Let’s set the stage for you. Chrissy is already the CEO of AUI and they are celebrating 50 years in business in Northeast, Ohio in 2024. Over the past 50 years there was a pattern that many small businesses fell into. Not only did they need help with benefits, but they also needed help with human resources. To meet the need, Chrissy started a second company focused on serving the small business community with human resources help.
ClarityHR was just recognized by Smart Business as a recipient of the 2023 Cascade Capital Corp. Business Growth Awards. Clearly, the Northeast Ohio community is thriving in business with the help of the small business advocates at ClarityHR.
In 2024 ClarityHR celebrates five years serving the community. We wanted to share a little more about Chrissy Myers and her mission for ClarityHR
A: We are total nerds at ClarityHR. We're insurance nerds and we're HR nerds. We love rules and regulations. We love federal alphabet soup. Not because we may think the policies are great. It doesn't matter about the policy itself. We ask ourselves the question: What do we need to do to make sure everybody's complaint? Because there are a lot of black and white things in insurance and in HR, but then there's also a lot of boxes where you can create whatever you want inside that box. We make sure you're staying within the rules of the road or within the box of what it means to have employees.
What I like about our job is we get to dive into what those rules and regulations are, and then we get to talk to the client and say, Okay, what do you want? What would you love in your organization? What would you love for your employees in insurance and benefits, and how can we make that happen? It's very much a collaborative approach around, you know, we're not always going to tell you what you must do. We're going to tell you what you can do. And then you get to choose because that's what small business ownership is about.
A: AUI and ClarityHR were made for small business owners. Small business owners who have less than 50 employees by number. We were built for small business owners who wear a lot of hats, who have a lot of care for their community and really for their people and their customers who want to do the right thing.
Sometimes doing the right thing means asking someone who's an expert to help you and letting them empower you to make the decisions that you need to make as a business owner. Because oftentimes, especially in space, we hire people, and we fall in love with them. Then if something happens within that relationship, in the work relationship, where we don't know how to coach them, that they may not be doing their job the right way, or we realize that we might be in a bad spot or may need to exit that person we feel paralyzed because we care about that person.
Oftentimes, small business owners can feel like they are a hostage of their own decisions. And as a result, because they've made a bad decision or they have a bad relationship with an employee, they're hesitant to move into the next relationship. They're hesitant to hire or they're hesitant to fire.
It's about coaching them in how to hold someone accountable. It’s in coaching them in how to hire effectively. One thing we talk about in clarity a lot is oftentimes, especially right now in the economy with where we are with recruiting, we treat hiring like it is last call it the bar and no one wants to go home lonely. We are just looking for whoever we can. Like, we will just drag this person home with us. They may not like us, but you know what they're good for right now. That attitude is a mistake in hiring for a small organization, because making the wrong hire and not being able to coach that person effectively into being the right of hire is can be extremely costly for a business owner, and it can also make them not want to be in their business.
A: Small businesses should call us because we're another small business. Coming from a small business perspective, we're going to be able to give you the flexibility and the understanding and the perspective that a lot of times a large payroll company- a large vendor - is not going to have. You’re dealing with a company that is rooted in only giving a standard answer of best practices instead of customizing a response because we get to know the small business owner.
I created ClarityHR for myself. I used to think that HR was a whole bunch of rules and regulations and if I don't follow, I’m in trouble. It's like prison. Now I know that HR is more like a box and within that box I can do whatever I want as long as I stay within the confines of that box
I think a lot of times larger organizations and our competitors can get stuck in saying it can only be one way. Of course there are certain things in HR where it can only be one way, but a lot of times with human resources, with dealing with people, there are many different opportunities that you have to build relationships and solve a problem creatively. I think a lot of times our competitors don't look at problem solving this way because they're looking at a strict framework.
A: When they call, they get the right human. I think as a small business owner who was just all over the map, you need to have “that” person. Yes. When we talk about what sets us apart, a lot of it is the relationship we have with our clients. It's taking time to get to know the business. It's taking time to get to know the employees. So when you're talking to AUI or you're talking to the team at ClarityHR, you're talking to someone who lives in your community, who knows about your business and who cares about your business and your team members.
A: Our motto at AUI and ClarityHR is “Do good, be good.” Knowing that serving the community is just as important as doing business in the community, it's not about the insurance that we sell, it's about the relationships and how we can care for our clients. Because when we care for small businesses, small businesses care for the rest of the community. So really, how do we amplify the work that we do in our space and really make it ripple the rest of the world, making it better.
Q: What does “Do Good. Be Good.” Mean?
Do good, be good is not just about “how” it's also about “the what.” Serving the community and doing business in the community with the right heart of care and compassion and just wanting everyone to be their best. When we talk about “do good, be good”, it's do good work within the insurance space, do good work, care for your client. But then it's also about ‘being good.” A state of truly caring for not just the employer, but also caring for their family. It's caring for the community around them. It's an extent, again, of amplifying who we are as an organization.
We want to serve the community as opposed to just doing business in the community, it's an extension of what our team members want. So when you look at what we sponsor, what clarity cares about it is an extension of who the people are that make up our team.
Q: Pretend you are speaking directly to a small business owner in our community who is struggling with wearing all the hats that many business owners do. What would you say to them and why should they reach out to you and your teams?
A: We're going to know all your employees’ names. Depending on the size of your group and how much time we spend together, we're probably going to know your pets. We're going to know your kids. We're going to know what you like doing in your hobbies. And chances are, too, if you're in our community, we're also serving alongside you because we believe that serving the community is just as important as doing business in the community.
You are not just a line item in a spreadsheet for us. You are a person with a name with a business that has an impact within our world, and because of that, we see your value as just as more than a customer. We become friends. We become colleagues and these are relationships we carry with us for a lifetime.