24: Unleashing the Power of People Management: Transforming Compliance into Superfans with Silvia Hernandes


In this Business Superfans Podcast episode, Freddy D hosts Silvia Hernandez from Lean HR Partners on the Business Superfan Show. They delve into the crucial role of HR in small businesses, with a focus on compliance, employee retention, and the financial and cultural impacts of turnover. Silvia underscores the importance of understanding individual motivations to tailor effective employee incentives, while Freddy D points out the significance of personalized recognition. They champion HR strategies that address the varied needs of employees, nurturing a supportive culture that cultivates “superfans” within the company. The conversation also covers the necessity of aligning personalities with job roles and includes an offer for a complimentary behavioral assessment, paving the way for subsequent episodes on the influence of personality in the workplace.


A C-suite Human Resources Executive with 20+ years of experience working for Fortune 500 organizations with a deep focus on talent acquisition, retention, and effectiveness. Founder of Lean HR Partners, a boutique firm located in Scottsdale, AZ serving small businesses with recruiting strategies.

Guest Contact

Superfans Success Tip

Bullet Points

  • Importance of HR in small businesses and the impact of employee retention on the bottom line.Costs associated with employee turnover and its financial implications.
  • Tailoring incentives and recognition to individual employee motivations.
  • Accommodating diverse employee needs and the positive impact on satisfaction.
  • Influence of HR leaders in prioritizing employee retention and satisfaction.
  • Balancing compliance with people management in the workplace.
  • Challenges of promoting the wrong person and the negative impact of unprepared supervisors on employee turnover.
  • Understanding individual personalities and behavior in relation to job roles.
  • The significance of effective people management in driving business success.


Cultivating Your Superfans, Accelerating Your Brand, Attaining Your Sustained Success

Best Quotes

“Silvia Hernandez”, 00:02:18, “It is really the passion for HR specifically and helping these small ones to grow and hit the strategy and then be successful that’s how it was born.”

“Silvia Hernandez”, 00:08:44, “I think one of the biggest discoveries in my entire career in HR has to do with one word, and this word is motivation.”

“Silvia Hernandez”, 00:14:28, “I need to leave every Wednesday at 2:00 because my kid is in a competition of the baseball game, and I need to be there. That accommodation is absolutely key.”

‘”Silvia Hernandez”, ’00:20:31’, “But it’s still, if you can keep somebody for a number of years that’s important for the organization, for you to deliver results not only for the organization but for the individual as well. And growing my career, I’m learning something, I’m contributing to things, it is already a win situation.”

‘”Silvia Hernandez”‘, ’00:22:56’, “Promoting the wrong person or the unprepared person is the worst that can happen to turnover. Why? Because we know that more than 80% of turnover happens because of people, because of behavior, and not because of performance.”

Episode Transcript

24: Unleashing the Power of People Management: Transforming Compliance into Superfans with Silvia Hernandes

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Freddy D (00:00:00) – Hello Sylvia Hernandez with Lean Air Partners. Welcome to the Business Superfan show.

Silvia Hernandes (00:00:06) – Thank you. Thank. It’s a pleasure to be here, Freddy.

Freddy D (00:00:09) – I’m excited to have you as a guest. So tell us a little bit about your story and how you got to starting Lean Air Partners that you’re really doing. So let’s go into that whole story.

Silvia Hernandes (00:00:22) – Okay, so a brief a little bit about me. So I’m a human resources professional 25 plus years in there not to tell my age, but 25 something years. I’m originally from Brazil, so my first degree is in psychology. So I had an opportunity to get acquainted with industrial relations, as we call it at that time, not only human resources, but and then I got a passion for that. So I knew in graduation that I didn’t want to do clinic or hospital or anything like that. So the passion for air came right there. So I did my residency, as I say, in nature, and then everything started from there. So after graduating, I had to I had a passion also for the English language.

