Trakstar CEO, Julie Rieken, had a discussion with UWT Logistics. Great story about positive performance appraisal success. UWT Logistics is a world leader in supply chain services. They help manufacturers store, control, and transport products.
At UWT, they do online performance appraisals twice each year on anniversary dates. One is a touch base, thanks, high-five, go get ‘em…and the second one is all that, PLUS the opportunity for a merit increase.
A few years ago, an outside consultant recommended that UWT look for a more interactive, comprehensive way of approaching performance and move away from manager only, less interactive appraisals.
Now, UWT has a system that is more interactive and comprehensive than what they had before.
The surprise in the success
Line level employees embraced online appraisals first. Some of them said, “I haven’t had a performance review in 3 years.” Some may have assumed that admins – employees with desk jobs and more computer time would be the ones to adopt things first.
In the end, more people overall embraced it than they expected. The rollout wasn’t bumpy, John says. “But it wasn’t easy, either.” People were glad to get feedback, even if it was critical. The online document provided a place to start a conversation.
UWT believes good employees like structure, they want to know the rules, and they want the truth even if it stings in the moment. He says employees look forward to their appraisals. They know when appraisals are coming. Without them, employees may fear, “If no one ever tells me anything, I don’t know what to do to get better. Or get promoted.”
How do you get them to do it?
UWT says, “First, we have a culture of performance.” Appraisals are expected. Everyone gets one, no matter who you are. So, everyone is in the same boat.
Second, “I have an intricate system of prompts if someone is late, even by a day. Employee is notified, manager is notified, manager’s manager is notified, I’m notified, you get it,” UWT laughs. “It’s a system of collective accountability.” If there is a reason for getting behind, he’s there to help. But, it’s expected for people to be done on time.
Last, UWT uses the system to help with merit increases.
The performance culture was enhanced over time as UWT expanded the idea of how to create a fair playing field amongst employees. “In the past, the employee who got a raise may have been the the one asking, while others who deserved one may have had their heads down working hard, but not asking.” They wanted legitimate criteria – and Trakstar gave them that; a history of conversations, formal ones, in order to identify talent, cultivate that talent, and provide opportunities for growth. UWT believes the combination of these things draws and helps retain the high integrity people that work for them today.