Broker Check

Building a Strengths-Based Workforce- An Interview with Joe Cooper and Cory Rich from EvolvHR


We've all heard that opposites attract. This is just as applicable to business as anything else.  As you listen to this interview, it's clear to see that Cory Rich and Joe Cooper have different personalities. They wouldn't have it any other way. The two of them are the founders of EvolvHR. Their goal and passion are to see workforces utilize each other's differences to strengthen the company as a whole. I hope this gets you thinking about your company role and how you can better manage and recruit based on personality strengths.


Michael Sayre 0:04
Welcome back to In your business with Michael Sayre. A production of CUI Wealth Management. In this episode, we had an interview with both Cory Rich and Joe Cooper, who are the founders of EvolveHR. Some of the topics we talked about include the move from the corporate culture of nine to five, to a more flexible schedule. And along with that, some of the opportunities for businesses to match up the types of personalities that are going to complement each other in fulfilling corporate goals. I hope you enjoy.

Why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself Joe.

Joe Cooper 0:35
I am Joe Cooper. I am one of the cofounders of evolve HR and you'll hear from Cory here in a minute. I am originally from Idaho Falls Idaho, lived here in Utah for coming up on 10 years now. Married have four daughters, ranging from ages 12 to three. The youngest background is in psychology. So I've got a Bachelor's Master's in psychology did that for Several years in counseling decided probably wasn't the best fit for me. So I ended up getting into commercial banking did that for almost a decade before deciding this time to jump off on my own and luckily found Cory is a great partner good fit for me and been off to the races for about six months now.

Michael Sayre 1:19
Cory, why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself.

Cory Rich 1:21
Thanks so much, Mike. We're, we're happy to be here. My name is Cory rich, again, one of the co founders with Jill of evolve HR. My background is primarily with startups. So I have about 13 years of sales experience and for about 10 of those years, been working primarily with small startup companies, mostly based here in Utah just to grow and scale sales and revenue and sales and revenue teams. And then, most recently was working with a fin tech company based out of West Valley, Utah, when Joe and I started working on a few different projects together, has evolved over this past these past six months to what is now evolving. We're full time hundred percent, all in on our startup now and super excited to be doing that. Outside of business and career. I have a wife we've been married for nine years this August two little boys. So I'm an all boy home and Joseph all girl home. stay in business busy there. they'll both be at two and six in June. So we're just having fun and trying to build a business amidst all the craziness going on.

Michael Sayre 2:28
What are the things that really drive you? What are the values and beliefs that get you up in the in the morning and get you going?

Joe Cooper 2:36
I actually really liked this question. Because with this business that we've started like it it is very much driven by passion for both Cory and I. And we we were kind of talking about this earlier, like starting a business, especially starting a business during COVID-19 has just been a crazy wild ride, but we're still going because of how passionate we are about it. And I think for me, I mentioned earlier so I've got a background in psychology. So I spent Some time, both during and after my graduate school, I spent some time doing counseling. So I spent a couple of years working in juvenile corrections, and then spent some time doing substance abuse counseling. Even before that psychology has always kind of been something that I've really enjoyed and been very passionate about one thing that was made very clear to me, especially during those experiences of, you know, juvenile corrections, and then substance abuse counseling, every individual has these core things that they're really, really good at. But unfortunately, most people don't get the opportunity to use those things. Because those are not the things that they're supposed to be good at. We spent a lot of our lives trying to fit into these boxes, which is unfortunate because I think what's happening is we're missing out on the big picture puzzle. And it's because we're not being allowed to use the things that we're really good at. And so that's that's really what we founded this company on and what for me, what drives me is those experiences looking back and saying there was all of that These really intelligent and cool and valuable people that had never really been allowed to do the things that they're good at. Because it was not the things like I said, not the things that were supposed to be good at. So they ended up kind of falling through the cracks and having rough experiences and going through some of those things. So that's, that's what that passion comes from is having those experiences and then what comes after that. So we've developed something around the idea of there are strengths that are inherent in every individual, and we're trying to get people to see those and use those in the workplace.

