GuideStone restructures to become more efficient

DALLAS GuideStone Financial Resources has realigned certain job responsibilities and restructured its workforce as part of its effort to identify and implement new ways to become more efficient. It also announced last month three new executive officers promoted from within the organization.

The restructuring dovetails GuideStone’s update to its long-range plan, GuideStone 100, and flows from the 2015 theme “Year of Efficiency,” when the Southern Baptist Convention entity sought new efficiencies in people, processes and policies. And the changes come as the entity looks to carry the ministry to its centennial in 2018, and beyond 2020. 

“These steps we have taken will enable us to further enhance our ministry as we prepare to enter the second century of our service to Southern Baptists, while maintaining optimum staffing levels going forward,” GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said in an Aug. 15 news release.

This past spring, GuideStone offered an early voluntary retirement option to qualified employees 55 years of age or older. Fifty-nine individuals—about half those eligible and about 10 percent of GuideStone employees—chose the early retirement package.

Nine employees were unable to be accommodated in open positions and were offered severance packages. Many positions were combined or redeployed, and many other employees were reassigned to open positions.

Opportunities to improve efficiency were identified and implemented throughout the organization, including streamlining employee hiring and training, renegotiating energy contracts and bulk mailing services, and adjusting medical group sizes to help assist more churches.

Citing a market environment that continues to be evidenced by low interest rates and sluggishness in the economic recovery, Hawkins noted GuideStone’s commitment to its participants.

“The balance between ministry and God-honoring business practices is what we deal with every day,” Hawkins said. 

Restructuring

As GuideStone participants have indicated a desire for a more self-serve, internet-based operation, internal reviews found ways of reducing the workforce without adversely impacting services.

To increase efficiency, management reduced the number of printed account statements and mailing expenses the entity incurred and worked with insurance vendors to reduce consulting costs for GuideStone’s insurance plan.

Several department responsibilities shifted during the restructuring, including the Customer Service Center, which was merged with the Retirement and Insurance areas to provide continued excellent service.

GuideStone previously reduced its headcount in 2008-2009 through a combination of attrition and a similar voluntary retirement program.

The addition of three new executive officers from within GuideStone ranks, announced during the entity’s July 25-26 trustee meeting, was part of the restructuring.

Mark Borchgardt, with GuideStone since 1996, was named chief services and operations officer; Harry Nelson, who joined GuideStone in 2013, was named chief strategic investment officer; and Harold Loftin, also with the entity since 2013, was named chief legal officer and general counsel. 

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