Vurv’s CEO Updates Pay-for-Potential Model

Vurv Technology (profile; site) this week officially unveiled its new Vurv Perform 4.0, an on-demand solution designed to engage employees and improve retention.

Derek Mercer, the company’s founder and CEO, recently chatted with ERE about a product he hopes will be “intuitive and accessible to everyone” to give everyone a role in a company’s performance.

Specifically, Mercer notes that key enhancements from Vurv’s previous performance management offerings include succession tools for gap analysis and development plans; job modeling tools; and goal management capabilities, among other features.

In actuality, Mercer notes, the 4.0 system includes about 75,000 content objects such as job and competency models with behavioral indicators, coaching and mentoring suggestions as well as interview questions to help managers overcome “blank-page syndrome” and spend more time coaching employees.

Since Vurv first formulated the system in 2004, “it’s now gotten to where the two are linked together all the way to compensation,” says Mercer, noting that “version 4.0 makes it more of a defined flexibility that ties to candidates because career development is essential for employee engagement.”

Some might call this the “perfect package” because it really seems to emphasize integration, while a lot of other vendors sell it separately as a stand-alone.

“I’d like to think so,” says Mercer, “but the reality is these are two separate processes. They can get the benefit of the linkages between the two. It’s a big thing to swallow when you’re first trying to roll out a recruitment system and then a [performance management] system.”

Some call Vurv the “defacto leader” in offboarding, having paved the way for this to be a priority, and given the economy, it will be interesting to see how the product grows in sales and whether other vendors choose to follow suit.

But Mercer points out that it’s a “complex system, not one you can throw out and then you have one.”

“I don’t think anyone can jump into that marketplace,” he says.

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“If we do go into a recession, or even a depression, that system will sell a lot of them. A lot of people will buy it because it saves so much money in downsizing,” he says.

For a company that started out as recruiting-only, but has now moved into performance, it can be difficult for all customers to understand the necessary integration. While it seems obvious that the vendor community “gets it,” it remains to be seen whether all customers will integrate between identification and development with such ease.

But Mercer says “when we launched performance in 2004, we got a few customers. Now we have many more out there using it. And 2008 has companies buying both products: recruitment and performance. It’s more of a multi-product year.”

Four months into 2008, but it is still too early to see whether it is the “Year of the Multi-Product” or not.

Vurv’s revenue was $39 million in 2006 and $49 million in 2007, and Mercer’s predictions for 2008 are optimistic, noting that 2008 will be bigger, seeing “the same kind of growth and actually, a little bit better.”

“It handles very large organizations and it’s user 4.0, not 1.0. It’s easy and fast and ready for the market to begin adopting worldwide,” says Mercer.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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