Hiring In A Tough Job Market: Our Tips For Success
Posted on 05.27.2021
Has hiring been a struggle for your business? If so, you are not alone. Many companies in Texas are experiencing recruiting woes, with a lack of candidates topping the list. It’s safe to say that it’s a “buyer’s market” on the hiring scene right now. The power lies with candidates, and the recent jobs report … Continue reading
Can you relate to any of the scenarios below? There are only two of us handling everything from operations to accounting to legal to HR. With everything on our plates, it’s challenging to adequately handle HR issues when they arise, especially if we are in the middle of another important project. Our current HR Director … Continue reading
Bill Bahr brings a tremendous business savvy as a human resources professional with more than 20 years of diverse industry experience in transportation, manufacturing and financial services. His HR expertise includes regulatory compliance, employee relations, policy development, risk management and labor relations. He also spent ten years in sales and business development, and strengthens our team with his unique outside the “HR box” perspectives.
Before Achilles Group, Bill held executive HR management positions with First American Title, Camco, and Baker International. Bill holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from the University of Arkansas. He has served on the boards of The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston and the Annual Giving Board of Saint John’s School. Bill and his wife Marci enjoy spending time with their five children and three grandchildren with more to come.
Amelia Boettiger began working with Achilles Group in March of 2021, after graduating from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in University Studies. While in college, Amelia was a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority, serving as the philanthropy chair. She studied abroad at the Texas Tech University Center in Sevilla, Spain, teaching Spanish to local children.
Amelia is passionate about the opportunity to work with a diverse array of clients at Achilles Group. She looks forward to learning more about sourcing, phone screening, I-9 audits, job description development, handbook creation and TalentConnection recruitment so she can apply these burgeoning skills to client work.
In her free time, Amelia enjoys traveling and seeing new parts of the world, cooking and baking, spending time with family and taking her two dogs to the park.
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We began working with Achilles Group in Q4 of 2019. We were going through a reorganization and needed expert assistance navigating through it. Out of the two or three companies interviewed, Achilles Group came off as the most professional.
Going into 2020, Achilles Group has been an invaluable resource in helping us through all of the laws and regulations that have occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as the Paycheck Protection Program, Families First Coronavirus Response Act and other government funding programs. Because of their assistance, we were able to maintain our staffing levels, and also hire an additional two employees. We are currently revising our employee handbook, and have started working with a bookkeeper who was referred to us by their team.
Working with Achilles Group has allowed our president, Bud Weightman, to step out of the equation and focus his time on other initiatives, and there is a definite dollar value to that. If your company is ready to take the next step towards growth, Achilles Group is the catalyst that will help you get there.
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Achilles Group began working with us during a difficult time, but the transition went a lot smoother than expected. They adapted quickly to get us up to speed and headed in the right direction. They learned our business needs and helped us strategize according to those needs. We have been impressed by the number of people they have working on our projects, and we are very pleased with what this group has been able to accomplish in a short amount of time.
Achilles Group has ironed out about 50 job descriptions, organized our handbook, and provided assistance with employee issues. In addition to that, they are proactively anticipating what we will need in the coming year. In 2020, they will help us focus on training as well as streamlining our evaluation and review processes.
Each of our office managers act as a human resources coordinator, and Achilles Group works very well with them. Their professionalism and the quality of their work can’t be beat. If you’re looking for a change in your human resources structure, this group can come in, attack all problems, and help you get organized. We are very happy with the way they address issues and come up with solutions.
SeAH Steel has worked with Achilles Group since October 2016, and we are very fortunate to have them as partners. When we purchased two other companies, Achilles guided us through the unfamiliarity of that process by providing recommendations for our new organizational structure. Since then, they have developed detailed job descriptions for all employee positions and conducted market research to determine compensation ranges. Additionally, they have assisted us with employee investigations, management and leadership training, and I-9 and other compliance audits. By utilizing resources we do not have access to, especially as a startup, Achilles has taken a heavy load off of our human resources team.
Achilles is currently helping us concentrate on further developing our leadership training program to better invest in our people. In hopes of getting our leaders as much formal training as possible, we are coming up with different continuing education topics each month for all managers and supervisors. Achilles is also helping us put together employee evaluations for next year, and we are excited about the way those will help us grow as a company.
Working with Achilles Group has been well worth the investment. We are grateful to have them in our back pocket to help with day-to-day HR tasks, as well as unique situations we never expected to face. We look forward to continuing our partnership with them.
About a year ago, our payroll consultant suggested we partner with Achilles Group to get some assistance with human resources. Hiring Achilles was a seamless transition for our company because they quickly became an integrated part of our team. No one would know they are a third-party HR group because they have truly learned our business and operate as though they are on our team.
Achilles has helped us in countless ways, from coaching us in counseling and terminating, to helping us navigate through uncharted territory when it comes to difficult employee situations.
They have done a great job with all of this and they are always available for anything and everything we need assistance with. Whether it’s identifying new venues for employee recruitment, retention, training, or anything else involving our people, Achilles is quick to respond and eager to help. They have gone above and beyond to help us with things they really didn’t have to help us with just because they saw us struggling.
Achilles has a culture of wanting feedback, hearing feedback, and making adjustments based on feedback. We have worked with a much larger HR consulting group in the past, but Achilles is hands down the best. I don’t know why anyone would hesitate to work with them!
Suntech Building Systems, Inc. is a full-service commercial contractor specializing in retail and commercial construction. Achilles Group was recommended to us by one of our consultants about a year ago, and we are so thankful for the value they have added to our human resources department and our company as a whole.
