Checkpoint 360 Feedback Case Study

The impact of using the Checkpoint 360 feedback appraisal system

360º Feedback appraisal used by Bibby Financial Services produces significant results

The Background
Bibby Financial Services was founded in 1981 and is part of the family-owned Bibby Line Group, which celebrated its bicentenary in 2007. The company provides cashflow solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). A typical client is an owner-managed business, which sells on credit and is looking for a flexible source of funding to help it grow its business.

Bibby’s UK operation employs 500 people across 17 sites. Each site is a separate company, autonomous in nature and run by its own senior management team, which presents a diverse mix of management styles. As a result, the company has to embrace 17 different management styles.

Although this appears to be a very fragmented structure (particularly from an HR perspective), it is, commercially, Bibby Financial Services’ biggest strength and one that gives it a clear differentiation in the market. Clients benefit from a more personal service and one that has rapid access to decision makers.

The Challenge
When Bibby Financial Services reviewed its strategic vision in 2005, it set itself a challenging two-fold objective of outgrowing its core market in the UK and growing its business internationally. In order to achieve this, the business recognised that it needed to focus on its people who were expected to turn the company’s vision into reality.

Prior to launching this significant expansion programme, Bibby Financial Services had to ensure that:
- the right people were in the right roles
- the company had implemented a personal development programme for all staff

The Solution
After examining Bibby Financial Services’ management development needs in 2005, Miriam Koller, the Group HR Director, realised that an important part of the requirements package was a world-class 360º feedback tool. This would help her identify:
- the current strengths and development needs of the management team
- the priorities for developing a world class team

An initial market assessment was undertaken in order to identify the best tool to satisfy their demanding criteria. Following an exhaustive selection process, Bibby chose Profiles International’s Checkpoint 360, a highly sophisticated feedback tool, used in small, medium and large enterprises globally.

Why Checkpoint?
As Miriam Koller explains: ‘Checkpoint is very well presented. In a time-pressured environment, it is very visual, very easy to understand and explain because it goes through a series of building blocks. Rather than bombard people with lots of written information, it’s clear and graphic aiding fast interpretation of performance.

‘It also makes it particularly easy for people to gain feedback about their working relationship with not only their boss but also their direct reports and peers.

Developing a relationship between the client and the facilitator is really important because you need time to get used to the process. At the beginning, you need to trust the experience and go with it.’

Such a relationship with Bibby Financial Services isn’t unusual. However, Profiles International has developed the Checkpoint system to be used by managers, not trained experts and after a very short time, most managers can deliver feedback within their own organisation.

This is the beauty of all of the Profiles products. They have been developed by business people for business people to be used in a business environment.

The Results
In 2008 Bibby Financial Services employs 800 people in 34 locations around the world, and business growth has been excellent. In fact, in 2007 Bibby grew 16% year on year against a market rate of only 7%.

Koller and her Board colleagues are clear about what has led to this exceptional growth. ‘Initially,’ she says, ‘it’s about getting the right people in the right jobs and then allowing them to develop in their roles.’

She continues: ‘Without a doubt, Checkpoint has contributed to people’s improvement. It has held a mirror up to people. It has provided objectivity in terms of comparisons, trends and specific issues. And because most people like attention, it makes them feel good and realise that we want to give them time, develop their competencies and make them better managers.’

‘As a business we have started to do more individual coaching programmes rather than one-size-fits-all Executive Development programmes. We pick areas to focus on with different people at different times. We are growing at a fast pace and finding skilled people in the marketplace is tough so we need to focus more effort internally to expose our own hidden talent! Retention of our people is key, coupled with ensuring we help them achieve their maximum potential.

And the people who have used the assessments are equally convinced. Bibby Financial Services’ Group Marketing Director Diane Blinkhorn says: ‘From a user’s perspective, you can peel away the layers easily and find the areas you need to focus on. A real benefit was being able to compare the results this time round with the results from a Checkpoint completed a few years ago. You’re able to see the ground you’ve covered as well as perhaps identifying some new areas of focus as our roles grow and evolve.’

Bibby Financial Services has found that the additional benefits of Checkpoint have been its multi-language capability (Checkpoint is currently translated into 25 languages) and the fact that it is conducted online. Koller explains: ‘The online element has been very important to us. Online seems more efficient than pieces of paper...I don’t think we could cope with any other system.

‘We have also used the multi-lingual element and over the next 12 months we will use it more within our overseas operations – in France, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, India, Germany, Australia, Canada and the USA. One of the most important things we have learned is that you cannot overestimate what gets lost in translation, even if someone speaks excellent English. ‘

The Future
For Bibby, continued use of the Checkpoint 360 is a given. In addition, the company is planning to use other assessments from Profiles International’s extensive range of psychometric and feedback tools.

The Checkpoint 360 was developed as a result of extensive research by Profiles International. But it was not created specifically for Bibby Financial Services – or even for the Financial Services industry. The advantage of Profiles assessments is that any business regardless of sector could enjoy the benefits that Bibby Financial Services has enjoyed.

To see more information how this can work for you go to Checkpoint 360 feedback system.