redefining performance management

A journey to achieving cultural shift.


Client Story - Unum

Challenge - With a performance management approach that was retrospective and costing managers valuable time, Unum knew it needed a change. The company wanted to redefine the traditional performance management model with a forward-looking approach that created a stronger connection to its business strategy. Could a process of continuous coaching and improvement meet their needs? Unum’s challenge as an organization was understanding how they might help employees reach higher levels of performance.

Solution - Partnering with Unum on business innovation since 2012, Bridge Innovate designed and delivered a large-scale performance management transformation process using the best of design thinking and Agile methodologies. The journey included an initial phase of building inspiration and empathy, a design phase to create the performance experience prototype, and a final testing phase where client-led teams conducted small-scale experiments to test elements for broader implementation consideration. Each step of the way, employees from across the organization were involved and invested in creating the performance experience design.

Results - Unum’s executive leadership team adopted a set of performance experience recommendations, based on insights learned from the testing phase, for company-wide roll-out the following year. Over a two-year period, Unum successfully changed its performance management approach from something that just happens to people to an experience of ownership, accountability, engagement, and empowerment for all employees. Each stage of the process built upon the next, creating steady momentum. Involving more employees along the way with each new wave of testing increased excitement, engagement, and ownership, which ultimately led to a company-wide cultural shift.


Employees are telling us that they feel a greater sense of ownership for their actions and are finding regular and timely feedback useful as they navigate their work. We anticipated improvement with the employee-manager relationship. What has surprised all of us is the uptick at the team level. Team meetings and huddles are changing the way in which team members connect with each other, take ownership for the team’s work, and address priorities.
— Karen Bradbury, AVP, Global Talent Strategies
Employees are empowered and highly connected to the mission of the organization with clear qualitative and quantitative measures. I am excited for the impacts that we have already made in Growth Markets and where our feedback will drive the performance experience in the future.
— Heather Lozynski, AVP, Premier Client Management