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

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Heather Feltman
President & CEO

LSS

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

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

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

As a high growth digital marketing agency with cutting edge talent, we hired LSA Global to help clarify our strategy and work with our management team to implement it throughout the New York Office in a way that made sense for our unique culture . That work was so successful that we also hired them to coach one of our key leaders. LSA has been instrumental in helping us transition to a new leadership team and triple the revenue in our New York office. In this age of useless consultants, I highly recommend their practical and business-oriented approach to strategy, culture and talent.

David Bentley
General Manager

AKQA

It was a challenge to find a consultant with an approach to performance improvement that fit our unique culture and style. When we met with LSA we were surprised to discover their depth of expertise in the fields of motivation, developmental coaching and performance management and measurement.

Specifically, we were pleasantly surprised to find a company that could seamlessly integrate those three components without our folks feeling like the intervention was forced. They understood what we were trying to accomplish, helped us clarify our objectives, create a solid, refreshing approach that quickly got us moving and engaged people at all levels.

As they began to implement, I was thoroughly impressed with how they listened and made adaptations focused on our needs and business objectives. Overall, I couldn’t be happier that we found a partner in LSA.

Doug Hansen
President and Director

Redwood Trust

Over the years, both at 3Com and now at Redback, I’ve found LSA Global to be a valuable resource. The recent compliance program that they delivered for Redback’s executive and management team was the right solution, of the highest of quality, and customized to our business and culture. I would highly recommend LSA to any company looking for top quality solutions.

Gina Fulton
Vice President of Human Resources

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

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

I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

Tracy Esposito
Director, HR Business Partner

LSA is an instrumental training outsourcing partner in helping us to build management capacity and strategically invest in our people. Their flexibility, depth, and breadth of expertise allows us to deliver top quality solutions that are directly tied to key business plans. Their ability to custom design, deliver, and evaluate our Management Curriculum has been excellent. They are true business partners and a pleasure to work with.

Margaret M. Mader
Vice President, Human Resources

Hyperion

We selected LSA Global over 5 other companies to help some key executives improve their overall communication and executive presentation capabilities. Feedback has been great. Everyone had a great experience and many of them are feeding some of the lessons into their teams. I highly recommend LSA to any executive team looking to better organize and more effectively deliver key messages to C-Level individuals.

Todd Power
Office of the CEO

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

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

LSA is an excellent training outsource partner! They listen to our needs, are responsive and work at a pace that keeps up with ours. We have found LSA to bring strategic and innovative solutions to meet our business problems by partnering effectively with our staff. I consider them to be an external extension of our team.

Wendy Chinn
Sr. Director, Global Sales Enablement

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