“When it comes to businesses our size, you hear consultant and you think $60,000. Six months later, you’re broke and the consultant wasn’t much help,” describes Steve Dykstra, owner of Metro Recycling and Metro Auto.

Griffith, Ind. based Metro Recycling and Metro Auto Recyclers are your typical growing small businesses. With humble beginnings, this family-owned recycling buy-back center and auto scrap service has achieved steady growth, carving out a very specialized niche in Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland. In Ind., the company also has locations in Valparaiso and Indianapolis in addition to its location in Blue Island, Ill.

But Dykstra wanted more. After much discussion and deliberation, the management team decided to bring in … that’s right, a consultant.

The consultant team worked with Dykstra to identify key business goals that were impeding growth. Susan Riddering, vice president for NorthStar360 Business Solutions, LLC, explains Employee Assessments are a smart first step for organizations. It helps them take a snapshot of where their company and employees are, and identify specific, measurable goals for the future.

The team agreed the employee assessments were the best first step. For Dykstra, the assessment process helped to accomplish two things: 1. Measure current employees’ strengths and areas for development and 2. Ensure new hires were a great fit for the position. Current employees have learned about their strengths and what they bring to Metro. For managers, skill gaps have been identified and they attend concept-based workshops designed to bridge those specific gaps. After each seminar, managers work with a business coach to talk about how they have implemented those new skills and concepts at Metro.

“The coaching requires follow-up and holds each person accountable. They have to think about what they learned and how to apply it day to day. It’s really a key component of the learning,” advocates Dykstra.

The pre-employment assessment is a useful tool for Metro as well and is now an integral part of the hiring process. When used in combination with the application and interview, the assessment helps identify candidates that are a good fit for a particular job.

“It is nice to have a tool that identifies candidates who are a good fit. It’s not just a gut-check anymore for us,” explains Dykstra. “The process also shows prospective candidates that our team is prepared and focused.”

Dykstra said the results for Metro have been business-changing, increasing employee productivity, retention and morale. Employees are happier and more fulfilled. “Our people see we’re trying to develop them so we can grow to new levels. We care about them, and we have created more credibility as a company,” he explained.

As for the bottom line, there are direct savings from decreased turn-over. “We all know turnover costs money; in searching for a candidate, training and day to day turmoil from having a vacant position,” said Dykstra. In addition, there are savings from indirect costs like productivity, retention and morale.

Metro owner Dykstra and CEO Neil Samahon are confident, the growth they have experienced would not have happened as seamlessly without hiring NorthStar360. “Two years ago I wouldn’t have wanted to grow to this extent. Now owners and upper management are ready. All the work we’ve done gives us the confidence to plan for growth,” cites Dykstra.

Dykstra admits; hiring a consultant can be scary because businesses associate it with a high cost. But for this family owned business, it was exactly what he needed to launch ahead, and Dykstra assures businesses there is a great return on investment. He recommends companies research area consultants. For Metro, NorthStar360 specializes in growing small to mid-size businesses with a niche for companies with 50-500 people, a perfect fit for Metro. “Rick and Susan at NorthStar360 are our experts,” said Dykstra.