Edwards Marshall, a full-service professional accounting and financial services firm located in Adelaide, South Australia, has used a simple formula to develop its business for over five decades: Great people and great clients will result in a truly great firm.
As a result of this formula, Edwards Marshall has become one of the largest, most respected professional accounting and financial services firms in South Australia. In 2011, Edwards Marshall ranked 10th in Business Review Weekly's fastest growing firms by revenue in Australia, becoming the only South Australian firm to make the Top 10 list.
What has helped Edwards Marshall stay ahead of the curve is a commitment to its people and its clients. After all, as a professional services firm, the success of Edwards Marshall hinges on the talent and knowledge of its people. Thanks to Halogen Performance™, Edwards Marshall simplified its approach to employee engagement and developed a culture of high performance by:
- Setting, tracking and measuring goals
- Increasing communication and feedback through Feedback Central™
- Providing the tools to reward performance.
Supporting a performance-based culture
Edwards Marshall's HR department built a holistic system to manage employee performance and career progression, which is vital to attracting, developing and retaining top talent. The system is known as "PACE", which stands for Performance and Competency Evaluation.
"PACE helps each employee know what skills and competencies they need to maintain or acquire, and how to achieve them," says Jennifer Amato, Manager, People and Culture, Edwards Marshall. "But, our process was manual and with our firm's fast growth, it became too cumbersome. That was especially true when it came to tracking appraisals and working hard to find out who's completed their appraisals, who hasn't, and what stage they are at in the process."
Great value, simple solution
Amato read about Halogen Software's approach to talent management in several of human capital magazines. She attended the Australian Human Resources Institute (AHRI) Conference in Melbourne in 2012 where Halogen had a display booth as part of the conference's trade show. One of Halogen's Australian-based sales representatives was also at the conference and able to speak about the benefits of Halogen Performance.
"A Halogen representative came into our office to provide a demo of Halogen Performance and other Halogen TalentSpace™ solutions to me and one of our partners. We also had a demo of another system from Trakstar. One of the key features we liked most about Halogen was how user-friendly the entire system is," says Amato. "We also liked the fact that Halogen offered other modules that we could build into the system moving forward. Our team put forward the business case for Halogen to two of our executives. They absolutely saw the value and we went forward from there."
Implementing Halogen Performance was just like the solution: Easy and simple.
"I think it was probably the easiest solution for us because our framework didn't change, just the platform we used to manage it - proving how flexible it is," says Amato. "We then trained our staff on the software in phases, starting with goal setting, then the mid-year review process and then the annual review process. And because it's cloud-based, employees can connect to it from anywhere."
Ongoing conversations about performance.
In just two years, the business value of Halogen Performance has become very clear to Edwards Marshall.
"The increased communication about performance is the most important thing to me," says Amato. "Feedback Central enables managers and employees to have regular, ongoing conversations about performance. It's not about just getting feedback at review time. I believe there should be no surprises in performance reviews. With this tool, people know if they're hitting their targets and goals throughout the year. And they're constantly discussing their performance with their managers."
For employees, this has had a positive impact on employee engagement, especially among younger professionals, who want to know how they're doing. In addition, Edwards Marshall purchased Halogen Learning™, which will be integrated with Halogen Performance to map career learning and development with performance management.
According to Amato, integrating performance management with learning and development will enable employees to highlight the areas where they perform exceedingly well and target other areas where they may need additional support in order to move to the next level of their careers.
Just as Edwards Marshall has great expectations for its people, it has great expectations for the software systems supporting their performance and professional development.
"There's absolutely no doubt that Halogen's solution has made everyone's life easier, not just during review time, but throughout the year for tracking progress," says Amato. "Halogen's system is so easy to learn and navigate, some of our staff just asked me for their log-in details. It's that easy to use."