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A foundation contractor is taking its performance review process to a new level which it hopes will reap rewards for both individual employees and the company.

UK foundation contractor Stent has introduced a new competency framework and performance review process for its staff.

Stent says its strategy was to take performance reviews to 'a new level' by aligning individual employees' development with the objectives and goals of the firm.

Stent human resources manager Dawn Watts says: 'The new competency matrix looks at the specific role of individuals and designs bespoke competencies required to fufill their job function - in the context of their career development and our aims as a construction business.

'The review process takes full account of the employee's individual job and the optimum skill required to excel in their position, ' she adds.

'The important thing is that the competencies relate to the diversity of roles within the business from administration to finance, design to sales and graduate to senior management.

'They also reflect the direction Stent is going as an employer and recruiter. The competency matrix was pioneered by all the directors in Stent and will continually evolve as the business grows and changes.' Stent commissioned Stuart Slatter Training, formerly the in-house training department at contractor Balfour Beatty. Senior consultant Ken Lee worked closely with Stent's senior management team and Watts to implement the framework and examine the long term implications for training and development.

Lee explains: 'This review and development infrastructure is unique to Stent. It identifies the required expertise in every job role, allowing line managers to review performance in relation to the skills required by the company.

It also helps employees' career development by identifying areas where more training is needed.' Stuart Slatter managing director Chris Perry adds: 'What's really special about this project is the commitment from Stent's senior management and human resources teams.

'The company ran workshops and focus groups which meant all job functions, including directors, were involved throughout the entire development process; from the creation of competency defiitions right through to how the organisation would use the information to the advantage of the company and its people. The directors will be driving the matrix forward and continually involved in its development.' Watts believes competency definitions not only allow managers to measure an individual's performance, but provide a development tool that will affect how Stent nurtures and trains staff in the future.

The review will highlight areas where capabilities are strong and where Stent needs to focus training. The firm is also setting up a mentoring system to build on the strengths of staff.

Watts says: 'It's essential this review system shapes the way we do things in terms of tailoring training to the needs of our people and the organisation.' The company says it is committed to developing internal processes for the management and development of employees and its health and safety initiatives.

Managing director Graham Wren concludes: 'Stent's management team has collectively identified and agreed core values and competencies that characterise the culture and objectives of the business.

'The resulting review process provides us with a means of objectively assessing the capability of our people for training and development planning. This will have enormous benefits for the individual employee which will lead to major benefits for the company.'

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