The People Experience at Forge Biologics

While much of the world has embraced remote work, Forge Biologics needs most of its scientific staff onsite. There’s only so much lab work that can be done remotely, after all. And, even team members who aren’t part of the scientific team and work remotely often find a lot of value in collaborating in-person and most come onsite periodically. “I feel HR in particular needs to be visible to our employees,” says Liza Lewis, Forge’s Director of HR.

This level of face time is especially important for Forge because of the unique needs of the company, which include meeting with clients and required training for new hires on its detailed best practices for manufacturing. At the same time, Forge is a rapidly growing startup that has nearly tripled in size over the last year. It’s in this environment that Liza found herself working overtime to keep pace with its growth. “Not only did I need to learn what kind of immediate HR policies and practices were necessary when I started,” she says,“I also needed to better understand the company and the industry so that I could develop the appropriate people programs.”

Despite the growth rate, Liza raves about the culture at Forge Biologics, praising its collaborative nature and “regular cadence of communication” through town halls and other meetings and opportunities for engagement. Liza has also instituted more casual events built around pop culture, all designed to increase camaraderie and employee fulfillment. The company’s extracurricular “Houses of Forge” are built around the four houses of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts to mix a bit of fun with networking. It’s an optional activity and team members get to pick which house they want to be in. Houses manage their own game nights, charity events, and more and compete for points against other houses. The company even created house pins that proud members can wear on their ID badges.

Amidst all the fun, however, Liza is overseeing a company that’s expanding rapidly in size and has a large number of traditional HR needs, including additional work to be done around benefits, performance evaluations, and staying competitive in terms of compensation. Enter Lattice.

Challenges

For Liza, benefits management has long been the major focus for the HR team, ensuring that Forge’s benefits package remains best-in-class against rising competition. A companion piece to that is, of course, compensation, which Liza says is “of significant focus,” following in the wake of the salary increases that many industries have been facing for years. “Everyone’s challenged by this,” she says, “but at the same time, we must be progressive with compensation or we risk losing employees over minor salary increases. We can’t do that.” This is complicated further by the tedious, manual process that Forge had been using to manage compensation. “It’s very laborious,” she adds.

Establishing performance benchmarks at Forge has also been a unique challenge. “I had no idea who our top performers were when I joined,” says Liza. “And I didn’t know how to go about figuring it out by myself.” Its first year, Forge had a simple annual review process, and while Liza says it was “a good place to start,” it didn’t provide the necessary information to managers or employees on how to develop their skills.

“We’re also trying to incorporate learning and development opportunities,” she adds. “I just took over our training team and wanted to figure out how we can broaden the scope, so it’s not just focused on educating our scientific team members and everyone has a chance to grow and develop through their career. How can we differentiate outside of salary, in a market where promotion cycles have long been on the order of 10 years if you wanted to get anywhere? That kind of timing is not going to cut it anymore.”

Using Lattice at Forge Biologics

Liza had used Lattice previously at another employer and “went to bat” to bring it to Forge to help solve for some of its people needs. “It was an easy sell,” Liza says, “since Lattice offers one place to do everything and would help us capture performance information more easily.”

“One of the things I love about Lattice is there’s just so much functionality,” she says, “and not just from an admin perspective, but from a team member and manager perspective also. Everyone can go into Lattice and have transparency around performance.”

Liza also says the Updates tool is a valuable addition, helping managers to automate their check-ins with employees on a regular basis – and ensuring workers get regular, meaningful feedback. Forge is also poised to run its first compensation cycle with Lattice Compensation, and Liza says she is looking forward to having everything compensation-related in a single place.

 “Forge is also considering a more thorough performance review process to take into account what type of contributor each team member is,” she says. She goes on to say that “Lattice has allowed us to incorporate our company goals into the people system and it will really help us drive home a feedback-forward, feedback-first approach.”

On top of all that, the 1:1s feature has also been successful with the team, with adoption continuing to rise. A rollout of Lattice’s Grow module is also on the horizon.

The Impact of Lattice

When thinking about what’s been the most impactful part of Lattice, Liza points out that the feedback tool has made the biggest impression due to the collaborative nature of the team. She adds, “And I think they also really want to highlight the work that they do with their partners. Every week I go through and just do a quick audit to see what the feedback is looking like, and every single one is about how helpful someone was. ‘Thank you for doing this project.’ It’s just really nice to see that.”

