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Actus – 10 year journey to date

Who are Actus?

Actus the company was founded as Advance Change Ltd in 2008 by Lucinda Carney, a respected Business Psychologist. With a senior corporate background in Learning and Organisational Development she understood first-hand the challenges of making Performance Management meaningful, especially when working with clunky HR or paper-based performance appraisal systems.

Actus Performance Management Software emerged from this experience and quickly became a respected brand in the Performance and Talent Management market place. The software became so popular that the decision was made in 2014 to trade under the name of Actus.

Since its inception, Actus has been one of the pioneers of Performance Management Software in the UK. The ultimate goal has always been to harness technology and introduce behaviour changes to help overcome people and performance challenges and drive performance improvement and engagement.

If you want best in class performance management software, training and support and to feel like more than a number with your HR software supplier…

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Why we are different

  • Our Performance Management Software offers more inclusive features than our competitor systems.
  • Actus works in partnership with our customers. If you choose Actus you can directly influence the product roadmap.
  • Our Software Support Team are based at our UK based Head Office, so if you have a problem or query you can call or email the helpdesk and receive a timely response from a real person.
  • Actus Software is comprehensive and highly configurable making it suitable for the smallest to the largest client.
  • We have a strong history of integrating with other HR systems and working with clients to develop bespoke functionality.
  • In addition to the Actus Software, we also have teams providing Actus Learning and Actus Consultancy. These services may be used during implementation or as standalone services.
  • Our Actus Learning Team offer a full range of training courses with a strong people and performance management emphasis as you would expect!
  • Our Actus Consultants are experts in managing change. They can support you in rolling out a culture change programme with or without the system or they can work with you on board facilitation, values development or 360 design.

Awards and Accolades

We are honoured to have achieved a number of industry awards, accolades and accreditations. They are a clear indication of our commitment to offering the very best to our customers and underpin our vision to be the UK Market Leader for Performance and Talent Management Software and Services.

As a business, we are very proud of our achievements and recognition by our peers, customers and industry experts of our successes and the excellence of our products and services.

We have chosen to align ourselves with the relevant quality benchmarks to ensure we are always using the best practice approaches to fulfil our promise to deliver the highest quality product and services to our customers. Association with all relevant business and industry bodies helps us to maintain our awareness of the latest thinking in HR, technology, what’s happening in the UK economic landscape and most importantly what issues our customers and prospects are facing that we can help resolve.

Cyber Essentials Certification

 


Actus Learning

Actus Learning provides a range of high quality leadership and performance management training solutions that empower organisations to embed best practice processes and behaviours that positively engage, develop and retain their people to ensure organisational goals are met.

Organisations can no longer afford to hold on to the traditional mindsets and methods for organisational development. To build and maintain a successful organisation requires finding your place on the learning maturity curve and creating a plan to enable your workforce to evolve into a high performing, people-centric entity.

Our goal is to create tailored performance management training programmes that enable senior executives and management to deliver, coach, drive and sustain, both individual and team optimum performance, to achieve outstanding results.

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Actus Consultancy

We support our clients every step of the way on their individual journey. Whether they are embarking on a large scale culture transformation project or simply looking to move their existing appraisal process online.

Our professional services team provide complete lifecycle guidance from initial concept, through to technology transformation, to establishing a new year round performance model.

Our experts can help to quickly identify requirements and build compelling cases for change and investment. They are available to provide guidance on the optimum solution to meet the needs of  the organisation. They will also provide best practice information and communication advice to help  successfully embed the new software and behaviours throughout the organisation to ensure a high uptake and engagement.

We have in house expertise covering all areas from large scale data input support through to advising and providing training to equip senior executives and line managers with the understanding of the best approach to embed the right behaviours in their teams to encourage higher performance.

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Who are your data subprocessors?

As part of GDPR compliance, clients also need to know about any Data Subprocessors as part of the Actus Service Provision. Full details of these are provided within our Privacy Policy, an updated version of which can be downloaded from this site.

Memset Ltd is our data host, based in the UK and here is a link to their data processing addendum which explains our contractual relationship with them on behalf of our customers by using them as a data Subprocessor for Actus Software. If you have any further questions around data security you can contact us on security@actus.co.uk

How do you carry out Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIA’s)?

Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA)

Where Actus is acting as a Data Processor to provide a SaaS Service or a Data Controller our DPIA has been assessed as being low to medium risk and the controls outlined above are considered to be sufficient. Our DPIA process is as follows:

We describe the nature, scope, context and purposes of the processing.
We ask our data processors to help us understand and document their processing activities and identify any associated risks.
We consider how best to consult individuals (or their representatives) and other relevant stakeholders.
We ask for the advice of our data protection officer.
We check that the processing is necessary for and proportionate to our purposes, and describe how we will ensure data protection compliance.
We do an objective assessmentof the likelihood and severity of any risks to individuals’ rights and interests.
We identify measures we can put in place to eliminate or reduce high risks.
We record our decision-making in the outcome of the DPIA, including any difference of opinion with our DPO or individuals consulted.
We implement the measures we identified, and integrate them into our project plan.
We will consult the ICO before processing, if we cannot mitigate high risks.
We keep our DPIAs under review and revisit them when necessary.

