Our approach to performance management

22 November 2017

Insights

The perfect performance management approach – does it exist?

All companies strive for the perfect approach to performance, with a balance between results and desired behavior. Like many consultancies, Ascend has abandoned the traditional annual evaluation that focuses on billable hours and consultant ranking, as this is considered inefficient, time-consuming, and detrimental to employee motivation. The key to developing consultants is feedback and coaching their daily performance.

How does Ascend motivate consultants and maintain a high level of ambition?

Our people are here not only to excel in their client assignments, but also to build a consultancy firm where we want to work. Every Ascendant must master, and balance, the following four dimensions:

  • Deliver top results for our clients
  • Live our values: Fun, inclusive, and exceptional
  • Be engaged in business development and client sales
  • Contribute to building and growing Ascend  

Everyone at Ascend has a long-term development plan with clear goals within all four of these areas. We continuously revise the plan according to shifting focus or priorities.

How do we support our consultants in their daily work to become even better?

As an Ascendant, you’re responsible to continuously ask for, as well as give, feedback to colleagues – regardless of seniority. Instead of annual performance reviews, everyone performs a self-assessment twice a year, in which we reflect upon our own contribution to Ascend within the four dimensions, combined with feedback from colleagues and clients. This method has shown that we have a team with high self-awareness and self-esteem, where everyone is well aware of their performance and development areas.

But how do we reward our consultants, and encourage them to take the next step?

Like most consultancies, our salaries have fixed and variable elements. Twice a year the variable part of a consultant’s salary is adjusted according to their latest self-assessment and their total contribution to Ascend, weighing together all four dimensions. Consultants who have achieved exceptional results, out-performed expectations, and showed high self-awareness in development areas take on more senior roles. We also have an annual profit sharing program for all employees, based on individual contribution to the company. This creates a unique commitment environment where everyone feels that they are part of our success. 

We believe in our people, and with the right coaching and support they will excel and reach their full potential. This philosophy is ideally matched to our values: Fun, inclusive, and exceptional; and we believe we are well on track to establish the “perfect approach to performance management”.