The Challenge and Evaluation

“We recognize that our biggest asset within the company are our employees,” says Michael E. Drandell, CEO of Goldrich Kest and who has also worked for the company since 1995. “I look to our HR function as a way to keep happy employees because happy employees are productive employees, and productive employees are better for business.”

“We spend a lot of time, energy, and effort in order to find and keep our best employees,” Mike adds. “I want to keep them engaged and keep them developing, and I want them to have advancement opportunities within the company itself.”

Mike says he gets his inspiration from Goldrich Kest’s founders Jona Goldrich and Sol Kest, who started the business in 1957. “When Jona and Sol were alive, they were walking the halls all the time. When they passed away, the second generation wanted to provide that same attention, but no one is as hands on as Jona and Sol were.”

Goldrich Kest got its start in California but it now owns properties that span the country. That kind of growth creates opportunities, but it also introduces challenges. “Management by walking around” is tough when employees are scattered across the U.S. and beyond — but for Mike, Lattice came into the picture as a specific potential solution for one of his most-disliked HR activities: the annual review.

“There’s nothing I hate more than the annual review process,” Mike says. “What do anyone want to get out of an annual review? You want to tell your employee that they’re doing great, or they’re doing horribly, or they’re doing OK. And you want to tell them what they need to do better so that they can be a strong and productive member of the company.”

Mike says that in his experience, the annual review can be counterproductive, “tying people up” and preventing them from seeing the big picture of how they create value for the company. “My personal problem with it is when people use it as a checklist of things to do. Managers will ask, ‘Hey, did you get A, B, and C done this year?’ and employees can do the same thing, saying, ‘I completed X, Y, and Z.’” This kind of discussion can easily devolve into an unproductive battle between employee and manager over minutiae that ultimately has little bearing on how the business is operating.

“I want to move to answering the question:, ‘What does good performance need to look like?” says Mike. “What do you want to do to improve, and what are you looking for me to do to help you improve?”

Using Lattice at Goldrich Kest

Mike was introduced to Lattice by a member of his people team who had seen a demo and thought it would be a perfect fit for the employee engagement and culture-based initiatives the company wanted to pursue. But most importantly it offered a tantalizing alternative to the annual review process in the form of Lattice’s 1:1 feature, which the company most recently rolled out. 

“I wanted to see the annual review go away and become less of a hassle, whether that’s quarterly or more frequently, working as a check-in and verification that everything’s going okay for the employee and their supervisor,” he says. “If something needs to improve, then we can deal with what needs to be delivered.” 

Mike also wanted to move away from numerical ratings and questionnaires – “How does everybody deserve a 5 out 5? Everyone is not an exceptional worker.” The goal was to instead move toward a more qualitative analysis of how people were doing.

That’s where Lattice 1:1s have already begun to prove its worth for the company. “The 1:1 tool just allows you to have a conversation,” Mike says. “And you can use it to keep notes about things you need to talk about with an employee. I’ll use it to drop in notes about various people; that way I can remember it for a formal review down the line. That’s always important for me.”

The Impact of Lattice

Lattice has been a unique top-down rollout at Goldrich Kest, as Mike explains, starting with the CEO. “I’m the chief executive,” he says. “I’m using it. And I promote it to my executive team and director team for them to use with their own staff.” 

While GK is early in its implementation of Lattice as it trickles down from the C-suite, Mike says that it has already been effective at driving employee engagement and finding “soft spots” in employee behavior. “If you have an employee that’s doing a pretty good job but they’re irritated about something, the ability to have a 1:1, to have individualized goals, and to have feedback allows you to drill down into that issue – and then get out the mop and bucket to clean it up,” he says, “You don’t want employees to push any negative feelings down. You want those feelings to come up and be discussed with their supervisor. You want to be able to have the conversation around the problem. You need to have the difficult conversation that allows you to address the issues that are at hand. And that’s one of the things I like most about Lattice, because it forces me to do that.”

Looking ahead, Mike says that Goldrich Kest is now tapping Lattice to roll out individualized goals across the company to complement the company-wide goals and development initiatives. It’s an important process because not all employees have an obvious path to the company’s financial success. “How do you give somebody who’s, for example, a marketing person or a construction accountant a goal that helps drive the bottom line, that helps to improve the company?” he asks. “Those are the kinds of questions that we’re really looking forward to answering.”

Takeaways

  • Traditional annual reviews are an outdated concept at Goldrich Kest. The company uses Lattice 1:1s to enable a culture of continuous feedback, keep employees motivated and managers engaged on what matters to the business.
  • Lattice is bought in from the top down at Goldrich Kest, with the CEO leading by doing.
  • Goldrich Kest is looking forward to launching Goals to motivate everyone to contribute to the bottom line, not just prioritize personal advancement.

The Challenge

For kidney care startup Strive Health, rapid growth meant realizing its mission to improve healthcare outcomes for more people living with kidney disease. But the rapid growth — much of which happened during the COVID pandemic — also created some growing pains. 

“We have had a distributed workforce since the company launched, but specifically when COVID hit, we shifted to focus on hiring the best talent, not necessarily just hiring people who would eventually migrate to the office. We have about 100 employees in the Denver area, but only about twelve actively go into the office regularly. We have clinicians spread all over the country, and we have fully remote and hybrid employees,” says Jane von Halle, Strive Health’s Senior Manager of Talent Development.

