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Taryn Abrahams
Empower Behavioral Services
The Power Of Showing Up And Listening
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Taryn Abrahams, a corporate behavioral specialist and human interaction expert, helps companies implement behavioral best practices to improve workplace interpersonal relations and holistically strengthen corporate culture. Leveraging her experience as a psychotherapist, her clinical background and behavioral mind-set provide deep insight that fosters an improvement in interpersonal relations. Taking her work beyond a check-the-box compliance and HR focus, Taryn’s interactive workshops, consulting services, and ongoing support help companies create long-term sustainable change. This translates directly to increased productivity, revenue growth, and a solid marketplace reputation.

In this episode

Taryn Abrahams of Empower Behavioral Services observes that people don't leave their jobs for pay, benefits, and working conditions, they leave because of weak leadership, negative culture, and a lack of belonging. When most leaders say, "we're all in this together", most employees aren't buying it. Few manager are meeting the 4 core needs of every employee: 1) feeling respected; 2) getting/giving constructive feedback; 3) acting with integrity; and 4) consistency and fairness. As Taryn reminds us, we don't have to be perfect. It's what we do when we imperfect that makes all the difference. Listen to the end for a very valuable gift that Taryn is offering our listeners.

The Power Of Showing Up And ListeningTaryn Abrahams
00:00 / 26:15

A glimpse of what you'll hear

01:20 Raising wages, improving benefits, and allowing work from anywhere aren't what's key to retaining employees

04:20 We're all in this together ... not really

06:36 Retaining employees is an issue of leadership and not much more

08:13 Tailor management interactions around the needs of each employee

11:11 The benefits from changing how we interact with our staff can lead them to go above and beyond when we get it right!

14:47 5 steps to implement a culture that allows your organization to thrive

18:46 Learn about Taryn. Email Taryn at

Episode Transcript
(Note: this was transcribed using transcription software and may not reflect the exact words used in the podcast.)

Centricity Introduction 0:04

Welcome to the Best Kept Secret videocast and podcast from Centricity. If you're a B2B service professional, use our five step process to go from the grind of chasing every sale. to keeping your pipeline full with prospects knocking on your door to buy from you. We give you the freedom of time and a life outside of your business. Each episode features an executive from a B2B services company sharing their provocative perspective on an opportunity that many of their clients are missing out on. It's how we teach our clients to get executive decision makers to buy without being salesy or spammy. Here's our host, the co founder and CEO of Centricity, Jay Kingley.

Jay Kingley 0:43

I'm Jay Kingley, Co Founder and CEO of Centricity. Welcome to another episode of our Best Kept Secret show where I am happy to welcome Taryn, Abraham's founder and principal of Empire Behavioral Services. She consults coaches and trained staff in small businesses to enhance employee morale, foster collaborative and productive work environments, and nurture, employee loyalty and ambassadorship. Taryn is based in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. Welcome to the show, Tara,

Taryn Abrahams 1:17

Thank you so much, Jay. Thank you for inviting me. I'm happy to be here. Thank you for the opportunity.

Jay Kingley 1:23

Taryn. In good times. And bad times, when it comes to business employees, employee recruitment, employee retention is always front and center. And we go from we have too many people looking for work to we can't find enough people looking for work. But one of the key things is always about retention. Because getting an employee up to speed experience, fully productive, costs a lot of money. And once these folks become fully productive, fully functioning, for most businesses, particularly in the knowledge economy, they become the biggest asset that any company has. Now, there's a lot of talk in recent times about the great resignation, how it's so hard to keep people in, retain them. And you hear that, including, by the way from the pundits, the media and economists, you hear companies need to raise wages, you hear companies need to provide greater opportunity for advancement, they need to lighten up on the requirements, including where they work, let you know people work from anywhere. You hear all these reasons. And I'm somebody that when I keep hearing all the pundits, all the experts all constantly repeating the same mantra, it makes me wonder if that's really the issue here. So Taryn as an expert in this field, let me put it to you directly. What is causing the issues around employee retention and even recruitment?

Taryn Abrahams 3:20

Really great question. Let's let's jump right in, shall we, um, you know, what's really interesting in my experience, and what the data that we're seeing out there is that people leave jobs, not necessarily for money. In fact, I'm seeing people making lateral moves, making the same amount of money. But what they're the reason why they're leaving their jobs is a lot of times because of weak leadership, what or negative culture, or they don't feel that sense of belonging. So what's really interesting is that people for the most part, are not leaving because of money. And we're seeing that because they're making lateral moves, they're making the same amount of money, but they're looking for cultures that support their needs. And it goes without saying that we are living in very uncertain times, we are in the middle of a global pandemic. It's lightening up right. And I'm happy to see that there's things such as vaccinations being rolled out and, and so forth and so on. But, but it makes us really kind of reflect on the the emotional and the mental impact that this has had on, on people. And I think that it's it reminds us of the importance of being heard, being understood. You know, there's this mantra that I keep hearing, we're all in this together. Yes, we're all in this together. But that doesn't mean that all of our experiences are the same. And so I think leaders really tend to have a blind spot by wreck by looking at everybody like we're all in this together. When in reality, it takes conversations to learn about each individual's experience. And when we understand their experience, we're able to navigate through that we're able to lead them more effectively, we understand their needs. And so I think there's a real missed opportunity for those leaders that aren't having those one on ones.

