The Challenge/Evaluation  

Million Dollar Baby, a family-run wholesale distributor of baby furniture and juvenile products, has been selling to retail giants like Target and Nordstrom for more than 30 years. The global organization — with offices in the US and China, distributors in Australia and New Zealand, and an agency that supports its call center in the Philippines — prides itself on its diversity and prioritizes staff engagement and satisfaction. 

For the last 25 years, the company has measured employee happiness, using a home-built software program that wasn’t able to scale with the rapidly growing organization and lacked some key features. “Anytime I wanted to do something with our system, I had to ask someone from IT to help. It wasn’t user-friendly,” says Julia Fong Yip, VP of Talent Management.

Most missing from the existing system, however, was data and analytics functionality. “We had zero data or benchmarking capabilities, which made it difficult to understand how we were doing against our own goals and other companies.”

Choosing Lattice over competitors 

Shifting from a home-grown system the company had used for more than two decades was a big step and a decision the organization didn’t take lightly. They chose Lattice because it offered a comprehensive platform that met all their needs. 

“When we were shopping and comparing, we didn’t find a single solution that offered everything we needed, including 1:1s and weekly updates, sentiment measurement, performance reviews, and engagement surveys; so Lattice was a no-brainer for me,” says Julia. “But the biggest differentiator was the analytical capabilities.”

Using Lattice at Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby is making the most of its Lattice investment, using a variety of tools and testing new features on the platform. 

“We currently use the 1:1s, weekly update, and sentiment score. We also conduct two engagement surveys per year. On the performance management side, we hold 30-day and 90-day new-hire check-ins and two performance reviews per year,” says Julia. 

“We also use every single feature of Grow because it is such a cutting-edge employee development software. We set quarterly OKRs that we tie to Performance Management because managers will talk about the Grow tracks during performance reviews,” she adds. “Our warehouse employees are active on Lattice, using both the performance review and engagement survey features.

“And we even deployed Lattice at the agency we use in the Philippines,” adds Julia. “The agents are not our employees, but because we believe Lattice is a great people management tool, we have them using the weekly Update, 1:1s, and engagement surveys. Lattice helps to make them feel like part of our team, which is important for our culture.” 

The Results so Far 

Million Dollar Baby is seeing high engagement with the Lattice platform, largely because they’ve done an excellent job at showing its value to employees. 

“We conduct Lattice training during onboarding, and go over each feature, why it’s important, and how it benefits our workplace culture, employees’ professional growth, and their compensation, so they understand the value of engaging with the platform,” says Julia. “But the fact everything is in one place and the user-friendliness of the system helps. It’s so much easier to manage.”

Lattice also helps the company streamline processes. “We hold quarterly meetings where every team completes a presentation of what they did in the past quarter, what they learned, what mistakes were made, and their goals and plans for the next 30, 60, 90 days. Before Lattice, the preparation could take a week. Now, we enter the quarterly objectives and OKRs in the system, employees update their progress, and we can monitor everything. Everyone knows what everyone is doing and how they are tracking toward their goals. The transparency is working beautifully for us.” 

Additionally, Lattice, and specifically Grow, is enabling Million Dollar baby to reinforce its core values across the organization. “We have established individual tracks for each team and set up job-specific competencies that align with our core values. For example, one of them is ‘Treat your team like family.’ We want our employees to know what we expect of them in their existing roles and what it takes for them to advance,” says Julia. “I’ve only heard good things from employees, most notably how clear everything is. Every performance review, every growth conversation is crystal clear, so they can evaluate their performance and know exactly what they need to do to improve.”

Julia is also realizing the benefits from an administrator’s point of view. “Benchmarking against other Lattice users is extremely valuable. Being able to present the comparison to other companies to leadership is much more impactful than just telling them how great we are doing,” she says. “I can show my CEO we have a 90% completion rate, when 5,000 other customers are at 82%, so the data speaks for itself.” 

Julia also appreciates how collaborative the Lattice team has been on needs. “On a more personal level, I appreciate the Lattice team’s willingness to check in with me — and listen to my suggestions on product enhancements. Those suggestions actually get taken to the product team. Even though Lattice is growing so quickly, the company still cares about my opinion as a user.” 

Takeaways:

Million Dollar Baby has seen incredible key results so far: 
  • 92% engagement survey completion
  • 65% of employees have goals
  • 40% of employees have growth areas
  • 90% of employees in Lattice have received feedback 
  • The company has completed 500 1:1s in the past 90 days

The Challenge

“When I joined DECIEM’s HR team three years ago, there were literally four or five people on it,” says Randa Ashkar, Senior Director of Talent and HR Effectiveness for the company. “Perhaps a year after that, we grew to 18 to 20 people. Today, it’s about 43 people globally. So you can imagine the hyper-growth that we are going through.”

