Baker Tilly Overcomes Biggest Obstacles to Implementing New Performance Management System—Change Management and Adoption

Employee Performance Case Study 

icons2020-industry

Industry

Professional Services

icons2020_comapny_size

Company Size

2,501-5,000

icons2020_location

Location

United States

icons2020_QW-package

Solutions

Engagement and Pulse Surveys, 1-on-1s, Feedback, Goals, Recognition

100% Performance Completion

since rolling out Quantum Workplace software (up from 70%)

10x More Project Evaluations Completed

after implementing Feedback tool

Consistent Decrease in Turnover

since using Quantum Workplace's Performance solution

The Company

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.

The Challenges

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.

  • Performance conversations were only happening one to three times per year.
  • Goals were being set at the beginning of the fiscal year, but weren’t being revisited until the end.
  • The program in place wasn’t helping Baker Tilly's talent develop or progress in their careers.
  • They were just going through the motions of performance conversations.

 

“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:

 

STEP 1: Created a task force to research, develop, and deliver a modern performance management process supported by innovative tools and technology to ensure performance management had a positive impact on business and people outcomes.
 
STEP 2: Developed a Performance Management Advisory Board consisting of senior partners—individuals who had voiced strong opinions on performance management (both champions and naysayers). Ultimately, the task force wanted the naysayers’ opinions and wanted to change their opinions and outlook.
 
STEP 3: Launched a pilot group of approximately 600 employees to test the new platform for six months prior to the firm-wide rollout. During the pilot, Lariosa utilized Quantum Workplace’s pulse surveys tool to gain feedback from the group and inform the team about where adjustments needed to be made to ensure the tool was providing the most value possible to employees.
 
STEP 4: Built a "My Development" intranet site full of training and coaching resources inspired by Quantum Workplace's help library. Resources included videos, FAQs, infographics, and training material. 
 
STEP 5: Created a meme campaign to add excitement to the rollout. Anytime communication went out, it would be complemented by a meme of colleagues—the idea was that relatability would drive interest and engagement, and according to Lariosa, "Employees love them!"
 
STEP 6: Rolled out the performance management program firm-wide 6 months after the pilot.
 
STEP 7: Hosted optional office hours where anyone could ask questions about Quantum Workplace.

 

“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."

The Solution

In order to drive a more modern, feedback-focused performance management program, Baker Tilly uses Quantum Workplace to:
  • Create a culture of continuous, purposeful employee-manager conversations to drive development and career growth
  • Collect robust people data to help the firm in its decision making and analysis—helping them tackle things like turnover and retention
  • Configure their performance management system in a way that works best for the firm, no matter how simple or complex the need
  • Keep goals and performance top of mind all year long
  • Educate key stakeholders and users on product enhancements and best-practices to drive product usage
m-lariosa-orange

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.

Michael Lariosa
Sr. Manager of HR Operations
Baker Tilly, LLP

Want to see the same results?

Book a demo for a custom tour of the most reliable employee success solutions.

Book Your Demo