Learn from the "Best of the Best" - the Great Game All-Stars
Stellar Asia Pacific and its global network of affiliates deliver contact-management and business-process solutions to some of the world’s most-admired companies. With more than 6,000 employees in 19 offices, Stellar handles 300+ million contacts and 100 million transactions every year. Its services include sales generation, customer care, tech support, surveying and the processing of payables, receivables and applications. Based in Australia, the company was founded on open-book principles in 1998.
By 2004, organizational growth spurts had left Stellar’s newer offices lagging behind its more established ones. To make sure that every site was running at maximum efficiency, focused on critical contract-renewal and profit goals, company leaders re-launched The Great Game and urged staffers to take full advantage of their existing OBM tools, practices and resources: GGOB books and DVDs, financial training, OBM boards, performance games, personal scorecards, focus forums (huddles), high-involvement planning and frequent Q&A with senior managers.
Then they rolled out a homegrown program called Reach for the Stars to teach employees how to improve client profitability, control labor swings and increase their bonus by notching up sales, productivity and quality. To reinforce the lessons, managers challenged each office to produce a short film featuring its use of The Great Game. “Our people relished the task. Every site demonstrated its knowledge of OBM,” recalls GM of business strategy Kelli Gorman. “It confirmed our culture was alive and well.”
Today, Stellar’s clients are active, enthusiastic players in its Game. “We show prospects where they fit into the stakeholder matrix. We trust they’ll engage, and they do,” explains CEO John Hollingsworth. Communication is open; pricing is transparent. And like a true partnership, both sides share in gains that come with doing business better. Employee bonuses are based on Stellar’s P&L results and clients’ key performance indicators: sales, call volume, occupancy and quality. This alignment helps front-liners understand why ownership values (flexibility, accountability and passion) matter and how they build value for all stakeholders. “Once we taught the links between client strategy and their KPIs and our behavior and various bonus outcomes, people began connecting the dots,” Hollingsworth says.
After relaunching The Game, Stellar posted its best financial performance in years. And since then its critical numbers, including market share, have risen exponentially. “The Game creates strong demand for information. The more people learn, the more engaged they become,” concludes the CEO. “OBM translates to intelligence, integrity, honesty and transparency. There’s no question it’s a clear differentiator for us in our market.”
- Revenue growth: Has averaged > 20% per year since 2004. Number of offices increased from 12 in ’06 to 19 in ’08; employee count doubled, too.
- OBM bonuses paid to date: 24M, up from a total of 18M in 2005.
- Annual workload hours (call volume/call duration): Increased rapidly by 10% after relaunch and remains strong. Other measures of productivity, efficiency and quality continue to improve.
Client retention: Mini-games have helped employees meet a string of ambitious contract-renewal goals to ensure healthy profitability. Clients are delighted because they win by playing Stellar’s Game.
Business-literacy rate: >90% due to new-hire orientation, OBM tools, scorecards, forums and employee-produced GGOB films used to teach OBM internally and externally.
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