Silvia Hernandes (00:01:08) – As you can see, I have an accent here, so I wanted to learn English properly. So I moved to England and I spent two years there trying to get the language under the belt, came back to Brazil and and really he started career there in HR. So since then it’s always fortune 500 organizations. I worked for two chemicals food companies, government automotives and also aerospace to aerospace companies, so moved to the US two years ago. Continue my career here and then. Lucky me, I reached the top. I mean, the goal was to be the chief human resources officer for the organization. I had the title twice in my career, but then got to a point. Then I said, you know what? I’m going to be on my own. I know enough now that I can advise others and make an impact to small organizations. So I came from big organizations where it’s a little bit more challenging to make an impact, because there’s so many people, so much money involved that the creativity gets a little not existing sometimes.

Silvia Hernandes (00:02:18) – So helping small businesses make me creative in actually exercise my expertise to help the business. So that’s how Lean Human Resources Partners was created. It is really the passion for HR specifically, and help these small ones to grow and hit the strategy and then be successful. That’s how it was born.

Freddy D (00:02:44) – Okay, excellent. Because yeah, a lot of small businesses don’t realize how important HR is to the business. And you see a lot of companies where they, you know, they bypass having an HR person because there may be a six person company and they don’t think it’s important. But the reality is, is very important because they may be in violations of some local laws and governmental laws that they don’t even know about. And you have a disgruntled employee that knows about some of those regulations and laws, and now you have a problem on your hands.

Silvia Hernandes (00:03:23) – Absolutely. I want to divide HR in two big blocks., one of them, as you said, has to do with compliance. And compliance is the boring, dry aspect of HR, which is absolutely necessary.

Silvia Hernandes (00:03:37) – So you cannot go further having employees at your organization without talking about compliance. I want to say compliance is legal at some point. I think it’s still today. H.R is very linked to the legal matters of employment law. But the other front part, it is really the people. Right? We used to say that HR is it is the Department of the people. I continue to say that it is, but there is the boring part as well. So that’s why there are two to the two portions that we are talking about really impacts the bottom line of the organization. If it’s not properly compliance is specifically,, a lawsuit, for example, can cost you millions of dollars, but also employee retention.

Freddy D (00:04:25) – Let’s really dive into employee retention, because I don’t think a lot of small businesses realize the cost that it really is costing them for having continual employee turnover. Absolutely.

Silvia Hernandes (00:04:41) – Let me give you some numbers on that. It’s just a hypothetical but actually real. Imagine a position, any position where the salary is 50 K.

Silvia Hernandes (00:04:53) – If this position is open for 30 days, at least you are ready the company. He already spent $17,000. How is that so? How the calculation happens. Right. So we talk about, first of all, if the position is open and let’s say is not addition to staff, it is you lose an employee. So you’re losing money right off the bat because somebody is doing that job. So unfortunately or fortunately we don’t have machines that replace the human being. So somebody else is working overtime in order to get better. So the job done. So it starts there. Then you have the cost for advertising. You have costs for the recruiting interviews,, needs to be done assessment as is to be done. And then you hire that person. So very unlikely this person will come in less than 30 days because the process doesn’t work that fast. Right. And this is internal processes. Right. So you’re spending money right there too. So between advertisement and recruiting and the person comes there is onboarding.

Silvia Hernandes (00:06:01) – So this person is not going to produce results at least in 90 days because there is training. Well, not only there is software that trains the person, but also you need to take the person around. Takes some time from the hiring manager calendar and then anybody else that is training this person, this is hourly rate for that particular salary. So imagine that IT manager earns a hundred K and trains the person for two days. Cool. While you have to counter that to sure. And it is exponential, right? So by the time you put all those costs, the hypothesis is true. Is $17,000 for a 50 K salary.

Freddy D (00:06:45) – Now that’s just to get started. Then you’ve got to calculate in the lack of productivity from those people that are doing the training because they can’t be doing their job necessarily. So because they’re going to spend time training somebody new or they’re doing their job, but they’re not fully on their job. So you got someone else that’s helping with that person’s job while the training is, and it starts to snowball into a quite expensive aspect of it.

Freddy D (00:07:16) – And and then if that person leaves, it’s you got to start all over again. And more importantly, that just starts creating a negative culture in the company. And you’re not going to create superfans of those employees having to do this on a continual basis.