In addition to getting useful, real-time feedback, Liza says that visibility into the company’s goals has been seriously enhanced, and it’s making a difference. “I really think it’s going to help connect our team to our company goals and mission better,” she says, noting that the transparency supplied by Lattice is helping to bridge the natural gap between employees and managers.

“I know that for some people, going to work often just feels like ‘a job.’ I want all our team members to feel passionate and engaged in the work that they’re doing,” says Liza earnestly. “Those are the things that I really want to work on going forward.”

Takeaways

  • Lattice Compensation helps Forge right-size total rewards so it can remain competitive in a competitive industry.
  • The Updates tool helps managers to automate employee check-ins and ensures workers get regular feedback they can use to advance their careers.
  • Lattice Goals helps bridge the gap between employees and managers by providing better visibility into company priorities.

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:

  1. Ensure that Sensat has the capabilities it needs to meet its strategic and operational goals 
  2. 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.”

Takeaways

  • 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.

The Challenge

“In terms of our culture, I call us a mature startup,” says Liferay’s VP of People Matt Poladian. “We’re not in that chaotic initial stage, but we still are learning a lot about who we are and how to get work done.”

For the California-based company founded in 2004, a strong appetite for experimentation and DIY development has endured. That “appetite to build things” spilled over into people operations early. While Matt says his department’s goals are to enhance the employee experience, empower great leaders, and enable the business, when he arrived at Liferay in 2019, the People function wasn’t fully delivering on those promises. “We were a very disparate team,” he says, with different regional HR staff largely running their own show without continuity. The VP of People position was created to help solve that problem, and Matt was tasked with eliminating redundancy and making HR more consistent across the enterprise.

“I knew we needed a more effective performance management process when I got to Liferay,” says Matt, “and it took me some time to really uncover the root causes of why things were the way they were.” Liferay had its own homegrown performance management system – part of that DIY appetite – which was built on Liferay’s own platform. However, while the system was functional, it hadn’t been updated in years. “Many people would say we had to go back to the Stone Age to do our performance reviews.”

Among the system’s limitations were a rating system that wasn’t very intuitive and the fact that it offered only one-on-one reviews, with no self reviews or 360-degree feedback available. As a result, participation was low. When a performance management issue with an employee would arise, the company had “absolutely no documentation of any conversations that had happened,” says Matt, which created problems with giving feedback. Clearly, it was time to modernize.

Evaluation

Liferay initially figured it would upgrade its in-house HR system, but along the way, Matt decided to investigate some commercially available options as part of his due diligence. He rejected a few daunting platforms for being too convoluted and simply “too much” for a company of Liferay’s size. Eventually, word of mouth brought him to Lattice.

Matt started asking questions early on about the Lattice roadmap and the process for adding new features, but ultimately the decision came down to pure functionality. From performance reviews to goal-setting to growth planning, Lattice checked all the boxes and then some. “One-on-ones were an additional feature that we didn’t even think about, but have really overused since implementation,” Matt says. “But the icing on the cake was the commitment to having a two-way dialogue about the roadmap.” That dialogue actually led to a key feedback feature being pushed out early in order to meet Liferay’s business needs.

Using Lattice at Liferay

“Traditional HRIS tools tend to be binary: You can turn them on or off. All users get the same experience,” says Matt. “But Lattice strikes the right balance between having some things that are fixed and some that are flexible. You can turn the functionality off and on for individual teams. It’s a very thoughtful design.”

While Liferay uses an array of Lattice features, including OKRs and 1:1s, it’s the performance management features that are truly key for the company. “I think performance management is so important because it connects individual performance – what is required and expected – to the collective performance of the company,” says Matt. “That way, somebody can really understand where they are, not just as an employee, but as part of the fabric of the company and in the marketplace. If you have performance management without company performance, you are missing something, and, of course, vice versa.”

Matt says that 1:1s have been the feature that surprised him the most, however. “I don’t think I realized how helpful it would be for me to document, track, and create agendas for my 1:1s and then be able to do that with others that don’t even report to me. I used to have this long Google Sheet that had that information in it. Now I just see that as so clunky compared to Lattice. I can’t imagine not having it.”

The Impact of Lattice

Matt says that Lattice has significantly enhanced the employee experience at Liferay, “changing the employee conversation and making it much more tangible with OKRs and goal-setting.” Lattice has made a difference at every level of the organization, all the way to how business leaders operate – and even to the way Liferay’s CEO thinks about strategy.

