Exact's HQ is in Delf in the Netherlands, the company currently serves 400,000 customers with 1,400 employees across 23 offices and 16 countries. In this interview, Aimee Swartz, shares Exact's recent journey to transform their performance management culture, moving from annual appraisals towards a new model that includes V2MOMs.
What are V2MOMs?
V2MOMs were created by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff in 1999 when he co-founded the company. They are based on the following five questions:
- Vision – What do you want to do?
- Values – What’s most important about that vision?
- Methods – How will you get the job done?
- Obstacles – What challenges, issues and problems stand in your way?
- Measures – How will you know when you’ve succeeded?
The objectives are based on the answers to these questions and are created at organisation, department and team level. These are shared across the business, so everyone knows the purpose and direction of the company and all objectives are aligned with an overall strategy.
What drove Exact to start using V2MOMs?
There was a feeling that the annual appraisal was out of date and not suited to the needs of employees in a fast-evolving organisation. Employees felt a disconnect from the overall business strategy and departments tended to work in silos, not collaborating as well as they could. At the same time that we were looking at making a change, a new CEO was appointed. He had worked for Salesforce in the past and was keen to introduce V2MOMs as he’d seen what a positive impact these had in his former company.
What were the key outcomes you wanted to achieve?
We really wanted employees to feel more aligned with the organisation and understand how they were contributing to the success of the business. We wanted them to focus on the value they could bring to the company and see how this was making a difference. We were keen to bring more transparency into the business, so everyone was aware of what each department and office was working on.
Did you get any resistance to making this change?
While there was excitement about the change, it’s only natural that some people would be wary or nervous about the new process. Introducing a different way of working takes time and it’s important to acknowledge and address people’s fears. Employees felt fairly comfortable with shared team objectives, but they found sharing objectives on a wider level more challenging. Certain departments, such as the finance team felt it could represent a security risk as they deal with confidential data. We worked with them to help them create their objectives that didn’t compromise any sensitive information but were detailed enough to still be relevant to the rest of the organisation.
How did you roll out the new approach?
We decided as this was such a radical change to go for a phased approach, taking employees through simple steps at a time. The first step was to create team objectives, as employees felt relatively comfortable formulating them in this environment. This got them used to the process and what was required. A new V2MOM for the organisation was created at the start of this year and from there, fresh V2MOMs for departments and teams were introduced.
What tools have you used to roll out V2MOMs?
We’ve created a variety of materials to get employees on board with the new approach. It so important that we bring everyone along on the journey and don’t leave anyone behind, feeling alienated and isolated. This is about bringing teams closer together, so our communications needed to reflect this. To do this we held focus groups across the business to ensure we received ideas and feedback from all quarters. We also used staff surveys, videos with senior executives, e-learning tools and help documents to explain why the change was happening, how it would benefit the business and show how it would work.
What have been the benefits to Exact?
We are just at the beginning of this journey and the process is still being bedded in. However, we are already starting to see more collaboration and sharing of ideas across the business. We now have an effective way of sharing innovations across departments, offices and countries, that was lacking before. We’ve also noticed that more conversations are happening within the business, adding an extra depth to communications and sparking new ideas and thoughts. This is very much a learning curve for us and every day we are seeing more progress.
How have you found working with Appraisd?
The experience of working with Appraisd has been very positive. When we were looking for a system that could facilitate V2MOMs, Appraisd was the closest to what we wanted. Creating a bespoke version of the system that met our needs has been a very positive and collaborative process. They have been willing to consider all our suggestions and we have worked in a genuine partnership to build a platform that works for our business.