Silvia Hernandes (00:07:32) – Exactly right in and also impacts the delivery. Imagine that this person that is covering for the employee that left is not really the forte of that person. So not only impacts the results of how you are delivering that particular job, but also is costing you money and over time gets the person exhausted in to your words, not a super fan. Yeah, but a super fan.

Freddy D (00:08:00) – They start resenting the company because more importantly, when you see repeated turnover in an organization, it demoralizes the team because then they start realizing that management is really a problem and doesn’t understand it. What’s going on? Yeah. And so all of a sudden you have a not a positive, energized workforce. You have a workforce that’s there just because they need the paycheck and they’re not.

Freddy D (00:08:31) – And that’s it. They’re just there to collect the paycheck. And now their mindset, I’m just going to do what I need to do so that I don’t get fired and that’s it. And unfortunately now you’ve got productivity that takes a hit as well.

Silvia Hernandes (00:08:44) – Yeah. I want to say that I think one of the, the biggest discovery in my entire career in nature has to do with one word. And this word is motivation in you study human being behavior in an ideal. I love that portion of of my career. It is for me, it comes down to really what motivates an individual. Of course., we are talking about a bunch of people in an organization, so you cannot motivate everybody to the full extent. Happy campers is good to have, but full happiness does not exist. So once you touch the motivation of a person to stay or to go, you’re good to go. Because imagine that you do an engagement survey and then you meet the person on the motivation or things that are important for them.

Silvia Hernandes (00:09:39) – At least. Midway I’m gathering, and I gather already that this is one of the most powerful tools to retain because many things are important to people, but not to others. But when they understand that I can meet you halfway, it is really a good retention way. To keep people doing what they’re doing in an organization.

Freddy D (00:10:04) – Oh, absolutely. One of my quotes on my book is people crawl through broken glass for appreciation and recognition.

Silvia Hernandes (00:10:13) – That’s true. I agree, that’s true.

Freddy D (00:10:15) – And so you talk about motivation. And that’s where simply giving, acknowledging somebody and recognizing that their extra effort on something that’s that creates that motivation. And when you recognize somebody, one of the things I talk about is when you recognize an individual one on one, if I turn around says, hey, Sylvia, thanks a lot for this particular project. I really appreciate your extra effort. Right. You feel good. But now if I turn around and says, hey everybody, I want to take a moment to recognize Sylvia because she killed it on this particular project and because of her efforts, we succeeded in this particular thing.

Freddy D (00:10:52) – Now I’ve got the whole team feeling energized, and you feel like a rock star, right?

Silvia Hernandes (00:11:00) – Well, one comment in the motivation for Eddie is motivation is not the same for everybody. Many people are motivated by money. Many people are not. Many people are motivated by. Thank you for your awesome work on this project. Some people are so shy they don’t want to hear about it. So there are different ways to motivate people, right? So and my thing is let’s discover what is important for each one of them. That’s why we get into the more tailored things. It gets tricky to motivate everybody on what they have specifically, but at least you hear them because the motivation is different for everybody.

Speaker 3 (00:11:43) – I totally agree.

Silvia Hernandes (00:11:44) – Lay off and I will be very happy. Well, we’ve reached out to Walmart to other person and they will be very happy, but not with the day off. We need to see what really takes people.

Freddy D (00:11:57) – That’s a really good point because that’s something I do talk about my book and is that you have to be able to accommodate people in, like you just said, what motivates them.

Freddy D (00:12:08) – So some people may say, okay, I’ll take less of a salary, but because I need I want to go to school and continue my education. And so I want to have some time off. And so I don’t want to work so many hours. I need to I want to go to school. Someone else might say, okay, I need to go home because my kids come from school and I don’t want to have them by themselves and doing, etc. so businesses that can accommodate and create flex work schedules for their employees or whatever it is. As you saying, the motivation for people is very different. If they can be flexible in their business model, now, they’re going to start creating superfans of their employees because they’re going to say, man, this is a great company. They care about me. They allow me to be able to do some things, and that’s going to come across when they’re talking with their customers. That energy is going to come across same thing with complementary business partners are going to be talking about with that is they’re going to have you can tell in their tonality of the conversations that they have that they enjoy their work and the company that they’re working for.