Michael Sayre 4:32
Yeah, I love that. Cory, how about you what, what values and beliefs drives you when it comes to all of this?

Cory Rich 4:39
This is a great question, Mike. For me, obviously, Joe's the brains of our operations, and I think anybody who talks to us for a little bit will realize that that Joe's definitely the smarts of it, and I just try to follow his lead and hold on to his coattails, but for me, it is very much driven by the people that we're working with. And the people that we're striving to help. And that's what is most important to me. So my, my family, my two boys are actually adopted. I have a two and six year old next month, and they're both adopted. And I'm sure this happens even when you have biological kids. I realized very early on different ethnicities and such different personalities, like my parenting style had to shift for each of my boys. And it's continuing to have to shift as they get older. And I know this is not like a huge revelation for anybody. That's a pair. I think this is pretty natural progression in parenting, but I just didn't realize like how different my parenting style would have to be for each of my boys. And we adopt them and now I realize like holy cow, these boys are so different and so unique in their own individual ways. I'm having to learn how to be the best parent I can for each one of them and it's very different for each one of them. bringing that into our business and to evolve HR is really what gets me up in the mornings. It just keeps me going is that like just said we are also unique with different core strengths and different motivators that make us special that make us who we are. So why not exploit those in the workplace so that everybody can be who they are at their very core and do great at their jobs while doing it. And really, that's what gets me motivated gets me excited about, about what we're doing

Michael Sayre 6:22
the way that we got connected Gavin Johnson, you know, he and I, we were we were chatting and we kind of nerd it out a little bit on personality stuff and, and psychology and all of that and, and then just out of the blue, he's like, Hey, you know, I've got to connect up with Joe and Cory, because you got to talk to them, they'd be great to chat with. So it's interesting because you hear a lot of these quotes. Like if you find what you love, then you'll never work a day in your life and all that stuff. And working with a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs and all that. I found that really the passion side A lot of it comes down to, you know, if you don't have something that you're passionate enough about, there's days that you have to do work. That's, you know, not necessarily fun work, regardless of where you're at. I think a lot of that comes down to you've got to have enough passion that you can go through and can still chug along. Even when there's those days you have the stuff that you don't really want to be doing. But you have to do to keep the business running and afloat. That's kind of my two cents on some of that. I think it's more than just fluffy white clouds, a lot of it is, is really what is at your core, and what is it that you believe in strong enough that you can make a difference in society, regardless of what gets thrown at you. That's my take on it.

Cory Rich 7:45
Man, I couldn't agree more. My Joel and I were actually having a text conversation a little bit earlier today. It was basically along the same lines, we were talking about how in our startup in our business, especially amidst COVID-19 there's been multiple times where We've stopped, we were just like dead in the water, we couldn't see a path forward because it was like roadblock after roadblock after roadblock when we first started. And then the pandemic hits. And it's like even more roadblocks. We look at each other. And we're like, we know what we're doing is right, we have this passion and this belief in what we're doing and the direction that we're heading. But how in the world are we going to make it happen? As we've persevered and really tried to have grit and busting through those roadblocks? That's kind of when the success starts to come. So I couldn't agree more with with what you're saying.

Michael Sayre 8:32
So along those lines, what is it that you're passionate about?

Joe Cooper 8:36
My own personal tagline that I've created is, I believe in a world where work doesn't suck. That's really what I believe in. Like, I believe that people can go to work and they can be happy there. If they're just allowed to do what they're good at. They use the things that they're good at to do their job. For me. That's really what I believe in. I believe that people can go to work every day and not be miserable. And I mean with as much time as we're spending away Work, make it a place that you actually like being sometimes you just have to show up to work. So what we're hoping that we can create as a as an environment where Sunday night is not the worst time of their lives because they know they have to go back to work on Monday. I've been in those situations where you get that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, because it's Sunday night, you know, you've got to wake up Monday morning and go do that job that you hate for the manager that you hate working for. I don't want that to be reality for people. I believe that there's a better option for people out there than what is currently the reality.