“We deployed Lattice when we had about 150 team members—we’re up to 480 now—because existing processes weren’t working. It was basically the Wild West before Lattice. There was no standardized process. Reviews were being done in Excel and then emailed to HR, so we couldn’t keep track of who did what. Individual Development Plans (IDPs) were in PowerPoint templates or Word docs. Many people didn’t have formal goals at all, and career development conversations weren’t happening.”

Using Lattice at Strive Health

Especially in a hybrid work environment, a single solution that enables employees to connect with their managers, give and receive feedback, and establish and track career goals is a powerful performance management tool. For Jane and her team, the first hurdle was to gain buy-in from staff. 

For Strive Health, that included a large number of clinical staff who didn’t work in traditional office settings and were often on the go caring for patients. “Lattice was new to many team members, especially employees on the clinical side. So, we educate them on the value of the solution. We introduce people to Lattice during onboarding, we offer walkthroughs and webinars on how to use it, and we host regular refresher trainings. We also send employees reminders and explain why they should be using the tool consistently,” says Jane.

Currently, Strive Health is using Lattice to conduct its year-end performance review, which is required by all staff, and includes the self-review, upward review, and peer review components. Jane’s team has also set up optional quarterly check-ins that encourage managers to have more frequent performance conversations with staff. They’ve also utilized Engagement surveys to keep a check of how things are going between reviews. “So far, we have also conducted two engagement survey, and what we discovered is that people now have a better sense of what’s expected of them in their roles, compared to last year, and I think we can attribute that to more people using Lattice,” says Jane. 

The 1:1 feature is a hit among users — specifically the Slack integration. “Sometimes, it can feel like a conversation is getting stale and you don’t know how to re-energize it. Lattice recommends questions you can shuffle through and offers templates. Plus, you can add 1:1 agenda items right from Slack and receive action item reminders in Slack, so we are reaching employees where they are,” she says. Managing people is hard, and Lattice makes it easier for our managers to do their jobs well.”

The team has started to roll out Grow and establish career tracks, and Jane is already seeing an uptick in usage. She is excited about leveraging the tool more to create development plans that focus on both long-term career goals and short-term growth areas. 

“It’s nice to have this one place where we can direct everyone for guidance on how to kick off and follow up on IDP conversations. Managers can access talking points, action items, even a companion guide to walk them through it. It’s all baked into the system, so it makes my job much easier because I don’t have to train every individual manager on the process. Before Lattice, these conversations weren’t really happening, and now we know they are and can actually track employees’ progress.”

The Results 

Strive Health is experiencing phenomenal usage rates, including a 91% completion rate on their year-end review, high survey participation, and increasing 1:1 usage. Jane credits proper training, establishing expectations for managers for their high usage and adoption.  

But, most of all, she says it’s the ease of use and convenience of Lattice that attracts employees. “Lattice provides a one-stop-shop for everything related to performance and development. You can plan and document a 1:1, set goals, track progress, and collect feedback that can be used for the year-end review,” says Jane. “It’s game-changing to have all these tools and resources in one place. Additionally, with Lattice’s reporting features, we can actually see which managers are meeting expectations around feedback, goals, and IDPs; and coach the ones who aren’t. It’s going to continue to support our mission to create a culture where employees feel like they can grow.”

Takeaways: 

  • 91% completion rate for Reviews on their End of Year
  • 50% 1:1 participation and 44.5% have 1:1s enabled between employees/managers
  • 81% participation rate and 80% response rate on their engagement surveys

Shippo is a shipping platform helping e-commerce businesses with everything from creating shipping labels to sharing tracking updates with customers to streamlining returns. To keep up with growing demand for its services, Shippo has experienced hyper-growth in the last few years. In fact, when Gurbir Dhaliwal, the company’s People Operations Manager first joined Shippo in 2019, the company only had 58 employees. Today, that number has soared to over 250+. 

With that growth has come a lot of change for Shippo in the last few years. Before 2020, the majority of Shippo’s employee base worked from its San Francisco Bay Area office, that is until COVID-19 forced employees to work from home. Once Shippo realized the benefits of these new working arrangements, the company quickly shifted to remote-first. While the company still has an office in San Francisco,  Shippo’s workforce is quite distributed, with an employee presence in 30 different states. 

While most dispersed companies struggle with keeping employees feeling connected, this isn’t the case with Shippo. “The strong suit of our culture is our camaraderie and our ability to work together. That’s something we’ve been able to hold onto even as we’ve expanded nationally and even globally,” explains Gurbir. “We also have a team offsites program called Shippos Everywhere. This provides Shippos structured options to get together for team building activities. This also encompasses our Shippos In The Wild program, which gives our employees a budget to meet and spend time with their local coworkers for more ad hoc events. Both are great ways to connect employees with colleagues.”

Challenges at Shippo

In order to keep up with the growing demands of a rapidly expanding remote-first workforce, Gurbir knew the company’s current performance solution would have to go. When Gurbir joined, Shippo was administering performance reviews through its HRIS — a solution that was difficult to use and left much to be desired. While the tool had served the company well in the past, it lacked key functionality Shippo needed for its growing workforce, namely, the ability to run 360-degree reviews and give the HR team visibility into how far along people were in the review process.

