How Receipt Bank gets employees to lead performance reviews

An employee-led approach to performance reviews has been critical to the talent management success of The Receipt Bank Group, according to its head of HR Andrew Connolly

An employee-led approach to performance reviews has been critical to the talent management success of The Receipt Bank Group, according to its head of HR, who explained that this approach has helped the business maintain its culture while experiencing fast growth.

Unlike traditional performance reviews, reviews at Receipt Bank are employee-led and focus on career and skill development, with day-to-day performance discussed as and when needed, said Andrew Connolly, people and talent lead (APAC) for Receipt Bank.

“People are far more motivated and driven when they have ownership over their progression and development,” he said.

“This approach to performance reviews has also enabled us to proactively identify and develop talent, and we have a track record of promoting from within.

“As we expand both in size and geographically, developing internal talent helps ensure that our culture, practices and processes stay true as we scale.”

Receipt Bank provides technology that unlocks the value of accounting data and automates the bookkeeping process, and its AI and automation technologies are used by more than 5000 accounting firms as well as tens of thousands of small business customers globally.

Backed by Insight Venture Partners and Kennet Partners, Receipt Bank is adopted by hundreds of new firms every month and growing at a rate of more than 100 per cent year-on-year.

Connolly added that a recent US$50 million series B round of funding has provided Receipt Bank with the financial resources to further fuel its future growth and investment plans.

“To thrive, you have to be comfortable with change and flexible in your thinking”

“The pace at which we have grown as an organisation has certainly brought about its challenges,” said Connolly.

“Much of what we’re working on is new to the industry, so to some extent we’re learning as we go and constantly challenging our own thinking as well as that of the people we work with and serve.

“To thrive, you have to be comfortable with change and flexible in your thinking,” said Connolly, who explained that this approach helped drive its revamped approach to performance reviews.

Receipt Bank has the largest AI team working on bookkeeping in the world and its investment in this area will drive the diversification of its product portfolio as it develops new ways to help bookkeepers and their clients realise the benefits of automated bookkeeping.

Receipt Bank is now spread across three continents with several offices, and Connolly said it has been important to think about communication and collaboration as an organisation.

“Sharing knowledge and staying informed becomes an imperative for everyone,” he said.

“Effectively utilising tools like Slack and Asana, and live streaming company meetings are a few of the ways we’re overcoming time and location differences to make sure we can be effective in Sydney while London is sleeping.”

Taking Receipt Bank to new markets is a significant element of the business’ growth strategy, and Connolly explained that there is a “huge amount” of planning with regards to identifying the right talent that will drive expansion.

“Our headcount is set to grow considerably as we take Receipt Bank to new markets and scale our teams,” he said.

“Employee onboarding will play a crucial role in ensuring our people are set up for success, so we’re leveraging technology to deliver an engaging and consistent onboarding experience across the globe, beginning the moment a candidate decides to join us.”

“The biggest enabler of individual performance is to give people as much responsibility as possible and coach the skills and knowledge needed in order to succeed”

There is also a strong focus on L&D within Receipt Bank, and Connolly explained that the two pillars of its L&D strategy are formal training and individual coaching – both of which tie into the business’ performance review process.

“We invest heavily in training to embed role competencies, processes and soft skills such as giving feedback across the organisation,” he said.

“We have found the biggest enabler of individual performance is to give people as much responsibility as possible and coach the skills and knowledge needed in order to succeed.

“We leverage the knowledge we have internally and also engage with external coaches and mentors to develop high performers and support those who have taken a significant step up.”

Peer-to-peer feedback is also core to the way people work in the business, and Connolly said the way employees work and act is an ongoing development work in progress.

“The overarching goal is for the workplace itself to become an environment for learning,” he said.

Receipt Bank also offer on-demand coaching sessions to all employees in partnership with Thrive Partners and its MyThrive online platform, which gives employees access to qualified coaches who can assist with L&D needs across a wide range of areas.

“People have had help with anything from managing a project or developing a presentation, to managing personal finances,” he said.

“It helps alleviate some of the worry people might feel in these situations and the feedback has been fantastic.”

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