Michael Sayre 9:34
What is evolve HR do.

Cory Rich 9:37
Joe, in his experience with psychology and just like his love and fascination with people, has created our own shrinks based hiring assessment. It's actually our kind of own version of the Myers Briggs. And through that what we've done is basically created a software that is launching this next monday so may 25. We're really excited about it. That allows hiring managers in the hiring process to send out a simple, effective survey to the candidates that they're interviewing. Those candidates take those assessments and then they are able to compare these assessment results with their would be manager results, to understand where these candidates are similar to their managers to understand where these candidates differ from their managers, where there's going to be commonalities and similarities and where there's going to be differences, ultimately to improve effective communication and to find the right culture fit from the very beginning in the hiring process. piggybacking off of what Jill said, we believe very strongly that if these hiring managers and managers within companies can identify these core strengths, motivators and weaknesses of their candidates of their future employees during the interview process, it's a game changer moving forward and creating a better work environment, increasing communication and increasing Productivity engagement and overall just creating a better culture at work.

Michael Sayre 11:05
How does understanding personalities benefit both individuals and companies?

Joe Cooper 11:12
Cory has been very flattering of me so far. But I think I think our team, like Cory and I having started this company, I think is it's a great illustration of what it is that we're doing. I mean, I've got my background and things that I'm good at. But if it was just me on my own, I would not be able to make this go anywhere. Cory is the one that has the passion and the drive to actually get it to market when you understand. There's things that I do well, there's things that I struggle with. And then there's things that Cory does well and things in the corner he struggles with, if we can identify those things, who we are and where we can excel and where we need help. That's when you can really put together a team that can be very successful. When you start to bring in everybody that looks just like the manager, you have big gaping holes in that team, that they're not going to be able to sustain Successful as they normally would. Traditionally, that's that's really what it's been like, if you have a manager that has been successful, they've been promoted into their management role. They either hire people just like them, or they train people to be just like them. It's not the most effective or efficient way to do things. Let's bring on lots of different personalities, let's fill in all the gaps, so that we can make this the most successful thing possible. We want all teams to look like the team that Corey and I have created within our own business to say, We want everybody's personalities, we want everybody's strengths to be participating in this goal that we have. We're not having these these gaping holes in our productivity, in our view, that's where the personalities contribute to this. If you can understand what the personalities are and what the strengths are and what the weaknesses are, then you could start to put those puzzle pieces together to really figure out okay, this is this is how I create the most successful thing possible. It's interesting because I've seen companies that have failed because They just think too much alike.

Michael Sayre 13:02
They're a clone of each other. And it's really easy to miss some of the things that can come at you as a business owner or manager or whatnot. If you don't have the other strengths that can balance out, you know that that type of team,

Joe Cooper 13:18
a lot of managers are not getting probably the training that they need. So they're just they're put into this situation where they say, okay, you, you've been really good at your job. And now we're going to give you a completely different job and expect you to be successful there. But we're not going to train you how to do it. And that's, I mean, that's what happens a lot of times what any of us would do if we've been successful at that job. And now we're expected to get other people to be successful at that job. We just tell them to do it, just like we did it. Naturally. That's what you would do. And unfortunately, it's it's not quite that simple. Now that you're in a leadership position, you have to learn to adapt to get the best out of each person, which you can't really do that unless you actually understand who they are. And then you're able to really Bring out the best of each of them.

Michael Sayre 14:01
Great point. A great example is like a sales person that becomes a sales manager. And sometimes that sales person is awesome at sales, they excel at getting clients getting new customers. But as soon as they get promoted to that next level, you know, they're used to being really good at sales. But they it doesn't necessarily mean that they know how to manage a sales team. Just because they're good at at getting something done doesn't mean that they're good at managing others to do the same. So what do you see as some of the big opportunities for companies when it comes to utilizing personality types and strengths that individuals have that are different from one another? Like how does that change or impact the business landscape in general?

