Client

LEM Products, a distributor of meat processing equipment, with about 60 employees in West Chester, Ohio, and a Pinnacle client since 2011.

Challenge

LEM Products is not a large enough company to justify employing a full-time HR department, but they were experiencing real needs. They needed someone to take the lead in aligning their organizational structure to their plans for growth. However, all of the current employees were being stretched in multiple directions. Roles within the organization lacked clarity and no one had the capacity to take on HR. In addition, the company did not have a consistent performance review system.

Solution

With future growth in mind, we helped LEM Products determine immediate and long-term organizational goals for HR, and work on a plan that realizes those goals.

To help LEM, our team:

  • Conducted an overall HR assessment to identify HR risk areas and aided the LEM team in making priorities and a plan to limit discovered risks.
  • Delivered an Employee Handbook to clearly define policies and procedures.
  • Created a near-term and long term organizational structure that is aligned to the growth of the business.
  • Wrote job descriptions and identified key performance indicators for organizational roles.
  • Helped fulfill roles in the organizational structure.

Results

This will help us see a huge increase in overall performance. I think organizationally we’ll be better, allowing us to deliver more product, on time, and cost effectively.

Ashley Kohnen, COO of LEM Products

No one had the capacity to take on Human Resources.

Hill Kohnen, President of LEM Products described what it was like before Pinnacle became a partner, “To properly care for our staff, we needed more attention on HR, but we didn’t feel like we needed a full-time HR director. With people getting pulled in all directions, no one had the capacity to take on HR responsibilities. Also, as we continue to grow, we need a staffing plan to match up with our growth plan.”

A valuable introduction.

Hill was referred to Pinnacle by a friend. The idea of having a dedicated team of professionals focused on the company’s HR issues was very appealing. So, Hill and Ashley Kohnen (LEM Products’ COO) hired Pinnacle as HR Advisors.

The owners made a decision to keep Pinnacle on monthly retainer.

“We determined that it was best for us to keep Pinnacle on a monthly retainer. At first, we were concerned about getting our money’s worth, however that is not the case anymore. We found that Pinnacle fulfills an enormous need, and we are always happy that we can call them as any issues arise. They respond quickly. The people at Pinnacle that we are working with are invested in our process, and feel like part of our team. I can’t believe I’m saying that. It feels made up or phoney, but in this case it is VERY true,” said Hill.

The Pinnacle process begins with the basics.

The Pinnacle team started by conducting an overall assessment of LEM’s risks. Making sure that paperwork was in order and labor laws were being handled correctly was just the beginning. Together, LEM and Pinnacle made a list of priorities to limit those risks, and they have been working to minimize them one at a time since that time.

The structure was set, and metrics defined.

Next, Pinnacle worked with LEM’s leadership to chart the near term and long term organizational structure of the business. Ashley said that Pinnacle’s involvement didn’t stop there. Instead, Bill, Laura and Melanie from Pinnacle really aided the search for qualified candidates, helped hire them, and set metrics for how they are performing, “They (Pinnacle) helped us fulfill those roles, write job descriptions, and develop key performance indicators for those roles, so we can measure roles in a more objective manner.”

Hiring a key position.

When LEM began work with Pinnacle, they were mid-process of hiring a controller. Pinnacle joined the effort and administered profiles on the final candidates. While LEM had never used any type of profiling tool before, they realized the value once they saw the results, and together with the team at Pinnacle, decided that the finalists for the job were not qualified candidates. Everyone agreed that the best thing for the company was to start the process over. When there were two new final candidates LEM was leaning one way, but based on some very clear metrics, Pinnacle recommended the other candidate. Hill says, “now that he is on our team, we can clearly see why he was the best candidate for the job.”

The peace of mind that comes with the right partner is priceless.

Ashley says, “Our work with Pinnacle allows us to have a plan, and to execute the plan as we grow. It has reduced one area of mental angst, that I no longer think about when I’m up at night. Having a plan puts my mind at ease, because I know we are moving toward our goals.”