Small Business Wins with Big-Business Planning
Some people continue to adhere to the idea that small businesses don’t need strategic-level human resources. Generally speaking, small companies tend to focus on payroll and benefits administration. That’s not the case with this environmental health and safety company—this team of eight is positioning itself to expand in ways many small companies only dream about.
Recognizing the importance of a solid infrastructure and strategic human resources planning to his vision of the future, the owner was determined to begin on a solid foundation.
Creative Workforce Solutions worked with this organization to provide:
As companies emerge from social distancing and widespread remote work arrangements, environmental health and safety experts will be leading the charge to make workplaces safer. This company is now very well positioned to rise to the challenge, easily scaling up to meet any additional demands that come their way. By coupling strategic business planning with thoughtful HR programming, they have established a solid framework for growth.
Pay-for-Performance System Delivers Efficiency, Clarity and Equity
Years of organic and acquisition-spurred growth is likely to have a big effect on how a company’s employees are evaluated and rewarded. This fast-growing advertising agency, for example, found itself with 11 locations, 750 employees and no formal employee evaluation processes in place. Some employees had outlined goals but had no metrics attached to them. Others were maintained in a performance management system used by their employer pre-acquisition. A few had not been reviewed in years. Employees were generally given merit increases every year, regardless of how well they or the company performed. As a result, labor costs were out of control and there was a clear lack of equity across the organization.
The leadership team took on the challenge of harmonizing performance management across the organization, with an eight-week deadline handed down from the CEO. The agency was hesitant—past experiences with outside resources had not delivered, but they couldn’t meet this timeframe on their own.
With feet on the ground in Atlanta, Creative Workforce Solutions was the perfect partner to take on this challenge. After an initial discovery meeting with the HR lead, our team jumped in to deliver the following:
Working closely with the agency’s HR team and leadership, we had a program ready and approved by the CEO—meeting their short, eight-week deadline on time!
Finding Top Talent Outside the Usual Pool
Finding top talent is a challenge anywhere. But finding a whole team of top talent with backgrounds in technology—in a New York City suburb—can be next to impossible.
This software startup needed to immediately hire 35 people to staff a sales and support center well north of Manhattan in Tarrytown, New York. It was important to have everyone hired at one time so that the team could be trained and ready to go live when company’s complex software platform was launched.
The Creative Workforce Solutions team was called in to support the one-person HR department. We assigned two contract recruiters who were quickly immersed in the company culture and product via a site visit and detailed product demo. Our efforts included:
By the time the client’s industry-changing platform was ready to hit the market, their sales and support teams were trained and ready. Best of all, we filled 35 positions with high-performing candidates for a fraction of the cost of using search firms.
Organizational Change on a Shoestring Budget
Nonprofit management can be challenging—funds are limited, but needs are the same as for any other organization.
After 40 years in operation, this New Jersey food bank brought in a new CEO. The transition came with some challenges—systems were outdated or nonexistent, no data was available to support decision-making, and the management team had no experience working anywhere but there. In addition to operational challenges, the CEO had to navigate issues with the culture, as her management style differed greatly from the former CEO. Change was consistently met with resistance.
The CEO reached out to Creative Workforce Solutions to set things straight through:
By bringing in Creative Workforce Solutions, this food bank had immediate access to a comprehensive range of consulting services, recruiting and HR support which otherwise would have necessitated hiring a team of HR professionals – from executive to administrative levels—in-house.
Handles Restructuring with Efficiency and Care.
In every business—no matter how solid—there may come a time when it’s necessary to restructure. For example, this client, who created digital disease and treatment information for patients, had a presence in more than 40,000 doctors’ offices, strong financial backing and a history of growth.
In 2017, however, the company made a strategic decision to shift focus from content to technology. This meant restructuring—including significant hiring as well as reductions in roles that were no longer required. With one full-time HR resource, this task was especially daunting.
Creative Workforce Solutions received a call from the CEO on a Friday, in which she walked us through the new direction and outlined long- and short-term needs. On Monday morning, we were working with the HR lead and COO, laying out the steps and support necessary to let go of 100 of their 600-person staff by the end of the week.
