People get up in the morning and get excited to go to work when they have a sense of purpose, meaning, and growth. When they feel like they're contributing to something bigger than themselves.
In 2003, JustAnswer was founded as a way to give anyone access to expert advice in under 24 hours. Today, the company gives customers 24/7 access to 700 different types of experts — like doctors, mechanics, vets, accountants, and more — so they can receive the vital answers they need as quickly as possible. While the company’s services have clearly scaled in the last almost two decades, so too has its team. Now, the company has over 700+ employees, three offices (in the U.S., Ukraine, and India), and a Global HR team of 50 to help keep its People processes running smoothly.
As the company outgrew many of its existing People processes, JustAnswer hired Kimberly Nerpouni to become its Vice President of Talent Acquisition and People Ops, giving its HR processes a much-needed refresh. From day one, Kimberly knew the one thing she didn’t need to touch was the company’s amazing culture.
“We have a really good culture and a highly engaged team. Even though we're remote and diverse, or maybe because of it, we do a lot to stay connected as a team,” explains Kimberly. “We even have a Minister of Fun who plans ways for us to come together like lotteries, poker night, taste test challenges, and more. All these things make us feel connected and make us feel like we're friends, even if we've never met each other in person.”
While JustAnswer has a remote-friendly workplace today, this wasn’t the case only a few years ago. In fact, the team was using desktop computers until the pandemic required the company to buy laptops so employees could work from home. That previously limited how the company used technology for People purposes considerably. “We've always had an in-office, face-to-face culture,” explains Kimberly. “We didn't use technology to do reviews or one-on-ones. Managers would just sit down and talk to their employees, and then the executive leadership team would rate employees after talking to their managers. When you have 50 people all in one office, that process works just fine and doesn’t need the help of a fancy tool, but it doesn’t scale for 700+ remote and in-office employees.”
Aside from face-time, another key aspect of JustAnswer’s culture is its use of objective and key results (OKRs). Using this goal-setting framework at every level of the organization, the company aimed for employees to know exactly what’s expected of them and how their role relates to the business’ overall success. But, JustAnswer tended to flip-flop between two different OKR tracking systems, which was frustrating for employees who’d have to re-input all of their personal goals into whichever new system the company favored at the moment. While finding a replacement OKR solution wasn't top of her list, Kimberly knew finding an HR tool that could remove the frustration around tracking employee goals would be an added plus.
The company needed a solution that could help bring structure and standardization to both the performance management process and employee-manager one-on-ones. “My team wants to create a high performing culture, so we need to know where our talent is and where we have gaps,” Kimberly says. “We knew we needed to find a tool that could help us switch to 360-degree reviews and find a way to ensure managers were sharing feedback and having development conversations regularly with their reports.”
Kimberly knew a people success platform was the answer to all her problems and a solution that could scale with the business. Lattice quickly stood out from its contenders since it could support 360-degree reviews, one-on-ones, OKRs, engagement surveys, as well as give the HR team much needed access to their People data. Kimberly shared that the number one feature that sold her team on Lattice was its ability to overlap engagement with performance.
“We were an evolving, maturing company trapped in a startup's body,” she says. “I wanted something that could be a tool not just for People Ops, but for managers and their teams to share feedback and collaborate. It was also important to choose a solution that was foundationally built off of goal setting. I knew that would resonate with our culture and team.”
Using Lattice at JustAnswer
One of the first tools Kimberly implemented was Lattice’s 1:1s tool, giving her team visibility into the frequency and quality of these important manager-employee conversations for the first time ever.
“Now, we can approach managers and say, ‘Hey, we see that you're not engaging frequently with your employees.’ If they can say, ‘Oh, well, actually I am; I'm just not using Lattice,’ we're now able to show them how and why it's beneficial to use Lattice and how storing these conversations in the platform can support not only the business, but the practice," shares Kimberly.
So far, manager adoption levels have been relatively high, which Kimberly attributes to how easy the Lattice 1:1s tool is to learn and use. “I know this sounds silly, but Lattice makes one-on-ones more fun,” says Kimberly. “It's visually appealing. It’s intuitive. It keeps a history of past meetings. You can use it to collaborate and share. You can set due dates. You can add items to the agenda. You can check it off. Who doesn't like creating a list and seeing that check mark?”
