Improve employee performance through open feedback, appreciation and continuous learning
People spend the majority of their day at work. It's important to build a culture of open feedback, appreciation and continuous learning for everybody to thrive!
Role: User Research, UX/UI design, Prototyping
Employee performance systems are broken. Appraisals alone can't help individuals become better. These are good for evaluation but fail to improve performance. Both appraisers and appraisers dislike the long, laborious process. We set out to change this system by designing a performance-focused solution.
We spoke to 15 people across different roles and company sizes. Small startups to large corporations. Individual contributors to Directors. It was clear, everybody felt that regular feedback was essential for progress.
Our research showed that employees needed a transparent feedback system that was less formal and more frequent. They needed feedback in context to what they were doing, not after it was done.
Frequent, context based 2-way feedback
The usual appraisal feedback is one way and does not help in identifying areas for improvement. The appraisal process is long and tedious and assesses work done in the past.
Employees found that getting feedback in context to their current work helped them do better. Any contextual feedback was offline and was not recorded. So, it was forgotten during the appraisal interviews.
Appreciating small wins in public built reciprocity
Everybody feels good when they are appreciated for their efforts. We assumed that appreciation had to be private and personal.
We learnt that in addition to this, most people liked it when they are appreciating it in public. We also found that It is easier to reciprocate and show appreciation in return.
Self paced and hands-on learning
Traditional learning programs are designed to align employees with the company needs. Employees completed these programs but it did not contribute to their progress.
We found that employees have to be continuously coached on new things. Learning depended on applying their knowledge in everyday work for a considerable amount of time.
Armed with these insights, we set out to design a solution that integrated Feedback, Appreciation and Learning into one cohesive solution.
We found 2 things that were causing problems exchanging feedback freely.
1) There was initial hesitation to give and receive feedback.
We found that Managers were comfortable giving feedback to their team. But, the team members were wary of requesting feedback even though they knew it was important.
We helped start the habit by nudging them to take action.
2) Feedback was perceived as harsh or negative
Giving and receiving feedback was tough. Well-intended feedback could sound rude and demotivate the receiver if not given the right way.
We designed the process of giving feedback into 2 sections - Positive feedback first, followed by ways to improve. This made sure that the feedback was well rounded and motivating.
We found that appreciating each other was contagious. The more employees liked each other, the better they felt.
1) Share wins with the world
Earlier wins were celebrated, but offline. The value of the appreciation multiplied when everybody could participate in the celebration.
We made sharing wins easy. Just one tap to share appreciation on social media.
2) Reciprocate appreciation
We found that appreciation created natural reciprocation. People who appreciate their teammates and managers got appreciated in return. As a result, teams bonded well and indirectly helped their productivity and performance.
It was easy to like, share and respond to appreciation messages when they were shown in a public feed.
3) Strengthen company culture
Most companies struggle to build a culture. Culture is built on shared company values. Even with the most amount of efforts from HR teams, not everybody really knows and behaves in accordance with the company culture.
We helped people remember the values and act accordingly by the act of repetition. Every appreciation was linked to company values.
We discovered that for learning to be effective, it had to be self-paced and hands on.
1) Self Paced learning
Employees learn better when they learn what they wanted at their own pace. But, it's difficult for them to complete the program if they are left to learn on their own.
To solve this problem, we nudged employees to complete the programs by showing their progress in the dashboard.
2) Hands on learning
Employees had to apply learning in everyday work to make real progress. There was no way to see if there was progress even if they got to apply their learning.
We analysed the skills for each feedback message. This helped us show progress over time.
Users loved the way we integrated feedback, appreciation and learning.
We solved a gap in the current HR systems by creating a platform for employees to exchange feedback openly, appreciate teammates and be appreciated in return. They learnt skills that they needed the most at their own pace and applied it in their everyday work.
I learnt many important lessons during the course of the design.
Get as much real data as possible
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