Customer Success Story: Harkins Builders

December 8, 2021

As one of our original customers, we started our journey with Harkins Builders out of Columbia, Maryland back in September 2019.  When Harkins decided to partner with Truvelop, they were looking to: 

  • Move away from a bulky, high-pressure annual review 
  • Adopt a system that would provide relevant data from the entire year to have more productive development conversations 
  • Improve Manager-Employee relationships  
  • Improve Employee engagement and development 
  • Develop more informed and strategic retention approaches by adopting a system that provides insight into turnover 

As a multi-site operations organization with over 220 employees, Harkins needed a solution that would be easy to use, mobile-friendly, and data-driven, leading them to land on Truvelop for their performance management and development platform.  Harkins wanted a tool that would empower Employees to be active participants in their development, while giving Managers the resources to become effective coaches and leaders.   

Harkins Coaching Culture 

In their approach to strengthening the Manager-Team Member relationship, Harkins has been adopting a Coaching Culture.  Defined by Forbes, “A coaching culture means supporting your employees so that they learn new skills and become greater assets to the company. It’s a type of management culture that emphasizes training, regular feedback, and opportunities for growth to create a more engaged and energized workforce.”  

Too rarely are managers actually trained how to be managers.  Managers may be the best at their technical skills, but may lack the formal training on how to motivate and teach their Team Members.  With a coaching culture, managers serve as coaches, mentors, or teachers, by guiding and supporting their Team Members.   This perspective is what has led Harkins to adopt and define a Coaching Culture, with Truvelop as the driving mechanism.   

The Harkins Coaching Culture has several major milestones, all aiming to create more meaningful and intentional development touchpoints between Managers and Team Members.  With the help of Juliana Withers, Truvelop’s Customer Success Team Member, Harkins has been able to create engaging guides, worksheets, and infographics that set the stage and define exactly what these milestones look like and how they can be completed.  At each milestone, the Truvelop platform is leveraged to capture these touchpoints and measure the Team Member’s progress.  For example, Spark is used to capture the major takeaways from Quick-Connect Conversations, while the Evaluation is used as a performance progress measurement during the Regular Check-Ins.   

Take a look at one of the guides Truvelop and Harkins created: 


Harkins Coaching Culture: By The Numbers 

With the Coaching Culture Journey Milestones as the guide for intentional development touchpoints, Harkins is measuring performance progress with a quarterly Evaluation cadence.  Each Evaluation is then used as the driver for these meaningful development conversations to celebrate progress, identify barriers to success, and strategize a path forward that focuses on growth opportunities. With the following 3 resources: 1) Evaluation Insights and Summaries, 2) the Harkins Coaching Culture Guides, and 3) Truvelop’s Manager Resource Center, Harkins’ Managers are equipped to be effective coaches at every step of the way.  Manager Casey Hughes shares: 

“Truvelop is a great tool to keep active communication with direct reports.  It is a tool to foster ongoing conversations.  Current employees want feedback more than once a year and Truvelop allows us to do that.  It encourages communication, but it is not a substitute for in-person communication.” 

Truvelop is not a substitute for those in-person conversations, but instead helps to make those in-person conversations more purposeful. These conversations are now data-driven and Managers have AI coaching recommendations to help guide those conversations.  Additionally, Employees arrive equipped with Employee-facing insights, enabling them to be active participants and create collaborative development plans. 

By taking the pressure off Managers and giving them the tools to be successful, it is no surprise that they keep coming back to the app.  In their time with Truvelop, Harkins has seen: 

  1. More than 1000 completed Evaluations 
  2. More than 1000 delivered Sparks 
  3. More than 200 posts to the Recognition Wall 
  4. More than 1/3 of their staff is currently improving 
  5. 45% of users leverage the Truvelop mobile app to deliver and respond to feedback 

With over 2000 documented touchpoints, Harkins is transforming the way that their organization approaches employee performance and development.  Employees are now active participants in their development with the ability to Request Sparks and respond to all feedback that has been delivered to them in the app.  Managers can now complete regular Evaluations with ease, capturing performance from the entire year versus just an annual touchpoint.  Director of HR, Kathy Humm, shares why this two-way approach is so important for Harkins: 

“Employees are starving for real time feedback. Truvelop is easy to use and encourages employee/manager engagement and records these valuable conversations to track trends in performance.” 

With two-way, real time communication, the Manager-Employee relationship is strengthened, and trust is built with the understanding that all are on the same team and want to see Team Members be successful.  Estimator Jake Bredeck highlights how Truvelop has improved his experience as a Team Member: 

I think Truvelop has been phenomenal tool, especially the Spark feature.  It’s a good feeling to get feedback.  Truvelop is a catalyst for feedback from my managers on numerous occasions.  Not only is Truvelop a helpful tool for managers to provide feedback without finding time for a face-to-face meeting, but it’s a great resource to the employee for record keeping of their manager’s feedback throughout the course of their career.  Overall, when utilized properly, Truvelop allows us to take a holistic approach to our review process and encourages both the managing party and the employee to evaluate the employee’s body of work for the entire year.” 

Driving home the why behind real time feedback and how it can transform the Manager-Employee relationship has been the most crucial piece for Harkins’ successful utilization of Truvelop.  Harkins HR Leaders, Kathy Humm and Bonnie Cronin, regularly leverage the Truvelop Tips to reinforce the behaviors of the Harkins Coaching Culture.  Connecting Truvelop to the Harkins Coaching Culture has helped to embed the platform into the Manager-Team Member routine and document performance progress.  With an easy-to-use tool driving their Coaching Culture, Harkins’ initial goals when beginning their journey with Truvelop are being addressed – adopt a culture of real time feedback and improve the Manager-Team Member relationship.   

Modern Solution for an Agile Workforce 

Here at Truvelop, we value our customers’ needs and strive to make their job easier. With a high Manager utilization level, Harkins continues to drive development and performance improvement along with retention of top performers and emerging leaders. We look forward to seeing what else is in store for Harkins and how Truvelop can further help the organization. 

Contact us today to learn more about our modern approach to performance management and development that improves the manager and employee relationship. Don’t just take our word for it, see what our other Customers have to say.