The following case studies illustrate some of the results we accomplish:
1. Getting the right hire the first time
2. Reducing the turnover of employees — and customers
3. Maintaining commitment and buy-in during times of transition
4. Compensation that motivates excellence
5. Performance accountability — not liability
Case Study #1: Getting the right hire the first time
Reduce the likelihood of future bad hiring decisions that can cost the company up to 2- or 3-times the salary for the position to rectify.
This sales management company hires sales professionals to work in client sites around the country to sell the clients’ high-value services. The company recently experienced two separate “bad” hires, serving two different clients. Each of these situations created a high potential for losing the client’s business and, at a minimum, losing significant sales generation even if the client relationship were maintained. Company owners wanted to reduce the likelihood of a bad hire in the future.
Assessment of hiring practices currently in place revealed a somewhat ad hoc “intuitive” selection process, candidly described by the Sales Director as based on “gut instinct.”
The solution was to implement a more structured selection process that uncovered candidate attitudes, working styles, and cultural fit to the organization to assure better alignment. The techniques we introduced and trained this sales management company to apply included a pre-hire assessment and a more effective interview process. These new tools and process allowed the company to identify whether a candidate would be a better motivational fit for both the job and the company culture.
A focused candidate selection process that improves the match of candidates for success in the position and to the company’s culture. The process implemented had the added benefit of reducing top executive time spent interviewing. On average, the process determined the number of best qualified candidates to be six, instead of twelve for each position. Evaluation of results is ongoing, but shows promise in the initial stages.
Case Study #2: Reducing the turnover of employees — and customers
To reduce monthly teller turnover at a large regional bank from over 50% per month in its retail branch banking offices. This would contribute to improved customer satisfaction and increase customer retention.
The bank had moved through multiple mergers and restructurings with significant changes in operating procedures and in expectations of employees in the branch banking offices. Local market leadership was challenged by turnover among its leaders and by the new corporate expectations for sales growth and production. The solution was to: a) change the hiring process to ensure new hires were more appropriately matched to the job in skills, interest and motivational fit; b) establish new employee on-boarding and mentoring to ensure they rapidly understood the culture and expectations, not just the technical steps; and c) increase the skill of leaders to set mutually understood performance objectives, coach for success, hold employees accountable for achieving expected outcomes, and reward success.
After 7 months, teller turnover was reduced by 48%, to under 26%. Analysis showed this reduced the costs associated with employee turnover by over 50%, increased customer satisfaction by over 76%, and effectively resulted in 100% customer retention.
Case Study #3: Maintaining commitment and buy-in during times of transition
After an acquisition, the new company needed to “capture the hearts and minds” of employees to develop a higher level of employee engagement and alignment. Employee morale had seen a setback as a result of the transition.
Multiple mergers had expanded this company by combining multiple in-market competitors over a number of years. As of the most recent merger, many employees identified with their original company from 2 or 3 mergers prior, not with the current one. The culture was highly fragmented. Employee understanding of expectations, as well as their commitment to achieving those expectations, was extremely low.
Compounding the situation, many employees distrusted the current company based on their perception of how the company had handled (or mishandled) acquisitions in other markets.
The solution was to implement a strategy to:
- Engage employees in building a shared vision of core values and business objectives
- Improve dialog and communications
- Increase leadership effectiveness by improving leaders’ skills in:
- Building trust
- Setting objectives
- Coaching for success and managing performance
- Establishing accountability and commitment to excellence
Employee engagement improved over 200% (defined as willingness of employees to give discretionary effort to accomplishing goals) and customer loyalty improved by over 27%.
Case Study #4: Compensation that motivates excellence
Establish a compensation program that rewards and retains top contributors, is understood by both employees and managers, is perceived as equitable, and uses the company’s available budget most effectively.
A large national law firm had implemented a series of alternative salary structures over the years in a continuing and largely unsuccessful effort to find a process that allowed the firm to reward for performance but not overreach its available budget.
For lawyers, the practice had consistently been a “lockstep” compensation structure that paid all Associates of the same class year the same salary. As a result, the firm was being priced out of the market for top talent. The firm simply could not afford to pay all Associates at the top rates being offered by wealthier firms.
For administrative staff, the practice had been a grade and salary structure that seemed increasingly arbitrary and incapable of adjusting to an inevitable “compensation creep.” Longtime administrative staff employees were being exceedingly well paid based on years of consecutive pay increases. At the same time, budget constraints were preventing new high-performing employees from receiving the increases necessary to keep them from being hired away by competitors.
The key challenges were:
- Recognition that lawyers should not be compensated based on tenure, but on performance
- Acceptance that already highly-compensated employees should not continue to receive annual raises which elevated their salaries far above a competitive market wage for their positions
- A commitment that supervisors could make meaningful, objective judgments about relative performance and contributions among both attorneys and staff.
The solution was to strengthen the performance management and evaluation process and then to create a compensation philosophy and structure grounded in performance and contribution, not tenure, and based on competitive market pricing for each job.
The solution created a basis for clear communication about compensation decisions and future expectations. Managers embraced the ability to reward top performers with competitive pay that reflected contribution to the firm. At the same time, managers gained the confidence to have direct candid conversations with individuals about total compensation and how their compensation aligned to the competitive marketplace because they felt they now had realistic tools to support those conversations. Employees understood the alignment of performance and contribution to pay, and employee surveys demonstrated employee understanding of the structure and how they participated.
After completion of two annual pay review cycles, compensation was demonstrably aligned to performance and not tenure. More significantly, the firm was able to match and even exceed market prices to retain the top performers critical to continuing business success while maintaining a sustainable compensation budget.
Case Study #5: Performance accountability — not liability
A large regional employer was experiencing legal expenses in excess of $600,000 per year in connection with employee-filed complaints with the EEOC and civil lawsuits. Lawyers representing plaintiffs had identified the firm as an “easy target.” Regulators were inclined to fully investigate every complaint filed because of the firm’s poor track record.
The solution was to completely redesign the company’s performance management process, disciplinary process, and termination decision process. Managers were trained in setting performance objectives, in coaching for success and in delivering counseling. This developed high-performing employees and facilitated low- performing staff to leave the firm on their own. This was accomplished while enhancing a culture of high performance and high accountability.
After three months, no new claims were filed with the EEOC and did not reoccur during the next five years. Existing employee lawsuits were all resolved within six months and no new charges were brought against the company in the following five years of tracking.
HR Consulting Solutions from Richmond VA
Human Resources consulting for meaningful business results.
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