Candy Case

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Customer profile

candy making is a fun business, and so it's no surprise that it's fun to work at the Jelly Belly Candy Company of Fairfield, California. But at this family-owned company, there's no fooling around when it comes to promoting employee performance and job satisfaction. So when Jelly Belly decided to overhaul and automate its antiquated employee performance and talent management process, it was looking for a serious solution to help give its employees across the United States fair, accurate performance appraisals.

The Jelly Belly Candy Company makes Jelly Belly brand jelly beans in over 50 flavors, as well as candy corn and other treats. Introduced in 1976 and named by former U.S. president Ronald Reagan as his favorite candy, the company's jelly beans are exported worldwide. Herman Goelitz Candy was founded in 1869 by Albert and Gustav Goelitz, whose great-grandsons own and run Jelly Belly today.

Like almost every smart company, Jelly Belly recognizes that employees are more likely to stay with their employer when they feel connected and recognized for their efforts. Evaluation and performance managementprograms are critical to aligning corporate and employee values and priorities.

Jelly Belly's search for a new employee performance and talent management system began several years ago, when two branches of the family business were reunited into a single company. One branch was using an outdated EPM software program. The other was doing its employee performance appraisals manually, using paper forms.

Having a variety of jelly bean flavors is great - a variety of employee appraisal processes in a single company is not. The task of updating and consolidating the performance management process fell to Margie Poulos, HR Manager of Jelly Belly's Midwest operations. She and a small team of Jelly Belly HR staff were charged with finding a single automated system that could be used for all of Jelly Belly's 600 employees in three locations.

The driving factor behind Jelly Belly's performance management automation was the belief that thorough, accurate reviews help employees to better understand what's expected of them, so that they can set clear, measurable objectives. That translates into higher employee satisfaction, said Jeff Brown, Jelly Belly's Director of Human Resources. "When employees feel they have gotten a thorough and accurate review, it boosts their morale," Brown said. It also leads to improved talent management and employee retention, which management experts know is a key factor in corporate growth and market leadership.

To meet their strategic goals, Poulos and her team drew up a list of the criteria that a new system had to meet. Top on the list was ease of use. "We didn't want to end up with a system that is so complicated that the managers wouldn't use it," Poulos said. A new system also had to save time. Because employees were in multiple locations, it needed to be web-based for accessibility. And it had to be flexible, easily incorporating core competencies into different forms.

Jelly Belly's selection committee looked at products from different software vendors. "We eliminated right away those that were geared to very large companies and those that were not web-based," Poulos said. "We also eliminated those that offered too many options for customization. It's one thing to offer options, but another thing when the product requires so much customization that it becomes overwhelming."

The committee selected Halogen eAppraisal™, a web-based employee performance and talent management application from Halogen Software. "We liked the way it looked, and we really liked the user-friendliness of it. It's easy for the managers to use and it's customizable without overwhelming them," Poulos said. After two days of training by Halogen staff, four members of Jelly Belly's HR team set out to train the company's supervisors on the new system. About 50 managers...
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