50 Smartest Companies of the Year 2016

Simplify & Automate Performance Management in your Organization: WorkCompass

“Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard” – Peter F. Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices

A business is able to thrive when it is able to keep great talent, develop great leaders and accurately reward performance. In some organizations, the HR systems in place for managing the day to day HR functions like employee attendance, leave approval, benefits enrolment, and personnel records are pretty good but there are no systems at all in place to support strategic decisions about people. California-based WorkCompass helps companies to simplify and automate the Performance
Management process to reduce HRs workload.

The company was established when Denis Coleman noticed that most organizations did not have a proper Strategic People Management system or process. The closest thing was an annual performance appraisal form. The annual appraisal process seemed to be universally hated by both Managers and their teams. There was a lot of evidence that it wasn’t an accurate way of rating performance and did nothing to develop leaders or support quality decisions about who to promote. Businesses had effective systems and processes in place to manage the smallest things like when to re order pens but not to manage the most important part of their entire business, their talent.

After deciding to solve this problem, Denis began 3 years of research in Strategic People Management. He wanted to create a Talent Management System that was based on proven science like Edwin Locke’s goal theory, Victor Vroom’s expectancy theory and Frederic Herzberg’s work on Engagement. In 2012, he left his job to found WorkCompass.

An Alternative to Traditional Talent Management Applications
Traditional talent management applications like Successfactors, Taleo and Cornerstone were designed and built based on a now obsolete paradigm. These systems were designed around paper forms. As systems evolved from paper to word processing to modern technologies the forms based paradigms didn’t change and are still evident in these systems. They use standardized forms that capture narrative rather than real data on measureable business outcomes. They record meetings rather than make performance management and alignment with business needs an ongoing process. WorkCompass is a perfect alternative to such traditional systems.

The company’s clients see a 32% increase in business goals met or exceeded 6 months post implementation on average. 9 months post go live they see an 11.4% increase in team member engagement or discretionary effort.

Amalgamating the Latest Technology with Business Objectives
Most traditional performance management systems merely record annual meetings. WorkCompass leverages machine learning (ML), natural language processing (NLP) and game mechanics to make performance management an ongoing process to better deliver business outcomes. For example, it grades the quality of goals and suggests how users can make them smarter by using NLP to analyze the goal structure. The company also employs NLP to suggest mini-goals and scheduled check-in points so users can update their progress at the optimum time.

Game mechanics are used to present these suggestions to the user so they clearly understand the current quality of their goals and what they need to do to improve them.

“With our Performance Management Software, customers have increased employee productivity by an average 11.4%.”

Making Users’ Lives Better
The WorkCompass team can also suggest goals to users that are highly correlated with high performance in their roles, using ML to predict and learn which goals to recommend. They use data analytics to condense entire databases of business goals into a readily understandable strategy execution dashboard. This helps managers make decisions on how to align their teams’ goals with their business objectives, understand who needs some coaching and where they need to allocate resources when goals are slipping.

User experience (UX) processes and research drive a lot of how the company tries to make users’ lives better. For example, it generates performance check-in scripts for managers based on employee progress updates. A lot of managers just don’t know how to talk to their team about performance so it’s just easier not to. Having a script takes a lot of the fear out of this process. This is all delivered as a dynamic client-side web app designed with simplicity in mind.

Customer Feedback
“We’ve been doing performance management for years but it’s never been more than an annual event. WorkCompass has made it an on-going process now. As a result we’re all getting a lot more of the right things done.” – Ros O’Shaughnessy, Head of HR and Talent, International Management Institute

Meet the Founder & CEO – Denis Coleman
Over the past 17 years, Denis has held senior, Finance, HR and Business Management roles with organizations like Flextronics International, the second largest global electronics manufacturing services company in the world with over 200,000 staff and a market capitalization of $6.5 billion. Denis served as Finance Director for Flextronics $800 million North American supply chain division and Global Account Manager for their $400 million manufacturing division with operations in Sunnyvale, California, Rochester, New Hampshire and Limerick, Ireland. Denis spent 3 years on Flextronics’ European acquisitions team who acquired $500 million in assets during that period.