Construction technology business Sensat offers a visualization platform that allows construction companies to understand what is happening at their worksites, so they can accurately track progress and ensure projects stay on budget and on time. That’s also the goal of the company’s People & Talent Lead Sophie Martin, who along with the rest of the People team has helped build the company’s People strategy and processes from the ground up.
While Sophie has been with Sensat for the last year, the company today looks mighty different than how it did in 2017 — the year the business was founded. Back then, there was one individual in charge of both People and Talent for Sensat’s 20 London-office-based employees. Today, the company has since closed a Series A funding round, grown its workforce to 100 employees distributed across England and Italy (and soon to be opening an office in Australia), and increased its People team size to four employees.
One thing that hasn’t changed despite this growth is how Sensat’s People team puts their employees at the heart of everything they do. The team has two overarching objectives:
- Ensure that Sensat has the capabilities it needs to meet its strategic and operational goals
- Make Sensat an amazing place to work
To achieve both of these objectives, the Sensat People team is focused on hiring the best people and prioritizing professional development. “Work is such a big part of people’s lives and our People team has a large opportunity to influence people’s lives through their careers,” shares Sophie. “We want our employees to feel like they can bring their full selves to work and to see Sensat as a great place to work and grow their careers.”
As Sensat grew, the People team realized how important it was for their processes to stay ahead of the organization’s changing needs and growth. Inconsistent feedback and performance reviews worked well when the company was just 10 people, but as the company continued to grow, they knew they needed more formalized processes and policies in place to ensure a consistent employee experience.
To help develop scalable performance and People processes, the Sensat People team embarked on a search for the right HR tool to help. Lattice quickly rose to the top of the list since it gave the team the two major pieces of functionality they were looking for — the ability to perform 360-degree reviews and measure engagement. While Lattice had everything they needed to get Sensat’s People program off the ground and running, they also knew Lattice could scale with Sensat’s people needs as the company — and the People team — continued to grow.
Using Lattice at Sensat
Right off the bat, Sensat’s People team started using Lattice Performance Management to administer annual reviews and smaller mid-year check-ins. While Lattice’s Reviews tool was one of the main reasons the team decided to partner with Lattice, they were pleasantly surprised by Lattice Feedback as well.
Sensat has been focused on building a culture of continuous feedback across the company — an ambitious and challenging endeavor that Sophie says Lattice has helped with immensely. “We are trying to instill a culture of continuous feedback where people don’t have to wait until review time to find out how they’re doing,” says Sophie. “We’re trying to strike a balance between giving people enough feedback and enough of a temperature check on how they’re doing without paralyzing the business for two months at a time and asking everyone to sit down and spend hours writing reviews.”
Luckily, Lattice has given Sensat’s employees the power to request feedback at whatever cadence they prefer. “Our more junior team members want more feedback, more frequently. Lattice helps put the onus onto the individual,” shares Sophie. “They can go into Lattice at any time and say, ‘Hi X, how did you think that presentation was?,’ or ‘Hi, Y, can you give me some feedback on this area and that area?’ That has helped give employees ownership over their feedback and make it more accessible outside of reviews.”
Lattice Goals has been an unsung hero feature that the Sensat team has come to love. “OKRs have historically been a challenge for us,” admits Sophie. “For a long time, we measured goals in Google Sheets, which was fine; however, the People team has really enjoyed using Lattice’s goals features as it combines reporting with communication. Now, the whole company can view our progress, so it holds us accountable to them. Plus, it’s also easy to update, which is key,” she adds.
The Sensat People team has also adopted Lattice Grow to develop transparent career paths for the entire organization. “Transparency is one of our company values so we make a point to communicate career tracks and job leveling early on in an employee’s career here,” says Sophie “We’ve been able to link our performance reviews with Grow, which has helped these conversations focus more on development. That’s helped change the tone of reviews to become more positive. Now, these conversations are less focused on what an employee did or didn’t do and more framed around the areas they’re excelling in, where they could use a bit more help, and what they need to do to grow,” she adds.
Now, Lattice is Sensat’s single source of truth for all People matters. That’s been particularly handy for both the company’s new and existing managers. “Lattice gives you the ability to look back on one-to-one notes, weekly updates, as well as feedback that’s been given and received throughout the year. When a review cycle comes around, managers have a whole collection of things to talk about, rather than wondering where to start,” shares Sophie. “When new managers join, they gain access to all of their team member’s past reviews and feedback — all in one place. It’s a great way for them to pick up on someone’s career development and move it forwards, rather than starting over from scratch.”
