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CBORD Case Study

How CBORD Created a ‘DREAM’
Culture with Betterworks


The Situation

CBORD was looking for a complete talent management solution to attract the best people, drive engagement throughout a widely distributed organization, and spur peak performance in an accountable way. At the same time, the company insisted on a non-hierarchical, two-way conversation between its employees and managers that allowed for continuous and open communication, feedback, and training.



CBORD and Horizon are the world’s leading providers of integrated technology solutions powering housing, access, foodservice, nutrition, eCommerce, and card systems for K-12 and higher education, acute care, senior living, and business campuses. CBORD’s products and services are used by more than 7,000 organizations in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and countries in the Middle East.


Software and multiple services for group settings in higher education, healthcare, senior living, and K-12 education




Ithaca, NY

The Challenge

CBORD wanted an engagement and performance management platform to guide employees’ entire career lifecycle through what CBORD Human Resources VP Katherine Kay calls, “the sum of our values, beliefs, interactions, and behaviors with each other and our clients.” CBORD expresses those values in the acronym “DREAM,” which stands for “Dynamic, Restless, Empowered, Accountable, and Mindful.”

The Action

The company rebranded elements of the total betterworks solution in order to incorporate the “DREAM” values: OKRs are “DREAM Goals.” Conversations are “DREAM Checks.” Feedback is “DREAM Feedback.” Recognitions are “DREAM Shouts.”

CBORD has managers assess how employees live out “DREAM Values” as they do their jobs, and when a manager or a peer awards Recognitions in “DREAM Shouts,” each is hashtagged with one of the DREAM values.

CBORD insists on frequent DREAM Conversations, but prefers they be driven by employees, not managers. “When our team members are empowered and well-informed,” reports Kay, “they understand clearly where their performance is and what their managers’ expectations are, and the team members hold the managers accountable for developing employees. Team members are encouraged to develop their own voice, which makes them more loyal and more empowered to get more done.”

Betterworks helped us create a talent management development process that’s continuous and integrated, not a single annual event. A lot of companies go through big cultural realignment exercises, but in the end it’s lip service and nobody remembers it. But thanks to Betterworks we live it every day, from the top to the bottom of our organization. Best of all, Betterworks has made our business a better business enterprise—a rising tide should lift all boats.

Katharine Kay

Katharine Kay

VP Human Resources

The Outcome

  • Betterworks enabled CBORD to create a culture focused on alignment, engagement, performance, accountability, and transparency between team members and managers.
  • The betterworks solution makes it easier for managers and employees to conduct DREAM Conversations, where both agree on performance expectations (DREAM Goals/OKRs) and development targets.
  • Employees understand clearly how their work helps CBORD move toward its strategic goals, which is hard to come by in the modern workplace.

The Impact

After implementing Betterworks, performance development became a strength of CBORD’s. In their annual Gallup Q12 survey, they saw increases in both engagement and participation from their employees compared to the previous year before they partnered with Betterworks. By building a more engaged workforce, productivity and business success have followed.

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