37 minute read – Last updated: December 9, 2019

Feature Tour: Role-based Performance Reviews

Read the full transcript of our Role-based Reviews feature tour.

Feature Tour: Role-based Performance Reviews

Welcome to today’s webinar. I’ll be focusing on how 7Geese can give you data-driven and role-based reviews, and automate this process so that you get mass customization with significantly less effort than the traditional method of appraising performance.

Now, as a quick disclaimer, I am going to be using some terminology today to describe the people that will use 7Geese in your organization, versus the admin, short for the administrator. This is typically someone from your HR or P&C team that is championing or responsible for managing your 7Geese network. We also have managers. This is anyone in your network that has a direct report. These people may also be made admins if needed. Team members are then the final tier, it is anyone that is not an admin and does not have any direct reports of their own. I’m also going to be referencing our reviews feature, so when I say reviews, I’m referring to any kind of performance review or appraisal. I’ll be going into different types of reviews and appraisals in more detail later on in this call.

Now, before I jump into the reviews feature and start walking you through the platform, I’d like to provide a little context around why our reviews are built the way they are. So there are sort of two ends of the spectrum of the performance appraisal. On one end is the traditional periodic performance review, typically hosted once per year, usually on paper, and the root of all of its evils is that this is entirely based on memory, which makes the results incredibly unreliable, not to mention unbelievably time-consuming and stressful for everyone involved. Managers have a huge weight on their shoulders, employees, of course, feel this pain as well, and everyone dreads review day, and then admins are left to somehow manage this and derive valuable data, which is very frustrating and almost a futile task, in many cases, because those reviews often end up in a filing cabinet to never be seen again. So what’s the point?

Now, there is the other end of the spectrum that is the more continuous side of performance management or development. So this seems like a great idea, but when implemented on its own, it tends to fall a little flat. Many companies that have nixed the traditional performance review in favor of continuous performance, find a little backlash from their people because there’s no platform for them to really give and receive the feedback that they want and expect towards those longer-term chunks of time. People crave feedback, but it needs to be done in a particular way. So if you’re keeping track of these on an ongoing basis, what does that eventually lead to? So ignoring the problem is not solving it, and that’s why 7Geese has married these two ends of the spectrum, and companies of all sizes may land anywhere on this spectrum, and we want to meet you where you are.

So by using both continuous performance development and connecting this data to your performance reviews, 7Geese leverages the benefits of both extremes simultaneously and eliminates the problems. So what you see on the screen now, are all of the various features that 7Geese encompasses. These are modular, so you as the admin may choose to have certain ones turned on or off. If you’re new to 7Geese, you may also choose to start with a select few and grow into the others over time, as to avoid overwhelming people.

For today, we’re going to focus on reviews exclusively, but you’ll get a glimpse of each one of them, each one of these as they appear within the review. Now, all of your people can track their efforts and accomplishments on the go, then you can draw that data automatically into a performance review to create a data-driven review. Thanks to this automation, an admin would only need to create a single template for everyone to address, and that way, every single person would get a personally customized review based on this one template.

Managers aren’t working from memory. Team members know that their hard work is being accurately represented, and admins can easily track and report on this process. Now, this can be repeated at any frequency, whether you want your reviews to be done annually, semiannually, by trimester, or quarterly since the template can be linked to any specific review period. As an admin, you may also choose to create multiple review templates for different kinds of reviews, whether those are more department-specific, role-specific language, it might be developmentally focused, or more evaluative.

Next, I’ll jump into the platform and show you what this actually looks like. So welcome to 7Geese. Now, I am logged in as an admin, so we’re going to be starting from the admin’s perspective since that’s where this journey begins. So when you go into reviews, the admin will have about five tabs here, Not all of these are available to everyone. I’ll show you the difference later on. But the admin’s journey starts by crafting that template for everyone to address. Now, when you first log into 7Geese, you will find some of our best-practice templates here for you. So if you don’t have any of these resources, you’re building something new for your team, this might be a nice place to start. There’s lots of stuff here for you to choose from, and it is fully customizable, so you can tweak it to your own needs.

But for today’s purpose, let’s say we’re starting from scratch. Now, you can give this a template if you need to identify it later on. You can make it global, so other people may have access, that is, if you choose to allow managers to initiate reviews, then you might want to share this template with them, but that’s a control that you have. You can share with managers or you can silo it to just the admins, and retain that control. It depends on how you want to manage it.