Our Data Security Officer is Chris Carney and can be contacted at security@actus.co.uk

What is the scope and type of Data Processing when using Actus?

PROCESSING, PERSONAL DATA AND DATA SUBJECTS
1. PROCESSING BY THE PROVIDER
1.1 SCOPE
Personal data collected and processed via the software application of the Supplier in relation to some or all of the following HR or compliance related activities including but not limited to employee performance management and appraisal; talent management; absence management; professional development and feedback; storage of personal data for HR reporting and remuneration; Monitoring of regulatory compliance and assurance.
1.2 NATURE
The Supplier’s software is being used to process data to allow the Customer to operate an online HR database and Employee Performance Management system for its staff.

1.3 PURPOSE OF PROCESSING
The purpose may include some or all of the following depending on the modules that the Customer has selected: Performance Management and Appraisal; Training & Development; Professional Revalidation; Feedback & Development; SMCR assurance and accreditation Other related HR recording and reporting.

1.4 DURATION OF THE PROCESSING
For the duration of the agreement.

2. TYPES OF PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE DATA
The following data may be held within the standard Actus system (this list may be subject to update)
• Employee ID
• First Name
• Last Name
• Job Title or Role
• Email address
• Gender
• Known as
• Hire Date
• Bespoke HRD fields as agreed with the client

Other Personal Data includes but may not be limited to:
• Objectives & Measures
• Feedback
• Appraisal data or ratings
• Personal development plan/career aspirations
• Department
• Location
• Other HRD fields if relevant

3. CATEGORIES OF DATA SUBJECT
Users of the Actus System

For further information contact security@actus.co.uk

Do you support Single Sign on or Active Directory Integration?

The quick answer is YES, however we do need to work on a case by case basis for this. We are able to provide SSO hosting and connection or pure SSO connection and one of the first questions that we will ask is whether you have already your own IdP server in place that we can connect with or whether you need us to set this up from scratch and host this for you. As you can imagine the former is quicker, simpler and cheaper but we have plenty of experienced in delivering both!

This question is best to get the techies talking on so just get in touch and we can set up that conversation.

What are your support T&C’s

You can obviously download our full support policy, however our target response times for telephone or email is 2 to 4 hours depending on priority, usually much quicker!

Actus is so easy to use that most enquiries tend to be easily resolved by your internal HR Admin team. We provide them with the training to act as first line support and they can contact us for additional help as needed. They can email or speak to our support team between 8.30am and 6pm GMT although we also offer emergency out of hours response if required.

We have many international clients who have found this approach works well for them, but we are able to provide managed service or out of hours support on a case by case basis if required.

What are you doing about GDPR?

As an ISO27001 accredited provider, thankfully many of our established processes already meet the needs of GDPR. From an Actus point of view – we are the data processor and you are the data controller for your users which means that in the eyes of the ICO it is down to you to ensure that your staff know why you are processing their data using Actus or any other internal system!

Obviously, we want to help our clients as much as possible in complying with GDPR and we have introduced a couple of new features that may be helpful. The first one is around obtaining consent on log-in. If you choose (and are not using SSO) then we can arrange for one-off or every time pop up consent form for your users when they log into Actus. We have also put in place the option to control how long staff data is retained for within Actus which is also key to GDPR.

All of the other security that we place huge importance on anyway is relevant in terms of keeping your users’ data safe and outlined elsewhere in the FAQ’s

 

Actus the business

Our contract and sign off process provides us with formal consent to remain in contact with our clients and prospective clients and we operate an opt in policy only for marketing.

As a business, we continue to monitor the guidance issued from the ICO and will update this statement and our processes as appropriate.

How much does it cost?

Actus™ is costed on a licence basis and will vary subject to your volume of users. Following a free system demo we issue you with a full proposal that we know is highly competitive – try us and you’ll see!

If the software’s so easy to use, why do I need training?

To be honest, if you were motivated to do so, you could probably find your way around the software without training as it is very intuitive. However 90% of our clients are dissatisfied with the quality of their existing appraisal process – perhaps it is viewed as a tick-box exercise or the conversations lack quality. Essentially they want to use this move as an opportunity for culture change – to drive high performance and engagement and that’s why we recommend training. Our consultants are experts in culture change – yes you learn how to use the software, but more importantly we motivate your managers and staff to first want to use it, and secondly to use it well. So the training includes ‘Hearts and Minds’ and skills like writing a good quality objective or giving great feedback (we also offer lots of other training too if you are interested – check out the Learning resources section of the website to download our brochure).

We think it was Deming who said that: “80% of software initiatives fail due to people issues” – our training and change management support means that you can be one of the 20%!

How long does it take to set up and roll out?

Well to be honest this depends on you!

