How Wyze created a performance-minded, transparent workplace
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Lattice has driven us to have more robust conversations about how we look at performance and rewards, as well as what factors should impact those decisions.
Consumer technology company Wyze was founded with the goal of making great technology accessible to everyone. Today, the company is known for its home security, lighting, lifestyle products, and creating experiences that are “too good to be true.” This people-centric core value extends well beyond the company’s products and can be found at the forefront of every decision the company’s People Team makes on behalf of their employees.
Wyze’s Chief Human Resource Officer Ruby White and HR Manager Megan Boyd are part of the company’s small but mighty HR team tasked with overseeing the company’s 330 global employees. While Wyze is based out of the pacific northwest, it also has a large and growing presence in two major Chinese cities, Beijing and Shenzhen. Founded in only 2017, Wyze is a young company in an industry dominated by large, more established businesses. Even so, the Wyze people team has used that to their advantage and doubled down on making Wyze a great place to work. “What I love about the people function at Wyze is that we are able to be creative, solution-oriented, and forward-thinking even though we're a smaller organization. Our competitors are larger organizations, so that challenges us to focus on doing our best to continue to scale the business as well as grow and develop our folks,” shares Ruby.
In addition to “too good to be true,” another one of the company’s values is to “maximize every component,” which speaks to the Series B start-up’s scrappiness. “There's a ton that we need to get accomplished, and so we prioritize first for items with the largest impact. We have to be creative and act as both entrepreneurs and true business owners," explains Ruby.
Those limitations were particularly evident when Megan joined the company just over two years ago. While the Wyze people team was doing the best with what they had, Megan was surprised to discover the HR team had no consistent performance management process or HRIS system. When it came time to formalize an online people success platform, the team found an unexpected ally to help them make a final decision. “Our Chief Technology Officer was actually the one who selected Lattice and their decision was driven by the product’s interface,” revealed Ruby. “I think that speaks volumes to the vision of the tech and Lattice’s functionality.” After partnering with Lattice, the company got serious about standardizing and digitizing its performance management processes and goal-setting.
Since Wyze had no formal performance review process in place, one of the tools they were most excited about was Lattice Performance. Lattice is so easy to use that there was no real learning curve, and Wyze employees were able to jump right into the platform to complete self, peer, and manager assessments. The company has since incorporated its values into annual reviews, too, so it can measure how well employees are living and embodying their values, like “too good to be true” and “maximize every component” each and every day.
After seeing how easy it was to roll out performance reviews with Lattice and hearing from employees that they wanted more organizational transparency, the team started to test Lattice Goals in two different departments – marketing and engineering – to see if the OKR goal-setting framework would be a good fit for Wyze.
“The fact that we had two very different segments of employees try the same tool and think it worked successfully, told us that Lattice Goals is the right tool for our diverse population and needs,” explains Ruby. “In a few weeks, we’re rolling out the tool to our whole company as a beta test. This rollout is our chance to make sure the tool not only resonates with our employees but also gives all of our employees the level of transparency and accountability that we're looking for.”
Lastly, the Wyze people team hopes to continue building a company culture that embraces diversity and inclusion. Like many people around the country and globe, Wyze employees were inspired by social justice movements and wanted to ensure they were doing their part to create a fair and equitable workplace for every employee. While a remote work environment makes having a really robust DEI program a bit more challenging, Ruby and Megan are working hard to ensure these conversations and initiatives can be felt even from employees’ home offices.
“We want to start monthly DEI conversations, create new initiatives, and then, as budget allows, create a formalized diversity program for our employees,” shared Megan. For now, the company has started sending out informational emails to its employees, which explain what ways different cultures celebrate events important to them. The organization also made Juneteenth an official company holiday and encouraged employees to use the day to learn about Black culture and history, or volunteer in their local communities. These initiatives are just some of the ways Wyze is working to improve organizational transparency and ensure every one of their employees feels understood and valued at work.
Before Lattice, Wyze had no formal and consistent performance review process. Fast forward to today and the company just reached an extraordinary milestone: a 100% participation rate for their last review cycle.
The secret behind the company’s incredible participation rates? Wyze uses its employee performance process to help determine promotions, merit changes, and any related performance bonuses. If someone does not complete the performance review process, they are missing an opportunity to advocate for themselves and showcase their great efforts. Using this setup, the company has motivated both employees and managers to submit self, peer, and manager reviews on time so that managers can define their direct report’s performance and associated bonus, and employees get rewarded.
Outside of participation, Lattice has also helped Wyze employees have more consistent and actionable conversations around performance and professional growth. According to Megan, “There aren’t many surprises when it comes to employee performance with a tool like Lattice.” Wyze managers can search and reference past one-on-one agendas, action items, and feedback to remind themselves of past discussions and when they discussed a particular topic with a direct report. Megan adds, “Having that track record of past conversations is super helpful for both managers and employees because when a review cycle comes around, they should be on the same page and there should be no major surprises.”.”
Plus, Lattice has pushed the Wyze team to rethink how they approach its annual merit and promotion process. “Lattice has driven us to have more robust conversations about how we look at performance and rewards, as well as what factors should impact those decisions,” says Ruby. “We made the decision to renew with Lattice because it evolves just like we have and is able to support us through our changes.”
After the successful beta test with the company’s marketing and engineering teams, Wyze is excited to roll out Lattice’s OKRs and Goals to the rest of the organization in just a few weeks. “One of the big benefits of the quarterly OKR programs we’re using Lattice to support is the newfound organizational transparency. We'll get to see what different departments, functions, locations, etc., are doing to get us closer to our big, audacious goals,” shares Ruby. After having the company’s marketing and engineering teams take to the goal-setting tool so quickly, Ruby and her team are looking forward to seeing other departments and offices benefit from the tool as well.
While 2021 was a “foundation building year” for the Wyze people team, who used the time to improve existing performance processes, redefine job levels and competencies, and test OKRs, Ruby says her team is ready to roll out some new and exciting people initiatives this year. Along with OKRs, Wyze will also use Lattice to launch employee engagement surveys to collect feedback from their team and how to make Wyze an even better place to work.