Guests: Lakeisha Robichaux, Daniel Ramsey
Recorded: January 15, 2020

Excerpt

“Not everyone understands what human resources are and why they really need it,” says Lakeisha Robichaux, which is the reason she launched Chief of Minds in 2014. She combined her passion for human resources with her entrepreneurial spirit to launch a new type of HR service: an outsourcing provider that takes the burden of HR away from its clients and provides the highest quality of service possible.

In this exclusive interview, join Lakeisha Robichaux. She discusses why outsourcing is such a powerful tool for the human resources industry – and learns how secrets to building one of the top HR firms in the Louisiana area.

Chief of Minds provides both HR and payroll services for clients and an outsourced provider that functions as a department within the company. This helps them provide high-quality service, reduced HR prices, and at the same time allows them to manage legal & regulatory changes without client involvement seamlessly. “It is more than just notifying the client,” she explains. “We are actually putting those changes in place, so the business owner doesn’t have to worry about it.

“Our unique differentiator is that we are very hands-on with our clients, and that’s what they really like about us,” Robichaux says. “We don’t see them just as a number or as an account we need to get—it’s about building a relationship and being a partner in their business.”

“We provide outsourced human resources and payroll to small and mid-sized businesses. Our services include recruitment, employee relations, benefits administration, unemployment claims management, payroll management, training and development, employee handbooks, and much more.” Lakeisha explains, adding “we don’t see our clients just as a number or as an account we need to get—it’s about building a relationship and being a partner in their business.”

Transcript

00:00:07:02 – 00:00:22:16
Daniel Ramsey
Hey, everyone. Daniel Ramsey here with my outfits. I’m really excited because I’ve got Lakisha Robichaud here and we are going to have a great conversation. We’re going to talk about pillows. She’s the CEO and founder of Chief of Minds. What a killer name. Great work on that name, lakisha.

00:00:23:02 – 00:00:41:13
Daniel Ramsey
Yeah, and really, you’re an h.r. And staffing consultancy, which is really cool because you kind of do a little bit of h.r a little bit of staffing and you basically are a PTO, but you work on the consulting side, which is really cool for us. And so thanks, Lakisha, for being here today. And we’re just going to have some fun.

00:00:41:13 – 00:00:44:07
Daniel Ramsey
So let’s start with how did you guys start in the business?

00:00:45:06 – 00:01:20:04
Lakeisha Robichaux
Great, great. What first, let me say thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here. I’m here to share some information and then talk about our company. So we first started out, we set up as a h.r. Actually consulting company. I was the executive director of a school district and we were chartering up all of our schools and for the majority of our school should be and we’re turning out some of the charter schools were coming to me and saying, hey, you know, I need to I need someone to have the right human resources because my backgrounds are excellent.

00:01:21:00 – 00:01:43:17
Lakeisha Robichaux
So i’ve worked in the region h.r. Director and human resource management, fortune 100 500 companies. And I actually started out in the school district as the executive director of H.R., then moved over to the executive director and oversaw the operations. So the schools were coming in. They wanted to hire me. I said, Well, instead of doing that, why don’t I just just sell to work?

00:01:44:11 – 00:02:12:18
Lakeisha Robichaux
And we did that. And then from there, the business just blossomed. We went from just the human resource consulting that we added on payroll, training and development until we actually landed on PTO, which was our sweet spot where we offer, you know, the variety of h.r. Payroll workers compensation, training and development and compliance and benefits. So here we are and we’re excited.

00:02:13:09 – 00:02:22:13
Daniel Ramsey
And we were talking earlier and I was curious, what do you what do you find as your secret sauce? Like the thing that your clients just so appreciate about your particular business.

00:02:23:18 – 00:02:51:17
Lakeisha Robichaux
So our secret secret sauce would be definitely our relationships that they appreciate. First off, our our expertize, the knowledge that we bring. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience in human resources. We started H.R. departments organically, have built them up from the ground up and then the relationships that we feel because we’re not just an associate company that handles the H on the payroll for our clients, we are a true member of the team.

00:02:52:01 – 00:03:12:00
Lakeisha Robichaux
So our clients, they really don’t make any type of decisions when it comes to H.R. related employee related actions unless they talk to us. But that’s because they trust us. We gain that trust with them and that partnership. So they know that our core intent and what we want to do is help drive the success of the business.