We were in the dark ages when it came to HR; we did not have a clear understanding of the laws and did not have the right processes in place, but Achilles Group quickly helped us clean everything up. They assisted us with revising our employee handbook and new hire paperwork, and they have guided us through handling HR challenges. We work with Jennifer Ray and Christina, and they are always supportive and quick to respond. Our team is a lot more confident knowing they have our back, and we can always call them to help us work through issues.
Investing in Achilles Group has brought Suntech so far from where we were, and has truly been a great investment for our business. You can’t be an expert at everything. Let Achilles Group keep your HR department running smoothly while you focus on running your company.
Achilles Group has been working with Environmental Allies for many years, and in that time, they have added immeasurable value to our company. This year, we put together a leadership training program that Achilles Group provided our team. It addresses everything from recruiting, all the way through termination, as well as workplace dynamics and other various topics. The training program was the main project we collaborated with Achilles on this year, but they also updated all of our job descriptions for all of our positions and helped us with countless day-to-day tasks.
For instance, If we want to hire an office manager in North Carolina, they conduct salary research for the area and things of that nature. They have the ability to get information that would take us hours upon hours to find, so they have helped us become much more efficient. It’s like having a second HR employee that we can benefit from, but don’t have to pay benefits for! Achilles is our right-hand person. They are always available and respond to our needs in a timely manner.
If you are on the fence about hiring Achilles, we highly recommend you do it. They bring expertise you would have to hire ten people to obtain. They are very professional and we really enjoy our partnership.
Cindy graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management with an emphasis is Human Resources. She was first drawn to human resources through a desire to work with people and dive deeper into employment law. With more than 12 years of experience in Human Resources, Cindy is a true generalist by nature, with a passion for the key role HR plays in business strategy.
Cindy spent much of her career in the oil and gas services industry, including nine years at Express Energy Services, where she helped to build the human resources function. In addition, she has worked on projects within other industries, including healthcare and HVAC. Her experience includes acquisitions, downsizing, employee relations, system implementation, policy and procedure development, leadership development and training programs.
As a Human Resources Consultant, Cindy is passionate about developing talent within organizations, and how all areas of HR affect the overall strategy of a business. She thoroughly enjoys leadership development programs, training, creative performance management processes, employee communications and employee relations.
Outside of the office, Cindy spends her time with her husband and daughter participating in soccer, dance and Girl Scouts. While she enjoys working out, Netflix, and watching college football and the Houston Astros play, she and her family’s ultimate favorite thing to do is visit Disney theme parks!
After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Human Resource Management from Texas A&M University, as well as a Non-Profit Management & Social Innovation Certification, Kelly began her career in human resources working for Academy Sports + Outdoors as part of their Talent Acquisition team. During her time with the regional sports retailer, she took an active role in their Corporate, Stores and University recruiting efforts. Her tenure with Achilles Group began in 2019, where she currently works as an HR Consultant. Her areas of focus include writing job descriptions for clients, recruiting, policy & handbook development, salary research and more.
Kelly enjoys working alongside her experienced and supportive team members at Achilles Group, as well as the opportunity to learn new things from them. She is excited to bring her HR experience from a large company to smaller businesses, so they can have the same level of HR support and guidance. Kelly is passionate about human
resources because she believes everyone deserves to love where they work and what they do, and she believes HR can play a huge role in that.
When not in the office, Kelly enjoys spending time with her family, reading books,visiting College Station (Gig ‘em Aggies), and cooking with her husband.
Dayrise Residential is a multi-family housing and operations company in Houston. About a year ago, we decided we needed a complete overhaul on our HR, payroll and benefits. We were nervous about transitioning out of the PEO model, and one of our vendors recommended Achilles Group as a human resources partner. We set up a half-day meeting with Achilles Group to learn how they could help us, and they came back with a proposal later that afternoon! Gary, our CFO, said it was exactly what we needed, and we had an active contract with Achilles only 30 days later.
Achilles Group hit the ground running. They started with drafting formal offer letters for all of our employees, which was around 475 people. They assisted us with i-9 compliance, overhauled our employee handbook, and restructured, updated, and formalized our policies. They also helped us grow our team and hire new employees. Essentially, they assessed everything we had in place and provided precisely what we were missing.
What has been most impressive about Achilles Group is their response time and how quickly they jump on projects to get them started and completed with no lag time at all. Whether we need guidance on policies or sensitive employee issues, the Achilles team is always available to us and is consistently proactive in helping us get ahead. Achilles Group is very collaborative as a team. They have become an extension of our team and a shoulder to lean on in times of need. Their outside perspective points out our blind spots and helps us fill in the gaps. They ask questions that challenge us, such as: Why do you do things that way? Is it working? Have you ever considered changing that? Try this and see if it works better.
Coming out of the PEO model, we have made such strides as a company, and we couldn’t have done it without Achilles Group. We are very happy with the processes and updated policies they have put in place for us, and they continue to play an important role as we grow our brand, mission, vision, and values. To anyone on the fence about working with Achilles Group, we highly recommend you reach out to them as quickly as possible. The value they bring is incomparable to anything we have ever seen, and we simply cannot say enough positive things about them as a company.
When Connor started college as a student at the University of Houston, he knew very little about human resources and what it entailed. After learning more through his studies, Connor became passionate about human resources and decided to pursue a career in it. He recently earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resource Development from the University of Houston and began working for Achilles Group in May of 2019.
Connor has a strong desire to make an impact at Achilles Group and with the clients he works with. His eagerness to learn more about the many facets of human resources, coupled with a strong work ethic, make him a great addition to the team.
