The common space to manage talent with proximity
The platform is from GFoundry and was parameterized according to the challenges identified by Closer. It systematizes the performance evaluation and is the interface to carry it out, also articulating it with training. It also allows onboarding to be a unique and fun program
Founded in 2006, Closer Consulting is a Portuguese company specialized in what is now commonly known as data area – Data Science and Artificial Intelligence -, helping their clients (for example, large banks and telecommunications companies) to take the best advantage of it to be increasingly competitive. These 16 years of existence have been marked by good results, which are reflected in market growth and organic robustness: more than 300 projects and 150 customers, presence in 14 countries (3 continents) and about 370 employees (44% growth in 2021).
The culture of Closer – as an organization – about the role it should have before society leads it, permanently, to have initiatives that foster proximity in its various dimensions. In this sense, in 2018, with the company in full growth and assuming a larger scale, it became necessary to professionalize the communication with its employees (some, for example, spend several days at the clients’ offices, therefore, physically distant from the parent company and the corporate ambience) and strengthen their collective commitment – in the sense of positive involvement.
Closer, then, looked for solutions that could achieve these objectives, guided by the demand of three requirements that, as Woitek Szymankiewicz, Partner of Closer, recalls, defined from the start: the implementation of an innovative platform; easy and interactive (mobile application) and with a gamification component (playful/game).
The choice fell on GFoundry and followed the design of the model best suited to the reality of Closer, ie, starting from the matrix platform created by GFoundry, was made the customization to the specific interest of Closer, namely through the co-creation made in several modules.
The final platform designed – the Stay Closer – has distinct areas, corresponding to different modules, of which the three most significant for Closer until now will be addressed separately below.
Woitek Szymankiewicz, Closer Consulting Partner
This has been the module with more importance and (intensive) use for Closer. Stay Closer allows, right from the start, to make the evaluation cycles at the pace desired by who runs the company, in this case every three months (and not only annually, since Closer considered it too watertight).
The whole assessment operation is, as one of the three Closer Partners says, “supported by the GFoundry platform”, and not only in its most important moment, the meetings (called “conversations with purpose”) between the employee and the manager. These conversations end up being, simultaneously, the arrival point (evaluation) but also the starting point (progression) for the next step.
In quarterly sessions, to reinforce a technical skill or by identifying a certain gap in the so-called soft skills (for example, the ability to listen or to be pragmatic), commitments (practices or tasks, to meet objectives, with precise metrics) are agreed upon between both, in a kind of mini-contracts, which will be periodically monitored by each during the next three months, and may be the subject of reciprocal communication/contact.
In addition to the feedback that may be reported, two weeks before the evaluation meeting, both the coordinator and the employee record their assessment of how the evolution went during that quarter, so that later, during the meeting, they can cross-reference and discuss the two perspectives.
Well, for each of these moments, the platform is crucial, because it is there that the steps that materialize an evaluation that is intended to be frequent (quarterly), dynamic in format (it is not limited to meetings, there is a “route” between them) and participated in the model (the reviewed is not relegated to a passive role). It can be accessed either through a computer (browser) or cell phone (Android and iOS).
The parameterization of this evaluation roadmap can be changed by whoever, in Closer, manages the platform (counting, if necessary, with the support of GFoundry). Thus, the time distance between meetings, the tasks between them, or even the actual performance of the assessment to an employee can be changed/suppressed. For Woitek Szymankiewicz, “this flexibility, with such a rich backoffice, is something very useful”.
From a more general perspective, the evaluation can also be done upwards, namely on general aspects of the company’s operation.
The support for talent management has another essential feature of the platform: the interconnection between employee evaluations and individual career and training plans. This means that these plans are integrated into Stay Closer, allowing a true integration in the same space of all components of the professional’s career. “The career plan is assembled on the GFoundry platform”, summarizes Woitek Szymankiewicz.
The manager considers the GFoundry platform (and this module in particular) “central and core to the quarterly and annual evaluations, ensuring that they are transversal and fair, in the sense that they do not bring surprises and are perceived by consultants and managers”.
For Closer, as stated by its Partner, “constant learning is a fundamental pillar for the person to evolve – not only to obtain a certification” – and the fact that “it is systematized” and also “interconnected” with the other aspects of career management in the same platform is fundamental. To this extent, the training module is the second most important for the technological company.
The personalized training path is defined, recorded and implemented through Stay Closer. The various learning options (soft and hard skills) are compatible with the platform – in their organization in menu form, in the choice and consequent realization. In addition to the classic content-based organization, the platform provides an interactive approach, using learning missions that, in a visually appealing way, allow the employee to get from point A to point B with possible interactions and rewards along the way (gamification).
The integration of the training path in the individual career plan (and with the evaluation, through specific objectives) allows the entire talent management of each professional to be concentrated in the virtual space of the platform, shared between the professional and the leadership. Accessibility is, in this module, the aspect most praised by employees, since, being available on mobile devices, it allows the execution of training at the time and place chosen by the trainee.
“Bringing people together as they enter the company”. This simple principle, stated by Woitek Szymankiewicz, guides the onboarding and the tools for its good execution, in which the platform created by GFoundry stands out. It was decisive in the most acute phases of the pandemic – a period during which Closer continued to grow strongly – and continues to play an important role, mainly because of the gamification that it imprints on the entire onboarding process. “Having an onboarding game that shows my progress through the various stages of getting to know the company is very helpful. GFoundry supports this whole process in a fun way, through quizzes, completing missions. In the palm of your hand”, says the Partner of the technological company.
In a global assessment of Stay Closer, Woitek Szymankiewicz considers it an “innovative platform to support engagement initiatives”, underlining the importance of the three pillars already mentioned.
João Carvalho, Co-Founder & CEO of GFoundry, emphasizes the challenge found and the joint manner in which it was met: “Closer operates in a highly competitive sector and is formed by highly qualified employees, with an average age below 30 years old, therefore, with a high level of demand in attracting and retaining talent. They found in GFoundry the solution to manage their talents, and it was very important the mutual trust relationship we established to adjust some details of our platform to the exact measure of what they needed.”
The thermometer that measures satisfaction
The evaluation and feedback that Stay Closer allows is not one-way. Employees are invited to give their opinion both on the assessments in which they participate and on more general aspects of the functioning of their company.
“Engagement Thermometer” serves to do just that, to measure the employee’s feeling towards the company, in a totally anonymous way. The “temperature” is measured monthly through a pop-up survey (a much praised format internally) of five simple questions, on a wide variety of topics about life in the organization.