doing the dental work itself. And then from that point on, I had actually started consulting some dental practices and now I’m two years into my own startup.

It’s called dentists and we help automate insurance claims processing for other dental practice. Why focus 

Didi: on small business for Paulina? It’s all about community. 

Paulina: Small businesses are really the backbone of our communities. They’re really what makes a city really particular or unique or has its a unique flavor.

When you go visit a new place, you’re not thinking about how many strip malls or big box stores there are in that particular city. You’re really going for that unique restaurant that you heard about or maybe special ethnic group or you’re really going for that uniqueness. And so small businesses are really reflect that and yeah.

Communities coming together to bring out their culture, reflect their culture. And also it’s really interesting to see that amalgamation as well for different cultural groups and ethnic groups moving into new areas or immigrants, trying to make it for the first time out on their own and really creating that uniqueness of a city that they’re in is truly what’s most interesting about small bits.

And they come with so many different backgrounds and people come with so many of their own unique perspectives of what makes a business work and how to conduct business. That just makes it so much more interesting. 

Didi: As we dig into the conversation, let’s revisit what I said at the top. Automation can help your people feel challenged and engaged.

How

Paulina: one of the most important things to me for, from an operational standpoint is, and currently, nowadays, if you’re not digitizing, you’re working way too hard on the things that you don’t love. If you’re a baker, you want to bake. If you’re a welder you want to weld, especially if you’re in a small business, you want to do your craft.

You want to sell your flowers, dentists. Their patients, nobody may be accepted if you’re in accounting, you really even want to do your books and, and fill out that paperwork and file all those notices and all those HR requests. It’s a lot of extra work that comes with the territory. A lot of the times when you are running a small business and it’s really an overview slogan for tech companies, but truly they’re doing what they’re doing so that you can get back to doing what you love to do.

And it’s overused because it’s so true. We’re really trying to take away all of these redundancies. And time-consuming repetitive work that really, we all want to get done with so that we can get back to doing the things that we love. And so you don’t burn out from all of this administrative work, and there’s just so many tools to be able to make augment your reach things like revenue, cycle management, of so many things that you don’t have to do anymore with all of these tools that have made it so much easier to do it.

Because you’re a 

Didi: consultant to small businesses. Is there a tendency? Do you start with more of that revenue? The default is maybe more on the financial side of operations first. And then where down the pecking order, do people come into the mix and thinking about people in terms of really an operational benefit?

Paulina: I think when you’re first starting out, sometimes it really is just getting that financial backbone and just the structure of everything together. For example, I’m really big on dashboards. I love tools that can pull data together to just give you insight into things without you having to go in and crunch the numbers yourself.

Certainly there’s benefit to that. But just having that high-level overviews of things will just really tell you, um, what next steps you need to take. But then of course, having the right team is once you have to make that first hire people coming to play, and if you’re in a small business, You’re generally going to rely on people.

I mean, most small businesses are going to have that interactive component and having the best people and really not compromising on your values and finding the people that you want to invest in, but also making sure that you treat them well, that’s not right. A space you want to skimp, and if you really get what you put into it.

And so certainly investing in fewer quality people is going to be better than higher quantity, but people that you have to chase after constantly to train and keep accountable is not going to do you the service, and it’s not going to be as worthwhile of an investment. So really paying people well, giving them the benefits.

They need in order to comfortably work at the business without constantly thinking about how they’re going to afford staying employed with you. I think to really get them past that point so that they can say, okay, now that I’m living comfortably and I can sustain myself and my family, I can really think about.

How I can invest in being a good employee for this business and taking the business to the next level. And I, where do I even see a potential for my own personal growth is that’s really not a place you can sacrifice. So really investing in the right people and paying them at we’re finding some way to make sure that’s in the budget.

When you’re thinking about financing, it’s small businesses about community and it’s about people. So because that’s just not somewhere you can sacrifice. So 

Didi: really good points. And I don’t know that this is fair. And so you can correct me, but I imagine as you’re, if you’re a small business, your business of one, as you start to grow your primary thing, when you first need to hire your first person is, oh my gosh, I need a person to fill a role to get this done, as opposed to, I need to think about the impact longer term on my business.

And what do I need to be thinking about in terms of investments? Not only a salary, but also a view into training. So I don’t have to do this all over again in a couple of months or a year or whatever. And just this bigger picture to taking care of the people that are going to take 

Paulina: care of you. So the first component of, or the first step is to hire the right people.

