Egg Strategy’s automation of its ongoing 360 review process allows for open feedback and eliminates performance review surprises.
PerformYard's biggest advantage is the time it saves our team, in addition to keeping all performance information in one place. This software is definitely a game changer.
Krista Molloy and Candice Rochford make up the HR team at Egg Strategy. Krista is the director of HR and Candice is the recruiter. “We’re a lean mean fighting machine,” said Krista. They’re responsible for all things related to human resources, from recruitment to succession planning.
Egg Strategy is a full-service consulting firm that conducts market research and turns it into strategy and insights and innovation for brands. Organizations seek Egg Strategy when they have questions about their product's performance or want to expand to a new product. Egg Strategy consults in three main areas — Health, Consumer Packaged Goods, and Lifestyle — and has been in business since 2005. The organization has around 75 employees, also known as “Eggs”, spread across office locations in Denver, Chicago and New York.
Egg Strategy’s work is heavily project-based, and teams could be working together for several months at a time. Their hierarchy is unique in that people can get promoted whenever they meet the criteria for a higher position without having to wait for an opening.
When Krista arrived at Egg Strategy in 2017, the company had a robust yet manual performance management process. For annual reviews, HR would collect anonymous 360 feedback from three sources per employee, a process that began via email and then moved to SurveyMonkey. However, since the feedback collected was anonymous and often vague, managers would always ask for clarification, which triggered a series of manual tasks for Krista. “It was a very, very, very manual process,” she said.
Because HR only collected feedback during the annual cycle, the information received was outdated, non-comprehensive, or simply too benign. Sometimes people would even use the 360-feedback opportunity to release frustration about issues that had happened months ago.“They would write this negative feedback that hadn’t been acted upon, and it was very much a surprise for employees,” Candice said.
Employees also completed a self-evaluation prior to the year-end review meeting with their manager. All of that information would then be compiled in a word document and submitted to HR. Egg Strategy employees would then create a Personal Development Plan (PDP) focused on behaviors and skills they needed to develop.
After managing one review cycle, Krista took it upon herself to find an automated performance management system that was flexible, scalable and customizable.
For Egg Strategy, customization was a must-have. "It would have been nice to use our HRIS performance management module, but it's not customizable and doesn't provide what we needed in a system,” Candice said.
Krista and Candice reviewed 14 systems before adopting PerformYard, which they now call “the keeper of all the performance information.” Krista shared that performance automation is the most valuable benefit of the platform for Egg Strategy. “The level of automation we’ve achieved with PerformYard is not something that could have been done on our own” she said.
Since automating performance management, Egg Strategy has been able to implement some significant changes to their process. Annual reviews were shifted to January, to avoid the busy end of the year months. Now, employees receive an annual and a mid-year review that includes self-evaluations, manager evaluations and upward evaluations of managers.
Employees are also provided with qualitative 360 peer feedback after every project they participate in, instead of having to wait until December. The questions are now more specific and open-ended and every employee gets multiple 360 reviews a year, with some getting as many as 30.
Another big change was moving from anonymous to open feedback. “That was a huge cultural shift for us,” Krista said. Egg Strategy started training employees on delivering good and comprehensive feedback without “sugarcoating” the truth. Candice shared that training also made the influx of open feedback more emotionally manageable for employees, because they were taught how to receive feedback.
PDPs were replaced with Multi-goal Action Plans, or MAPs. In MAPs, employees set individual goals in January that are revisited in 1:1 meetings and at the mid-year review. MAPs changed the focus to setting goals.
“Our annual cycle is like a big circle”, Krista said. In January, the annual review cycle starts, which is considered for the percentage of Performance-based Incentive that employees receive.Performance-based Incentives are based on both company and individual performance. After the reviews are done, employees receive Performance-based Incentive payouts and move on to their MAPs.
Candice shared that a culture of transparency naturally surfaced from the automation of their performance management process through PerformYard. “There’s a lot fewer surprises, and employees are overall happier with their growth because they’re able to track it better, and expectations of when people will be promoted are a lot clearer” she said.
Going forward, Egg Strategy wants to keep redesigning their process and continue to train their staff on how to provide valuable and actionable feedback. “This shift is not something that you can do in a few years,” Krista said. “It takes a lot of training. It takes a lot of trust building.”
Krista shared that without PerformYard, Egg Strategy could not do performance management to the extent that it does now. “PerformYard's biggest advantage is the time it saves our team, in addition to keeping all performance information in one place,” Krista said. "This software is definitely a game changer."