Discover how to hire the best employees with one of the fastest-growing companies in the 2018 Inc Magazine List. Founder and CEO, Ben Wright, shares how Velocity Global grew so fast. He decided only to hire 10s. He wanted a culture of the best employees. Get the details on how to hire the best employees in this interview with Ben. He shares the five steps and why he does not start with looking at the employee’s resume.
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Ben Wright: The Transcript
Target Audience: Ben is a proven leader with an exceptionally strong focus on client satisfaction. Significant experience with building and growing organizations, enhancing brand awareness and capturing market share.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
It really starts and ends with with culture. And I know everybody says that, but it really is. We just want this to be a once in a once in a professional lifetime experience for the employees that work here. And we’re never going to accomplish that 100%, but that is sure. My goal, my goal is 100%.
Gene Hammett: [00:17]
Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs, the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host, my name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. Are you ready to grow?
Gene Hammett: [00:33]
Hiring great people? You know, that’s a critical function of the business and you probably do a pretty good job at that hiring people and developing them along the way. But I want you to think about this for a second. Do you believe in hiring a player at the top of the top? Are you willing to let go of all the ones that are B players and c players? I know you probably have some certain thoughts around this, but I really want to find the heart of this issue. So I was going out there and talking into my network and found Ben Wright.
Gene Hammett: [01:05]
I’ve had been right on the show before. Ben has a very interesting concept of hiring people. Ben is the founder and CEO of velocity global. They’re number four on the INC 2018 list. They grew at 39817% over a three-year run rate. Um, how is that possible? Well, they only had a few hundred thousand that first year and then they grew to about 49 million in three years. So really amazing growth. And he says that one of the core factors of that is the only highest tents. And so today we’re going to uncover not only why he only hires tens and what that means to the business, what that means internally inside the teams and communication and the way work is done, but also the five steps that he takes around doing that. So make sure you tune in today because Ben is going to uncover this. I’m going to pull it out of him just for you so that you can grow your company.
Gene Hammett: [01:57]
Thanks for tuning in here to Growth Think tank. Really excited about sharing this with you and before you run, I have done so many interviews in the last few weeks. I have such an exciting time to share with you that those interviews have been organized into the 12 core principles of fast-growth companies. So all you have to do to get that, it’s got a genehammett.com/Worksheet so you can get the 12 principles and I’ve been able to go in there and find which episodes will align to each individual episodes. When you subscribed to grow think tank, you will find exactly what you need so that you can move forward. And many of them haven’t been published yet, depending on when you’re hearing this, but you can, you can tune in to the date that means the most to you. Well, here’s the interview with Ben Wright.
Gene Hammett: [02:41]
Hi Ben. How are you?
Ben Wright: [02:46]
I’m doing great, Gene. How about stuff?
Gene Hammett: [02:48]
Well, I am fantastic. I’m excited. This is the first in the new brand of this and really is something I have been thinking about for a long time in planning.
Ben Wright: [03:00]
Hey, it’s awesome to be here. I, you would tell me a little bit about the idea of the concept. I absolutely love it. I’m honored to be a part of it. Uh, and you already have a, you know, soon to be a success fiber. So I’m going to listen
Gene Hammett: [03:12]
First-time entrepreneur and I’m gonna let you share some details, but just so you, you don’t have to brag on yourself too much. Last year you made the inc 500 lists, but you are ed number four, which is super impressive. It isn’t, it is a little bit of mastery of numbers, right? You’re three years ago, your revenue was not very much, and now it’s a lot. And you’re growing again. You’re gonna, you’re gonna make the list again in 2019. So tell us, Ben, a little bit about velocity global.
Ben Wright: [03:48]
Yeah, happy to. So we really found a niche and it’s a niche, but it’s a niche that’s, that’s really applicable to a lot of companies. When an organization wants to go global and particularly around employment if you’ve got people that you want to hire in countries outside of your home country, wherever that happens to be. We think that when you’re entering in countries, small headcounts, setting up a legal entity or a company just to employ those people is really complex, difficult, expensive way to go about it. And so you can almost kind of think of us as the, we work of international expansion or the Airbnb of international expansion. We have companies in 186 countries around the world. And so you just give us a call and you say, Hey Ben, a velocity global, I’ve got this Gal, I want to hire her. She’s in Greece, we don’t have a company in Greece. We will employ her to our company so that you don’t have to go set up your own company.
Gene Hammett: [04:46]
That’s pretty fantastic. So I’m assuming they get benefits just like they would if they were at the home company.