Silvia Hernandes (00:13:17) – Absolutely, Freddie. Absolutely. I want to say this. If you if an organization can tailor what is important for the individuals, you absolutely have superfans. This is proven for me in engagement surveys that I did in organizations that I worked for. It doesn’t fail, but I think what it fails in continue failing it is organizations trying to do one thing fits all. Let’s give gift cards to everybody, or let’s give a dedication to everybody. Or let’s do a Christmas party and everybody can participate and bring their families. Yeah, but what happens if.

Freddy D (00:13:55) – Somebody somebody isn’t Christian and someone in his Jewish or somebody is Muslim and you’re throwing the Christmas party, but now the other people feel slighted because, well, you didn’t you didn’t recognize Ramadan. So that blows up.

Silvia Hernandes (00:14:10) – Yeah, it doesn’t work. So I can say that requires a little bit more time for the organization, for the leadership team to really try to accommodate not every single person, but at least the majority meet where the need is, exactly where the need is.

Silvia Hernandes (00:14:28) – I need to leave every Wednesday at 2:00 because my kid is in a competition of the baseball game and I need to be there. I want to be there. That accommodation, it’s absolutely key. You never lose an employee like that. I’ll never say never. But it’s more difficult to lose an employee when you accommodate what is important for them.

Freddy D (00:14:54) – Oh, sure, because now that parent okay is at their kids baseball. Game, as you say, and all the other parents, because usually there’ll be maybe there’ll be one parent. And now you’ve got Mom and dad there because mom was staying home or whatever that make case may be. Or she’s working and but she works a different shift. But then the fact that dad is there and let’s say it’s a boy playing baseball or a girl playing softball doesn’t matter. The bottom line is all the other parents are going to go, wow, that. And then that person turns out says, oh yeah, the company I’ve got is great. And again, they’re being the superfan promoting that company and that’s that.

Freddy D (00:15:35) – You can’t buy that.

Silvia Hernandes (00:15:36) – And that’s you cannot buy that.

Freddy D (00:15:38) – Goodwill is it’s a superfan on steroids in a sense. That’s why I call them brand advocates. They’re most people call them brand advocates. I call them business superfans, which I think is brand advocates on steroids. And that is profound.

Silvia Hernandes (00:15:53) – It is, it is, it is. I cannot stress enough how that is true in actually, I and I still talk. I consult with more businesses in HR today. And this is my I want to say my biggest advice to them on the retention. Let’s see what is important for the organization and work from there. And it’s been reshaping actually how leaders are thinking because it’s still fragile, been in the air for so long and leading with leaders. All my career here, I still think H.R is failing in influencing the leaders on how to treat employees. It is more, I think, the compliance aspect of things. The dry aspect of things is taking more time, more worry than to keep the employees.

Silvia Hernandes (00:16:51) – But when I showed them the bottom line of one position open for 30 days and not putting emphasis on retention, I kind of get their attention because it’s the bottom line, right? It’s 17 K for a 50 K salary. And they said what? Well yeah you already spend that money is passive and you don’t you don’t know this number because it’s really passive. So you need to really open your eyes, make calculations and see what’s going on there.

Freddy D (00:17:22) – Yeah. No absolutely 100% agree. And that comes into play where some air I won’t say air people, but I’ll say that some organizations have sterile environment where it’s just strictly business. It’s not really. I’ve worked with companies where the HR department was part of the company and was helping create an environment. And then I’ve been in organizations with HR is just this is it, and that’s how it stays its compliance.

Silvia Hernandes (00:17:56) – When you say like this and knowing this is compliance because compliance does not change much. So you follow the rule. You follow the law to be.

Silvia Hernandes (00:18:08) – At less risk per se. Right, right. When you deal with people, it’s so dynamic because people are different all the way. Right. So you want to apply the same treatment to everybody, but at the same time you’re not doing that because people require different stuff. Right?

