Duplo International provides sustainable, high precision automated print finishing technology. Based in Surrey, they are the EMEA sales and distribution arm of Duplo Corporation in Japan, which sells products to 170 countries around the world. They have 100 employees across the UK and France.
The company had performance reviews in place, but they were very labour-intensive, and paper based. The highly manual process took a long time to complete as the form ran over 15 pages. Duplo International took the decision that they needed a better approach, that employees could embrace and enjoy and that would afford HR and senior management much better insights into the performance of the workforce.
The search began for an online system that could change employees’ perceptions and make reviews more valued and appreciated. The HR team tested four or five tools and Appraisd came out the clear winner. “It jumped out as the most appropriate one for us”, said Sarah Smith, Office Manager at Duplo International. “It had everything we needed, was easy and simple to use and had the flexibility to make it personal to us. The Appraisd demo also stood out as the team were so friendly and explained everything in a really clear, straightforward way that connected with us.”
Two languages, one system
“As we work across the UK and France, it was important to us that we could find one system that could accommodate everything in English and in France that could be viewed in one place. Appraisd were able to arrange this for us, providing greater unity and understanding between the two offices.”
Getting employee buy-in
“Employees at first were a little wary of Appraisd and it took a bit of time get used to”, shares Sarah. “The system is cloud-based and automatically saves updates. This was a new experience for many of our team, who were looking for a save button to make sure they didn’t lose everything each time they logged on. Once they saw how it worked and began to trust it, they quickly saw the benefits it offered. While they still have the same amount of information to complete, it is so much faster to do online. Having everything saved in one place, means nothing gets lost or overlooked and they can quickly check what they need to do and by when.”
Focus on employee development
Taking the pain out the reviews process, has breathed new life into employee development within the organisation. HR no longer have to spend their time chasing people to complete their reviews. Employees now have the ability and desire to complete them without being asked. This allows the HR team time to concentrate on more proactive projects, focusing more closely on supporting employees to reach their goals.
“The mindset of our workforce has completely changed”, says Sarah. “Now employees are coming to me asking about their development, rather than me pursuing them to get their reviews done. It is very much a two-way street, with everyone feeling more in control of their own careers. The managers too are considerably more organised and far less stressed about completing the reviews. Each review is signed off by managers, HR, and senior leaders. This has brought our organisation closer together and ensures those at the top have a much better understanding and awareness of what more junior employees are working on and achieving.”
Easing the pressure on HR
With a small HR team, time and resources are always under pressure. Sarah and her colleagues are always looking for ways to ease this burden. Appraisd has helped in several important ways “The Monday morning sense check report that is emailed automatically is something that I find extremely useful and use it every week!”, says Sarah. “The update tells me in one quick snapshot what I need to focus on in the week ahead. I also appreciate the notifications I get which tell me when users update, change, or add to their objectives or personal development goals. This allows me to monitor the effectiveness of things like training or succession planning, ensuring I have a much better overview of employee development plans.”
Supporting increased remote working
Duplo International have historically had a mix of office-based employees and remote workers. The balance was around 50/50, but since the Covid 19 pandemic, this has shifted, with around 70% of employees now working remotely. “The new Working from Home Check-in on Appraisd has worked brilliantly”, says Sarah. “It was actually our Chairman and Export Director who first spotted it was available. They saw it just after it was launched, which shows you how often they log into the system. They were keen to introduce it to ensure we supported employees as effectively as possible through these difficult times. The response has been superb. Employees thoroughly appreciate that we are asking regularly about how they are doing on a personal level, not just concentrating on their work and output. This has demonstrated that as an organisation we do care about our employees and we are here to support them.”
Looking to the future
Any effective approach to performance management must evolve as the needs and pressures on employees change. Duplo International understand this and recognise that in Appraisd, they have a partner who ready and willing to support this evolution. “There is so much we could do”, says Sarah. “One thing I would like to explore is cascading objectives and how these may benefit our company. I like that Appraisd offers the flexibility to look at new approaches and I trust the Customer Success Team to be there to guide me through any changes we make. Having the option to customise Appraisd so it feels like our own tool is really important and has undoubtedly helped employees to thoroughly embrace it.”