Ben Wright: [04:53]
Yeah, I do that too. Right. So you, you know, the price of admission is to work with us as you just have to have an international employee. And that’s why companies tend to engage us. But once you get is, you know I compliant payroll for that individual in Greece or wherever else it happens to be. All the benefits that come along with employments, like health, pension, all those sorts of things. If it’s a foreign national, you know, we’ll help you make sure that they get the visa so they can, are allowed to work in that country. And then, you know, again, everything that really revolves around employment.
Gene Hammett: [05:29]
Is it a percentage of salary or their flat fees or I don’t know what the business model behind that is.
Ben Wright: [05:36]
Yeah, great question. Yes. So it’s a percentage of compensation, or you know, if it’s a more modest compensation, there is a kind of a minimum fee in order for us to be able to provide the service. But it’s a month to month contract. So it is intended to move incredibly fast, hence the name of velocity global. And it’s also intended to keep up with really kind of the whole definition of it, which is you don’t exactly know how your strategy is going to work in that country if this new employee is going to work out. And so it gives you an incredible flexibility.
Gene Hammett: [06:11]
Now I know you bring a lot of experience of, of running and hiring a company because you’ve had this idea a few years ago and you went out on your own. When did you start velocity level?
Ben Wright: [06:26]
April 7th, 2014. So we just celebrated five years.
Gene Hammett: [06:30]
So five years ago. When did you hire your first employee?
Gene Hammett: [06:36]
April 1st, 2015.
Gene Hammett: [06:41]
Alright, so just a date, just under a year. And since then you’ve hired how many dozens of employees?
Ben Wright: [06:50]
Oh my goodness. You know, today, this very day we have 125 internal employees. We’re currently supporting thousands of employees across the globe. But our own internal velocity global people, we have a 125, 85 of those are in our headquarters in Denver, Colorado. And the rest are spread literally across the globe. I mean, we have we have our own offices, physical officers in about a dozen countries.
Gene Hammett: [07:17]
Yeah, I talked to a lot of fast-growing companies, just like you, you’ve been on the leaders in the trenches podcast before and we talked about retention rate. I don’t need exact numbers, but I would imagine your retention rate is very healthy.
Ben Wright: [07:31]
It’s absolutely fantastic. You know, and it’s actually a really interesting point. Um, I was reflecting on this just yesterday. I was actually asked to come speak at a conference in Montreal last year, fall, because around culture, one of the really interesting things about us is, you know, at that point I think we’d had like a 1% turnover rate and since the beginning of time here at the organization.
Gene Hammett: [07:57]
Ben Wright: [07:57]
Ironically, and Eddie noted the true tip of the hat to Hubris. I think the next week I came back and someone resigned. So that’s why but you know, we’re still hovering around, you know, 5% or less in terms of the kind of voluntary turnover.
Gene Hammett: [08:14]
That’s very impressive. The Inc 5000 are really blessed, I think with the fact that they don’t have a lot of turnovers. Um, but you, and it really attributed to the culture and having a great place to work. And, and I think a lot of it has to do with, there’s a lot of growth opportunities. Like velocity, global is full of your growth. You’re moving fast and you’re, there’s a lot of new projects coming on board. Tell us just a little bit about that.
Ben Wright: [08:44]
I get you. This is so funny. This is literally been front and center in terms of conversations around our halls this week. So you know, for us it really starts and ends with, with culture. And I know everybody says that but it really is, we just want this to be a once in a professional lifetime experience for the employees that work here. And we’re never going to accomplish that 100%, but that is sure. My goal, my goal is 100%. And so that’s a big piece of it. But one of the things that we’ve been talking about is, you know, we’ve had, we’ve started having a little more voluntary turnover and we’ve been kind of taking a look at that and okay, you know, what’s going on? And there’s a piece of it. And every situation is unique, but there’s a piece of it.
Ben Wright: [09:31]
And when you’re a five-person company, a 20 person company, a 50 person company, you know, and you’re on that rocket ship growth like we are, it is very easy to see for everybody. Like, I know exactly what by career path kind of looks like. I don’t know exactly where it’s going to fit, but I’ve just got all these incredible opportunities. When you get to be 125 employees, it’s not always necessarily all that visible when you’re in the trenches. Right. From my perspective and my vantage point, I want to tell people all the time, just trust me, right? I mean, we’re at 125 employees today. You know, we’re going to be in the hundreds if not thousands, right in the next four to five years. There are endless opportunities, but it gets a little harder to see again when you’re in the trenches as you start to grow.
Gene Hammett: [10:20]
Now I know one of the key factors is there’s a number of key factors of retention, but one of them is hiring. And so you’ve got some, some special kind of ways of hiring. I remember talking to you, I’d love to figure out, you know, what do you think is really unique about your hiring process that others could learn from?