Jay Kingley 5:16

Taryn I just want to share a little story from the very beginning of my career, which is more years ago, and then I probably want to admit publicly, but I had just graduated college, I was working for the DuPont Company, as a chemical engineer. And the very first direct boss that I was assigned to, in the hierarchy of levels was one level above me, which I expected to be promoted into that level, in about six to nine months. The difference was, this individual, had been with the company as an engineer for 30 years. And he had risen to a level that I expected to get to in six to nine months. And he was my supervisor. And very quickly, I understood why he was at that level. And it was so painful for me, because I didn't understand how to navigate it was a horrible situation. I sort of wondered if what I really didn't need to do was listen to whatever he said and do the opposite. Because look where his advice got hims got his career. But here's the thing that even hurt worse is I remember going to my boss's boss. And I sort of brought up the fact that I was concerned that I was getting the right leadership, given the career history. And my boss was just like, lalalala don't want to hear it. It was really at that point, I said, I'm getting out of here that I cannot see a future in there's no pathway. And this was many, many years ago. So this issue around leadership isn't new. How common Do you think it is?

It's extremely common. I think, especially in these stressful times. I think, you know, when we talk about mental health, I mean, we're not going to go diving too deep into mental health. But I think it's an important piece to highlight that when we see people flying off the handle at work, when we see people refusing to listen to each other, when we see people refusing to wear a mask, or follow the policies that were put in place to create psychological safety in the workplace. You know, when we see those resistances, it just shows us the the impact the emotional impact that it's had on us as employees as contributors and as leaders. And I think we forget, we really do forget, and I say we because I have to remind myself to the power of showing up and listening to someone else with the with the intention to seek understanding. And I think that's a skill that we all can be better at, especially our leaders. Because the power of listening goes so far. Oftentimes, the problem just dissipates, the problem can end up solving itself by just validating empathizing and listening. And I think a lot of us need to do, you know, need to improve on that and by by example of your story.

So Taryn in addition to listening, are there any other key steps at a, let's call it a more strategic level that executives, owners and leaders in an organization need to take?

Taryn Abrahams 8:43

That's a great question. So when I, when I hear that question asked to me, I always go back to our core needs, right, as human beings we all have core needs. And I think as leaders, if we can lead with these core needs, and tailor our interactions and conversations, to be focused on these core needs, we're going to get more out of our employees, we're going to create that sense of respect that sense, you know that, that desire to be heard, core needs are feeling respected. Now, when you go back to No, no, no, I don't want to hear anything, right? That can feel very disrespectful. So being able to show up and be respectful to hear what you have what people have to say, even if you disagree with it. Giving feedback. That's an important piece. Right now, that could be constructive feedback. But you know, feedback should be a two way conversation. A lot of times our leaders are very good about giving feedback to employees, but we don't always ask, do you have feedback for me as your leader, right? We don't we sometimes forget to ask that question. But feedback should be a two way conversation. You know, being making sure that we're, you know, acting with integrity. You know, the good news about leadership is none of us have to be perfect. it. The question is what do we do when we become imperfect? You know, so the ability to apologize, the ability to say, you know, oh, I don't know if I communicated that in the best possible way. Let me start over. Right. And I think that that those are important pieces to meeting people's universal core needs. You know, consistency is an important thing. One of the biggest triggers I noticed in the workplace is feelings of unfairness, favoritism, you know, you give certain things to this person, but this person doesn't get it, this person gets privileges, this one doesn't. So I think it's important to make sure that in our messaging, and our policies, and our behaviors, we're being consistent. So those are some of the things that come to my mind right away. Jay, when you asked me that question, core needs,

Jay Kingley 10:49

Taryn, if our audience gets nothing more out of this entire show, then we don't have to be perfect. It's what we do when we're imperfect. That is solid gold. So so let me let me move on and ask you, you know, I think you you have laid out a plan that so many business owners and executives, you know, haven't yet been able to successfully implement, because, like my little story, this has been going on, I mean, not personally, for 40 years. And I bet I could go back in time and say, you know, these issues that you're talking about are not anything of a recent vintage, it's got a long history, probably ever since we industrialize have been the case. So my question is, if a company is going to do the things that you've just got through talking about, how is that decision maker who's willing to step out there and say, We need to change? What's the benefit look like to them?