To give you an example of how quickly we can move, we have set up, implemented and trained the system out in less than a week – this is because the client wanted to move quickly and worked with us providing their data upon request. We’ve then had companies who wanted to roll it out over a longer time period (9 months to be exact) and again, we worked with them, at their pace to ensure implementation aligned with their project timelines!

Essentially, because the system is configurable, all we need to get started is to understand what aspects you want to turn on and off (configuration), agree terminology and look and feel, and get your data uploaded which is really quick and easy if your data is accurate and up-to-date, we just need a few fields on a spreadsheet.

In reality, what takes the time is paperwork and logistics (getting ‘bums on seats’ for training) so 6-8 weeks is a reasonable lead time. Talk to us and it is likely we can meet your requirements.

Where is Actus hosted & how secure is the data?

Actus Software is securely hosted in the UK Cloud (which basically means in Reading!) Why is this important? Well, first of all, because the software is cloud based it means it is available 24/7 via the internet. It also means that you always have the most up-to-date version and you don’t have to install anything to use it. This in turn means you don’t have to hassle (or really involve) your overworked IT guys in order to use it. Now clearly it is important that the data is safe, which is why we choose professional hosting with leading provider Memset, you can see from this link that they have all the credentials that are needed to keep your data safe. You can download our security and back-up policy at the bottom of the page.

However, the fact that we host in the UK cloud is really relevant too (lots of the other software companies are US based which can be a bit complicated). The UK has some of the most stringent laws around data protection and because we host in the UK your data is bound by this. Some companies don’t like hosting in the US or even Europe because (in theory) the US government can demand access to any data (not that they are likely to be that interested in your appraisal – but it is the principle). If you want to know more look up Safe Harbor. It may not be your biggest concern, but because we are fully hosted and backed up in the UK there is no need to worry!

Oh and by the way we are also registered on the UK’s digital marketplace which means we have had to jump through lots of hoops to show we are accredited to sell to government.

Any more security or technical concerns, just get in touch!

What makes Actus different from other software?

It’s a busy marketplace and it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between different solution providers, here are some of the reasons clients have said we stand out:

 

  • Highly Configurable – we can map to practically any appraisal process – our HR background comes in handy here too as we (usually!) understand what you are trying to achieve it and how it translates into the software too
  • Comprehensive functionality – more features than most providers, included as standard: objectives; milestones; one to ones; appraisal; feedback and recognition; calibration
  • Designed to embed ongoing conversations – One to ones; Milestones; check-ins and aligned messaging
  • Expert consultancy & training – We understand HR (because we have felt your pain!) and we started out as a training organisation which means we can help you upskill your managers and accelerate culture change with one end to end solution
  • Best in class service – You are more than a number at Actus, we actually talk to our customers and don’t hide behind an automated email response if you contact support. Our support team are always getting amazing client reviews for their responsiveness
  • Highly security conscious – We actually have ISO 27001; 14001 & 9001 accreditation in our own right, not just through our hosting provider. This means that you can be confident that our security credentials are legitimate, it’s worth checking this detail with some of the others!

Honestly, we could go on but why not have a chat with us to find out more?

 

Blog Articles

See our latest Blog posts

5 Talent Management Dilemmas

Posted on 11th November 2018 by Gemma Scott

Talent Management sounds great in theory but is actually very challenging to put into practice. In this blog we discuss the top 5 Talent Management dilemmas that face our organisations and how to address each of them.

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What’s a key feature in any performance appraisal system?

Posted on 7th November 2018 by Lucinda Carney

If there was one activity, carried out consistently well within your business that would drive high engagement, productivity and turn around underperformance, would you be interested in embedding it? Well here’s how…

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How to avoid Performance Appraisal errors

Posted on 30th October 2018 by Gemma Scott

In the last few years, the Performance Appraisal process has come under a fair bit of criticism, with not all of it undeserved. Research in the NHS has shown that a badly structured performance appraisal was more likely…

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Testimonials

It’s nice to get customer feedback – here are some of our latest quotes.

The Customer Service is excellent, working with our company to develop our bespoke online appraisal system. Actus provide training, support and guidance with the assurances of an ongoing relationship to further develop the system in future. The absence and holiday recording module is now implemented and a section for recording development is perfect to keep track of training and to record CPD. All systems are very user friendly and reporting options are great. Technical support is second to non and the training delivery staff listen and understand the requirements of the company to allow them to bespoke training sessions to suit our needs.

Emma Charlton – Head of HR

Newcastle United Football Club

Many employees now see the benefits of Actus as a working document. The support we have had from Actus through the upgrade to a new version has been invaluable. The online guidance manuals and videos are helpful in most situations, but having easy access to telephone support is much appreciated.

Jan Chapman – HR Advisor

Fläkt Woods Ltd

Quality performance management systems and processes are at the heart of any high performing organisation. I knew that we had to get a good performance and talent management system in place and quickly.

Paul Moraviec, CEO ConvaTec

ConvaTec