Ben Wright: [10:41]
So we go through a five-step process in terms of bringing people on board. And it starts with and I think you and I may have talked about this a little bit, Gene, but, it’s really funny. You know, this actually shows up in a couple of instances on our glass door reviews. The very first engagement you have with velocity global outside of, you know, email exchange and setting up that first call is a first call, 30-minute phone screen. And we actually never address your experience or your resume. And there’s been a few people on Glassdoor who have knocked this on that and said, you know, these guys don’t even know why I didn’t even ask about my experience. They don’t know anything about me. And it’s kind of funny because that’s actually by design. Like we really just want to get to know the individual.
Ben Wright: [11:31]
We want to know what gets them, you know, what makes them tick, what makes them get out of bed in the morning, what really makes them amazing persons. From there, we go into the second phase, which is actually a real deep dive into your experience and vice variance. I mean, we literally go job by job through your resume. But while we don’t necessarily focus on is the job that you do or have done in your past, we’re focused much more on what made you passionate, right? What did you learn where what were the amazing times and what are the things that you most proud of? Conversely, what are the things when you really struggled and it really failed and that’s, you know, tell me what you learned from that. Right? And tell me how that made you a better person, a better professional as you went on. We’ve found that hiring people and hiring for culture has been the greatest assets in terms of being able to follow our mantra, which is we only hired tens around here.
Let me break in for a moment here. Ben talked about really understanding the mistakes that someone’s who’s made in that interviewing process. One of the questions I love to ask people and when I work with my leaders, I share this question all the time, is tell me about a goal that you didn’t hit and why you didn’t hit it. You want to see what the goal was. That’s sort of interesting about who that person is and what they’re striving toward. But the real interesting part is why they didn’t hit it. If they are immediately tossing out excuses, they’re blaming someone else. And they’re probably not going to take responsibility or full ownership of the work when they actually work for you. So you want to look for the person who understands that, that that missing of the goal was their responsibility. It was their right, their ownership. And when you can uncover that inside the interview process, you really have something sharp that you can understand who that person is at a deeper level. Now back to Ben.
Gene Hammett: [13:32]
Well, that’s a pretty strong mantra. Where did you get it from?
Ben Wright: [13:39]
I wish I had a really eloquent answer for you. Um, I think it just goes back to, I just like working with tens is all it really is to it. And I’ve been involved in a lot of organizations over my career and yeah, I’ve had a lot of experiences where, you know, people just, just may not be tens and they can’t keep up. But I’ve had a lot of experiences where, where people are absolutely Tim and we’ve had this experience for people. I no doubt in my mind they’re 10, but it turns out kind of once they get into the system, once they get into the environment which they get in the company, they’re there. They’re the struggle to be a 10 in that environment. And so, you know, again, going back to really getting to know the person. Yeah, I mean we love that you, we of course love that you’ve had incredible success. We don’t care as much about what specifically you’ve done. We want to make sure that you’re attending and that you’re attending can shine in our system.
Gene Hammett: [14:40]
So you talked about the values of people, you know, do you guys have set values that you interview too?
Ben Wright: [14:49]
We absolutely do. And I’m incredibly proud. We just did an employee engagement survey and a, on a five-point scale average, I think 4.7 out of five people said, I absolutely know our values. So that’s pretty cool. We don’t just have values. Everybody knows what they are. And there’s five, it’s velocity. So we move with incredible philosophy around here. Integrity. Again, we operate with the highest level of integrity, professionalism. So we treat one another and the entire outside world with the highest level of professionalism, empowerment, which is a two way street, right? Which is you not only need to really empower people so that they can grow and become the best professionals they can. But as, as professionals, we need to be empowered. And then finally service. And when we talk about services being of service, so it’s really getting out of your own self and finding ways where you can really make someone’s day brighter in whatever way that happens.
Gene Hammett: [15:51]
How did the values fit into the hiring process? I know some people ask specific questions. You mentioned there were five steps. I think we only went through the first two, but how does that fit in?
Ben Wright: [16:05]
So we designed, we have a set questions that we ask every single interview. Now you have to pause off and along the way and then dig deep, you know if you hear something that you really want to get more information on. But we have a structure and those are designed around those values. And we’ll typically go through you know, not the first round, but in the second round we’ll actually go through and we’ll pick a value and we’ll ask a question about that value related to that job. I remember I mentioned we go, you know, job by job, by job on your resume. And so we’ll say, give me an example of when you worked for ABC company that you operated with philosophy.
Let’s dive deeper on this for a second. You might be asking yourself why has been talking about the values inside the interview process? Well, very simply, he hires for culture fit. He said that and I’m just wanting to highlight here for a second, he’s also really understanding the importance of values inside the company. So they’ve got a few questions that have aligned to where they can uncover what the values are.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
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