How Future Biogas are aspiring to transform their performance management process using WeThrive

Andrew Heath · April 16, 2024

Future Biogas is a renewable energy company operating in the UK. They are a leader in the anaerobic digestion industry, both developing and operating anaerobic digestion plants in the UK.

Facing the common challenge of getting managers actively involved in their performance management process, Head of HR Jenny Bannerman, in collaboration with colleagues, looked for ways in which managers could be empowered to take ownership of the performance management process, making it a seamless part of their day-to-day lives.

What were some of the challenges?

Having used a paper-based annual appraisal form for many years, the performance management process was in danger of being, predictably, a ‘once a year’ conversation. For many, performance management was also viewed negatively, with the assumption that this was a process used only to manage under performance widely seen as a ‘tick box’ exercise for all.

Jenny faced the challenge of getting managers into the routine of checking in with their employees and understanding the difference between having a meaningful 121 and ‘a general conversation’.

Prioritising meaningful 121 conversations in a very busy, tightly resourced business is a challenge for all managers. The quality of the conversation needed to be emphasised, as well as getting managers to actively think about their responsibilities towards their people.

Finding a user-friendly platform

Selecting a user-friendly platform was an important part of the puzzle – which is where WeThrive stepped in.

A platform where both managers and employees could take an active role in performance management and driving forward positive change within their teams.

‘WeThrive takes the fear out of 1:1s and empowers managers…’

The early adopters

Next came the early adopters – managers at Future Biogas who were keen to drive forward the change and lead by example, showing what a seamless performance management process looks like. These early adopters asked questions, were enthusiastic, and keen to gain an understanding of the benefits of a streamlined performance management process.

Early adopters could then speak to their peers about the ease of WeThrive’s performance management process and its benefits – a far more powerful tool compared to taking a top-down approach and simply telling people that they must use it.

This has helped managers to stop seeing performance conversations and appraisals as an admin task. Instead, they are beginning to view it as an important part of their job in managing and developing their people.

Looking forward to 2024…

As Jenny looks forward to 2024, the focus for Future Biogas is to continue rolling out their new performance management process to the wider business.

She has already started to see the benefits of WeThrive’s performance management process: managers are being more proactive in supporting their teams and are requesting further training. Employees are also getting involved in the process, requesting 121s with their managers and adding items to the 121 meeting agenda themselves.

In time, the process will become an essential part of managers’ and employees’ day-to-day work, tying into their key metrics and KPIs to encourage consistent focus on quality conversations.

Jenny’s advice

  • Think about retaining some of the old parts of the process, build on the aspects that work well and managers are familiar with, such as routinely asked questions or frequency of the meetings. don’t start off by fundamentally changing the conversation.
  • Empower managers to personalise the process in ways that work for them and their teams rather than dictating when and how they should use the tools available.
  • Encourage managers to delegate responsibility to their employees – employees can book 121s and complete agendas, reducing the pressure on managers.

Jenny Bannerman, Head of HR
Future Biogas