Looking Forward to Performance Conversations: An OpaConnect® Success Story

One of OpaConnect®’s clients, Kids’ Country, effused they finally look forward to performance conversations. OpaConnect® is a progressive performance management platform that brings company conversations to life while everyone in the organization feels connected to the overall mission.

Kids’ Country has been engaging their employees on OpaConnect® for a year now. Executive Director, Stacy Litteral, shared their success and dramatic results with us.  They have learned how much an organization can be transformed by implementing OpaConnect®.

Kids’ Country is a nonprofit organization that provides enriching programs for kids and families that are both educational and fun. The organization’s spirit, leadership style and culture at Kids’ Country calls for an open,  transparent and empowered work environment. Stacy and her team turned to OpaConnect® for a strategic performance management solution, and the results have been “a dream come true.”

Your Product is Your People

“In a service-based business, your product is your people,” Stacy says. Quality of service translates to the quality of your people. Kids’ Country has boosted engagement since using OpaConnect®, offering what Stacy describes as “a way to give regular and consistent feedback in a supported way.”

“Staff are more engaged, happier and fulfilled. They now clearly understand their impact and their worth. Those are happier employees that in turn have happier programs for happier kids. With 200 staff at 15 locations, it’s a challenge to get everyone on the same train going in the same direction, and OpaConnect® has made a huge impact on that.”

TRUST – a Golden Ticket for Strong Company Culture

For Stacy, transparency = trust. The culture of trust at Kids’ Country is built on mutual respect and open communication. “It’s important to me that all levels of the organization understand where and why decisions are made, and that’s how we build trust,” she says.

In an operational culture of collaboration and accountability, everybody’s voice and feedback matters. “It’s not uncommon for a teacher assistant in a first job to come up with an idea that ends up on my desk and gets adopted. We’re proud that we value every voice and every good idea.”

Building that trust is really important, and the best way to do that is through transparency where everyone has a voice and voices are shared,  A key point made by Stacy for those organizations with millennial staff:  “Young workers appreciate the collaborative two-way dialogue. Our younger staff are loving OpaConnect®.

Performance Conversations to Look Forward To

At Kids’ Country they look forward to performance conversations. Their culture of transparency has demystified the performance evaluation process. Compared to the old paper process, Stacy explains, “It’s efficient, it’s fun, it’s a time for people to boast about what they’re doing. Feedback is given with an eye on helping that person improve and identifying opportunities for growth on an ongoing basis. As a supervisor, I find myself asking ‘how can I support you in achieving this goal?’”

OpaConnect® eliminates number rating and uses simple references, of “Behind, On Track or Ahead”.   It’s a perfect solution for the Kids’ Country culture, where Stacy says “for us, behind doesn’t necessarily mean you’re failing, it just means you’re not there yet. We use this tool to drive professional growth and development, not to drive discipline.”

Retention

The Kids’ Country strategic plan focuses on retention, employee morale and engagement. “Recruiting and retaining quality staff is a challenge in any company.” says Stacy. To help with retention, they’re implementing a pay-for-performance model this fiscal year – something that was a 5-year goal just a year ago. The paperless efficiency of OpaConnect® provided the systematic performance tracking that made that possible.

“I think that this tool is going to drastically reduce our turnover. Moving to a pay-for-performance structure, with regular conversations and informal feedback – those are going to affect our employee morale. It already has, and I only see it getting better. And that’s money: not having to recruit, rehire and retrain is money savings.”

Options4Growth & OpaConnect®

 

 

 

 

ReBoot the 360

Managing people is a complex endeavor. Given the right combination of people, interpersonal skills, cultural dynamics and motivation, a company can create a happy, productive, engaged workforce. That kind of success doesn’t happen by accident. It takes the right executed approach. The “360” performance review concept, when first introduced, opened up a new, fresh approach to managing. By polling an employee’s direct reports, peers and even customers, gathering diverse opinions from different perspectives, a company could gain new insight into its people.

After years in practice, though, the 360 review has revealed its flaws. People providing feedback often don’t know enough about an employee’s day-to-day work, challenges and responsibilities. As a result, comments can tend to be personality-based, as opposed to a valuable additional perspective. This feedback can even be damaging and misguided.

Disrupting the 360 Model

The first step in steering the 360 back on course is to get clear on what matters. What’s germane in a 360 review? Here are some fundamentals:

Continue reading “ReBoot the 360”