On A+ A+ A+ technical support
I've worked on a lot of implementation projects with other vendors and nobody has matched CSB for responsiveness – and everyone really knows their product!
On launching in style
We had a big launch party with giveaways; (CSB CEO) John Holt even teleconferenced in for the big unveiling. You could really see everyone was excited about it – the reaction was extremely positive.
On going the extra mile to engage
One of the things we noticed almost immediately was a big lift in engagement. Employees saw CSB as a commitment on NouvEON's part to their performance and development. We were investing time, energy and money in it, and obviously cared enough to give them this 'something extra'.
On impromptu demos
I've been known to log into my CSB and demo it to someone in the middle of a conversation!
On really useful performance reviews
Employee goals are now really clear, and people find it easier to stay on track and keep an eye on progress. Performance conversations are taking place now and are really rich and productive – CSB gives us a conversation guide as well as providing a roadmap to follow for the second half of the year.
On helping hands
The coaching plan and recommendations are intuitive and tremendously useful on both an individual and team level, especially for newer leaders who aren't so sure of next steps. It's hard for People Care as a small team to get that knowledge out to the whole company, so it's an invaluable tool for us.
NouvEON - adding value in a growing business
NouvEON is a successful business and technology consulting firm based in North Carolina. Competing with the Big Four consulting firms, the company is professional and highly structured, its employees high performers with a strong sense of company ownership.
When Vice President, Strategy & Talent Theresa Ulyatt arrived to take charge of the People Care function at NouvEON, the company had 34 employees and was using an Excel spreadsheet to manage performance. Theresa knew there were better systems out there; she'd used one in her previous role. So it wasn't a matter of 'if' NouvEON would get rid of the spreadsheet, but 'when'.
NouvEON's existing spreadsheet system was built in-house. Fairly limited in scope, it didn't allow for the depth of information the company was looking for. While Theresa and team had made an attempt at setting up competencies and weightings in the spreadsheet, functionality was limited and it didn't always work as planned.
"The spreadsheet didn't look all that great; it had no oomph, no gravitas, and it felt like we had to work hard to get the team to respect it or take it seriously. It was just another spreadsheet and people weren't engaging with it – just doing the bare minimum required."
One of the casualties of NouvEON's spreadsheet approach was the performance conversation; reviews were at risk of becoming nothing more than ticked boxes and were not entirely useful.
"We're a consultancy: our talent is also the service we offer, and managing it successfully is critical to NouvEON's success. The People Care function at NouvEON is strategic, not administrative, so we needed reviews to play more useful role in people development."
NouvEON really needed a more advanced and more capable system for capturing performance data, and undertook an extremely thorough 4-month vendor selection process.
"We wanted something slick, sophisticated. Our employees use all the cool tools, so we needed the performance management system to be of the same high standard; something that would hold peoples' interest.
"We also needed a flexible system, one that could adapt to the framework we'd already developed. We talked with some vendors who were very keen to tell us how their systems worked, but weren't hearing me when I said we'd already done the ground work. We need to be able to heavily customize the software, so weren't at all interested in a 'one size fits all' solution."
Among the other requirements:
- The system had to allow NouvEON to build and use their many levels of complex competencies
- The team delivering the solution would have to be flexible and able to work with NouvEON's requirements as well as delivering a robust system – the partnership would need to be a strong one
Theresa's initial shortlist didn't include CSB, which she hadn't heard of at the time. As it happened, NouvEON's search coincided with CSB Director of Business Development Jason Jones reaching out to Theresa via a mutual acquaintance.
"He was relentless, very tenacious and I was surprised to find I didn't hate that; Jason took a really proactive approach to selling CSB and what he had to say was useful. In the end it made the decision so much easier."
CSB was implemented in NouvEON for all employees over Christmas 2009. As it turns out, the timing was spot-on; employee numbers were now more than triple what they had been when Theresa started with the company.
"It really was a good time to move to a new system – there's no way the old spreadsheet could have coped with the number of new employees."
Theresa worked closely with CSB partners the Pendolino Group to build out the content of their highly configured CSB system.
"It wasn't a quick implementation. We had a lot of custom content to incorporate into the system, including the competencies for each role we hadn't managed to make work with the old system.
"There were some minor teething issues with the implementation, but nothing remarkable – nothing that really worried us. Plus the responsiveness of CSB's support team has been phenomenal; we've never had to wait more than a couple of hours for a call or email dealing with a support issue.
The system roll-out went smoothly enough, although Theresa notes there was a level of performance management fatigue by that stage.
"People were over the spreadsheet and you always expect there to be issues around system change of any kind. We did work with internal change management consultants throughout the process however.
From a People Care administration point of view, it's now easier for Theresa's team to track compliance with the review process and to follow up where necessary. They now have a better system for storing performance information and benchmark performance data; something the old spreadsheet wasn't capable of providing. This documentation has the added benefit of putting the company in a stronger position if any legal issues arise around performance.
"More importantly though, we can now tie individuals' performance to the overall business performance through CSB to add value and increase the organization's success. If you can't do that, what's the point?
And the benefits extend to everyone in the business. Employees have clearer career paths and more productive performance conversations. Managers finally have a tool to accurately track performance, provide analytics, export reports...
"There's a sense of relief that they can now add value to their teams and to NouvEON as a whole. And of course it doesn't hurt that the perception of People Care within the business is more positive for having provided these tools."
It's still early days for NouVEON; they've completed one review round so far and have yet to use the full CSB functionality - 360 reviews are still on the horizon. Theresa is also planning to 'tighten up' goal setting and focus on driving the high performance culture.
"Once we unleash, it'll be big. We want to have everyone thinking and talking about performance on a daily basis.
"I'm proud of what we've accomplished and I absolutely recommend CSB – I know if I send anyone their way they won't drop the ball."