McMillan Education’s CEO Reclaims 10 Hours a Week with Crews & co. HR Services
Crews & co.
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McMillan Education is a Boston-based independent educational consultancy that facilitates successful educational journeys for students worldwide.
Like many small businesses, McMillan didn’t have a full-time HR resource, leaving the leadership team to take on tedious HR responsibilities. The company’s CEO spent over 10 hours a week on administrative tasks, and the organization lacked the specialized expertise needed to execute critical HR initiatives effectively.
McMillan Education outsourced its HR services to Crews & co., enjoying the benefits of an HR professional without the cost of a full-time employee.
McMillan’s CEO reclaims 10 hours a week to focus on the company’s mission.
McMillan’s employees receive comprehensive healthcare benefits and detailed answers to questions regarding HR policies.
McMillan has a reliable resource to support them with big-picture HR challenges and smaller administrative tasks.
McMillan Education Supports Students Worldwide
McMillan Education was founded in 1955 as the country’s first independent educational consultancy. The company provides highly personalized school and college planning support and focuses on student-centered results.
Sarah McMillan and Don McMillan became co-CEOs of the consultancy in 2009, shaping McMillan Education to serve a broader range of modern educational planning needs. However, cultivating a team of educational experts was not without its small business challenges.
As the team grew, Sarah and Don took on increasing administrative burdens, managing the company’s financials and HR needs. The co-CEOs spent valuable time trying to organize their HR policies and understand the complexities of critical employee benefits but lacked the expertise to provide the best benefits to their employees. Without a dedicated HR resource to alleviate some of this burden, the McMillans felt distracted from their mission to support students around the world.
Outsourcing professional services to Crews & co.
McMillan Education is not alone in these struggles. Many smaller, mission-driven companies don’t have the budgets to hire full-time HR employees, and their leadership teams end up absorbing HR responsibilities. That’s why Crews & co. offers fractional finance and HR services.
Growth Consultant Andrew Krebs-Smith helped the company achieve initial success with The Growth Method, and McMillan subsequently partnered with Crews & co. Finance Consultant Neil Smith to manage their finances. Crews & co.’s financial services offering is built around a custom reporting package delivered monthly by a dedicated finance consulting team.
With Neil’s support, McMillan improved their financial planning and day-to-day management. However, Neil and Sarah were still spending significant time on administrative human resources tasks. So McMillan brought in Barbara Mosier, an HR consultant at Crews & co.
Barbara took over many time-consuming HR responsibilities, like maintaining a competitive employee benefits package, developing and communicating employee policies, onboarding and offboarding team members, updating and enhancing important employee handbook literature, and more.
With Barbara on the team, Sarah could finally focus more on the higher-level strategic initiatives that would move the company forward—and Neil had more time to dedicate to running the finance services team more effectively.
“When you’re running your own business, you’re managing HR on the side,” Sarah says. “We were always behind, and our knowledge was very peripheral. Meeting Barbara was a relief.”
“When you’re running your own business, you’re managing HR on the side. We were always behind, and our knowledge was very peripheral. Meeting Barbara was a relief.”
Solutions in Action
Thanks to Crews & co.’s fractional HR services, Sarah and Don could provide comprehensive benefits to their team and focus on fulfilling McMillan’s larger mission.
Crews & co. solved three of the biggest challenges McMillan’s CEOs faced:
Valuable time spent on administrative and HR tasks
Difficulty developing a comprehensive benefits package
Inability to provide dedicated HR services to employees
McMillan delegates tedious HR responsibilities
Before working with Crews & co., Sarah spent over 10 hours a week on administrative HR tasks, such as researching and understanding different healthcare plans, working through employee reimbursements, and ensuring compliance with complex local employment laws. Still, she couldn’t justify hiring a full-time employee for the small company.
Now, Sarah can delegate HR projects to Barbara, giving her more time to work on executive-level initiatives. Even better, Barbara completes these tasks more efficiently thanks to her specialized HR expertise.
“Ten hours of administrative work I don’t have to do is like winning the lottery,” says Sarah.
“Ten hours of administrative work I don’t have to do is like winning the lottery.”
One essential task Barbara worked on was updating McMillan’s employee handbook. While Sarah was committed to having a clear set of policies for her team, she felt overwhelmed by the ongoing process of proactively creating policies and ensuring the handbook was compliant and up-to-date.
With Barbara’s help, McMillan now has a comprehensive handbook with compliant policies that provide clear information about reimbursements, time off, and more.
McMillan implements a comprehensive employee benefits package
Despite conducting significant research, Sarah struggled to secure the best healthcare benefits for McMillan’s employees. Complicating matters further was the team’s distribution: the McMillan team is spread across eight states and three countries.
“Providing healthcare benefits for our employees was our number one concern, but we couldn’t figure out how it worked,” says Sarah. “And even if we had, we lacked the knowledge to do it right.”
“Providing healthcare benefits for our employees was our number one concern, but we couldn’t figure out how it worked. Even if we had, we lacked the knowledge to do it right.
Barbara immediately began creating a multi-state benefits package, taking this massive responsibility off Sarah’s plate. McMillan is now better equipped to attract and retain top talent.
“Crews & co. brings technical knowledge that improves the lives of my staff and helps me find the best way to take care of my people,” says Sarah.
“Crews & co. brings technical knowledge that improves the lives of my staff and helps me find the best way to take care of my people.”
McMillan fosters a healthy internal culture
Sarah strove to establish a constructive, welcoming culture at McMillan. As educational leaders, the McMillan team is well-versed in conflict management and interpersonal communications. But they could only do so much without dedicated HR support.
“Trying to bring an educational culture into a business environment has been a challenge for us,” says Sarah. “A good team culture is something we really intentionally worked to bring in, but I hadn’t initially thought of HR as a way to enhance that.”
“A good team culture is something we really intentionally worked to bring in, but I hadn’t initially thought of HR as a way to enhance that.”
With Barbara on board, Sarah feels relieved knowing that there is a dedicated resource to assist with conflicts that may arise. Furthermore, she can direct specific questions about employee benefits plans to Barbara, saving her time and ensuring employees receive comprehensive answers to their questions.
Crews & co.’s experienced consultants helped McMillan Education achieve the following results:
Since working with Barbara, Sarah reclaimed 10 hours a week to focus on facilitating student success and furthering McMillan’s mission.
McMillan’s staff receiveindustry-leading employment benefits and detailed answers to questions regarding HR policies.
The company continues to develop a healthy internal culture enhanced by having a dedicated HR professional on the team.
McMillan Concentrates on What Matters
“Before Crews & co., I did everything—and I didn’t even know I wasn’t supposed to,” says Sarah. “I had every HR problem on my plate. Everything was my responsibility.”
“Before Crews & co., I did everything—and I didn’t even know I wasn’t supposed to.”
Sarah won’t have to think about the complexities of health insurance again—as McMillan continues to grow, so will the services that Crews & co. can provide. Sarah and Don can return to the core mission of McMillan Education: helping students find success in education.
“I don’t think of Crews & co.’s consultant services as fractional. Rather, they meet a need,” says Sarah. “As we grow, our consultants are sensitive to where we are in that growth and rise to meet us where we’re at.”