Industrial Bank is one of the largest African-American owned and operated commercial banks in the U.S. Since being founded during the Great Depression more than 75 years ago, the company has worked hard to overcome countless challenges. But when it came to solving its performance management woes, Industrial decided it could achieve more by doing less.
“There was a lot of back and forth, sending interoffice mail with corrections – a lot of red ink,” says Lynne Rowe, vice president and director of human resources. “And I was, by hand, tracking whose evaluation came through and what their rating was.”
Most businesses strive to ensure their performance review process is efficient. The banking world is no exception, but the degree of scrutiny is markedly higher.
“All the departments of the bank get audited every year, and I was consistently getting dinged because inevitably one or two managers missed doing an evaluation on one of their employees or it wasn’t done in a timely fashion,” says Rowe. “It would be what they’d call an audit finding. It would be included in the audit report, and all audit reports are presented to the audit committee of the board of directors.
“So I said ‘OK, enough of this. We’ve got to get a more automated process.
A manual performance review system that provided zero insight into manager/employee progress throughout the process.
In December 2007, Industrial purchased a desktop performance appraisal solution. The bank, which serves the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, had some success doing manager-only reviews but was still unable to track department and employee progress. This led to more missed deadlines and more frustration.
But InsperityTM PerformSmart® helped get Rowe and company back on track. Industrial signed on shortly after the product’s launch in April 2011 and experienced staggering results. With the manual process, manager-only performance reviews took about three months to complete. PerformSmart helped cut that time in half, largely due to the increased accessibility of a cloud-based solution.
How Insperity helped:
Kept management in the know regarding performance review progress
Provided employees and managers flexibility and ease of use when completing appraisals
Support team addressed any issues in a timely fashion
“Before, the managers had to do the evaluations from their computer at work,” says Rowe. “When we switched to the Web-based system, it afforded them the opportunity to do them on the weekends if they wanted to, from the comfort of their own homes or wherever they wanted to do them.”
Additionally, by having the information for all 126 employees in all 10 offices stored within the application online, Rowe was able to gain insight into the entire organization’s progress. This helped keep the process moving – and the auditors off her back.
“We got a commendable rating when they did the audit last October,” says Rowe. “That’s the first time we got commendable in the five years I’ve been managing this area. That’s the highest rating you can get on the audit, and it was because all of those evaluations were done.”
Industrial embarked on its first round of employee self-reviews in 2013, and the response thus far has been positive; perhaps a little too positive in some cases.
“I haven’t had any complaints about the process,” says Rowe. “Of course, I’m going to have to go back and let a few employees understand that when you’re doing the evaluation, you don’t just give yourself fives (the highest possible rating) straight down the line.”
The switch from manual appraisals to PerformSmart’s automated process has saved Industrial time and also toned down the drabness that is characteristic of performance reviews.
“It’s not as tedious of a process,” says Rowe. “People would always groan when evaluation time comes around, but for these last two years, I haven’t heard much groaning. The managers feel that the system is very user-friendly and they can keep it moving, and some of them have eight or more employee reviews to complete.”
Rowe warns against businesses thinking they’re too small to take advantage of an automated, online, more tech-savvy performance review process like PerformSmart. And with Insperity’s dedication to service, you’re covered from implementation to deployment and beyond.
“Our implementation specialist was very diligent,” says Rowe. “He let us know right from the beginning what we would be doing in each meeting, so we were prepared completely. It was laid out for us perfectly.
“The tech support team is the best because they’ll make sure that, if I have an issue, they see it through until it’s resolved. It’s a great product, but if you run into any difficulties, knowing that you have the service team behind you is equally as important – maybe even more important.”
“Many times you get a software system and you’re not using it to the fullest extent because you don’t really understand all of the aspects. I got this one – it worked well for me.”