Growsari is helping to build the future of sari-sari stores (informal corner shops) in the Philippines. They assist store owners to connect directly to suppliers, cutting out middlemen traders. They also introduce them to new types of products to sell, increasing their earnings potential.
Established in 2016, the company has expanded rapidly and now has over 400 employees, 100 attached to the company HQ and the rest out in the field. Andrzej Ogonowski (Oggy), one of the co-founders who looks after Growsari’s external and internal platforms. Celina Recto (Cel), product associate for organisational development. Together, they were given the task of sourcing and rolling out a new performance management system.
Reviews before Appraisd
Previously, Growsari used Google Docs to manage their reviews. As many of the senior leaders came from a corporate background, they were familiar with the performance management process and its potential benefits. Everyone in the company had Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set up, but the execution was inconsistent and difficult to manage. The HR team were overwhelmed with administration, it was a challenge to keep track of progress and how well individual employees were performing. The company was losing an important opportunity to engage and focus their employees and to help them reach their full potential.
- Senior leaders wanted stronger alignment – the company has ambitious growth plans, but it wanted to check that all employees and teams were aligned and working towards these.
- Performance expectations were not always aligned - KPIs would be inputted, but there was no way for employees to sign them off to ensure that they had seen and understood them.
- Reviews were an admin burden, rather than being value-adding - It was a pain point to keep track of when and who needed reviews by when, especially when probationary reviews are a requirement in the Philippines after the first six months of employment.
- Disconnect between operational and people management - Growsari is a data-driven business, focused on being as efficient as possible and maximising their assets. Their approach to people management was at odds to the philosophy of the rest of the business.
- Managers had difficulty assessing employee progression – The process was not always clear for new starters, discussions around promotions were difficult as there was a lack of documentation to back up decisions particularly when there had been changes in roles, responsibilities and relevant KPIs.
- Employees wanted an easier way to track their individual development - Growsari employees are asked what their aspirations are, and these are discussed with managers, but they were lacking a tool to help them follow up, add in goals and progress towards these aspirations.
The drivers for change
Two key events acted as catalyst which drove Growsari to act:
- Senior leaders wanted to focus on a tighter set of priorities. For this to be successful, it was vital that employees’ KPIs aligned to these and that their progress against them was tracked effectively.
- An internal survey on culture highlighted that employees wanted more support to help them manage their own development and their careers.
Combined, these drove senior leaders to charge Oggy and Cel with finding and implementing a new performance management system.
Their aim was to find a solution that was:
- Focused on performance management
- Easy to use for all levels of employees
- Flexible and easy to adapt
It also needed to offer:
- Robust reporting and insights
- Superior customer support
We were very clear about the problems we needed to fix and the solution that we wanted. From our own experience of developing technology, we know tools that have one, main focus tend to have every angle covered and have enormous attention to detail. This is what we wanted, and broader HR tools with an added performance management function weren’t up to the job. Of the software we tested, Appraisd was the best option, offering the functionality we needed, packaged in a way that our employees would find easy to use.
Working with Appraisd
For Growsari, Appraisd represents their biggest investment in external software outside of their own internal platforms. Senior leaders needed to be convinced about their return on investment. This was achieved to a large extent through the swift set up of a demo account, replicating Growsari’s main requirements.
Working with our Customer Success Manager, Ros, has been very helpful. From the beginning, she was there to answer any questions and help us set up the system exactly how we want it to be. She has worked in a really collaborative way and has been very open to our suggestions and approach.
As an organisation, Growsari is works in development sprints – setting goals and then achieving them over a two- or three-week period, a common philosophy in technology companies. As a fast-growing start-up, this approach has been vital to the success of the business. They treated the roll-out of Appraisd as one of their sprints and Cel was responsible for making it happen.
We knew to get people to use Appraisd we had to show them that it was easy to use. We decided to set up a demo account with the details of one of our most well-known employees and show the whole company the system at a town-hall meeting. This approach worked brilliantly, getting everyone engaged and excited about the change. We reminded employees that they asked for this innovation and their enthusiasm and involvement was needed to make it a success.
The roll-out also coincided with the launch of new company values, one of which is “individuals’ matter”. Appraisd allows employees to take control of their own development, which perfectly complements this message.
Despite only launching in February, Growsari are already seeing the benefits. The first batch of probation reviews are coming up and they have all been added to Appraisd, which will make the process far smoother and more ordered. HR will have a clear idea of what new starters have achieved and what their next steps will be.
As a probationer myself, it’s great to see how Appraisd works from a user’s perspective. I can see my progress and if I’m on track to attain my targets, taking much of the tension out of my upcoming review. I have two different roles in the company, and now I am confident that all my responsibilities will be assessed, with nothing getting overlooked or lost. I am very interested in learning more about product design and I can record this clearly on Appraisd.
The first full reviews for the company will take place in June, and Oggy and Cel are confident that for the first time employees will be looking forward to the experience and take real value from it.