VS Engineering’s automation of its employee review cycles created a more efficient process.
PerformYard is very robust. It's a great product and we are just scratching the surface.
Ameetrice Smalls, Administration Manager, and Kathleen Armbruster, HR Generalist, are responsible for the performance management process at VS Engineering. Ameertrice, who’s been at the company for 13 years, joined the organization when there were only 35 employees. Now, 135 employees later, VS Engineering brought in Kathleen to help support talent development, among other HR functions.
VS Engineering is a civil, structural, environmental and transportation design company, offering municipalities, counties and businesses cost-effective solutions to civil engineering issues. With eight offices spread out across Indiana and Ohio, their workforce is composed of a diverse group of seasoned professionals and recent graduates.
Performance reviews at VS Engineering first started on blank Word documents, in which the CEO, who administered all employee reviews at the time, took notes about the performance of each member of his staff. As the company grew, forms were moved to editable PDFs, which were manually distributed, collected, printed and stored.
Annual review cycles included a self-evaluation and downward reviews. And although the forms included a section for goal setting, goals weren’t being tracked, shared or aligned.
Later, leadership revised the review forms to focus on core values, with open ended and ratings questions. “When we initially revised our performance reviews forms we were able to shrink it from 20 to 10 questions”, shared Ameetrice. However, as the company continued to grow, the manual process became too time consuming and difficult to administer. “A lot of the things we implemented were due to our growth. To get everyone on board to submit forms properly and on time was a lot of work. I couldn’t keep up with that manual process, year after year. It wasn't sustainable,” shared Ameetrice.
When VS Engineering’s leadership set out to find a performance management platform, their main priorities were simplicity and ease to use. After seeing PerformYard, the team was impressed with the clean and friendly user interface, the ability to send notifications and the dedicated customer support team. “I don't even recall looking at another platform. I was sold on it”, Ameetrice said.
Watching PerformYard in action helped Ameetrice fully understand the level of automation she was missing in their performance management process. "I realized PerformYard would save me a whole lot of time. Having an employee’s performance data right here at my fingertips was a big, big plus. The ease of storing data and knowing exactly where to go for the information I need was the biggest bonus for me,” she shared.
Today, VS Engineering’s performance management process has come a long way from blank Word documents. Their process consists of annual reviews for all full-time staff, which continues to include a self review and a manager’s review with similar forms that are now automated. The company also leverages PerformYard for performance improvement plans, exit interviews and quarterly reviews for select employees. New hires receive 30-day and 6-month check-ins, as well as a 90-day review.
When onboarding the platform, VS Engineering also took the time to run a knowledge sharing session with the entire organization to introduce the platform and encourage employees to become active on it.
Their next step is to get employees using the platform to set and track goals. “We are trying to push employees to advocate for their professional development. It should not be the manager’s role to dictate that, it's a partnership” Kathleen shared.
The team at VS Engineering is looking at possibly introducing quarterly reviews and further utilizing the feedback feature to increase touch points throughout the year and celebrate employee performance.
“We're growing and evolving and as we think about what the future looks like, there is a large push in the talent industry for ongoing performance discussions throughout the year. We need to make sure that we're creating a culture that allows us to talk about individual performance more than once a year and we’re confident PerformYard will help us do that,” shared Kathleen.
Kathleen also shared her enthusiasm for the platform and goals to continue to improve on VS Engineering’s performance management process. “There's definitely an opportunity for us to leverage PerformYard more and better, because PerformYard is very robust. It's a great product and we are just scratching the surface”, said Kathleen.