Human Resources: AIS Talks Transparency with Employees, Star Qualities Sought in Interview Process

The major culture change that transpired at Advanced Imaging Solutions (AIS) of Las Vegas required a reinvention of the dealership as a service organization as opposed to merely being a copier seller. One of the greatest struggles this entails is changing the mindset of clients as well as employees, while it also tasks the dealer with changing the way in which it evaluates, on-boards and shares information with its staff.

AIS was featured as the dealer spotlight in our November issue, and we have an extension of the Q&A that looks at critical employee relations talking points that have enabled the dealer to successfully implement its cultural changes. Gary Harouff, AIS president, and Dave Clark, vice president of sales and marketing, discuss how the dealership has improved its employee relations, particularly through transparency and finding candidates that mesh with its core values.

Tell us about your unique onboarding process

Gary Harouff, AIS President

Harouff: That initial onboarding process is critical. We want to make sure that their workspace is not only ready and they have the tools that they need, they’re also greeted by other staff members. Prior to them coming on board, we send out a little swag bag with a shirt and other miscellaneous items to welcome them to the company, as well as a letter from myself. Ninety days later, we also send a gift basket to their family, saying ‘thank you’ for letting them work at AIS while pointing out what a contribution they’ve made during that time. It really goes a long way, especially with millennials. They want to feel like they’re part of something and making a difference.

How important is transparency in your relationship with employees?

Harouff: With transparency, you can build trust, and with trust, you can grow the company. We share all top-line and bottom-line revenue numbers with our entire staff on a monthly basis. We have an intranet, called Liaison, which is our ambassador to employees and keeps them informed about AIS. Every month they will get updates from myself and each departmental manager on all the results of their department. We publish everything—sales results and staff rankings, the service techs and staff rankings, everything is there and transparent. That way people can understand what’s going on and they can get behind things they understand.

On a quarterly basis, I meet with each department for what we call roundtables, where I get input from my staff. There are four things we try to accomplish in that meeting: what are we doing really well for our customers, what aren’t we doing as well for them, and we sit down and strategize how to fix those things. Then we go through the same process for our staff members. Then we’ll print an action plan to address each of those. Since we’ve implemented that, things have dramatically changed at the company. Some of our best ideas come directly from these departmental roundtables, where a service technician or delivery driver can provide input on areas where we need improvement or things we could do that would make us even better. We hold these roundtables by department and region every quarter and publish the action plan on Liaison.

What are some of the characteristics you’ve identified as star performance qualities?

Dave Clark, vice president of Sales and Marketing

Clark: One of the things we realize is that a skillset is based upon an individual position of what you’re hiring for: admin, accounting, logistics and sales. In addition to that, we have our core values. And those core values translate into different job performance metrics to those positions. When we actually create our five-step interviewing process, the first step is making sure their skill set is accurate or up to par with what we’re seeking. Secondly, do we believe they are a good fit, do they have a good personality, does their background check out and how did they perform during the interview? Third is going to be a deeper dive into their work history, what they’re really looking for in an organization, and what they liked about the previous organization or disliked. The fourth step is centered on core values. We’ll have specific questions based around their job descriptions and how it relates to our core competencies. The last one is making them an offer and answering any further questions. We have a defined list of questions we ask during the core values section that relates to their job performance and how their responsibilities relate to adapt, integrity, surpassing expectations, nurturing, optimism and delivering a “wow” experience.

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.