Connor is an avid fisherman, and started his own fishing team five years ago. He and his team enjoy fishing offshore and inshore tournaments all over the Texas coast. He is passionate about cleaning our oceans and going to Texas beaches to pick up trash and plastic. When not fishing, Connor likes spending time with family, friends and his 100lb chocolate lab, Buck.
We were lucky to find Achilles Group through a Google search. They are personable and attentive to details. We were using another much smaller HR firm, but it wasn’t a good fit. Achilles is a mature firm, and they always have the client in their minds and hearts.
Our first big project with Achilles was the employee handbook. They did an assessment, identified gaps, and helped us fine-tune our processes and procedures. Even while handling a longer-term task such as the handbook, they took care of any miscellaneous day-to-day HR tasks that came up. We feel very comfortable to reach out to them if there are any HR issues. They respond quickly to help resolve them.
Currently, we are working with Achilles on other long term projects. They are proactive, responsive, and very easy to work with. They do what they say they are going to do. They genuinely want to help our business succeed, so our relationship feels more like a partnership than a contract. They are very fairly priced for their level of expertise, and they constantly ask for feedback to improve their services.
Achilles has become an extension of our team, and we strongly recommend them. It is such a relief to hand off the HR issues to Achilles and know that it will be taken care of in a professional way.
Gainsborough Waste / Texas Outhouse
Gainsborough Waste and Texas Outhouse are two Houston-based companies specializing in the waste services industry. Both companies originally began working with Achilles Group three years ago, after a referral from a business partner. Our leadership was sold on the Houston human resources firm’s Fractional HR concept, which provided a cost-effective way for us to enlist assistance with our HR needs.
A year into the relationship, we decided to switch over to a payroll services company, thinking it would be a better fit for our business.
The results were a disaster. Many mistakes were made by the payroll services company and the level of service was inferior to what we had come to expect from Achilles Group. We ultimately ended up going back to Achilles Group, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Under the direction of Veronica and Rozlyn, Achilles Group was able to develop new handbooks for both of our companies. They also assisted with filling out forms, performed I9 audits, provided guidance with COBRA and conducted management training. The Achilles Group team has been instrumental in helping our businesses grow, and we highly recommend them to any organization in need of a human resources partner.
Smartbridge is a Houston-based organization dedicated to simplifying business transformation, and applying thought leadership and innovation to bring their customers’ digital agendas to reality. We began working with Achilles Group two or three years ago, and since working with them, our business has grown in tremendous ways.
We are a very process-oriented company, and Achilles Group has helped us streamline our processes to make them more effective than they were previously. We have introduced several new programs, including a mentorship program and weekly training sessions called Bridge Sessions that provide our employees with continuing education. In addition, Stan has worked with us on leadership training and other strategic initiatives.
Since partnering with Achilles Group, our employees feel more confident that if there’s something they feel uncomfortable with, they can reach out to Monica, our advisor, and discuss it with her. Management also feels more confident knowing there is someone they can reach out to who is knowledgeable of the risk factors and legalities related to human resources.
If you are a business or organization that is considering a partnership with Achilles Group, please know that doing so is probably the best investment you can make. It has been a great investment for us, as the return we have experienced is invaluable.
Brianna is a charismatic Human Resource professional who delivers stellar customer service.
Brianna graduated Cum Laude from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resource Management. She began her HR career with a mid-size Houston staffing agency, where she handled policy management, records maintenance, employee relations, onboarding & offboarding, performance management and employee benefits.
She is passionate about her work, and excited about the opportunity to work with the Achilles team. Brianna’s responsibilities include providing support for policy and handbook development, writing job descriptions and recruiting activities for clients spanning across multiple industries.
Brianna is a Houston native. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, going to the movies, going to church and spending time with her family.
Lone Star Cowboy Church
Achilles Group and Lone Star Cowboy Church have grown up together in many ways. Stan Spaulding, owner and managing member of Achilles, has been a friend of the pastors at our church for many years. As the cowboy church was getting its start, Achilles was getting started as well, and Stan would generously offer his assistance with little things like handbooks and issues with hiring. However, as both groups continued to grow, we became more fully engaged, and Stan began to help us structure our leadership in a clear and organized manner.
Stan really took the lead on reworking our functional organizational charts and organizational charts. He was able to take everything we do as a church and create specific lanes for each team member to focus on, which has really made an impact. As we were developing that, we discovered other things that we hadn’t dealt with properly, especially on the executive team. With his help, we were able to establish our roles much more clearly, which trickled down to the rest of the staff. Although this has been a time-consuming endeavor, the clarification of goals and expectations has brought a lot of understanding and unification to our team. Confusion has been replaced with a sense of community.
We would describe Achilles Group as thorough, quick to respond, and eager to serve their clients. They are the most collaborative group we have ever worked with, and they are always willing to share feedback both ways. They don’t bring their agenda to you, they let you bring your agenda to them and then figure out how they can assist you, which is a really unique approach to business. We cannot adequately explain the purely positive impact Achilles has had on the growth of Lone Star Cowboy Church, and we highly recommend partnering with this group as a wise investment in your business. Relatively speaking, even if you hired an HR Director, we don’t think there is any way you could duplicate what you’d get from the Achilles Group and the impact they are going to have. They help us do what’s important and ignore that which is not.
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Cathy Kilgore is a senior human resources leader with extensive experience in both strategic and operational aspects of human resources. She led the charge for organizational change during multiple company mergers and acquisitions. She has deep experience in the areas of compensation, coaching and counseling, employee relations and engagement. With a positive approach to business and people, she enjoys working with teams to create big picture plans for company and individual success.
