If I sat down and designed a piece of HR software, it would look like Lattice.
Stansell Electric Company, Inc. is a family-owned electrical contractor company that’s been putting employees first for the last 83 years. Today, the company has over 325 dispersed employees, with some individuals working in-office and others in the field on construction sites and at client locations. Designing HR practices that suit all employees is challenging, according to the company’s VP of Talent Jonathan “Jon” White.
With a background in the tech industry, Jon was used to digital people processes and tools, while Stansell Electric was still using pen and paper. “Everything that I had been trained in was based on this notion of ‘people over paper,’ or putting people first no matter what. When I joined almost nine years ago, I designed a talent management program that says ‘people over paper’ before I realized that everything we do is on paper. That’s when I realized I needed to spend the money on a digital solution and stop being a hypocrite,” says Jon.
Though Stansell Electric stored its people data in Excel documents, the company had mature and well-designed people practices for a company its size, including competency models, individual development plans, 90-day check-ins, performance reviews, and succession planning. For Stansell Electric’s dispersed workforce, keeping track of and accessing these numerous docs was burdensome — especially for employees in the field. Unfortunately, this inconvenience contributed to poor adoption rates for many of the company’s HR initiatives.
When Jon started his search for a digital HR solution, his first choice turned out to be more work than he’d bargained for. While the company was drawn in by the vendor’s superior applicant tracking system, its other tools for performance management and development were afterthoughts. “We bought some other products to go along with [the ATS], but once we started unpacking them, they weren’t any good. I didn’t ever even launch them because they were not customizable. They were built on 15-year-old HR knowledge,” says Jon.
Beginning his search again, Jon had two new items on his list of software must-haves. In addition to performance management and career development tools, he also wanted a platform with customizability and a modern approach to people strategy. That’s when he came across Lattice.
Lattice offered the flexibility Jon thought his large cohort of in-field managers would love. Plus, Jon knew the platform’s intuitive design and ease of use would ensure even the busiest employees could quickly learn and adopt the tool. All this paired with best-in-class performance management and growth tools made Lattice the perfect fit for the company.
“Our main goals are to grow our people, care for our people, and build a strong organizational culture that puts people over paper. Lattice seemed like the perfect partner to support those goals,” he explains.
Using Lattice at Stansell Electric
Upon implementing Lattice, Jon was immediately impressed by two things: the platform’s customizability and its ability to hold managers accountable. The first was one of the main reasons the company chose to work with Lattice.
“We really liked that Lattice wasn’t one-size-fits-all,” Jon notes. “I don’t have to say, ‘This is the review cadence we use across the entire company.’ I’m able to go to each individual leader and say, ‘Hey, what works best for you and your team?’ and then customize Lattice based on their needs.”
Now with Lattice 1:1s, Jon and his team can properly support office staff and field operatives alike by giving them the support they need to have regular, ongoing meetings with their teams. “We’re able to tailor the conversation and how the leader wants to approach one-on-ones based on the people that make up their team. We’re seeing most employees respond positively to it,” he shares.
For managers, Lattice’s tools help hold them accountable, encouraging them to have ongoing one-on-ones and career conversations with their teams. Employees, on the other hand, are enjoying increased visibility into development opportunities, better quality feedback, and clearer performance expectations.
“We believe that the more a leader touches base with a member of their team about performance — both the leader’s performance and the team member’s performance — the better we’re going to be. Even in a blue-collar environment with a very distributed geographic staff, we require that a performance discussion occurs at least every 90 days. Lattice is set up great for these ongoing conversations and reviews because we can make the process super simple,” says Jon.
Plus, by integrating Lattice Grow and Performance together, the company’s managers can more fairly assess employees based on department and role-specific competencies. This specificity not only helps managers more objectively evaluate employee performance and share meaningful feedback, but it also helps Stansell Electric identify and address significant skill gaps. “We’ve built it so our field leaders can go in and assess the journeymen on their competencies. Are they missing, meeting, or exceeding? Are they competent or non-competent and why? This then informs our development team around what areas our workforce needs to train in. Lattice helped us take this from a concept on a piece of paper to a thing that we can actually use,” Jon explains.
Lattice Grow has also helped the company introduce consistency and transparency around career development. Employees reference competency matrices and career tracks whenever they want to better understand growth opportunities within the organization. Plus, they can use Lattice to build individual development plans (IDPs) to take action today to achieve their career goals tomorrow. This transparency has helped employees learn where to grow their experience, skills, and competencies, and it has helped managers better coach their teams as they work to progress in their careers.
Impact of Lattice
After years of using paper for people data, Stansell Electric now has 75% of its existing people processes out of one-off documents and into Lattice. Already the change has been well received by employees, and the company has been pleased with adoption rates.
In fact, Stansell Electric has seen a substantial increase in the number of employees creating IDPs since launching Lattice. “We’ve used individual development plan forms for almost eight years now. Outside of my team, I could count maybe three or four that have actually been completed,” admits Jon. But just one week after rolling out Lattice Grow, managers and employees were already showing interest. Jon shares, “Our leaders are gravitating to it, and as a result we’re seeing higher completion rates, better quality, and better overall organizational consistency.”
That consistency has been helping managers, most of whom have lauded the platform for introducing much-needed structure to their conversations with employees. While most managers have adopted the platform enthusiastically, their excitement occasionally comes at the expense of Jon’s sleep. “I got this text at 6:52 AM from a 35-year construction veteran who’s in a remote location running a remote team. He said, ‘Morning Jon, I need some help changing my default template for one-on-ones in Lattice. I have the template created. Please call me when you have the opportunity.’ 6:52 AM!” Jon laughs. “I expected a lot of our leaders to use Lattice reluctantly, but it’s been great to watch them get excited about using it. They’ve realized that this isn’t some HR trick to get them to do more work. This is about helping our people and building a culture that grows our talent.”
While Jon hopes other personalization requests will come during normal business hours, he has been impressed with how adjustable the Lattice platform is. “When you start unpacking Lattice, you realize just how customizable it is. Once I started using it more, I came to find out it was even 10 times more customizable than I thought it was going to be,” says Jon. “It’s amazing that Lattice has built some best practices into the platform, but then still allows us to customize within it. I didn’t see any other vendors have that.”
Overall, the biggest win for Stansell Electric since implementing Lattice has been giving managers the tools they need to engage their employees — regardless of whether they’re based in the office or in the field. “What we found is that if we put our people first — which this company’s done for as long as it’s been around — and give managers the right tools, everything slides into place. Employees get recognized, they get rewarded, they understand if they’re meeting performance expectations, they receive quality feedback, and, ultimately, they’re engaged,” shares Jon. “Like I said earlier, we need Lattice to be successful.”
- Lattice’s customizable one-on-one templates have helped Stansell Electric support its managers based on their individual leadership styles and needs.
- Thanks to Lattice Grow, the company is seeing significantly higher individual development plan completion rates.
- Stansell Electric has undergone a digital HR transformation, with 75% of its people initiative information moved out of one-off documents and into Lattice.