Cory Rich 14:55
If you look at just like the facts, like just strictly like data, of what trends turnover looks like in America, especially in startups, what employee disengagement looks like what employee productivity looks like? It's pretty grim stats across the board. And then if you look at the reason why those stats are pretty grim across the board, it generally comes back to management. It goes back to people not feeling like they fit in. It goes back to people being micromanage and not being allowed to really function on who they are on their own and to work autonomously. It goes back to a lot of these different factors. And so what we're saying and what the data says is that when people are understood, and when their strengths are utilized in the workplace, then it increases engagement. It increases productivity, it decreases turnover. Your your culture starts to soar. And then a byproduct of that, like the result of that is better revenues. It's it's more money in the door for the company. It's people staying longer, which means you're hiring and your turnover costs are decreased exponentially. And so for us, we're saying we understand that a business has to have money has to have revenue coming in the door to survive. That's kind of a no brainer. But what we believe is that if you can take a people centric approach to business and to your company, and say, Okay, this is who my people are, and like you and Joe both said, we're not creating clones here. We're trying to find the best fits. We're trying to find a unique diversity of people that all have unique strengths and motivators and weaknesses. And we want to plug them in and let them be who they are. Then the byproduct of that is you have a higher functioning a higher producing company that is really soaring in all aspects.

Michael Sayre 16:46
Do you have any practical application that you can think of where understanding personality has made a difference for people in the workforce?

Cory Rich 16:55
Yeah, I mean, for me, I think there's a few different things. I mean, one, obviously It comes to the forefront. And Joe alluded to this a little bit earlier as building a business. I've kind of always had this like entrepreneurial bug and started a few businesses over the past few years, most of them have failed. And I found that the reason being that they failed was because like we've talked a little bit about, I was trying to start businesses with people that were very, very similar to me. And so what happens with that is that we're not filling the right holes. Truthfully, the only reason you know outside of my passion for what we're doing at evolve HR, a close second to that and being able to start a businesses but and you know, finding the right partner and Joe, Joe and I are incredibly different, but we are also incredibly aligned on what our vision is. And I've seen that happen a few different times in the workplace over over my career, Mike, I think of specifically a salesperson that I managed and I was a director of sales, managing a sales team and I was very much about allowing the sales team to work autonomously. I'm not a huge believer in the 40 Hour Workweek. I'm a very much a believer that we just get the job done. We get it done as best as we can. And that's my approach to managing teams and to managing people, specifically in sales. So I don't care how many calls you've made in a day, I don't care how long you've been at your desk or you know, out visiting clients, as long as you're getting the job done. That's the most important thing to me. Well, I received some some feedback from from upper management, you know, above me, Hey, we want butts and seats and we want people you know, in their seats a specific time, you know, specific hours during the day. And once that was implemented within a team specifically with this one salesperson I was really close with it completely killed their productivity, because that's not how they functioned. Some people function well, you know, being told and given a list of things to do. Some people love that. Other people just like to be told a task and then they want to go attack it and just go conquer it working autonomy. And doing what they love to do. And I've seen that several times. But that's one instance that comes to mind as you bring that up,

