Thursday, September 12, 2013

Nothing short of inspiring

When I found out Stroll made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies again this year -- the sixth time in a row -- my first thought was, wow, we're really on a roll. And that "we" is the lynchpin. Our team has fueled our growth year after year, pushing us higher on the Inc. 5000 to now sit at #1,014 overall. Stroll was also ranked #15 in education, #20 in Pennsylvania, and #20 in the Philadelphia Metro area.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Local charter school students are China-bound for language learning

Thirty-five students at Tacony Academy Charter School in Philadelphia will soon be on their way to China as part of their Mandarin language education program. Stroll is helping them get there by donating $10,000 to fund their trip.

We made it official the other week with a fun ceremony at our offices for the students and faculty. It was great to see the excitement and anticipation of the students, who are dedicated to learning a second language and preparing themselves to become part of our global economy. Here are some photos from the event.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Forced ranking: Doing it right, doing it wrong

General Electric CEO Jack Welch made the practice of "forced ranking" famous when his company championed it in the 1980s -- or maybe that would be infamous … but more on that later. What is forced ranking? It's the system where companies group employees into certain categories according to their performance. Welch's approach divided employees into three groups -- the top 20 percent, the middle 70 percent, and bottom 10 percent.

The purpose of such a system is to reward and retain top performers, help middle performers become top performers, and replace the company's bottom performers to improve the overall results of the organization and drive new growth.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The mechanics of managing a fast-growing company

Usually when you read about how to manage a company well, you find tactical tips on how to delegate tasks appropriately, communicate clearly, be a good listener, empathize with team members, appreciate and recognize employees' hard work and accomplishments, and so forth. We've talked on our blog about how Stroll uses some of these tactics in its management activities.

But for Stroll, management is more than a series of tactics to guide employees' actions. Management is one of the cores of our business. And so I wanted to bring our management discussions full circle today to flesh out what we mean when we say that management is a pillar of our business model. In future posts, I'll also bring home the three other cores of Stroll's business that we've been blogging about -- marketing, analytics, and HR.

Friday, November 30, 2012

6 ways to create a knowledge-sharing culture

No high-growth company will survive by operating in an information silo. Nor will the company grow its business using knowledge from a year ago, a month ago, or even last week. Instead, fast-growing companies must realize the importance of creating a knowledge-sharing culture to foster ideation, ignite innovation, and accelerate change.

Sharing knowledge is a fundamental component of Stroll's corporate culture, which I discussed in a previous post. There are several core ways we foster knowledge sharing, and we wanted to -- you got it -- share them to give you some guidance on building this crucial element into your company's culture.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The 5-step process for optimizing employee performance

The biggest element missing from a typical employee performance review process is the process itself. Many employers do not have an established program for tracking and evaluating their employees' achievements, strengths, weaknesses, and other key performance indicators. Rather, employers often create some general success metrics, from which they arbitrarily reward and discipline employees.

But you cannot optimize employee performance if you lack deep insight into employees' contributions to the company. That's why we've created and institutionalized a 5-step process for monitoring, measuring, and optimizing our employees' performance. Our process is rigorous and well-defined, and has powered the continual improvement and advancement of our management team over the past several years. I wanted to explain how it works for my third post on HR best practices.

Friday, October 19, 2012

3 recruitment tests to know if a job candidate is right for your company

Individualized candidate testing is a crucial part of the interview process for any high-growth organization. We administer not one, not two, but three tests to candidates to find the people who can power the company forward.

But what truly makes our tests effective is how we customize them according to the position. Our tests are designed to validate the quality of a candidate. Consequently, our tests must measure the exact skillset we seek. This might sound obvious, but administering inappropriate tests is one of the biggest recruitment mistakes employers make.