“Before, we weren’t setting goals,” says Matt. “The biggest thing Lattice helped us do is to teach everyone what an objective and a key result are. It was a cascading mechanism that changed our world.” Before Lattice, and despite strong HR processes in place, Matt says that transparency into various job functions was lacking. “With Lattice, everybody in the company can learn more about what people are doing without necessarily having to ask them directly.”

Liferay has phenomenal participation when it comes to engagement surveys, approaching 90% completion. Matt chalks this up to how centralized Lattice is, allowing anyone to log in to the tool and use it as a key part of managing their day. “I just use Lattice as my go-to thing,” he says. “I think there are a number of people who make it one of the tools they log into every morning when they’re starting up.” And once using Lattice becomes a habit then People processes like giving feedback, engaging with others through 1:1s, and responding to survey questions becomes second nature.

Takeaways

  • Lattice gives Liferay the ability to keep the bulk of its people information in one place that is accessible to everyone.
  • Working directly with Lattice is easy, and the company is highly responsive to new feature needs.
  • Lattice makes surveys easy to create and complete: Liferay has a survey completion rate of nearly 90 percent.

If you love the outdoors, you’ve probably heard of AllTrails. The company’s mobile app and website allow users to discover nearby trails for hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities — a service that has been in high demand ever since the pandemic pushed people to get outside and discover a love for nature. 

This pandemic boom kicked off a period of significant growth for the AllTrails team. In 2019, the company had 30 employees. Today, it has over 150. Leading that growth from a people perspective is AllTrail’s Head of People Doreen Ghafari, who leads the company’s three-person HR team. 

While Doreen helps oversee every aspect of the People function at AllTrails, she says one area her team has no trouble with is attracting passionate talent. “We don’t have to sell Mother Nature; she sells herself,” explains Doreen. “Most of our applicants come to us after a period of self-reflection. They want to do something that’s more aligned with their own personal values. They want to wake up every day and dedicate their time to something they love.”

AllTrails makes loving what you do easy. Its company mission is to kindle the spirit of adventure by connecting people to the outdoors. That spirit takes root in every one of the company’s people initiatives. “Quality of life is very important for us and our employees. A lot of our people ops programs are designed with that in mind. A big priority for our people team is making sure that we’re treating everybody like a well-rounded human being with interests both at work and outside of work,” explains Doreen.

For example, the company celebrates “Trail Day” on the first Friday of every month and gives every employee the day off to find a nearby trail, unplug, and enjoy nature. The company’s values are even rooted in the outdoors. With values like “embrace change” and “stay down to earth,” AllTrails reminds employees that obstacles like fallen trees and sudden rain are what we make of them and to keep the love of the trail at the heart of everything they do.

As AllTrails grows, Doreen’s top priority is to continue to scale the spirit and culture of the company and help employees advance their careers. And as she realized the company’s makeshift HR Google Docs and spreadsheets weren’t cutting it, she began her search for an HR solution. She knew the new tool needed to be able to: 

  • Allow employees to give and receive feedback to both the company and each other
  • Act as a single source of truth for employees and managers regardless of where they are located
  • Grow with the business

All paths led to Lattice. Not only did the Lattice platform meet all of Doreen’s criteria, but it also had a seamless user experience that made the decision a no-brainer. “I evaluated quite a few tools, but Lattice’s ease of use is what won me over,” explains Doreen. “It’s super self-explanatory, and I knew it would be a pretty low effort for our hiring managers to adopt. Their time is better spent on their function, not spent trying to learn a people ops tool.”

Using Lattice at AllTrails

It was important for the AllTrails team to give and receive ongoing feedback to and from their peers. “I didn’t like how employees would only give or receive feedback during the review cycle. I wanted our team to build their muscles around giving and receiving feedback continuously, so they’re never surprised about any feedback come review time,” shares Doreen.

As a result, AllTrails quickly rolled out Lattice Feedback to give employees a way to share and collect helpful feedback in real-time. But even that wasn’t enough for Doreen and her team. After creating a culture of continuous feedback, they went a step further to build a culture of celebration using Lattice Praise. Employees could publicly share positive feedback and showcase their colleagues’ many accomplishments with the entire company via Lattice’s integration with Slack.

