Flex performance

Ronia Kruse doesn’t care too much
if her employees are in the office
40 hours a week.

Instead, the ultimate test for Kruse, president and CEO of OpTech LLC, is a set of
metrics to ensure that the work is being
done — and being done well. With that
standard in place, it doesn’t matter much
to Kruse if it gets done from a living room
couch or an office desk, so long as it meets
the standards for the $12 million technology consulting and business solutions firm.

Smart Business spoke with Kruse about
being a motivator and letting employees
keep a flexible schedule.

Q: How did you create a flexible schedule
with your staff?

We set everybody up at GoToMyPC.com,
and everybody has a wireless network
from home, and they can log on from
there. With that, they have all the tools they
need at home to do their work.

A lot of our people actually are working
moms that have children, so they often log
on at 6 in the morning before the kids
wake up and then come in until 2 p.m.
when the kids get home from school, and
then they’ll get back on during the night.
This way it doesn’t matter if they have to
be home because they’re sick or anything.

A lot of people say, ‘Aren’t you worried
that they’re going to take your list of
recruiters; aren’t you worried about security?’ There’s a trust factor, and I think that
element is missing in most companies.
There’s a loyalty and a trust that they have
all the tools, and we trust them, and they
have every means of being successful.

We’re trusting them to work from home,
and they appreciate that.

Q: With that flexible schedule, how do you
know you’re getting the most from employees?

We have a system where people are compensated based on their performance. The
whole theory is, I don’t care who you are,
what color you are, what sex you are; it’s
all about performance.

You can come and go as you want, but
you will be evaluated based on your performance. We have a very, very supportive
culture, and we make sure to provide all of
our people with the best tools. They have a
flexible schedule, they can work from
home, they can work from pretty much
anywhere and come and go as they want,
but the bottom line is performance.

We have a lot of metrics that we create
on a monthly and quarterly basis. I know,
for example, how many resumes were sent
to clients. I know how many interviews
and how many hires were made. And if
they’re not hitting their mark, then I know
that they’re not putting in the quality time.

My whole theory is I want quality, not
quantity. What that means is, I don’t want
people working 60 or 70 hours a week. I
don’t care about that. If you can work 20
hours a week and hit your mark, that’s
great. I don’t need them to be at work 40
hours then.

They know that we treat all of our people
the same, but the difference is in their commission, and that’s where the incentive for
performance comes in.

Q: What is the most important skill a
leader should have?

You have to be a hell of a salesperson.
You have to be a great motivator. You have
to be a person that your people look up to.
You have to set an example.

If you’re working hard, there are certain
things that you’re doing to set the tone. You
have to be a mentor; your people have to
look up to you. You have to be somebody
that they would aspire to become, and that
will hopefully motivate them.

Q: What is your philosophy on hiring?

The most important thing is to surround
yourself with good people. I’ve seen it in so
many companies, where people say, ‘You
know what, I’m going to bring in my
friends,’ or, ‘I’m going to bring in someone
who is a little less expensive, even though
they don’t have the knowledge base’
because they want to save money, and
what that ends up doing is, it kills the company. If you surround yourself with junk,
you’re not going to get the performance
out of them.

I don’t care what type of motivator or
leader you are, you aren’t going to get performance from the wrong people. And that
doesn’t mean you get people from

I have people that don’t have degrees and
I have people with very high degrees, but
what I’m saying is, you have to look at the
person and see if they have the drive to be

Some people have it, and some people

HOW TO REACH: OpTech LLC, www.optechus.com or (313)