Performance Management and Coaching: Financial Services

Creating a Coaching Culture at a Financial Services Firm

Client Case Study

Situation

An industry leader in the real estate investment market was looking for an innovative approach to improve performance, engage employees, and reinforce the unique culture it had built over the last decade.

The company felt that the discipline of coaching exemplified the approaches, perspectives, and behaviors they wanted their managers and executives to demonstrate in their employee interactions.  They also wanted to create an intrinsically motivating work environment to drive engagement and performance.

The overall goal was to create a company-wide coaching environment and to implement effective performance management systems that would be embraced and consistently used by employees, managers and executives. There were 6 key project principles:

  1. Culture: Develop a solution that supports and fosters the company’s culture
  2. Empowerment: Empower managers to be true facilitators of employee development
  3. Support: Provide employees with information and tools to take ownership of their performance
  4. Simplify: Eradicate the dreaded, annual (bi-annual) performance review
  5. Accountability: Shift ownership for employee development from HR to executive and manager teams
  6. Learning Organization: Instill continuous learning and improvement to allow the system to evolve as needed

Complications

  • Relevance: Recognizing that investment institutions rarely have employee development as a top priority
  • Skepticism: Starting on the heels of a prior coaching development initiative that received mixed reviews while overcoming the “flavor of the month” reaction by all employees
  • Executive Support: Getting buy-in from all managers and executives

  • Change: Letting go of long-standing, traditional metrics

Approach

The overall approach of this initiative was to build a coaching, performance measurement, and evaluation system designed by and for the people that would be using it—executives, managers, and individual contributors.

People at all levels were engaged in a collaborative and iterative design process that produced a performance coaching system that would work for their specific needs and environment. The approach also focused on providing a high level of transparency in the change process and in each aspect of development for the new processes and systems. Developing and implementing the new approach included the following 6 components:

1.  Assessment: 

To ensure the initiative would be successful, we reviewed the existing performance systems, processes, and tools to determine what supported a coaching environment and the company culture and what did not. A cultural survey was used to assess employee satisfaction, values alignment, and potential barriers to success. The assessment surfaced a number of key issues that could pose potential barriers to success, including:

  • Dissatisfaction with the current performance appraisal system, the existing 360°, and the overall strategic initiative management processes
  • The perception that the current Performance Measurement and evaluation systems were subjective and unfair

Based on the assessment findings, the company expanded the initiative to encompass the following additional components: Greater focus and feedback on employee satisfaction, goal development and goal management, performance measurement and metrics, performance analysis, developing training and an automated platform to facilitate the above areas and aligning compensation with coaching and performance objectives

This broadened and integrated perspective became known as AMPS – which stands for Assessment, Motivation, and Performance System. It is a process for facilitating manager and employee interactions, setting successful goals, coaching, and motivating. AMPS focuses on ensuring that employees have clear, achievable, and understood goals while helping to facilitate conversations between managers and employees.

Approach (cont)

2. Coaching

Executive coaching started at the beginning of the project and focused on a simple and engaging process for executives to coach their direct reports and model the desired behaviors. Coaching then expanded down through the organization to both Directors and Managers to create alignment and pull-through.

3. AMPS System

AMPS also spawned a server-based technology platform that manages a 360° assessment, goal development, and a simple performance management process. The system uses a dashboard that both managers and employees access to track goal progress and completion. The dashboard design was based on input from management regarding use and functionality. The final version only contains features used and valued by management. The AMPS system provides the ability to:

  • Create, track, edit, and evaluate goals on a weekly basis
  • Build performance evaluation consistency for employees through detailed expectations
  • Drive regularly scheduled conversations between managers and employees
  • Track AMPS Conversations (what we call coaching conversations) between manager and employee
  • Use a dashboard to access all aspects of the performance system
  • Have users maintain the system

4. 360 Evaluation

  1. The company collaboratively worked together to create a new set of values and cultural standards that best represented the organization both in reality and aspiration
  2. A Values 360 Assessment was created using the values definitions created with the management team and employees
  3. A widely validated motivation model was incorporated into the 360
  4. A company-specific coaching model was developed to use with the 360 assessment

5. Training

From a development perspective, we focused on two key areas to ensure adoption.

  1. We worked one-on-one with the executive team and management to help them to better coach and support their employees
  2. We created AMPS Tools and techniques to help employees and managers effectively use the AMPS System and fully integrate it into their company culture

6. Compensation

To ensure accountability and reinforcement, we tightly tied AMPS performance measurement to individual performance bonuses. The weighting was follows.

  • 40% for performance goals (day-to-day responsibilities)
  • 30% from personal development goals (reflecting career paths, gaps in skills, or growth opportunities)
  • 30% from the Values 360 Assessment delivered twice a year

Results

In twenty four months:

  • 100% adoption of new process and tools
  • 80% high quality goals
  • 85% of employees hit their goals
  • 95% of employees are now performing above standard on the Values 360 Assessment

Related Information

Redwood Trust looked to LSA Global as a consulting partner to help us explore innovative and scholarly approaches to promote employee engagement and sustain the unique culture we’ve built over the last decade.

