Automation-X Case Study
High Performers Increase Profitability and Growth
The Company & Challenge
Automation-X provides products such as solar panels, wind turbines, and pipe fittings to oil, gas, and energy companies. The company prides itself on its strong culture based on hard work, dedication, innovation, and reliable solutions.
The interviewing and hiring process at Automation-X was typical and like most companies using traditional interviewing and hiring methods, it succeeded at hiring high performers only 20% of the time. Of those 20% high performers hired, only 20% stayed with the company and performed at a high level.
The company strived to take over a market void and become a top competitor in its industry. Their struggles with hiring and retaining high quality candidates made sustaining growth and increasing market share extremely challenging.
When Nyisha Moore, head of HR, joined the Automation-X team, she came with an open mind and an eagerness to help CEO Dan Schultejann innovate to improve the company’s hiring practices. At Schultejann’s request, Moore read Topgrading, and became determined to achieve a team of 90%+ A Players. She set her mind to studying and embracing the methodology.
Upon initiating Topgrading at Automation-X, Moore used the methodology to align the company’s current team. She discussed with each team member what their expectations for their role were, what work they were doing, and where they would like to go. This internal Topgrading review was performed from the warehouse level through the top of the company. It gave Moore and Schultejann a good idea of who their A Players and non-A Players were, and what changes would turn their non-As into As. Over time, they replaced 40% of the team, allowing those who were not A Players or A Potential stay on the payroll until they found a new job.
Moore implemented Topgrading to the best of her ability for a year after reading Topgrading. She said hiring success increased, but there were still too many hiring mistakes.
Moore came to a Topgrading workshop in the summer of 2019, and after attending she refined how she implemented the methods for Automation-X’s new hires, which led to their best results yet.
“Productivity is much higher, which allows us to compete price-wise with our competitors, and we are gaining market share.”
- Dan Schultejann, CEO
The Topgrading Process at Automation-X
- Moore works with the manager of the open role to develop a Job Scorecard.
- Candidates are sourced from Indeed, LinkedIn, and direct network recommendations from A Players in the company.
- Candidates complete the Prescreen Snapshot. According to Moore this saves her about 16 hours every time she fills an open position and produces better candidates.
- Moore conducts phone screen interviews with the best applicants and hiring managers conduct technical and core value screening interviews.
- Tandem Topgrading Interviews, led by Moore with hiring managers as partners, are conducted with finalist candidates.
- Candidates arrange reference calls with their former managers or other contacts the Automation-X team would like to speak to.
- Automation-X makes an employment offer.
When Moore began implementing Topgrading at Automation-X, the company’s hiring success improved from 20% to 76% within a year. After attending a workshop, implementing the Prescreen Snapshot and TOLS software, and refining the hiring process, they have reached 92% hiring success.
“The improvement in our teams made a huge impact on morale,” says Moore. “People feel more empowered and can progress because they have the help of the A Players around them.” Schultejann adds, “We have well-paid people who are highly productive. One great employee is worth two mediocre employees.”
Growth in market share, revenues, and profit have accelerated since implementing Topgrading. Shultejann said, “Our goal is 70% annual growth, and we are achieving that.” And, those results are delivered with a relatively smaller team because it is comprised of highly productive A Players. As a result, Schultejann said that Automation-X is able to pay their employees more while increasing profits because they need fewer of them to deliver superior results. “Productivity is much higher,” he states, “which allows us to compete price-wise with our competitors, and we are gaining market share.”
Impact of COVID-19
In 2020, the oil and gas industry was hit hard, and Automation X endured two major layoffs, losing 48% of the team. The layoffs were painful and the company had to lay off some A Players. Schultejann and Moore are optimistic, however – their remaining team is 95% A Players, and they have been able to hire high performing salespeople from their competitors.
Because their Topgrading methods are well established and refined, and because many A Players have been laid off from other companies, the hires that Automation-X has been making have been high quality. Of the 20 people hired in 2020, 18 have proven to be A Players.