As a leading advisory CPA firm, Baker Tilly knows that its talent is its biggest lever for business success. Without its people, there would be no Baker Tilly.
Relationships are the foundation of the firm. Its team members are dedicated to creating meaningful experiences with clients to solve their most pressing problems and seize opportunities.
To ensure the success of its clients, the firm understands it must also drive the success of its employees—creating a foundation in which they can develop and grow in a dynamic, innovative, and competitive industry.
Traditional. Antiquated. Cumbersome. Baker Tilly knew its decade-old performance management program was not serving its employees or its rapidly growing firm.
“Our story is similar to a lot of other organizations,” said Michael Lariosa, Baker Tilly’s Senior Manager of HR Operations. “We were dealing with a performance management tool that was ineffective. Our program was further hindered by homegrown technology that slowed down our success. It was prescriptive, unconfigurable, and didn’t meet the needs of our different business units.”
The firm’s engagement survey consistently showed the same theme—that its performance management program didn’t add enough value for employees.
“Our leadership recognized that they needed to do a better job of putting our people first. How were we supporting our people and their development if we didn’t have the foundational things to support them? We identified performance management as a big area we could impact. So, we went to work to find a solution,” Lariosa said.
Already partnering with Quantum Workplace for years on its employee engagement strategy, the firm felt confident that the software company could also deliver with its performance solution. It wasn’t the actual implementation of the new performance platform that worried Lariosa. It was the change management and training needed to drive successful adoption that seemed overwhelming.
"We weren't just rolling out new tools," Lariosa said. "We were building an entirely new culture built on feedback and coaching."
In order to manage the change effectively, Baker Tilly decided to use a very simple and purposeful approach to its performance management program rollout. “We weren’t going to turn on the fire hose and give everything to our team members. We kept it simple in order to make the program sustainable,” said Lariosa.
Here’s how Lariosa’s team successfully managed the rollout:
“The thing that I love about Quantum Workplace is your library is amazing—the resources and content that you build, curate, and continue to update because it’s technology (so you’re constantly changing)," said Lariosa. "You update the library pretty quickly and exhaustively, so that’s awesome! That made me feel good that I had the resources to help us navigate the training needs we have, but also people think I’m the expert—like I’ve had some sort of special training with Quantum Workplace. But it’s all thanks to your help library.”
Staying focused on the goal to not overwhelm employees, the actual rollout of each tool was just as intentional. Lariosa’s team first introduced the Feedback tool to help build the foundation for a feedback culture. “We wanted employees to request performance feedback, and if they received constructive feedback, we wanted them to be comfortable with it. A lot of organizations struggle with anonymity of feedback, but we wanted folks to trust in the feedback and the process,” said Lariosa.” “We really wanted to motivate our workforce to have continuous, meaningful conversations about performance throughout the year.”
Next, the team introduced 1-on-1s to deliver a more formal, annual performance review on top of the continuous feedback. Next, Goals was launched. Employees were asked to create 2-3 active developmental goals that directly tied to the firm’s business strategy. Then, they could create one optional, personal goal focused on health and self-improvement. “The tool allows goals to be fluid,” said Lariosa. “Goals can shift as priorities shift. Our employees create their goals and work with their coach to develop and discuss them. And they can easily track and measure progress.”
Following Feedback, 1-on-1s, and Goals, Baker Tilly also launched Recognition as a platform for public celebration of employee success. The firm hopes to roll out Talent Reviews soon to help leadership proactively make talent decisions that help the firm grow and succeed.
"After our first year utilizing Quantum Workplace's performance management solution, we had the best year we've had in decades," Lariosa said. "I'm confident that it was one of the factors that contributed to our stellar success."
We want to be able to compel our coaches and team members to have meaningful conversations, and Quantum Workplace allows us to do that because the technology isn’t in the way. It’s not too complicated, and it’s easy to use. I have been in HR technology for over 20 years. I’ve seen lots of performance management systems, and this is by far my favorite because it’s so configurable and supports many different use cases.
Sr. Manager of HR Operations
Baker Tilly, LLP
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