LSA helped us perpetuate coaching as a discipline across the organization by integrating our core values, goal setting and performance measurement metrics under an interactive coaching program.

We appreciate LSA’s commitment to cutting-edge practices and keeping us in step with the progressive front of our rapidly changing workplace environment.

Rosalyn Chan
Vice President, Human Resources

Redwood Trust

LSA’s approach has certainly brought value to Knight Ridder Digital. They were laser focused on our goal and determined to meet all of our Leadership development program needs. Their flexibility and commitment were keys in making our program successful.

Dipik Rai
Director of Marketing

KnightRidder-large-gray

Hyperion has a commitment to lifelong learning. LSA helps us provide the right business sales training, management training programs, and leadership development programs at the right time to meet the needs of both individuals and departments. I especially appreciate their ability to listen to my needs and recommend the appropriate facilitators, solutions and content.

Sarah Parks
Senior Project Manager

Hyperion

Having tripled in size and recently merged, LSA helped our executive team to increase our level of strategic alignment, solidify our new direction and push our agency forward. As we look to rapidly scale, the clear and actionable critical few strategic moves combined with how we differentiate ourselves to our top accounts and target clients has really set us on a great path to success. This is exactly what we needed to get to the next level.

Matt Britton
CEO

mry-logo-white

After a difficult search to find a partner that could address a very specific leadership development need, we chose LSA Global. They were responsive to our needs and created a solution that we continue to see results from. It is nice to know we have access to their expertise with a simple phone call.

Valerie Blackburn
Director of Business Operations

Susquehanna-large-gray

I contacted LSA to help us with leadership development. LSA worked with me to identify a solution that would match our needs as well as our personality. The solution was such a huge success. It received rave reviews. I would highly recommend LSA to other companies.

Karen King, SPHR
Manager, Human Resources

Alliance Data

We consistently receive positive feedback about the quality of the LSA Leadership Training Programs and LSA facilitators. We recognize and appreciate the hard work LSA always goes through to align to our unique culture and meet our specific requirements. Thank you for regularly going above and beyond to design solutions to meet our needs. Your support and dedication, both on the strategic and tactical side, have been outstanding!

Anna Meyer
Leadership Development

Intuit

“We turned to LSA to help us custom design and deliver a leadership and management development curriculum to help drive performance. They have done an excellent job diagnosing the business situation, designing an approach that fits our culture, and delivering a first class solution.”

Sally Buchannan
VP Human Resources

sonycomputer-large

We partnered with LSA Global to help us invest in our people. LSA designed a modular and customized management curriculum that allows us to deliver top quality solutions to our managers and leaders. We consider LSA to be our learning and development partner and our LSA consultants to be an extension of our team.

Lisa Bruun
SVP Human Resources

Ellie Mae

We recently hired LSA to help us take our client delivery methodology to the next level as we continue to grow and help our clients succeed. The custom strategy and design session exceeded my expectations. They really understood our business and turned around the project within a tight timeframe. LSA’s consultants were the best I have seen for this type of project. LSA’s ability to get a group of 20+ executives from around the globe on the same page, push their thinking to new heights, and ensure an executable plan was excellent. I would recommend LSA to anyone looking to take their plans and execution to the next level.

Rob Sturgeon
EVP Client Delivery

Service Source

LSA’s executive coach based his approach on understanding our business circumstances and strategy, as well as our leadership aspirations. The customized coaching covered all aspects of leadership; it was not simply a touchy-feely endeavor. In fact, the focus on clear business outcomes and real life circumstances challenged me to develop my thinking and actions related to leading the business.”

Janet Pagano
Managing Director

Ovid

Great job in designing the Mergers and Acquisition strategy session for our global team. The executive presentation and information was excellent. I gained additional insight on the importance of the role of HR in Mergers and Acquisitions.

Gloria Veon
Senior Vice President, Human Resources

Fujitsu

LSA demonstrated the criticality for executives to look beyond current ethics topics and focus on applying fundamental values in everything they do to demonstrate true leadership. They successfully delivered in two hours what most leadership development presenters would spend an entire day trying to communicate.

Nick Voyvodich, SPHR
HR Manager

Fujitsu

We signed up with LSA early on–as their 22nd Member! Since then, our organization’s learning needs have increased and decreased and increased again with the changing times. The beauty of the LSA business model is its flexibility…when we needed to supplement our own internal resources, we used LSA services knowing that we could depend on the outstanding quality of the leadership development and management training programs they provide.

Margie Bunting
HR Manager

Siemens-large-gray

The action-learning leadership project has been very beneficial to me, our leadership team, and the entire organization. The balance of development and results has been excellent. We have made huge progress, and I was also able to identify 2-3 high potentials while having the extra benefit of people stepping up to carry strategic projects forward. The Staff is very appreciative and has become very comfortable with both the program and the process. It is still going better than anticipated, and I have been very pleased.

Heather Feltman
President & CEO

LSS

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