Prior to Achilles Group, Cathy held executive human resource positions with Foley’s Department Stores and CEVA Logistics. Having a passion for natural health, she previously owned a holistic health and wellness center.
Cathy loves being outdoors, gardening, walking her dogs or just putting her feet in the grass. She teaches classes on holistic health and enjoys travelling with her spouse.
She enjoys the day-to-day collaboration with the team of talented human resource professionals at Achilles Group, and supporting the diverse group of clients she works with.
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Chris Karl CFO Global Healthcare Alliance, Inc.
At Global we, among other duties, provide direct billing support for physicians’ groups. We experienced an internal HR split between our office and payroll departments. We needed Achilles Group to help provide us with high-level HR strategies. We first received HR support from them when they developed a new employee role structure for us. Achilles Group has also delivered training that has helped develop our leadership group in challenging employee relationship issues. They have also investigated complaints that could have put our company at risk. We look forward to undergoing another Strategic Engagement Assessment with Achilles Group and launch into proactively planning our updated HR strategy.
Jonathan Goza VP of Manufacturing Proximity Systems
We are happy that we chose Achilles Group’s Talent Acquisition team to help fill key positions for us. Our legal compliance and employee relations are stronger because of the relationship we have with them. Along with helping create our Employee Handbook and completing an I-9 Audit for us, the Achilles Group HR experts continue to help us with issues as important as a separation/release agreement. They keep us grounded.
When I began my new role in the HR department, there were lots of rules and regulations—things like FMLA, for example—that I was not quite familiar with. We’re also a small company and wanted to make sure we were protecting ourselves and following all the legal guidelines, so we started working on our employee handbook with Achilles Group.
They were very helpful in getting everything in place. They provided us with the right guidelines, checked our employee files to make sure everything was correct, and even helped us fully develop our job descriptions! They went above and beyond what was needed, and were always easy to contact if I had questions. Even if they were traveling or out of the office, they always found someone who could help me!
I would highly recommend Achilles Group, particularly for smaller companies like Axxiom that need HR help. I really was going into this whole situation blindly, but they guided me through the process to make sure we were doing everything by the book and didn’t get audited. As far as I’m concerned, they were a God-send!
At Achilles Group, we call this HR Infrastructure!
We were so busy growing our business that we didn’t take time to stop and figure out what we needed in regards to investing in and inspiring our people. We came to a point where we knew we needed to put some structure in place and the one thing that we didn’t have were job descriptions. We met with Achilles Group and they were able to get a good feel for each position, both currently and for the future. In fact, they helped us think about what should be included to provide realistic job expectations, and then composed the job descriptions for us. As a result, we have seen a positive impact on our people because the details of their roles are clear and they now know the contributions expected of them.
We had an employee handbook that hadn’t been updated in several years.Due to our growth and busy schedules, we hadn’t had the time to focus on it. Achilles Group was able to collaborate with us to really understand the changes that had taken place in our business since the employee handbook had originally been created. Consequently, we now have an up to date document that clearly outlines our operating policies, procedures and behavioral expectations, complete with the most current laws and regulations.
Achilles Group really facilitated our understanding of the need to align all of our people with key company initiatives. Due to our fast growth, everyone was working in the business and no one was focused on the business. Thankfully, Achilles led us through an organizational redesign, complete with a new organizational chart designed to meet and hopefully exceed our corporate goals. As part of this process, we were able to identify three key people that should be focused on the business and other employees needed to take over their duties. Now these three key people can focus on the business and help us grow in new, exciting, and strategic ways.
We recommend Achilles Group to any business that is seeing quick growth. We quickly grew to 50 employees and knew there would be new rules and guidelines to follow. We didn’t know what,but we wanted to make sure we did things right. We interviewed two different firms and Achilles Group was far superior in every way!
We reached out to the Achilles Group to assist us when we found ourselves down one person on the HR team with the absence of a Vice President of Human Resources. Because we were in the middle of working on several major projects and did not have enough time or manpower to take care of it all, we contacted Achilles Group for assistance.
It was an awesome experience. We told them what we needed and they jumped right in and hit the ground running. And since we had not performed an extensive I-9 audit or updated our handbook in some time they brought in their team of subject matters experts to assist us with getting it done. I would be remised if I didn’t mention the training sessions they facilitated for our executive and management team.
While a lot of consultants claim they can help you at a moment’s notice, Achilles Group was literally just a phone call away! The Achilles team had a very visible presence and were always available in case we needed help with leadership coaching.
As you can imagine, running a zoo comes with its own unique set of challenges, but Achilles Group’s amazing team of experienced HR professionals was very good at helping us navigate those situations and align all of our strategies effectively. It was one of the best working relationship you could ask for.They really are a top-notch service provider that cares about the success of businesses.
“We were looking to grow our company and needed an approach that was in alignment with our core values, the responsibility to our customers, and the commitment to our employees. Achilles Group was already a partner at the time so we enlisted their guidance for this strategic initiative. We were excited to learn that they were experienced in designing and implementing job descriptions and sales commission plans with a number of companies. Their understanding of how to culturally align people within our markets was a key in soliciting their assistance.
Achilles Group used their expertise and third party point of view to give us the outside perspective that we needed. They were able to see the big picture. They not only helped us design the plan, but they also helped us create a blueprint that facilitated the rollout. We are confident that the planning and preparation that Achilles Group provided will help us see positive results in the future.”
