The Zoological Society of San Diego (ZSSD) was founded in 1916. It was a non-profit organization that operated the Zoo and two more organizations in San Diego. ZSSD employed around 2500-3000 people during each year. The employees working in the ZSSD comprised a diverse group ranging from world-renowned scientists to teenage food-service workers. The HR function of the company was handled by an HR team headed by its Director. There were also other people who were responsible for organizational development, planning and training. It was actually very similar to any other mid-market enterprise.
In January 2005, ZSSD implemented a new strategic plan in order to modernize its way of doing business. As a part of it, the organization wanted to improve employee accountability, recruitment and retention. In fact, ZSSD did not have a formal process for their employee performance appraisal, evaluation or development. They did not use any uniform metrics in order to evaluate subordinates, it was done in a very vague and subjective way and there was no seriousness regarding the whole process (there were even no consequences if the forms were not filled up) so multiple versions of the forms were handed in to the managers. As a matter of fact, there were employees who had not been evaluated for many years (there was one in particular who had not been reviewed in 27 years!). With the purpose of facing this fact, a new Director of Human Resources, Tim Mulligan, was signed. Mulligan soon found all the problems related with the employees appraisal and evaluation and so decided to use an online employee performance management system. First of all, he identified the primary objectives for the new system which were to link unbiased employee goals to the organization ones and to include a midyear review to ensure there...
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