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How Oliver drive better line management through Appraisd

Elissa Dennis
30th June 2020
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Harnessing Appraisd to drive better line management

The Inside Ideas Group includes leading in-housing company Oliver, global content agency Adjust Your Set, experience and engineering company Dare and property marketing specialists Aylesworth Fleming.

Most marketing agencies claim to be a bit different, but Oliver really does have a different approach. They work collaboratively with clients, building the best teams in the world from the inside.

Their approach to performance management has been similarly innovative, building a process that suits their unique needs as a fast-growing, global enterprise.

The search for a more efficient, automated system

Oliver was founded in 2004 and has grown rapidly since then. It now has around 750 employees in the UK, around 400 in the US and a similar number across Europe. In the early days, reviews were carried out on paper files, but as employee numbers grew the system became unwieldy and unmanageable.

This prompted Oliver to find a more effective, online solution that made reviews much easier and quicker to complete for everyone. There was also a desire from HR and senior leaders to have much better employee data, which highlights both teams that are performing well above expectations and those that require further development.

After reviewing the market, Oliver selected Appraisd. They were particularly drawn to the flexibility of the system, allowing them to create a set-up that is perfectly matched to their requirements and has the capability to evolve as the company continues to expand and their needs change.

Improving people management

One of the main priorities for Oliver is to encourage and support exceptional people management. As an organisation built on the immense skill and creativity of its employees, maximising the potential of the workforce is crucial. Line managers must be focused on how best they can help their employees to continually seek to develop and improve their capabilities to provide the best possible service to clients.

“Appraisd has been a vital component in shaping managers’ behaviour and achieving that focus on people management. Managers who fail to carry out reviews with their employees on time and log their progression are not eligible to be part of the pay review process”, says Emmett Pink, Head of Management Development at Oliver.

Reporting through Appraisd quickly highlights those managers that are falling behind and allows measures to be put in place to help them catch up and stay on track. A goal was an initially set of 85% of managers reaching their review targets. Compliance now stands at 95% as managers have grasped the importance of regular reviews, both for their employees and for themselves.

Part of everyone’s role from day one

Effective performance management requires everyone in the organisation to engage with it and understand the huge value it can bring. The HR and leadership team at Oliver completely understand this and have committed wholeheartedly to making it an instinctive and natural part of everyone’s role.

“New starters are set up on Appraisd from their very first day. To pass their probationary period, they must have at least three objectives set up and have their quarterly reviews scheduled. This reinforces how important this process is and ensures new employees have a clear focus and know what is expected of them from the very start of their careers at Oliver”, says Emmett.

Seamless integration

One of the great advantages of Appraisd is that we can use it in conjunction with other HR tools, giving us a much more detailed picture of how employees and managers are performing. We have linked the data from Appraisd with insights from Peakon, our employee engagement tool. This shows us the areas of the business which are most engaged, and we can cross reference it with the reviews that are happening. This helps us to pinpoint those managers who need some extra training and support around their people management skills, raising standards across the organisation, helping to improve both employee engagement and performance.”

Oliver is in the process of introducing a new HR Information System to further improve their people data. The information captured in Appraisd in reviews and feedback will be a vital component of this system. “I’ve already created a new management development programme which data from Appraisd has helped to shape and I’m eager to get even better insights when the HRIS launches to tailor our training even more effectively.”

Easy to use with minimal training

“The feedback we get from our employees on Appraisd is generally very positive. If an employee is struggling with a particular aspect of the system, we can quickly guide them through it, or the materials supplied by the Appraisd Customer Success team provide the answers, if we can’t. Once employees have run through the system, they get it. The latest version is extremely intuitive, very similar in look to Facebook, and employees can become proficient at using it in just a few minutes.”

A crucial component

“Appraisd has become an integral part of our review process, providing exactly what I need to know to develop our management team. It’s instant feedback functionality helps us capture more detailed and specific information, ensuring we know what is working well and what precise training will help improve performance.”