Lapp Group North America has been producing innovative wires,cables and connectors for more than 35 years. But until 2012, its performance appraisal system was anything but connected.
“Not every department was using the same platform or the same review template, which created inconsistencies in the review writing process,” says human resources generalist Michele Tawes. “We tried making our own review forms, which turned out to be very time-consuming.
“We worked with a company to help us put together review forms, and they were extremely cumbersome. We printed them out, they were 15 pages long, they weren’t formatted correctly, and it was a tiresome process.”
When it came to actually writing the evaluations, Lapp managers were having a hard time producing HR and grammar-friendly copy. Not only can this lead to liability issues, but it can also cause the entire process to drag on for days, weeks, even months longer than anticipated.
“It probably took us four to six months to get all the completed reviews back,” says Tawes. “And at that point, you’re already thinking about writing them again for the next year.”
Tired of fumbling through piles of Excel spreadsheets and being unable to track employee/manager progress during the review period, Lapp made the move to the Insperity™ PerformSmart® software solution in 2012. And having all 185 users from their two locations in New Jersey and Canada connected by an online system has made all the difference.
“For me, it’s a great tool administratively,” says Tawes. “I’m able to know what is going on in the company, to know what feedback we are providing to employees. It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders when I read the reviews and see that the kind of feedback we’re giving is written appropriately, which means a lot coming from the HR side.”
Lapp had built out core competencies for the entire company in 2011 and was thrilled to be able to align them with competencies already available within the PerformSmart system. This allowed Tawes to easily customize review forms for each department while staying true to Lapp’s already defined skill sets. Additionally, employees now had a big hand in their own career development.
“It puts some accountability on the employee to really think about their own performance,” says Tawes. “I know it’s a hard task for everyone to do, but I think it’s beneficial in the end because it opened up clear communication lines with their supervisors. We didn’t hear any negative feedback from any of the employees after moving to PerformSmart.”
Perhaps the biggest gain from a streamlined performance appraisal process like PerformSmart is time savings. Employee performance reviews are built around the correct competencies, SmartText suggestions help managers along by providing appropriate feedback language, and Tawes can easily track everyone’s progress.
“I think the online tool is very self-explanatory,” she says. So when someone goes into it, whether it’s myself, someone in HR, an employee or a supervisor, it’s pretty easy to navigate.”
Tawes says a smooth implementation process contributed to Lapp having PerformSmart up and running in about 30 days. And with all the employee information stored in the cloud, managers and employees can reference past goals, events and reviews to keep the evaluations as impactful as possible.
“It’s great to be able to hold the information knowing that next year, when we start the process again, everything is going to be there for us to look back on,” says Tawes. “Any information that we’ve put in the system throughout the year or the previous year is going to be helpful in regards to completing the reviews.”