As far as the template itself goes, the first thing we prompt you for is one of these performance widgets, so you can add as few or as many of these, which reference the other tools that everyone will be using on a more ongoing basis. So if you use the goal-setting feature, simply select the objectives list, and this will automatically draw in the objectives that this person worked on during the review period. You may also choose to weigh these and grade them, either or, neither or both. It’s totally up to you. You can also select any of the other features that you want, depending on the type of conversation you would like to have. So these always act as a nice reference point. This data is here not to do our job for us, but to inform us so we can do our jobs much more effectively.

Following any of these reference points, you may insert some questions. To craft a question, just write out whatever subject you want to pose, add a little description if necessary, and then you can choose between a few options. There is a text option, multiple-choice with single or multiple selections, number scales with varying degrees and customizable language, a simple yes or no, as well as an opinion scale, and again, these scales are very customizable.

Each question you add, you may pose directly to the employee or a team member, you may pose directly to the manager. It may also be shared between the two of them, and depending on how important it is, you may make it required versus optional for either party. Then you can add as many questions as you want, making this as lightweight or as robust as you choose, and adding as many additional performance activities as you want as well. So it’s very customizable, very flexible, and you can create a series of templates to address different subjects that you might want to address throughout the year.

Now, once your templates have been crafted, you’ll be able to launch a new review in less than a minute. All you have to do is give it a title, choose the period that you’re going to review, which helps determine what data will be drawn in from the other features. Then you can select your participants. Here, you can choose people by name, you can search, you can choose by the department, you can push it out to everyone to do a global review. You can also select by hire date if you choose to do anniversary-based reviews. In addition to those participants, you can choose to exclude people. If you want to exclude anyone hired in the last month, two months, three months, whatever the case is, if they’re too new, you can easily filter them out.

We choose that template that we just crafted, and then finally, the workflow. It starts off at the input stage where the team member and their direct manager will have an opportunity to answer the questions in the template you crafted. Now, you can have it in the sequential order where the employee goes first, and then the manager answers and has visibility to the employee’s answers, or if you prefer to keep it completely unbiased, you can force them to do it at the same time, without having visibility.

After they both have the chance to provide their own input, it goes through an approval process of your choosing. You may choose to go to that manager’s manager for approval, you may not. You may choose to go straight to the admin, you may not. The options are there for you, but I do encourage at least one person in that approval stage because it is a nice control step. Whoever’s in this stage can actually reject it and push it back to the manager with some notes. For example, it looks like question number six was incomplete, please review and resubmit when it’s done. So a nice control steps there when needed.

And then finally, the one-on-one discussion. This is so that the employee and the manager can actually talk about the results in a constructive way, so the final approved report will be delivered and attached at the bottom of one-on-one in our one-on-one section so that they can actually have that conversation. Now, not every manager is going to be fully prepared to have that conversation. Sometimes managers are newly hired, newly promoted, or just not used to this type of thing, in which case, we can also impose a template on that conversation to guide them through it. That way, regardless of experience, every manager has the tools and support that they need.

Now, I’m going to quickly scroll back and hit preview on this template so you can really visualize what this looks like. So this is a best practice template that we have built into the platform you would have access to. This is one that also uses every single feature, so you get a full opportunity to see what the capabilities are here. So it starts off with the objectives, every individual gets their own objectives drawn into this template so that they and their manager can discuss them.

So this data is not doing our job for us, it’s informing us so that we can answer these questions much more constructively, and have a very proactive and data-based conversation. And we can do that for every other feature. In this case, we have chosen to do that, so we followed that with the core values. This comes from our recognition piece. So recognition is tied and customized to your core values. So which core values did you get recognized for, and what recognitions did you give out? And again, we’re talking about the data and not relying on it to do our jobs for us.

You can also have combination sections, which we’ve done here. We do have the ability to give and receive direct feedback, run 360 peer reviews, as well as have one-on-one conversations on a regular basis, and we can represent those here as well. Now, these are often rich data types of conversations, so they’re not easily representable like the recognitions or objectives. That’s why we have these little previews and hyperlinks, so you can click in and actually read the conversation very easily, without overloading this page. But again, questions are always being posed to build on that information.

You can also have sections that are not directly tied to any data at all. This is great for things like upwards feedback. How do you feel about your manager and the support you’re given? How do you feel about the company and the support you’re given? You might also be posing career aspirational questions, maybe talking about developmental subjects. So a lot of opportunities to have a variety of different conversations.

Now, at the very bottom is a private managers only section. So if you do need to address more sensitive subjects, this is where managers can actually answer these questions, in an area where it’s informed and relevant, and then employees will never actually see this section, but admins can report on it later on when this data is needed. So whether you’re trying to assess when somebody’s ready for promotion, if they’re a retention risk or anything else that might be a little bit sensitive, we can document that here.