Next, Doreen knew the “sheer volume of docs floating around in the ether” wasn’t working for her managers’ and employees’ needs. While AllTrails has always been a remote-first business, they now have more fully remote employees than ever before, so it quickly became apparent that the company needed a new way to streamline 1:1 conversations and documentation so crucial items didn’t fall through the cracks. 

Lattice Reviews, Feedback, and 1:1s became the “source of truth for all of things relationship management” that Doreen and the AllTrails team needed. Now, managers and employees can keep running logs of their meetings, create shared agendas, and reference past feedback to improve communication and help direct career development. To boost adoption even further, Doreen and her team organized a formal rollout of Lattice 1:1s by hosting trainings on how to use the tools and make the most out of these meetings. 

Doreen and her team switched their onboarding and offboarding surveys over to Lattice, too, allowing them to conveniently store and analyze all of their engagement data and employee feedback together within the Lattice platform. Next up for the AllTrails team is enabling Engagement surveys allowing employees to share meaningful feedback with the company’s People team. 

Impact of Lattice

Since partnering with Lattice, AllTrails has routinely surpassed Lattice’s survey participation benchmarks. When we asked her to share the secret behind these exceptional results, Doreen modestly attributes the success to her employees. “I’d love to take credit for all of it, but I think it’s just all cultural,” she reveals. “We’ve invested a lot of time in all of our recruiting efforts and made sure we’re bringing in the right people who are going to get excited about these types of things. We’re seeing it pay off.”

Employees have also driven the success of another Lattice feature: Praise. At AllTrails, celebrating big wins publicly is a major part of the company culture, so the introduction of Lattice Praise was met with a warm embrace. AllTrails employees can see anytime someone receives a shoutout on their Slack #Kudos channel, allowing the entire company to see and celebrate the achievement together. That public acknowledgment has become infectious, explains Doreen. “When somebody gives really good positive feedback using Praise, it almost always sets off a chain reaction throughout the day. Once one person does it, there’ll be five others who give shoutouts because it becomes top of mind again. That’s definitely been a huge, delightful side effect of the feedback functionality,” she says.

Because AllTrails makes a point to promote from within the organization, they have many first-time managers who require guidance in their new roles. While AllTrails has an extensive new-manager training program, Doreen says it’s Lattice that has been most impactful in helping them be better managers and leaders. “Before Lattice, we didn’t have a centralized place for people to have these ongoing performance and career conversations,” says Doreen. “Since we have a lot of new managers and folks that are distributed, that’s been the area where Lattice has helped us the most.”

But that’s only the beginning of how Doreen and her team are leveraging Lattice. This year, they’ve been hard at work preparing to launch Lattice Grow. Again, AllTrails loves to promote from talent within, so Doreen wanted to ensure every employee knows exactly what it takes to get to the next level of their career. They’ve built out numerous competency matrices and six career tracks to help employees understand their path to career advancement as the company continues to scale.

While AllTrails isn’t launching Grow until July, anticipation for the new feature is growing amongst the team. “Our employees have seen that it’s possible to build a career here because they’ve seen their peers do it. There’s been a lot of excitement around like, ‘This is the tool that I’m going to use to carve my path, manage my one-on-ones, and see our future career paths,’” shares Doreen. “People are genuinely excited to be and grow here; we just want to be incredibly transparent and honest about what the path looks like and show how we’re all invested in helping you get there.”

Employee growth isn’t the only thing on Doreen’s mind. She has big ideas for how to continue leveraging Lattice and making AllTrails a great place to work and to have worked for. “We want people to leave here better than they came in,” she says. “We want them to leave not because they’re unhappy but because we’ve set them up to find an opportunity that’s so much more in line with what they’re trying to do in the future. We want everybody to look back on their experience at AllTrails as like one of the highlights of their careers.” 

Takeaways

  • AllTrails administers all its onboarding, and offboarding surveys through Lattice, giving the People team a holistic view of employee engagement and feedback.
  • Lattice’s 1:1s tool has become the single source of truth connecting AllTrail’s employees and managers, regardless of where they are located.
  • Lattice Praise has helped the AllTrails People Team build a culture of celebration.
  • The company is launching Lattice Grow to help employees understand and pursue career growth opportunities.

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.

Using Lattice at Wyze

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. 

Impact of Lattice

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.

Takeaways

  • Using Lattice Performance, Wyze had its first performance review cycle with 100% participation.
  • Wyze employees and managers now have more consistent and actionable conversations around performance and professional growth.
  • The company is using Lattice OKRs to increase organizational transparency and accountability.