By engaging PeopleGoal, the Ataway team has achieved its goal of standardizing performance processes in one built-for-purpose yet customizable solution.
Ataway is a global consulting company founded in 2000, specializing in process and systems projects for large multinational companies. Ataway is a dynamic and agile firm, focused on delivering quality to their customers wherever they are. With highly skilled teams located in 19 business hubs around the world, Ataway has been involved in projects in 35+ countries providing business process reengineering, business transformation and BI, finance, SCM, Lean Six Sigma, systems implementation and more. The combination of strong expertise, start-up mentality and global presence makes them unique in their industry – resulting in high quality project delivery and a robust phase of company growth.
Bibiana Mercuri is Ataway’s Talent Director and oversees international HR for the company’s 450 collaborators. Along with Global HR Director, Philippe Hebert, Bibiana recounts what performance management looked like prior to engaging PeopleGoal and explains how performance processes are being transformed at Ataway. Here’s their story:
Bibiana explains that before she connected with PeopleGoal in 2017, performance management had been a manual process reserved only for Ataway’s company directors.
Trying to manage performance for company directors without one proper system in place created a huge amount of admin and inefficiency. Most offices were using Excel but others had some form of technology solution - we had a mix of everything which made it impossible to get a clear view of performance over time.
According to Bibiana, it was this lack of consistency that created the biggest challenge in performance management terms:
To achieve any level of consistency, managers had to first collect feedback manually and then consolidate it which involved multiple phone calls and emails. It was really arduous - not to mention unpopular.
Elaborating on Bibiana’s comments, Philippe says differing levels of performance maturity in local markets had also contributed to the non-uniform setup:
In addition to the inconsistent approaches to performance - in some instances completely manual and in others part-manual - we also had the added challenge of working with local markets at varying degrees of performance maturity. For some countries performance management was a completely new thing and that calls for an entirely different approach compared with more mature markets.
Speaking to the other performance management challenges faced by the Ataway team, Bibiana cites the complexity involved with reporting - something that was made even more problematic due to the project nature of Ataway’s business.
Matrix reporting was really difficult and that’s something we really needed because our employees typically work on more than one project at a time and so often report to a number of different managers. With our existing processes, we had no way to account for these multiple dimensions. We really needed a change - and that meant digitizing performance management within one system across all our markets.
In 2017, Bibiana started her search for a solution that would support better outcomes for people and business. She created a shortlist of ten performance management providers and began her approaches - one of which landed in the inbox of PeopleGoal Founder & CEO, Nikolaos Lygkonis. Nik gave Bibiana a demo of the platform that same week - and she was impressed by both its depth of functionality and ease of configuration.
I sat through a number of demos but PeopleGoal stood out for its ease of configuration. It can be moulded to the unique needs and variables within a given organization or team and for a global company like Ataway that was really important.
Struck by the depth of functionality that PeopleGoal offered compared with other providers, Bibiana says she was particularly impressed by the platform’s ease of use, matrix reporting capabilities and multi-language interface:
It was also clear to me that PeopleGoal had a greater depth of functionality versus other providers I’d spoken with. The reporting is especially valuable to us as it consolidates the various different facets of performance data into one dashboard.
When asked about her biggest “must-have” with regards to the chosen solution, Bibiana says this was multiple dimension reporting. Specifically, and because Ataway employees often have more than one line manager, Bibiana needed a performance management system that could gather employee feedback and evaluations from multiple managers.
Most tools I looked at could only compute feedback from one manager about one employee. PeopleGoal was the only tool that could extend this to multiple managers evaluating one employee. It enables us to set goals by projects independent of career or personal goals.
Three years after engaging PeopleGoal, the Ataway team has achieved its goal of standardizing performance processes in one built-for-purpose yet customizable solution. PeopleGoal was first rolled out across Ataway’s offshore teams (120 employees who implement support and development services) and the company’s remaining 200 employees will be onboard by January 2021.
Asked about the biggest benefits to date, Bibiana says:
Standardization for sure. We now have one uniform system for quarterly reviews, goal-setting and check-ins - for the first time that gives us all the information we need in one snapshot.
So what do Ataway’s employees think of the PeopleGoal platform? Bibiana says it has been universally well received:
Employee feedback has been very positive. They very much appreciate having everything in one place so they can view their own evaluations, recognitions and feedback side-by-side. I’d say that for the first time our people have an holistic view of their own performance development.
Expanding on the elements that have been most popular with employees, Bibiana adds:
They especially love the 360 feedback functionality in PeopleGoal. That’s definitely proven most popular along with the recognition tool.
Both Bibiana and Philippe agree that another key objective - to make performance management a fair playing field - is also being achieved and delivering real value:
PeopleGoal ensures a consistently good experience for employees irrespective of their location or other variables. An employee in our Shanghai office will now go through the same processes as an employee in our Buenos Aires office. That makes for a much fairer playing field and it enables us to benchmark performance for the first time across different geographies.
The PeopleGoal platform has not only improved performance management for employees at Ataway, however - it is also improving processes for managers. Bibiana explains:
The platform is helping our managers to be more transparent and consistent with their evaluations because they can now compare employees side by side. That’s not something they could do before and they really like that.
The biggest benefit to date according to Philippe? The ability to customize performance processes by company and/or team:
We haven’t had to adapt our processes to suit the tool because the platform can be configured to work with our existing processes. That has made the implementation process a whole lot easier.
Bibiana has also really enjoyed the collaborative element of working with the PeopleGoal team:
It’s very much a collaborative partnership. From the very beginning I got the sense we were working together to create a custom solution that works for our business. The team is always on hand to support and answer questions - as a customer that’s been invaluable.
Looking to the future, Philippe says Ataway will focus on bringing the rest of its workforce onto PeopleGoal in the coming months - a process that will involve varying degrees of change management depending on the performance maturity of specific markets. According to Philippe, the months ahead will be about “creating a climate of trust” by letting both managers and employees know what is expected of them.
There will certainly be a level of change management and education required and we’ll be using some of the useful training videos within PeopleGoal to help us with this. It’s an important element of the roll out program because it will build the fundamental building blocks for lasting and effective change in performance terms.
Asked what he’s most excited to use in the PeopleGoal platform over the year ahead, Philippe says:
Definitely being able to link individual employee performance with wider business outcomes. I’m really looking forward to being able to connect the dots in that regard and compare those metrics. That’s when performance management will really become a decision support tool for Ataway.
Adding to Philippe’s comments, Bibiana says she’s optimistic that PeopleGoal will also play a key role in building company culture:
To learn more about PeopleGoal’s HR app engine for SMEs and how it can support engagement, development and performance in your organization, get in touch with our team.