Case Study

Power: Enabling continuous performance management with ongoing feedback and learning

September 28, 2021

Power: Enabling continuous performance management with ongoing feedback and learning

Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, Power is a full-service marketing agency focused on residential and commercial industries. Since 1976, the agency has helped numerous brands successfully sell through key distribution channels with a modern blend of marketing that’s relevant, disruptive, and smart.

As Power’s new Director of Organizational Development, Carla Terwilleger was eager to establish a new performance review process—one focused not just on policy but the employee experience. “One of the ways I sold-in my new position to Power’s CEO was promising to overhaul the recruitment process, onboarding, employee performance, succession planning, and career development.”

At that time, the agency still relied on paper-based employee performance reviews. “Our process was antiquated,” said Terwilleger. “We had no way to track consistency of reviews, if people were completing reviews on time, or where they were in the performance management process.”

The existing manual process also didn’t inspire meaningful conversations between managers and employees. “In terms of feedback, we were a culture of ‘fluff’. We were very nice, and there are great things about that, but when it came to performance reviews, people weren’t being forthright or giving meaningful feedback.”

Why PiiQ by Cornerstone

After reviewing numerous talent management tools, Terwilleger selected PiiQ by Cornerstone. Not only was PiiQ easy to use and implement, but the platform’s newest feature, Check-ins, would enable continuous performance management and drive more frequent communication between managers and employees.

Carla Terwilleger, director of organizational develpoment at Power, was also inspired by her experience with Cornerstone employees during the sales process. “I wanted to choose a partner that best models the type of company and culture we were trying to achieve”. Each time I called Cornerstone, I talked with the same two reps and could build an authentic relationship. I felt like they really wanted Power to succeed. They weren’t gimmicky or just selling me a tool to make a commission. This said a lot to me about Cornerstone’s culture.”

Today, Terwilleger recommends PiiQ to other small to mid-sized companies. “I was at an HR roundtable, and a woman said, ‘I hate our performance evaluations.’ I replied, ‘Well, I love mine, and I’ll tell you why. PiiQ is so easy to use, everything is at your fingertips, and I have visibility into every employee’s performance.’”

The Results

Achieved 100% participation in goal setting. Power now has 100% of employees participating in goal setting. "Previously, employee goals were static and rarely updated. But goals change during the year," said Terwilleger. "With PiiQ, it's easier for employees to update their goals and expectations."

Improved employee-manager conversations. Since implementing PiiQ, the quality of feedback has improved, and employees are encouraged to initiate performance discussions. “With Check-ins, status updates are more meaningful and easier to track and reference during the review. As a result, employees are having more conversations with their managers.”

Enabled continuous learning. With PiiQ and CyberU—an integrated online library of thousands of courses—Power employees are continuously learning. “The ability to expand learning opportunities has been huge,” said Terwilleger. “We tell employees that just because you have a job today, doesn’t mean your job’s not going to change. They’re improving their skills all the time.”

Gained insight into manager strengths and weaknesses. With PiiQ’s 360 feedback, Power employees can offer anonymous feedback. An average of three 360 feedback forms were sent to each employee and, of them, eighty-four percent of those were completed. “Sometimes a manager gives a glowing review, but the 360 feedback is 50% positive and 50% ‘needs development.’ That’s an indicator that I need to talk to the manager about their management style or help them if they’re concerned about giving more direct feedback.” 

Increased feedback clarity and accountability. PiiQ has also helped improve feedback clarity and accountability. “I tell employees, if you’re meeting with your manager, what you think you heard and what was actually said can be two different things,” said Terwilleger. “With Check-ins, employees can take thorough notes that the manager must read to complete the Check-in, ensuring that the meeting’s recap captured both what was heard, and what was said.”

Reduced turnover. Offering wide range of learning opportunities and continuous feedback has helped Power retain key talent. “There are more jobs than there are candidates right now. It’s important for me to ensure employees are continuing to learn,” said Terwilleger. 
“It’s hard to show on the bottom line, but our people are more skilled and have a clear view of their career path, and turnover ends up being much lower.”