Three years ago performance management at Moz was in rough shape. Their annual review process lacked structure, employees weren’t receiving relevant feedback, and there was no transparency on any employee or company goals. Worst of all, none of it aligned with the company’s core values.

Identifying a Problem

When Seattle-based Moz realized their performance management was lacking, they immediately began fixing it. They were a fast growing company that always put their people first, so it was super important for them to invest in a process that benefitted their employees.

CTO Anthony Skinner, along with other key staff, began redefining the existing annual review process. They tried to find an approach that aligned to their TAGFEE code of core values. They also wanted a process that provided their teams with clear career paths and clear feedback to reach those paths.

Despite making continuous improvements and trying different approaches, a lot of things still weren’t perfect. Worst of all, all the experimentation caused inconsistency and predictability around reviews.

“Unpredictability isn’t something you want to add to reviews, which are already the cause of at least some trepidation in most.”

— Anthony Skinner, CTO at Moz.

Here were some of the things that needed improvement:

  • 1 on 1s: Moz conducted 1 on 1s, yet without any process or guidelines. This meant that everyone was conducting them differently, and at various intervals. What was discussed also varied week-to-week and from manager-to-manager.
  • 360 reviews: They had a 360 review process which involved gathering feedback from peers and supervisors, yet there was no structure or set frequency.
  • Goal Setting: Goal setting was a struggle as there was no visibility or tracking of any company and personal goals. Even though there was some structure, it was difficult to manage as their numbers grew. At the end of a review period, there was no way of determining if goals were met.
  • Performance Reviews: Performance reviews often caught employees off guard. The lack of structure and inconsistent communication meant employees had no way of knowing beforehand if they were performing well or achieving their goals.

“We all know this isn’t the way you should do things: your 1 on 1s, 360 feedback, and annual review should be a recap, not a surprise.”

— Anthony Skinner, CTO at Moz.

Finding a Solution

Moz turned to 7Geese, a social performance management tool that brings together goal tracking, peer and manager feedback, and 1 on 1s. They initially piloted the platform in their engineering team, but it didn’t take long before 7Geese was launched and embraced company-wide.

Here are some of the ways Moz is now benefitting:

  • Goal setting and tracking: Moz relies on the goal setting methodology called OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). All of their goals – from the personal up to Moz-wide goals – are set once a quarter and align with the company goals. Employees check-in weekly to measure their progress. All employees have visibility into company and team OKRs, as well as any personal goals they share.
  • 1 on 1s: They use templates to help structure the 1 on 1s and to ensure performance is on track.
  • Recognition: Moz uses the recognition feature to publicly thank and applaud employees–in real time. They also tied their recognition into their company’s TAGFEE code, thereby helping employees to live the core values.
  • Peer feedback: Peer feedback is encouraged as things happen. This happens either publicly as recognition (above) or through the private feedback ability on the site. Moz employees also have the ability to request feedback from each other at any time.
    Transparency at last!

For Moz, performance management is no longer a ‘monkey on the back’. Employees now know where they stand because they have access to continuous, real-time feedback from both their manager and peers. This has helped them give up formal annual reviews that weren’t working. 7Geese has also helped Moz employees gain immediate access to what the team and company goals are and where the progress is at.