Quaker Chemical ensures consistency and unifies employee appraisals worldwide

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Established provider of chemical products, services, and technical expertise, Quaker Chemical Corporation is using Halogen Performance™ to:

  • Create a consistent and effective global employee performance management process;
  • Reduce the burden on HR time and resources; and
  • Enable HR to control the process and to make changes as they are needed without any outside assistance.

Company profile

Quaker Chemical Corporation is a leading global provider of process chemicals, chemical specialties, services and technical expertise to a wide range of industries — including steel, automotive, mining, aerospace, tube and pipe, coatings and construction materials — around the globe.

Quaker is a $546 million dollar company headquartered outside of Philadelphia, PA, with regional headquarters in Uithoorn, The Netherlands, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Shanghai, China. The company employs some 1400 associates and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.

Challenge

Operating in 25 different countries, Quaker has a number of geographic challenges when it comes to ensuring its associates receive the feedback they need to maximize their performance. The completely paper-based process used by the organization to give employees feedback, set goals, evaluate performance and assign development plans was inefficient and a major burden on the Human Resources department. Once HR had collected all the performance appraisal information it was nearly impossible to do anything with it. Timothy Haines, Quaker's Director of HR, wanted to improve the process and make things easier and more efficient, and provide greater value to managers. When it came to associate performance management, Haines recognized that the industry best-practice was to move appraisals to an electronic, web-based system.

"We don't have a huge HR staff, so managing the process and the paper traffic circulating globally taxed our resources and was a drain on our department," said Haines. "As an organization, we are always looking for ways to automate, improve and use the latest technology. When I came across Halogen on the web I immediately thought I should look into this further."

Solution

When researching possible employee performance and talent management systems, Quaker assessed offerings from four different vendors. The offerings were evaluated based on a list of "must haves," including being simple to use and intuitive. A key priority was ensuring the new system would improve the consistency of employee evaluations around the globe and ensure confidentiality. Finally, the organization wanted a system to provide a place where people could not only write their employee performance appraisals, but refer back to and track their on-going performance. After several product demonstrations, the organization determined that Halogen Performance best met all of their needs.

The HR department at Quaker opted to have Halogen host the solution rather than host it on-premise. Due to the global nature of Quaker's workforce, HR recognized it would be easier to have the solution hosted by the vendor.

"Halogen is highly intuitive and I like the fact that we could make changes to the process ourselves," said Haines. "We do not have to go to the vendor and wait on their production people. Even with our deploying a hosted solution we are still in control. There are a lot of advantages to Halogen, including the immense value of the solution, and the fact that now we know everyone is following the same process because it is a process."

Before launching the new system, it was presented at a meeting with the organization's top 50 managers on a global basis. These managers provided their feedback and unanimously agreed that launching the Halogen system was a great idea. Additionally, both executive and associate buy-in for the system was high.

The HR department received three days of training on-site and a week following, with the help of the Halogen team, the solution was ready to roll out.

"Our implementation specialist at Halogen was very helpful and the service and support Halogen has provided has been outstanding," said Haines. "I think the call center is great. When you place a call it is answered almost immediately and they are usually able to answer questions right away on the phone and if not, they always get back to you very quickly."

Benefits

Halogen is now being used on a global basis with several different processes running. There are different legal requirements for each region and Halogen is flexible enough to accommodate these important distinctions. In the past, employees were not always being evaluated on the same criteria and the new solution enables Quaker to ensure consistent appraisals around the globe. From a time-efficiency perspective, Halogen has made it easier for people to quickly understand how the system works and where to go to find the information needed to effectively complete their performance appraisals. This is made easier because all the information people need is all in one place.

"In the U.S. we completed an extensive on-line survey with associates and managers to get their feedback and identify any areas for improvement," said Haines. "Approximately 90 percent of the respondents saw the new system as favorable in terms of the overall quality, forms, software and process. To me that is a huge success."

Haines would absolutely recommend Halogen to any organization that is still using an outdated paper-based system. "Halogen Performance has enabled us to unify our corporate culture in terms of how employees are appraised and developed. From top to bottom, everyone has embraced the system and the time and resources it saves them. I look forward to continuing to find ways to better use the enterprise-class features Halogen provides us," said Haines.