And then thinking about how do you make it a pleasant experience for them and potentially future employees. That’s the other part of the equation, right? You have to keep them and keep them happy. And how do you make that process of coming into your business as smooth as possible? How do you actually.

Engage them in a way that they understand what those expectations actually are and that they are able to have some clarity on HR as well as just to make sure that everybody’s on the same page. I think it’s really what it is. So having visibility and transparency on their end, as well as the employer and from the very beginning, you’re just setting yourself up for a much better experience.

One of the 

Didi: things that perhaps is a misnomer, it’s thinking about applying technology to people. Can you talk a little bit about as an operations guru that you are about how you think about automation? 

Paulina: Automation is really about automating tasks and not replacing the people you want people to be doing.

Interesting work that they find challenging, and that will teach them to look at business and how they interact with customers and how they improve the interaction with their customers and other people, whether it’s other employees or other customers or their employers and everything, the task seems to just get in the way of that because you get so bogged down and inundate.

All of the tasks. I really think about how do you take it? Automation apply it to people in such a way that it can actually reduce the amount of that extra work that they have to do so that they can actually make time to think about those more interesting and challenging tasks and also spend their time engaging with other people.

So let’s dig a little into 

Didi: that automation piece of it as a consultant. How much technology leverage do you see already in place before you take on a new client? And why do you think that. 

Paulina: Sadly for a lot of small business owners, they really just have to spend a lot of time dealing with what’s in front of them.

Sometimes it’s just that one upset customer or something, an order fell through where there’s always something too that needs to be done on that day. That’s much more urgent than sitting back and really looking at what’s the task at hand and how can we solve it from a more global perspective and not just dealing with that thing that happened today, that might happen repeatedly over the week, but you have to keep dealing with it instead of saying.

No, this really shouldn’t even be a problem. We need to actually solve it on a more functional or operational or people level. So unlike in healthcare, I think in more retail and restaurants and a little bit more of the competitive businesses that are competing for like entertainment and people’s time and energy and money, of course, there’s going to be a little bit more innovation.

I think if you go into a retail setting and they’re not taking apple pay or there’s no digital format of payment. You might think that’s a little bit backwards and you might want to go down somewhere down the street where it might be a little bit easier and to make that order online or something like that or curbside pickup.

And if they don’t have that enabled, it might be a little bit more difficult for that particular business for healthcare. It’s really interesting because the problem is actually the lack of interoperability. Much more interconnected. If you’re thinking about your healthcare, it’s not necessarily just one visit or one interaction with one, one retail store or one restaurant, but really thinking about this is lifestyle.

A lot of ways, even though a dental office is operating in a small business environment, a retail store. Setting. It is part of a more global healthcare system that is really broken because of this lack of interoperability. And a lot of these inefficiencies get passed down as costs, and that’s why affordability and accessibility really are challenges in the healthcare system and in the United States.

To the extent that medical bills are really one of the top reasons for bankruptcy. And so technology can really address a lot of these issues, um, especially in this kind of a unique healthcare space. And I hope that we can actually learn a lot from retail and restaurants in these environments where they’re pushed a little bit more aggressively for consumer dollars to find ways to become more innovative and stand out.

But of course, if you’re sick, you’re going to have. See your doctor, no matter what, or get that tooth taken care of. And so there’s less of a push for innovation because that competitiveness is not quite the same. I remember 

Didi: a year ago when we talked, we were just in the, I don’t even mean a month or two into the pandemic.

And you were sharing with me that because of the physical nature of the interaction, that dental business was one of the later medical practices to come back online during the pandemic. And you also shared that dentists were perhaps the furthest behind in being equipped. Tele health.

I wonder if you can talk about some of the biggest revelations that you have found in running dental practices that you’ve witnessed in the past year what’s the past year taught us how much has that reality has changed since you went. Last connected a year ago in this. 

Paulina: So, as I previously mentioned, dental practices, weren’t really feeling the pressure.

I think we even at  where we’re doing automation for a lot of dental office business processes, they really like the way that they operate with paper chart and filing cabinets and paper registration forms. And they didn’t really see a need to change that. A lot of times it was it’s given me a compelling reason to have to change this because it.

