Kearney & Company Fosters Professionalism, Best Talent with SilkRoad

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SilkRoad Performance Results

  • More than 92% of performance reviews are completed on time.
  • Employees are highly engaged with the company, as a result of a more frequent review process.
  • Employees are better connected to their supervisors, even when working off-site, through SilkRoad Performance’s Web-based solution for mobile workforces.
  • Kearney is recognized as the “Best Place to Work” by Accounting Today, Washington Business Journal, and Virginia Business publications.

Background

As a CPA firm established in 1985, Kearney & Company (Kearney) was founded upon strong ethical ideals, standards, and processes. Headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, the company exclusively serves the Federal Government.

Six years ago, Kearney & Company had less than 100 employees, a number which has swelled to 450 and growing today. Many of the company’s employees work on client sites anywhere in the US, and sometimes even abroad.

Challenges

  • Establish a consistent and organized performance review process to support a fast-growing, fast-paced professional services organization.
  • Identify an automated, Web-based performance management system that would give mobile, remotely located employees access anywhere at any time.
  • Institute employee goal tracking and more frequent reviews at six months, a year, and after client engagements.

The company currently has 450 employees, but finds itself growing so rapidly that the number changes weekly. With such rapid growth, the company found its needs and demands changing quickly when it came to performance reviews. Kearney evolved from being able to handle all of its performance reviews via e-mail and spreadsheets, to finding themselves overwhelmed with the process as it became inconsistent and disorganized.

“We realized our growth was going to continue, and we needed to find a product that would meet our needs related to company-wide performance review processes, and that would continue to expand and grow as the organization continues to get larger,” said Erin Ogburn, Director of Human Resources, Kearney & Company.

Kearney required a system that could handle all types of movement, while allowing them the flexibility to review a variety of positions and areas of the business. As an added challenge, many of Kearney & Company’s employees work at client locations and travel regularly across the United States, so the company needed a web-based solution that could be accessed anywhere.

Kearney & Company had previously tried to launch a goal-setting initiative within the company without an integrated system and found it to be extremely difficult. Employees had also mentioned they were dissatisfied that they could not easily reflect back on their review process from the previous year, or set and track goals for the upcoming year. Without being able to reference performance or goals from previous years, employees struggled to find relevancy in their evaluations from year to year.

Solution

SilkRoad Performance supports Kearney & Company’s culture of excellence, fostering professionalism in the workforce and exceeding the expectations of managers and employees alike.

Kearney & Company began its search for a solution that could provide a consistent and organized review process throughout the company, as well as assistance in setting goals for employees. After looking at several solutions, the company selected SilkRoad Performance.

“We looked at solutions that ranged from simple to more complex, including some that were probably better suited for much larger organizations than ours,” said Ogburn. “When it came down to it, SilkRoad Performance was the perfect fit for our company. In the final weeks of making decisions it was glaringly obvious that SilkRoad was for us. It was a very easy decision.”

We are a professional services firm in a competitive market, and we must hire the very best talent. Our consistent, equitable appraisal process through SilkRoad Performance gives candidates confidence that Kearney is the right choice for them.
– Erin Ogburn, Director of Human Resources, Kearney & Company

How They Use It

At Kearney & Company, every employee uses SilkRoad Performance and must login to the system within their first six months at the company. The system is used in multiple ways:

  • Every employee has a six-month review process, which is conducted in SilkRoad Performance. The employee completes a form that the supervisor then reviews. That form is then used as a discussion point during the review session. Employees also set three goals for use during the remainder of their first year of employment with Kearney.
  • Employees also use SilkRoad Performance regularly as a post-engagement review tool after completing an engagement with a client. The company’s employees change engagements frequently, and Kearney & Company wants to ensure team members are receiving feedback on a regular basis. They have a basic and short performance review form that follows the end of each engagement, completed in SilkRoad Performance, allowing employees to rate themselves. Their supervisor or manager reviews the form and provides comments, after which the two then meet and discuss the review.
  • Kearney & Company also has a yearly review process for all employees in the spring. All employees fill out an initial self-assessment in SilkRoad, which allows for both comments and numerical performance ratings. The company has created 12 different self-evaluation forms to suit different levels as well as various areas of the business. Employees complete their self-evaluation forms and again the supervisor or manager reviews them and meets with the employee to discuss them. These forms are then used to determine compensation and title changes. During this annual review process, employees also set goals to be completed by the following review period. 
  • In order to enhance the current goal setting process, Kearney has added a mid-year goal setting period in which employees will utilize SilkRoad Performance to revisit, update, and discuss goals with a manager or supervisor.

