This company had a serious hiring problem.
The ABC Company had a hiring problem and they knew it. Over half the new hires who presented excellent credentials and said the “right things” in the interview quit soon after being hired, often with the first 3 to 6 months. As a result, ABC was always hiring, although they were not growing. Due to this high turnover, there were never enough experienced workers to do the job and hence, performance suffered.
- We refined job descriptions and expectations.
- We taught effective interviewing skills that focused more on the “who” of the applicant than what they necessarily did.
- We created a full scale onboarding process including metrics for the first 30-60-90 days, so new hires knew the milestones they were excepted to achieve.
- We developed the leaders’ communication skills so they could share specifics of their assessment of the performance with staff.
- Turnover was reduced from 50% to less than 10%.
- Procedures to assess the performance of new employees were put in place, so corrective action or termination could be taken if necessary.
- Instead of taking 6+ months to determine the new employee’s performance level, we were able to determine within 90 days whether they would make it.
- Management spent considerably less time concerned about performance or dealing with employee issues.
This executive couldn’t keep her staff together.
A female executive had a very successful business, but was struggling with staff retention and leadership of the team. She was constantly frustrated and disappointed in the performance of her team members. No employee on her staff of 10 had been with the company longer than 6 months.
- We initially worked to identify if she was hiring the right skills, but the wrong people for her environment. We determined that it was at least one factor in the challenge she was facing with turnover.
- Since she really did not want to manage people, we hired an office manager. This person’s job was to keep the team on track with deliverables and handle any personnel issues.
- We helped her change her interviewing focus and established more appropriate compensation levels.
- We adjusted her expectations that people would change their after-hours schedules to accommodate her. Instead, we implemented a deliverable schedule with specific milestones she was able to track, which eliminated the need for most after-hours meetings.
- Within a year, she had fired 3 more people, but had also hired 3 that had now been on board 12 months.
- The office manager was able to run interference for the business owner and thus eliminate her ongoing frustration with the staff and other issues.
- In addition, we worked on her leadership skills, including her ability to manage multiple spinning plates and her own stress level that negatively impacted the team.
This executive couldn’t lead because she couldn’t control her team.
- During the facilitations, we focused on communication skills, listening to each other, and not interrupting each other.
- We helped the group create an agenda for the meetings to put the focus on actionable items to assure that decisions made were by the end of the meeting and also help keep the president on track.
- By the end of the 4 sessions, spaced over 6 months, the team was no longer fighting with each other or finger pointing. Instead, they had learned to ask questions, instead of making assumptions.
- The main “problem-child” executive, who was resentful and unhappy when we started, was still unhappy, but no longer saw himself as a victim.
- Meetings that had previously taken up to 4 hours were accomplished in 2 or less and ended in decisions and next actionable steps.
- In addition, the president had learned to trust the leadership team to make the key decisions and only intervened when something was going awry.
This executive was proud of her success, but wanted better balance.
- We worked with her to find her definition of work/life balance so we could help her identify what was and wasn’t currently in place and how she could establish “the right mix”.
- Since frustration often comes when someone is not living by their values, we worked through a values exercise to determine what living by her values would look like.
- Since she valued both her career and her home life, she learned to plan ahead to block out more time for home. She was conscious that the choice she made for work would make her unavailable for some things and became comfortable with it.
- She learned to plan 3 or 4 day weekends at least once per quarter, adjusted her work schedule so she was home more often for dinner, and worked in the evening once the kids went to bed.
This owner thought he had to manage the world.
- We worked on identifying and honing his organizational skills/time management skills so less time was wasted worrying.
- Additionally, we identified performance metrics for key personnel, so he could learn to delegate and be able to determine if they were performing.
- We also identified the roadblocks in his thinking about time for himself and the ability to create the space he needed.
- We helped him realize that he was not solely responsible for the care and well being of his mother, as he had siblings who could help if asked. We encouraged him to reach out to them.
- Within a year, his work week had dropped to 60 hours while business gross revenue had increased by 15%.
- He was at the gym 3 times a week and able to work on his personal goals of staying fit and losing weight.
- With systems in place, he was able to delegate successfully to 2 key people, terminated 2 others, and found replacements that he was comfortable with.
- His siblings each came once a month to care for his mother so he could feel confident his mother was receiving proper attention.
This former partner needed to chart a new course.
- We worked with the new owner to created quarterly plans for the business including specific goals and an implementation plan for each quarter.
- We focused on their core competencies. So that the owner could spend 90% of his time selling, we helped him define employee roles and responsibilities, develop job descriptions, and hire 3 additional people.
- Within the first 12 months, their revenues had stabilized. The owner was paying off his debt consistently every month, and now had a reserve in the bank in case receivables were slow in coming in.