And that’s it. And investing in a digital platform doesn’t really make sense because I can get it done just as easily with my paper and pen and filing cabinet. But so fortunately for dentists, everyone has teeth and you can’t avoid it. And you’re not necessarily going to say. Not going to necessarily visit this dentist because you have paper charts and I can’t easily access it online.

It’s just not necessarily kind of, you’re not really thinking about that as your primary decision to go see that particular dentist and probably care more about maybe their background or their experience and whether they can actually do the clinical work prior to the pandemic. This was not necessarily a problem.

Of course, they were just slower to digitize, but once this pandemic. And people were not coming into the dental practice to work because they couldn’t be there. And they had to have a limited amount of people there. That’s when reaching out to the patients became a huge problem. You didn’t already have a communication tool to text patients or email patients.

Most people do at this point. Certainly our stragglers out there who are wanting to keep that concierge phone experience from their office manager. And don’t have this kind of ability to mass communicate or tell their patients to schedule digital visits. And so for the dentist who were prepared or who already had digital registration in place and online payments in place, they were able to more or less still conduct their business.

Same with dental practices that actually use dentists. Any kind of stoppage in working on their insurance claim reimbursements and things like that. It was just an engine that could, we could keep on running. If you turned on automatic appointment reminders to let people know that we had to delay your appointment, but you can start rebooking yourself after a certain date.

These are all things that could have been done without having people. General practice to do it. We did see, or at least from the industry perspective, we did see a lot of dentists really go out of business. They weren’t able to keep up and compete and probably not to the same extent as we tell and restaurants, but certainly they felt the impact as well.

The overhead bred dental practices, it’s extremely high. There’s a lot of equipment and a lot of supplies that are very pricey. And so to be able to keep up with those costs is really challenging when you’re not actually seeing patients. And so we did. Dentists pretty much give up on their businesses. It wasn’t worth investing into digitize and get really overhaul all of their equipment and their computers and install this new technology.

It was just easier to say, you know what? Let’s just retire. Or a trend that we’re seeing is that there’s actually a lot of industry consolidation where there’s private equity and there’s a bigger chain coming into buy up these individual practices. And of course that is a really big challenge for other dentists who are still operating as an individual business.

When you have bigger guns, come in with a lot more resources to focus on digitization and consultant, none of these business processes, it becomes even harder for those small individual practices to compete. That’s certainly a really, it was already happening in the industry, but I think the pandemic really gave it that extra push and we’re seeing much, much, much more consolidation and, and people retiring and selling their practices to a chain, for example, as opposed to another practicing dentist or, uh, an associate who had been at the practice for some time.

Didi: What an interesting challenge for independent practices to really think about what are the levers that I can use so that I can increase my efficiency and pass that along to my patients and keep the intimacy of that kind of practice. 

Paulina: And I think this is not just a challenge for dental practices, but it’s a challenge for any small business.

There’s a silver lining. It’s really actually a fortunate time because there are tons of tools available to make a small business just as competitive and give that consumer the same experience as you can. Another big box retailer, whether you’re selling something online or operating out of. A home kitchen, you can provide that same level of experience.

And so it’s just a matter of, are you able to invest that time and energy to become tech savvy, to be able to compete at that same time? So what 

Didi: let’s apply that now to the people piece. So we talked a lot of this, this particular technology in the dental field is making sure that you’re setting up the front end, the operations.

And how do you connect with your customers? Let’s talk about how big of an impact do you think the last year has had on people, operations. For example, if it’s changed, who you hire, the employment types that you hire, ensuring the health and safety of your actual team and then their customers, what are some of the big things that, that people operations changes you had to 

Paulina: make in the last year?

Really like to stick to the theme of, we hire really quality people and really invest in them. And it’s less so about hiring a lot of people to do a lot of different roles, but thinking about how can they become a kind of, I call them mini engineers, right? How can they actually utilize the tools so that they’re more empowered to oversee more things?

And we’ve really thought about keeping those key admin employees really happy and making sure they know that they do have a role. And not necessarily eliminating other roles, but really paring down all those non-productive tasks as much as possible, rather than maybe having a receptionist. We were able to move to some sort of answering services on, uh, on after hours.

CA capture some extra phone calls. For example, that doesn’t necessarily mean that not having a receptionist is better or worse. It’s simply is augmenting our office manager’s position to have one less person to manage. And also there’s still opportunity are still other people who are answering the phones.

