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Case Study Number One

IT company leverages Performance Impact
to attract, manage and retain top talent


Location: Lisle, Illinois
Service: Founded in 1997, Intrinsic Technologies specializes in systems and network consulting services

Contact: Tom LaMantia, Managing Director

At a time when downsizing is rampant, Intrinsic Technologies is hiring; as other high tech businesses contract, Intrinsic continues to expand. In just five years, Intrinsic has grown from a two-person basement start-up to a thriving consulting company with a roster of Fortune 500 clients. What’s Intrinsic’s secret? Its people. While employee performance has a dramatic effect on every company’s bottom line, in a consulting organization, employees are the business. And when it comes to managing employee performance, Intrinsic is a company that really does know its business.

"There really isn’t a competitor to this product."

"We’ve built our company on the experience, business acumen and technical expertise of our people," says Tom LaMantia, managing director and a founding partner. "We’re a pure services company. Our people are highly skilled and we expect them to perform better than anyone else. In return, we have to give them an overall experience as an employee that’s better than what any other company can offer."

Intrinsic’s management philosophy is based on skills, expectations and values: attracting employees with the highest skills, clearly setting performance expectations, and ensuring that organizational values are communicated and enacted at every level of the company. In the beginning, Intrinsic was able to set and monitor performance objectives using self-created manual systems — but rapid growth soon made those tools obsolete. "We had a really great process for 15 people," says LaMantia, "but a manual paper process was not going to scale with the organization. And we were looking at opening offices in other cities. So we knew we needed a tool that could transcend geography and size boundaries."

After identifying a clear set of criteria for an automated performance management system, LaMantia began the search for a product that could meet Intrinsic’s needs. Performance Impact quickly emerged as the clear choice. According to LaMantia, "There really isn’t a competitor to this product. Performance Impact is flexible enough that it did not force us to redesign our processes. And it has all the features and capabilities to support our philosophies."

"The beauty of Performance Impact is that I can pick it up and do it anywhere. I can be in a hotel room and pull up someone’s file and enter a log event."

Because Intrinsic is a management-by-objectives organization, they were impressed with Performance Impact’s robust goal-setting and tracking capacity. Especially appealing to LaMantia is Performance Impact’s cascading goals feature. "If one of our resource managers (team leaders) created a goal that I think is fantastic, I can quickly identify it as a best practice and assign it to everyone else."

Intrinsic employees are active users of Performance Impact

Once performance objectives are set, Intrinsic’s managers use the Log Events function to regularly track employee performance and assess progress toward the established goals. But managers aren’t the only ones entering log events – Intrinsic’s consultants regularly create log events about their own performance, documenting achievements related to their specific goals.

"Not only does Performance Impact allow us to effectively measure a person’s performance, but that person also has the ability to log their own work," LaMantia explains. "We encourage our employees to market themselves, to demonstrate how they add value to the customer and to Intrinsic."

Like most IT organizations, Intrinsic’s employees work on many projects within a year, each with a different team leader. Knowing that a traditional single reviewer system would be inadequate for their work processes, Intrinsic also purchased Performance Impact’s Multi-Rater module to facilitate performance feedback from multiple sources. At the time of the annual review, highly detailed performance feedback is solicited from all relevant managers and employees.

Two other features of Performance Impact have also ensured a successful fit with Intrinsic. Because so many people — from employees to managers to upper management — require regular access to system data, Performance Impact’s ability to enable multiple levels of security within a hierarchical structure has provided essential safeguards. Also crucial for an organization like Intrinsic, where much of the work is performed off-site, is the accessibility provided by a Web-based system. "The beauty of Performance Impact is that I can pick it up and do it anywhere," LaMantia says. "I can be in a hotel room and pull up someone’s file and enter a log event."

Descriptions Now with Performance Impact helps establish clear performance expectations

Another CCHKnowledgePoint product that Intrinsic has found useful is Descriptions Now, which has become a key tool in the hiring process. For each new position, managers use the Descriptions Now questionnaire to identify roles and responsibilities. After the job description is complete, Descriptions Now is used to generate job ads and interview questions. Once hired, new employees are presented with a detailed job description that clearly identifies performance expectations, and the job description is also tied into the annual performance review.

From its inception, Intrinsic began with a clear strategy for how to attract, hire and retain a corps of top IT talent. By using Performance Impact and Descriptions Now to support their human resources best practices, Intrinsic has been able to maintain a five-year retention rate of more than 90 percent, a remarkable achievement in an industry known for extremely high turnover.

