It was a little bit of a start-up mentality before, so we've really been trying to utilize Lattice as a way to mature the organization with a thoughtful performance management program.
Founded in 2000, Metabolon is the global leader in metabolomics, the understanding of small-molecule biochemistry. Like many organizations post-pandemic, Metabolon is now operating as a hybrid workforce. As a life sciences company, it houses a lab crew, which has been on-site every day since the pandemic began, running biological samples through their own lab and machinery. With a 225+ strong team — including lab employees that aren’t tied to a desk — one of Metabolon’s key People challenges was to be able to successfully track growth and engage employees within such a diverse, hybrid, and global workforce.
To tackle these challenges, Metabolon enlisted five HR professionals — including Rachel Bowman, Associate Director, Global HR Operations, and Annakate Franz, Human Resource Generalist — and formed a new HR team in the Spring of 2021. “We all joined a month apart from each other,” says Rachel. “We’re small enough where I can still be able to have a high-level touch with employees and help them out, and really support one another as a team to achieve our goals and get things done.”
The newly-built team seized the momentum to set the foundations of their new people strategy, by developing new employee values and culture — which they identified and developed around purpose, passion, and performance. Delving into the passion piece, Rachel explains that Metabolon’s culture is centered around “intensity and energy.” “As an organization, we focus a lot on belonging and making sure employees feel like they have a place at Metabolon and that they feel like they belong here.”
To kick off Metabolon’s new People journey, the HR team leveraged Lattice’s Engagement tool to understand how they can best support employees’ needs. “One thing we learned from the engagement survey is that there was no infrastructure before the HR team came on board — so we really were starting from scratch, building from the ground up,” says Annakate.
In addition to company surveys, Florina Krawchick, Vice President and Global Head of Human Resources at Metabolon, arranged one-on-ones with employees and also asked for feedback on using Lattice. Rachel shares, “She made it a point to meet with every single employee — and we had about 200 employees at the time – to ask, “What is it that you need? What is it that you want to see differently?”
Lattice’s Engagement survey and employee conversations revealed a lack of clarity across goals, role development, and performance. Like many organizations, the lockdown had created a fragmented flow of information and communication. “One of the most common feedback of employees was, ‘I don’t know where we are going as a company and I don’t know what the plan is.’”
Prior to Lattice, there was no performance management process in place. “Nobody really knew if they were doing good, bad, or indifferent,” Rachel shares. “Everybody received the same merit increases, it was all even across the board – so there wasn’t a whole level of accountability and differentiation amongst performance. It also made it really challenging to determine what is a promotion, what does a career path look like, and what does this experience look like for somebody who wants to have a long-term career at Metabolon.”
Using Lattice at Matabolon
From the start, the Metabolon HR team needed to bridge the gap between tech employees and scientists on what OKRs would look like, and address their concerns. “With an organization that is very scientific and technology-based, people can get overly prescriptive about things,” says Rachel. This required the Metabolon HR team to go back to basics. “It was really us taking it from an elementary level, foundational level up.”
Introducing Lattice Grow elevated Metabolon’s approach to employee growth. “It was a little bit of a start-up mentality before, so we’ve really been trying to utilize Lattice as a way to mature the organization into more of a thoughtful performance management program. We launched Grow to capture career visions and start getting growth areas in place,” says Rachel. “We’re starting to talk about how a growth goal is different from a performance goal.”
Grow supports people in achieving their career goals while also making sure they understand that promotional opportunities aren’t just about checking the box in the development plan; it’s about there being a business need. “We launched career visions and the functionality for people to put in growth areas to start building individual development plans. Ultimately, it helps show that the person is ready for it when the opportunity presents itself.”
In order to not overwhelm employees, the Metabolon HR team didn’t plan to fully launch all the Grow features at once. “We did a soft launch with just certain features, but from our engagement survey, there was so much request for employee growth and development, that it became very obvious to us that we need to get Grow launched and fully out there for all the employees,” says Annakate. “We launched career visions and the functionality for people to put in growth areas, to start building individual development plans. Ultimately, it helps show that the person is ready for it when the opportunity presents itself.”
The team also relies on Lattice’s Engagement and Performance tools to collect data that enables them to better understand their workforce – and act more meaningfully according to feedback. Following their first Engagement survey, the team now runs one engagement survey annually, and pulse surveys periodically. “Since we’re a new team, this is the first year we’ve done it as our HR team, so we see it as a baseline. We intend to periodically do pulse surveys to make sure that we’re on the right track for the next engagement survey. Or if we’re still missing the mark or we’re still not really getting to the bottom of the areas that we identify for the opportunity, it gives us some more information to know that we need to do a little bit more with it,” shares Rachel.
Impact of Lattice
When weighing the benefits of Lattice, Annakate loves that the platform allows all performance management information to be stored in one place, to keep track of conversation notes — making conversations more efficient and making a manager’s job easier. “I think the best thing for this organization is the ability to build on each piece of Lattice. So, the more you use it, the more beneficial it is.” As an example, she cites that if you put notes in 1:1s, you can access those notes during all the quarterly performance reviews and use them for yearly reviews.
Another big win for the HR team is how Lattice gives them the ability to gather in-depth insights into their workforce in an unprecedented way. This allows them to be more strategic about improving their employee experience. For instance, after the Engagement survey revealed that Metabolon’s people want “growth and development” from their HR team, it prompted them to create career tracks. The team found it very helpful to rely on Lattice’s resources — preset tracks and competencies — combining them with technical competencies for each role, to build their own unique framework.
The team credits Lattice for empowering ownership — both for employees and managers – and having important conversations around growth. “I think we had a lot of people a little bit surprised about the impact of the Career Vision in Grow because I don’t think anybody in this organization has ever been asked to sit down and think through their own career vision,” Rachel shares. “To put it on paper and talk about it, it’s therapeutic and I just don’t think anybody has ever been challenged to do that.”
The Metabolon team cites Praise as an unexpected success of Lattice. “We integrated it into Slack, and people love it. It’s so fun to be called out in front of the whole company with, ‘Hey, they did this thing or they performed really well or they really helped me.’ It was the most surprising to me and people have responded so well to it.”
Looking into the future, the team plans to continue using the platform to implement more programs and initiatives that enhance the employee experience and team culture at Metabolon. They consider Lattice as an asset that can be molded and adapted to their needs, as the employee priorities evolve. Rachel adds, “We’ve been working a lot on honing it and changing it and making it what we want it to be in the long-term.”
- Lattice has been instrumental in providing goal, role development, and performance clarity to employees.
- Through Lattice Engagement Surveys the Metabolon team was able to identify key areas of focus around goals, role development, and performance.
- Lattice OKR & Goals has given people the tools to have transparent conversations around collaborating to further company and job growth.
- The Metabolon team now has a unified view of their performance, engagement, and professional development data — all on one platform.