Joe Cooper 19:07
Mike, I was gonna share a story as well. So like I mentioned, I'd been in commercial banking for almost a decade, a lot of the time I was I was kind of off on my own, I get to do my own thing, which is very important to me being able to create my own schedule, with the last job that I got in the interview process actually told him, Look, these are kind of my expectations, like I want to be able to work from home sometimes and kind of set my own schedule. And, you know, some of those things, I was very clear about the expectations and he said, yeah, that's fine. So I got into that role. And he would call me a little bit after eight in the morning, and then a little bit before five in the afternoon, just to make sure I was there in the office. I started off just fine. I was happy to be there and as excited about this new job and you know, gonna light the world on fire kind of thing. As soon as that started happening, my engagement in a job was gone. And looking at it now. Like if we were to take that assessment, I can I can I Identify pretty quickly, like our differences with not a generational thing. It was a personality things. So he was just a few years older than me, but he was a very traditional banker type know you were there in the in the bank branch to talk to customers. And you know, it was it was a very traditional method of doing things and I like to do things very untraditional. And that caused a lot of friction between the two of us. And I think, from what I've been told, he interviewed a lot of people over a long period of time and it came down to he liked me, he liked my background, it seemed like we would get along through the interview process, but I think had we identified these things early on, either it wouldn't have been a good fit from the hiring standpoint, or he would have been able to understand, okay, this is how I need to manage this individual, but that understanding wasn't there. And it caused a lot of friction and ended up causing, you know, my productivity went down and I ended up leaving, obviously for a lot of reasons, but I mean, that was that was a big one. It kind of was a catalyst for me to end up leaving and start this business because our personalities were were different. But if we could have identified where they were different early on, I think that we would have had a much different result. Again, that's kind of an illustration of what we're talking about here where the manager came in and said, I want everyone to do things just like me, because now I'm under the gun to be successful as a leader. And I know that I was successful doing the job that you're now doing. So everybody just do it exactly like I did it. And we'll all when I was not the only one that decided to leave, there was a lot that had the same result. So the information is out there. And if we have access to it, and we if we can put it in front of us in those interactions, then we're going to see a much different result in the way that people respond to their managers and their leaders.

Michael Sayre 21:48
That brings up a good point for micromanaging. I think maybe part of the reason why micromanaging is so ineffective is is not just because hey wants someone breathing down their neck all the time and bossing them around. But I think the other side of it is, you know, if you're trying to basically make a clone of yourself to do things, the way that you would do it, that's not going to be effective as as having someone that that's able to balance you out or to, or to think for themselves and may have some different strengths.

Joe Cooper 22:21
Yeah, and it's interesting. I like that you bring up the micromanaging thing, because it's funny, this particular manager and I've had others that have said the same thing, like, they will very much say, like, I don't want to be a micromanager. But here's how you're going to do things. And that happens all the time. And I think the reason that's happening, it's nothing at the fault of the manager. I think it's, I don't know what else to do. So I'm gonna have you do it just like this. Because I don't know what else to do, because I'm not receiving that training. Again, we're kind of going back to the early phases of that, that interaction between the manager and their employee. If you know what to do with that employee, then you don't have to micromanage them. I don't fault man. managers and I think every manager goes into that role, I think envisioning the way that they want to do it. And then it gets down to, like the actual execution of it, and it becomes much, much different. Because now it's I don't know what to do. So I'm just gonna tell everybody to do it like this. And, you know, when you've got the managers, leaders that are telling the manager, hey, you need to drive results, and you need to get things moving. But we're not going to tell you how to do it, we're just going to tell you do it. The natural reaction is, well, I'm just going to tell them to do it just like I did. micromanaging is kind of this thing that every manager knows that it's bad. Every manager knows, I should not micromanage my people. But when it comes down to it, and I have to drive results, and I don't know any other way to get it done, than the way that I've done it, I'm going to end up being a micromanager and I think that's why it happened so often. And I think the result of that is poor engagement because employees recognize that it doesn't work either. But we're just we're stuck in this cycle of top producer promotion micromanager until you find someone that does it just like you do it. And then they perform well get put into that position. So then you get promoted. And it just kind of goes around and around and around. And all of these other people that 70% of people that are not engaged in the workplace are just kind of the byproduct of it. And they keep shuffling from job to job. Because we're not, we're not fixing the core problem of what's happening in the workplace.

Michael Sayre 24:34
I kind of wanted to go back to one of the comments that you made a little bit earlier about how you and Cory, talking about how both of you are opposites but have the same vision. And I think that's how a lot of companies can grow. When you have people that have the same vision and the same passion. The big thing that can hold people back though is once again you know bringing in the the skills and bringing things to the table that complement each other and that bring, bring strengths together. I think regardless of whether you own a business, or you run a business, or you just have a leadership role, or even just to down to your family and to the individuals you interact with, you know, even if you have the same vision in general, there's always going to be a time when you can motivate you can persuade, you can help people see your vision and point of view. How can this tie into personality types and what you guys see in the future in general?

