Fabweld Steel Products design and manufacture fabricated steel access covers and other associated products. Set up 25 years ago in Telford, Shropshire, they have become an established enterprise, employing around 65 employees. Around two thirds of these work on the shop floor.
The company did offer annual appraisals that were paper based. While these did give employees a chance to gauge the level of their performance, limiting the conversation to just once a year did make it hard to address everything that had happened over the previous 12 months. It was difficult to capture insights, track progress or deliver relevant and timely feedback.
There was a desire to introduce more regular 1-2-1 meetings to help employees take greater ownership of their own development, providing an opportunity to discuss their progress, received feedback on their performance and raise any training needs.
With most of the workforce not having easy access to a computer, any solution found had to work on their own smart devices. It needed to be smart and simple – easy to understand and roll out as well as quick to update.
There was also a desire to make reviews more personal, to feel tailored to the individual and their own needs, rather than a bit bland and generic.
HR Officer, Molly Peters, headed up the project to find and roll out a new tool to enhance their approach to performance management. Her key criteria were:
- It had to be user friendly
- It had to be flexible
- It had to be low maintenance
- It had to be something that employees could quickly get to grips with and see the value in
As the only HR professional in the company, Molly needed to find something that would make her life easier, providing her and the wider organisation with a greater understanding of what employees needed to develop and progress. With her time under huge pressure, she needed a provider who would be there to support her, not just at launch but on an ongoing basis.
After reviewing various options, Molly selected Appraisd. “I was originally looking for a system that combined performance management with employee engagement, but none that I found matched my criteria. Appraisd was exactly what I was looking for – bright, fresh and highly intuitive. I could immediately see how simple it would be for my colleagues to use.”
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The new approach
Molly felt what was covered in the old paper-based appraisal was still appropriate as it linked to company’s core competencies and values. What she wanted to do was build on this, introducing quarterly check-ins allowing short-term goals to be reviewed and progress tracked more easily. The company has five or six apprentices at any one time. They have more objectives and a dedicated plan for their progression, so this could now be integrated more successfully into the process.
The virtual launch
The Appraisd roll out had been planned to begin on 23rd March, just as the UK was going into lockdown. This was still able to go ahead thanks to the new integrated video function that has been added to Appraisd to help keep remote workforces connected.
“The video function was a godsend. Adam, the team leader for the shop floor is responsible for around 20 employees. He used the video to go through Appraisd with each employee, taking them through the system step by step. Being able to talk face to face while being on the site made this extremely simple. He was able to address any issues while showing them what they needed to do. In fact, it probably worked better than if we had done it in the traditional way.”
While it is still early days for Febweld, the feedback from employees so far has been extremely positive. They thoroughly appreciate having access to their objectives in the palm of their hands and have found Appraisd very easy to get to grips with.
“I can already see the potential Appraisd offers us. Even after just a few months I can see that employees are more engaged with their development and I know how often they are logging in and providing updates.
I was originally looking for a tool to enhance employee engagement and I’m keen to work with the team at Appraisd to see how I can achieve that through this system. The Customer Success team have been incredibly supportive and open to suggestions about how this could be possible. Their service has been brilliant, probably the best I’ve experienced from an IT supplier. I feel this is the beginning of a very productive partnership and I’m confident they will help me find the best solution.”