Sophos Case Study: Simple, Automated Performance Reviews that Real People Value

Sophos provides information technology security and data protection solutions. Their tagline of “Security made Simple” speaks to their deep understanding of how modern cloud based networks, servers and devices are related. These networks must be comprehensively addressed to be sufficiently protected. Or in their words, complex networks need simple security.

Sophos has 1600 employees worldwide with their main HQ in Oxford England. Regional headquarters are also located in Massachusetts USA & Germany.


The Challenge

Sophos was doing sporadic, paper based, performance management which was tedious and ineffective. Their cultural manifesto is based around the power of simplicity, and based on this idea they were not eager to dive into a complex talent management solution with tons of bells and whistles.

Their management team did not want to adopt a feature-heavy, complicated process, and the very simplicity they were seeking made them ask the question, “Do we really want to automate the performance review process in the first place.”

Company leadership clearly understood the long term value of automated talent management and it’s role in creating a vibrant, sustainable future for the company. They wanted to find a middle road that would lead Sophos towards integrated talent management in coming years, while starting with a bite-sized solution that their current management could buy into, use and find beneficial immediately.


The Solution

Rob Maddalena, Sophos’s head of Human Resources, was tasked by the CEO to find the right automated performance management solution. One that would be powerful and easy to use, with room to grow over time, yet simple enough to get started with a minimum of cultural resistance.

Based on feedback and requirements provided by Rob, TalentGuard provided a streamlined, customized and simplified performance review program that focused on just three simple questions.

  1. What went well? What could be improved? (To everyone)
  2. How would you rate your level of satisfaction? (To employees.)
  3. How would you summarize overall performance? (To managers.)

With Rob as the project champion, Sophos signed up for a three year agreement with TalentGuard with the intent of organically growing the capacity of automated performance reviews over time. They wanted the capability of the toolset to grow and evolve as management started to see how easy it was to use the software, and the benefits reaped by the automated functionality.


The Results

Rob showed promising success by implementing Performance by TalentGuard, applying the solution to management and teams in England and the USA in year one of the rollout. These benefits included:

  • 81% of employees received regular performance reviews in the first year. (This excluded team members in Germany who opted to wait until year two to participate in the automated program.)
  • Management found that access to information generated by these reviews allow them to better understand the strengths, weaknesses and development opportunities of their employees.
  • Employees felt that the company was evolving in its ability to help them develop within the company.
  • The concept of automated talent management got a toehold in the company, allowing them to start to see the potential benefits of growing this type of solution and how it might impact Sophos as a whole.

Sophos has been an ideal customer for TalentGuard. We were able to configure our software to suit their specific needs. Rob Maddalena was a true pleasure to work with, fully engaged with learning the software and helping to configure internal success with respect to the culture at Sophos.

Now that Sophos has had such a large and successful initial roll out, they are primed to both expand in terms of users/teams, but also with software functionality as they become ready for it. As year one of the project rolls to a close this summer, Sophos will be able to show the efficacy of the system to the team in Germany and bring them on as part of the growing and strategic project.

Learn more about our Performance Management software:

Performance Management software page

Request a software demo

sophos logo

Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

Type: Computer Software


Employees: 16,000 people globally