Culligan Case Study

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“Topgrading has definitely made two companies I’ve run as CEO more profitable. The Snapshot is amazing – even before talking with a candidate you know if they are a job hopper, their full salary history, and how all their bosses would rate them.”

-Scott Clawson, CEO

Culligan: based in Chicago area with over 600 dealers in 85 countries

Industry: Culligan is the world leader in residential, office, and commercial water treatment.


  • 25% to 79% A Players hired in all corporate jobs
  • Topgrading prevented over 30 mis-hires world wide
  • Topgrading was launched (with new head of HR who organized Topgrading Workshops) before Scott Clawson o,fficially took over as CEO
  • Topgrading is crucial even for lower level jobs like EA and warehouse worker

Excerpts from interview with Scott Clawson, CEO and Kelly Mudget, Director Human Resources

Scott Clawson: Previously, I was President and CEO at a company called GSI in a rural part of Illinois. Topgrading and really getting A players on my team, and the rest of the team were the main reason that company succeeded in the time I was there. It was a financially owned company by private equity. The stakes were high. It was my first role as standalone President and CEO and all the cards were on the table if you will. We were very successful. Topgrading was the reason. I took our Executive Staff to 90% A players. There was only a couple when I started out of the nine people on my team.

We then took that success to the next level. And that’s where you really create value, is when the whole company has the spirit of Topgrading. Four years later we sold the company for almost four times money. The company still is doing well today because of the players there. Tograding was a huge success factor.

There were some interesting lessons learned from my previous role at GSI before I came to Culligan. At the previous company I did not really make sure everyone was using all of the Topgrading steps, and some results slipped. Today at Culligan we have tools online that are hugely effective and helpful and we really make sure we use all the Topgrading methods.

I hired an HR Executive. He was able to start even before I did because (as it took some time for me to transition out of my previous CEO role). We made everybody read the Topgrading book. We also trained everyone, and brought in Topgrading Professionals to train. We setup Training the Trainers which helped to then be able to go out and train others.

We then did something that was important here which was we started measuring the percent A Players hired early. I really mandated that if you want to get a job filled, you have to follow the process.

So some of my lessons learned, is while it can be moderately or successful if you use some parts of the tools, it will be even be more successful to the organization if you use them all and you really measure and track the results. So every month Kelley and my top HR Executive come in and they report at who’s in the process and what percentage of completion are we on the steps of the process. Have they had a Tandem Interview that highlights anybody on my staff who’s trying to get around the process. People try all the time, they want to rush and hire someone. The great thing about here at Culligan, is that HR is onboard with Topgrading so they just won’t fill a job if they don’t do the right steps right.

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