Freddy D (00:18:26) – So that’s why that’s where I’ve been, where the HR department was basically all about compliance and not about anything else.

Silvia Hernandes (00:18:34) – Yeah, there’s the the bad thing that we get because it’s all about papers, all about legal is all about compliance. That’s why I kind of split into two buckets. One thing is compliance is boring. The other thing is really dealing with the people and how they hit the bottom line to the good, into the bad. I mean, turnover is a bad one, but if a person stays is the tenure and it’s the company philosophy to provide a tenure and collect the results. I mean, it’s money is revenue. People happy? They are advocates. They’re superfans. The sales is going to bloom.

Silvia Hernandes (00:19:13) – Yeah, absolutely. It’s all good in fact. Right.

Freddy D (00:19:16) – So so something that a business should be looking for is if they’re outsourcing an agency, they want to make sure that the agency like yourself looks at it from. Okay. Because I really like the the two bucket idea is okay, we got compliance. We get that stuff out of the way. Now we focus on all the other aspects that creates the environment within the company, creates the motivation and evolves into a culture where you’ve got people that stay in companies five, ten, 15 years because they love where they’re working and they’re they’re all their family and friends know about the company because they’re promoting it as superfans. Correct?

Silvia Hernandes (00:20:03) – Well, one notes to the 15, 20 years in the company, we know that it’s very rare that happens nowadays because the environment change, the world changes. There’s there’s so many components that makes the generation right is different. That impacts a person to stay or to go. We don’t see more. I want to say ten, 15 years in the companies anymore, at least for now where we live today.

Silvia Hernandes (00:20:31) – But it’s still if you can keep somebody for a number of years, that it’s important for the organization for you to deliver results not only for the organization, but for the individual as well. And growing my career, I’m learning something. I’m contributing to things. It is already a win situation. Sure.

Freddy D (00:20:52) – Right. Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Very good point. Yeah. Because it’s a we’re in a more, more dynamic world. I still kind of think because I still know some people that have worked at their companies for ten, 15 years.

Speaker 3 (00:21:07) – Oh me too. They’re still.

Freddy D (00:21:08) – Working.

Speaker 3 (00:21:08) – But you’re right.

Freddy D (00:21:09) – It’s that’s becomes that’s more the exception.

Speaker 3 (00:21:12) – Yeah. Exception. Right.

Freddy D (00:21:14) – That’s more the exception than the reality.

Silvia Hernandes (00:21:16) – Yeah. Well it doesn’t mean that we can all go back to that model,, again, because there’s so many components and things are changing so fast and people react in a different matter. Right. So things that were not important in the past, it can be today. You may have, for example, the millennial generation that nowadays is called I want to make an impact, but it is not for everybody.

Silvia Hernandes (00:21:41) – Some people wants to stay in a place and and grow their career or not, or just deliver a good job, but they stay where they are at and we need people like that. Do we need going back to the example? Right. So we need people in an assembly line. Sometimes you want people to grow while they don’t want to grow. Right there, happy there. So we need to respect that as well. Right. So promoting is not for everybody. So they are happy where there which is good. And then we need all those professionals.

Speaker 3 (00:22:14) – Absolutely correct.

Freddy D (00:22:15) – Absolutely correct. Very important statement there. Because sometimes we promote people and now they’re into that position. And they’re not happy in that position because they’re not comfortable in that position. And now their productivity goes down and etc.. And they end up quitting because they’re completely unhappy. And the results are what we’ve just been talking about. Now you’ve got to start that whole process all over again. And had that person just respected their mindset that that they were happy where they’re at.

Freddy D (00:22:50) – You could find somebody else to fill that position. Yeah. And you would not lost the productivity and the money and everything else.

Speaker 3 (00:22:56) – Yeah.