What’s in the future for Intrinsic? "We plan to open a new office within the next few months," LaMantia says. And as the company continues to grow, LaMantia is confident that Performance Impact will continue to support and enhance the performance of Intrinsic’s high-powered teams. 

For Further Information:

Contact:  John Lucan
1.707.762.0333 Ext: 1327

[email protected]

Case Study Number Two

Prometric deploys Performance Impact around the globe;
improves retention rates


Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Organization Size: 3,000 employees in 136 countries
Service: Technology-based testing and assessment services

Contact: David Fox, Executive Director of HR

A leading provider of technology-based testing and assessment services, Prometric, a part of the Thomson corporation, is the rare company still riding the crest of the technology wave. At the height of its growth curve, Prometric was growing at a rate of 70–100 percent yearly — and that kind of success can put a severe strain on HR systems and processes. While Prometric’s workforce was expanding rapidly, its turnover rate was approaching higher levels typical for tech companies at that time. Industry-specific causes played a part: Job-hopping was endemic during the Internet boom and retention became a critical issue for the technology sector.

"If I did the ROI calculation, it would have to be almost infinite."

What didn’t help, according to David Fox, Executive Director of HR, was Prometric’s legacy performance management system. Like many organizations, Prometric supported its performance management program with an internally-developed system that relied on spreadsheets and macros. Because the technology was disjointed and not intuitive, managers were using it inconsistently and performance management suffered. Strong performers went unrewarded, weak performers weren’t developed and, with a low percent of managers conducting regular performance reviews, many employees received inconsistent feedback at best.

"People were burned out with using spreadsheets," says Fox. "Managers were unhappy with it and employees weren’t happy. Compliance was spotty, nobody was getting feedback, there were no coaching or learning resources associated with the system — nothing."

Fox realized that Prometric not only needed to develop a stronger performance management process, but also to find a robust software system to support it. The new system would need to be easily accessed by a workforce operating in 136 countries. And with such diverse international users, the interface would have to be extremely intuitive and user friendly. After extensive research, Fox concluded that only one product met all their requirements out-of-the-box: CCHKnowledgePoint’s Performance Impact, a Web-based system designed to enhance performance management best practices.

Within the first year of implementing Performance Impact, 100 percent of Prometric’s enrolled managers were conducting performance reviews. Such dramatic improvement was a big payoff, but Fox knew that compliance was not a goal in itself. "It was nice to know that we had achieved 100 percent compliance — but so what? We need to ensure this system is part of making our business more efficient and effective. So once we had that baseline of compliance, we needed to focus on using the system to build talent."

Performance Impact used to support development strategies

With the end result clearly in mind, Prometric’s HR department established a new performance management process that enables them to accurately identify strong and weak performers. 

Throughout the year, Prometric’s managers use Performance Impact to set, monitor and track goals. They also use the log function to document performance and provide ongoing feedback. Then, at performance review time, managers formally assess employee competency, using both Performance Impact’s built-in competencies as well as a set of custom competencies closely tied to Prometric’s unique performance culture.

The next step in Prometric’s process is to map employees into development strategies — coach, train, reward — with a comprehensive plan supported by Performance Impact’s development planning function.

"Before, our ability to see into the organization to discern differential performance was cloudy at best," says Fox. "Now we know exactly where we stand. But, ultimately, we’re trying to send an overwhelmingly positive message to the workforce — that our people are valued. We’re saying we’re committed to you, we’re going to coach you, we’re going to train you, we’re going to reward you."

How does that philosophy translate to Prometric’s global workforce? Surprisingly well. Managers are logging into Performance Impact from locations throughout Asia, the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Africa — and no significant cross-cultural issues have emerged. Part of the credit goes to careful planning. Prior to implementation, Prometric’s global HR team surveyed all of its regional offices to obtain input into system design and content. Another important factor, according to Fox, is Performance Impact’s ability to be customized to meet local needs.

The end result? A performance management system that not only builds talent, but contributes directly to the bottom line. "If I did the ROI calculation, it would have to be almost infinite," says Fox. "And turnover is now in the 4–7 percent range. That’s success by anyone’s measure."

