Topgrading Helps Company Define Their Culture
The HeimLantz organization was struggling: there was no defined culture, low growth, and people were operating in silos.
The firm restructured their executive team and contracted a Gazelles Scaling Up coach who immediately challenged leadership to define the company’s culture, sort out accountabilities and solve the firm's issues with turnover and B/C Players. The coach suggested Topgrading could be the way to solve the personnel and culture issues.
Laura Macauley, the newly hired COO, was given responsibility to improve the hiring process and increase the number of A Players in the firm who would embrace and support the organization's Purpose and Core Values.
Macauley attended a Topgrading program and used what she learned to implement the new interview and hiring process. The firm licensed Topgrading Online Solutions (TOLS) to make Topgrading forms, guides, and record-keeping easy to use.
When a position opens at HeimLantz, the company runs ads which typically produce about 60 applicants. If the applicant looks like a possible fit, Macauley conducts an introductory phone call with candidates to provide a brief description of the Topgrading interview process and explains the benefits of the process to the candidate. A link to the Prescreen Snapshot is sent to the candidate, which requests information about the candidate’s two most recent jobs, as well as resources with more information about HeimLantz and the Topgrading process.
“Credibility was boosted for Topgrading because the team members conducting the Competency Interviews had a say in if the candidate progressed. They want to work with A Players and were invested in finding out if the candidate could be one.”
– Laura Macauley, COO
The Prescreen Snapshot tool informs candidates that a final step in the hiring process is for them to arrange reference calls with their managers. This narrows the candidate pool to only high performers; for HeimLantz, this typically means their initial 60 candidates reduces to 30 they will spend time speaking to.
Once the Prescreen Snapshot is completed, Macauley then conducts a phone screen interview. At the end of the phone screen interview, if the company and the candidate both want to proceed, the candidate completes the full detailed Career History Form.
Next, Macauley schedules Competency Interviews conducted by several of the firm’s team members, giving the candidate an opportunity to get to know members of the firm. If a majority of the competency interviewers agree that the candidate should progress, a Tandem Topgrading Interview is scheduled with two members of the executive team. This is followed by the reference calls with supervisors that the candidate arranged.
For seasonal interns, a similar but simpler process is used.
In the first 3 years of Topgrading, sales increased 27%. Turnover, typically 17-27% in the CPA industry, has declined to 2%. HeimLantz has received business awards including:
- Top 100 Accounting Firms to Work for (every year since Topgrading)
- Top Accounting Firms for Women
Says Macauley, “A dramatic improvement in organization culture has taken place as a result of Topgrading. We defined our Purpose and Core Values and now hire to those expectations. A Player candidates are excited about the process and appreciate the commitment the firm has to hiring the best people, and are invested in our culture from day one. We are an employer of choice now, with a terrific reputation.”
Prior to Topgrading, hiring at HeimLantz resulted in no more than 40% A Players. After five years of Topgrading, the company has achieved 88% A Players hired.