Watching the bottom line to ensure your company is in the black is undoubtedly important, but it can be even more helpful to dig deeper and look at what causes your firm to make money. Crunching numbers beyond the bottom line can help a firm replicate its successes and correct problems.
For The Waters Organization, that means tracking how many of the firm's placements are successful. Based in Atlanta, The Waters Organization focuses on one specific niche: office professional support staff. The firm's bread and butter is placing administrative assistants, executive assistants, office managers, and data entry workers.
CEO Holly Monaghan started working in 2003 for an accounting firm owned by her firm's previous owners. Those owners started The Waters Organization in 2004, and Monaghan and a business partner purchased it in 2009. They faced a steep learning curve, but they were able to pay off the firm's debt in one year, and they have grown 600% since 2009.
Monaghan found that she liked being involved in all aspects of the business. "I do like having my hands in everything and knowing what’s going on," Monaghan says. "When I'm on the phone with a client I can make up the rules. I can cater to their needs. I can adjust contracts and make it a win-win situation."
She also closely follows how the business is doing. One way is by tracking how many successful placements the firm made. In 2011 the rate was 95 percent, and some years it has been as high as 98 percent.
"I think if you ask most staffing firms, they don't keep up with that," Monaghan says. "It’s time-consuming."
It can also be complicated. The Waters Organization does both temporary and direct hire placements, and some of the temporary staff members become permanent. The main focus of Monaghan's phone calls is to check to see if those hired directly or via temp-to-hire arrangements are still there. She also counts temporary assignments as successes if the person stays for the duration of the assignment.
Tracking the success rate serves several purposes. First, it measures the quality of the matches they are making between workers and employers. But the act of tracking the number, which is the time-consuming part, is also useful.
Monaghan calls clients to see how the job went. "We're also keeping that relationship," she says.
And she often learns more than just how the candidate is doing.
"They're impressed that we care," she says. "Oftentimes they'll say, 'I'm glad you called. We actually need another person.' It's beneficial in many ways."