On the subject of admins reporting, that can be done from the progress and results tab. So under progress and results, there are both of those two tabs separate. First, progress. This shows you how far along everybody is in your review process, who has completed what stage is fully documented, and you have the freedom to drill down and browse through and push out notifications and reminders as needed, to keep things on track.

We also have the results and data. This is where you get to analyze all of the questions being answered. So as they’re being answered, you get a live update, everything gets graphed for you, depending on the questions that you posed, and we even separate those answers from the shared questions between reviewee and manager. Now, if you need a more bird’s-eye view of that data, we do have the table below, which of course, your data is yours. You can export it at any time and do whatever analysis you need.

Now, if you’re thinking this looks like a lot, that’s because it is. This is everything we have to offer as far as the reviews go, from the admin’s perspective. But if I shift to the manager’s perspective, you’ll notice a few of these tabs disappear, because we’re trying not to overload people who don’t need to access these additional tools. So if you choose not to allow managers to have access to create and initiate their own reviews, then this is what they’ll see. They’ll have my reviews tab, where they can manage their own review as well as their direct reports, and they’ll have access to their historical data as well, and they’ll also have progress and results, but that is siloed only to their own direct reports.

Now, if I shift to that team member profile, you’ll notice that that progress and results tab disappears. That’s because this individual doesn’t have any direct reports of their own, they’re only responsible for their own review, and of course, they’ll still have access to their historical data.

So what you’ve just seen is reviews in 7Geese as it is today. So now, I’ll show you what we’re working on that should be ready by the end of this year. So in just a few weeks, we’ll not only be able to have those data-driven assessments, but we’ll also be able to make it role-specific. So by doing that, we are actually connecting our reviews to those two other features that we saw earlier, which is the career management and people analytics.

Career management is an area where you can document somebody’s role and responsibilities, as well as any competencies that you might be measuring them against. Against. Now, you might only be ready for the responsibilities, you might only be ready for the competencies, you might be ready for both. In any case, it is fully flexible to the resources you have prepared or what you’re prepared to build. So some people use one or the other, some people use both. But it allows you to assess where somebody is against their current expectations, making those expectations very clear, so there is absolute role clarity, and then you can add growth opportunities to help coach this person along a developmental path that they are actually choosing for themselves and is supported by the company.

Now, the people analytics is where we can manage that on a grander scale, so it’s your succession planning center. This is where you get to keep track of who’s ready for promotion and at what timeline, who might be a retention risk, and if any movement is expected, do we have a successor identified? Internally, externally, et cetera. So this is what reviews will look like in just a few weeks. You’ll notice that it’s now broken down into tabs. So I’m logged in as Carla, this is a team member, she’s in the self-review, and there are now two tabs, where we only had one screen before, review topics and role assessments.

So the review topics are what we just saw, the data-driven assessment so that I can assess based on the data being presented, how I’m progressing within my role. Very similar to what we just saw. But now once we’re done that, we can go to the role assessment, so I can see the responsibilities that I am expected to fulfill, and against any of these responsibilities, I have a full description, so there is absolute role clarity, and I may also choose to open up these growth opportunities and see what additional growth paths are relevant to this assessment. And then I can select that assessment, choose how I’m performing against these expectations, and add in some comments to justify. And you can see to the right of this, I do have my last update for context, so there’s never any guessing games around what happened last time. I can scroll through each responsibility and assess it appropriately.

The same thing exists for competencies. So here you get to customize your competencies, they may be core competencies, they may be role-specific. In any case, if you choose to use them, they will be here, just like the responsibilities will be, and then when I’m done assessing all of these, I can submit my review.

Now I’ll move to the manager. Carla’s manager is Zoe. You’ll notice that those same two tabs exist here, but now we also have that manager only tab as well. So again, I can go through that data-driven assessment here, providing my responses, and for context, I have Carla’s here. So in this case, we chose to make the individual’s responses visible to their manager, and we can go through and update all of these areas that we have chosen, and then move over to the role assessment. Again, absolute role clarity here. We both know exactly what is expected. Again, I also have references from Carla’s answers providing me with context, and I can provide my assessment as her manager.

Now finally, the manager’s only tabs. So you do have a little a banner at the top, really reinforcing the fact, so there’s no confusion that this content will never be shared directly with Carla. Only Carla’s management tree and admins have given content access can see this. So here, we can answer any of those questions that the admins may have decided we need to answer as a part of this template, and we can also update those people analytics or talent attributes. So is Carla ready for a promotion? Is she a retention risk? Context is always being entered, and the context is there from last time. And then when we’re happy, we can submit the review.