“It is very difficult for a small business to afford the level of expertise and talent that we get with Achilles Group. Most situations we encounter warrant the need for multiple levels of HR proficiency that is not commonly found in one person. The Achilles Group Fractional HR model gives us access to an “entire staff” of HR Professionals with the ideal mix of competencies that we need.
Each time with meet with Achilles Group, I’m impressed that they recall all the detail of our last meeting. The Achilles Group is the perfect HR solution for our business!”
Jay McKeown CFO Mustang Gas Compression
We needed a stable, consistent HR department and having our own HR department didn’t work for us. We loved Achilles Group’s business model and it turned out to be quite cost-effective for us.
Our company has grown since Achilles Group came onboard and the Talent Acquisition team found us a very strong HR manager. When I have an HR question – it’s usually a big one. The HR experts give us the quality and expertise we need, WHEN we need it. Availability is never an issue. I have great confidence with all of the resources offered from Achilles Group and would recommend them to any company our size.
First Presbyterian Houston
“When our HR Director left our company, they recommended that we outsource our HR needs since it was so hard to find one person to keep up with everything, and that’s when we contacted Achilles Group.While other HR firms wanted to come in and take over everything, Achilles Group had exactly the right approach, and we knew that they were exactly what we needed.”
“Achilles Group helped us with recruiting for a critical position on our finance team. Their team posted the position, sifted through all the applicants, and then screened them via phone interviews. The candidates they brought to us were all top notch–any one of them would have been a great fit! The person we hired ended up being one of the best decisions we ever made! We will definitely continue to use them in our future recruiting efforts.”
“If you don’t need a full HR department, Achilles Group can provide the whole scope of services in a much more affordable way. We love that our relationship with Achilles is more personal than transactional, and our HR Professional is so readily-available she’s practically a member of our staff! They have more than delivered on their promises!”
John Rolfe COOGreater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau
We were looking for a full service company that could address our Human Resource needs and continued growth. Originally, we asked Achilles Group to create and analyze an employee status survey, which has continued for years.
Over the years, Achilles Group has helped us hire good people, trained us in subjects from DISC behavior assessment, to creating a respectful workplace, consulted us on various Human Resources issues and helped us with terminations.
Because of our relationship with the HR experts at Achilles Group, we have an improved and engaged team. There is also an enhanced knowledge of the importance of Human Resources rules, dealing with employee issues, and handling of the myriad personnel situations by team members and supervisors alike.
South Hampton Resources
Growing from a family-style business to a larger company with a more remote management style was challenging, so we were referred to Achilles Group for their expertise. They put us at ease right from the start by being so personable, and their flexible approach worked perfectly for us. They also have great ideas and clearly know their stuff! Not only do they understand the technical processes, but they also emphasize the people aspect of our business. They’re just really nice people to work with, which is important to us.
Up until recently our approach to Human Resources was minimal, so we wanted to look at our overall HR efforts and adapt it to our growing business.By utilizing their Fractional HR model, Achilles Group can provide any type of HR service you might need, including executive coaching and supervisor training. They also strengthened our HR Infrastructure by improving our records-keeping procedures and keeping us legally compliant.
Achilles Group has really helped us by developing our culture in such a way that fully engages our employees in all aspects of our business. Though this transition is ongoing and the process is not yet complete, they’ve also improved our interviewing process and brought a higher level of professionalism to our company.
We’re off to a great start! We’re making progress thanks to Achilles Group, and we’re looking forward to the future!
Vanessa Villarreal Human Resources Director Precision Task Group
Achilles Group came to PTG at a time when we felt HR was our “Achilles heel.” It tends to be something that companies tend to forget about while they chase things around in the whirlwind of business. Achilles Group was able to come in, get a current state of our organization, and hit the ground SPRINTING. We were up and running with handbooks, policies and procedures, I9 audits, affirmative action plan implementation, and overall review of our entire department. They were able to really identify and understand our business and give us solutions that were tailored to our needs. They not only provide support in any HR issue that may arise, Achilles Group also acts as our “HR Conscience.” In business, we come across issues where we ask ourselves, “what is the best way to handle this”…. Achilles Group comes in and helps us deduce and outline our approach to these conundrums of our world.
Another great thing Achilles Group does for our firm is provide a continual training schedule for our staff and management. It allows us to grow and develop professionally while keeping us in line with the most current HR rules, laws, and regulations. Achilles Group allows us to run our business while they act as our HR Gurus! We can call them at a moment’s notice and a member of their staff is always available. We have had nothing but pleasant, professional, and PRECISE service from Achilles Group. They are true assets and are part of our company, as if they work here right next to us.
“When our business was becoming a bit chaotic, those close to me recommended that I contact Achilles Group for help. Through the creation of a new employee handbook and updates to our company policies and HR practices, they were able to strengthen the relationship between our employees and management team and bring a new sense of clarity to our business. I’d recommend Achilles Group to anyone—we’ll definitely continue to work with them in the future!”
Christopher Brown President Southern Petroleum Laboratories
We found ourselves at possible risk due to our lacking HR practices. We needed to make our HR department more robust AND save money doing it! No small feat! Achilles Group came in, restructured the department and made our HR functions more effective.
Because of the HR expertise performed by Achilles Group and the training they have given our leadership team, our company is now able to avoid risk and handle employee issues smoothly.
2H Offshore Inc.
When we first began working with Achilles Group in 2009, we had 38 employees. We reached over 120 before spinning off a small group to create a new company. Achilles has helped us navigate this exciting time by reducing some growing pains via thoughtful counsel, offering timely guidance as we hit different periods in our growth, and providing much needed insight into organising our larger team.
