Cliff Hicks and Greg Moore are business partners at Realizing Operational Improvement. Realizing Operational Improvement (ROI) is a startup process driven development and professional engineering services provider that helps companies improve their performance through process improvement and minimizing waste. They help companies succeed in managing the development and manufacturing of their products. The company is like Detroit in that they are hardworking, boots on the floor and willing to get their hands dirty.

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Hicks is founder of ROI, and not only does he go out and get new business, he also works shoulder to shoulder with the people who work with him. Hicks has been involved in business consulting for about 30 years, helping thousands of employees at many Fortune 500 companies, and helping many other small local Detroit companies become competitive and able to grow.

Hicks shares the greatest challenge the company has encountered with staffing, and how they are turning the challenge into a positive.



What has been the biggest challenge you have had in your business?

When we started ROI, we knew that we could find business, but finding people to work for us has been a challenge. Detroit has seen a resurgence in the automotive industry and in high tech industries. Many of the engineering professionals that would have been available in the past are all gainfully employed. Being from the Detroit area, I am happy that the city is coming to life again, however, it makes it difficult on us to find good-qualified team members. We cannot lower our standards to just hire anyone.


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What have you implemented to overcome that challenge?

This challenge has caused us to get creative with our compensation package, and to start recruiting younger professionals with an eye on bringing them on and spending a few months training before they can become billable. That is both a short term and a long term strategy for us. We want them to grow with us, and to know and feel that they are truly important to our company. Many companies claim that the employees are their most important assets; we prove it.


What were the results after you implemented your solution?

We still have high standards, but we are getting more and more people now coming to us rather than us chasing after them. It is very rewarding to us knowing that our team members like working in our company enough to recommend it to their friends.



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This article was written by Michelle Guilbeau of for CBS Small Business Pulse.