How Small Business Owners Can Adapt to Transformations in the Workplace with Guest Jasmine Black

The pandemic of 2020 completely disrupted and transformed workplaces as we know them. What will the future of work look like? On this week’s episode of The Playbook, host Mark Collier, business consultant for the UGA Small Business Development Center, sits down with Jasmine Black, CEO of Brainchild Consulting, who returns to the show to discuss how the workplace has become a nontraditional ecosystem of innovation.

Transcription:

Mark Collier:
Welcome back into The Playbook jasmine.

Jasmine Black:
Thank you so much for having me.

Mark Collier:
All right. You’ve been busy since the last time you were in to see us here at ASBN. And the last time you here, we talked about Clubhouse, which was an emerging platform at the time. So is that platform kind of still providing value to businesses and your clients in particular?

Jasmine Black:
Absolutely, so social media in all of its various forms, as we’ve seen are absolutely valuable and vital, excuse me, to business owners, especially startups. So a lot of our clients still are finding value. But the biggest change for us has been the impact that it’s had on how we view networking and connecting in that digital space. And then taking those virtual introductions, those virtual connections and transitioning into the real world. So it’s been amazing.

Mark Collier:
No, you’re right. I mean, during COVID everything was digital, virtual, contactless. And now, I mean, even some of the in-person networking events that I’ve been invited to, people are still a little bit hesitant, but things are starting to improve, I think.

Jasmine Black:
Absolutely.

Mark Collier:
All right. So you’re obviously a woman of many passions as I well know. So we know you love the digital space and supporting women in STEM, but it also looks like you’re involved in athletics too, and specifically women’s football. So tell me about that.

Jasmine Black:
Yes, absolutely. So I am a defensive lineman for the Atlanta Lady Warriors.

Mark Collier:
That is exciting.

Jasmine Black:
Thank you very much. I’m excited about it. We are a woman’s eight on eight, contact flag football team. But it’s been amazing. It’s brought so much to me in my business, just from a mindset perspective. They say do hard things, do difficult things. Entrepreneurship is one of the most difficult things that I’ve done. Flag football is an incredibly close second. But being out there in the sun, the rain, literally in the snow and hail out practicing. And playing amongst some among some really amazing women has just given me a lot of drive motivation and determination. And so I know if I can go out and have a great time on the field, be surrounded by some amazing women who are entrepreneurs, service members, moms, and just stars in their own right. It just gives me so much confidence when I come, and I’m just building my business and taking that entrepreneurial journey on.

Mark Collier:
No you’re right, because business much like athletics has a high element of competitiveness to it, so I can see how those would be complimentary. But women’s football, I mean, that’s amazing. I just want to commend you on that.

Jasmine Black:
Thank you.

Mark Collier:
All right. So how has your agency kind of grown since we last met here? And what is your specific focus currently?

Jasmine Black:
Absolutely. So, as you mentioned, we first spoke, we were very much into Clubhouse. We have still maintained our activity in the digital space. We’ve really leaned into, as I mentioned earlier, those changes in the connections, the communication, and we’ve really leaned into workplace transformation. Just reimagining the ways that we come to work, that we do work and the way that we work with each other.

Mark Collier:
All right. Well, that’s a great segue to my next point, workplace transformation. It’s a phrase we’ve seen and we’re hearing a lot about lately. Is it something that the average business needs to address, or is it just for online businesses and tech companies?

Jasmine Black:
That’s a great question. So it’s something that most, if not all businesses really should take a look at. There are so many benefits to it, but one specifically our employees that have knowledge workers, so people that are skilled employees that are coming in to do a job that can really be done anywhere. And so changes in the global workplace, the way that we work again has made it so that these folks are able to work anywhere we want.

Mark Collier:
Absolutely.

Jasmine Black:
So we know that there has been a lot of pressure on the staffing systems, the return to the job market, the return to in person work. So these folks have a lot more options. And if companies want to retain and attract top talent, they really need to look at changing some of the ways that we operate in our workplace.

Mark Collier:
No, that’s a great point with the challenges to attracting and retaining people at the company. They’ve got to look at, you made a great point, they’ve got to look at other ways to entice people to come other than just monetary. I mean, a hybrid workplace, perhaps, because I think we were talking before we came on air, that many companies they’re experiencing a lot of pushback from employees. They don’t want to come back to the office five days a week anymore. And if companies aren’t willing to be adaptive and adjust and offer some type of flexible environment, they’re going to lose good people.

Jasmine Black:
It’s a really big inflection point there. And we’re actually seeing that pay is less important to employees. Not typically what we think, but right now, folks are really bought into what is my purpose, what am I doing here at work? Am I part of a bigger cause? That’s really important to them, as well as those other methods of flexibility, allowing them to experience life fully and have that work life balance in new and different ways.

Mark Collier:
Absolutely. I mean, one of my favorite mantras is there’s two ways to measure value. You can I measure by effort or you can measure by results. And does it matter where you’re sitting in an office, if you’re able to still produce results? If you’re sitting at home on a beach or an office, as long as you’re producing, what difference should it make to the employer?

Jasmine Black:
And it brings me to a quote that I love, and I kind of mind my business by which is you can be right, or you can get what you want.

Mark Collier:
Oh, there you go. I like that.

