Access Development Case Study

Full Topgrading Integration leads to Dramatic Improvement and Success

No. of Employees: 185
Industry: Discount Programs


  • Improved from 33% to 94% A Players hired and promoted throughout the company
  • Three levels of internal Topgrading certification ensure integration in the company culture
  • “Best Company” awards attract A Players

The Company

Founded in 1984 and based in Salt Lake City, Utah, the Access mission has been to inspire consumer loyalty through the world’s best affinity marketing programs. Clients include merchants, restaurants, leisure and hospitality companies. Access helps their clients drive more sales to their stores by providing discounts to their membership organization.


Before Topgrading, Access Development measured 33% high performers hired across the company. Clear and high enough standards in hiring had not been set. It was a challenge to assign measurable accountabilities to mid- to low-level positions like customer service representatives or IT developers, who were not quantified by sales numbers.


When Access Development implemented Topgrading, they followed all the recommended steps and processes:

  • Job Scorecards were created for everyone in the company, from top to bottom. As recommended by Topgrading, Scorecards are used for both the hiring process and managing and reviewing the employee.
  • Candidates apply via the Career History Form, and hiring team review Snapshots to determine who to invite for a Phone Screen and in-person Topgrading interview
  • Tandem Topgrading Interviews are conducted by the hiring manager and manager of the role being filled. Interview notes are retained to help understand and manage the new hire, as well as analyze the rare case of a mis-hire.
  • Interviewers provide each other five minutes of feedback after each Topgrading Interview
  • Candidates arrange reference calls with their managers

Regular measurement ensures maintenance of Topgrading standards and practice. Quarterly and annual reviews by the Director of Organization Development, reporting to C-level executives, using employees’ Job Scorecards identifies A Players, A-Potentials and Non-A Players.

To ensure Topgrading is fully integrated into the Access culture, managers are certified as Bronze, Silver or Gold Internal Topgraders. Certification is part of every manager’s Job Scorecard. The certification provides an incentive as well as a way to track who has adopted Topgrading and to what extent.

"During the last three years of the recession (2009 – 2012) we continued to grow revenue. We’ve been one of Utah’s fastest-growing companies, and we’ve won multiple awards as a “best place to work.” Having 94%+ A Players at Access is one of the key reasons for this success. Topgrading has been the foundation to help us attract, hire, and retain these A Players."

- Larry Maxfield, CEO

The Results

Access Development improved their rate hiring and promoting A Players from 33% to 94% companywide. In addition to this overall improvement, they found they were getting much more valuable information from reference calls using the Topgrading Reference Check Guide. When reference calls are arranged by candidates, and made by hiring managers using the Guide, according to Director of Organization Development Travis Isaacson, “People will talk with us. You learn so much information.”

Access employees and candidates alike appreciate Topgrading. When asked why they accepted jobs at Access, hired candidates have said they were “so impressed that Access put so much time and effort into finding the right candidate” and that they were “ready to prove Access right.” Employee happiness after the Topgrading integration has also led to Access receiving the Utah Work/Life Award.

Finally, as a result of Topgrading, Access was one of Utah’s fastest growing companies even during a recession because of their culture of A Players.

Ready to begin hiring almost all high performers? Contact us.

Improve your hiring success with Topgrading. The Topgrading methodology will transform your hiring process by increasing the number of A player hires and decreasing the number of mis-hires. Our leadership and candidate assessment tools will help you assess, hire, retain, and grow high performing teams. Contact us to learn more about the Topgrading approach to hiring and start achieving better hiring results now!

Return to Case Studies

Scroll to Top