For Further Information:

Contact:  John Lucan
1.707.762.0333 Ext: 1327

[email protected]

Case Study Number Three

Provena Health selects Performance Impact to improve employee performance and help meet JCAHO standards

Like many — perhaps most — organizations, Provena Health in Illinois was aware that its performance management system had room for improvement and that complacency could lead to significant problems down the line. In addition to the compelling business reasons for reviewing employee performance, healthcare organizations are evaluated by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) for their competence assessment practices.

Since being found deficient in that area can be a significant obstacle to overcome, and Provena wanted to have a unified, systematic approach to performance reviews, they decided to take immediate action to improve.

The Joint Commission is the nation’s predominant standards-setting body in healthcare, evaluating and accrediting nearly 18,000 healthcare organizations in the U.S. When a JCAHO survey takes place, nearly every aspect of a hospital’s performance comes under close and detailed scrutiny, from direct patient care and safety to staff management functions like human resources — and competence assessment.

To avoid receiving Type 1s in Competence Assessment from JCAHO, Provena Health’s choice was clear — CCHKnowledgePoint’s Web based solution: Performance Impact.

While evaluating workforce competence is crucial for organizations in every industry, it takes on a critical significance in healthcare, where staff performance has a direct effect on patient outcomes, and can literally mean the difference between life and death. So when JCAHO surveyors arrive onsite at a healthcare organization, they take an especially hard look at performance review-related employee records. Areas of performance that don’t comply with JCAHO standards can receive a "Type 1" rating.

Because more healthcare organizations receive Type 1s in Competence Assessment than for any standard, including direct patient care, Provena formed a committee of human resource and patient care leaders to begin work on improving their performance management system. Since Provena’s existing processes were manual rather than automated, lateness and inconsistency were problematic. Provena decided to make the move to an automated system. After conducting a needs analysis, the committee put out an RFP and began evaluating proposals from a number of software vendors. In the end, the choice was clear: CCHKnowledgePoint’s Web-based Performance Impact.

Performance Impact appealed to Provena for many reasons. With six acute care hospitals, 14 long-term care and residential facilities, and more than 40 primary care, specialty and diagnostic clinics, Provena needed a performance management system that could be centrally administered while still allowing enough flexibility for local implementation at its numerous sites. Since Performance Impact allows for up to four levels of security within a hierarchical structure, it enables centralized control in combination with local implementation. And Provena could choose to either host their performance management data on CCHKnowledgePoint’s secure servers or to install the program on their own system.

Another feature that tipped the balance in favor of Performance Impact was its optional Healthcare Competency Module, specially designed to help healthcare organizations meet JCAHO competence assessment standards. The Healthcare Competency module contains a library of 21 healthcare-related competencies, along with supporting evaluation text written specifically for the healthcare environment.

Once Provena decided to go with Performance Impact, they began drawing up implementation plans. Sean Waite, System Director of HR Operations for Provena Health, took on the job of leading the Performance Impact implementation. "We decided early on to have a staged rollout," Waite explains. "That gives you the ability to see what needs to be changed or tweaked before you’ve got 11,000 people using the system."

The implementation began with one hospital, Provena St. Joseph Hospital, which completed its first review cycle in 2001. With training underway at the other hospitals, Sean expects the entire rollout to be completed by the end of 2002, and by 2003 all staff reviews will be completed using Performance Impact. Eventually, Provena will implement Performance Impact at all of its sites, including clinics, long-term care facilities and home health services.

So far, Provena is extremely pleased with the results they’ve achieved. Performance Impact’s competency-based system has provided managers and supervisors throughout the Provena network with a consistent set of assessment criteria, and another plus is the easy accessibility that comes from using a Web-based program. Says Waite, "Our managers like using Performance Impact because it’s intuitive to use and the forms they need are available all the time — there’s no waiting around for HR to send them. That’s important these days when everyone is being forced to do more with less."

In the future, Provena plans to extend its use of Performance Impact to take full advantage of the cascading goals feature, which means that employees at all levels — from home health aides to executive management — will see the "big picture."

Provena is also using CCHKnowledgePoint’s Descriptions Now software program to create and standardize their job descriptions, and then utilizing the job descriptions in their performance assessments. Waite explains that they have Descriptions Now running on their server so that all HR Departments have access to the health system’s job descriptions. "This is helping us continue the process of bringing all of our facilities up to the same standard," he says. Having focused such attention on these challenging human resource issues, Waite says he looks forward to the entire Provena Health system successfully passing that component of their next JCAHO evaluation.

For Further Information:

Contact:  John Lucan
1.707.762.0333 Ext: 1327

[email protected]

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