Jasmine Black:
And so in this instance, we’ve got employers that really want folks to come back to the office. We understand that, but we can attract perhaps more than force.

Mark Collier:
No, no, that’s a great point, Jasmine, great point. So what kind of problems can be solved via an innovative workplace transformation, as companies are kind of looking to move in that direction.

Jasmine Black:
That’s a good question. And so interestingly work workplace transformation can actually kind of ameliorate some of the issues that we think about when we think about digital work. So we think about engagement. A lot of folks say, oh, well if our folks are working remotely, they’re not engaged. So a workplace transformation again, reimagining, what does it mean? How do we work in the circumstances? How do we reward good work? How do we engage our employees? When we are able to take a different look at that workplace transformation can then bring that in.

Jasmine Black:
A great example, I love Paylocity. So a payroll company, and they have utilized an internal app similar to a Facebook. Where employees are able to connect with each other, they’re able to give kudos. They’re able to talk about projects that they’re working on, or develop new skills. And what I have seen is a lot of Paylocity’s teammates really love that and they actually share it. And they say, Hey, look, this is what our company is doing. We feel bought in. We feel that we are part of the engine. And even though we’re remote, we feel very much seen, heard and plugged in.

Mark Collier:
That’s a great, innovative solution. I didn’t know that there were actually internal apps. I know some companies have their own internal intranet. But with the advent of the app, I mean, it makes perfect sense for companies now to take that to the mobile…

Jasmine Black:
Absolutely.

Mark Collier:
The mobile platform.

Jasmine Black:
The workforce is changing. We’ve got gen Z and millennials making a large part of the workforce now.

Mark Collier:
Correct.

Jasmine Black:
And that group is very, very connected. Specifically to their cellular devices, and they want that immersive experience when they go to work. I want to be able to log into my phone and log into work.

Mark Collier:
Right.

Jasmine Black:
It’s a different view than we’ve had in the past.

Mark Collier:
All right, so companies are always concerned about the bottom line. They’re always looking at their costs. So some companies may say, Hey, these changes sound expensive and are they worth it? What would you say to that?

Jasmine Black:
That’s a great question. And that is one of my favorite questions to answer specifically because we launched our agency in the digital space. And so we know firsthand the cost savings that digital solutions provide.

Mark Collier:
Sure.

Jasmine Black:
So you can actually reduce your operating cost up to 90%, we found with digital methodologies. So it’s a huge cost savings, I think 90% reduction in operating cost it’s pretty compelling for just about anybody.

Mark Collier:
Absolutely. I mean any company, who’s not going to take a look at that shouldn’t be in business. All right. So businesses, they have shifting priorities these days and why should workplace transformation be a priority when they have other looming issues that they have to deal with?

Jasmine Black:
That’s a great question. So sometimes we can look at the issues that we need to resolve in our business as tick marks that we need to move down our to-do list. And we’ll say, okay, I will get to transformation after I get through all of these other items. But what we found is that workplace transformation actually helps resolve a lot of these other issues.

Mark Collier:
That makes sense.

Jasmine Black:
So rather than moving through your to-do list, and for lack of a better word, treating the symptoms of the challenges of operating in a new in digital environment. Then we can look at transformative activities and actually resolve those challenges for the long term.

Mark Collier:
No, I can see that. I mean, why go down, as you said, a checklist, let’s start attacking some issues concurrently.

Jasmine Black:
Absolutely.

Mark Collier:
And make a bigger impact.

Jasmine Black:
Absolutely.

Mark Collier:
All right. So how does your agency specifically help with workplace transformation? Kind of walk me through what services you offer in that area.

Jasmine Black:
Absolutely. So we provide custom consulting services to actually help them bridge that gap between the old analog way of doing things and a new digitally transformed workplace. We specifically focus on communities, collaboration and communication within the workplace.

Mark Collier:
The Three C’s.

Jasmine Black:
I like that the Three C’s. So helping companies assess where they stand, make a plan to move forward and then helping them manage that into actionable identifiable outcomes.

Mark Collier:
All right. I love it. So what’s your best piece of advice for companies who are ready to begin that workplace transformation?

Jasmine Black:
Best piece of advice, it’s two parts. Number one, be open to the conversation. Number two, don’t feel like you have to do it all at one go. Make a plan, review some of the key objectives and goals you have for your company. And then identify some of those inflection points we mentioned earlier and say, where can we make this better? Finally, make it an employee-centric process.

Mark Collier:
Absolutely.

Jasmine Black:
This is something that really, really benefits from collaboration discussion, that engagement that we talked about previously. And that’ll help them get well on their way. If they’re stuck, they can always give us a call, we’ll help them with the pre-assessment

Mark Collier:
Very good. Jasmine Black CEO of Brainchild Consulting. Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to return here and talk about a very relevant topic that’s front and center nowadays. And that’s workplace transformation, as we begin our migration back to the workplace. I would encourage companies who are looking to engage in the workplace transformation to reach out to you and take advantage of your services.

Jasmine Black:
Well, thank you so much. And it was a pleasure again, having us back. We really appreciate it, Mark.

Mark Collier:
All right.


The Atlanta Small Business Network, from start-up to success, we are your go-to resource for small business news, expert advice, information, and event coverage.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest business news know-how from Atlanta Small Business Network.