Old Second National Bank has served the Chicago area for almost 150 years by providing communities with a full array of consumer and business products and services. The company has injected the same principles of dedication and continuous support in their employee programs too. In 2017, Old Second partnered with Reflektive to provide employees with tools that support continuous feedback, and ultimately drive more equity and inclusion. Read our below Q&A with Heather Anderson, Human Resource Business Partner, to learn how Old Second boosted its corporate culture with Reflektive.
Reflektive: Can you tell us a little bit about Old Second?
Heather: For nearly 150 years, Old Second has been a pillar in communities, meeting the banking needs of Chicago-area businesses and individuals. Our employees and customers are at the core of our success. Backed by an unwavering sense of financial responsibility, we’ve persevered through the most challenging and rewarding economic climates, as well as more than two centuries of historical events.
Reflektive: Why did the company decide to partner with Reflektive in 2017?
Heather: We wanted to drive talent management forward at the company, and we knew that leading-edge performance programs could help us do that. The ability for employees to gather continuous feedback from colleagues, and develop skillsets, was extremely important to us as we searched for the right platform. Another key goal for us was to evolve our performance management process to create an even playing field for all of our associates.
Reflektive: That’s so good to hear. Can you talk a little bit more about how you accomplished these goals with Reflektive?
Heather: We actually were able to tackle a lot of these initiatives with our new performance review process:
- Gathering continuous feedback: Reflektive’s integrated solution enables our associates to view feedback at any time. In performance reviews, we could pull in all of the feedback that an employee received from managers and peers over the selected timeframe. This also supported our equity efforts, since it removes recency bias!
- Developing skillsets: We also pull Reflektive goals into our review forms to have another objective indicator of employee performance. We encourage all employees to have developmental goals, in addition to goals around work quality and productivity.
- Driving equity and inclusivity: Our directors aligned on a common set of competencies for our Retail team to help them be successful in their roles. These common goals and competencies allow managers to evaluate everyone based on the same skills, and build equity into our review process. By objectively evaluating associates, we’re supporting our company-wide inclusion efforts.
Reflektive: Are employees taking advantage of goal-setting opportunities?
Heather: Definitely! We’ve seen goal adoption increase from 30% in 3Q2019, to 84% in 4Q2019, and it’s currently at 94%. That’s an increase of over 200% since the third quarter last year!
Reflektive: How did you make such a large improvement in goals adoption?
Heather: I used a multi-pronged approach here, including:
- Consistent Communication Strategy: I developed a cohesive communication plan, focused on repetition! Specifically I:
- Created a schedule of communications, to stay on track
- Partnered with executives first, and then informed all employees about our Goals program. By working with execs first, I was able to gather their feedback and answer any questions they had.
- Sent short, concise emails with clear action steps and due dates
- Sent reminders in advance of milestones
- Partnership with Managers: I scheduled meetings with mid-level managers so they could better align with their teams on goals, and role model ideal goal-setting behaviors.
- Helpful Assets: To make things as easy as possible for our employees, I created custom screenshots on how to create and edit goals. Reflektive’s Knowledge Center was a really helpful starting place for me! Additionally, I developed a quick webinar series to provide more context on goal-setting and demonstrate how Reflektive was user-friendly and easy to navigate.
- Post-Mortem: I conducted an employee survey to gather feedback and learn what we could enhance in the following year.
Reflektive: That’s a very comprehensive strategy! Are there any additional tactics you’re using to drive a culture of continuous feedback at Old Second?
Heather: Yes, we use several channels to help employees grow and develop. Specifically, we:
- Encourage usage of Reflektive’s 1:1 solution to drive productive conversations between associates and their managers. 1:1 conversations also are great opportunities to cover growth and development, and boost employee sentiment around inclusion.
- Educate employees on the importance of requesting feedback from peers after projects have been completed — this helps them work better together in the future!
- Leverage our Management Workshop Series to teach employees about the value of seeking feedback.
Reflektive: You mentioned that 1:1s and reviews help drive positive sentiment around inclusivity — are there any other programs you’re developing to create a more inclusive workplace?
Heather: Yes, we’re doing a lot to support all of our associates. We established an executive DEI council that also includes employee ambassadors to incorporate different voices. The council identified five DEI initiatives that will commence in 2021:
- Employee Appreciation: Celebrate employees through subsidized activities that show appreciation, build morale and foster an inclusive workplace
- Coffee Breaks with Execs: Help employees get to know executives and senior managers; sponsor panels on career development
- Women’s Resource Group: Elevate women in the workplace through opportunities that enhance knowledge, skills and exposure to senior managers
- Employee Events: Foster team-building across functions through subsidized activities and events
- Philanthropy: Build and enhance our brand in local communities through employee-centric, philanthropic activities