Case study

How housing services company Aster Group moved to continuous check-ins

Roly Walter
18th March 2021

Aster Group

Size:
100-200 employees
Industry:
Housing
Location:
South-west, UK

Overview

Rachel Broome, former Director of Learning & Development at the Aster Group and now heading up consultancy Talentstorm tells us about her experience of implementing Appraisd at Aster Group.

The issue

Aster could no longer cope with paper-based performance review processes.

With no link between monthly one-to-ones and the employee annual appraisals, time would be wasted copying and pasting information from their monthly forms on to their appraisal forms.

Teams were unable to collate the necessary training needs, it was impossible to centralise employee requirements and the whole process was ineffective and inefficient.

What the Learning & Development team wanted to achieve

The Learning & Development (L&D) team, who are part of the HR function, realised the organisation needed to implement a clear and robust performance management process to support Aster’s organisational culture.

Overall, they had three key goals:

  • To produce reports easily when appraisals were completed
  • To know the training needs of their employees
  • To enable managers to track individual performance and requirements.

It was widely appreciated across the business that the process was not fit for purpose and there was a very real risk that different parts of the business would begin implementing their own solutions.

Building on company culture

The company-wide principle of ‘One Aster’ which emphasised the importance of universal systems and processes had just been launch.

Getting buy-in and support from across the business, delivering a one-organisation approach that added value, was a key requirement for L&D garnering support for their plan to re-engineer the performance management process.

A major challenge was the increasingly dispersed workforce. Growing numbers of employees now worked away from the office and/or had their meetings remotely. They needed a platform that was suited to this way of working as 1-2-1 often happened virtually and a regular and constant feedback loop had proven successful for those in this situation.

Implementing the system

Effective communication was at heart of this stage. Preparation started pre-launch and involved intensive consultation via focus groups. They were introduced to the new platform and how it would work. Annual reviews were widely recognised not to be effective in the organisation, so there was enthusiasm to replace them with a simple, fluid and ongoing one-to-one process and the change was welcomed and embraced.

It was crucial that senior decision makers were given time to get on board with the process and become engaged.

Rachel Broome
Former Director of Learning and Development
Aster Group

As changes and tweaks to the system were so easy to implement, these leaders became Appraisd ambassadors within the business, and advocated its user-friendly nature to their peers and teams. This was borne out by the fact that the only on-boarding and training required was Appraisd’s on-boarding video. The whole thing was swift and seamless, both saving time and highlighting the benefits of the platform.

Results

From the beginning feedback was very positive, especially from the line managers. They are able to track their 1-2-1s, which is a huge benefit to them and their staff

By the end of Aster’s first quarter of using Appraisd, managers could see how high the uptake was, as well as how many objectives and personal development plan actions had been set. This instantly demonstrated that employees had embraced the change and new way of working.

One year later

From zero online activity across the business, Aster now has:

88%70%50%
of employees using Appraisd for check-insof employees using Appraisd to track work objectivesof employees using Appraisd to track personal objectives

The L&D team were are most excited about the reporting that is now possible. They can now view the training needs for the whole organisation. They have never had this data before and it gives them exactly what they need to formulate future training plans There are other features they will be using going forward, and as the system is so flexible they'll be able add functions as and when they are needed.