Effective performance management starts with understanding how to give accurate and specific feedback, and integrating it into your culture. If your company collectively knows how to provide feedback on employee performance, it can use that skill for more useful check-ins, better goal setting, and higher employee engagement.
The Lattice platform includes a full suite of continuous performance management features including Goals, weekly Updates, Feedback, 1:1s, and Performance Reviews. We've already written tips on how to give regular feedback, but what about how to integrate the performance management system Lattice into your feedback culture? All these tips come from actual techniques our customers used to adopt and integrate our feedback tool into their company culture.
1. Roll out goals at the same time as feedback.
When Head of People Operations Elliot Epstein decided to roll out Goals, Lattice’s goal-setting tool at Knotel, he decided Feedback was intuitive enough to include as well. He held off on performance reviews to get people used to the tool, but made sure people knew that the goals were performance goals; that is, they would be used towards the annual review process. Elliot trained the Knotel team on OKRs (objectives and key results based goals) in groups when he first rolled out the Lattice platform and incorporated it into the training for new hire onboarding.
Getting a company to use OKRs ensures that individuals align their work to their team’s priorities and company priorities. OKRs are great for passive feedback because individuals can see how they’re performing against their goals and self-calibrate.
While before feedback occurred informally and on the fly, the use of Lattice helped Knotel take stock of “what they had accomplished, what their major development opportunities were, and how to forge the path ahead.”
2. Make rules for how to use the feedback tool and run a workshop around it.
When Senior Manager of Talent Acceleration Christopher Yeh implemented Lattice at Clio, he started with feedback.
Lattice’s Slack integration posts Praise publicly in a company Slack channel where everyone can see it and add comments or emoji reactions, celebrating employee wins and achievements to boost team spirit. “Adding on the Lattice Slack integration made it very public and very obvious about what this tool was meant to be for the organization,” explains Chris. “People write meaningful appreciation and feedback in Lattice and that’s what really gets people coming back. It’s highly visible and people just continue using it.”
In preparation for this new tool, Chris made sure to educate the team on how to give feedback effectively. This was company-wide, as the tool would be useful not just for managers giving feedback to their direct reports, but also coworkers giving feedback to their team members. That means distinguishing between how to give positive feedback and negative feedback. “I subscribe to the maxim of ‘praise publicly, criticize privately.’ In some cases, people don’t want to be praised publicly and that’s why we educate managers on understanding the different ways people want to be recognized," he said.
“In terms of constructive feedback, we follow the recommendations from Radical Candor to be candid and caring when delivering difficult feedback and to make sure to do it in a one-on-one context instead of a large group.”
“We had peer feedback before, but, in the past, myself or a member of my team would interview all of the participants, collect all of the feedback, consolidate it all, anonymize it and then deliver it. Now with Lattice, we’re able to speed up the process of gathering and consolidating peer feedback by 10x. Now it’s less about the process of running the manual feedback cycle and more about ‘Are people writing good feedback?’, ‘How can we focus more on delivering great feedback?’“
Building the feedback foundation with public praise and private constructive feedback makes it easier to do performance reviews later because people become accustomed to giving and receiving feedback.
3. Give direction in status updates.
Foster Made founder and partner Shawn Maida used the built-in settings to customize the platform and launch each core feature separately.
The team started with the Updates tool. “We eat lunch as a team every Monday. We just rolled it out on a Monday, saying ‘We’re doing check-in updates.’ We just went all in. We were at 20 or 21 people at the time, so we just went in with everybody.”
The first hurdle to adoption is to get employees to write that first weekly update. The tool is simple to use but Shawn explains that some employees were uncertain, and needed guidance for what to write in that initial update. He’s observed that “people just don’t know what they’re supposed to write at first.” Managers should be there to talk to employees to guide them through those early questions, even if it's only to say "Just write a couple sentences and a few bullet points."
But thanks to Lattice's ability to customize the default questions and to make comments on the status updates, he could encourage users to be more direct with what they wanted their employees to write in there. If they’re writing “same thing as last week” over and over again, he said, the comment boxes give you the ability to step in and say “No, dive into this for me.”
Now, Foster Made’s team posts more weekly updates per employee than 95% of other Lattice customers that are using the Updates feature.
“One of my directors manages seven people,” adds Shawn. For the people that struggle [to post updates on time], he reminds them, ‘This is your place to communicate. If it’s a public update this is an opportunity to share what you’re working on with everybody. If it’s private, it’s an opportunity to alert me about an issue that I might not have had time to stop by your desk to talk about.’”
“We’ll get an update from someone and it can cause immediate action. I’ve seen it happen.”
4. Encourage managers to use it first.
VP of Talent Carrie McComb found implementing the Lattice feedback tool at Wyzant was also much easier than expected, particularly when she chose an innovative way to do so. “I started with the managers and I told them ‘please go in and put one piece of feedback into the system. It doesn’t have to be public but just use the feedback tool at least once this week,’ and it really took off from there.”
Using managers to help adopt the program added a bonus to the performance management process: managers grew through their usage of Lattice.
“I think people are really enjoying it, particularly the Slack integration, because it allows us to enjoy successes together in a new, exciting way.”
Wyzant’s managers found similar success with goals -- if they set goals, employees were eager to go in the tool and do so as well. “What’s fun is when it’s engineers and designers telling you how great the tool is and how simple it is to use,” she said. “The engineers, who are always hesitant to use anything, are really, really happy with how Lattice could help them be better managers.”
5. Start with a performance review.
As with other companies, VP of HR Christine Fleming found that launching Lattice at Cramer with a performance review cycle was the easiest way to ensure adoption. “When we launched it was review time, so everybody had to utilize the platform.”
Cramer was able to create custom review templates to have questions that work for all employees. Kate Romano, Cramer’s Marketing Director, explained that this made things easier for employees because their previous platform had static questions that couldn’t change. “I might be reviewing one of my teammates who is a designer and one of the questions might be ‘How did they deal with client interaction?’ and that’s not part of their role.” Lattice’s custom review templates allowed the team to create review questions that made sense for all positions.
In fact, Lattice also has a complete knowledge base section with help docs, guides, and videos. “We’ve been able to self-learn. As new features come out, we get new emails, new pop-up messages letting us know about them.”
Christine was also able to configure the platform to fit in with her team’s needs and the Lattice support team was there to help her team with the configuration process. “If we had questions about ‘Can the platform do this?,’ oftentimes the answer was ‘No, but it could!’ and then they would customize it for us.”
Lattice’s ease-of-use helped reduce training time and accelerate adoption for Christine’s team. “From a training perspective, it’s pretty easy to use and navigate. We did hold a couple of training classes and demos but it was easy to manage.” From there, Cramer introduced the company to the Feedback tool as part of their work to integrate feedback better into their company culture.
Feedback isn’t our only product, but encouraging and integrating feedback better into your culture is one of the major benefits of using Lattice. Lattice makes it easy for employees and managers to build and grow a strong feedback culture -- and it’s flexible enough that you can do it the way that best fits your culture.
Want to adopt Lattice at your company? Sign up for a demo today.