How We Got 98% of Our Employees to Complete Self-Evaluations
The annual performance review isn’t glamorous, but when HR is able to show a 98%, on-time, completion rate it begins to sparkle.
Employee Self-Evaluations at WalkMe
I sat down with the WalkMe Global Head of Human Resources, Jodi Yanovich, to discuss the strategy her team pursued to engage employees throughout the process.
By using WalkMe’s own technology, 98% of employees finished their self-evaluations on time, and 100% were complete the following week.
This is the second instance that we have shared our in-house strategy of using WalkMe to improve our performance. True to the nature of our name, here at WalkMe, we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk.
Employee Evaluation and Completion Rate
Boaz: WalkMe doubled in size over the last year and we now have over 400 employees spread across six countries. I know that HR is putting even more resources into recruiting and our goal is to double again. How has this massive growth changed how you manage all of these people?
Jodi: As a fast growing start-up, up until about six months ago we managed our human capital using excel spreadsheets and a basic payroll system. As the company started growing, we realized that in order to efficiently manage our global workforce, and be able to provide management with employment data, we needed to transition all employee information to a Digital HR Platform.
We looked into a number of systems, checking various criteria. For example, it was important for us to find a system that supported payroll in the US, something cloud based that would allow easy access from anywhere, a system with appealing UI, flexible enough to support various global and local HR processes and a system that could support a growing workforce.
We eventually decided upon ADP’s Workforce Now and began implementation in November.
Boaz: What were the first goals set for using Workforce Now? I know that in mid-December we were asked to do two things: log into the system and update our emergency contact information. How did that go?
Jodi: Our number one priority was to transition payroll in the US to the new system. For employees whose paycheck depended on them logging into the system, there were few if any issues. Our concern was that things would fall through the cracks, but this turned out to be a very smooth process. ADP made it really easy.
But in countries where employees’ paychecks were not dependent on them logging into the system, less than half completed the task on time. We announced it in meetings, told managers to remind their employees, sent an email. Eventually, we had to physically go to employees and, unfortunately, nag them to get things done.
What this first objective made clear was that the hurdle would always be motivating employees to take action, when they didn’t see their personal or immediate benefit from it.
Boaz: I know that the next goal was to conduct the annual performance review using ADP, beginning with self-evaluations. With your experience from the first objective, and having a better idea of what challenges you would face, what did you expect out of the next objective?
Jodi: Although we knew that many employees and managers were anticipating the process, we were concerned that when it came down to it, we’d encounter some push back. This is a time-consuming process that requires employees and managers to step aside from their busy schedules.
Also, using a new system always requires some training and we were concerned that employees and managers would be frustrated by having to take time to go through training sessions.
Looking at industry best-practices, and taking into account that this was a first time process, we set a goal of 85% of employees completing their self-evaluations.
Boaz: And just to give some context, what is the value of having 100% of WalkMe’s employees complete self-evaluations? Why is this important for the company? And why should it be important for employees too?
Jodi: Self-evaluations ensure that we stick to our open-door policy during the employee appraisal process, which is a big part of working at WalkMe. It’s also a benchmark for career development and the formal process aligns employee and company goals.
Having 98% complete on time means people were really engaged in the process. Usually, that doesn’t happen. Having 100% complete one week after the deadline is unheard of.
For management, we’re looking for data. One example would be that we want to know how many of our employees are star performers. If you only have 85% of employees completing this process, you lose your chance to really see that number.
Boaz: Tell me about how you came to use WalkMe for the self-evaluations. What was the setup process like? What did it look like for the end users?
Jodi: We realized that the answer was right in front of our eyes, it was an obvious choice for engaging employees.
WalkMe’s Professional Services team held a meeting with us to understand our needs and goals, and then put together two Walk-Thrus, one to guide managers through the process and another to guide employees, that day.
They also created a ShoutOut using EngageMe which meant that when employees opened their email, they found a pop up asking them to fill out their Performance Review. By clicking on the pop-up, the performance review screen automatically opened and they could use the Walk-Thru to quickly complete the process.
Boaz: And what were the results?
Jodi: Like I said before, we expected to find ourselves nagging employees and constantly explaining the importance of the process—but to our complete surprise, 98% of the employees completed their performance reviews by the deadline and a week later 100% of the employees had completed the process.
What’s more is that the questions we received during the process were related to the actual questions asked in the performance review, but there were barely any questions about the process itself, because the Walk-Thru took care of that.
The feedback on using WalkMe was very positive. As expected with this being a first time process, we did receive some feedback on the actual questions asked in the performance review, and have received some suggestions on how employees and managers would like us to adjust the format in the future— but with regards to the actual process, the feedback was extremely positive.
Boaz: Is it safe to say that WalkMe made it possible to focus on the substance of the self-evaluations rather than the process?
Boaz: How much time did WalkMe save your team? And are there any other benefits that come from completing the self-evaluation process as fast as you did?
Jodi: I don’t have an exact number, but we could start calculating it by adding up all the time it would have taken to track down employees who hadn’t finished which is immediately complicated because we have offices all over the world.
Look, if just using email alone worked, we wouldn’t have had any problem to begin with. But it doesn’t, so we have to find more creative ways to reach out to employees and take them through the process. That was a lot of the effort that the Walk-Thru and ShoutOut took on for us.
So the WalkMe element saved us a lot of hassle and time – including the time we would have spent after the deadline trying to get even more people to complete the project.
Instead, and this is that benefit you’re looking for, we were able to move on to other projects like salary updates and our massive recruiting effort.
Boaz: Any closing thoughts you’d like to share?
Jodi: Just that because we used WalkMe, the whole process was much easier than we expected, especially so considering this was the first time we did this process.
WalkMe pioneered the Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) for organizations to utilize the full potential of their digital assets. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, WalkMe adds a dynamic user interface layer to raise the digital literacy of all users.
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