ARAG is a German, family-owned insurance company, specialising in legal insurance. Established more than 80 years ago it now operates in 16 countries around the world. ARAG UK was founded in 2006 and currently has more than 130 employees working across offices in Bristol and London.
Focusing on employee development, connecting to business goals
To support the continued growth and success of the organisation, ARAG realised it needed to take its approach to performance management to the next level, further empowering employees to focus on their own development and connecting them more closely with the overall aims of the business.
Reviews were taking place, but the HR and leadership teams felt these could be more dynamic. They wanted to re-energise the process, firing up employees to challenge themselves to perform to their absolute full potential. There was also a desire for enhanced data and insights around performance to better inform the leadership team for more effective people planning.
What ARAG wanted
Above all, ARAG was looking for a partner to help them create a process that employees saw the value in and wanted to use. To emphasise the importance and inclusiveness of the new approach, a working group was created including representatives from every area and level to establish what was needed.
The essential elements they were looking for were:
- A system that was flexible and easy to customise
- The capability to capture 1:1 discussions
- Scales for rating employees
- A tool allowing forms and information to be uploaded quickly and easily
- The ability to link to business objectives
- An objective progress tracker
- The flexibility to have feedback on or off for different situations
After an extensive search and review process, involving an interactive Q&A with the working group, Appraisd were chosen as the supplier of choice, satisfying all the key requirements as well as providing excellent value for money. To ensure that employees were fully behind the decision, the HR team took a step back, allowing the working group to make the final choice. This demonstrated that this initiative was owned by the employees and their voice was the most important one.
ARAG and Appraisd – a true collaboration
ARAG had a vision from moving away from traditional annual appraisals to a more coaching lead approach built on regular conversations between managers and their employees. This supported their aim of empowering employees to drive forward their own development and progression, while aligning the goals to the needs of the business.
To make this journey all at once would have been overwhelming and confusing for everyone concerned and could have derailed the project before it had even got started. Together, ARAG and Appraisd devised a solution that moves towards this goal, a small step at a time. This ensures everyone in the organisation is comfortable with the direction of travel and no one feels left behind. Appraisd has been built to adjust and evolve with each customer, allowing their own unique requirements to dictate how the system is formatted, not pushing them down a particular path that isn’t suitable for their situation.
Swift to react to customer demand
To signal to employees the importance placed on this new approach, the first person to use Appraisd when it launched in January 2020 was ARAG’s Managing Director. He was keen to demonstrate the value of setting clear, relevant and joined-up objectives for everyone in the organisation, eager to set the right tone and ensure everyone’s goals could flow from those he agreed with the senior leadership team.
In the configuration of Appraisd for launch, milestones for objectives had been omitted. Having tried out the system for himself, the MD decided he would prefer these to be included. With the help of the Appraisd Customer Success Team, led by ARAG’s account manager Richard Brereton, this feedback was swiftly taken on board and milestones were included within a matter of days. This rapid resolution of the issue allowed Appraisd to be rolled out smoothly, as planned, to the rest of the organisation without delay and in a format fully endorsed by senior leaders.
“Can do” attitude
Sallyanne Fraser, Learning and Development Co-Ordinator is managing the roll out and day-to-day running of Appraisd at ARAG.
“From the time we began our search for a new performance management tool, Appraisd has stood out with their friendly, accommodating and professional approach. Whenever I’ve had an issue, the team has been there to find a solution and I haven’t found anything yet that they haven’t been able to resolve.
I really appreciate their attitude to feedback; they always view my comments and ideas as positive inputs that can help improve the system not just for us but for their other customers too. It always feels like this is a true partnership, like we are in this together very much on the same side, like they are an extension of our team.
I’ve been so impressed by their responsive and collaborative approach that I’ve already recommended them to divisions of ARAG in other countries. ARAG Ireland are now on Appraisd and ARAG Canada are seriously considering it for their operation. The fact that I feel so confident to endorse them to my peers sums up exactly how impressed I’ve been with Appraisd. I was also delighted that our partnership was recognised by the judges of the Personnel Today Awards, shortlisting Appraisd for HR Tech Provider of the Year”
Positive results already evident
Despite only launching at the beginning of 2020, the impact of the new approach is already being felt across the business. Through employees’ actions and anecdotal feedback, Sallyanne and the rest of the HR team have already witnessed a significant increase in staff interest in their performance and development. This renewed eagerness is supported by just how many employees have engaged with Appraisd already:
- Out of 132 employees, 94% have logged into the system so far.
- 60% of employees have logged in within the last month, showing they are quickly becoming familiar with a more continuous and regular approach.
- 131 1:1s or check-ins have been set-up, 71 have been completed, revealing that change is happening
- 60 different employees have created check-ins, indicating employees are taking the initiative to be proactive and using the opportunity to have more control.
- 427 objectives have been added in total.
- 51 people have added development objectives, revealing the desire within the organisation for progression.
These early figures show how well Appraisd has been received and how quickly behaviour is changing in just a very short space of time. ARAG are confident that their new approach will produce a more motivated and cohesive workforce, that will put the organisation in a much stronger position to weather the challenges that lay ahead.