Breakneck growth is not hyperbole for DECIEM, which has hired approximately 900 people in the last two years.  That equates to nearly two new hires every working day. “So imagine how much stress there is on the TA team to really deliver – and not just deliver, but get the right talent at the right time while also retaining existing talent,” says Randa.

“We set out to really disrupt the beauty industry,” says Ashley Thompson, DECIEM’s VP of People. And as a disruptor, that means creating an environment that supports creativity, innovation, and out-of-the-box thinking – but also preserving a culture of authenticity and camaraderie, even when the bulk of the workforce is working from home due to Covid-19.

Growing from an informal people ops program to a complex and more formalized ecosystem that supports learning, development, diversity, and more has long been a stated goal of the company. But how do you achieve all that without becoming rigid and boring – the kind of company DECIEM had been founded to compete against?

“We were really trying to encourage people to join us for learning events, to get involved and invested in their own development,” Kristina Tsiriotakis, Senior Director of Organizational Development & Learning for DECIEM says. And while people responded well and had solid levels of engagement in that first year, employees nonetheless seemed a bit confused by it all. 

“They would come to us in our surveys asking, ‘How do I connect this to my growth in the organization? How do I understand how my work impacts the business overall?’” Employees wanted to feel like they had a purpose in the organization as well as to know formally how well they were performing within it.

Evaluation

DECIEM was looking for a platform that would give it the opportunity to create formal people programs while retaining its unique, disruptive culture.

“Lattice was simpler than most other platforms,” says Randa of the evaluation process, “and one of our models at DECIEM is doing things simply: Simplicity is beauty. The one-on-one features, for example, really caught my eye, and everything is really centralized.”

Randa says that one feature that got her attention was the ability to use Lattice on multiple platforms simultaneously, including phone and laptop. “You’re on a video conversation with your direct report and checking things off in real-time – and both of you can do that. You can leave private notes; you can leave shared notes. It’s not to say other platforms couldn’t do that, but it seemed simpler and more user-friendly in Lattice.”

“Another thing that meant a lot to us about Lattice was that we shared a vision of performance and engagement,” says Ashley. “And we felt that Lattice had more of that vision than some of its competitors. Some platforms had really strong one-on-one features, and some had really strong engagement programs and analytics. But we felt that Lattice, out of everything we looked at, had the most holistic offering that tied it all together.”

Using Lattice at DECIEM

After rolling out Lattice in 2020, DECIEM quickly rolled out OKRs as one of its first features.

“I’ve always really liked the OKR format for goal setting because it allows you to think big and stretch,” says Ashley, “but then get more specific into how you want to accomplish something. That ability is important for us because things are always changing quickly.”

Interestingly, almost half of DECIEM’s staff today has goals on Lattice, which are tied to personal development – not business goals. “We know that people have to be able to develop themselves and have that chance for personal growth and personal connection in order to be able to be their best self at work,” says Ashley. “When we launched goal setting, first we started with business goals just to get people into understanding what OKRs and goals are and how to set them. But as we kept going, we introduced developmental goals, personal goals, or human goals, which were really about overall wellness.”

Those goals could be health-related, financial, or something to do with an employee’s relationship – all things that employees set for themselves. “The idea is that you’re not just a person who just wants to achieve something in your career; you also are a human being who wants to run a marathon or adopt a pet or start a podcast,” adds Ashley. “We’re really happy that people have adopted goal setting overall. But when I see that almost half of the goals in the system are actually tied to development or personal goals, that is really exciting for us, because that means those conversations are happening too with their team or with their manager supporting that type of growth.”

The Impact of Lattice

DECIEM rolled out a program called Human Journeys, based around the key pillars of the Lattice ecosystem, including goal setting, 1:1s, and 360-degree performance review — all aiming to create a culture of continuous feedback. “When it came to goal setting, we wanted to make sure that our people had business goals that were directly linked to the organizational strategy so that every individual could understand how their work drove the mission forward within their team and at an individual level,” says Kristina. “But we also wanted everyone to have a development goal and a learning or a wellness goal.”

Over 80% of the business has used Lattice to set goals, which Kristina says is “huge for us, because in our production environment, some of these teams are 50 or 60 people reporting to one person.” To encourage uptake, DECIEM set up workstations on the production floor to give workers access to the Lattice system, and, says Kristina, “people really got into it. They loved being able to share feedback and share updates. We’ve done feedback challenges to encourage use throughout the business and consistently receive about 80% completion on our surveys as well. People want to use their voice, which has been amazing.”

