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Case Study – HomeStart Finance

Case Studies Performance Management

The benefits of fostering a fair and transparent working environment for employees

The Client

HomeStart Finance is an organisation dedicated to helping South Australians get started in homeownership. Created by the South Australian Government in 1989, HomeStart Finance provides home loans that offer solutions to the challenges people face when buying a home of their own.

HomeStart holds a unique position as a financial institution which balances commercial and social objectives. They set their own credit, risk and lending policies, and operate according to the same laws and principles of mainstream lenders. HomeStart has one key reason for being: making home ownership a reality for more people in more ways.

While HomeStart has key objectives for the community, internally as a business it also means investing in their employees. Making sure they maintain their high level of culture, engagement and achievement, which translates into more productivity and ultimately, more satisfied customers.

“HomeStart is committed to supporting all employees to achieve optimum performance, both for the intrinsic reward inherent in high performance, and also to support the achievement of the organisation’s objectives.” Vanessa Charlesworth, HR Business Partner, HomeStart Finance.

Employing over 100 people, HomeStart seeks to link all aspects of their employee life cycle to performance, having just embarked on a journey away from a homogeneous approach to one of greater flexibility for both the organisation and its valued employees. Implementing an organisation-wide investment in Performance Management is a real and tangible representation of this commitment to the continuous development of HomeStart’s most valuable asset, their employees.

The Challenge

There was a clear business need to implement a tool empowering employees and management to connect with each other. This tool would need to enable the data capture of employee objectives and performance plans, including details of ongoing performance reviews.

The excel spreadsheet tool used to capture this information began to present difficulties symptomatic of its limited functionality. For example, employees themselves had no access to the tool and therefore lacked visibility over the amount of performance-related conversations taking place. Additionally, the compliance rate of usage for the spreadsheet tool was low and this was a growing concern which highlighted the need for a tool to increase usability and engagement.

The requirement of the tool was an ability to set clear objectives and align them to the overall organisational objectives, and this was challenging using a paper-based method via an excel spreadsheet. Vanessa explains…

“The business also had a desire to be able to facilitate broader conversations with all employees about their development, career aspirations and ongoing progression”.

To achieve this, and also incorporate the abovementioned requirements to enhance transparency and improve compliance levels, HomeStart decided to transition into an online solution to provide the benefits of collaborated conversations and reviews in a central location, easily accessible for all involved.

The Solution

The intuitive Ascender Performance Management system is an online solution, which allows individual employees to log in and perform a number of key tasks including…

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