E*TRADE Case Study

Topgrading Saves Company from Bankruptcy

No. of Employees: 4,000
Industry: Financial Services


  • Improvement from 25% to 75% A Players in upper management
  • A Players improve company culture and attract more A Players
  • Improvement from 10-year performance of -20% to 3-year performance of +150%

The Company

E*TRADE is a leading online financial services firm that specializes in a first-class experience for the digitally inclined investor and trader, backed by personal professional guidance. The Company also has a high-tech custody platform for advisors and the industry’s #1-rated stock plan administration platform.

The Challenge

“E*TRADE was struggling – it needed a turnaround. It was an existential crisis. Without Topgrading, E*TRADE would have gone under. Topgrading helped us survive and flourish.”

– Paul Idzik, CEO

When Paul Idzik became CEO of E*TRADE in 2013, toxic investments in the mortgage business dating back to the 2008 financial crisis were dragging the company down. The number of A Players in the top two levels of the company were estimated to be 25%. A couple of key mis-hires could have caused the company’s demise.

blue birds and golden bird flying in sky

“With Topgrading you can look forward to a much more positive, exciting organization culture with almost all A Players.”

– Paul Idzik, CEO

The Solutions

Idzik immediately rolled out the full Topgrading methodology, including using Topgrading Professionals to assist in Topgrading Interviews. Using this method, 6 out of 7 of the top team were replaced, 100% with A Players.

A Topgrading Professional conducted multiple 2-day Topgrading Workshops for managers across the company’s key locations. For a short time following these workshops, the Professional also served as a Tandem interview partner to continue coaching hiring managers.

The Results

E*TRADE’s upper management ranks improved from 25% to 75% A Players. Since Idzik became CEO, the company improved from a 10-year performance of -20% to a 3-year performance of +150%.

The organization culture improved dramatically. A Players set higher goals and worked collaboratively. The rigor of the Topgrading method sent a message to the financial world that E*TRADE was serious about talent, which made recruiting more A Players even easier.

Advice from a Topgrader

“Don’t just fight fires replacing a couple of people. Make achieving 90% A Players a never-ending quest, to be discussed and reinforced daily. Don’t settle for a B Player replacement for a C.”

- Paul Idzik, CEO

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