EDF's ICS (Infrastructures and Cloud Services) department started from a simple premise: the yearly performance reviews were experienced as stressful moments and a waste of time by some employees.

Results

The overall goals of the teams and the entity are achieved
Quick and on-the-spot management of obstacles
Improvement of the manager-team relationship
Low turnover rate in the teams concerned.
Good usage rate by the team
Even the most reluctant people at first now ask their managers for feedback in their self-assessments.

In addition, 80% of managers conduct yearly performance reviews, but 95% of them are not fully satisfied with them (Gallup).

Historically, and as in most companies, the notion of evaluation at EDF was very top-down and done once a year. Zest enabled us to set up a system that allows employees to be involved in defining their objectives and managers to quickly identify issues and frustration points through monthly follow-up. All of this is at the service of the success of the employee, the teams and, therefore, the group.

Julien Gazel
Contract Manager, EDF

To simplify the conduct of yearly performance reviews, better support employees and meet managers’ expectations, the management entities of EDF’s ICS department have redefined their criteria to offer an “à la carte” format.

Several lines of thought have been identified to make this experience constructive:

  • The outsourcing of yearly reviews thanks to a digital solution to better prepare the employee-manager face-to-face meetings.
  • Maintaining the framework of the evaluation process while proposing innovative formats.
  • Splitting the yearly reviews by themes (objectives, recognition, etc.) and spreading them out over the whole year in order to examine these elements on a regular basis.
  • The self-definition of objectives desired by the management in order to involve the employees in the definition of their own objectives, then validated by their manager and completed if necessary by an external person.

The Zest solution was chosen to implement this new approach, with the key objective of setting up a continuous managerial conversation to improve performance by listening to employees. The tool’s great flexibility allows the objectives to be modified and adapted as and when needed and to respond to each of the above areas of reflection.

 

A flexible tool perfectly integrated in a multi-disciplinary managerial organization.

Zest is flexible and has been able to adapt to our complex organization. The tool has allowed us to integrate several contributors at monthly check-ins in order to respond to our management model at several levels.

Julien Gazel
Contract Manager, EDF

Several contributors at several levels of management

Indeed, at EDF, some teams operate at different levels of management. When is the case, the team may be composed by a manager, an assistant manager and a N+2. Each of them can assign the same employee within their own perimeter and thus intervene in his monthly and annual performance review.

A modular organization for a coaching-management system

The manager/assistant manager duo encompasses all of the manager’s functions: operational management of teams, performance management focused on finance and human management focused on HR in order to develop employees’ skills.

 

Monthly check-ins to reach personal and collective goals

Overcome challenges and follow through on goals

Every month, or at least every two months, the employee evaluates himself using Zest. The manager comments on this in return. At the end of this step, each party goes through the different topics in order to identify the obstacles and deal with them quickly. They can also decide to discuss them directly if necessary.

New improvement on the interviews, from now on, regular monthly or bimonthly points, at EDF the objectives are reviewed to be adapted as the situation evolves and to remain as close as possible to the realities on the field. This monthly check-in also makes it possible to be proactive in resolving the employee’s difficulties and to express the manager’s appreciation of the points of satisfaction. Generally speaking, the monthly rituals concern feelings, objectives and performance, while the quarterly rituals focus more on the employee’s career, skills and development within the company.

For us it is also a matter of identifying areas for improvement in order to avoid falling into a systematic evaluation and to adopt a manager-coach approach. To work on the areas of success in order to achieve objectives more quickly, to be as close as possible to the employee’s development and to advise him/her as best as possible.

Julien Gazel
Contract Manager, EDF

It also gives managers visibility on the different stages of the objectives throughout the year. They identify needs quickly and act in real time. The employee becomes an active player in his or her own success and is free to speak up.

Aligning management quality and business strategy to move forward together 

Since the implementation of the monthly check-ins via Zest, the overall objectives of the teams and the business unit have been achieved.

Monthly review of objectives is important to stay in line with the company’s strategy and priorities, by adapting quickly to a new context, for example.

The relationship with managers has improved within the teams, which has enabled us to establish a new group dynamic to enhance performance. We have noted a low turnover in the concerned teams.

Creating a managerial dialogue: beneficial to employees and managers

The implementation of regular check-ins benefits managers and improves the employee experience: the employee is coached, valued, performs better and develops his or her skills all year round thanks to continuous feedback.

The employee becomes an active contributor to his objectives, validated by his managers and in line with the company’s needs. A relationship and dialogue is established between the parties.  If the exchange through Zest is not enough, the check-ins can be complemented by physical meetings.

Even the most reluctant at first, now ask their manager for feedback in their self-assessments. A dynamic of exchanges has been set in motion. This is very positive for our teams and the managers are very happy to have continuous feedback. A real plus in both directions that boosts team spirit and efficiency at work.

Develop the potential of each individual through his or her personal skills.

At EDF, there are 3 skills that are responsible for the variable remuneration. These are performance, initiative and adaptability. In order to monitor the evolution of each employee, they have been integrated into the follow-up thanks to Zest.

Key factors for successful project implementation :

  • Involvement of management in the process
  • Employees’ involvement in the construction and reflection around the performance reviews
  • Ongoing coaching to adjust process and goals when needed

 It is important to emphasize that the manager’s investment was key to the success of the project at EDF. It has helped to stimulate exchanges in both directions.

 

The benefits of implementing Zest’s check-ins at EDF

  • Improvement and maintenance of the manager-employee bond, even remotely
  • Systematically ritualized exchanges
  • Being able to track multiple subjects to prepare for the yearly performance reviews
  • Rapid and ongoing difficulty management
  • Employee skills development throughout the year
  • Flexibility in adjusting goals vs. business reality

The next steps of the EDF x Zest Project

#1 Communicating results to employees

#2 Provide feedback based on these results

#3 Use the check-ins for the preparing the yearly review.

#4 Reinforce discussions on the evolution of skills

#5 To value the employee according to his personal and professional background for future missions.

 

The follow-up of Zest’s Customer Success teams

Zest’s client success team accompanied me throughout the implementation of the solution. They proved to be particularly efficient and attentive to my challenges.

Julien Gazel
Contract Manager, EDF

The role of Check-ins in crisis management

During the period of the crisis and imposed remote working, the Check-ins enabled us to ensure regular monitoring of employees by their managers and to identify specific cases. We were thus able to be as close as possible to our employees’ needs and provide them with solutions quickly.

Julien Gazel
Contract Manager, EDF

 

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Further Reading