00:03:12:14 – 00:03:31:13
Lakeisha Robichaux
And as you know, employees are your most important asset. And so one wrong move or action that is taken will, you know, hold you liable. And so our goal is to make them, you know, to reduce that liability as much as possible by giving them the right guidance direction and making sure that they’re compliant when it comes to employee matters.

00:03:31:13 – 00:03:37:10
Lakeisha Robichaux
So our sweet spot is, you know, the relationships that we have and then our and knowledge and expertize around h.r.

00:03:38:00 – 00:04:00:22
Daniel Ramsey
I love that. Usually we’re talking a lot about the stick and not much about the carrot in the h.r. space. You know, because it’s always about not getting in trouble from firing somebody or not. But I’m kind of curious having you here and being an H.R. person and having such a vast knowledge and experience in that world. What are some of the best carrots you’ve found that you help your clients create within their businesses?

00:04:01:08 – 00:04:20:19
Lakeisha Robichaux
So what I would say is probably a well written thought out employee handbook, because our point here is everything. You know, oftentimes what happens is, you know, when you first start a business that’s kind of like on a back where you think about how to meet that right now, just really good practices, which is true. But when you start expanding, you hire employees, you need that employee handbook.

00:04:20:19 – 00:04:41:13
Lakeisha Robichaux
And you know, we do a really great job with maintaining it, you know, putting one together first and foremost that’s inclusive of all of the handbooks that are in the policy, you know, that you really need that relate to that employee. Because what we find is that oftentimes, you know, clients, you know, our potential clients, what they’ll do is they’ll get a handbook from somebody else.

00:04:41:13 – 00:04:43:07
Lakeisha Robichaux
So they are now one of the things that.

00:04:43:17 – 00:04:45:14
Daniel Ramsey
They’re borrowing their buddies, you know.

00:04:45:21 – 00:04:46:24
Lakeisha Robichaux
Exactly.

00:04:46:24 – 00:04:53:13
Daniel Ramsey
I call that I love this because I call that hitchhiking in somebody else’s vehicle, you know, good for business.

00:04:53:13 – 00:05:19:20
Lakeisha Robichaux
Yes. Not at all. Because there’s policies in that it don’t apply to them. That’s not policies that that that really could get them in trouble. And some of the things that they don’t even need that they’re offering. But they really shouldn’t be because they’re not there yet, are they have surpassed it. So we create a well written compliant employee handbook that encompasses all of the laws, rules and regulations from the federal level to the state level to the local level.

00:05:20:12 – 00:05:38:14
Lakeisha Robichaux
And I would say that’s definitely, you know, one of the cares and employees. We make sure that they’re signed by all employees, you know, because we’re we’re also technology driven as well. You know, everything’s electronic. So, you know, they review this and they always have it handy. And our electronic system invoice and review it and they side as well.

00:05:38:23 – 00:06:01:24
Lakeisha Robichaux
Yes, the laws are updated. We go in and we update it for our clients, you know. So that way if it was ever change, then they stay current too. So definitely employee handbook. The other car would be as we on in my relations issues, you know different investigations and different things that are done. You know, oftentimes our clients get worried, okay, what if I say the wrong thing?

00:06:01:24 – 00:06:23:05
Lakeisha Robichaux
I don’t know if I have enough paperwork. Documentation won’t happen. So we do a lot of guidance on that. You know, we create the forms for them to use. We sit in either personally or virtually. Oftentimes it is virtually where we sit in. You know, if there’s a conference with an employee, whether it’s a praise or, you know, whether it’s something that, you know, disciplinary, they’ve got to sit down and we guide a conversation forth.

00:06:23:09 – 00:06:45:20
Lakeisha Robichaux
We assess what they need to say and then witness also, you know, that it actually happens. So that’s one of our nuggets and also training in development. We do a of the training development to make sure that they stay on top, especially like sexual risk. That’s one of the the training that we provide our employees appreciate it always comes up somehow some way and so how do you handle it when you need to do?

00:06:46:05 – 00:06:49:14
Lakeisha Robichaux
Yeah, we got it. And we have that training for them, for all employees.

