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The University of Phoenix Case Study

How The University of Phoenix Increased
Engagement and Communication with Betterworks

University of Phoenix Case Study

The Situation

The University of Phoenix underwent two important changes four years ago: the institution moved from a public company to a private one, and the new president, Peter Cohen, took the helm. These changes prompted Peter and VP of Talent Management Jeff Andes, to work together to unify staff and prioritize a more agile approach to their work. 

“As an HR professional I’ve always said, I don’t love the tactical parts of HR. what I do love is helping a business achieve their strategy and goals,” said Andes. Soon Jeff was assessing which platform would be agile enough to grow his vision and provide his team with the framework of a fresh performance development model of flexible touchpoints.

University of Phoenix Logo


The University of Phoenix provides access to higher education opportunities that enable students to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their professional goals, improve the performance of their organizations, and provide leadership and service to their communities. The University of Phoenix was founded upon the vision of making higher education available even if you’re a professional with a full-time commitment to work and family.


Higher Education



The Challenge

Jeff Andes needed the University of Phoenix leadership team to adopt and engage an entirely new philosophy of ongoing communicative check-ins, and progressive goal setting. Not to mention the staff at the University of Phoenix weren’t looking to adopt yet another complicated system. Whatever the team chose needed to be easy to use and understand.

The Action

The University of Phoenix had an existing contract with another large HR platform leveraged for annual performance reviews. Waiting for that contract to expire gave the team time to focus on the development of a new performance management program the University of Phoenix calls “Everyday Performance Development.” “I knew the success of this program hinged on the behavioral changes seen in our leaders and our employees, who could now focus on honest, transparent, ongoing conversations,” said Andes. Once the University of Phoenix’s legacy tool was retired the team immediately collaborated with Betterworks to embed the Betterworks’ professional services group into the organization to create a solution together based on the needs and makeup of the business.

    We came from using a complex and clunky system to Betterworks, which is so easy to use. It’s like going to the Internet and using a normal webpage.

    Jeff Andes

    VP, Talent Management at University of Phoenix

    The Impact

    The University of Phoenix’s tactic of focusing on behavioral changes first, before implementing a new solution, made the change management process to Betterworks straightforward and simple. “We came from using a complex and clunky system to Betterworks, which is so easy to use. It’s like going to the Internet and using a normal webpage,” said Andes.

    Additionally, the team benefited from ongoing support during the process.

    “One of the major differentiators of Betterworks is the team’s partnership and willingness to work with me as a customer. The Betterworks team has been a true partner to us through this past year and a half and I’ve had so many great conversations with leaders at Betterworks.”

    University of Phoenix’s employees can now experience bi-directional communication (both employees and their managers have a say in ongoing conversations and feedback) which has led to the team experiencing more agility and transparency than ever before.

    “Within a year we were seeing over 70% participation in check-ins, something we’ve never seen before. We’ve seen employees stay tightly connected with their leaders over this past year, which has led to greater success for the teams overall,” said Andes.

    To learn more about University of Phoenix’s evaluation process and details about the results seen to date, start with the 3Sixty Insights case study, Anatomy of a Decision. Andes explains how the University reimagined work and helped transform its culture with modern performance management in this 3Sixty podcast. Gain a deeper understanding of how continuous performance enablement can help organizations drive engagement and retention, and align personal and organizational performance in the 3Sixty Insights Research Note.

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