Transforming HR challenges from a headache into an asset.


Crown Plastics, a manufacturer of high-end plastic materials, with 70 employees headquartered in Harrison, Ohio. Client since June 2010.


Exposure to employee-related risks and gaps in the management team. The CEO’s priorities–creating an exit strategy for a family member, re-structuring the management team to support a new strategic plan, and protecting Crown Plastics against dicey employee issues–necessitated dedicated, strategic expertise. But he didn’t have that in-house. And he didn’t need to hire a full-time HR director.


Implementing tools and processes so the CEO and his team can make strategic hiring decisions–and rely on a partner to proactively manage employee issues.  With ALINITI on retainer, it was like Crown Plastics had an HR director who could advise him strategically and prevent dicey employee issues–without the hefty salary.

To help Crown Plastics, our team:

  • Created a respectful exit strategy for a member of the family that helped preserve the personal relationship while managing the risk associated with an involuntary separation from the business.
  • Ran assessments and benchmarked roles to identify the positions and needs that would give the strategic plan the best chance of success.
  • Screened candidates for VP of sales, plant manager, and CFO positions, including creating job descriptions, vetting candidates, and running assessments to identify the best qualified candidates.
  • Provided assessments for current employees to understand their work style, motivations, and more, so they could be coached and trained if needed.
  • Shored up policies and procedures that would ensure compliance, including updating the  employee handbook and conducting an employment practices seminar for employees.
  • Provide ongoing assistance for issues as they arise.


“ALINITI helps to look at everything from a strategic standpoint–to take everything into account when you make a decision. They bring systems–there is subjectivity to everything–and what it does is force you to put as much process and objectivity into the hiring process as you can. They give you the best chance that it will be a good hire. And, they are very caring–it’s obvious that they want to do a good job for you”. Gary Ellerhorst, CEO | Crown Plastics

Through their partnership with ALINITI, the CEO of Crown Plastics

  • Can make strategic decisions because he has the right tools and information.
  • Has the right design for his organization–giving it the best shot at success.
  • Has peace of mind because he has experts on his side to help prevent dicey employee issues and solve problems.
  • Saved time and money by having ALINITI vet and interview candidates.
  • Hired well-matched people to fill the VP of sales, CFO, and plant manager roles.
  • Improved his ability to communicate with employees because he understood their work styles and motivations.

They felt exposed.

A family company, Crown Plastics, was successful by any standard. But the CEO knew that further success depended on having a strategic HR resource to help navigate employee-related challenges and to look at changing the organizational structure.

“There are growing challenges in the workplace. I felt we were really exposed without a structured HR environment and a legitimate resource. But we weren’t a big enough company to have an HR guru here full time,” Gary explained.

By partnering with ALINITI, Gary got a depth of expertise that offered him peace of mind that his business was covered, no matter what happened–for less than the cost of an HR director.

By joining Crown Plastics’ strategic planning process, we could understand where the business was going.

“Structure follows strategy. So, a deep understanding of strategy helps us to work the structure and the systems to design a business that is more likely to achieve its goals,” says Bill Ratterman, ALINITI president. He was able to make sure that hiring decisions and policies lined up with the strategic plan.

“I really feel Bill is part of my management team. I don’t feel like he’s contracted,” said Gary.

Transitioning a family member out of the business offered continuity and preserved the relationship with other family members.

Gary realized that for the business to move forward, this transition was necessary—however difficult it was personally. So, Bill worked with ALINITI’s counsel, attorney Mark Fitch, to craft a separation agreement that was mutually beneficial.

“Partnering with a labor attorney brings an added dimension to managing our clients’ risk. In some cases Mark engages clients directly, in others, he acts as counsel to us. But he is very much a part of our team. There’s no substitute for a seasoned labor attorney vetting issues and to be there to bounce things off of,” says Bill.

“Having ALINITI handle the situation helped my relationship with the rest of the family. They could see we were trying to do what was right and fair,” said Gary. “It also helped to set the tone [with employees] that things are changing, that management is committed to making a change.”

Benchmarking and job assessments helped to clarify the requirements for success for three management positions, so the right people were hired–the first time.

After the transition, Bill benchmarked the management positions to see what they needed–and how those positions could support the new strategic plan. To do this, Bill used the TriMetrix® system, which helps to identify a role’s requirements, establishes criteria for the role, and ultimately helps to match the right person to that role through personal assessments.

“They sit down with two to three people who will be involved in the job, and other subject matter experts, so you don’t limit yourself to one perspective,” explained Gary.

Benchmarking resulted in a job report that listed a variety of job requirements and criteria necessary for a person to be successful in a role. And finally, Bill wrote each job description.

“You want to write the description for what the job is supposed to be, not just what a person is currently doing,” said Gary.

Vetting candidates saved Gary time and money.

“ALINITI will put the job description and the ad out, do the first filter of resumes, and send a group of resumes to me and have me decide. It saves a huge amount of time. By the time we’re involved, it’s a legitimate candidate.” says Gary.