The JustAnswer’s HR team also uses Lattice Engagement to empower its managers. Using the tool, Kimberly and her teammates can share specialized views of survey data, so managers can see specific metrics and how they compare to historical scores pertaining to their team, department, office, and more. “That was a really nice surprise, because it can be really hard and time consuming to create custom data views for managers,” explains Kimberly. “Lattice makes it easy for managers to self-serve, but when we have a manager that isn't technologically savvy or has never used Lattice, we can just apply the filters for them and share the view. It’s so much quicker.”
While JustAnswer is an OKR-driven company, Kimberly admits she deemphasized Lattice Goals during the software evaluation process to keep her stakeholders laser focused on how the platform could help improve the company’s feedback and review processes. After the executive team gave Kimberly the green light on Lattice, they were surprised and delighted to learn Lattice could also support their OKR setting and tracking. “Our leadership team did a complete 180. They went from saying ‘You can’t just fix a problem with a tool,’ to ‘I love Lattice. Can we also use it for OKRs?’ When I said yes, that was a huge positive surprise for our executives,’” shares Kimberly. “Every HR leader's dream is having your stakeholders asking for more.”
Impact of Lattice
Since implementing Lattice, JustAnswer has seen tremendous results, especially around adoption and participation rates. The company’s average engagement survey participation rate is an astounding 93% — an amazing feat for any company, let alone one with a global workforce. “We knocked it out of the park,” exclaims Kimberly. “That’s the highest participation rate of any global engagement survey I've ever done, and I've done this for 20 years.”
Kimberly was also pleased to see how highly employees answered the question: Do you understand how your work contributes to the success of the business?. “For a lot of businesses, especially fast-growing organizations, this question tends to be a low-scoring metric. We received in the mid-to-high-90s on that question alone and I have never seen it get that high,” explains Kimberly. “People get up in the morning and get excited to go to work when they have a sense of purpose, meaning, and growth. When they feel like they're contributing to something bigger than themselves. This response is a testament to our great culture.”
And yet, even when weighed against these overwhelming results, Kimberly says the biggest benefit of Lattice has actually been how the platform legitimized employee feedback for the company. “Skeptics say feedback is squishy and not data-driven, but with Lattice, we can show our leadership team that employee feedback is tangible. They can see the data for themselves and understand that it’s legitimate,” she says. This has made it easier for Kimberly and her team to gain executive buy-in and create new initiatives to address survey feedback.
Of course, one of Kimberly’s biggest goals for Lattice was to introduce more structure to the company’s performance management process by implementing 360-degree reviews. The team now boasts an average performance review completion rate of 90% and has built a review process that is more fair and feedback-rich for employees. Furthermore, Kimberly was delighted to find out In a recent meeting with the Head of Talent Acquisition that since implementing Lattice, their offer acceptance rate has gone up. Frequently asked questions from candidates are centered on career development. Being able to share with candidates that JustAnswer leverages Lattice for real time feedback, structured 1:1s, 360 performance reviews, and OKRs has helped validate to potential new hires that their success and career development is a top priority at JustAnswer.
Kimberly and her team are rolling out Lattice Goals to assist with the company's existing OKR strategy. While they’ve also seen high 1:1 participation across the organization, the JustAnswer’s team wants adoption to reach 85%. “Implementing Lattice has been considered a huge win for us because we now have the tools to support our managers,” shares Kimberly. “In fact, we just signed, which we never do, a two-year renewal.”
The deciding factor that convinced Kimberly to partner with Lattice long term? “The shared passion around employee strategy and people strategy,” says Kimberly. “The statement that ‘People strategy is a business strategy’ resonated with me and the fact that it's backed up with authenticity sealed the deal. Everyone at Lattice possesses a genuine energy and passion around enabling employees and helping us all be Smart, Fun and Get Things Done!”
- Using Lattice, JustAnswer achieved an average review completion rate of 90%
- Thanks to engagement surveys data from 93% survey participation Lattice has helped the JustAnswer HR team “legitimize employee feedback”
- Lattice Performance helped JustAnswer introduce 360-degree performance reviews to create a more fair performance management process
- The JustAnswer HR team now has accurate visibility into OKRs and one-on-ones for the first time ever