Our ‘small company feel’ culture is very important to us. We strive to ensure that our employees feel important, included and appreciated, where possible. We didn’t want to lose this as our company expanded. Achilles has played a vital role in assisting us to keep the culture that has been such a key component of our success. As a bonus, we have been voted one of the Best Places to Work for four years running!
Christina Rannigan Human Resources Manager
PULSE Structural Monitoring
We wanted Achilles Group to help us create and maintain a corporate culture similar to 2H (another Achilles Group client) while maintaining our own unique identity.
Their HR experts support and continue to help develop our HR manager, and has enhanced our staff with their Team Support trainings. We’re glad our risk has been reduced by the I-9 and File audits they have performed.
GMI Group is an expert in precision machining, product distribution, and metallurgical testing for domestic and international oilfield and industrial supply companies. Achilles Group was recommended to us when our HR functions started to become bigger than our skill set and a major HR issue arose that nobody could have foreseen. We were looking for a partner, not just a vendor, and that was something we have found with the Achilles Group.
Since then, Achilles Group helped us in a variety of situations. At one point, we wanted to provide different FMLA options to our employees who were going out for long periods of time and Achilles was able to help us understand what we could offer and how to execute it. They have also provided great training to our inside HR person, really empowering our Generalist to work through tasks like offer letters, weekly pay, etc. Achilles Group is the most give and take partner that we have!
Bob Gajeske Sr. Founder Gajeske, Inc.
At Gajeske, Inc., a Polyethylene and Pipe company, we had issues with making decisions regarding our employees. We engaged Achilles Group to help us with this, and other difficulties. They have helped us create a structure for our termination basis and other HR obstacles we needed to overcome. There were many moving pieces involved and we learned how to handle them without being uncomfortable or awkward.
Achilles Group has aided us with employee role clarity and helped us to evaluate a number of other HR situations. Through their training, they have equipped our management with skills needed to run a large organization. Gajeske, Inc., has evolved over the years we have had Achilles Group onboard. They have helped us with our growth, subsequent setback, and then growth again.
Cyanco is the largest supplier of sodium cyanide to the gold mining industry. We have developed our position through quality product and superior customer care. One of the main reasons we enjoy our partnership with Achilles group is that they work with us to create the structure and the plan on how we can implement large HR ideas. This can be anything from general employee issues to integrating broader HR initiatives to our various locations around the world.
My favorite part of our relationship with Achilles is the fact that we have an HR resource and expert that I can rely on whenever needed. This allows us to focus on what we do best – running the business.
Cindy Matulich CFO Vista Host, Inc.
At Vista Host, we manage over 25 hotels in 10 states. That’s a lot of employees in many different locations! We feel that Achilles Group accomplishes our “Human Resources Heavy Lifting.” We no longer worry about making the tough decisions that surface in HR (such as a termination), because we have the ethical and knowledgeable experts from Achilles Group who will walk us through every step.
If we have an issue and our Director isn’t available, we know we will still be well taken care of by the Achilles Group team. With such a good understanding of our company’s culture, Achilles Group helps us support our staff and management well.
Erwin Distributing Co., Inc.
Erwin Distributing Co, Inc. owns and operates Wally’s Party Factory stores. At Wally’s, we offer an extensive selection of party supplies, balloons and costumes for all of life’s celebrations. When we first heard about Achilles Group, there were only two of us handling everything from operations to accounting to legal to HR. With everything on our plates, and with over twenty five stores spread across Texas and Oklahoma, it was challenging to adequately handle HR issues when they arose, especially if we were in the middle of another important project. In short, we knew that HR wasn’t receiving the full focus it needed. So when we found out that Achilles could manage it for us, we were excited to partner with them.
In addition to Achilles giving us the time to focus on what we do best, they have also freed us from worrying about recruiting and retaining an in-house HR team. We’re really too small to have an HR person on staff all the time; but we’re too large to not have an effective HR solution. Achilles is the perfect fit when it comes to a company like ours. They keep us in compliance, manage and implement effective HR strategies for us, and work well with our employees. We have always received nothing but the best account managers and wonderful personal service from Achilles. They are a superb partner, and have helped our business immensely.
ACT Pipe and Supply
ACT Pipe and Supply is the largest independently-owned waterworks and fire protection distributor in Texas. In 2003, we first enlisted Achilles Group to help us with our 1099 compliance and general HR guidance. Eighteen months later, I’m happy to say, that they were instrumental in hiring me to assist the Controller with payroll and Human Resources functions, as our company continued to grow.
Since then, Achilles Group has become a valuable resource for advice on anything from the latest regulations to filing an EEOC position statement. Achilles Group offers the advantage of vast experience in all areas of human resources. ACT Human Resources may have started as a party of one, but the Achilles Group staff of professionals completes the Department.
Jared provides direct engagement with multiple Achilles clients, and serves as an internal driver for ongoing development of our Recruiting Effectiveness platform. He enjoys work with client leaders to identify talent needs and to build out their internal competencies to attract and hire great people. And, when functional needs change, Jared helps them adjust their approach, process, time lines, tools and budgets to fuel their new business priorities.
Jared’s work spans across manufacturing, food & beverage, industrial safety and technical services. He is effective with companies in all stages of development and cultural make up, and when conflicts occur, he steps in to facilitate resolution, mitigate risk and to follow up as a coach to better equip front-line leaders and those sitting in the HR role.