Taryn Abrahams 11:54

Wow. I mean, right off the bat, when we as leaders decide to show up a little differently, we're going to automatically get a different outcome, right. So I think it's about recognizing the human side of business, which a lot of us don't always like to discuss, right? It's like, it kind of becomes that conversation about feelings, and, you know, the, the soft side of the business. And I think that it's a real missed opportunity, if we don't look at the employee as a whole person, not just the output, not just what they're there to do the work that they're there to do. But recognizing that, you know, they come to the table with feelings and emotions, and morals and values. And, you know, we talk about creating diverse, inclusive business environments. I know, that's a really hot topic, in the last couple years, you know, how do we create that sense of belonging for all. And I think when we think about diversity, we were so quick to think about race, age, gender, but we also have to come to the table with ideas about mental health, and personality. And, and the things that keep us up at night are different, they're unique to each individual's. So I think, you know, the, in terms of, you know, showing up differently, recognizing the human side of the business, focusing on the entire employee, not just the output, there's a lot of research out there to show you that when you care about the whole employee, you get more output, they become more productive individuals. It leads to higher productivity, and higher profitability, when you're spending less time spinning wheels, when people feel valued, when they feel that you care about them as a whole person. These are the kinds of employees that you build loyalty with, they will go above and beyond for you. Right, and so so for those of us leaders that are listening to this interview, you know, it, look, let's turn this around a little bit, if you have people that are just doing mediocre work, right. It's a conversation, it's a conversation to kind of think about how can I show care for this entire employee? Have I been showing care for this entire employee, or all my interactions with them just focused on did you get that report? And did you call that client? And did you close that deal? You know, it's it's also about how's the family? You know, how was your weekend? And how are you managing burnout, which I know we're not here to talk about, but it's a real issue. You know, it's a real issue, emotional well being mental health, all that stuff comes into play, and absolutely impacts the workplace.

Jay Kingley 14:37

But I think for you, you've put forward a very compelling argument for change, not only as you sit on the soft side, but there is no doubt that when your employees look at your organization as their organization, and they go above and beyond the bottom line impact, you know, from revenue point of view from being more efficient, thinking outside the box to do things at much lower costs is material. And I think we can all agree that in any knowledge base business, which is an increasingly large part of our economy, and certainly our target audience here, your most valuable assets are your people. And when they go all in on you, then you're going to have an amazing business as seems above and apart from all your competitors. So that I think Taryn brings up this issue of how do I implement this? So I'm all in I get it. It's compelling. What are the key implementation steps that a business owner or business executive needs to take to make this a real,

Taryn Abrahams 15:51

It's like any other, you know, example, where you're going on a hike, or you're going on an excursion, you need to understand you got to create a map, right? You got to know, first of all, where you're starting, and where you want to go, where you're heading. So I think the first step is really understanding what are the pain points? What are the issues that you're experiencing, and get really granular and really specific on what those issues are, they could be retention issues, it can be issues of discrimination or harassment, it could be bullying, gossip, cliques, you know, those are all potential signs of a struggling culture, morale issues, you know, low levels of collaboration, low engagement, so really be very specific of what those issues are. And and, you know, the next step would be to, you know, take those issues and figure out, you know, how you can quantify it? What is the impact of these issues? How has it been impacting your business, and you can look at it from a number standpoint, and you can quantify it. And you can also talk about it in terms of culture and morale, which is harder to quantify, but still very valuable components of the business. So laying out the pain points, really kind of identifying what the impact has been. And then starting with the issue that has the biggest impact on your business, formulate a plan, you know, kind of identify, what is it that you need to do to move this needle forward, whether it's coaching, whether it's training, leadership training? You know, I really believe and, you know, this is something really to kind of reflect on that it really does start at the top leaders hold tremendous power, when it comes to employee relations and employee performance. And it's interesting how when companies are underperforming, we're so quick to kind of identify what the issues are in our sales department or what the issues are in our policies, but it really starts with leaders. How are they showing up? How are they treating each other? How are they communicating, so identifying what those issues are? And then formulating a plan, whether it's, you know, coaching, consulting, bringing in individual independent consultants. And then there's about you know, then the next step is accountability and implementation. What is implementation look like? What is, you know, what does that plan look like and how we can hold ourselves accountable to making those changes,

Jay Kingley 18:20

You've really given us not just a lot to think about, and that you've given us a path forward to address an issue, which must be front and center of every executive out there. We're going to take a quick break, and then we'll be right back to learn a bit about Taryn

Centricity Introduction 18:41

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Jay Kingley 19:39

Welcome back. We're talking to Taryn Abraham's, of Empower Behavioral Services. And Taryn, I'd like to find out a little bit more about you. Let's start with for your target market. What are the pain points that you solve? And why do they need you to get rid of them?

