Can you afford to let your employees’ work suffer by ignoring regular performance reviews? Meet the organization that wisely said, “No.”
With 120 employees spread among four regions coast-to-coast, the public accounting firm CapinCrouse had a goal: to create a uniform evaluation process that could fulfill the firm’s dual-commitment to develop their employees’ professional and personal excellence. Project lead and Senior Manager and National Director of Talent Development Nathan Salsbery knew the challenge. “CPA work is time-consuming and highly demanding. Unless you intentionally stop, reflect, and evaluate where you’re going, professional and personal growth won’t happen—and then the quality of work suffers. Some of our regions were over-evaluating, which took time from client work, while other regions did only an annual evaluation, which did not provide timely feedback to our people to help their growth. Could we design a systematic, equitable review process that created a work culture that helped our people meet high, consistent expectations in the context of valuing ‘the whole person’?’”
Salsbery wisely selected a few key partners and managers with a heart for mentoring and coaching from each region. Quarterly conference calls generated buy-in, a bounty of best practices, and a set of baseline expectations for each region, which created added value for the firm. Guided by a global consulting firm serving Christian ministries, Salsbery and his colleagues crafted five open-ended questions that revealed employees’ “positive,” “negative,” and “neutral” preferences for shaping a more intentional mentoring/coaching initiative they launched in 2010.
“Our employees’ increasingly positive experiences about their self-evaluation process has helped continue to change our perception of ourselves as a firm of four separate regions to one company with a unified vision for optimizing our workplace performance as well as personal growth.” Another discovery: Salsbery’s commitment to seek input from partners and managers revealed that senior staff and supervisors generally felt disconnected from their peers in the other three regions. “As a result,” says Salsbery, “this May, for the first time, we’re bringing all senior staff and supervisors together so they can build upon their own best practices. Through the shared efforts of mentors and coaches throughout CapinCrouse, we’ve created a tool that’s helping all employees stop and assess one’s progress, sharpen one’s performance, and affirm one’s worth as a person.”
And talk about total involvement: 100% of CapinCrouse’s full-time audit, tax, and consulting team members participated in the firm’s performance review process.