“With our HRIS system, it was hard to see in a holistic view of where everyone was in the review process and track progression,” says Gurbir. “Even for me to go and view someone’s response, it would take me four clicks to get there. It wasn’t very easy to navigate and wasn’t very easy to find what you’re looking for.” 

The company also had an engagement survey solution that fit their needs at the time; however, the HR team wanted a way to consolidate their HR tech stack and have performance and engagement in one single platform. After evaluating a few different solutions, Gurbir stumbled across Lattice and was instantly impressed that the People Success platform could help with more than performance reviews. 

“We looked at a lot of different tools, but Lattice stood out because of all those additional features like one-on-ones, recognition and shoutouts, engagement surveys, and now onboarding and exit surveys, even though they were added after we implemented the platform,” shares Gurbir. “We wanted a tool that was able to provide us the same type of functionality on the engagement survey side and then a better robust system for the performance management side and Lattice delivered.”

Using Lattice at Shippo

The 360-degree feedback feature was one of the first the Shippo HR team introduced after implementing Lattice. Now, the company conducts two reviews a year; a light check-in during Q1 and a full-fledged 360-degree review in Q3. The Q3 review was the first time the company introduced upward feedback for employees to review their managers and peer feedback for employees to hear from their colleagues and cross-functional counterparts. This new style of reviews has helped Shippo employees receive more unbiased performance evaluations, as well as more holistic feedback they can use to grow their careers and improve working relationships. 

On the performance side, Gurbir and his team were a bit more hesitant to change anything too quickly, so they kept their usual review template and questions after switching to Lattice. “At first, all we did was switch systems. Everyone had a lot of great feedback saying, ‘This was so much easier, way more intuitive, and easier to complete.’ Overall, the feedback was very positive,” shares Gurbir.

Lattice also makes it easy for the Shippo HR team to share Engagement survey responses with leaders, managers, and employees. This helps improve accountability and ensures every level of the organization is kept up to date on engagement trends. “We have a Culture Committee made up of folks from different tenures and departments so we get diverse mindsets and experiences a seat at the table. Together, we take a deeper dive into our engagement data and ask people what jumps out to them and if there’s anything they think our team can address,” explains Gurbir. “That has helped us implement a number of overall workplace changes, like promoting more recognition and improving our communication.”

Over the last two years, Lattice has helped Shippo continue to scale its people programs and build a better remote workplace for its employees. In fact, Gurbir admits there’s no way the company could have pulled this off if they’d stuck with their old HRIS. “If I was still tracking reviews with our old HRIS system, it would be a nightmare. Even when we were only 100 employees, it was already very difficult to do what we wanted to do on the platform. If we didn’t make the switch to Lattice, who knows how much time I would be wasting.”

Impact of Lattice

The biggest change Shippo has seen since implementing Lattice is how quick and easy it is to administer and track the progress of performance reviews. “Lattice not only gave us access to the features we needed, but it also made it easier to track completion progress by reviewer and reviewee, which was a previous pain point of our HRIS,” says Gurbir. “We’ve undergone four review cycles since making the switch and overall feedback has been very positive. Employees who had been with Shippo for previous review cycles quickly recognized the ease of use Lattice provides.”

Shippo employees aren’t the only ones enjoying Lattice. Gurbir estimates switching to Lattice has saved him so many hours of administrative work. “Lattice has better functionality than our past solution and, more importantly, a way better interface that allows for quick and easy navigation. It no longer takes me multiple clicks to get to one place. By my estimation, Lattice has probably decreased how much time I spend tracking review status and progress by at least 50%,” he shares. “Plus, I can send reminders directly from the Lattice platform, which has saved me countless additional hours.”

While Shippo primarily partnered with Lattice for Performance, Lattice’s 1:1s tool quickly became an unexpected win — and a favorite feature of Gurbir’s. “Lattice’s 1:1 feature has been a huge benefit for our teams. We recently shifted to a remote-first mindset and having a live, shared document with action items and shared notes makes it so much easier to lead virtual conversations,” admits Gurbir. “Plus, you can go back in time and revisit all the different topics that you’ve discussed. It’s my favorite feature and I try to promote usage as much as possible.”  

The next step for Shippo and Lattice’s partnership? Implementing Lattice Grow. Gurbir and his team have already built out core competencies and company-wide job levels using the tool, but they want to add team-specific job levels before they officially launch Lattice Grow to the company. “The benefits of [Lattice Grow] are extraordinary. I think everyone wants to know what it’ll take to get to the next level of their career,” says Gurbir. “Our mindset is always that the company will grow just as much as the employees will, and you can’t have one without the other. We want to have our employees learn and grow in their roles, as that in turn will help the organization advance. Lattice has been a big help in this area.”