Silvia Hernandes (00:22:56) – I’ll go beyond Fred, beyond that one. I think it promoting the wrong person or the unprepared person. It is the worst that can happen to turnover. And why? Because we know that more than 80% of turnover happens because of people, because of behavior and not because of performance. This is out there. There are several studies on this thing. So if the supervisor is not prepared to deal with the people, they quit and your turnover starts there. But how did it started? Because you put in a supervisory role. A person that perhaps is doesn’t want it wants the money, but does the one the job per se, the work or is not prepared. And that happens all the time.

Freddy D (00:23:47) – Oh yeah. They’re not giving management training. They’re not given training to how to deal with people. It’s like, okay, we put you into this position, go to work, and you’re like, what do I do? And another situation that comes up is usually handled incorrectly because they don’t know how to handle it.

Freddy D (00:24:06) – And so now you’ve got a double whammy, because that employee that came up to the new supervisor for assistance is unhappy. Yeah. The supervisors unhappy because he knows or she knows that they didn’t handle it appropriately. And it just now you’ve just created a whole negative situation.

Speaker 3 (00:24:28) – Oh yeah.

Silvia Hernandes (00:24:29) – He snowballs. Absolutely. So that supervisor is not happy. The manager is also not happy because productivity is falling because he doesn’t know what to do, impacts the morale, because the person doesn’t know how to deal with the people. So and then you have some people unhappy so they may leave. Imagine that it’s three four people leaving the department because of this.

Freddy D (00:24:51) – Well, I’ve seen it happen.

Silvia Hernandes (00:24:53) – It made you I mean, anything happens.

Freddy D (00:24:56) – And it has a profound negative impact on the business.

Silvia Hernandes (00:25:00) – Absolutely.

Freddy D (00:25:01) – Customers start realizing something’s not right. They start to even though there’s no word that they go out, but they recognize that something’s not right. Something’s happening. They don’t get the responses back from the because the people aren’t there to respond.

Freddy D (00:25:18) – So it’s it starts to create a bigger snowball problem. If it’s not rectified very quickly, you start losing customers.

Silvia Hernandes (00:25:26) – Absolutely. There’s no goal very fast. But, you know, I think nowadays there are tools that we can apply to those things. And then I’m a little biased to say about behavior because I believe so much in behavior. Understand how the person really operates in a work scenario and then try to fit that personality to the job at hand. And then when you find that match, the possibility of success grows tremendously. But some people are not applying those tools. And then I would go to, to call for apply those because the results are tremendous, or at least the possibility of success is greater than not doing anything and just promoting because it comes down to behavior, right? It really comes down to behave. You are for this position or you tend to be successful in this position or not. So there are ways that we can evaluate this for promoting.

Freddy D (00:26:31) – So Sylvia, how can somebody find you to get some advice with their HR or look at even bringing your services on to their company?

Silvia Hernandes (00:26:41) – My website is in there.

Silvia Hernandes (00:26:42) – So is lean HR partners dot net not.com. So I am located in Scottsdale. So I also on LinkedIn. So you’ll be here. The end is LinkedIn in there. Can find me and my company there. Okay.

Freddy D (00:26:55) – And if someone was to reach out what would be do you have a free assessment to. You kind of take a look at stuff?

Silvia Hernandes (00:27:03) – Yeah. Reaching out. I can, for example, give a free assessment on the personality and the individual level. If it’s for organizations, we can do also for the entire organization and see what fits what., of course, is not personality alone. It is an exercise that we compare how the person operates with the job that the person has or will have, and then advise if it’s a good match or not a good match.

Freddy D (00:27:33) – Okay. Excellent.

Freddy D (00:27:34) – We probably should have you on another show to talk more about personality types and how that comes into play with the work environment and the culture of a company.

Silvia Hernandes (00:27:44) – Absolutely. I’ll be happy too.

Speaker 3 (00:27:45) – All right. Sylvia.

Freddy D (00:27:46) – Thank you very much for being on the Business Super Fan podcast. You’ve been the guest and we look forward to continuing the conversation another day.

Silvia Hernandes (00:27:53) – Oh thank you. Thank you so much, Brittany. It’s been my pleasure. Thank you. I’ll see you in another time.


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