“Everything at DECIEM has evolved,” says Ashley, including initiatives around performance reviews, quarterly management updates, and the launch of a social sharing platform where employees can see their achievements shared with the broader organization. “We’re able to pull a lot of those results from Lattice,” she says.

Part of the success of Lattice at DECIEM is clearly owed to its incredible adoption of the goals and performance review systems. Within one year of implementation, 97 percent of employees had completed reviews in full, including feedback from their peers, a self-assessment, and managerial review – and not just office workers, but also retail and production staff, who don’t have regular access to a PC throughout the day. 

Recent internal surveys also show that 86 percent of the staff say they feel a family connection with their team and 85 percent say they feel an alignment between their values and the company’s values – even in a hybrid working environment. “Those are some great indicators to us that we’re focusing on the right things and that people are feeling that sense of culture and connection,” says Ashley.

Kristina chalks up the success of initiatives like these to DECIEM’s collaborative spirit. “We operate as one team and that creates a space for diverse perspectives and counterpoints,” she says. “And we support one another across the many finish lines for projects such as this. It’s a key part of our secret sauce.”

Randa concludes by keeping the focus squarely on DECIEM’s staff. “We have something called the good day,” she says, “which is a paid day to go volunteer at an organization that supports our three sustainability pillars: people, animal, and earth. So again, it’s not simply having objectives and goals and all these great OKRs, it’s about how you balance life – because we want you to be a healthy human at work. We really want people to take care of themselves first before taking care of the organization.”

Takeaways

  • Ease-of-use and simplicity were key factors in DECIEM’s decision to adopt Lattice.
  • After a year, 97% of workers had completed their performance reviews – including retail and production staff.
  • Over 80% of the business has used Lattice to set goals, some via workstations set up on the DECIEM production floor to give workers access to the Lattice system. 
  • DECIEM uses Lattice not just to manage professional goals but encourages staff to use the system to set their own personal goals – and nearly half of the staff do.

Faire’s vision for its employees is that the company is a place where they can:

  • Grow their careers and use their distinctive strengths
  • Be their authentic selves and feel a sense of belonging
  • Feel empowered to do their best work and have a direct impact on the communities Faire serves around the world.

This vision stems from the company’s five core values: We serve our community; We seek the truth; We are all owners; We embrace the adventure; We are kind.Performance management is a great chance to live those values and empower employees to seek the truth by identifying their and their teammates’ strengths and growth areas, and to show kindness by giving others candid feedback that helps them learn and grow

The Challenge

While Faire is only five-years old, the company started using Lattice in its third year, and had built out a fairly robust performance management process over the years. Given its growth, Faire wanted to bring more consistency, rigor, and clarity to its process so it could better help each employee learn and grow in their careers and use their distinctive strengths.  

Using Lattice Grow at Faire

Faire found its solution in Lattice Grow. After collecting feedback from and debating the topic with leaders across Faire, the People team decided to add ratings to its performance process. While many companies provide a final, numerical rating, Faire opted to pursue a more nuanced approach: each employee would receive a qualitative rating on each competency within their Career Framework. This approach enabled the team to focus calibrations on growth, rather than debating specific ratings, while giving each employee a clear picture of their performance and expectations for operating at the next level.

In the fall of 2021, Faire ran a pilot with 150 employees to test out the idea. Each employee would rate themselves and their managers. Managers would rate each direct report and during calibrations, managers would pressure test ratings while focusing the discussion on how that employee could build on their strengths and address their growth areas. 

In reviewing feedback from employees, Faire found that competency ratings had three key benefits:

  • Better describe the impact employees had and the strengths they used
  • Calibrate performance more consistently, rigorously, and fairly
  • Give employees a clearer idea of how to grow in their role and what it takes to operate at the next level

Following the pilot, Andrew and his team updated every Career Framework across the company, ultimately creating 79 unique tracks in Grow. With these frameworks loaded into Lattice, employees now have easy access to their expectations and can quickly and seamlessly provide feedback to each other without leaving Lattice. 

The People team rolled out this new approach for Faire’s Q2 2022 performance cycle.

Impact of Lattice Grow

It’s still early days at Faire using Grow, but there are already buds of progress.

