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How USI Promotes Adaptability to Enhance Their Performance Management Process

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USI Insurance Services decided it was time for a change: shifting from a spreadsheet-based performance management strategy to a digital system implemented by Avature. Their idea? To automate a time-consuming and manual process, allowing for transparency, employee engagement and data collection.

Rolling out the process in phases, they were able to gather feedback when implementing different elements of the new performance management solution, taking suggestions and making improvements, keeping in mind optimization and improvement in the future, while championing adaptability and flexibility.

About USI Insurance Services

Headquartered in Valhalla, New York, USI is one of the biggest consulting and insurance brokerage firms in the country, with more than 200 offices and 8,000 employees across the United States.

They strive to provide employee benefits, personal risk and retirement solutions to small firms, clients and middle-market companies. Their experience amounts to more than 150 years, combining industry-leading national capabilities with a commitment to local service teams.

The Phases

Keeping in mind the different stakeholders involved in the process and what they bring to it, they developed a phased implementation approach to their new approach to performance management. These different phases allowed for better adaptability by each end-user as well as a feedback-friendly process.

Phase 1

Automating the previous manual process in place was key in this first phase. During the three months it lasted, the focus was the first implementation of a performance management system that would move the organization from a spreadsheet into a more flexible and transparent digitized process.

USI wanted to provide HR and leaders with data that they could act on and an additional objective was to drive employee and manager engagement with the new approach. While the new system in place was a big step forward from spreadsheets, employees had many suggestions on how to make it even better.

“We heard from many employees that the process was confusing; they didn’t know where to click, and they were unsure of the overall timeline and process.”

Francesca Di Mattia

Corporate Senior HRIS Analyst, USI

For this new performance management system to work, Di Mattia sought feedback from various stakeholders at the end of phase 1. Seeking to set a strong foundation for the system, they discovered that stakeholders required the process to be simplified as well as improvements when it came to searching for information and portal branding.

“Employees—our direct clients—were very vocal in how to make it better, and we took their suggestions and implemented them in the system.”

Francesca Di Mattia

Corporate Senior HRIS Analyst, USI.

Phase 2

Taking on board the wealth of feedback received at the end of phase 1, this phase allowed better navigation of the performance management system and stakeholders were able to focus more on goal setting, evaluation and feedback creation. The HRIS team also created guides and training materials, as well as partnering with HR to do live demos and webinars that allowed for a better understanding of the system and processes in place.

“Our partnership with HR, allowed us to do live training and demos to help support their teams. Our support really enables people to do their part well.“

Francesca Di Mattia

Corporate Senior HRIS Analyst, USI.

Phase 3

The pandemic didn’t stop USI! In fact, their agile goal-setting approach was extremely helpful due to the change in priorities and focus that came with such a challenging time.

One of the key enhancements that were introduced during Phase 3 was the ability to copy existing goals into the next year. This saved employees and managers a great deal of time when goals and priorities had to be edited frequently.

Phase 4

Check-ins are the main point of focus during this phase. Through the Avature platform and the performance management system created, they’ll be able to strive for a more continuous form of check-in, though they’re still working out what that will look like.

There’s no more “one-size-fits-all” approach. This phase, which USI is currently overseeing and implementing, is all about being flexible in order to support managers and employees. Being able to adapt accordingly to their needs is key.

“We are planning to use the system to drive and enable a much more supportive check-in process. It’s easy for managers to get busy with their own work and assume their team members are okay─and forget to check in more consistently.”

Helen Keating

HRIS Director, USI

To Conclude…

Implementing a new approach to performance management from scratch is no easy feat. With the help of Avature, USI was able to establish a partnership that would allow them to bring their vision to life, making gradual implementations and prioritizing stakeholder feedback as a way to improve.

As they continue to go forth on this journey, USI keeps flexibility, agility and configuration front and center. Their vision for the future of their performance management is only a phase away.

This story was originally published in Josh Bersin’s 2021 report: “Post-Pandemic Performance Management”. Download your copy here

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