Takeaways

  • With Lattice, Shippo introduced 360-degree reviews, allowing employees to gain access to upward and peer feedback for the first time.
  • The Shippo HR team estimates Lattice’s easy-to-use interface has decreased the amount of time spent tracking review status and progress by 50%.
  • Lattice’s 1:1s tool helped Shippo more easily become a remote-first company and help  employees feel connected, regardless of where they work.
  • The company is launching Lattice Grow shortly to make employee development a top priority in 2023

The Challenge

In each engagement survey, GoGuardian asks its employees to describe their experience in three words. Last quarter, employees said the corporate culture was exciting, rewarding, fun, meaningful, fulfilling, supportive, engaging, innovative, and inspiring. While maintaining a positive corporate culture is important for the HR team, the company is also in a hypergrowth phase, growing from 200 to 700 employees over the last few years, and is focused on engaging and retaining talent. “People are our greatest resource and developing them is key to a business’ success,” said Lisuzzo. “In most businesses, 50% of your cost is employee salaries, and so developing people is critical to ensuring the business is a long-term success. But for me, it’s less about cost and more about wanting to make sure that our staff feels supported and that they want to stay with us for the long term.”

For Joe and his team, developing employees involves a variety of initiatives. These include helping managers inspire and lead, helping employees grow in line with their long-term career aspirations, providing equitable opportunities for advancement, and fostering a culture of openness, transparency, and regular feedback. And this can all be achieved with effective performance management.

As an early-stage startup, GoGuardian was doing performance management on an ad hoc basis, but as the company grew, this wasn’t a scalable or consistent way to engage employees and support their growth and development in the long term. Employees also increasingly said they wanted regular feedback, so the HR team needed to implement a company-wide performance management system that would align review cycles as well as standardize questions and processes across teams.

Using Lattice Grow at GoGuardian

Education is one of the cornerstones of GoGuardian’s mission, and the company applies that internally as well, as they’ve learned and iterated in using Lattice. By incorporating feedback and taking into consideration when that feedback is needed for business initiatives, GoGuardian determined the best cadence for engaging employees.

Using Lattice, they run annual engagement surveys and two performance review cycles each year, and then send pulse surveys every two weeks to understand how employees are feeling in real time. The company also does annual goal-setting to determine company objectives, and then managers do ongoing goal-setting with their teams to ensure alignment. Lattice also allows performance reviews to be standardized and shared between managers and employees in a more transparent way because at any point, either can go onto the tool and see past feedback.

For GoGuardian, Lattice Grow provides an intuitive interface and a single platform with many tools and features. Lattice also solves the problem of having to connect ad hoc processes that were all done slightly differently by different teams. “Lattice automates many aspects of performance management that previously might have been managed by many disparate systems,” said Joe.

As employee development is a priority, the HR team has worked on the continued expansion of Lattice job tracks. Prior to Lattice, GoGuardian had a job architecture which lacked uniformity, so competencies and expectations varied from team to team. Managers were also doing performance reviews via different tools, such as Google Docs and Asana. With Lattice, GoGuardian was able to create career roadmaps that allow employees and managers to clearly understand what success looks like for each role, and what skills and competencies are needed to succeed. GoGuardian currently has 65 job tracks and is developing more.

GoGuardian has very high employee participation in both engagement surveys and performance reviews because of the ways they’ve used Lattice. Before they roll out any survey or review process, the HR team develops a communication plan to detail who and where they will communicate what needs to be done. And because employee feedback is so integral to organizational culture, the HR team makes sure to actually listen to it. The HR team makes a point to follow up and take action on engagement survey results so employees feel heard, which encourages future participation.

The company is in the process of getting Grow further implemented across teams, and by the end of the year will be asking managers to have a development plan in place for every employee.

Impact of Lattice Grow at GoGuardian

As a result of using Lattice engagement surveys, GoGuardian listened to employee feedback and implemented many benefits, including increased 401(K) matching, extending a generous parental leave, and introducing professional development tools and programs online such as LinkedIn Learning and Thrivepass. The company has also instituted quarterly wellness days where the entire company closes down and everyone can take the time to recharge.

In addition, career development has been better communicated. With well-articulated job tracks, employees can clearly see the expectations and requirements for different roles across the company. This is beneficial for both managers and employees. “[Lattice Grow] helps managers have very transparent conversations with their staff members about development, which is also  beneficial from the employee perspective as well,” said Lisuzzo. “If you’re worried that you have capped out in your growth and are interested in moving to a different role or department, you can very easily see what the expectations are and focus your development to eventually make that move. A fascinating byproduct of having all of your job tracks articulated is that it’s helping with retention in a multitude of ways.”

By using the tools within Lattice, GoGuardian has been able to collect feedback from a distributed workforce, at scale. “I think what [Lattice] has allowed us to do is take the pulse of the organization at large, and surface that information up to our executives and decision-makers in real time. This has been hugely beneficial, especially in the remote environment,” said Lisuzzo. “I can’t imagine how else we would do it without Lattice, because it’d be hard to shoulder tap 700 people and ask their opinion on something, especially now that we have employees across the country and internationally. One of the greatest benefits of Lattice is the ability to funnel this information upward and do so in an aggregated way, where the answers are anonymized so employees can provide their true feelings and feel safe doing it.”

Because the product is intuitive and provides a uniform, cohesive performance management experience to the entire organization, GoGuardian has found that getting new employees onto the platform has been very easy. And while Lattice adoption is fairly widespread at GoGuardian, the HR team is constantly looking at ways to leverage the tools to better support their employees through improved performance reviews, development plans, and testing different features.

