In this guest post Jessica Utley, SPHR, Human Resources Director at accounting and financial services firm Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain, PC and Affiliates (LBMC), shares how the firm has been able to reinforce its high-performance culture through the use of multirater assessments.
Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain, PC and Affiliates — one of the largest accounting and financial services firms in the southeastern US — has established itself as a leader in accounting, tax, audit, HR, staffing, investing and technology.
In large part, our firm’s success has come from investing in talent management best practices that keep our firm’s nearly 400-person staff focused, engaged and delivering the firm’s clients the high-quality professional services they expect and deserve.
LBMC was recently recognized by Accounting Today on its 2012 list of the Best Firms to Work For. A key ingredient in our being able to establish the firm as an employer of choice in the accounting market has been our focus on creating a high-performance culture where two-direction feedback is gathered and analyzed.
Using Halogen 360 Multirater™, we collect feedback not just from partners through managers down to staff employees, but in both directions. For four years, this unique two-direction feedback system has provided LBMC employees at all levels in the organization with the feedback they need to develop, improve and prepare for career advancement. This upward and downward feedback model has proven extremely successful.
The downward feedback process follows a hierarchical structure. Partners have access to evaluate everyone in their departments below them — from senior manager to staff. Similarly, senior managers have access to manager, senior auditor and staff evaluations, and so on.
This access has proven critical as we are a large organization and our employees work for many managers throughout the year. Our feedback process allows managers to evaluate the employees they work most closely with providing them with valuable feedback on the work performed.
Once a year, we then reverse the process, enabling staff employees, senior auditors and managers to send feedback upward. Each May, we collect upward feedback using a form in Halogen, and collect feedback on everyone, all the way up to the partner level. We’ve found that employees welcome the opportunity to have a voice and be part of the process.
One of the biggest benefits of the upward feedback process has been that employees have a voice and are able to provide valuable feedback to the leaders within the firm. We tend to see that our leaders are eager to view their upward feedback rating and comments as they take pride in coaching and developing the teams that they work closely with.
In the four years we’ve conducted the upward and downward feedback process, LBMC has seen strong levels of engagement and employees see how their position and the work they do every day affects the firm’s bottom line. It also really helps us recognize and reward good performance and identify behaviors that need to be changed through coaching. This all ties back to better employee engagement, which is critical for career development and business success.
For more information on the benefits of collecting multisource feedback on employee performance, visit the 360 Degree Feedback Center of Excellence.