00:06:49:23 – 00:07:05:04
Daniel Ramsey
That’s awesome. We’re one of the things that’s interesting is you kind of migrated into the PTO world. What have you learned since doing that, being h.r. Specific and then kind of moving your business model over? What are some of the learnings that you’ve had in that process?

00:07:05:21 – 00:07:33:20
Lakeisha Robichaux
So some of the learnings is that really our core client is a small to mid-sized business. Yep, not for large businesses, but it’s of that business that they really do need the whole gamut because they are really, you know, their focus in which they should be on the core of their business. Yeah. And so, you know, first we did the h.r consulting and what I have learned is that of course, businesses really need that whole get, you know, the benefits, the workers comp, the training in development, the compliance to really be successful.

00:07:34:02 – 00:07:59:10
Lakeisha Robichaux
And it needs someone that really can do it from an expert background to be able to handle that. What I have found is that oftentimes clients will want to do it themselves. You know, I have a you know, you know, I don’t get someone else to do it. And one week, once you find what they’re you know, they’re sort of like, oh, my God, I’m so glad you all came, because it’s not something that they did, but it’s something that, you know, oftentimes they think that they can do, but they really can’t.

00:07:59:10 – 00:08:13:17
Lakeisha Robichaux
And so being able to offer, you know, the whole variety. So that way it just lifts up that burden off of the whether it’s the operations person or the administrative office manager. So they really can focus on growing. The business is something that they really, really, really need.

00:08:13:24 – 00:08:37:21
Daniel Ramsey
Yeah, I love it. I think it’s a big deal. In fact, most businesses that grow and succeed, they know they need specialists to come in and consult so they can stay focused on their core competency, which is, you know, the whole reason they started a business exam. Exam. I love it. I love it. Hey, we were talking earlier and you said something about this program that helped you grow and scale your business.

00:08:37:21 – 00:08:52:07
Daniel Ramsey
And I’m so excited because, you know, that’s what we do. We help businesses grow and scale with virtual professionals. That’s a part of our whole ethos as a company. And so I’m really excited to hear about your story. You entered a program and why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?

00:08:52:07 – 00:09:13:16
Lakeisha Robichaux
Absolutely. Yes. So home is 6000 Small Business, Golden six program. I love the program. I would recommend it to any, you know, business owner, entrepreneur, if you are looking to grow your business is something that you should seek out. It’s nationwide where you can apply for the program. But with the program it taught us we went over Mark and we talk about the finances.

00:09:13:16 – 00:09:38:22
Lakeisha Robichaux
We talk about negotiate negotiations. What does that look like? What does your staff look like? You know, as you scale, you will need different levels of staff, you know, departments and then also legacy. What is your exit strategy in your business? What do you want a legacy to look at? And it gave us a broad view and we honed in on all of those different areas as a business owner, how to scale and grow our business.

00:09:38:22 – 00:10:10:12
Lakeisha Robichaux
And one of the things that actually brought me into the video world is when I was doing this, the executive director at the time, he asked me, Cecil is the executive director, David Peyton I give him a shout out right now, but he asked me, But have you ever thought about people, you know, providing people services and so on with that one of the previous cohort alumni is they actually offer he said it’s something you should really think about because what you’re doing is basically the same thing as we were offering these different services, but just not under the IPO frame.

00:10:10:12 – 00:10:32:18
Lakeisha Robichaux
And so after we had the conversation research and more, you know, gave us the more thought. And then that was my segue way into the video world. So, you know, Goldman Sachs opened up so many doors and there’s actually still continue to do so. But it also increased media where under your model it is probably something that at the time is that would really serve our clientele really well.

00:10:32:22 – 00:10:38:01
Lakeisha Robichaux
And then also on a broader level as well too. So after that, you know, we were on the ideal model.

00:10:38:20 – 00:11:05:07
Daniel Ramsey
What I love about the IPO space too is it’s fairly new. Most businesses don’t know about it. It’s like, yes, it’s the whole outsourcing. It’s what you do, it’s what we do. Well, what are some I mean, what are some of the what’s the advice you’d give our audience that are listening, that are entrepreneurs, that are business owners who’ve never even considered PTO or outsourcing or having an H.R. professional like you, you know, that they can kind of rely on what what what advice would you give them?