- By the end of the 2nd year we had developed a full scale marketing plan and a business plan for the year, hired 2 more people, and restructured his marketing activities so he could use some outsourcing, which he estimated netted a savings of roughly $30K per year.
This owner’s one man show nearly derailed.
While the company was growing, they hired often new staff, but rarely trained them or hired based on specific need. There were no systems in place for evaluating performance, so people were given raises and promotions based on longevity or whim. As a result, when they needed someone to fill new roles or responsibilities, they often lacked people with the right skills.
- Realizing that the lack of planning was limiting the company’s potential, we worked with the CEO to outline key strategic goals for the company for the upcoming year, which we shared with the department heads.
- We had each of the department heads do some self-examination to determine how their department could help the company reach its goals and ascertain the goals for their department. Then, we assessed the current processes and procedures, etc. for each department and determined the proper staffing/training/performance metrics to give them the best opportunity for success going forward.
- Each department head then created a budget for their area. Even though they did not have P&L responsibility, we wanted them to understand how their department contributed to the profitability of the company.
- We then spent 2 days with the department heads and CEO going over their individual plans and filling in gaps that the group felt were missing.
- From this we created a full-scale plan for the company with measurements for performance, implementation, etc.
- For the first time, the business created a marketing plan with specific markers for determining ROI in a given timeframe, so they could make adjustments to the plan as necessary. This enabled them to truly measure ROI on their expenses and investments.
- The business saw a 20% increase in both gross revenue and profitability, while decreasing expenses by 7%. Advertising expenditures were cut by over $100K with no drop in sales.
- The staff had performance metrics in place so raises and bonuses were based on tangible results rather than “gut feelings” of the management. Department heads had specific criteria to use for evaluating as well as hiring personnel.
- Team dynamics improved as department heads worked more closely to achieve common goals. Finger pointing (sales saying marketing was not doing their job, customer service blaming sales etc.) decreased to the point where the executive leadership was spending less than 2 hours a week on problem resolution.
- Customer retention was increased by over 10%.
This company was nearly done in by unplanned growth.
- In our first year working together, we identified which lines of business were making money, achieving attractive ROIs, or could ramp up sales quickly. We also looked at areas such as how one line of business could leverage other lines of business or utilize their marketing for one entity to support others etc.
- We then created a plan that included revenue goals for each line of business and devised a way for the software business to stand alone and not be funded by the core business.
- Our final step in Year 1 was to work on full-scale sales and marketing plan for the business overall as well as the individual businesses.
- After analysis, they put one line of business on hold and one major project on hold. Postponing the one project alone saved them almost $100K.
- Expenses were reduced by over $150K as revenues increased by almost $250K the next year.
- They landed a 5 year federal contract, providing a minimum of guaranteed revenue in excess of $500,000 annually.
- The software business was almost stand alone, with the final steps to make it independent taking place the following year.
- The full scale marketing plan allowed them to see where they were using resources most effectively, how to leverage those resources across multiple lines of business, and which trade shows to visit or to exhibit. The marketing plan was well thought-out and connected to the over-arching goals of the business.
This company couldn’t deliver bad news.
- In 6 months, there were still personnel cuts taking place but managers were better equipped to have the necessary conversations about the layoffs.
- Managers were now able to discuss performance issues with employees.
- Within 6 months, some under-achieving employees resigned.
- In half the cases where employees were put on a PIP (performance improvement plan), their performance improved enough that they were taken off the program.
This agency was buried in meetings and few knew what was up.
- The number of meetings that took place to discuss a project or handle a problem was reduced by over 60%.
- Complaints by staff members to upper management were reduced so significantly that leadership coaching was eliminated.
- The unit head’s trust in the division head increased so significantly that he no longer entertained discussions from others about their unhappiness with the direction of the division and pushed those conversations back to the division head. This virtually eliminated the constant changing of direction.
- A strategic plan was developed that included clear, concise goals and an implementation plan.
This executive aimed for the moon but shot himself in the foot.
- We worked with him on his communication skills, his expectations of others, and his ability to communicate his expectations and unhappiness about performance and do it face-to-face rather than hide behind email.
- In an effort to eliminate the constant frustration of staff performance differing from his expectations, we created performance metrics that he clearly communicated to them.
- We built on his warm and friendly personality to help him interact positively with staff.
- We put in a layer of management under him to handle many of the operational areas he was managing, thus reducing his day-to-day involvement with procedure and personnel. As a result, he could focus his energy and skills in areas that were interesting to him and valuable to the company.
- Within 2 years, he had stopped using email as his primary mode of communication and replaced it with face-to-face meetings.
- Once a month, he had team meetings with various groups and departments, so he became not the guy behind the screen, but someone you could laugh and have fun with.