Using technology to create an effective pay-for-performance culture


Harbor Group Management Company is using Halogen's employee performance and Halogen TalentSpace™ to:

  • Foster a performance-oriented culture — one in which employees focus on the organization's overall strategic goals;
  • Increase employee engagement and improve accountability; and
  • Improve employee retention and adhere to compensation budgets.

Company background

Harbor Group Management Company is a private real estate investment and property management firm that controls a portfolio of worldwide assets valued in excess of two billion dollars. The company's real estate holdings include over eight million square feet of commercial space and more than 14 000 apartment units. Harbor Group is headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia with offices in New York, Chicago, London and Tel Aviv.


Harbor Group wanted to foster a performance-oriented culture; one in which employees focus on the organization's overall strategic goals. To do this, Harbor Group knew it would have to get managers to better recognize employee results based on specific actions, and compliment/reward them appropriately. The overall goal was to develop individuals to adopt high-performance attitudes, emotions and behaviors.

Harbor Group decided to overhaul its appraisal process, and focus on a model that was objective rather than subjective, and that was based on behaviors rather than traits. "We were aligning all our organizational systems to support talent management," said Ron Bates, Vice President of HR for Harbor Group Management Company. "In order to manage our employees' long-term growth potential, we knew their appraisals had to be specific to job function and demonstrate to them that they could control the outcome."


When sourcing an automated employee performance and talent management system, Harbor Group wanted a solution that supported all types of performance appraisals (semi-annual appraisals, probationary reviews, project performance reviews, etc.), and included extensive form configuration options and complex scoring and weighting. It also had to include multirater/peer review functionality, provide real-time status on every step in the process and enable managers to drill down into their organizations.

"We were looking for a tool to provide employees with candid feedback and potential improvement opportunities," said Bates. "We needed capacity to handle lots of detailed information, because we were making coaching a part of each employee's development discussion and creating mentoring relationships to build motivation and engagement."

Harbor Group also needed to integrate a compensation management system that would suggest pay adjustments based on appraisal scores and a performance matrix. It had to allow for complex bonus calculations based on multiple profiles, and verify recommendations against budget guidelines.

"We chose Halogen Performance™ with Halogen Compensation™ because it most closely fit with our reward-for-performance culture," said Bates. "Halogen's tools provided us with a high level of accountability for our managers, to help them defend their appraisal and compensation decisions to all members of our corporate compensation committee."


With the implementation of Halogen Performance and Halogen Compensation, Harbor Group has seen increased employee engagement and improved accountability. Employees now perceive that the appraisal process provides fair compensation adjustments and rewards. "Our new communication process is leading to higher trust in the company and understanding of our goals," said Bates. "We are seeing our managers make honest and objective assessments, and everyone has a better understanding of our talent development needs."

Harbor Group's compensation culture changes have also improved employee retention and ensured that the compensation budget is adhered to. "We have ended our blanket bonus programs and Halogen has helped us better recognize top performers through performance management," said Bates. "Increased employee engagement in corporate goals follows naturally. We are well on our way to a long-term employee talent management plan that is founded in a pay-for-performance culture."