Although born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Jared spent most of his life in Texas, and is a Texan at heart. He graduated from Sam Houston State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and completed his college baseball career. Jared enjoys spending his free time with his wife Holly, friends and family. He also enjoys time to play golf and to watch his favorite football and baseball teams. Go Texans and Boomer Sooner!
Taylor works as a Business Analyst to fuel the performance and margin objectives of Achilles Group. He adds focus and technical savvy to help the team utilize our various technologies and data sources and to enhance our ability to deliver exceptional services to our clients. Taylor also provides key support for all of us that includes report generation and management, and advancement of our team’s use of key technologies such as our Project Management system, Applicant Tracking System (ATS), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and our ability to track and report on our cost of labor relative to account margin. He also manages our IT resources and addresses our hardware and software needs.
Taylor graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. Before joining Achilles, he worked for five years as a Senior Engineer at Clarus Subsea Integrity. His analytic abilities combined with good people skills and dedication for profitable outcomes makes him well suited as a project team leader.
Taylor has a passion for using his skills to help those around him succeed. In his free time, he enjoys rock climbing and basketball. A true Texan, Taylor always makes time to watch his favorite sports teams: the Houston Texans and the Houston Rockets.
As a Managing Member of Achilles Group, LLC, Stan provides HR expertise, leadership and guidance to business owners, executive leadership and managers of companies of all sizes, across a variety of industries. His core focus is to build team competency by encouraging strength of leadership, prioritization, planning and execution. He believes in the power of effective relationships and the essential element of continuous feedback.
Stan is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). His background includes more than 25 years of generalist HR experience with deep expertise in Leadership Development at all levels. One of his main responsibilities is facilitating executive level discussions and encouraging leadership teams to uncover the answers that will drive their business forward. He also has experience with organizational development, staff restructuring, and start-up and acquisitions projects. He has worked with clients in oil and gas services, technology, professional services, warehousing, distribution, electrical/mechanical services, member-owned club facilities, accounting, and manufacturing.
When he’s not at work, Stan likes to get outside and breathe, read, write a little and reconnect with blue sky, green trees and family. Stan and his wife live in Houston and are blessed with two fine sons.
Courtney comes to Achilles Group with more than 15 years of human resources experience. Prior to joining the Achilles Group, Courtney was the HR Manager at Granite Properties, a commercial real estate company headquartered in Dallas. Her responsibilities included overseeing the day-to-day operations of the HR department, handling employee relations, talent acquisition, training and development, compensation, performance management, benefits administration and policy and procedure development and implementation. She earned both her PHR (Professional in Human Resources) and her SHRM-CP (Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional).
Courtney attended Texas A&M University and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management with an emphasis in Human Resources. Native to Houston, Courtney lived in Dallas after college, where she met her husband. They have lived in Boston, Houston and are now back in Dallas. Courtney enjoys spending her free time at the beach and traveling with her husband, their son and their dog, Sheltie.
Monica enjoys working at Achilles and feels blessed by the opportunity to collaborate with so many talented leaders and professionals. As a member of our management team, Monica serves internally as our champion for team talent, growth and development efforts. She is also tasked with driving technology platforms, and as a member of our management team, enhances our effectiveness with her big-picture thinking, strategic focus and analytical discussions. Monica applies these same competencies with her client engagements and is passionate in her support of their sales and profit initiatives.
Monica is exceptional in her ability to achieve results through people, and she helps managers grow in their leadership competencies through focus on employee engagement. She positions Achilles team resources and aligns our efforts with clients’ plans and business priorities. She has experience with compensation, bonus incentive structures and evaluation processes. Monica has provided HR expertise and advisement across multiple industries, and for companies in every stage of the business lifecycle. She has well-earned credibility with a variety of leadership teams and business structures, including private equity startups and acquisitions.
Personally, Monica enjoys cooking, playing games and shopping. With two grown children, she and her husband like traveling and playing with their two dogs, Bella and Gretta.
Shaina brings energy, good humor and a wide array of skills to serve the Achilles team as a driver of multiple internal operational functions along with direct client services work. Shaina’s internal role includes contract management, onboarding new clients, workload allocation and support for our client retention effort. Shaina also drives HR deliverables for clients in manufacturing, construction, and professional services. As a Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Shaina has been involved in start-ups, mergers & acquisitions, and has supported initiatives to rapidly expand or reduce staff.
Shaina makes a difference in our clients’ business, thrives on the challenges and shows great patience to work through employee relations issues, harassment investigations, internal complaints and progressive action. She works to identify position responsibilities and qualifications, complete cash compensation reviews and implement the appropriate recruiting tools. She seeks a proactive approach to mitigate risk and to train a client’s internal HR resource.
Shaina is a native Houstonian, born and raised in Sugarland, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Resource Development with a minor in Business Management from Texas A&M University. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her husband and beautiful little girl, enjoys a good book and being outdoors.
Keely balances our books, our management team and our people with her faithful heart and commitment to our financial integrity. Her 28 years of accounting and office management experience keeps us realistic and disciplined. She gives all of us a place to go, talk and reflect. And she works nonstop to keep all back-office activities up and running to keep the team free to focus on serving our clients.
Keely started her career in public accounting and has applied her skills in a variety of industries, including staffing, travel and corporate Housing. Before joining Achilles Group, Keely was with an internet media company that purchased, developed and monetized high-quality domain names and web properties.
When she’s away from the office, Keely enjoys trips back to visit her hometown in South Louisiana, spending time with her son, family & friends and watching her beloved New Orleans Saints.