In February, Faire ran its first-ever ‘Career Faire’ where everyone at the company completed a Personal Growth Plan, which documents someone’s career values, aspirations, strengths, energizers, and growth areas. Employees were able to upload that growth plan into Lattice. And following its performance cycle, employees can translate their feedback into growth goals that support high-performance today and that link up with their longer term career goals. “It’s been really helpful for us as a tool for company-wide consistency and individual ownership and growth,” said Andrew.

“As a company committed to empowering entrepreneurs around the world, one of our core values is Be an owner,” Andrew said, “and so it’s exciting to have a scalable tool like Grow to enable employees to own their performance and career.”

A key outcome of using Grow has been creating a consistent way to talk about learning and growth across the company. Prior to Lattice, every team handled performance reviews and career conversations slightly differently. With a growing company, having a consistent experience, said Andrew, is really important “so that everyone feels like it’s a fair and equitable process and that everyone has a good opportunity to talk about the impact that they’ve had and how they can grow in their role.”

Andrew and his team are excited to measure the results in their employee surveys and continue to improve the experience so all Faire employees can grow their careers and use their distinctive strengths.

Takeaways

  • Faire’s strong company culture and values has helped drive their review cycle completion of 94%. 
  • Pairing Faire’s established career frameworks with Grow has allowed Faire to connect performance to competencies within those frameworks, ensuring better alignment.
  • Grow allows each employee to translate feedback into actionable growth goals and work with their manager to measure their success.

Founded in 2011, Article is a Vancouver-based modern furniture brand that helps customers create beautiful modern spaces. Since the company’s website launch in 2013, Article has experienced explosive growth with more than 1300 employees scattered across 20+ locations. To show just how fast the Article team is growing – in just one year since Talent and Learning Development Manager Jennifer McMillan joined the company, the team has more than doubled in size. 

But even through this period of hyper-growth, Article has successfully scaled its strong company culture, and continued to see high levels of engagement even throughout the pandemic. That’s due in part to the People and Culture team’s commitment to their People mission: Relentlessly pursue a remarkable Particle experience that drives our business strategy. If you’re not in the know, “Particles” is what the company calls its employees — it’s a shortened and more fun version of the phrase “the people of Article.”

Today, as the company continues to grow at a rapid pace, the People and Culture team is focused on hiring top talent and putting strong people practices in place to support Article’s current and future goals. The items at the top of their priority list? Creating a feedback culture and adding clarity around internal career path opportunities. 

Prior to Lattice, most of Article’s talent development programs were fairly manual, with the team depending on Google Docs and Google Forms to conduct performance reviews and engagement surveys, respectively. “We saw how quickly we were growing and realized we couldn’t continue to do things manually. This wasn’t going to be scalable,” says Jennifer. “We needed something that could allow us to grow, help improve our talent development programs, and build processes that were more in line with our mission.”

The team also took a very traditional approach to performance reviews, having only managers weigh in on their direct report’s performance. The Article People and Culture team wanted a way to introduce 360-degree reviews at scale to reduce bias as well as provide Particles with a greater understanding of how their contributions are viewed by others to help them improve. To take things one step further, the team wanted to understand how performance and development were interconnected at the company. “We had no real big picture view of how performance management fit in with development planning,” shares Jennifer. “As we continue to grow, we need a way to better understand what our Particles’ knowledge, skills, and abilities are so we can identify gaps and know where to focus our learning and development and recruiting efforts.”

The Article team also wanted to improve transparency around career development opportunities, an improvement highly requested by Particles. “This is something that has really been driven by the Particles. They want more clarity on career paths and what skills they need to build in order to move to a different department or move up within their area,” shares Jennifer. “When they get their performance review and hear they’re doing fantastic, they want to know what’s next.” While the company had no formally documented career paths, the People and Culture team was determined to change that with the help of a new People strategy platform.

Using Lattice at Article

Lattice was a no-brainer for Article since it was the only platform that had performance, engagement, and career pathing all in one. The team loved the idea of having performance and engagement data on the same platform, so they could easily build a holistic, interconnected experience for Particles. Plus, the team loved Lattice’s easy-to-use design. “We have quite a diverse workforce – from those who are on their computers all day to those who work in our warehouses or deliver furniture – so ​​we knew we needed something very simple for people to adopt. [Lattice] being mobile friendly and integrating with Slack and our HRIS were nice additions, too!” shares Jennifer.

The team uses Lattice’s Engagement and Performance tools to run two engagement surveys and two review cycles per year. “Lattice helps us to collect better and more reliable data. This has, in turn, enabled us to better understand our workforce and respond and act more meaningfully based on this feedback,” says Jennifer. 

