Entrepreneur’s Advice: Hire The Best, Treat Them Like Family

By Dan Voorhis
The Wichita Eagle.

Christie Summervill isn’t afraid to admit she’s been fired four times.

To her, it just means that she wasn’t the right fit for the rigidly defined jobs.

She’s gone on to have a successful career in corporate human resources, with nearly 10 years at Wichita-based human resource consultancy Koker Goodwin & Associates. In 2010, she capped that career with a leap to start her own human resources/technology company, BalancedComp.

BalancedComp, 727 N. Waco, Suite 580, serves the banking and credit union industry, providing customized online salary ranges for the jobs as they are practiced in each company.

Revenues have doubled every year, she said. She now has 111 clients, this year expects revenue of $900,000 from new customers and $500,000 from customers renewing previous years’ contracts.

Summervill has been able to build a company that mirrors her philosophy of human resource management: Hire the best, pay them well and treat them like family.

She believes that a company’s culture is the single most important aspect. If you hire the right people and treat them like gold, everything else will follow, she said. They’ll take care of the company’s clients and, by extension, the company’s bottom line.

She doesn’t just have an open door at her office, she wanders through the offices to chat, pick brains and solve problems. Ideas aren’t just welcomed, they’re expected.

“They work hard,” she said of her employees. “If you want to get people to give you 110 percent, even when you are not there, you have to get beyond business and make it personal.”

She concedes that such a collaborative approach works with eight employees, but might be harder as she grows.

She spent a lot of time trying to recruit the right people. (“They’re all geniuses,” she said.)

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