Making drastic culture change easy for the State of Wyoming

Learn how the State of Wyoming streamlined its performance evaluation process by implementing Halogen Performance™ – in just six months. When the new governor decided he wanted to change to from a standardized raise process to pay-for-performance, the State of Wyoming turned to Halogen for help. The organization was able to streamline forms and processes and provide employees with better quality feedback.

Wyoming, nicknamed the Cowboy State, was admitted to the union in 1890, and today is home to just over 580,000 people. The biggest drivers of the economy are mining and tourism, with Yellowstone National Park welcoming three million visitors every year.

The State of Wyoming has about 10,000 employees working in very diverse agencies, including education, health, agriculture and natural resources. The State of Wyoming’s A&I Human Resources Division is a dedicated team whose mission is to partner with customers by providing guidance, resources and leadership which will assist in meeting objectives.

This dedication helped the State of Wyoming improve its performance management processes and entire approach to organizational culture. With the support of Halogen Performance™,the State of Wyoming has experienced many benefits such as:

  • 100 percent performance appraisal completion rate
  • 67 percent decrease in compensation administration
  • More accurate and fairer compensation through a new pay-for-performance model
  • 43 percent reduction in terminations due to unsatisfactory work performance
  • 84 percent reduction in suspensions from work

Taming a wild bronco

Previously, there was no standardized performance evaluation process for State of Wyoming employees. Not all employees were given performance reviews, and when they did receive reviews, the processes were inconsistent. That all changed when newly-elected Governor Matt Mead decided to eliminate the standardized raise and introduce a pay-for-performance model. Under his guidance, the A&I Human Resources Division examined its entire talent management process and had the support to develop a new one from the ground up.

One of the A&I Human Resources Division’s missions was to change the culture of feedback. Managers often waited to address employee performance issues, so small problems quickly developed into major problems. Ultimately, this led to job dissatisfaction and a fairly high rate of employee suspensions and terminations.

The A&I Human Resources Division was also tasked with the monumental challenge of transitioning more than 8,000 of the State of Wyoming’s employees from a paper system to an online system. It was especially difficult because a large number of employees in rural areas still had dial-up Internet connections.

About 60 percent of employees were also set to retire within five years and many of them were comfortable with the existing processes. These employees in particular had seen a number of different appraisal systems during their tenure and were resistant to the idea of change

How the West was won

To achieve Governor Mead’s goal of setting up a pay-for-performance culture, the A&I Human Resources Division needed a talent management system that was transparent, accurate and fair. Previously, standardized raises were issued annually to employees across the board regardless of their performance.  As a result, the majority of state employees did not see a raise for seven years.

In order to make the shift to a pay for performance and market matrix, and reward top performers, the agency needed a system in place to meet the needs and business practices of the state. So, the A&I Human Resources Division researched a number of different options and selected Halogen Software.

“I reached out to Halogen and they assembled a team to help me. Together we created forms that were functional and easy to use. Halogen’s support team was supportive and helped me work around any obstacles that came up,” says Lori Mischan, Performance Management Administrator at the State of Wyoming's A&I Human Resources Division. “I also loved the idea of having 24/7 customer service support. I know that if I’m doing something at two in the morning Wyoming time, I can call Halogen and get help right away.”

Implementing a new talent management system has been a slow but steady process, and many of the agencies at the State of Wyoming are seeing the benefits.

“Other agencies within the state are coming to me and saying, ‘We want you to tell us more about your performance management initiative and we want to learn more about what Halogen can do,’” says Mischan. “Now that more agencies are on board, I am introducing more of Halogen’s tools and functionalities. We’ve got some excitement going, so it’s a nice positive change.”

Mischan also credits Halogen with improving the quality of employee feedback. She says, “People are now addressing issues immediately instead of waiting until problems become bigger. So we are seeing supervisors initiate conversations and issue letters of expectation or reprimand instead of moving straight to termination. It’s a big success for us.”

Rounding up success

All of Mischan’s hard work has clearly paid off: The State of Wyoming was recognized with the Bright Bottom Line award at Halogen’s 9th annual Customer Conference. The award recognizes the company that has made an effort to quantitatively assess and measure the results of implementing their Halogen solution.

“We’ve come a long way in terms of standardizing our performance management processes and getting employees to recognize the value – both from an organizational and an individual perspective,” says Mischan. “The data we’ve been able to collect from Halogen has been incredibly valuable in terms of driving this shift. We have information at our fingertips to help identify and set up development plans, onboarding strategies, compensation strategies and more.”

Today, the State of Wyoming has a much better talent management process in place.

“Instead of a manager doing a yearly review and then filing the paper form away, they now have to show how they rated an employee’s performance and why. It’s a big culture change but a successful one,” says Mischan. “With Halogen as a resource we can make people decisions much faster and that’s had a significant impact on the State of Wyoming,” says Mischan. “I feel we’re only just scratching the surface on the true potential for us.