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Their growth has been extensive and while it primarily services American companies, Superside has been a fully remote company since inception, with 700 team members working across 63 countries and 17 timezones.

As the company continues to grow, the aptly named People Care team is focused on the retention of Superside’s all-star talent. The team’s mission? ​​As Miguel puts it, the team’s goal is to “preserve Superside’s ability to provide the ideal conditions for our people to thrive and succeed with us. We are our own internal success team.”

Since the company is fully distributed, the People Care team works extra hard to ensure the Superside experience and people connection can span borders and timezones. That means prioritizing culture, community, well-being, diversity, equity and inclusion, and, most importantly, professional development at every stage of the employee lifecycle.

But as Superside has grown, so too has the company’s approach to professional development. As new departments are created and job leveling begins, Superside wants to ensure new and existing people know exactly what they need to do and achieve in order to grow their careers with the company. To improve that transparency, Superside wanted to focus on three key areas of professional development: one-on-ones, performance reviews, and career paths.

Unfortunately, the company had little visibility into one-on-ones and performance reviews and lacked formal career matrices and competencies. Miguel explained that before Lattice, Superside’s strategy and approach to professional development included regular one-on-ones conducted by managers with their direct reports, but they had no visibility into the frequency and quality of these conversations. “One-on-ones are the foundation of the whole Superside approach to professional development. It’s incredibly important that they happen,” explains Miguel. “And yet, we had no idea if they were.” 

With the team’s top priorities in mind —improving one-on-ones and performance reviews and introducing career plans— and with more ambitious hiring plans on the horizon, the Superside team knew it was time to invest in a people success platform. Lattice quickly rose to the top of the list with its Grow and Performance tools. Superside leaders across the business were excited to start improving job growth transparency and ensuring their direct reports were set up for successful career conversations.

Using Lattice at Superside

Lattice 1:1s was the first tool Superside rolled out. Using the tool, managers and their direct reports can easily create shared meeting agendas, take notes, and reference past discussions, so nothing falls through the cracks. It quickly became the company’s single source of truth for all its people leaders.

Plus, adoption was a breeze. “The feedback has been amazing. People are using it. I mean, of course, they are. [Lattice] is user-friendly, convenient, and easy to adopt. That was by far the most impactful thing we got from Lattice,” shares Miguel. Besides Lattice’s ease of use, the direct sponsorship from Superside’s CEO Fredrik Thomassen, COO Håkon Heir and VP Talent Marta Bisisi, as well as the support from all the senior leadership were instrumental to make professional development a top priority in the company, “we had all the ingredients we could wish for, the leadership sponsorship and the right tool to succeed”. Miguel also added that people managers weren’t just using the tool to tick a box; they were using it in a meaningful way that made a difference in the support they were giving their team members, enabling deeper collaboration, performance development and career talks.

Lattice 1:1s didn’t just win over employees; it also wowed the leadership team. In addition to loving how easy it was for people to embrace the tool, the senior leadership team also loved how they can receive real-time insights on the conversations that actually take place. “Now, we have the level of visibility we wanted. So, for example, I can tell you that, at this moment, we have about 90% of 1:1s enabled in Lattice. I can tell you that because Lattice tells me that,” explains Miguel.

Before Lattice, Superside relied on Google Docs to administer and collect performance reviews. While the process worked well enough for Superside when it was less than 200 people, it isn’t sustainable as the company continues to grow — especially with certain teams running performance reviews every two to three months and the whole organization doing a full 360-degree review cycle every six months.

Now, the team is thankful for the hours of admin work Lattice saves them — and the additional flexibility to create more people-centric programs. “When it comes to all the admin work, we know we don’t have to worry about that because Lattice covers it,” shared Miguel. “Everything that we’re currently doing would otherwise be impossible without Lattice. We just wouldn’t be able to track and execute these programs. Our team’s additional capacity exists because of Lattice.”

The team’s biggest endeavor with Lattice to date is the rollout of Lattice Grow. During the solution evaluation process, Superside knew that having career plans wasn’t enough; people had to access and use them in order for them to create an impact. “People need to know what they’re working towards; they need to know what they can aspire to and achieve. That’s why it’s incredibly important and vital for any organization, and especially for us, to have both career plans in place and a tool like Lattice to drive adoption,” states Miguel. 

Superside’s commitment to transparency pushed them to go even further. They ensured that all people would have access to all of the company’s career plans, not just the ones for their department or discipline. This way, people can not only understand how they can grow laterally on their current team but also linearly to a different team or role. 

Impact of Lattice

Since introducing Lattice, Superside has seen record-high adoption levels across multiple areas of the platform. As stated earlier, 90% of people use Lattice 1:1s, while 90% participate in the company’s biannual engagement surveys, and an even more impressive 97.7% completed their performance reviews in 2021.

While these impressive results attest to the company’s deliberate and thoughtful approach to rolling these features out, the People Care team attributes the merit of this success to all Supersiders. “All of this is people-centered; that’s how we get this level of adoption. It’s not a magic formula,” offers Miguel. “It’s very, very simple. We make it very, very clear for everyone what’s in it for them. That’s what makes them want to be part of this process.”

While Superside has only just begun to roll out Lattice Grow, the company has big expectations for the tool. Today, Superside has built out eight career paths in the tool, which covers 81% of the company’s people. They aspire for that to be 100% by the end of the year. 

Superside also wants to formally introduce Lattice Goals and Individual Development Plans in 2022, which they expect will have strong adoption as many managers are already using Lattice Growth Areas to define the skills their team members must develop to reach the next step in their careers. 

