9 out of 10

employees found participating in the program to be valuable

9 out of 10

would recommend the new program to others

6-Point Increase

in client NPS

The Company

As one of the 15 largest U.S. accounting and advisory firms, BKD knows what it takes to help clients reach their goals.

The firm has 40 offices in 18 states, with approximately 2,900 dedicated professionals who offer solutions for clients in all 50 states and internationally. BKD's expertise goes well beyond the standard accounting services to include risk management, technology, wealth management, and forensic and valuation services. Its clients represent a wide range of industries, and the firm is even part of an alliance of firms that gives it global reach.

The Challenge

In an ever-changing industry where talent retention has become a competitive advantage, BKD knew it needed to reinvent its performance management strategy to engage employees and elevate employee and business success.

Like many organizations, BKD used traditional and time-consuming performance management approaches to have critical employee conversations.

Employees participated in an annual appraisal, consisting of a competency evaluation and information gathered about their individual contributions to BKD’s success. They overwhelmingly found that the work involved in preparing for the appraisal was tedious and time-consuming. More time was spent on completing the necessary form than focusing on meaningful conversations about employee growth and development.

The negative impact on the business was also noticeable. The firm spent over $22 million in coaching/managerial time per year. In 2018, 70% of this time was spent on the appraisal process, while only 30% was spent on regular coaching discussions throughout the year. BKD knew something needed to change in its process to better serve its employees and provide them with resources to drive their career path.

The Solution

BKD knew that it was imperative to implement an effective performance management solution that would drive frequent and meaningful coaching conversations. A transformation in its performance management processes could drive employee engagement, increase performance, and help with employees’ goal achievement.

BKD used its employee engagement survey data to inform its performance management strategy by identifying what would most effectively engage employees.

Based on its findings, BKD implemented 1-on-1s. Within this tool, templates were created to efficiently drive quarterly conversations between career coaches and employees, encouraging regular touchpoints and more meaningful discussion about goals and development.


“It’s more of an outline to drive the conversation rather than a tool to document everything you know and avoid the need to talk,” BKD's Managing Director & CHRO, Julie Cummings, says. “The purpose is not to complete the form but to guide the conversation.”


BKD took this same approach with feedback, providing employees with a tool they could use to give and request real-time feedback to ensure employees were on the right path for their career success. With the tool, employees could gather input from different perspectives, including from a 360° view, to provide them with a deeper self-awareness, better relationships, and professional development acceleration.

As its performance strategy evolves, BKD continues to integrate employees into the process. Using Quantum Workplace’s pulse survey tool, BKD continuously captures and listens to its employees’ voices. This approach keeps its initiatives agile and transformed its strategy for employee, team, and business success.

In order to enable greater performance and increased engagement, BKD uses Quantum Workplace's employee success platform to:
  • Promote agile, continuous coaching to employees
  • Build an inclusive feedback culture for more frequent and meaningful conversations
  • Encourage employee-owned development and growth
  • Link employee engagement efforts to performance management initiatives for more informed decisions and continuous improvement


of employees are proud to work for BKD


of employees believe that BKD's people-first culture drives their overall success.


1-on-1 coaching conversations launched
Julie Cummings from BKD
As an HR department, we've been focused on remaining agile in rolling out new performance initiatives, and Quantum Workplace has been the perfect partner in that process. Their ability to provide strategic insight on our changing needs was the key to success during this process.

Julie Cummings
Managing Director & CHRO
BKD CPAs & Advisors

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