Before joining The Hollister Group, Karla Driskill developed mentoring programs between businesses and individuals including college students and women entrepreneurs. Driskill’s passion during those years was supporting women in the workplace—something that remains vitally important to her.
But the year 2012 marked a turning point in Driskill’s career when she met The Hollister Group Founder and CEO Kip Hollister for the first time. “When I met Kip, I was so enamored. She personifies and embodies the kind of successful female entrepreneur I’d been coaching women to be for years,” Driskill says. “She’s built a multimillion-dollar company in Boston, but she doesn’t sacrifice her heart and she doesn’t sacrifice her family. Kip started this company when she was 26 to forge a different paradigm and a different narrative for a staffing organization. And she has done just that.”
Driskill is the Vice President of Cultures at The Hollister Group, and she understands the significance of this department for both the company and its clients. She says, “With the integration of our Staffing and Cultures divisions, Kip is disrupting the industry again. To my knowledge, we are the only staffing company that has a Cultures division to help our clients create cultures of retention that attract and retain top talent.”
So how does The Hollister Group help other companies develop their internal teams? They bring exceptional people together to ignite business culture and unleash individual contributions. “People don’t leave jobs,” Driskill says, “they leave cultures and managers. It costs a company three to six times an employee’s salary to replace them. That’s a high cost of turnover.”
“We teach organizations to be people-centric. The autocratic and directive narrative of business is outdated. Millennials—who will make up 75% of the workforce in 2025—want to be part of an organization that’s going to grow them, where they have purpose and passion, and where they feel developed,” Driskill explains.
Attracting, hiring, and retaining the best talent requires the two divisions of The Hollister Group to work together. “We’ve been delivering excellent staffing services for over three decades and that hasn’t changed. We’re committed to getting the best possible talent, and we’ve got that down to a science,” she says. “With the launch of our Cultures division, we partner with companies for one to three years to create sustainable change. We offer a common language for communication, accountability, authenticity, conflict resolution, and leadership, which creates more engagement and trust.”
And the company models what they teach. When The Hollister Group hires a new person, they take time up-front to explain the company’s distinct culture, discuss the new hire’s unique strengths and motivations, and explore the values they bring to the team through the DISC Assessment. They offer this same onboarding support to all their staffing clients.
Feedback and growth are major elements of the atmosphere at The Hollister Group, as managers use each new employee’s background to get a baseline understanding of how they can nurture the person’s growth as a member of the team.
All new hires also go through a core training program called “REAL Conversations — a Cornerstone of Business Success,” which guides them on how to be authentic, communicate clearly in the workplace, and structure difficult conversations so they share a common language to address conflict. This training helps the company minimize avoidance when employees are managing frustration or negative feelings in the workplace.
“We also offer a year-long Emerging Leaders program where we teach people how to give and receive feedback effectively, how to have an executive presence, and how to build relationships with their direct reports. We are a relational company, not a transactional one. We work to create a culture of principles that are reinforced from the bottom up with new hires and from the top down with our leadership,” Driskill told us.
The Hollister Group’s model helps clients identify key areas where they want to see improvement. These ideals are the cornerstones of The Hollister Group’s success and are key focus areas for trainings they offer to clients:
- Difficult Conversations
- Personal Brand
- Stress Management
- Giving and Receiving Feedback
Reflecting on how The Hollister Group weathered the pandemic, Driskill says that above all else, it shined an intense light on certain common workplace practices that were greatly in need of revision before COVID came to North America.
“The pandemic blew open a door into the patterns that weren’t working and couldn’t be ignored anymore,” she says. “We created a collaborative space that allowed our people to feel safe in co-designing a new model that does work for us. We’re now supporting our team as we make the cultural revisions required to keep everyone highly engaged.”
“At the same time, we’re partnering with our client organizations to do the same by offering onboarding and retention support for our Staffing clients, known as The Hollister Difference. We simultaneously offer support through cultural and individual assessments, individual and executive coaching, group and team coaching, and a variety of customizable training and development programs. Our goal is for all our clients to experience uncommon systemic transformation.”
As Driskill describes The Hollister Group’s response to the pandemic, it aligns perfectly with the philosophy they live every day and share with their clients. As Driskill says, “Our vision is all-encompassing, because wherever there are living, breathing human beings, they can be supported by the principles that we teach.”