"Last year, our company was having a very high rate of turnover due to employee burnout from overtime hours worked. I implemented a third shift which alleviated the need for excess overtime. Yes, it did increase our payroll costs by 33%; however, it decreased our turnover which was costing us more and more every year. From the analytics I have been watching, the change will pay for itself by the end of year two."
"I always look at the data to gauge the efficacy of a policy or new solution. I am big on numbers as they really do tell the full, and true, story."
"In order to really test the effectiveness of any solution, you have to be objective and see if it truly addressed the problem it set out to solve. Everything in our business is run on KPIs, so when we introduce any initiative, we can see how it is or is not impacting those measurements.
One example of this was when I assigned specific accounts to my team of buyers, instead of just assigning as they came up. The idea was to get a buyer to become an expert on that account, their buying habits, and therefore be more effective in the long term at sourcing for their needs. At first, it didn't seem all that impactful, as close rate was still around 42% overall. However, over the course of 10 weeks, we saw an uptick in close ratios on the assigned, dedicated accounts versus the randomly distributed ones, resulting in 53% close ratio. It's something that became so effective that other sales pods adopted it as their practice as well."
"I like to both collect data, as well as anecdotal assessments of the new policies. It's great to have data to confirm if it was or was not effective, but I am a firm believer, too, in getting the people on board. Plus, as you implement a solution, sometimes those doing the actual day-to-day work with customers or in the actual implementation have a more accurate understanding of what's going on or what could be improved. Therefore, I am sure to ask the staff how they think it's going, if it's being impactful, or what they still see as area for growth."
The interviewer wants to see that you have strong follow-through skills and the ability to use data and analytics to support your decisions. The only way to test the effectiveness of a new solution is to keep a close eye on the immediate, and often longer-term, results!
Depending on the situation, you can use data, run reports, and compare/contrast your findings. If you have records of the data prior to your problem-solving solution, you can track the results of your new solution and compare in a month, or beyond.
It can take time to see the results, so having a method for measuring them is important. Give an example of a time you implemented a solution and found a way to measure the results to check it efficacy.
"When I worked as an admin assistant at my last job, I was in charge of purchasing. I noticed we had been spending quite a bit of money on paper and plastic-ware. I compared the cost of disposables to the cost of buying permanent dishes and utensils for the kitchen. Turned out we were able to save the company hundreds of dollars each year by simply investing in dishes and silverware!"
"I had a staff member who was stealing supplies. There were rumors going around that she was being dishonest; however, there was no evidence. I carefully waited and, after two days, the rumored infractions were caught on camera. At that point, I was able to terminate her employment. I went beyond regular expectations by gaining evidence before terminating her. I knew this would prevent a human resources issue down the road, and it also saved my company from having to pay this employee any severance pay."
"In my first role, there was a regular lane of shipments that was difficult to cover and we had the opportunity weekly to do so, and struggled most every time it came up. We'd have to reach out to other offices to get the shipment taken care of, so luckily we didn't fall short as far as the customer was concerned, however we weren't doing our job by keeping the revenue in the branch, and were in danger of potentially having the customer poached.
After several late nights attempting to come through for the customer, I got tired of running in a hamster wheel and falling short. So, I decided to proactively find some carriers that would like a consistent lane. Long story short, after staying late many days and making some creative calls to find a backhaul for the same carrier, I was able to secure a regular carrier, at a great rate, and keep the customer, carrier, and branch happy, and making more money."
"When I was managing the department for young professionals, we also housed the coat and bathing suit department, depending on the season, and these coats can be high ticket items. I had two sales people who were constantly at one another's throats and battling for the sale, it was unbecoming to say the least and impacted the department's morale. The rest of the staff generally steered clear of the coat department for fear of getting in the middle of their quibble.
In order to incentivize everyone to go for the sale, I made a sales incentive on non-coat merchandize. The more items they sold besides coats, despite being lesser in commission typically, the more tickets they got towards various other compensation incentives, like gift cards or extra time for breaks. This way, the other girls felt reinvigorated about sales, and it pushed my two coat-fighters to step outside of their perceived territory, or risk losing out on other great incentives. It got everyone selling across the entire department and eliminated the "this is mine" mentality, which greatly improved productivity, morale, and ultimately our sales numbers."
Your innovative approach may be exciting and unconventional, but can you implement it in a realistic way? Ideas are one thing, but putting them into practice and providing measurable results are where you can add true value.
Think of a time you worked long hours and made sacrifices to overcome a challenging problem. Demonstrate your impact and the significance of your solution.