The job opportunities are still there and they’re still people. But they’re just doing it in a somewhat different fashion and also doing it in a way that we can track the number of phone calls or which ones are actually patient calls versus the on calls and working with those technologies have been more productive for us, for example, it also, in some cases, rather than having that specific role in the dental practice, since we did have some limitations on how many people could be in a specific space, if you’re going to have to eliminate any time.

Roll or reduce the amount of roles in the office. You’re certainly going to reduce the ones that you can find other ways to work around rather than your key managers who have been there for longer, who you’ve really invested in. So really thinking about who are those key people that are must keeps and who can’t.

And, uh, be these mini engineers of all the software platforms that we already have because they’re the ones who know the ins and outs of it, of the operations that you’ve set up. And so fortunately for our practice, we’ve really outsourced and automated a lot of these back office processes. And so we really just needed those key admin people and were able to either check.

Flexibly allow them to work remotely, or at least reduce the amount of people who are in the practice on a given day at a given time, mostly for safety reasons. And of course the clinical care, we’re not going to sacrifice on quality there. So we’re not necessarily reducing the number of doctors or hikes.

That are there to take care of the staff. But this also means that we had to lengthen the times of appointments and of course have the admin team take care of pre screenings. And so of course it wasn’t quite as busy and certainly we’re investing in that quality of care side of things. eliminate as much admin interaction as possible so that the patient can go directly to the room that they need to and see just the limited number of providers that they need to, and then get out of there without having to check out with another person and make any kind of exchange and interaction.

Didi: Yeah. And that adaptability that you talk about is so important, both from maybe a behavioral attribute, but it’s also something that you want to reinforce as your you’re looking at training a chef for the new world of reality. Before we move to the next section, I like the notion of.

Your practice is being smarter because you’re leveraging technology. You’ve adapted this term of the mini engineer. I don’t think you mean it to mean that you need to have a whole lot of tech, heavy lifting background behind you, but more that you’re leveraging tech to make the load lighter in general.

But how do you talk to your staff about taking on technology to help make the 

Paulina: business right. I always tell my staff that I really want to see them work smarter, not harder. It, it means nothing to me. If you work 10 hours and get the same amount of work that I can get done into it, doesn’t make you look better because you’re working longer and you’re working harder and you’re more stressed out.

That’s not the point. If you’re stressed out, then there, you’re doing something wrong. And I don’t want to see anybody burnt out and unhappy and working long hours, or at least thinking that. The longer they work or appear to be working hard. That’s what we’re rewarding because everything that we do is so results oriented and we really try to gear it towards that kind of experience.

I care about at the end of the day, were you able to hit these numbers or get these metrics or get a certain level of customer satisfaction? I actually don’t care how you get there. You don’t have to report to me, let’s say, if you ended up not having to work today, for some, whatever reason that has come up, but in that little amount of time you were able to work, you did that one thing that was the highest impact.

And so certainly it’s not in the day-to-day grind. It’s really hard to think about things that way, but I really encourage people. Sit back and think about what am I going to do? That is the highest impact. And even for myself, having to run the family’s dental practice along with my own startup, it’s, it’s not about how much I can do in one day, but really what is that most important thing?

And then where are the mini engineer mindset comes into? You have all these levers you can pull. And now that you have 20, 30 softwares that you’re managing setting preferences for, for a while there, when I was running the dental practice, I was just checking settings all day long to make sure that they did what I wanted it to do and that it could replicate the processes that I was trying to get accomplished.

At scale, without issue. And sometimes it came down to if a patient receives this procedure, they have to get this postoperative email. And this many days after that procedure done. And how can we make sure that they get that right one and not. Some other one that might not be relevant to them, but that’s a one-time fix.

You make sure it’s absolutely correct the first few times and you never have to fix it again. And so that’s one of those things where it’s much easier to fix it on, on that one end where you’re engineering this as opposed to dealing with us at customers and patients on the backend and saying, I’m so sorry that you got this wrong email and I’m so sorry that you got conflicting information and then having to fix it on the back end.

So let’s talk 

Didi: about applying people operations and what other companies can take away from this. The struggles and challenges that dental practice has seen in the last year have got some of its own certainly particular things, but it applies to most small businesses, most businesses in general. So let’s talk a little bit about maybe a resonant example of metrics or priorities for people operations that you’ve folded into.