Takeaways

  • GoGuardian views employee success as business success, and thus has built a feedback culture where employee development is a key component of performance management.
  • As the company has grown in size, Lattice helped GoGuardian find a performance management platform that allowed them to achieve consistency and transparency across teams.
  • Lattice Grow has enabled GoGuardian to refine their job tracks and provide clear expectations around roles and development paths, allowing employees to identify opportunities of growth within the company and ultimately leading to retention. The company currently has 65 job tracks and is developing more.
  • Lattice engagement surveys have enabled GoGuardian to hear and take action on employee feedback to provide impactful benefits and results to employees.

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/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/Evaluation  

When industry leaders daVinci Payments and North Lane Technologies merged to form Onbe, a digital payment solutions provider, the leadership team had a lofty goal: unite two disparate companies into one well-oiled machine. 

As with most mergers or acquisitions, Onbe faced some growing pains. Each organization had its own processes and tools. Some groups were using HR or performance management software, while others were still relying on manual processes. Most challenging was the Onbe HR and leadership teams didn’t have a single source of truth. They were still pulling data from multiple places for insights they could use to drive goal setting and action planning. 

Developing a fully integrated, high-performing organization required transparency and communication from the top down and bottom up.

To establish and foster a new Onbe culture and set the company up for even more growth, the organization began evaluating people management tools that would promote collaboration and speed consensus. Lattice fit the bill. The Onbe team was immediately impressed with how Lattice offered one platform that combined surveys, performance reviews, goals, action plans, and clear communication channels for employees at all levels in the organization.

“Lattice offers many more features than we had seen with other solutions. It was one of the few where we didn’t have to do add-ons to roll out the different processes we were planning in 2022,” says Kate Ferry, Onbe’s Senior Director of People. “Ultimately, Lattice provided everyone in the company with one engagement and performance management tool, enabling us to consolidate processes so all employees could participate. It is helping us to create one Onbe.”

Using Lattice at Onbe

No matter how good the solution, if people aren’t using it, it’s not going to get positive results, so Onbe’s first hurdle was to ensure people would participate and engage.  

“Before we implemented anything, we knew we had to create processes that were easy and meaningful for employees,” says Kate. “We trained them on how to use Lattice, but we also communicated the reason we’re switching to this new platform. We have been transparent and open throughout the whole process, and that has helped us gain buy-in because people know why we were doing it and what to expect. It has set us up for success.” 

The team started right away with an engagement survey to take the pulse of the organization. 

“We launched our first survey in February, and we uncovered 10 themes or areas of focus for the company, which became the foundation for creating our action plan in Lattice and setting company, team, and individual goals,” says Kate. “For example, one of the biggest themes that came out of our first survey was employees were concerned about a lack of career planning. They were vocal about not knowing how to grow their careers at Onbe.

“We’ve turned that into a directive to educate staff more thoroughly on career opportunities,” explains Kate. “We want to make sure that employees have a clear path to develop — whether that’s across the company or upwards into management. Communicating that to our staff is important to us, and Lattice will empower managers and employees to have stronger conversations around career growth.”

Another theme that surfaced was Onbe employees felt they weren’t getting enough touchpoints with managers, so the company will roll out the one-on-one feature to boost communication and interactions among management and staff. They will also use Lattice to bolster management and peer-to-peer recognition. 

 “We give Employee Shout-Outs during our monthly All Hands meetings. The current process of gathering them worked, but by moving them into Lattice, employees can see their Shout-Out as soon as it is submitted, and read all the other Shout-Outs all in one place.  Additionally, we’ll use the private manager feedback component, and the ongoing feedback is going to be powerful coupled with Lattice’s performance review features we’re using.”

The Results so Far 

While Onbe is still early in the migration to Lattice, the solution is helping to enhance the company’s goals of transparency, communication, and collaboration. Engagement is high for the performance reviews and engagement surveys, and Kate credits the software’s ease of use for that. 

“Lattice’s fully integrated suite is doing much of the work for us and allowing us to streamline processes. We didn’t want performance reviews and collecting feedback to be this big heavy lift for managers and employees. Lattice has given us the ability to be efficient but effective. Now, we can focus on the bigger goals and track everyone’s progress.”

Kate is excited to add more features to Onbe’s processes, including the onboarding and offboarding surveys. And she looks forward to the next round of performance reviews and engagement surveys to gain insights she and her team can use to continue to strengthen both employees and the organization.

“The employees and teams see the value of the platform,” she adds. Now, it’s up to us to act on it and make the right changes.”

Takeaways 

  • Onbe chose Lattice because it offered an all-in-one people management software with the features they needed without add-ons.
  • Onbe achieved effective buy-in with its employees by introducing Lattice with small groups and keeping surveys simple and punchy.
  • Thanks to Lattice, Onbe created an action plan that formalized career planning processes at the company and increased employee engagement.

Charleston-based GoodUnited offers social media fundraising tools that help nonprofits raise money on social media. While the company is very customer-driven, doing everything in its power to help nonprofits connect with donors and raise the awareness and funds they need to further their causes, GoodUnited also knows the importance of investing in its own employees, too. In fact, one of the business’ values is, “Fiercely take care of each other and our families.”