Letting people go is never easy. But with a single phone call to Creative Workforce Solutions, the client had immediate access to a full-service HR team that provided everything from high-level strategic guidance to on-site tactical support. As a result, they were able to handle meetings as efficiently and with as much care and dignity as possible.
Growing marketing agency is prepped and ready for big wins.
After a period of belt-tightening, this multichannel healthcare creative agency was poised to take off. Unfortunately, like most small and mid-sized companies, they didn’t have executive-level human resources vision and insight on staff. Rather than hire a full-time senior employee, they brought Sue Brocaglia of Creative Workforce Solutions on board as acting HR director.
How Creative Workforce Solutions aided their success:
Ultimately, the changes have paid big dividends. Their new way of working has allowed this client to win and service significant new contracts from high-profile clients. They are nearly 200 strong and growing.
Equipping Next Generation Leaders with Key Business Skills.
For over 40 years, innovation has been part of their vision and has set them apart as leaders in the contract manufacturing industry. With a diverse staff and deep commitment to client service, how do you handle the human capital in an organization that is growing so quickly that they are unable to scale effectively?
In a strategic move to support his rapidly growing company and their staff, the HR director reached out to gain the support of consultants who could partner with him to alleviate the pain points of this organic challenge. He had to do it efficiently and economically in line with business objectives already being implemented.
Creative Workforce Solutions began the engagement with Contract Recruiting and Customer Support Training exercises. A series of strategic initiatives followed which focused on the future cultural health of the organization. CWS continues to develop high potential coaching program. Coaching these self-motivated individuals has been a great opportunity for the company to advance their professional goals while providing benefit to the company in enhanced culture, succession plan for new leaders, employee retention, and operational improvements.
Creative Workforce continues to provide HR support, training and coaching services in this engagement.
From crisis mode to a big contract.
It’s never a surprise, based on the nature of our business, when we receive a call from an organization in crisis mode. So, when a major East Coast printing company had an opportunity to be vendor of record for a $50 million printing contract—but only if they were HIPAA-compliant—we jumped in.
Fortunately, we’d been down that road a year earlier, when a printing business in South Jersey had asked us to develop and roll out HIPAA training in just three weeks (and was able to add significant business to its client roster as a result).
Our team went to work quickly, aligning everything necessary for HiTrust Certification and the opportunity to sign a master services agreement with the global insurance company.
Creative Workforce Solutions continues to work with the printing company on other aspects of human resources and IT, including a compliance audit, new employee handbook, and building out their business continuity and disaster recovery program. And yes, the client signed the Master Services Agreement and they are well on their way to adding a lot of new business to their pipeline.
Turns out, a little help with HIPAA can go a long way.
Bringing order to fast-growing chaos.
After two years of unprecedented growth—from seven employees in New York to 110 people in seven offices nationwide—the U.S. arm of this Paris-based tech firm lacked the HR infrastructure needed to support their operations. The problem was a typical start-up growing too quickly. The result was utter chaos.
Creative Workforce Solutions stepped in with an interim HR team to take charge.
After just four months, we were ready to find the firm the perfect HR director to begin to focus on strategy for North America. Having done the job for several months, we were able to source the perfect candidate and hand over an HR operation that was working well and poised for growth.
Single-person HR department calls in the cavalry.
When a senior level, Global Head of Human Resources decides to leave Big, Corporate HR and move to a small, privately held company, the change can be dramatic. That happened to one of our clients recently, when she moved to a prominent food service company. On her third day, her Payroll Manager resigned, leaving her with no payroll staff. What’s more, having come from a much larger organization, she had no payroll experience.
After a quick phone call to her payroll provider, Creative Workforce Solutions was in there and running four payrolls the following week. In fact, we’ve been providing payroll and HR support ever since.
The client describes the start of our relationship as “calling in the cavalry,” as CWS was able to transform her one-woman HR department into a full-service HR team overnight.
