Local firm helps clients develop “loyal stakeholders”

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Increased revenue. Low employee turnover. Customer loyalty. All are components of a successful business operation.

Executives nationwide have added another element to the mix: DeCotiisErhard, a strategic management and human resource consulting firm.

Tom DeCotiis and Marta Erhard founded the company in 1985 to help clients dramatically impact profits by identifying their most loyal stakeholders — employees and customers. A decade later, DeCotiisErhard grew to a 15-member team and moved from its original headquarters in Columbia, S.C., to Colorado Springs. Today, 25 experts assist clients in developing vision strategies, brands, measurement tools and processes.

A hands-on approach makes DeCotiisErhard unique. Initially, a team of consultants will apply their own listening skills and scientific analyses to a client’s hiring process.

Consultants spend significant time speaking with a company’s high echelon employees to identify and implement a vision. The client’s situation is assessed and any obstructions are pinpointed. Results-oriented measurement reports are provided to correct stagnation.

On some occasions, members of the DeCotiisErhard team spend time in the trenches working with a client’s employees to gain first hand experience in the industry they are seeking to help.

In compiling reports, the team of experts translates information it garners and transforms the data into a solution and results-based analysis. The information is used to show the client how its bumps in the business road can be leveled out.

The three most important keys are: performance, fit and retention. Is the client’s staff capable of performing? Does the staff fit into the client company’s values and culture? Will the client’s staff be with the company long enough to pay for the employer’s investment in personnel?

Outback Steakhouse, one of DeCotiisErhards’ long-term clients, has experienced the lowest turnover in its industry with the consultant’s expert assistance.

Steve Erickson, regional vice president of Outback Steakhouse, has known Tom DeCotiis for more than 24 years, from the days the restaurant chain was Steve’s Steak and Ale. He has a great deal of respect for the business ethics the consulting firm has brought to the Outback Steakhouse table.

DeCotiisErhard consultants not only assisted Erickson in writing some of his “Principles and Beliefs” documents that identify Outback’s principles and goals, they stood by Erickson as those principles and goals were tested with Outback Steakhouse staff.

The DeCotiisErhard team devised forms to assist Outback Steakhouse management in hiring just the right person for each situation and created different dimensions of performance for each staff position.

The team also designed an “Actions to Success” evaluation form for managers, allowing them to go online to provide information on how each restaurant is operating.

The process DeCotiisErhard established includes a system in which every nine months employees give management an assessment of how their individual restaurant is measuring up to the “Principles and Beliefs” goals.

In 1997, Outback Steakhouse honored DeCotiisErhard with a “Lifetime Achievement Award.”

The consulting firm “has been an invaluable partner for the Outback Steakhouse Company and true proprietors for their company,” Erickson said.

“They are the ultimate teacher and always drive for the best in a company.”

DeCotiisErhard’s client list includes or has included Owens Corning, Brockway Glass, Ball-InCon Glass, Steak and Ale Restaurants, Days Inns of America, Hyatt Hotels, Greyhound Bus Lines, Blockbuster Video, Popeye’s/Church’s Chicken, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Charthouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, The Clubhouse, Red Lobster, Bahama Breeze, Inland Homes (of Tampa, Fla.), Jumbo Sports and Back Bay Restaurant Group.