(Today’s post is sponsored by SilkRoad technology. I recently shared with you information about their OpenHire and RedCarpet products and how one of their clients was using them with terrific results. I then asked SilkRoad what happens once a person is hired – how can a company develop talent – and this is what they shared with me.)
Having a performance management system is the dream of every HR professional. The automated performance evaluation component alone can eliminate a ton of manual tracking and many weekend filing parties. But there is so much more to performance management systems than just automated evaluations.
That’s what impressed me when I checked out WingSpan. This solution offers so much more than just online performance appraisals. And while saving a bunch of trees is a worthwhile goal, the real value of a performance management system is in the results – for the company, the manager and most of all, the employee.
The other thing that impressed me with WingSpan was the scalability and flexibility of the system. In my career, I’ve worked for smaller organizations as well as others that were quite large. I’ve seen both the mentality of “We’re a small business. We don’t need that.” along with “We’re a large company with unique needs. We need a customized solution.” WingSpan addresses both.
Companies have the ability to transform their brand into quantifiable competencies that can be used to evaluate performance. If you already have defined competencies, great – they are easily integrated into WingSpan. If you need to write some, no worries – WingSpan has a library of standard competencies to help you craft some.
Once your competencies have been defined, managers are able to use this information in assessing performance. WingSpan has a flexible assessment tool that allows a range of options. For example, let’s say your organization conducts the traditional manager-employee evaluation. The assessment tool allows both the manager and employee to complete the assessment.
Now let’s say your organization has more of a matrix structure – a customer service manager reports to both the general manager of their location and the vice president of customer service for the company. WingSpan’s assessment tool allows both the GM and VP to complete the assessment (as well as the employee.)
For organizations using a multi-rater assessment, WingSpan can accommodate that as well. It also allows you to gather feedback from outside the company – meaning you could include direct client feedback in an account executive’s assessment. Very cool!
From my human resources experience, one of the challenges I’ve seen in writing performance feedback are the comments. Knowing exactly the right words to say to describe behavior. Since it’s virtually impossible to help every single person write their appraisals, WingSpan has a built-in Writing Assistant to offer some suggestions.
I’ve always said the real value in the performance management process is talking about the future. And WingSpan addresses this with a goal planning component. Employees are able to set goals using this feature and managers can monitor their progress. I’ve seen many employees leave a performance conversation jazzed about their goals only to get distracted by the daily operation. And their manager is right there with them. Then months later, they both look at each other with the “oops, we forgot” facial expression. Having an automated goal setting/monitoring component totally alleviates the “oops.”
It also gives senior leadership a way to ensure that everyone’s goals are in complete alignment. We all know the key to business success is to have the company’s goals become the manager’s goals which in turn become the employee’s goals. Everyone is working toward the same outcome. And employees can see how their individual goals help the company succeed – yep, the entire foundation for employee engagement. WingSpan permits users to see how individual goals cascade and connect to each other.
Oh, and on a side note: WingSpan uses SMART goals. Have I told you how much I love SMART goals?! Anyone who has worked with me knows I’m a SMART goal freak.
So WingSpan benefits the company by keeping everyone on the same page. Managers can easily track the goals and performance of their employees. So what about employees? What’s in it for them?
Well, WingSpan takes all of the data collected and turns it into a very cool report. It shows all of the competencies and an employee’s strength in each. Employees can use this to decide upon activities they want to do in order to improve. And WingSpan has a library of over 17,000 learning activities employees can use to enhance their skills.
This is the trifecta of solutions – excellent for the employee, good for the manager, and a win for the company. Companies are also able to use the data in WingSpan for replacement planning and succession planning purposes. Many organizations view succession planning as a luxury. WingSpan places it as a natural part of the process – exactly where it should be.
If you want to learn more about WingSpan, check out the SilkRoad website or read their blog. You can also connect with them on Facebook or Twitter. And if you’re attending the SHRM Annual Conference in Las Vegas next week, stop by booth 1739 and ask for some info. Tell them the HR Bartender sent you.2