The 3 Reasons Killed Our Employee Reviews

The 3 Reasons Killed Our Employee Reviews

How focusing on our 1:1’s allows to be even more agile in our operations.

Last week I sat down with our CEO, Mike Volpe to discuss the question:

“How do we make sure our employees are growing within Lola?”

It’s a difficult question. Lola is currently at 70 employees and we are aiming to double our headcount by the end of the year. (PS — we're hiring.) With that kind of growth, we want to have the right processes in place so that our employees continue to grow with the company and receive the best feedback to help them in their career.

Our old process simply was not working. Here’s what we were doing wrong:

The Cadence:

For starters, we did the same thing so many companies do. We had bi-annual reviews where every employee received a rating and positive and constructive feedback This was in addition to regular 1:1’s with their manager.

The idea was that there should never be any surprises in the bi-annual reviews. The regular 1:1’ would allow for constant more real time feedback and the bi-annual reviews would be more of a summary of what was talked about over the past 6 months.

The Number:

Around review time, tensions ran high. The past 6 months we’ve been building and growing our company, and as a way to give the employees quantifiable feedback we would assign them a score between 1-5 (5 being the best).

This quickly proved to be ineffective. Even if employees received a 3 (which meant they were satisfactorily performing their jobs) they felt like they were underperforming, and would often miss all of the feedback that followed. Nobody wants to be a 3.

The Leader:

Finally, these meetings were run by the managers. This is normal for any company giving performance reviews, but what we quickly realized was that the communication was a one way street.

We wanted to find a way to empower our team to speak about what’s on their mind. Having top down communications didn’t provide this flexibility.

What do we do now?

After having the conversation with Mike, we created 3 changes to empower our employees’ personal and career growth at the company.

The Cadence:

Bi-annual reviews didn’t work. How was a manager supposed to evaluate employees performances from January in July?

Instead we shifted to weekly or even bi-weekly.

This new cycle gives managers and their team members the right amount of time to discuss how they are feeling and set actionable goals that they can achieve before the next check in. By creating this shorter feedback cycle, we are able to iterate on previous results and deliver feedback faster than before.

The Number:

It’s gone.

As humans we crave quantifiable results. But the truth of the matter is that you can not expect someone to improve or make changes according to one number.

Instead we are focusing on structuring the meetings around goal setting, company feedback and personal development for the employee.

The Leader:

The last change we made is who runs the meeting. In our new structure, we let the employee set the agenda. This is a part of our goal to give employees ownership over their own career growth.

This change also allows employees to discuss what’s on their mind and it gives managers a much more actionable feedback into how they can support their team.

This shift to bi-weekly reviews is just one step we are taking to make Lola’s operations even more agile. For ways you can streamline your teams ops, check out for your business!

(PS — did we mention we're hiring?)

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Want to come work with us? Check out our careers page to learn about the positions is hiring for.

About the Author: Stacey Scott