While streamlining 1:1s, performance reviews, and career plans helped Superside make professional development a top priority, Miguel admitted that hasn’t been the biggest benefit of partnering with Lattice. Instead, he says it’s the way Lattice has interconnected all of their People data. “For example, now when we submit a performance review in a review cycle, I see the expectations from the appropriate career track and level that the person is. That allows us to write more context-based reviews and include feedback that is even more relevant for the reviewee,” shares Miguel.

This interconnectivity and historical data have become even more valuable as new managers continue to join the company and people transfer internally. “Now, whenever there is a change – whether you change managers, teams, or departments – all of that goes with you. Your new manager has access to that information, so they can give you a level of support that is customized to your needs and your journey, not ignoring your past, but adding value on top of it,” shares Miguel. 

Thanks to Lattice, Superside can show its people they have the support they need to grow from the company, their team leaders, and the People Care team. That helps bring Superside one step closer to their goal to ensure all Supersiders have the conditions they need to thrive and succeed.

Takeaways

  • Using Lattice, Superside has reached a completion rate of 90% for engagement surveys and 97.7% for performance reviews.
  • Over 90% of Superside employees have adopted Lattice’s 1:1 tool, giving the company’s People Care Team unprecedented visibility into these conversations.
  • The company uses Lattice Grow to give employees a better understanding of their career trajectory, with 81% of the organization currently covered by career plans.  
  • Lattice is the single source of truth for all Superside managers, allowing them to access 1:1s, past performance reviews, and career plans all on one easy-to-use platform.

Challenge

Shawn Maida remembers how easy it used to be to stay up to date with his team in the early days. “When were smaller, I did lunches with the individual team members as check-ins. We never had a software platform to do that.”

Ad hoc lunch check-ins worked with a small team but Shawn acknowledges that it’s a process that breaks down as you add more people and ever-increasing amounts of client work. “As we grew, we kind of stopped doing check-ins. It’s almost like we ran out of time.”

Over 85% of Foster Made’s workforce is made up of software developers or product people with the rest dedicated to business and client services. Shawn didn’t have someone dedicated to human resources but he knew that his team could benefit from having a performance management platform like Lattice.    

“If you think about companies our size, especially in the creative industries, all of the owners were the workers originally. We see the value in doing performance management but we don’t have the infrastructure, so Lattice is great for us because we haven’t grown to the size where we have an HR department but we know that we need to be doing these things for culture and growth and employee happiness.”

“I was really excited about Lattice because I thought it was something the staff needed. As an owner, I needed that touchpoint too.”

Phased Implementation

The Lattice platform includes a full suite of continuous performance management features including goals, weekly updates, feedback, 1:1 meetings, and performance reviews. Shawn used the built-in settings to customize the platform and launch each core feature separately.

The team started with weekly updates. “We eat lunch as a team every Monday. We just rolled it out on a Monday, saying ‘We’re doing check-in updates.’ We just went all in. We were at 20 or 21 people at the time, so we just went in with everybody.”

“We’re a web development company and things just move so fast in an agency. People give an update of what they’re working on next week and talk about their projects. I can jump in to provide guidance. It doesn’t replace a standup [meeting] but it’s like a different vehicle for information. They don’t have to tell you in person. They can just write it and it’s safer somehow.”

“The one-to-five employee sentiment score is really interesting to me because seeing the trends has been helpful. The individual scores aren’t all that meaningful but you notice it when someone that usually puts in a “3” puts in a “2” or if a person that usually does a “4” puts in a “3.” You notice the variation in your people and that causes conversation. That’s been very helpful.”

“We rolled out praise next because it was an easy and necessary win with the team. Lattice’s public praise system combined with the Slack integration is an invaluable culture-building feature with very little implementation overhead.”

“The platform encourages the entire team to create and contribute to a culture around giving praise and recognition.”

Shawn’s team has also just started rolling out quarterly reviews and 1:1s.

How to Launch Weekly Updates

Foster Made’s team posts more weekly updates per employee than 95% of other Lattice customers that are using the updates feature. Here’s how they did it.

The first hurdle to adoption is to get employees to write that first update. The tool is simple to use but Shawn explains that some employees need guidance for what to write in that initial update.

He’s observed that “people just don’t know what they’re supposed to write at first.” Managers should be there to talk to employees to guide them through those early questions, even if it’s only to say “Just write a couple sentences and a few bullet points.”

Shawn adds that it helps to customize the default questions for your team and to give feedback on the updates to let people know what you want. If they’re writing “same thing as last week” over and over again then you need to step in and say “No, dive into this for me.”

Shawn also believes that it’s the manager’s responsibility to follow up with employees to keep the update habit going. “I actually think we should have a higher usage rate. The only reason we don’t is because, as managers, we don’t poke people enough to remind them. It could stop very quickly if we don’t follow up.”

“It’s talking to people about why it’s beneficial and then following up all of the time. They need to understand that it’s important and it matters.”

“One of my directors manages seven people. For the people that struggle [to post updates on time], he reminds them, ‘This is your place to communicate. If it’s a public update this is an opportunity to share what you’re working on with everybody. If it’s private, it’s an opportunity to alert me about an issue that I might not have had time to stop by your desk to talk about.’”

“We’ll get an update from someone and it can cause immediate action. I’ve seen it happen.”

Takeaways

  • Show employees what an update should look like when you start.
  • Read, give feedback, and act on updates.
  • Always follow-up on missing updates. Not following up tells people that it’s not important.