All-Star Case Studies

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HG Group Limited

Masterton, Wellington; New Zealand

2021 Revenues: Not Disclosed

Employees: 95

Critical Number™: 


Coach: Dave Scholten

Organization Background

The company was originally founded in 2003 as Hiremax, which provided heavy equipment rentals. While Hiremax was eventually sold in 2021, what is now known as HG Group includes two other divisions: Attach2, which sells excavator attachments, and Equip2, which sells capital equipment like rock crushers to quarries. The company operates in several countries, including New Zealand, Australia, and India.


The business was doing well, and had a great culture, but the leadership team was searching for a way to reward all employees for their shared success. While they had experimented with various bonus programs, they continued to struggle in developing line of sight for employees so they could truly understand how they impact the performance of the business. 


HG Group had embraced transparency and opening its books since 2012. But it was after learning about The Great Game of Business® (GGOB) from an advisory board member that they made the decision to make the investment in teaching financial literacy to their staff. They also took the leap in August 2021 of hiring a coach, Dave Scholten, to help them embrace GGOB principles and practices throughout the organization. 


When the HG Group team kicked off their GGOB journey, their budget called for significant growth in revenue and an improvement to EBITDA. They finished the year at 71% above their revenue budget with EBITDA also improving by 68% against budget. That was a new company record, which earned the team a Level 6 A Stake in the Outcome® bonus, the equivalent of 40 days of pay. “We would not have achieved these results without the help of GGOB,” says Gem Hart, HG Group’s CEO. “The team relied on forecasting to constantly push to close sales, get products dispatched, and reduce costs where possible. We have seen a significant improvement in the line of sight to all employees, who now benefit when the company does well. This factor helps in both hiring and retention of staff during these uncertain times.”

GGOB for me is all about giving people the education and the line of sight to understand the impact they can have. It gives them a voice and empowers them to influence the numbers. It’s brought us all closer together. That knowledge also encourages them to better themselves outside of work. It wakes them up to how numbers influence everyday life.”

~ Lee Simkiss, Production Manager 


Pain Points and Opportunities

As with many companies around the world, HG Group is striving to attract and retain the best people—something they think their GGOB-powered culture is already helping with. Case in point: several new employees applied for jobs after hearing about the transparency inside the business and how it rewards everyone for its success. “When we mention in interviews how the ‘Stake in the Outcome’ structure works and how generous the profit sharing is,” says Jacob Hart, who heads up marketing, “their mouths just about drop open.”

It’s so powerful to see when the light bulb goes on and people begin to make sense of the financials, especially when we forecast the financials together. It’s not just the finance team doing it inside a glass room. The numbers are coming from everyone across the company, and we are all accountable to them.”

~ Billy Hart, CFO


MiniGame™ Highlight

MiniGames proved to be an effective way for the HG Group team to act on good ideas they’ve had in the past, but which they also struggled to put into motion. One of those became a MiniGame with a Robin Hood theme and a goal of creating a library of 24 educational videos for customers after three months. As the team filmed their incremental targets—six the first month, eight the second, and ten in the third month—they celebrated with prizes like a chicken-and-chips dinner, a company-branded hoodie, and the grand prize of an afternoon paintball game. 

What’s Next

The HG Group team is already investing in scoreboards around the company tied to their new ERP system to help continue to improve their forecasting efforts. They have also identified MiniGames as another area where they’d like to drive more engagement throughout their multiple locations. “We have far exceeded the growth of our competitors with the help of GGOB,” says Gem Hart. “It’s helped reinforce the strong culture we already had. Now our focus is on maintaining the culture as we continue to grow the business with the help of every employee.”


Over the course of my career, I’ve seen the unintended consequences of badly designed bonus plans. When a bonus becomes predictable, it becomes an entitlement. I really like how the ‘Stake in the Outcome’ is driven off financial results and it’s built from the ground up. The fact that it’s flat, where everyone from the shop floor up to the managers, participate in the same way is uncommon. And I love that because it rewards the people who do the real work.”

~ John Penney, People & Culture






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