That’s why it’s no surprise that the business hired William “Bill” Haig to be the company’s Vice President of Operations. Upon starting his new role at GoodUnited, Bill got right to work expanding his team and building out new People processes. “My team’s role is to make sure that GoodUnited remains one of the best places to work so that our people can go out and help our nonprofit clients accomplish their missions and change the world for the better,” explains Bill. 

But, the company’s size quickly outpaced the scale of its people management practices when it jumped from 30 employees to 55 in just a year. “At the time, we were decent at OKRs and we were attempting, but not excelling at, having regular 1:1s. We didn’t have the right channels for open feedback, engagement and pulse surveys, or 360-degree reviews,” says Bill. “A lot of these factors were manager dependent because we didn’t have a documented system or processes in place.” 

To help, Bill and his team started brainstorming ways to add more structure and scalability to the company’s People processes. They decided they needed a new HR software platform that could help the company build a culture of ongoing feedback while embracing continuous performance management. Per a colleague’s recommendation, Bill found Lattice and was immediately wowed by its employee 1:1s tool and 360-degree review features. “Lattice was just so dead-on to what we were looking for that it felt like we built it ourselves,” admits Bill. “We tore through the People Strategy book written by one of Lattice’s Founders and we were sold.” 

One of the leading reasons they chose Lattice? “We got the sense Lattice would grow with us and was committed to our future,” says Bill. “We haven’t been disappointed. Lattice continues to add features that are exactly what we need.” So, when Lattice unveiled Lattice Compensation, Bill and his team knew it was just the tool they needed in their HR tech stack. 

Just a few months before, Bill and his team ran their first compensation review for the company’s 50+ employees — manually. “We didn’t realize what an animal compensation was until we really dove into it. It was organized chaos,” Bill says. “We manually updated compensation information for 50 employees. We had to verify that compensation and performance information was up to date while ensuring the wrong sheet or email wasn’t shared with the wrong person.” 

Aside from ensuring the process was private and secure, Bill also had to triple-check the accuracy of all employee information in 50 separate Google Sheets and ensure all pay adjustments were fair.​ “When you’re dealing with someone’s pay, messing up a number here or a digit there can be catastrophic — and that’s on top of the already complex piece of making sure someone had a fair review, determining their compensation increase, and making sure it correlates with performance,” he says. 

While the People Ops team successfully completed the review, they knew running it manually again was out of the question — both for their sanity and the fact that it would be impractical as the company continues to grow. Not to mention, the review took up so much of the team’s time that they didn’t have the opportunity to explain the rationale behind compensation increases and give employees the transparency and clarity around the pay they deserved.

Since GoodUnited was already using Lattice for engagement surveys, career growth, people analytics, and performance reviews, it only made sense to add Lattice Compensation into the mix as well. “Basically, we knew where we wanted our People processes to be, but we didn’t fully know how to get there, states Bill. “That is until we found Lattice.” 

Using Lattice at GoodUnited

When Bill and his team started implementing Lattice, GoodUnited’s next performance review was only a few months away — far too soon to onboard a new platform, train employees on how to use it, and successfully administer both performance and compensation reviews. But the Lattice team assured him it was more than possible. 

The thought of never having to manually run a compensation review again was too enticing for Bill and his team, who took Lattice up on the challenge. “It was two and a half months from signing the contract to running a full 360-degree and compensation review. It’s something that was very well received by our organization and that our team was proud to put our name on.  Had you told me in November that we were going to complete a full 360-degree review with almost no hiccups by February, I would’ve told you ‘there’s no way,’” exclaims Bill.

While Bill was worried about whether employees would take to the new system, he had nothing to fear. Lattice’s team and its robust resource library gave him all the support he needed to train employees on the platform and win their buy-in ahead of reviews. “The biggest thing for us was getting our team members bought-in and trained. Lattice was phenomenal with this,” says Bill. “First and foremost, its prebuilt decks designed for every stakeholder made it easy to brief our employees. Plus, the Lattice team was so willing to hop on any calls and demos we hosted to get our organization trained up.”

The quick onboarding and employee training paid off, since GoodUnited employees loved how easy the Lattice platform is to use. Aside from usability, Bill says the platform’s biggest benefit is its ability to bring together all of their People data in one place and help prioritize continuous performance management for the entire company. “Lattice connects all our feedback, 360-degree reviews, and one-on-one data so our people can see the big picture of their overall performance — like how they’re being measured and how it ties back to their compensation,” shares Bill. “The benefits of this functionality are for our employees first and foremost, not the organization, which isn’t always the case with HR software.” 

To further benefit employees, the company also rolled out Lattice Grow to help add transparency and clarity around career and growth opportunities within the organization — an addition that was highly sought after by employees. “We didn’t have anything in place before Grow, which was one of the biggest pain points of our team members. We had high performers who didn’t know where they were going in the organization, how to get there, or even how they were being evaluated,” says Bill. “Team members had to take the company’s word that as they grew roles would be created or opened up within the organization. It made it hard for team members to visualize how to grow within the company.”

While Bill and his team are still building out competencies and career tracks within the tool, they’re aiming to launch a full rollout in just a few months. This tool, alongside Lattice 1:1s, Feedback, Reviews, Compensation, and Goals, will ensure every GoodUnited employee has the resources they need to take ownership of their careers and prioritize their professional growth.

