Barnes Dennig Improves Performance Review Experience & Turns Managers into All-Star Coaches with emPerform


Barnes Dennig – An Industry-Leading Firm

Barnes Dennig is a Certified Public Accounting and consulting firm serving businesses and organisations in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky. Barnes Dennig offers tax, accounting, auditing, business consulting, and business advisory services to its clients to make the most of every Financial opportunity.

Since 1965, Barnes Dennig has grown into one of the 200 largest accounting firms in the United States and was voted one of the Top Places to Work in 2021 by The Enquirer . Headquartered in Cincinnati, their growth has stemmed from focusing on providing exceptional client service, depth of knowledge in select industries, and strategic expansion.


Barnes Dennig wanted to rebrand their performance management process from paper-based, tedious, and inefficient to an engaging, collaborative and streamlined experience. With a matrix reporting structure, Barnes Dennig needed a solution that could serve their unique needs and offer employees and managers an easier way to set objectives and track accomplishments. In 2017, Barnes Dennig launched emPerform and has since shaved weeks of time off of the review process, created a positive experience for employees, and with the ability to track feedback and performance year-round, has helped managers and HR better identify and coach talent.

The Challenge of Reinvigorating Reviews 

Before 2017, Barnes Dennig used paper forms for conducting employee performance reviews and was 100% reliant on spreadsheets for combining employee performance data. “Our performance management process was very time consuming, inefficient, and frustrating for everyone involved. Because of how arduous it was to have everything inaccessible and on paper, employees began to see reviews as a negative experience.” Said Kevin Dawson, Talent Director at Barnes Dennig.

The HR team wanted to streamline the review process and make it easier for employees to get regular feedback. “Employees hated the process, not the conversations.”

In 2017, Barnes Dennig’s HR team began its search for a dedicated performance management system that would address their challenges and help them re-brand performance management into a valuable and positive experience. They selected emPerform for various reasons, including the ability to accommodate its unique reporting relationships and processes.

“We chose emPerform because of the complete flexibility that is available in the system. If you can dream it, emPerform can make it happen. As a matrixed organisation, our performance process is not based on one traditional evaluation in a certain timeframe, and we needed a system that could accommodate this easily.” continued Kevin.

“There aren’t many standalone performance management systems that offer the level of default configurability we need – but emPerform can do it without breaking a sweat”

– Kevin Dawson, Talent Director – Barnes Dennig

After choosing emPerform, Barnes Dennig launched a fully automated and accessible online performance management experience for its staff. Employees now contribute to goal setting alongside their supervisor and users can document feedback and check-ins much more quickly. Performance metrics and data are now easily tracked and reported on for complete HR visibility.

The System & Implementation

Barnes Dennig worked with a dedicated emPerform implementation consultant to get set up. The HR team was given full training and had complete control over software set up for their users.

“Implementing emPerform was great, and we continue to be fully supported,” continued Kevin. “The emPerform team is interested in understanding the “what” and “why” of our overall process while walking us through how to make it even better. The team is always willing to listen and create just about anything in whatever way we envision and offers useful suggestions to make our processes as user-friendly and efficient as possible.”

The Impact of emPerform at Barnes Dennig

Since launching emPerform, Barnes Dennig has experienced brilliant results for HR, employees, and managers.

emPerform has allowed us to make the performance review process a positive experience.  Employees are now excited to get feedback, and supervisors have become all-star coaches.

Kevin Dawson, Talent Director

Significant Time Saved

Barnes Dennig has shaved weeks of time off its performance review process, mainly due to the ease of access to emPerform and the ability to view and share performance information from one central system. Barnes Dennig plans to take this to the next level using emPerform’s On-Demand Form functionality for ad-hoc reviews and performance forms. “We are planning to speed our process up even more by allowing our professionals the ability to complete multiple reviews within an overall review period using emPerform’s On-Demand forms.”

Increased Frequency of Employee Feedback

By taking advantage of emPerform’s flexible workflow engine, Barnes Dennig has created an automated process with more touch-points and performance discussions. These are tracked and managed by emPerform, and reminders are automatically sent out to users when action is needed from them. Users can also access emPerform anytime to update progress and goals or send feedback. This has helped to keep performance top-of-mind throughout the year.

Managing Performance in Real-Time

Using emPerform tag, Barnes Dennig Supervisors can view feedback from peers in real-time and use it to identify any potential issues and/or successes to highlight for employees. “emPerform has allowed us to address any performance issues in a timelier manner and solve it, versus rehashing months later when it might be too late. It has also allowed supervisors to identify successes they may have missed, giving employees real-time recognition.”

Facilitate Performance Discussions

By having more records of performance and feedback in one place with emPerform, Barnes Dennig supervisors can piece together a holistic picture of direct report performance and have better discussions. “Our supervisors have a much clearer picture of the performance of their teams and can better identify achievements and opportunities for improvement. This was not possible before when we were using multiple paper documents and has helped to empower our supervisors to be all-star coaches.”

A Positive Performance Management Experience

By moving from paper reviews, centralizing all performance notes and feedback, enabling easy access to reviews and increasing the frequency of performance discussions, emPerform has helped Barnes Dennig shed the negative perception of performance management. Employees and supervisors now view the process as a positive experience that focuses on growth and development

Barnes Dennig will continue to refine and build out their reviews and performance management processes with emPerform.

“emPerform has vast capabilities, which are great. Once it’s up and running, just sit back and enjoy having your processes improve!”

Turn your supervisors into all-star coaches with emPerform. Intuitive, complete & flexible employee performance management software.

Achieve Performance Management Success with emPerform!