All reviews are added to employee personnel files and used in the next annual review process to track employees’ progress over the previous year. The company encourages employees to note any feedback from clients, coworkers, supervisors, and professional contacts into their personal journal in SilkRoad Performance to later incorporate in their self-assessment form during the annual review process.

Glowing Performance Review For SilkRoad

After implementing SilkRoad Performance, the company found itself saving significant hours of work by eliminating the administration of reviews via email. As an added benefit, SilkRoad also made the review process consistent across the company. SilkRoad Performance was credited with a significant reduction in review process errors—most employees now meet the overall annual review process deadlines. Previous to SilkRoad Performance, a missed deadline may have gone unnoticed or not been followed up for several weeks. With SilkRoad, the company now has a standard process of workflow for performance reviews.

In addition, Kearney & Company can now create and edit their own forms, allowing them to target forms to different areas of the company and positions, while easily adapting the system to company growth and change. With this ability, they can make small changes and edits on their forms easily to ensure each position can be reviewed properly and consistently across the company. This provides the flexibility to have different types of reviews.

“The company now has the flexibility to create many different forms, and in an organization in which we have different business units with different focuses as well as employees at different levels, we do need the flexibility to offer different types of forms,” said Ogburn. “The fact that our system is web-based as well is really important to us, because our employees are travelling often, may be on the road, and are on client sites, so we need for them to be able to access SilkRoad Performance wherever they are.”

“Many of our employees work off-site and at times felt disconnected when it came to the review process. We needed a web-based solution that would help us to bridge that gap and keep employees connected and engaged in the process all year.”

Using the web-based solution helped the company’s employees feel more connected to the process and their supervisor, even when their supervisor worked from another site. Employees now know when they need to complete their forms and when they will hear from their supervisor. SilkRoad Performance removed the “disconnect in the review process,” and moved Kearney & Company to a focal (or common) review date.

Two of the major benefits the company has realized are the consistent performance review process (six month review, yearly review, and post-engagement review) and the ability to store information. Employees can now login to the system and review forms as well as their goals. The system also has organized the information and allows employees to be able to reference their review forms whenever they want to.

“Employees love it. They really appreciate consistency, and with this system they are assured that once they complete their form and hit submit, it will be sent to the right people. They like that they know the timeline for the process and that we follow it. SilkRoad enables every part of the annual performance review process to happen on time, and that is really important,” added Ogburn.

As an added benefit, the system allowed Kearney to finally set up a goal-setting process for their employees, which employees can reference at any time. The company went from not having goal setting for any employees to now having the majority of employees using SilkRoad to track performance-related goals.

“SilkRoad Performance has allowed us to have a goal-setting process that we didn’t really have before, because we just didn’t have the capability. Originally we tried to launch goal setting without the system and it was really rough. Now employees can reference, update, and change their goals, and create notes in their journals for themselves.”

Kearney & Company administers annual surveys to gauge satisfaction with the review process, and prior to SilkRoad Performance the company received “a lot of complaints during the review process,” with many employees noting they were not happy with the current review experience.

Erin has found that employees feel Kearney & Company is more dedicated to the performance review process and they are better informed about their performance because of the consistency of SilkRoad and the programs put in place.

“People say ‘because of SilkRoad and the implementation of the program, we now feel more self-assured about the result and the outcomes of our performance review processes’.”

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Quick Stats At A Glance: Employees Are Highly Satisfied With SilkRoad Performance

In surveys of Kearney’s workforce:

  • More than 90% of respondents say SilkRoad Performance is easy to use.
  • 95% of respondents did not experience any difficulties with SilkRoad during their annual performance review process.
  • More than 80% of respondents will use SilkRoad as a valuable tool to track performance-related information and goals throughout the year.
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