Impact of Lattice

Thanks to Lattice, GoodUnited employees now have a holistic view of not only their individual performance, but also the career opportunities available to them within the organization. “Lattice has done a phenomenal job of helping us create clarity and transparency in team members’ lives. Our employees now have a way to see where they stand and how they can grow within the organization,” says Bill. “They also have multiple channels they can use to give feedback to other team members and the organization as a whole, so we can all continue to get better together,” he adds.

While Lattice has clearly made an impact on GoodUnited employees, Bill and his team have also benefited immensely from the platform. To start, they love that all of their People tools live in one place. “Each Lattice tool is capable of being its own standalone product, so you’re not sacrificing quality to consolidate. Instead, you’re taking the best solutions possible and bringing them together in one place. That’s been a home run for us,” shares Bill. “We’re not having people bounce from solution to solution and asking them to retrain and learn new processes. It all just lives in Lattice.”

The beauty of a people success platform means all of their People data lives in one place too. “We love the data Lattice gives us. It helps our team really show the value of some of these solutions,” says Bill. “Plus, it allows us to tie things like employee Net Promoter Score, sentiment, or survey results back to specific employee characteristics, like compensation and tenure. That helps us find unique insights we can use to make the organization better. That was just too powerful of a resource to pass up,” he adds.

Plus, Bill and his team have been able to save their time and sanity by putting manual compensation review processes on autopilot. With Lattice Compensation, the team has been able to ditch Google Sheets and seamlessly incorporate performance data in their compensation review process. “Lattice’s Compensation tool just aligns with so much of what we are doing and where we want to go. It takes everything we were doing in spreadsheets across multiple platforms and consolidates it to one easy-to-use location,” Bill shares. “It also creates more clarity and transparency around the process for our employees and managers, helping my team tell a cleaner story by linking aspects of compensation back to performance.” 

Plus, the tool has helped the company get closer to achieving its goal of fair and transparent compensation increases. “This last performance cycle, Lattice Compensation helped us award pay adjustments in a fair way to make sure that someone was getting the increase or movement that they deserved. That was really, really hard to do when we were running reviews manually.  It’s helped us make those big changes and recommendations in a fair, easier, more reliable, and consistent way,” says Bill.

Lattice hasn’t only helped Bill automate compensation reviews, but it’s also helped him scale programs and processes at a rate he previously thought was impossible with only three People professionals on his team. When Bill tells other industry professionals about the work they’ve done, he’s often met with disbelief. “I have a business coach who has 35+ years of HR experience at a major corporation and some of the things we roll out she just cannot believe,” shares Bill. “She says things like ‘Bill that would take a large team an entire year to roll out!’ While I’ll just respond ‘We’ve got Lattice.’ It’s a massive force multiplier for us.” 

But the Lattice platform can’t take all the credit. Lattice’s team have immensely helped the GoodUnited team setup, manage, and scale their People processes from day one. Bill says he’s been blown away with how friendly and helpful the entire Lattice staff are. “Every single person we’ve worked with from Lattice has been phenomenal. Throughout the sales and onboarding processes to now working with our customer success manager, it literally felt like we’ve got people who care just as much about our team members as we do. It’s honestly like having an additional person on our team who 100% has our back,” he says. 

Still, Bill shares Lattice’s biggest win has been allowing his team to measure and quantify the impact of their new programs and policies. “People operations can often be a very hard-to-measure concept,” Bill admits. “With the Lattice Analytics, we can not only put measurable business metrics around the changes we’re making, but we can also ensure every voice is being heard — not just the extroverts or the loudest people in the room.” He adds, “Together, all of the Lattice tools create a world-class solution for helping us to keep our culture a competitive advantage.”

Takeaways

  • Lattice has been a “force multiplier” for the GoodUnited team, allowing them to scale their People programs and achieve more than they thought possible with a three-person team.
  • Lattice Compensation has allowed the GoodUnited team to tie compensation to performance and improve transparency and clarity around pay increases. 
  • Lattice has given GoodUnited’s employees greater visibility into their individual performance and growth opportunities within the organization.
  • With the company’s People data in one central spot, the People Ops team can measure the impact of their initiatives and take action to ensure the company remains a great place to work.
  • Lattice had GoodUnited running their first review cycle within the platform after only three weeks.

Headquartered in Lancaster, PA, Trout CPA is an accounting firm specializing in tax, audits, business advisory, outsourced accounting, and transaction advisory services. The firm, which was established in 1929, never had a dedicated HR professional until Joe Biesecker was hired in 2013. As the Director of Human Resources and team of one, Joe wears many hats. He oversees the firm’s recruiting, compensation, compliance, performance management, and employee relations efforts. 

“I would label myself as a people person. I strive to be an approachable avenue for people and try to strike a nice balance between an employee advocate and a strategic partner for our firm,” shares Joe. 

Historically, the accounting industry has a reputation for being slow to embrace change, but Trout CPA is undoubtedly an exception. One unique element of the Trout CPA experience is the firm’s approach to letting employees choose their own career paths. 

“We don’t define what a career path looks like for somebody. Most firms won’t do that. They’ll give you a specialization from day one, but we don’t want to dictate someone’s career for them. We want them to decide that for themselves,” says Joe.

