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Advising Culture Amp – woot!

July 24, 2012 1 comment

I spent the first 10 years of my career running recruiting, when John Lilly, CEO at Mozilla, told me that I could do anything that I wanted at the company, short of writing code. A decade of finding amazing talent led me to want to help make those people as successful as possible, so I expanded into the HR function. My first responsibility was to take over the annual review process. I looked at the Gartner “magic quadrant,” analyzed a number of software solutions and ended up with what I thought was my best option. It was after that first performance cycle that I realized the process was completely broken. I shared my thoughts with Bob Sutton, at the Stanford D-School, which to my surprise led to this blog post.

Right around that time I met the team at Rypple and we began to work together on changing the way companies thought about performance. Traditionally performance management tools have focused on “business processes” and creating workflows that made sure the proper people are notified about employee feedback. There was little to no thought on development. With Rypple, we wanted to get back to the dynamics between people and create the ability to connect consistently on key deliverables and developmental feedback. Yeas later Rypple continues to be adopted by forward thinking companies and one of the proudest accomplishments I’ve had in my career.

I’ve stayed passionate about products that help people and organizations get better. Earlier this year I was introduced to Culture Amp by Joris, CHRO at Atlassian, one of the most progressive HR leaders I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I was blown away but what they had built, and the simplicity with which they approached a sophisticated problem. Historically companies have spent large sums of money to construct company surveys and have consultants “analyze” the data. Others try running the survey themselves, which usually leads to a big lump of data that can be challenging to work with.

Culture Amp‘s product Murmur, allows companies to quickly deploy a survey and understand, team by team, the strengths and challenges in each part of the organization. Instead of blanket training, HR & Training departments can strategically focus on specific skills for teams and managers. They can create mentorship relationships for people that are strong in one area and weak in others. They can then re-run the survey on demand, or periodically, to measure to results. Most importantly it happens outside of the typical performance review cycle. Allowing people to focus on the data provided and how to address issues, instead of how feedback will effect their bonus or promotion. Separating comp and performance data has been a struggle for organizations for a very long time. People get so focused on relatively small changes in pay that they completely lose sight of how to make themselves better. Murmur has the chance to be the product that companies can consistently use to improve themselves with out having the distraction of compensation discussions to muddle the process. I’m excited to be working with them as an advisor on such an interesting problem.

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