How Motionstrand established a scalable, efficient hiring process to optimize talent and drive business results.
Motionstrand is a full-service digital agency that builds branded online experiences to create lasting value for clients. Founded in 2000, Motionstrand was originally focused solely on designing interactive websites; however, as technology and clients’ needs advanced, so have the company’s capabilities. Now, the 30-person agency of “creative thinkers and technical experts” uses data-based insights to design and develop digital strategies, websites, and digital marketing services.
As the internet’s ubiquity and clients’ digital needs grew at breakneck speed, Motionstrand needed to grow—fast. But scaling rapidly had operational and financial implications that could be detrimental if left to chance. To guarantee they were prepared for the challenges that lay ahead, the agency turned to corporate finance veteran and controller Ted May, who was tasked with examining all areas of the business and ensuring finances were stable enough to support the scale-up.
May’s first order of business was to conduct an audit of Motionstrand’s processes to determine where to reduce costs and improve efficiency. This uncovered hiring and recruiting practices riddled with high opportunity costs and complex, time-consuming steps, which May called “mediocre at best”—and extremely taxing at worst.
“We discovered we were wasting $167 hourly per manager—and spending anywhere from $7,000 to $15,000 per manager per candidate in pre-interview costs alone,” May explained. “We were requiring [managers] to step away from their duties for upwards of three hours. The costs didn’t make sense when managers were interviewing a $35 per hour candidate.” Streamlining the agency’s hiring and recruiting processes was critical to Motionstrand’s financial success, but May couldn’t do it alone. Despite his familiarity with hiring solutions he’d used in the past, May wanted a data-based assessment. This criteria took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and DiSC assessments out of the running, so he reached out to an expert who introduced him to The Predictive Index tools.
While May and his team were familiar with candidate assessments, they harbored a healthy level of skepticism about them. However, they quickly realized that—unlike traditional assessment companies' tools—the Hire and Inspire solutions could quickly gather and analyze the data points that would help achieve their goal of improving operational efficiency.
Initially, the team rolled out the Behavioral Assessment to internal employees as a test. But it didn’t take long for them to notice an impact; communication between team members improved and employees began to better understand each other’s drives, needs, and work styles. Confident in the ability to catalyze real change, the team decided to incorporate it into Motionstrand’s hiring practices.
We want people to be their best at all times. Especially in a creative role, we need to understand a person’s behaviors so we can create an environment in which they flourished.
Although improving hiring processes was the impetus for adopting the Talent Optimization framework, Motionstrand experienced results that extended well beyond recruitment and onboarding. Since implementing our "Hire" and "Inspire" solutions, May said his team continues “finding new ways to leverage human data points to improve how we work together and integrate managers and teams.”
For instance, Motionstrand began using Job Targets in monthly finance meetings to identify relationships between job fit and performance, and they were able to associate role alignment with high performance. This empowered them to optimize their talent by using data to put the right people in the right roles. Additionally, the Relationship Guides and Management Strategy Guides helped improve communication between managers and direct reports—resulting in improved employee engagement and morale, as well as more purposeful team building. The team even used the same tools to assess vendors and recruiters to ensure they were “the right fit” for Motionstrand’s business.
But perhaps the most defined results came in the form of time and money savings. Motionstrand was able to:
Reduce the amount of time spent reviewing resumes by two-thirds.
Slash the cost of recruiting a candidate by 72% annually.
Save more than $50,000 annually by streamlining the recruiting and hiring process.
“We want people to be their best at all times,” said May. “Especially in a creative role, we need to understand a person’s behaviors so we can create an environment in which they flourish, and you helped us do that.”