This year, Sensat embraced the idea that time spent working does not equal value created with the introduction of a 4-day workweek for all of its employees. The company wanted the shorter workweek to “act as a forcing function to help optimize and prioritize the workplace matters whilst focusing on wellness,” according to Sensat’s CEO. Even with Friday off, the company committed itself to meeting 100% of its existing goals while working 80% of the time and keeping 100% of employee pay.
While the new initiative went over well, the People team needed a way to track employee sentiment and collect feedback on how to improve the shorter workweek, luckily Lattice Surveys and Updates gave them the insights they needed. The Sensat People team also uses Lattice Engagement to administer its annual engagement surveys. These survey results help the team track employee engagement and measure the impact of their other People programs.
This year, the company used Lattice to conduct its first-ever diversity and inclusion (D&I) survey. “What we try to do — with help from Lattice — is to put data behind diversity and inclusion at our organization,” explains Sophie. “We wanted to understand how people felt towards D&I and learn where to focus in order to make Sensat a more inclusive place to work. This survey allowed us to do just that, while also giving us very tangible metrics and things that we want to improve. We’ve also been able to track our progress through pulse surveys and adapting questions in our annual engagement survey.”
Impact of Lattice
When we asked Sophie what her favorite Lattice tool has been, she emphatically said Lattice Updates. It’s helped improve transparency and communication amongst managers and their direct reports, allowing them to better support each other during challenging or difficult times. “Because Updates makes people stop and reflect, they will bring up things that they naturally would’ve sat on for months or never said,” explains Sophie. “Every week we ask ‘Is there anything else on your mind you want to share?’ and someone will put ‘Nope, Nope, Nope’ for weeks until, all of a sudden, their response will change to, ‘Actually I’m really struggling with X, Y, and Z.’ If we didn’t give employees this opportunity to pause and reflect, they’d keep going and keep it all inside.”
As a result, Sensat has been able to intervene and give them the help they need to move forward. “When we and their manager know, we can step in and get that individual the support they need, whether that’s at work or outside of work,” assures Sophie.
Sensat employees love Lattice Feedback, too. Early in their career, employees have the option to request feedback from their mentors and peers whenever they need additional guidance, so they can receive and iterate on feedback throughout the performance cycle. Today, 100% of Sensat’s workforce has used Lattice’s tool to give feedback, helping the business get one step closer to its goal of a continuous feedback model.
Sophie says the best benefit of using the entire Lattice platform has been how it empowers her team to proactively find and address issues. “Lattice has become our early warning system. Because of our pulse and engagement surveys, we’ve been able to spot problems early and understand what’s happening in the business before they become significant issues, we’ve been able to minimize attrition, improve engagement, and just build a better business.”
In fact, the company has seen a noticeable reduction in attrition, which Sophie fully attributes to her team now having the ability to spot issues and intervene early. Thanks to Lattice and the efforts of her team, Sophie says Sensat has an annual attrition rate of about 7%, a sizable accomplishment during a time when many businesses are experiencing almost triple that.
Another way Sophie is working to retain top talent is by revamping the company’s performance management strategy. With Lattice, Sensat has been able to push beyond the typical bad rep of performance reviews to secure employee participation and completion rates of 100%. “Our reviews have become more focused on career development, which has helped them become a more positive process for employees,” shares Sophie. “These conversations are about identifying the areas that you are excelling in and where you could do with a bit more help, so employees know exactly what you need to do to grow.”
“Rather than just asking people random questions about what they’ve achieved in the last few months, we’ve been able to link our review cycle with Lattice Grow to incorporate our competencies into these conversations. Now managers can reference specific examples of how their direct report actually demonstrated communication well, for example, and share which other areas they should strengthen their skills,” she adds.
Lastly, Lattice gives the Sensat team access to all the data they need to make better decisions about their workplace and build better employee experiences. “Lattice gives us a direct line to our employees to understand what’s going well and what’s not. As a people team, Lattice’s tools and data empower us to prove why we need to take action on employee feedback to both our managers and leadership team,” says Sophie. “Having regular access to these in-depth data points really helps us to keep an eye on what’s going on around the organization. That just wouldn’t be possible without Lattice.”
- With Lattice, Sensat has surpassed industry benchmarks to achieve a 100% performance review completion rate.
- Lattice Feedback has helped the company create a culture of continuous feedback, with 100% of Sensat employees having already used the feature.
- Sensat used Lattice to reach a 100% engagement survey participation rate and launch the company’s first-ever D&I survey.
- Lattice has become the company’s “early warning system,” allowing Sensat’s people team to proactively identify and address issues, reducing attrition.