As a Managing Member of Achilles Group, LLC, Kristen is a dedicated and committed leader for our brand. Through 12 years of service Kristen has developed a wide array of human resources skills and expertise across multiple industries to include management services, asset management, oil & gas services, nonprofits and manufacturing. She advises clients in conflict resolution, progressive action, legal compliance, recruiting effectiveness, workplace harassment and EEOC claims. She also enjoys developing proactive solutions to employee morale challenges and team development issues.
Kristen’s personal journey to growth, from entry level to business owner, gives her unique perspectives and capabilities. She serves as a coach for our clients’ internal HR employees and engages as a mentor to help her Achilles colleagues grow and develop as HR Professionals. And in addition to her work with a select portfolio of clients, Kristen is a key driver for our business development strategies, and she energizes our sales and client retention efforts to grow the business.
A native Texan hailing from West Columbia, Kristen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University. She and her husband have two beautiful daughters and a dog named Gus. In her downtime, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, crawfish boils, country music and Sunday brunch.
Katy has a servant’s heart, a robust understanding of HR fundamentals and leverages her exceptional research skills to keep our team and clients on the leading edge of compliance issues. She is invaluable in her ability to navigate State and Federal statutes and guidelines and to collaborate with her colleagues to help meet client needs. Katy also works on our internal policy, compliance and HR risk mitigation tool kits.
Katy graduated Cum Laude from the University of Texas at Dallas with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and Politics. She began her HR career with a mid-size Dallas law firm and progressed to a manufacturing environment where she handled I-9 compliance, workers compensation and 401k administration. Katy also served as an HR Generalist in an oil and gas services organization, Seismic Exchange, where she handled benefits administration, workforce planning and employee relations.
Although not a native Texan, Katy was raised in the Spring/Klein area and considers this her home. When not in the office, Katy enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys.
David is well-versed in all things staffing and recruiting and regularly provides clients with candidate screening and selection support. His HR career began during his service as a Human Resource Specialist for the Army. David has a disciplined and analytical approach, and applies that focus in his work to research and address compliance challenges, and to develop HR processes. He also brings an experienced and realistic view of supervisory and people management challenges gained from his leadership role as a Service Manager at Ryder Systems, Inc.
David graduated with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Communication Studies from Sam Houston State University. He is passionate about his work and grateful for his opportunities to engage with our Achilles Team.
In his spare time, David loves to improve his carpentry skills and build furniture.
Jennifer is the proactive ambassador for the Achilles Brand. She is responsible for developing relationships with business leaders and industry partners throughout the Houston market and managing our prospect and sales pipelines. Her poise and ability to discover needs and engage our team with companies in need of our services has fueled our progress in every facet of the sales process.
Her previous experiences in human capital management, business development and creative business services for IT consulting firms in Houston and Denver has allowed her to leverage her interest in human interactions and business development. She also has engaged her heart and capabilities on behalf of a non-profit enterprise that provides therapeutic horsemanship.
Jennifer has managed her own photography studio and brings exceptional photographic skills to our team. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and enjoys spending time with her husband and three daughters as well as volunteering, traveling, reading and artistic projects.
Veronica believes in an authentic approach to human resources that helps organizations create a thriving and holistic company culture. She enjoys performance development activities and creates and presents training content for multiple clients across several industries to include technology, manufacturing, restaurant, hospitality, non-profit, social service and real estate. Veronica is a very poised and energetic HR professional with effective HR interventions skills combined with a passion to honor individual and cultural values and perspectives. She helps clients identify operationally-friendly HR solutions and manages workstreams to support recruiting, handbook & policy development, I-9 audits and post-audit remediation.
Prior to joining our team, Veronica served with Houston-based Continental Express Airlines, where she specialized in employee relations, union grievances and training for their Maintenance Division. Veronica has earned a reputation as a highly adaptive, fearless colleague able to deliver exceptional work with a positive outlook no matter the circumstance.
As an avid traveler, Veronica enjoys a good adventure by experiencing new countries and cultures. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, roller skating and watching The Office.
As a Managing Member of Achilles Group, LLC, Dan offers a wealth of experience in business, human resources and the retail industry. With more than 30 years of business and HR experience, Dan offers his clients shrewd business acumen and sound advice. Dan’s wisdom and candid approach to mentorship has helped him earn confidant status with clients and to drive the growth and effectiveness of the Achilles team. He also has exceptional capabilities with employee relations issues and EEOC claims investigation and response.
Before he joined Achilles Group, Oshman’s Sporting Goods was home for Dan, where he was Vice President of Human Resources. He directed HR activities, policies and procedures, benefits, recruitment and training for the $350 million retail company. He also held numerous business and management positions at the company.
Dan is currently on the board of directors for InvesTex Credit Union. He enjoys fishing and outdoor activities in East Texas but spends most of his weekends fishing in Galveston Bay and staying at his beach house on the island. Dan especially loves spending time with his family and his grandson.
Andrea Lato joined the Achilles team in July of 2021 after spending nearly 10 years in the energy and engineering industries. She is well-versed in recruiting and interviewing, developing compensation structures and conducting salary benchmarking, and creating job descriptions, policies, and new hire onboarding programs.
Her favorite part of human resources is helping people identify and explore options for developing and growing their career, as well as coaching employees to achieve their potential at work and in life. She has been a SHRM-CP certified professional since 2017 (Society of Human Resources Management Certified Professional).
Andrea enjoys collaborating with and learning from her fellow talented Achilles Group teammates. Working with local business owners and their employees allows her the opportunity to connect with the local community and make a lasting impact through human resources initiatives.
In her free time, Andrea loves spending time with her family, reading personal development books, and practicing calligraphy.