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HUMAN RESOURCES

How to Measure the Return on Your People

What's the best way to quantify the value of your leadership team members? Sell your company and witness them thrive.
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I always worked hard to build the leadership team at BerylHealth, up until the time I sold the company to Stericycle last year. I had several reasons for spending so much time in this area:

  • I realized that the company would only grow if I delegated more and more responsibility to others.
  • I found employees who were a lot smarter in functional areas of the business than I was.
  • I knew that if I were ever to have a liquidity event, the strength of my management team would be a major focus for suitor due diligence.

How I Developed My Team

While there were times I thought I had the "right team" in place, I never set an established roster. I always tried to raise the bar by stretching to get top people (through compensation, say, or bonus structure). And just like an NBA team that retools its roster after a championship, I wasn't afraid to "weed the garden" or make tough choices if I thought the business demands were beyond the talent I had hired. I also didn't hesitate to move people around into different roles, and give them more and more responsibility.

Ultimately, the leadership team I assembled led BerylHealth to a successful sale and whole group benefited financially--as well as by knowing our hard work had resulted in a new owner that cherishes the same values and practices we do.

When the company sold, the questions evolved: What would happen to the leadership team that got us to that big win? Would we stay together? Would Stericycle make sweeping changes? Would what we built be torn down?

A New Owner Only Confirms the Strength of the Team

I'm happy to say that the sale to Stericycle has turned out better than what any of us could have imagined. Not only did I take on the role as Stericycle's chief culture officer, but most of BeryHealth's senior leaders have taken on expanded roles and responsibilities as part of the much larger company.  And just like role-players who come up big in championship games, even mid-level managers in human resources and training stepped up, and got new functions.

More than anything else, I have felt best that the investment made in BerylHealth's people was paying off. Rather than being pushed aside, they are being tapped to do bigger and better things--even more than I could have offered them in my smaller company.

I'm very proud of the BerylHealth employees and the trust they've built with our new owners. And I feel good that I had a hand in helping them fulfill their dreams.

So as you spend your time worrying about your product, marketing plan, technology issues, or financial situation, realize that if you find great people and invest in them, it will all pay off for you and for them in the end.

Last updated: Aug 2, 2013

PAUL SPIEGELMAN | Columnist | CEO of BerylHealth

Paul Spiegelman is the chief culture officer at Stericycle and founder and former CEO of BerylHealth. He also co-founded the Small Giants Community with Inc. editor-at-large Bo Burlingham. You can read more at PaulSpiegelman.com.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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