A perfect storm leads to a perfect partnership.
Every once in a while, a business can hit a perfect storm that really takes its toll. For this financial services firm, that storm hit in 2008.
The organization had everything going for it. A start-up in 1999, they had only seen rapid growth, spending multiple years on Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing firms with no end in sight. Suddenly, the founder resigned to move on to other projects, the company went public, and the market crashed—virtually all at the same time. Stock and morale plummeted. The new CEO did his best to maintain stability, but in spite of everyone’s best efforts, the lay-offs began.
In late 2012, the leadership team took aim at the top again, recognizing that there were critical HR issues that needed to be addressed first. Low morale, lack of common purpose and vision, and a loyal team who needed reassurance were key to a 2013 strategy. But with only transactional HR in-house, they knew that they would need to look outside for guidance.
Creative Workforce Solutions worked with the CEO and the management team to turn things around.
The program’s impact is best demonstrated by the performance of the firm’s stock, which has tripled in value over the past year. This alone has improved employee morale, and has allowed for staff growth opportunities across the board.
Always busy serving their clients, the firm needed to turn their attention inward.
This client reminded us of the story of the shoemaker’s children who had no shoes. They were so busy serving their clients that their own HR systems and processes lagged behind. We were brought in to provide support during the Benefits Manager’s maternity leave, and expanded our role when the Employee Relations generalist went on leave as well. During that time, we were asked to provide an assessment of the HR infrastructure that ultimately led to Creative Workforce Solutions managing the entire HR function.
As part of our engagement, we implemented several firm-wide programs and provided
strategic support to the COO. In just 18 months, we changed the face of HR for the
firm, and saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.
Needless to say, it’s these types of improvements that make for a very happy shoemaker!
Establishing a solid foundation for rapid expansion.
If litigation support is a “cottage” industry, this client would be considered a mansion. Already the largest player in the space, a new investment partner and a change in executive level management led to plans to triple the firm’s size.
It wasn’t long before the executive team discovered that this type of rapid, sustained growth required improving systems and processes and establishing the firm as a nationwide brand. None of this would be accomplished without first upgrading HR’s capabilities.
Creative Workforce Solutions came in to assist:
Today, the firm is off and running with new leadership, a fresh brand and a bright future.
Investment firm grows too big, too quickly.
For most business leaders, experiencing rapid growth is a dream come true. But not this firm. When a company grows too big, too quickly, it can get crushed by its own success. That’s what happened with this Westchester client who grew faster than they could get systems or infrastructure in place.
The COO was focused on fixing the SEC and compliance side of the house, but knew that once they topped 50 employees, HR compliance issues could cause the firm major headaches. Although the firm’s size did not warrant a full-time HR executive, it was clear that they needed senior-level HR expertise. The solution? Creative Workforce Solutions partnered with the COO to address HR issues as well as set the stage for long-term growth.
Creative Workforce Solutions’ Sue Brocaglia stepped in before the firm’s rapid growth could destroy it.
Working with Sue allowed the COO to bring in executive-level HR expertise and partner with a peer without assuming the financial load of an additional senior leadership team member. From training and compliance to HR operations and staffing, Creative Workforce Solutions provided a full scope of services at a fraction of the cost of an in-house team.
Growing firm finally gets ahead of the curve.
Due to the tight labor market for IT management consulting professionals, this enterprise project and portfolio management firm was struggling to keep pace with all of the new business they were closing. In order to get ahead of the hiring curve, the firm tried several HR solutions—including a full-time, senior-level HR manager and a talent acquisition and sourcing professional—without success.
Fortunately, the Creative Workforce Solutions team of senior-level HR and sourcing professionals was able to move them forward.
By functioning as an internal talent acquisition team, Creative Workforce Solutions was able to quickly staff roles that had been open for a long time. Not only did this recover lost revenue by filling seats with billable consultants, it also minimized reliance on contingency staffing firms, further reducing overhead. Overall, working with Creative Workforce Solutions was a more profitable staffing model for the firm.