Overall operations planning to build a little bit more, better resilience or a better engineering mindset for your business that you could share with. 

Paulina: So one of the biggest challenges we had was around employee retention, not necessarily because we couldn’t find people or that they didn’t want to stay, but from not necessarily making expectations, to be clear, especially in a dental practice where the roles are, pretty predefined.

If you’re in the front office, you more or less know what you’re responsible for on the administrative side, you more or less know that of you’re a hygienist you’re going to be seeing. Dental hygiene patients. so it was a little bit too casual, the way that we approached the roles and just said, sure, you’re hired for this particular role.

Just go ahead and do that thing that you do. It was okay. And I think we did get certainly qualified people who are in there doing a great job in their roles, but there was a, I would say a problem around where do I go from here in a small business. It really does sometimes feel. There’s only three people here.

And once you manage the two other people, that’s right. Pretty much it or a feeling like this is the crux of this experience. And so I should either move on to something else or do something that is maybe more fulfilling or challenging or, or something in a different industry or something like that.

And we were really thinking about how to enhance this experience or make it a little better and not necessarily just saying you’re here to. Take phone calls. So just go ahead and take phone calls. Cause that’s just what you do, but really thinking about what do you want out of your particular role? Why are you here and what is our expectation?

It’s not just make phone calls, but how many phone calls do you really need to be taking in to be able to hit our company’s goals or the number of appointments that we need to be filled on a monthly basis or something like that so that they have something very tangible to reach out to. But then also tying that into how does that reaching that metric compute to how does that benefit me now?

Is there an opportunity for growth in terms of compensation or is there an opportunity to move into a different role or do more of a management type of role? If that’s something that they were interested in and in a lot of cases, that’s not necessarily even the case. Not everybody wants to be a manager and certainly not everybody makes it.

A really great manager, and they don’t even want to do it are really happy doing the patient engagement or doing the clinical exams and they don’t necessarily want to manage people. And so just really figuring out what their goals are and what they’re good at and what they want, and actually setting those expectations and understanding that from the beginning of the hiring process, and then of course now taking a one step further is thinking about how can we actually help them think about their careers, not just as well. Once I’ve reached this assistant level, that’s pretty much it, and this is all I’m going to be doing. But if we were to invest in getting them more licenses or getting them educated further, which is somewhat difficult to do, sometimes that can get pretty costly for a business.

But if it’s something that we’re willing to invest in, is there something. That we will see that return on investment there. And would they be still at staying with the practice longer and taking on a different role in the practice and also be a part of that practice expansion plan. 

Didi: So if you were to counsel other small businesses, where to start, when it comes to really taking an operational look at people, programs and measurement and accountability, where would you suggest they start thinking if they haven’t solved?

Paulina: I would still really just go back to investing in good people, ultimately involving them in the business goals. And I think this automation and technology really makes the whole working smarter, not harder thing, a reality that we have to think about. It’s a different way to work, but definitely working on more fulfilling and interesting and novel tasks.

And so that you’re not just doing that. Think if you can schedule 120 appointments in an hour, whereas it used to take you the whole month, then kudos to you because now you can move on to maybe more difficult tasks that you’ll actually get more compensation for investing in the right people so that they can also see that and align on that kind of mentality is much more important than teaching how to do that task.

Or do you know how to make an appointment or something like that? That’s not. Thing to teach, but it’s that mindset they’re hiring for as opposed to have you ever had experience doing this task? And I think checking in early and often and setting those expectations to begin with, or sometimes are really difficult conversations to have.

And of course, if you’re investing a lot of time and energy into hiring someone and there’s some red flags, but you’re just so desperate and you just need that person, sometimes it really does blow up in your face. And when it does, you’re like, Ugh, I knew that from the beginning that this was going to be an issue and we didn’t really address it because I wanted to avoid that confrontation or I wanted to give them a chance.

And there’s a lot of excuses that we have to give to us to justify a lot of things that we really knew or could have nipped in the bud to begin with or not had those difficult conversations, just because you wanted to avoid that confrontation. And it’s so hard, but you do have to. Have those conversations.