As a result, every Trout CPA accountant starts their career as a generalist, gaining experience in every aspect of the business, from audits to consulting. This encourages employees to understand where their interests and strengths lie and also helps the firm build a team of passionate accountants and retain top talent.

Accounting can be a demanding line of work, especially during the busy season. This is why Joe works hard to fight burnout and build connections amongst teammates. Joe organizes regular company-wide events like their annual employee appreciation day. The day starts with a company-wide breakfast before breaking into smaller groups for their selected activity. Employees choose an experience from various options such as go-karting, golfing, horseback riding, pottery making, or wine tasting, to name a few. Each year, Joe adds new experiences to keep the event fresh.

“We want our employees to enjoy each other’s company and relax after yet another rough tax season. After all, if you don’t enjoy the people you work with, it will be pretty challenging to continue to go back and do that job every day, right?” asks Joe.

While Joe is coming up on nine impactful years at Trout CPA, he certainly had a few challenges to overcome at the beginning of his tenure. Joe admits he knew the firm’s previous HR processes and systems would be a bit messy, but he was not expecting to find that Trout CPA still did everything by hand. 

“They were doing everything on paper. Everything on paper,” emphasizes Joe. “When I started here, we were about 80 to 90 people at the time, and even with that many people… it’s a lot. After one employee evaluation process, I said to our managing partner, ‘We’re never doing this again.’”

For the next few years, the company jumped between a few digital HR solutions, all of which were clunky, disliked by employees, and still extremely labor-intensive for Joe. Joe knew he needed a more sustainable solution that could simplify his day rather than add to it. He was also looking for a solution to help digitize the company’s frequent project-based reviews. After finding Lattice and seeing it in action, Joe knew he had found the long-term answer to both his and the company’s growing needs. 

Using Lattice at Trout CPA 

Frustration with the company’s old HR system peaked just a few weeks before Trout CPA switched to Lattice, with one partner telling Joe, “I never want to use this platform again.” After Lattice was implemented, Joe noticed an immediate change in employee feedback. “We’d only been using Lattice for two weeks when I had people start coming to me and telling me that they love it,” he says. 

Employees weren’t the only ones who benefitted from the switch. “It’s just so simple to use from an administrator’s perspective. Lattice provides us with a ton of flexibility and automation that we’ve had before, but feels cleaner and smoother and easier to use across the board,” he says. 

In addition to being easy to use, Lattice’s people success platform helped streamline Joe’s role by bringing performance and engagement together in one place. Joe said he is excited to use this new combined data to gain deeper insights into the organization’s overall health and become more strategic about talent management. 

This newfound visibility has even helped him combat engagement survey fatigue. By creating and administering engagement, pulse, and ad-hoc surveys from one platform, Joe can easily track whether certain employee groups are receiving too many surveys and cut back on the volume. 

Overall, Joe is excited to continue collecting employee data with Lattice and finding new ways to leverage it. “I hope that once we get some good data in the system, we will be able to start predicting things that could happen, such as anticipating turnover or prediction promotions,” he says. “Anything that will give us an edge in managing our talent. It’s a challenging time in a number of ways, and we need reliable data to show us what areas we should focus on.”

Impact of Lattice

While Trout CPA currently only uses Lattice Performance and Engagement, the company plans to add new features in the near future. “We are also interested in Lattice Grow because next year, we will be implementing competencies in our organization. We also plan to add one-on-ones and feedback, but for now, we are focusing on a slow rollout, so we don’t overwhelm people,” Joe explains. 

Joe anticipates these features will complement the company’s internal matrix structure well. As a result, an employee doesn’t have one boss but rather can “report” to as many as 14 different people depending on their projects. While this structure works well for the company, it does make reviewing goals and sharing ongoing feedback more challenging than a traditional direct report-manager relationship. Joe hopes Lattice’s 1:1s and Feedback tools can help build connections amongst employees and their mentors and help the company create a culture of ongoing feedback.

When we asked Joe what has been the most surprising benefit of using Lattice, he enthusiastically shared his one-word answer, “Sara.” Sara is Joe’s Customer Success Manager, responsible for helping him get the most out of the Lattice platform and its features. 

“The service level from Lattice has been tremendous, and I never had that with previous systems,” exclaims Joe. “Sara has challenged me to look at things differently and always asks me, ‘Hey, have you thought about this? What about that? Hey, the system can do this. Have you thought about…’ She keeps me on my toes and has been a great partner.” 

Ultimately, Lattice has allowed Joe to step away from time-consuming admin work and focus on building amazing experiences for his employees. “The partners at Trout CPA genuinely care about the professionals that work here and want them to have a good experience. In essence, the partners want them to enjoy all aspects of working at Trout CPA, including who they work with and what work they do,” shares Joe. “We’re trying to create an environment of mutual respect and have a little fun while we’re doing it. And if that means we have a happy hour at three o’clock on a Tuesday, then that’s cool. Let’s do that.”

Takeaways

  • From two systems to one, Lattice helped Joe consolidate his HR needs into one solution that employees love.
  • With engagement and performance data in one place, Joe is excited to gain deeper insights into his workforce and use data more proactively. 
  • Goodbye paper evaluations! Using Lattice, Trout CPA has brought its traditional and project-based reviews online.
  • Lattice’s dedicated customer support helps Joe, HR team-of-one, feel like he has the support and resources of a larger team.