With this post, we will launch a series that shares how we are striving to win with talent here at Halogen Software. It won't be all rainbows and unicorns, because we're not perfect, but we think there's value in sharing our journey, just as we see value in sharing the journeys of our customers all around the globe.
In fact, we regularly profile our customers who take talent management to the next level in their organizations - using our software as an enabler - on the TalentSpace Blog. But about one year ago, we decided that we needed to formally identify a champion within Halogen. And that person was Hawley Kane.
Hawley Kane has been a passionate product manager for Halogen Performance™ and Halogen 1:1 Exchange™ for more than six years. And prior to joining Halogen, Hawley had already built up a decade of product management strategy experience. More recently, however, she has taken on the role of Halogen Champion.
First of all, what exactly is a "Halogen Champion"?
Just like the old saying that the cobbler's children have no shoes, companies often fall into the trap of getting so busy serving their customers that they don't take the time to really use their own product fully. We wanted to change that. So the company created a new role called "Halogen Champion."
Here's how we've defined it: "The role of the Halogen Champion is to inspire, educate and empower employees to fully embrace Halogen's products and services. Be the showcase for our customers."
When Halogen announced it was creating a role called "Halogen Champion," did you know immediately that you wanted to fill it?
No; I wasn't interested in leaving my job as a Halogen product manager. I really believe in what we do at Halogen ... that we are in the business to help our customers be successful. As hocky as that may sound, if we are successful building a product that can help organizations win with talent, I want everyone to know about it!
So I have no shame. If I am asked to do a webinar -- I am in. Need me to dance at the customer conference - on it. Go desk-to-desk to make sure that Halogen 1:1 Exchange is being used and offer help - sure, people share nice snacks with me. If people are talking about Halogen Performance, feedback, goals, I am cheering them on...
Perhaps because of that, when the role came up, I got a few supportive nudges from colleagues. And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted the opportunity to really help us live our vision!
Okay, so what are your key goals and objectives now that you've assumed this role?
To be brief - I want Halogen to win with talent. As we continue to focus on bringing our customers towards the next generation of performance management, we need to live and breathe it ourselves. "Drinking your own Champagne" has so many advantages for a software and services organization - we become a living lab for our product vision.
This sounds like a rather big job.
Oh, I'm not working on this in isolation! We established an amazing cross-functional "Halogen @ Halogen" steering committee and it's a team effort for sure. Everyone on the team is continually reaching out to their colleagues to gather feedback so that as we move ahead, we're moving ahead as an entire organization. We need everyone on the ship!
What was the very first thing that you wanted to tackle?
One of the first things we needed to establish was a baseline. How are we doing right now ... what kind of product usage are we seeing? How much feedback is being shared within the company? Are managers holding regular one-on-one meetings with all of their staff?
But my personal number one burning priority was to help create a stronger culture of feedback! It so happens that it also perfectly aligns with Halogen's culture, where we believe that feedback is a gift! Performance management is an ongoing practice, and feedback is just so critical to its momentum and, ultimately, its success. So I felt that this was an area where I could really have a big impact. And the best part is that Halogen's TalentSpace™ suite is a perfect enabler. We just needed to optimize its use!
I know it's still early days, but have you been able to measure any impact to date? We sure have!
Our HR team championed some big changes to our own performance processes. So much so that we recently did a complete redesign of our performance process at Halogen. Instrumental to the process was ensuring that all of us were using our own products and services.
As example, when we rolled out the new performance process across the organization, we scheduled Performance Management Essentials training for all employees within Halogen Learning™, and part of this training was around providing feedback by using our own cloud-based application called Halogen 1:1 Exchange.
In addition to the on-site training, we used our own internally developed 1:1 Exchange Rollout Kit that we provide to our customers. It includes change management tips and communications tools and resources. And we're thrilled with the results; we are on track for 100% employee usage of the app! Even better, when we look at where we were at this time last year, we've seen a 700% (yes, 700%!) increase in peer feedback!
But my favourite part? There's a renewed buzz in the air as managers and employees use our own products and feel proud of what we bring to the market. Now, all employees, not just customer-facing employees, are really seeing first-hand how our product has a direct impact on engagement and productivity.
Stay tuned! In our next post in this "Drinking Our Own Champagne" series, we'll look at how Halogen identified and defined its core competencies.