FuelCell Energy Inc., a global leader in all areas of stationary electric power, invested in the Halogen Talent Management Suite™ to improve efficiency and effectiveness, and unify their global team. Their new modules are allowing them to:
- Align their rapidly growing workforce and create a culture of performance
- Improve the security, integrity and usefulness of performance management data
- Ensure their high-potential employees are recognized and nurtured
FuelCell Energy a global leader powered by the innovation of its people
Based in Danbury, Connecticut, FuelCell Energy develops and markets ultra-clean stationary fuel cell power plants that efficiently generate electricity with up to twice the efficiency of conventional fossil fuel plants and with virtually no air pollution. With more than 30 years of experience, and over 500 employees, they are recognized as a global leader in the development, manufacture, and commercialization of stationary electric power generation.
The challenge: unify a dispersed organization, securely consolidate performance data, engage users in the performance management process
FuelCell Energy is a dispersed organization with offices in Asia, as well as across the United States. During a recent four-year period of especially high growth, when the company expanded from 150 to over 500 employees, the strain of its employee performance appraisal process became very pronounced. At the time, the organization was using an evaluation process based on a complicated collection of Word documents and spreadsheets that had to be filled in and updated manually. In addition to the significant labor required by the inefficient process, the HR team was also concerned about maintaining confidentiality and security, because the employee appraisals were all stored on a server in a shared folder.
To top it all off, employee engagement with the existing process was at a serious low. With no consistency or accountability for ratings, employees were often being casually over-rated in their appraisals. The result was very little differentiation between scores, rendering the performance reviews virtually meaningless in the eyes of the employees.
"The HR team found the system and process painful for everyone involved and looked to overhaul it and implement an automated system," said Sandra Mauro, HR Manager with FuelCell Energy. "At the direction of our VP of HR, the company formed a team with representatives from IT, HR and our corporate office to build the requirements and evaluate the options."
Once they had established their requirements, the search began.
- From an IT standpoint, the team determined that they wanted an on-premise deployment so that IT could maintain control over the scheduling and execution of updates. Security and access control were also paramount.
- The HR and management team required a solution that would allow them to keep the contents of their existing form and support their current process steps so things would be familiar for managers and employees. They also required that the system be easy to use, to ensure employee engagement in the process and adoption by management.
- Overall, the company was looking to create and adopt common performance standards and competencies by which employees could be measured, so that employee evaluations would be consistent and meaningful, and the organization could unify their culture around performance.
The solution: an automated, secure system that maintains familiarity, is embraced by all users, and standardizes performance measurement implemented in just 45 days
After walking through several demonstrations and proposals, and extensively reviewing the offerings of numerous vendors, the team selected the Halogen Talent Management Suite.
One of the many reasons for choosing Halogen was the flexible deployment options, which meant that FuelCell Energy could host the software on their own premises, and IT could maintain control and security around the application.
They also selected Halogen because it allowed the organization to maintain its existing process and forms, and change them as business needs changed, without vendor involvement. Keeping a familiar process and forms was thought to be critical to employee acceptance and adoption.
HR consciously took steps to ensure employee support before rolling out the new solution, using strategic communications and training. Emails kept employees apprised of the progress of the implementation and face-to-face training was provided. To maintain employee support, before each process HR initiates a continuing education program where any changes are highlighted. Finally, they have a comprehensive PowerPoint training presentation that is always available to everyone.
"Halogen eAppraisal was seamlessly implemented across the global organization in less than six months. We were live within 45 days of training. It was awesome," said Mauro. "I have done a lot of software implementations in my career and I know how painful they can be. Getting Halogen up and running was painless."
HR is delighted with the new system, and especially the training and support they received. "I recommend Halogen to pretty much anyone who will listen," said Mauro. "I talk about it all the time. The only regret I have is not taking advantage of the excellent customer support earlier on. Some support centers are painful, so I was avoiding contact with them. The help desk and Halogen's overall support are simply the best."
The results: global implementation, employee engagement, performance accountability and intelligence
All of FuelCell Energy's employees around the globe are now using Halogen eAppraisal™, each being measured on the set of competencies established as priority by the organization. More importantly, the quality of the ratings and feedback has improved since the introduction of Halogen. Employees quickly embraced the system and now see their performance reviews as a valuable exercise.
Having an effective talent management system in place provides the organization with the ability to clearly communicate the importance of employee performance, and the critical capacity to make ongoing effective feedback to all employees a priority. Moreover, accountability for performance management is now entrenched in all parts of the organization, from top level management to the employees.
"We use the employee performance management system to drive a higher level of accountability," said Mauro. "As a high-growth company, we have many employees who join our team from different companies and corporate cultures. The new system enables us to standardize performance expectations and unify our corporate culture."
Next steps: a roadmap for extending and enhancing talent management practices
FuelCell Energy will next use Halogen e360 Multirater™ , which seamlessly collects and provides 360 degree feedback as part of their appraisal and succession planning processes. The plan is to complete training and roll out Halogen e360 Multirater this year, expanding the current use of Halogen eAppraisal to provide individual employees and line managers with insightful, 360 degree feedback as part of the performance management process.
FuelCell Energy will also implement Halogen eSuccession™ to help them address future talent planning requirements for their growing workforce. "Our senior management wants to make sure that our high potentials are recognized and that as an organization we are paying extra attention to the people we should be," said Mauro. "We want to make sure that the opinions of senior executives and the supervisors who are immediately involved with employees match up when it comes to identifying high-performers. This tool quite simply, lets us be sure. They'll begin by gathering data on their high-potential employees and identifying any retention risks as part of their next appraisal process, then gradually implement succession planning in stages to meet their needs."
Having a sense of confidence in the information they are using to make business decisions provides FuelCell Energy with a competitive advantage. As they implement more modules in the suite, they'll be able to generate more information about the company's employee performance and talent, providing a more accurate and complete picture of the organization. With the implementation of multi-rater feedback and succession planning, the organization has a road map that will enable it to maintain and expand its leadership position based on actionable intelligence.