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How we enabled DPG Media’s transition to an effective, full-blown feedback culture

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Giving your employees every opportunity to grow also means stimulating constructive conversations between co-workers. This was a daily struggle at DPG Media the Netherlands, as the company lacked a feedback habit and the tools to enable one. Talent management platform SD Worx Talent established an easy-to-use, safe environment for 360° feedback that also empowers the company’s employees to take the lead when it comes to their careers.

    Ownership unclear

    As a branch of the Belgium-based DPG Media Group, DPG Media the Netherlands is the largest media company in the Netherlands, employing over 3,800 people. As its vision on employee growth and performance management emphasises, each and every one has the opportunity to take their professional development to the next level.

    At DPG Media, we stimulate all employees to become the best versions of themselves,” says Desiree Sombezki-Scheeper, senior HR Programme Manager at DPG Media the Netherlands. “That’s why we strive to offer them the resources they need to grow and take control of their career paths.

    Fragmented data systems, however, made it impossible to track information about their employees’ progress. Next to that, the company’s feedback culture lacked structure. Desiree explains: “When it came to evaluations, it was often unclear who should take ownership. That hindered our employees’ progress and prevented us from aligning with our core values and shared goals.

      4 pillars of performance management

      To help its employees accelerate their development, DPG Media wanted to foster a feedback culture in which constructive conversations are an integral part of the day-to-day communication process. “Our team managers wanted to lead by example, but we lacked the right tools to encourage feedback exchange,” says Desiree.

      So, Desiree and her team started looking for a software solution that would both enable the company’s feedback culture and also match with its ambitions to make employees true owners of their careers. With simplicity as their guiding principle, the HR team established four key pillars for their preferred performance management tool:

      1. goal setting
      2. personal development
      3. feedback exchange 
      4. continuous constructive conversations
        Desiree Sombezki-Scheeper
        After extensive market research, SD Worx Talent emerged as the top choice, as it not only allows employees to take ownership of their objectives but also aligns perfectly with the experience we were seeking
        Desiree Sombezki-Scheeper
        Desiree Sombezki-Scheeper, senior HR Programme Manager, DPG Media the Netherlands

        Phased rollout and cultural shift

        After giving the go-ahead for the implementation of SD Worx Talent at the end of September 2022, it was smooth sailing for DPG Media. Less than a month later, the fully customised talent management platform was live, reflecting the company’s branding in both design and wording.

        Desiree: “We started with a pilot project involving 30 employees in November. When it proved successful, we subsequently rolled the tool out to the people managers.” Through dedicated workshops, the managers learned how to actively take part in the new feedback culture and offer added value to their colleagues through SD Worx Talent. “If you have never given feedback before, shifting to a culture that encourages open dialogue requires a mindset shift as well.

        That change isn’t easy, but after a while, employees became more adept to giving and receiving feedback, embracing constructive criticism as an opportunity for personal growth.

          A matter of trust

          Next to sparking inspiring conversations, SD Worx Talent also empowered employees to set personal development goals that are meaningful to them. This makes them the driving force behind their own careers, a new approach that also bears fruit for people managers.

          By enabling our people to set their own objectives, they feel more engaged. After adopting the new performance management tool, we’ve gained valuable insights into our employees’ development levels and needs, which ultimately saves us time. The key here is to trust your employees and their capabilities,” Desiree confirms.

          After the success of the initial implementation, DPG Media plans to add the ’talent management’, ‘profiles’ and ‘career development’ features to further future-proof their talent management with SD Worx Talent.

            Ready to drive growth with a 360° feedback culture?

            Explore more insights on talent management in our Talent Transformation Hub or connect with us today to get started. 

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