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How CarVal Investors has created a high-performance culture through its performance management strategy

In this guest post, Paul Holstead, European Regional HR Manager for CarVal Investors, shares how his organisation realised significant gains in employee satisfaction and engagement by overhauling its performance management strategy.

The result is a high-performance culture that supports the company’s mission and values and provides its global workforce with a shared vision and sense of purpose.

In the high stakes investment market, employee productivity and engagement is a top priority to retain a competitive edge.

With employees around the world, including investment professionals who manage over $9 billion in assets in both credit and real estate, CarVal Investors (CarVal) is focused on sustaining a strong corporate culture. One that ensures organisational alignment and helps to maintain our competitive edge.

To this end, we strive to create corporate culture where exceptional performance is the norm and high performance is expected.

Align performance management strategy to corporate strategy

In 2010, we recognised that by investing in a new performance management process, one that aligns to our corporate strategy, we could reinforce the importance of employee accountability and unity of vision in achieving our business objectives.

Our drive for change was twofold:

  • Ensure goal alignment so that the organisation as a whole is focused on moving the business forward
  • More easily measure the effectiveness of our talent programs in delivering business results

In support of the above, CarVal put performance measures in place that would help employees, managers and our board understand how individual performance impacts corporate performance.

Track performance measures

We track performance measures, such as progress towards both team and individual goals. However, we also track behaviour metrics to ensure the work our employees do reinforces our mission and core values. The basis for measuring these behaviour metrics is the CarVal competency model which promotes excellence in four key areas of performance:

  • How We Think
  • How We Conduct our Business
  • How We Work
  • How We Lead Our People

Taking a data-driven approach to performance management has reinforced CarVal’s coaching culture. Because we track and collect real-time data on performance using one centralised system (Halogen), it makes it easier for employees and managers to have meaningful performance discussions using the measures we’ve set.

It also ensures that development planning has context because the data can be used to identify and addresses any performance gaps. In addition, it supports career planning because that same data can be used to assign development plans that help employees expand their knowledge, skills and experience.

Increase organizational alignment and drive engagement

With this new performance management strategy and process CarVal now has a clear, consistent way in which to measure performance against our corporate strategy. Employees’ goals are linked to organisational goals and there’s greater transparency to the goal-setting process.

Employees understand how the work they do supports CarVal’s corporate strategy. We believe this will be impactful in driving employee engagement and sustaining CarVal’s competitive advantage.

In addition, CarVal has improved the speed and efficiency of our performance management process. For example, the CarVal HR team has realised a 51% increase in employee appraisal completion rates and a 46% increase in employees’ perceptions of the process.

On November 21, I will be leading a session at HR Performance 2012 on how CarVal is driving employee engagement with performance management. My session is part of the conference’s Knowledge Hub and runs from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. on the 21st. If you’re attending HR Performance I hope to see you there.

For more information about CarVal’s performance management journey, read the Halogen case study here.

About Paul Holstead

Paul Holstead is the European Regional HR Manager for CarVal Investors, a leading global alternative investment fund manager focused on distressed and credit-intensive assets and market inefficiencies. In his role, Paul is responsible for ensuring that CarVal’s people management strategy best supports its ambitious corporate goals.

Paul’s current work focuses on developing creative approaches to talent management and employee engagement in a challenging and rapidly evolving European business environment. Prior to joining CarVal, Paul worked as a university lecturer and he has held a number of generalist and specialist HR roles in financial services.

Some of the content from today’s post is drawn from a case study that was originally published by City HR Association.

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