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ASTD Game-Changing Performance Management

Wednesday, January 08, 2014
By ASTD Staff

The following story was told by David Zinger, founder and host of the Employee Engagement Network, and Siddhesh Bhobe, CEO of eMee.

Client

Persistent Systems, a global company specializing in technology innovation and software solutions

Opportunity

With a young and globally spread workforce of more than 7,000 employees, leaders at Persistent were keen to embrace innovative ideas for streamlining their performance appraisal process, which was time-consuming and ineffective. Persistent asked eMee, a gamification solutions provider, to help develop a game-based approach to performance management.

Diagnosis

Persistent's leaders wanted their performance management system to drive social collaboration, learning and development, and employee recognition. The solution incorporated those functions into a gamified performance management platform that allows employees to participate in tailored learning opportunities, develop target behaviors, and showcase their achievements and skills.

Methods

eMee's appraisal system was designed to make the process fun, inclusive, easy, and transparent. It drives continual performance management instead of confining appraisals within the traditional end-of-year event. It also allows any employee to participate in the performance management of a peer, not just immediate managers an arrangement that allows for more data accrual than is possible in traditional systems.

In the new system, every employee has a virtual avatar, similar to the popular virtual-reality game Second Life. Managers and peers can present virtual gifts to employees to recognize their achievements, or employees can request gifts for themselves. These virtual gifts carry points, which give an accurate and objective measure of performance against key performance indicators (KPIs). The system also supports reprimands, which can be viewed only by an employee's manager.

The platform is integrated with Persistent's business applications and other information systems, eliminating the need for manual data entry and eliminating subjectivity in assessing performance.

Today employees and managers have a single window into all aspects of an employee's performance, including KPIs, objectives, training needs, and certifications.

Results

Performance assessment at Persistent now involves real-time feedback from various stakeholders, including customers, peers, and managers, across teams and functional units. Timely data capture is critical in Persistent's project-driven environment, where people switch managers and projects multiple times per year.

The system has been used for more than three years to date, and last year alone, nearly half a million comments and citations were recorded by managers and colleagues in the appraisal system. The company saved, by a conservative estimate, more than 28,000 person hours in 2013 by eliminating the traditional appraisal process.

Persistent reports that attrition has dropped by more than 5 percent in one year, customer ratings have consistently gone up over the last four feedback cycles, and employee satisfaction scores are higher than ever.

Lessons Learned

Gamification eliminates the drudgery of yearly performance appraisals while supporting strategic objectives and contributing meaningful insights into what drives performance.