Boiled down to its essence, Human Resources is about investing in people. In today’s economy, one key to success is hiring the best people. But, once you’ve attracted the best employees, it’s just as important to maximize their productivity and wellbeing in the workplace.


Performance evaluations
conducted monthly
Overview of objectives
and goals at a glance
Streamlined analysis
of store-wide engagement levels

That’s why the most successful companies monitor employee performance at regular intervals to improve the exchange of communication between managers and employees, thereby improving work relationships and boosting productivity.

At Decathlon—the world’s largest sporting goods retailer, which employs over 80,000 people in 1400 stores spread across 45 countries—monthly performance reviews have been a mandatory part of work life for the past decade.

“They have become like a religion for us,” says Matthieu Leclercq, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Decathlon, about the monthly employee evaluations. “In fact, managers are even incentivized by bonuses to carry out monthly performance evaluations with the entire staff.”

With its focus on regular evaluations, Decathlon is spearheading a growing trend among companies today to go beyond traditional performance reviews (which all too often do not yield valuable results because they are badly designed, time consuming and not done regularly enough) towards new and better ways of evaluating employee performance.

But this isn’t always easy. In the past, multiple Decathlon stores faced significant challenges when it came to the efficiency of their monthly evaluations.

The biggest problem we had was with the implementation and follow-up of the monthly reviews. We were using a heavy and time-consuming framework which didn’t allow managers to follow-up on evaluations and didn’t provide salespeople with a quick overview of their objectives.

Julien Monfort
Store Leader of Decathlon Ajaccio

All that changed in 2017 when the company decided that their internal performance review software, Backfeed, needed improving and started working with Zest as a more sophisticated and advanced solution. Not long after the “best practices” and key functionalities of Backfeed had been integrated into Zest, Decathlon stores in France, Philippines, Israel, Japan, Morocco and England adopted it as a solution.

Decathlon team at a store in Belgium.

Quicker – and more rewarding – than a coffee break

Zest’s Check-in module transforms performance reviews from a cumbersome and dreaded process to a valuable, enjoyable, productive and—most importantly—positive experience that takes no longer than your average coffee break.

“The monthly feedback is very simple and quick to complete for employees,” says Julien Monfort. “They can do it directly from their tablet.”

But beyond its user-friendliness, Zest’s Check-in module creates a regular flow of communication between managers and employees, resulting in more constructive feedback, clearer targets, and better skill development. The module also allows managers to set goals and manage their implementation, as well as enabling them to gauge the levels of commitment and motivation for each of these targets.

“Through surveys and moods,” says Julien Monfort,“Zest allows us to evaluate not only the well-being of our employees but also to analyse the responses and define concrete action plans to improve the well-being at work of our teams.”

For managers at Decathlon, Zest makes it easy to monitor levels of employee engagement, moods and identify concrete action plans to improve their overall wellbeing.

Zest enables us to monitor the degree of motivation and the overall mood within teams. It’s like a cockpit that makes it easy to see whether everyone is benefitting regularly enough from a check-in with their coach or boss.

Eric Guinard
CEO of Decathlon in Japan

Decathlon recently won first place in the category for promoting the wellbeing of its employees. “Our persistent focus on monthly performance evaluations is one of the main reasons we won this award,” says Leclerq.

Decathlon’s “early adopter” decision to embed regular performance evaluations into the very core of its structure has undoubtedly contributed to the company’s global success. Bolstered by Zest’s tailor-made Check-in module, the right digital environment is created to allow that mindset to flourish to its full extent—enabling managers and employees at Decathlon to reap the rewards of improved communication for many years to come.

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