00:11:05:20 – 00:11:21:10
Lakeisha Robichaux
I would say, you know, really look at to do it. It is it is fairly new. So there’s a lot of education around what it is. You know, how it’s helpful because oftentimes in the beginning. I’ll go ahead and put this out. But business owners are scared because they think that there’s going to be some type of control taken away.

00:11:21:18 – 00:11:38:01
Lakeisha Robichaux
There is no control taken away at all because you still make the decisions in your business. We are there really to help you to lift the burden of things. That way you don’t have to worry about, you know, the payroll taxes or the compliance. You know, that you’re updated on the laws that you know, work is coming up.

00:11:38:01 – 00:12:08:17
Lakeisha Robichaux
You have a if you have a client, you know, who follows up on that. You know you have someone you know, right. Something it’s it’s it’s taking that away from you. So that way you can really focus on the core of again, it is something new, but I didn’t say embrace it. If you really want to focus on the core of your business, for it to grow in scale, let someone that has the expertize to do that or that can really partner with you and what you know, they are they’re invested in the success of your business because if you’re growing, you’re successful.

00:12:08:17 – 00:12:30:03
Lakeisha Robichaux
So is that PR? There’s no other way around that. We are so inside and we hear our clients are growing. You know, they are getting contracts, you know, they going into other space. We are excited for them and we celebrate right along with them. You know, they when they they speak about it, they have meetings. We’re right there to celebrate with them and grow with them.

00:12:30:03 – 00:12:51:13
Lakeisha Robichaux
So, you know, different try it out. I would say make sure that you know, that particular meal is a good fit. Ask them questions, tell them about the things that are going on. Give them scenario based questions about some of the hiccups that you had in your business and ask them how would they handle that? And they can walk you through it and you can really see if they have the expertize in the background that you want them to have to be able to help their business flourish and support.

00:12:52:04 – 00:13:08:20
Daniel Ramsey
I love it. Okay, Lakisha, how would our audience or anybody that’s listening to this video, this is going to be we’re going to turn it into a blog post, a podcast of email. So how would somebody get a hold of you if they like what you’re talking about and they they want to explore working with your company chief of minds?

00:13:08:22 – 00:13:30:17
Lakeisha Robichaux
Absolutely. If you want to explore more, you want to learn about it. How we can support you. I mean, really partner up with you and develop that relationship. As you grow in scale your business. You can reach out to us on our website which is WW w that sheet of minds that combat C H ETF that com you can find us on LinkedIn our handle is at chief of minds.

00:13:30:24 – 00:13:58:17
Lakeisha Robichaux
Same thing with Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and Chief of Mines. So we’re on all of your social media platforms. You can email us as service at Monster.com as well too, if you want to reach us by email and then phone number. If you want to do that, it’s 2257549506. But we would love to talk with you. You know, hear what what great things are going on in your business and how we may be able to assist you and help your business grow.

00:13:59:11 – 00:14:06:21
Daniel Ramsey
Lakisha, you’ve been awesome. Before we leave, what’s next for your business? Like where, you know, tell our audience where you guys are going in the future.

00:14:07:17 – 00:14:30:01
Lakeisha Robichaux
So what’s next for our business is we plan to, you know, really support our clients and wrap up on the on the benefits and staffing stack. So we are retooling what that looks like for your clients and all of our people you’ll find come to us for benefits of stacking services as well too. And so we are retooling that.

00:14:30:01 – 00:14:54:07
Lakeisha Robichaux
As you know, we’re in here for the 2020 year to see how we can best support them and kind of streamline and automate that a little bit more. So that’s up for us. And then also, you know, in 2020, some of the things that are on the horizon is with the changes. So right now, if you remember FLSA that Labor Standards Act for for 2020, now that over time rule has changed.

00:14:54:07 – 00:15:12:04
Lakeisha Robichaux
And so we’re making sure that all of our clients are compliant with the FLSA classifications. Amazon already of them are. But as that’s changed because with the new products and everything like that, some of the actions that we’re looking at and making sure that we need to restructure on what that is, that we are ahead of the game on that.

00:15:12:18 – 00:15:18:00
Daniel Ramsey
I love it. That’s what’s coming up for 2021. Lakisha, thank you so much for joining us today. Really appreciate your time.

00:15:18:15 – 00:15:26:13
Lakeisha Robichaux
Same here. Thank you so much.