SaveMoneyCutCarbon case study

A business focuses on goals and objectives through performance management

With Jennifer Baker, Chief of Staff at SMCC

Company info

SaveMoneyCutCarbon helps its customers to use water and energy in more sustainable ways.

  • Industry

    Professional Services

  • Headquarters

    Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

  • Company Size

    50-200 employees

Save Mon­ey Cut Car­bon is a sev­en-year-old scale-up busi­ness. Jen­nifer Bak­er, now Chief of Staff, and lead­ing the Peo­ple and Engage­ment Process, came into the organ­i­sa­tion in a coach­ing role. She soon realised that, with the organ­i­sa­tion matur­ing and the head count grow­ing, they were ready to replace their lega­cy HR pro­ce­dures with some more struc­tured poli­cies. Per­for­mance man­age­ment was a key area. 

This is a fast-mov­ing busi­ness. As we grew, job roles were chang­ing. Peo­ple had to adapt and devel­op their respon­si­bil­i­ties in a chang­ing envi­ron­ment. What I found was that peo­ple were start­ing to lose clar­i­ty on what their objec­tives were. They weren’t sure where best to spend their effort. And this con­cern came from both the team mem­bers and the man­age­ment team.”

SMCC had no for­mal per­for­mance man­age­ment process in place. Jen­nifer began to look for a sys­tem to help the busi­ness put some struc­ture around PM. From the out­set, she was focussed on improv­ing per­for­mance. Her research led her to Clear Review.

We knew we want­ed this to be about per­for­mance. And I had a strong idea of how we should do that, but I didn’t want it to be ground­ed in paper work. I didn’t want us to be wrestling with ver­sion con­trol across doc­u­ments and get­ting bogged down with admin. We’re not a huge com­pa­ny, our resources are lim­it­ed and I didn’t want this to make tons more work for everyone.” 

As soon as I saw Clear Review, I knew this was going to be sim­ple for people.”

Jen­nifer com­pared Clear Review with oth­er ven­dors, but kept com­ing back to one point: the Clear Review offer­ing was sim­pler and more intu­itive. She con­duct­ed train­ing for each lev­el of the busi­ness — lead­er­ship team, man­ag­er lay­er and employ­ees — over the course of sev­er­al days. The train­ing was, first and fore­most, aimed at help­ing the busi­ness to under­stand the pur­pose of good per­for­mance management. 

Clear Review pro­vid­ed a lot of mate­ri­als that I used in the train­ing process. That was real­ly help­ful. It allowed me to focus on the mes­sag­ing: that this is about get­ting every­one aligned, about under­stand­ing what our goals are and what we all need to do to get there.” 

Jen­nifer had real con­fi­dence in the sim­plic­i­ty of the sys­tem. She con­duct­ed some short ses­sions on nav­i­gat­ing the sys­tem, but her main advice was Just click, you won’t break it.” She was reas­sured to see how quick­ly the busi­ness took to Clear Review: it let her spend her time set­ting up half-day ses­sions with each user group to talk about how to pro­vide qual­i­ty feed­back and explore the sort of cul­ture that they wanted. 

Although the team has embraced Clear Review and is devel­op­ing a more con­sis­tent and pro­duc­tive feed­back cul­ture, it’s the clar­i­ty of goal-set­ting that the organ­i­sa­tion is find­ing most valu­able. The senior lead­er­ship has been encour­aged to be far clear­er with their objectives. 

Clear Review is a fan­tas­tic way of help­ing us focus on the right things. We’re very dri­ven by ideas, we often have great con­ver­sa­tions about how we could shake things up or move the busi­ness on, but those objec­tives are a vital anchor to bring it back to real­i­ty. Lan­guage is very impor­tant: when we set goals for indi­vid­u­als, we try to use lan­guage that reflects the impor­tance of bring­ing things back to the objective.”

SMCC advis­es that employ­ees set their own check-in meet­ings, and Jen­nifer is delight­ed with the way that the CEO has set the exam­ple for the rest of the organisation. 

He loves the tool and gives feed­back reg­u­lar­ly. It shows the man­agers and teams that this is the way we want to do things. We’re com­mit­ted to improv­ing per­for­mance through those clear objec­tives and feed­back, and he shows every­one how it’s done. 

SMC­C’s Jen­nifer Bak­er — What we in HR can learn

You will need more of a behav­iour­al change with some peo­ple than oth­ers. Be patient. Some peo­ple will need you to take the time, sit down with them and show them the ben­e­fit. You need to help them under­stand how it will make things eas­i­er and more effec­tive for them.”