The corporation asked two of its executives, a General Manager and Human Resource Manager to start a service business. The objective was to duplicate a critical service business the corporation lost in an acquisition. The General Manager and Human Resources Manager were the first two employees. They hired the leadership team, using mostly newspaper ads, to fill out the key positions – managers of operations, engineering, facilities, and others.
The business was allocated substantial capital to do the startup, the space and freedom to operate, with the patient but ever-watchful eye of the corporation monitoring the finances, buildup, and performance.
It was a meager start, with only a conference room, tables, internet access and various office supplies, but with the full support of a multi-billion dollar, global corporation.
The hiring and selection of service professionals: Hundreds of thousands of dollars were invested in box style, Help Wanted Ads for service professionals. The ads were placed in a significant number of North American Newspapers in key service markets. Two fax machines ran 24/7 for weeks spitting out hundreds of CV’s submitted as a result of the ads. The CV’s were loaded on searchable CD’s. The CD’s were distributed to the leadership team; they used key search words designed into the CD’s to search for qualified service professionals who were then vetted and hired. All candidates were gainfully employed, had experience in the service business in key markets, the greater majority had ongoing work, and a current customer base and relationships. So with many hires, the startup was also “hiring” customers.
Amidst the hiring frenzy, the leadership team was also focused on locating and leasing key service center facilities throughout the USA and Canada, writing necessary business, legal, and training documents to support the new business, making vehicle lease arrangements for the service centers and a non-stop plethora of other detail.
The newly hired professionals were located in cities across the USA and Canada. So the startup flew in groups of about 25 at a time each week, as the hiring went on. Each group received a 3 day orientation on the service business, values and ethics, various corporate and operating policies, and pertinent legal requirements and behavior expectations. They each received a live orientation on specially formatted lap tops which featured financial and service reporting software. Also included were email and other software necessary for them to be able to immediately communicate with startup employees and customers. And, they enjoyed a night out with available members of the Leadership Team. When the professionals departed orientation, they were confident, knew they were members of a skilled, powerful business team, and an integral part of a team that did not wear their titles on their sleeves.
Competitors claimed the startup pilfered their resources, and claimed unfair trade practice, among other charges. It was a very expensive, protracted, distracting, time-consuming, non-productive, legal event. In the end the justice system found “no cause”, in favor of the startup, writing it was just good old American capitalism and competitive practice at its best.
At about nine months , the startup had hired more than 350 professionals, and had more than 45 service facilities up and running in the US and Canada.
“The startup” grew, became a tremendously successful business entity, within that global, multi-billion dollar corporation.
The startup is probably remembered as one of the greatest business experiences for that leadership team and the service professionals. One of the great windows in their careers, filled with unfailing morale, boundless energy, huge creativity, substantial business savvy, great success, and many, many humorous moments.
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