I think that’s one of the hardest parts about being a business owner is you have to put yourself in those uncomfortable situations, whether it’s with customers or whether it’s with employees, you just have to put yourself out there. And it’s one of the hardest things to do. Once you do you, it does relieve a lot of the stress and the anxiety of did I do the right thing or should I have let this thing go on for as long as it had the sooner you make that change, the sooner you’ll reap the rewards of that, or learn from a mistake and ultimately.

I just go back to investing in those right. People who have that same mindset and who you can relay your business goals and understand how you want to achieve those objectives will get them on your team. And then we always think about cloning ourselves. I think in the small business environment, it’s I know how to do everything the way I want to do it.

And if I could only clone myself, then I wouldn’t have this problem, but that’s entirely possible. You can definitely find people who are aligned with that mindset and you don’t need many of them to make that dream work, really take the time to find. The right people. And a lot of these other things like measurement and accountability will come together for you because they will also be aligned and also want that.

And also look for that in people that they hire.

Didi:  So before we wrap, what do you find that you’re most optimistic about for small businesses like yours? 

Paulina: Oh boy, last year was supposed to be our year. Every one year. It was the new decade. It was a nice even number, all those things that you’re really trying to go into a first and really optimistic.

And of course, womp womp. I really still see that optimism still there. Definitely. But I think that there’s still this pent up energy of people wanting to carry that energy that they had from last year and not. And since they had that kind of time to reflect and also really sit back and think about now that I’m not just running into the year without really, or just doing a lot of the same things, we’re go and where we’re getting into a new decade, doing things twice as fast twice.

But really thinking about how are we doing things, right? Are we doing it the best that we can? Are we thinking about our planet? Are we thinking about the human rights? Are we thinking about and approaching what we’re doing on a day to day basis? Both in our personal lives and at work the right way. People have that refreshed perspective. And now they’re ready to get out there again, whether you’re a consumer or whether you’re on the small business side and really thinking about how to restructure your business or re invent your business and your craft in a way that really resonates with this kind of new world that we’re coming into.

People can’t wait any longer. And I’m sure the case for restaurants and movies. And I think once we get to a place where more and more people are out there and more and more businesses are opening up and people are seeing others do the same and getting out there safely, but slowly getting back into things.

it’s a really exciting time. All that kind of energy is going to, do really great things for us this year. And next.

Didi: This was PIVOT. If you want to learn more about inspiring people, operations stories, like Paulina’s check out zenefits.com/pops-podcast, where you’ll find bonus resources and even a link to order our new book titled you guessed it, People Operations. Also, if you have questions you want us to answer on a future show, check out the link in our show notes below and we’ll get it covered.

 

Previous Episodes

Q&A: Keep Out the Bad Actors: Make Your People’s Data Secure

Christian Flaten, Director of Product Marketing, Zenefits
Aug 10, 2021
On June 7th, 2021, 8.4 billion unique usernames and password combinations were leaked—the largest password leak in history. And since 65% of people use the same password for multiple accounts, a type of cyberattack known as ‘credential stuffing’ is on the rise. But what is credential stuffing, exactly, and how do you prevent it from...

Q&A: How do you prepare for a conversation when someone isn’t ready for a promotion?

Lora Patterson, HR Advisor at Zenefits
May 4, 2021
How should you prepare for a conversation sharing that someone has been passed over for a promotion? On this episode of POPS!, Zenefits HR Advisor Lora Patterson shares tips on handling a tricky conversation with an employee who isn’t ready for a promotion with intentionality, transparency, and empathy.  In this Q&A, you’ll hear:  [00:35-01:21] Tips...

Q&A: Vaxed, but are we ready to return?

Andrea Curry and Jean Lee, Content Marketers, Zenefits
Jun 17, 2021
With most states offering COVID-19 vaccines to all adults, what should small businesses take into account as they reopen offices?

About The People Ops Podcast

Every week, we share the decisions, struggles, and successes for keeping up with an evolving workforce and a changing workplace. No matter if you’ve been in HR or are just getting started, this combination of transformational stories with actionable ideas, as well as context on hot issues, keeps you up-to-date while answering the questions you didn’t even know you had.

Oh, and you know what they say about all work and no play? We tossed in a little levity to keep it real. Lessons, answers, and humor: everywhere you listen to podcasts.

Best-in-class remote teams will use best-in-class technology.

Zenefits mobile HR platform makes it easier to communicate with staff, onboarding new hires, pay employees, and manage any HR task from any home office.