Topgrading is the #1 reason for our company’s success. Because of Topgrading we’ve hired people who share our core values — especially to provide wow customer experience, and it’s also the main reason we have won many “best company” awards. People on our team become like a family, since we hire like-minded people who share the same values.
- Scott Mesh, CEO
Company: Los Niños
No. of Employees: 300
Industry: Special Education Private Company
- Improved from 50% to 85% A Players/A Potentials hired, total company
- Numerous “best company” awards attract A Players
- Group exercise with teacher candidates helps screening
Company History: Los Niños Services offers special education services to children under 5 years of age. Young children and families learn and grow in NYC and Westchester Counties through 3 programs: Early Intervention, Preschool Special Education, and Private Services. The company mission is to be of great service to others, helping young children and families learn and grow well. There are approximately 300 staff, 90 FTEs and 200 part time employees. The company was founded in 1998 by Scott Mesh and Edita Diaz, both psychologists.
Topgrading Methods: Scott and Edita attended several Topgrading programs sponsored by the Entrepreneur’s Organization in 2003 – 2006 and took their management team of 8 to a program in New York City.
The core, full-time staff participate in most Topgrading steps including tandem Topgrading Interviews and extensive reference checking. Part-time employees go through an abbreviated hiring process.
UNUSUAL: In order to judge whether a candidate possesses the core values of Quality, Teamwork, Respect, and Continual Self-Improvement, candidates are brought in and participate in a team exercise in which they hear a role play of a difficult client situation and discuss how to handle it. They rate the case manager’s ability to handle this difficult situation. Then they discuss the situation with the candidate group to try to learn from one another. With the benefit of the group discussion they are then asked what they would do differently in order to see how much they have learned from others and if they are self-improvement oriented.
Approximately 50% of hires come from internal referrals. UNUSUAL: There is no financial award, because Scott feels that could taint the motivation to refer someone. But pride in the company produces many referrals anyway. UNUSUAL: Los Ninos has won numerous “best company” awards (below), which has strengthened their recruitment since A Players want to work with other A Players in a “best company.”
Topgrading Results: Hiring of core (full time) employees has improved from about 58% A/A Potentials prior to Topgrading to 87% since Topgrading. (These results have been benchmarked in the last 4 years of Best Company Award applications.
- 2011 Customer Service Award Finalist.
The New York Enterprise Report Small Business Best Practice Awards recognize companies who excel in many areas. Los Niños Services was honored for it excellence in serving customers very well.
- 2011 Best Companies To Work For In New York State.
Los Niños Services was recognized as one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York State for 2011 which is the third year Los Niños Services has earned a place on this list. This statewide survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in New York, benefiting the state’s economy, its workforce and businesses
- 2010 Human Resources & Leadership Best Practice Award.
The New York Enterprise Report Small Business Awards is the annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of the 500,000+ small businesses throughout the tri-state area.
- 2010 Crain’s Best Places To Work In NYC.
To find the companies for Best Places to Work, Crain’s partnered with Best Company Group, an independent research firm, which conducted 13,131 surveys of employees across New York City. To be eligible, businesses had to employ 25 or more workers in the city.
- 2010 Best Companies To Work For In New York State.
Los Niños Services was recognized as one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York State for 2010. This statewide survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in New York, benefiting the state’s economy, its workforce and businesses.
- 2008 MAP Presidential Award.
Los Niños Services has been honored to receive the 2008 Presidential Award. Recipients of the award represent exemplary businesses that have succeeded and excelled by embracing the MAP Management System™.
- 2007 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award.
The New York State Psychological Association awarded Los Niños Services an Honorable Mention for the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award. This is presented to organizations due to their efforts in the following five areas: Employee Involvement, Work-Life Balance, Employee Growth and Development, Health and Safety, and Employee Recognition.
- 2007 Best Companies To Work For in New York State.
Los Niños Services was pleased to be selected as one of the winners of the Best Companies to Work For in NYS. The New York State Society for Human Resource Management (NYS-SHRM) joins the Best Companies Group in announcing the top 30 winners of the first-ever “Best Companies to Work for in New York” state competition.
- Topgrading is the biggest time saver we have. Taking extra time up front to really get to know a person ensures we determine if we have a strong match for the position and company. This saves hundreds of hours and tens of thousands of dollars compared to having a hiring mismatch.
- Hire for company values (not just skills) because a person's values drives his or her behavior and performance.
- One of the keys to Topgrading success is to focus on a person’s past performance because this is the best predictor of future performance. Don’t waste too much time asking people what they would do in the future.