Now, if you want to review your answers after you’ve submitted it, you can always click open review, and see everything as it will be reported on later. So when Carla and Zoe receive this after the approval stage, this is what it’ll look like. All of their answers, side by side, will be presented for them to discuss in a one-on-one conversation. They’ll be able to browse through the review topics, the role assessment, everything is there for them to guide this conversation, although the management only tab will still only be visible to Zoe. Carla does not have access to this, Zoe does. And then, later on, admins may choose to report on these.

So now that we’ve had a chance to see how the platform works, I have some frequently asked questions for you. Question number one: “We’ve never used 7Geese, so we don’t have a bank of data to drive our reviews. Can we still leverage your platform?” And the answer is yes, of course. All of those widgets that I was inserting are optional. The templates are fully customizable, so if you don’t have any data from the other features, you can still have only reviews turned on if you want to kickstart a review process and improve the quality of your non-data-driven practices. This will still be a huge improvement over a paper-based process or a process that doesn’t exist at all.

Question number two: “We don’t always have the capacity to promote people, so is there a risk that these kinds of tools and conversations will disengage our people?” And that’s a common misconception. Growth does not always mean upwards of progression. It doesn’t always mean being promoted into a management role. So we need to get better at helping people realize that there are many different ways in which they can grow, whether it be lateral, diagonal, horizontal, role expansion, role evolution, or even creating something entirely new.

In addition to that, we have the age-old dilemma that many people do not actually seek out leadership roles, and this may, in fact, take them away from their true passions, such as technical experts who get promoted on the basis of their technical skills, not the desire to become solid leaders. In one of our recent webinars, Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go, my colleague, Libby Stewart refers to concepts such as job enrichment and job crafting, where through conversation, exploration, and feedback, we can actually craft entirely new roles out of strengths, identification and tapping into our passions. There is a recent HBR article on this called Why People Really Quit, that gives some examples of this practice at Facebook, which I recommend reading. So the biggest risk you could possibly face would be avoiding these conversations entirely.

Now, “Should performance results be used to make assessments?” Well, what’s the point of tracking this data if you don’t use it for something? Also, if you choose not to use the data, then we’re just back at square one where everyone’s basing it off memory. So that being said, the data is here not to do the job for you, but to inform you to do your job much better. That’s why we pair the data with the questions for the manager and employee to discuss. So the data is merely a reference, not the final answer.

Now, here’s a big one. “How do we marry this process with compensation?” It’s a very big question and a very important question, and also a question that would take a lot of time to answer, and is usually pretty specific case by case to each individual company. So all I’ll say today is that we have talked a lot about growth and development, but of course, no matter what you do in performance management, you must ensure that your compensation practices are aligned and complementary. We need to recognize that this is an entire ecosystem with a lot of humans in it, and when we boil it all down, we’re rewarding, motivating, and driving human behavior. So we need to ensure that all of our systems designed to reward and facilitate behavior, are aligned, and essentially reinforcing the same things and not different things.

A classic example is the compensation process that only rewards outcomes like individual revenue goals. And then we get poor team behaviors, where people bulldoze one another to achieve individual targets. We need to go back to what we are incentivizing and rewarding. So like I said, we don’t have time to dive into this today, but we have many conversations with our clients around this. If this is something you would like some support around, we’re happy to review what you have in place, to understand how you ensure these are complimentary.

“How often would you recommend we run reviews?” So there’s no single answer to this. It’s a matter of matching these practices with your company’s DNA and the resources you have available. That’s why we built a platform that can be customized to your specific needs. So if you’re still wondering where a decent place to start is, because maybe you don’t have anything in place today, here’s an example of a cadence that has worked for some of our customers.

This is sort of a year’s timeline, your year begins. At the end of quarter one, hold a sort of lightweight developmental 360 peer review. At the end of Q2, hold yet another sort of lightweight developmental conversation in the reviews feature, between the employee and the manager. Then at the end of Q3, host yet another lightweight developmental 360 peer review, and then at the end of the year, host a more evaluative and more robust review between the employee and manager.

So the reason this staggering approach is effective is that it significantly reduces review fatigue or survey fatigue, so people aren’t bombarded at the end of the year with a thousand reviews. It also staggers these processes so that people have the ability to actually finalize one process before beginning the next, and implement some of the feedback that they were given.

So at your Q1 peer review, maybe there’s a couple of things that your peers think you should work on. Over the next six months, you have the opportunity to make some of those changes before getting evaluated again. Then at the end of the year, you have an entire year to take in this feedback, implement changes, course correct along the way, and now all of this data has been documented and is ready to pull into that evaluation.

If you liked what you saw today and you want to know more, get a demo of 7Geese.