The #1 Way to Communicate Success of a HR Change!

Adobe recently changed their annual performance review process of the traditional once-per-year review to a more modern design of having frequent feedback throughout the year:

So, based in part on ideas crowdsourced from employees, Morris and her team scrapped annual evaluations and replaced them with a system called Check In. At the start of each fiscal year, employees and managers set specific goals. Then, at least every eight weeks but usually much more often, people “check in” with their bosses for a real-time discussion of how things are going. At an annual “rewards check-in,” managers give out raises and bonuses according to how well each employee has met or exceeded his or her targets. “Managers are empowered to make those decisions,” says Morris. “There is no ‘matrix.’ HR isn’t involved.”

A big change for any organization, for sure, but that’s not what this post is really about.  You see, Donna Morris, Adobe’s Sr. Global VP of People and Places could have easily just said it’s been a great success and shared stories from employees and hiring managers about how much they loved it. She could have shared retention metrics and employee engagement scores to show its success, but she didn’t. What shared did was absolutely brilliant! She shared this:

Getting feedback in real time, so everyone stays on track and is pulling in the same direction, has helped make Adobe’s 13,000 employees far more productive, Morris says. Adobe’s stock price has increased from about $30 to over $80 since Check In began.

Drops mic, walks off stage.

You want to really communicate the success of HR change, tie it to direct financial outcomes!  Yes, it’s a major leap to say “Check In” created $50 per share of shareholder value.  Let me say that again, MAJOR LEAP!  In fact, I don’t even think you could scientifically correlate this one HR change to the raise in shareholder value, but she did!  What she did would be similar to saying global temperatures have risen 3 degrees on average since they started making Krispy Kreme donuts, so Krispy Kreme is responsible for global warming!

You see, success of a major program has little to do with fact, and ton to do with perception.  Here is a senior HR executive who gets it.   She wants to do other cool and innovative stuff at Adobe, and now she has her big-win to go back to when someone pushes back that it won’t work, or it’s not needed.   In the minds of Adobe employees, this program has increased shareholder value, and we need to listen to her other ideas!

Take note HR Pros!  If you get this opportunity, you take it 100% of the time! Because you won’t get it often.  How do you communicate your success of a HR program?  Wait until you have favorable financial data in your organization, then connect the dots for people!

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