Starwood Hotels Chooses viaPeople to Implement their Global Win with Talent 360 Feedback Initiative

Plainsboro, NJ –September 12, 2011 – viaPeople, Inc., a leading provider of performance and talent management software, has announced today the successful implementation of the Starwood 360 feedback process for more than 2,600 leaders across the globe.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., one of the world’s largest and most well-respected hotel companies in the industry, selected viaPeople based on the innovative features of their customizable 360 degree feedback solution along with the depth and expertise of their Industrial Psychology consulting team. “viaPeople has created a flexible solution that provides a user-friendly experience”, says Christine Fernandez, Ph.D., Associate Director of Talent Development at Starwood. “Our main objectives for this initiative was to implement a global 360 degree feedback program that facilitated development based on our new leadership competency model”, adds Fernandez.

The industrial organizational psychologists at viaPeople worked closely with the Starwood HR leaders to refine the survey content and also ensure the 360 feedback system features were configured to best meet the needs of the leaders participating in the process. “A 360 feedback process is going to be most effective when the system most closely matches how organizations operate today”, says Jackie Caruso, Consultant at viaPeople. “This means we need to recognize issues such as changing span of control in our leadership groups and offer features like Rating Decline where a rater can ‘opt out’ of a 360 rating process if he or she does not have frequent contact with the person being assessed”, adds Caruso.

Given the high level of flexibility in the viaPeople product, the process was also allowed to be more “fluid” than a typical 360 degree feedback cycle. Raters could join in the process at any point in time, managers and client administrators had approval and submission access rights which allowed for process responsibilities to be shared across the global organization. Customized real-time reports were also available to show the status of each stage in the process. This empowered local administrators and allowed them to reserve their time for follow up with only certain individuals (such as those select participants who needed more time to complete the process, etc).

The survey itself along with the software solution was translated into 10 languages to meet the needs of Starwood’s global population, using the viaPeople Translation Manager feature. “We feel it’s important to provide our clients with the version of Spanish that is used locally (e.g., in cities like Barcelona) versus our version of Spanish,” says Lisa Frischer, Project Manager at viaPeople. “We therefore have a Translation Manager tool that we offer to our client administrators or their local translation vendors, to ensure this is handled efficiently, cost-effectively and in real-time”, adds Frischer.

The 360 degree feedback system then allowed each participant to select his/her preferred language thereby ensuring a high participation rate throughout the process, making the system very easy-to-use. “We try to create an experience that will allow each rater to feel comfortable providing feedback in our assessment systems and customizing things like language preferences goes a long way in helping participants understand that they are an integral part of the process”, says Caruso.

With such a large volume of leaders participating in the process, the feedback and coaching component was a challenge. To assist in the interpretation of the feedback reports, viaPeople worked with Starwood to customize the reports to include questions that would guide the leader in interpreting the data and developing an action plan based on the results. In addition, aggregated reports were produced which compiled competency/skill averages across organizational level as well as division. “By providing leaders with performance data that is timely and easy to understand, they can now have the information they need to leverage their team’s strengths and obtain resources needed to close talent gaps” said Jackie Caruso, M.A., Consultant at viaPeople.

“We received many unsolicited positive comments from our leadership team regarding the success of the 360 degree feedback process”, says Christine Fernandez, Ph.D., Associate Director of Talent Development at Starwood. “Many commented about the ease of viaPeople’s system and that the program helped leaders to focus on critical development areas”, adds Fernandez.

Read the entire case study: Starwood Hotels Takes 360 Degree Feedback to New Level.

About viaPeople, Inc.:
viaPeople, Inc. is a performance and talent management software and consulting services company. By combining the science of Industrial Organizational Psychology and an advanced, fully integrated technology platform, viaPeople, Inc. offers the time savings and cost efficiency of online implementation, the flexibility to customize to a client’s specific needs, and the domain knowledge to help clients measure and improve the return on their investment in human capital. Visit viaPeople, Inc. at

About Starwood Hotels:
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. owns, manages and franchises some of the most well-known brands in the hotel industry. With over 1,000 properties and approximately 145,000 employees, Starwood is one of the world’s largest hotel companies and one of the most well-respected in the industry.