May 15, 2015 – DBJ’s Best Places to Work Special Report
High Country leadership has walked the walk
High Country Search Group ranked No. 5 in the small companies category for the 2015 Best Places to Work.
Describe your company culture in five words.
Fun, disciplined, loyal, sustainable, competitive.
Tell us three specific ways you ensure all of your employees know they are valued.
Investing heavily in training — we start the interview process by emphasizing that our people are our greatest asset, and then we back it up. Everyone at High Country spends most of their first two weeks training with Managing Partner Monte Merz. In the first two months, they attend a three-day, off-site boot camp so everyone speaks the same recruiting language. We also have a weekly training meeting. Investing time and money to train everyone and be on the same page is paramount for our success. While High Country works hard to reinforce foundational processes, philosophies and ethics, we ultimately emphasize empowerment and freedom to succeed in a reasonable time frame.
Showing commitment to employees financially — we pay strong base salaries as people ramp up on sales commissions, and high commissions on production once they become successful.
Rewarding results and successes — we offer team events, bonus trips and financial incentives. From an annual rewards trip to Mexico for top producers and their significant others to making High Country holidays of the NCAA basketball tournament and Rockies Opening Day, we consistently find ways to celebrate our staff’s success.
What concrete steps do your senior leaders take to create a great work environment for all employees?
Senior leaders have one common trait: They were all top producers before taking on a leadership role. As such, no leader asks anyone to do anything the leader can’t or won’t do. When leadership leads by example instead of by title, the likelihood of a healthy work environment increases dramatically.
Give us some specific examples of how your company creates opportunities for individual development and career growth at all levels of the company.
Career growth happens naturally at High Country, even though it’s part of a planned process. We started as a one-man show in 2002 and have grown organically, both in revenue and employees every year since then. What started as a shop focused only on permanent placement of finance and accounting professionals now includes three more divisions — energy, IT and a staffing group that manages more than 100 temporary accounting and administrative workers. Each group came about as successful recruiters expanded their roles into new opportunities and niches they created. Our most successful recruiters have made partner based on consistent, successful production. One front-desk person moved up to payroll, another became an analyst/researcher, and several associate recruiters were bumped up to senior recruiter and are on the partner track.
How would you describe your company in 30 seconds to someone you meet at a cocktail party?
High Country proves that even though we know working fast, running lots of ads, and dealing with lots of turnover and chaos can be a successful model, there’s room for at least one recruiting company that takes the opposite approach. We try to get the best people and keep them forever. We make sure our people know exactly what their job is and what’s expected of them, so they have a map to manage themselves. We focus on quality instead of quantity and emphasize long-term relationships instead of a quick transaction.
The result is a stable company with an environment where people like to work. At the end of the day, you sleep much better at night when your company is a sustainable, high quality, lower volume shop filled with happy, tenured employees instead of a place filled with a bunch of newcomers running around with their hair on fire trying to figure out what we do.
What are the most popular perks you offer to employees?
We offer a competitive benefits package as well as additional perks including a free health club membership. Because we’re driven by activity rather than a time clock, we’re flexible about vacation and work hours; as long as your job gets done, you’re fine. There are also monthly activity bonuses, quarterly bonuses for production and spot bonuses for important milestones.
How does being a Best Place to Work affect your bottom line?
Happy, healthy people have been shown to be infinitely more successful, long-term employees than those who aren’t. Spending 90 percent of our efforts driving our business and 10 percent on everything else has proven more efficient and profitable than spending most of our efforts training new people and dealing with the inherent conflict and distractions that happen when people don’t enjoy what they’re doing.
Top talent also tends to work at a “Best Place to Work,” and this is a talent-driven industry. Our workplace reputation brings us people we otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have found or had the opportunity to hire. Being a great place to work not only helps our bottom line, but also drives future growth.
High Country Energy Search Sponsors
Feel The Energy Family 5K
– Presented by the Denver Association of Petroleum Landmen
High Country Energy had the pleasure of sponsoring and participating in Feel the Energy Family 5K in City Park on April 14, 2012. A portion of the registration fees was given to four worthy Denver charities: Freedom Service Dogs, Stand up for Kids, City Lax and Family HomeStead.
High Country Search Group Named A Top Denver-Area Staffing Agency
The Denver Business Journal has recognized High Country Search Group as a top “Denver-Area Permanent Staffing Agency” in the 2011-2012 edition of its Book of Lists. From among dozens of firms considered, High Country Search Group landed at number six on the list. The Denver Business Journal’s Book of Lists highlights the hottest area businesses with a consistent record of financial success in their field by ranking.
High Country Search has experienced incredible growth in the past few years. Monte Merz, High Country Search’s founder and managing partner attributed this to the firm’s personalized approach to service. “Our recruiters go to unusual lengths to truly get to know and understand both our clients and candidates to place top performers with leading organizations. This has lead not only to our most profitable year in our 10-year history, but we have also expanded our services to include temporary staffing and soon, IT consulting. We are proud to be recognized for our success and our commitment to cultivating and sustaining long-term relationships.”
High Country Search Group is comprised of three divisions: High Country Energy Search, High Country Executive Search and High Country Staffing. Founded in 2002, High Country Search Group’s history has been marked by sustained innovation, experience and profitable growth. Today, High Country Search Group employs 13 people and is one of the most successful recruiting firms, serving clients nationwide.