Cory Rich 25:35
Yeah, I think you've really done a good job of articulating it, Mike. But it kind of just like going back to what you were saying. We feel like as far as you know, looking to the future and how this can impact businesses and companies moving into the future is really just going all in on your people. And what I mean by that is it's that's at a high level. What does that mean? It means understanding who your people are. Providing for them the training that they need. It means providing for them a work environment that they thrive in, not just one that you do, because that's how it's always been done.

For example, I was reading an article from a man who is working in a company that's been around for about 15 years, and they've been crushing it during COVID-19 because they've all been working from home and their employees are happy, they're more engaged because things have been more flexible. Because you know, pre COVID-19 they were very much like a butts in seats, eight to five type of an office. And now these employees have like been liberated because they have some flexibility and their metrics are going up. But what's happening in a month, they're sending them all back to the office, like no questions asked, no flexibility. And so you've got like some grumblings that are happening internally. And so for me, it's like, Hey, guys, guess what? It doesn't matter how things have always been Done, let's try to find the best ways to do things. And the best ways to do things is going to be around your people and utilizing who they are. So let's create an environment. Let's create trainings, let's create onboarding and processes that really start to capture who our people are. And then let's just let them go crazy and do some fantastic things at our company. And that's how I see companies really thriving as we as we move forward kind of post COVID-19 and trying to utilize this truly people centered approach.

Michael Sayre 27:30
We're going to go ahead and start to wrap up here. But what closing thoughts do you guys have for businesses, entrepreneurs, leaders, HR managers, people in a leadership role,

Joe Cooper 27:41
Really, what it comes down to, and Cory was kind of talking about this just now. It really comes down to us breaking the cycle. I think this is as good of an opportunity we're ever going to have with COVID-19 happening and disrupting everything and, you know, really making us rethink the way that does anything and everything in the workplace. You're bringing on, or training clones of yourself, you're going through the cycle where 70% of the workplace is just not interested in being there. And everybody's doing things the same way. There are certain people, the small minority of people that fit and then there's the large majority that doesn't fit. What we're saying is there's room for everyone. And we just need to be able to identify what it is that we need in the workplace and how we're going to work together and how we're going to maximize the relationships that we have and the strengths and the weaknesses of each individual.

And you know, just because things have been done a certain way for a certain amount of time. They need to change. If there was ever a chance for us to just do things differently, now is that time and that's what we really want to do. We want to say, look, let's start from scratch, let's do things differently. And that's what we're trying to implement into the workplace. Let's break that cycle. Let's do things a little differently. Like Corey said, we're going to focus on people, we're going to get the best out of each one of them. We're going to find out what makes them tick. And we're going to utilize those strengths to get people happy and engaged and excited about coming to work every day. And again, as I said earlier, we're going to, we're going to create a world where work doesn't suck anymore. And really make things happy and exciting for a lot of people.

Michael Sayre 29:22
Cory and Joe, thank you so much for joining me today. Really appreciate you taking the time and thanks for the insight. Hopefully we can chat again soon.

Joe Cooper 29:31
Yeah. Thanks, Mike. Appreciate it.

Cory Rich 29:33
Thanks so much, Mike.

Michael Sayre 29:35
Securities and investment advisory services offered through Woodbury Financial Services Inc. Member FINRA SIPC, registered investment advisory firm insurance offered through CUI Wealth Management CUI Wealth Management LLC and Woodbury Financial Services Inc. are not affiliated entities. Cory Rich, Joe Cooper, and evolve HR are not affiliated with Woodbury Financial Services or CUI Wealth Management. CUI Wealth Management is located at 5965 South 900 East suite 150 Salt Lake City, Utah 84121

Sign Up For Our Bi-Monthly Plan Fiduciary Emails

Thank you!