How Topgrading Prevented a Million Dollar Hiring Disaster

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In today’s show, Rich Manders and I discuss Topgrading and taking the chaos out of hiring.

Rich Manders, co-founder of iAutomation and FreeScale Coaching, is a serial entrepreneur who has sold two businesses and overseen seven acquisitions. Rich has a deep understanding of how to optimize and grow combining enterprises and has worked with many thought leaders on business management, personal development, and negotiation.


Take the Time to Hire Right the First Time

In 1998, Rich was having problems finding and keeping talented employees for the business he was starting. Someone recommended that Rich look into a Topgrading workshop and began using it to hire new employees. Rich attributes Topgrading to growing his business into millions of dollars by changing his hiring practices alone.

Due to the technical nature of the company Rich was running, it usually took about two years to fully train his new employees.  This had huge costs for Rich. Not only would it take two years to test out talent, but it also cost Rich $250,000 in salary, training, and benefits before the company even knew if that one employee was a right fit for them. High stakes to say the least. Rich says during the first two years of the company, he made five bad misfires.

Rich found that by using the Topgrading system, the people he ended up hiring were 2-3 times more productive than previous hires. The next step for Rich was to send his managers through the Topgrading workshop to help improve employee productivity.

The hiring process is not fast or easy. It takes time to vet the right hires and find the right talent. Rich says it takes one full day to two full days to get through the Topgrading process.

The biggest push back Rich received was that hiring managers didn’t have time to take a full day just to hire one person. Rich’s counterpoint was clear; if it’s costing the company $250,000 alone to fully train an employee, then taking the necessary day or two to vet the person fully is in the best interest of the company. Do it right the first time.

When Rich started the Topgrading process, he already had 20 people on staff and $5-10 million in revenue. By properly vetting new hires who were brought on board, his company was able to increase their staff to 160 and generate 80 million in sales revenue by the time Rich left the business in 2013. Rich credits the Topgrading system for skyrocketing their business.

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Topgrading Website
Who by Geoff Smart
iAutomation Website


Scaling Up is the best-selling book, by Verne Harnish and the team at Gazelles, on how the fastest growing companies succeed where so many others fail. My name is Bill Gallagher with Humanisteq Coaching and I’m one of the Gazelles business coaches. We help leadership teams to get the 4 Decisions around People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash right so that they can Scale Up successfully and beat the odds of business growth success. Our 4 Decisions are all part of the Rockefeller Habits 2.0 (from the original best-selling business book, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits).


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