Connors Group

Two years after implementation, Connors and Rhabit are still going strong. Recently, they shared with us how their performance management processes have upgraded from spreadsheet grinding to interactive insights.

Background

You may have read about Connors from our first story with them here. They are a large industrial engineering consulting firm whose data-loving engineers are charged with optimizing their clients’ systems and processes. Since 2018, they have worked hand-in-hand with Rhabit to achieve the same goals for their internal talent processes – including performance reviews.

Redesigning Performance Management

John Schiavo, Senior Director of HR & People Development, took on the redesign of the performance management process as one of the first objectives when he joined Connors in 2017. Having worked for a large grocery chain as a senior director in HR, he knew how hard it is to design a performance management process that people, frankly, don’t hate.

What I immediately liked about Rhabit was the simplicity of it. You swipe left and right, and it takes a few seconds. There is no excuse for people at Connors not to do it.

John Schiavo, Sr. Director of HR & People Development

The Challenge

Connors’ performance management challenges were two-fold.

First, their consultants spend most of their time in project teams on site with their clients. At Connors there is no “normal day at the office” and every consultant works with different managers and colleagues on every project. To address this fluidity of management, Connors’ employs a layered performance management approach. Each employee has both a long-term career mentor for professional development, and a regular line manager in charge of performance reviews. Given its quickly changing team structures, these advisors needed data that could pick up where the last manager left off in order to best understand and develop the people under their supervision.

Second, until Rhabit, project managers had manually entered performance ratings in an Excel sheet. This tedious process meant that performance data was usually incomplete (nobody wanted to provide it) and rarely delivered on time (people were procrastinating). This also meant that projects were not reviewed upon completion but rather long after they were completed. Knowing the legacy process was a disservice to their people’s growth, Connors looked for an instrument that would:
  • work with teams that are constantly built and dissolved
  • make performance reviews so easy and efficient that all their busy engineers would actually DO it
Performance and Habits: How You Achieve Matters As Much As What You Achieve
For John, it was important that people meet their goals in a way that fits with Connors Group’s culture. This means, your projects need to be on time and on budget, but you also have to be, for example, a reliable teammate and a compassionate and supportive manager.

To formalize this requirement, Connors and Rhabit built standardized goals for each of their client projects. From there,
  • Each goal is rated by employee and project manager
  • Each project team member exchanges feedback on key habits
  • At the end of a project, a project manager can generate a review form for each person on their team, called the 1:1, in which performance data and habit data can be reviewed
  • Managers and employees can add comments, adjust ratings, and create ad-hoc development plans.
At all times, all data points are at the fingertips of the project manager and employee.

This process used to require a sometimes hours-long review of spreadsheets and email inboxes. Now, all these data points are readily available, and generating a 1:1 takes seconds.
Making Their Data Work For Them: Career Planning Sessions With Rhabit
Given its strong focus on talent excellence, Connors holds quarterly meetings during which the performance of their consultants is reviewed by senior directors and executives. Both performance and habits count toward rewards like bonuses and pay increases. John particularly wants to see strength in both areas when considering someone for a promotion. The review team typically spends 4 hours reviewing all of their consultants. Supporting data, including information from all 1:1 reviews between the consultants and any managers they’ve had, must be easily available and retrievable.

Rhabit made this easy – our platform captures all 1:1 reviews, displays all habit data over time, and provides the ability to take note and create ad-hoc developmental plans. A process that was previously unwieldy and based on anecdotes and opinions is now data and evidence driven – just like Industrial Engineers like it.

We are collecting all this performance data and all this habit data. This is great, but we need to make decisions. At the end of the year we cannot promote everybody, we have to know who deserves promotions and rewards. And Rhabit makes this very structured and easy.

John Schiavo, Sr. Director of HR & People Development
Takeaways
  • Performance management with Rhabit begins with efficiently capturing objective and accurate data
  • It is not enough to focus only on performance; modern talent organizations must also focus on behavioral alignment to culture
  • Even the best performance data is useless if it’s hidden away and difficult to understand. Rhabit puts it front and center, in easy-to-read performance dashboards
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