Taryn Abrahams 20:00

Great question. The biggest pain points that I deal with is employee resistance to following the policies and procedures, especially lately with COVID. You know, I always say, there's the policies and the procedures, and then there's also getting people to comply. And so my biggest pain point that I help clients with and companies with is getting them to comply with the policies and procedures that we have now put in place. I also work with a lot of companies that are trying to minimize the risk of harassment, and workplace bullying, and helping people to, you know, identify ways of showing up in a more respectful and collaborative fashion. And also, as well as turnover, employee turnover. I do get the call when then when there's bleeding, right? We can't seem to good people could keep good people. I'm hearing a lot of companies having issues with retaining some of the younger talent, the millennials, the Gen Zers, you know, how do I help keep, you know, employees happy. And so that's a very, very big piece to my business.

Jay Kingley 21:09

There are a lot of consultants, and coaches that focus on the HR area of business. I know when I talk to business owners, they don't want to hire anybody on the basis of what they do. They are looking for the person who is the best at what they do. So I'm going to put it to you directly. What makes you great at what you do?

Taryn Abrahams 21:36

What makes me great at what I do is I my background, and my intellectual property is unique. Now what do I mean by that I play in the HR space, I deal with HR managers, ideally idea with business leaders. But I'm actually not an HR specialist, I am actually a trained psychotherapist. And my my career started off working in the clinical space. And why I think that's relevant is because I have training to help create a positive shift in human behavior. And a lot of the work that I do my training, my coaching, consulting, is about helping to turn the light bulb on for folks understanding the why behind why we operate and interact. And and by leveraging my intellectual property and explaining the psychology behind behavior, leaders then start to show up a little differently. They they it creates a reframe. When you change the way you look at people, it changes the what you're looking at. And so if you can create a different perspective, then you will lead a little bit differently, you will show up a little differently. So my background actually is what makes me unique.

Jay Kingley 22:52

What a what a great segue for me, thank you for that. Because if you want to find out the details of Taryn's, background, educational, and professional, I suggest she go to her LinkedIn profile. And I'll put that address in the show notes to make it easy for you to find her. But Taryn, I have a slightly different question. I would like to understand what has happened in your life, be it professional, be it personal, which would tell us why you're doing what you do today?

Taryn Abrahams 23:27

Well, after I stopped practicing psychotherapy, I did enter the business environment. I worked in a variety of large organizations and sales and business development. And I know what it feels like to not be heard. I know what it feels like to not be respected. I know what it feels like to not be a part of. And so that experience really kind of gave me the insight to create a business that helps address the emotional and the soft side of the business environment. Because I recognize that it's not just about output. It's also about how people feel about things, how they're treated, how they're spoken to. And I was you know, I experienced that firsthand. So that really is what kind of allowed me to to have the insight to create my business.

Jay Kingley 24:22

Turn you you've given I think our audience a great perspective on this critical issue of employee retention. I sort of look at it as the start of the conversation, not the end of the conversation. So if some of our listeners want to continue the dialogue with you outside of the show, how should they get in touch with you?

Taryn Abrahams 24:47

Absolutely. So you can visit my website at There is a contact form on the website. You can reach me that way. You can also send me a direct email at And you can also call me directly at which I would love because I know people are picking up the phone less and less these days, we'd love to hear from you. my phone or my direct number is 973-803-8276.

Jay Kingley 25:19

And we'll put all of Taryn's contact information along with her LinkedIn addresses instead earlier into the show notes is insert in the video, make it easy for you guys to reach out. So, Taryn, as we get to the end, and I have have already indicated how much value I think you have added to our listeners today. But that's never my yardstick. My yardstick is what's the most value I can get out of you, in order to take care of the wonderful people that listen to our show. And I'm going to challenge you to do even more than you have done already. What I have in my mind, surely, there's a gift of some kind you can offer to our listeners what say you?

Taryn Abrahams 26:11

Okay, well, I always say the best way to alleviate angst or anxiety in life is to give back right to give, which is an important, I think, mantra for us all to reflect on, right? I'm all about giving. And I actually would love to offer anybody that likes to have a private conversation, you know, to reach out to me and I would be willing to offer you a free 60 minute consultation session. That normally would be a value of $400. And I'd be willing to do that for no charge.

Jay Kingley 26:46

That is an amazing gift. You have certainly set the bar high for all those future guests that we're going to have on the show, which I love. And please reach out to Taryn through any of her contact methods. Tell her that you heard her on the Best Kept Secret show and claim your gift, enormous value. Taryn, I want to thank you for being a fantastic guests doing an amazing job for our listeners and to our listeners guys. Let's continue to crush it out there. Until next time.

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