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January 17, 2020

Hire Smarter Episode 05: Hans Vonderhofen, President of Split Rail Fence & Supply (part 2)


We are excited to share our 5th episode of Hire Smarter, where our mission is simple: educate leaders how to improve their best practices for hiring talent and helping professionals make better career decisions.

This is the second installment of a two-part series with Hans Vonderhofen, President of Split Rail Fence & Supply, an installed fencing business with annual sales over $20m, focused on serving residential single-family general contractors in the greater Denver area.

Turnarounds: What makes a great turnaround leader? Hans has a proven history of success with multiple business turnarounds in the installed building products segment, serving the production builder customer base. Often faced with tough competition and the complexity of 30 install crews working offsite every day, all while inheriting high turnover challenges at the onset of the project.

Hans wastes no time with the message, “It’s about having the right people.” His warning, leading with price without having the right people and process, is a common mistake for many leaders and owners. Listen closely to his steps concentrating on collecting the data from the employees working to identify the root cause for the turnover. It’s rather straight forward: compensation, benefits and quality of life. The leader and owner must collect the facts to understand their employment market.

Hans shares his hiring insight:

What attracts talent to installation crews?

What is the path to a self-empowerment culture?

How do you use psychological profiles to hire installers?

A top “Hire Smarter” best practice is what we refer to in the office as the leader’s history of “getting dirty” in the business. This is our twist on The Toyota Way top core value of Genchi Genbutsu, “go and see” leadership, and Gemba, “the place where value is created.” Hans knows what reasonable productivity expectations are for installations because he has done it. Working in the field developed his operational awareness, knowing how each process change will affect the P&L. No magic here – simply working in the field with install crews put him in the right place to collect the data.

Leaders – look at the weakest performing areas of your P&L and ask yourself how much time you have spent doing the specific job you are asking of the team. Practice “getting dirty” in that segment of the business and you might be surprised how quickly the performance improves.

Your feedback is essential as we look to improve and grow – please don’t hesitate to share any thoughts and comments you have on our podcast.

Hire Smarter! – Tony


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