Basic American Foods feeds skilled, development-focused culture

Now that they're using Halogen Performance, Melanie Rydalch says managers are spending less time on administration and are giving employees the ongoing coaching, feedback and development they need to succeed.

Headquartered in Walnut Creek, California, Basic American Foods (BAF) is an innovator and leader in convenience and refrigerated foods. With nearly 40 patents to its credit, BAF is an acknowledged leader in research and development, earning universal respect for innovation, quality, and customer service. The company continues to grow, staying focused on its customers, and looks to the future with confidence. BAF knows the key ingredient to its success, both now and in the future, is the company’s highly skilled employees and their continued development. To ensure that the organization is doing all it can to effectively develop its employees, BAF has implemented Halogen Software’s cloud-based talent management solutions. The organization’s investment in Halogen Performance™ and Halogen 360 Multirater™ has enabled it to:

  • Generate a complete picture of employee performance
  • Increase employee engagement and satisfaction with the process
  • Hold employees accountable to Lean principles
  • Create a feedback rich culture that is focused on development

 

Before transforming its performance management process using Halogen’s solutions, BAF conducted performance reviews on paper. Shortly after the BAF team selected Halogen Performance, Melanie Rydalch, SPHR, rejoined BAF as Regional HR Manager and led the implementation. Though she had not been present during the selection process, she is familiar with the factors that lead to the search.

Overcoming low employee engagement

It was common knowledge throughout the organization that trying to manage performance on paper was not helping the company achieve its business objectives. This was especially apparent to the HR department and to Rydalch.

BAF employees did not want to participate in performance appraisals using the old system. Since the process was a burden, it hindered managers in effectively coaching and promoting the ongoing development of their employees. To make the whole process of managing employee performance more palatable and get the staff engaged, the HR team had to find and implement a new system that was as simple and as user friendly as possible.

The HR professionals at BAF are passionate about organizational and leadership development, and found the old process frustrating because it did not help them get the results they knew were possible.

"We were dealing with a system that was not very simple or productive," said Rydalch. "It was universally frustrating. It became very apparent that there had to be a better way. We knew we had to automate the process, and were looking to find a best-in-class, web-based talent management solution."

They understood that the easier the process could be made the more likely their employees would be to engage with it. It would also mean that managers could spend their limited time providing feedback and coaching rather than wasting it on administration. "Halogen helps us design and roll out a much simpler process," said Rydalch. "The new system is extremely user friendly and encourages employees to become invested in their performance. Halogen Performance is a powerful tool that makes everything around performance management simple but effective."

Preparing for change

BAF executives understand the importance of talent management as a key tool for developing future leaders. This consensus at the top of the organization helped drive the implementation. When the organization initially announced plans to implement the Halogen suite, there was some hesitance among the employees, as a result of bad experiences rolling out other IT solutions. To ensure company-wide acceptance Rydalch and the HR team focused on consistent communication. They made sure that employees knew where things stood at every step of the process, and once it was time for hands on training, it was done thoroughly and thoughtfully. To further emphasize the importance of the solution to BAF, the company’s CEO made this training mandatory for all employees. As a result, everyone was well prepared for the new system and excited about the new approach to talent management.

The leadership at BAF had also wanted to implement Lean manufacturing principles for several years, but they were challenged by the inability to maintain accountability in this area. It didn't take long for the BAF leadership to realize it needed to create a culture that supported Lean processes.

Halogen's cloud-based performance management system, Halogen Performance provided access to the Lean competencies BAF needed. "The online performance management system was simple to use and instrumental in establishing Lean principles in our organization," said Rydalch. "Halogen ensures our leadership holds all employees accountable to the Lean principles. We have made a great deal of progress since the implementation of Halogen largely because everyone in our organization is held accountable to the Lean principles and the reporting provides a simple visual to determine our opportunities for improvement."

Creating a feedback rich, development-focused culture

By streamlining the process and providing tools that made the whole appraisal process easier, Halogen enabled BAF to transform employee performance management from a once a year chore to an ongoing, year-round process. The solution’s extensive features such as comment helpers, development tips, performance journals and goal tracking help managers provide regular feedback and coaching to employees. This has been instrumental in transforming the entire culture of the organization into one that focuses on development.

In addition to Halogen Performance, BAF is also taking advantage of Halogen 360 Multirater. The organization uses Halogen 360 Multirater during its appraisal process to gain a more well-rounded picture of its employees’ performance. This tool gives BAF’s employees the broad, balanced perspective they need to develop and improve. It expands the organization’s ability to build leadership and collect broader, fairer feedback for employees.

Measuring success

To objectively measure the success of the current Halogen solutions being used, BAF has conducted an online user survey. Following the organization’s very first appraisal process, the feedback and results of the survey were overwhelmingly positive, and an obvious improvement over the general sentiments expressed about the previous process. In the survey, nearly 90 percent of employees expressed overall satisfaction in Halogen Performance. The HR team was very enthusiastic about the results and is certain that the results of the satisfaction survey will continue to improve as more processes are conducted.