Jennifer and her team were even able to use this data to identify learning and development opportunities as well. “One of the interesting, unexpected ways we use the data is to evaluate every Particle on our company’s unique guiding principles. We look at the data and see where people at different levels — managers, directors, and individual contributors — score lower to identify areas of development that we really need to focus on,” shares Jennifer. “That really helps inform our learning and development priorities because we know exactly which guiding principles we need to build more learning opportunities for.”

In addition to reviews, the Article team has been hard at work behind the scenes using Lattice Grow to build over 70 unique career tracks complete with competencies for roles across the entire organization. While this project has been months in the making, the team is ready to launch. According to Jennifer, “Lattice Grow provides the tool for us to share career tracks to support great career conversations and development plans, while also providing guidance for people leaders and supporting Particles’ career aspirations.” One of the main reasons the Article team partnered with Lattice, Grow is one of the company’s most hotly-anticipated roll-outs and Jennifer and her team are confident it will be met with much excitement.

Impact of Lattice

The company’s first 360-degree performance review with Lattice Reviews was a hit with Particles and the company’s People and Culture team. Particles loved hearing constructive feedback from their peers and the company experienced an overwhelming completion rate of 95% with over 1,800 reviews completed. “The feedback we got on this was fantastic, particularly around the peer review aspect. Even though it took more time, people really found the value in it in terms of understanding how they could grow,” shares Jennifer.

When it came to the new review process, the company’s People and Culture team found that it provided them valuable insight into their workforce in ways they had never had before. “Our People and Culture team now has greater visibility into which teams are having performance conversations and what kind of feedback is being given,” she shares. “That’s empowering us to be more effective as a People and Culture team in all aspects — from how we communicate with Particles to how we can be more effective business partners and give them the support they need.” 

After the review, the team sent a follow-up survey to collect feedback on the process and ask Particles how they could improve future performance cycles. “Collecting and taking action on this feedback really set us up to be successful for then continuing to launch other aspects of the tool,” states Jennifer. Plus, learning that 83% of Particles found Lattice easy to use reaffirmed to the People and Culture team that they had made the right choice partnering with Lattice.   

And while the Article team was initially concerned whether its warehouse and delivery teams would find Lattice easy to use or find the time to take surveys while on the go, they were surprised to find these Particles were actually more engaged than the other teams. For one Pulse survey, about half of respondents were from warehouse associates and delivery drivers. For the company’s semi-annual engagement survey, the People and Culture team works with these Particles’ managers to dedicate 15 minutes at the beginning or end of their shift to sit at a computer or use Lattice’s mobile app to complete the survey. 

One unexpected win from partnering with Lattice was the overwhelming adoption of one feature the People and Culture team didn’t pay too much attention to: 1:1s. “We didn’t have it in our initial rollout strategy or host any special training on it,” says Jennifer. “We ended up just opening it up for a few teams to try, one of which was our engineering team which now has over 95% of the department using the tool for their one-on-ones.” All the feedback Jennifer has received so far has been positive, with managers and individual contributors alike finding it helpful and “Just the tool I was looking for to help me with my one-on-ones.”

But by far, the biggest win for the People and Culture team was bringing all of their performance, engagement, and (in just a short while) professional growth data together on one system. This not only helps the team build a complete picture of the employee experience at Article, but it also allows them to be more strategic about future program improvements and launches. “Lattice helped us create an experience that is more holistic and less ad hoc,” says Jennifer. “Before, we were not understanding how everything fits together and it was holding us back from creating our development plans and, ultimately, helping Particles to be successful. Having it all in one place has been a game-changer.”

And Article is just getting started with Lattice. With the company’s career paths launching, the team is excited to see what else the platform can help them achieve and, not to mention, what else they can learn from Particles. The secret to Article’s rapid growth and ability to always put Particles first? Trying new things and adapting, reveals Jennifer. “I wouldn’t say that any of our programs are set in stone. It’s more, ‘let’s try something, let’s get feedback on it, and then we continue to evolve it,” shares Jennifer. “They’re always changing because we’re always getting feedback from our team members on what’s working and what’s not, and then changing our game plan based on that.” That’s a strategy that any sized business can learn from. 

Takeaways

  • The company’s first 360-degree review was a hit with a completion rate of 95% and over 1,800 reviews completed
  • 83% of Particles found Lattice easy to use after the company’s first performance review on the platform
  • Using Grow, the company is launching over 70 unique career paths and a competency framework to encourage Particles to grow their careers at Article
  • The Article team now has a unified view of their performance, engagement, and professional development data — all on one platform