Start-up Uses Topgrading to Continue Meteoric Rise

The Company is an industry leader in professional website design, hosting, eCommerce, and email marketing. Fast-growing, with over 500 employees, the company has won numerous awards and has been on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies six times. Many of its clients have won best website awards.

The Challenge

The company was growing quickly, and CTO/COO Ryan McElrath and co-founders Mike and Tony Svanascini realized that growth would not be sustainable if they did not increase the percentage of new hires who were highly productive and fit the great culture they had built. Work was getting done, but McElrath was constantly putting out fires due to mistakes and low productivity from non-A Players on the team.

No. of Employees: 500+
Industry: Digital Marketing


  • 96% of new hires prove to be A Players
  • Three-year growth rate of 454%
  • High performing teams lead to confident sales and project delivery

\"With Topgrading, we recently avoided 14 mis-hires that would have cost us millions of dollars.\"

- Ryan McElrath, CTO/COO

The Solution

McElrath heard about Topgrading from various publications by Verne Harnish, author of Scaling Up. Ryan read the 3rd Edition of Topgrading and he and co-Founders Tony, CEO, and Mike Svanascini, President, agreed to launch the methodology at Topgrading President Chris Mursau conducted a 2-day workshop in June of 2018, training all managers in the Topgrading methods, and the company licensed the Topgrading Online Solutions software. Mursau has continued working with to help them smoothly roll out the Topgrading methodology.

McElrath and HR Representative Kaitlyn Schmidt became the company's internal Topgrading Interview experts; one of them acts as the primary interviewer for every finalist candidate alongside the hiring manger in the tandem Topgrading Interview.

Hiring Results continued to grow quickly in 2019, hiring 105 new people. McElrath said that of the 105, there are only four people they would not enthusiastically rehire, giving them a hiring success rate of 96%.

McElrath estimates that 80% of\'s current employees are A Players. With 96% of new hires proving to be A Players, he expects the company to have over 90% A Players soon.

In the first six months, McElrath and Schmidt believe 14 serious mis-hires were avoided out of 24 hires. Said Schmidt, \"Those 14 would have been hired had we not used Topgrading methods, and we estimate that those mis-hires would have cost us millions of dollars.\"

"Having the right people on the right projects is huge. I have to put out far fewer \'fires\' than three years ago."

- Ryan McElrath, CTO/COO

Business Results

The company was on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies for the sixth time in 2019 with an astounding three-year growth rate of 454%.  Only 3% of recipients have ever been on the list six times.

McElrath credits Topgrading for the company being able to more easily staff a growing number of key enterprise projects including GE Appliances, RGA Insurance (global intranet), Werner Ladder, Crystal Cruises, and RepairClinic.

He reflects, \"With Topgrading, we feel more confident that we can find and hire top people, not only with new employees, but in replacing someone if they\'re not a fit. Before Topgrading, managers were more tolerant of subpar performance because they were concerned it would take too long to find a replacement. This also helps our salespeople sell with more confidence because they know we can deliver a high-quality product on time.\"

With Topgrading, McElrath continues, \"Things just run smoother. Having the right people on the right projects is huge. I have to put out far fewer \'fires\' than three years ago.\"

Topgrading can help you achieve similar results. Contact us today.


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