This is a post on how we are managing performance at Skroutz and how we transitioned from informal semi-annual feedback meetings to a structured continuous performance management framework. It is about how we translated our value Set big goals. Take small steps to an actual set of events, processes, and tools that drive our performance daily and support our career development.
At Skroutz, we have always cared about our people’s personal and professional development.
In our early days, George H., Vassilis and George A. were having meetings with all team members giving them feedback and helping them grow. As our team grew bigger, this task was assigned to people managers who continued meeting with their team members talking about strengths and improvement points as well as setting developmental goals.
In both instances, it was an informal discussion where both sides shared feedback based mainly on recent events and was ending with a few actionables vaguely stated. It was a process that could serve its purpose if we were to stay a small-medium sized company.
However, our vision is greater than this and therefore, we needed to set up a process that our people’s happiness and professional development would remain at the focal point.
Following the example of companies like Adobe and Google, we introduced a new approach called Continuous Performance Management (CPM).
The differences between CPM and the traditional performance appraisals are summarized in the table below.
|Continuous Performance Management||Performance Appraisals|
|Continuous feedback||Annual or semi-annual feedback|
|Process focused||Outcome focused|
|Fact driven||Prone to bias|
CPM in action
Continuous performance management (CPM) is a framework where managers and team members collaborate to create short-term developmental goals and meet on a more regular basis to promote growth, recognition and happiness. The idea is that everyone can rise to the top and be successful with their current set of skills.
CPM consists of various components that each one serves a different purpose and all of them are supplementary to each other.
Collaboration is a core element of work-life at Skroutz and 1-1s ensure that a manager-team member relationship has this characteristic. In a nutshell, one-on-one conversations promote an ongoing forward-looking dialogue between us and our manager. So, every two weeks we meet with our manager for 30 to 45 minutes. Topics of discussion vary; we share updates on work progress, ask for guidance and support, make questions regarding tasks, team and company OKRs, talk about personal matters, follow up with developmental goals and the list goes on. This time is about us!!
In a recent internal survey regarding CPM, there was a unanimous response that having regular 1-1 conversations was one of the best practices we have ever rolled out. During the last 8 months, we all have experienced genuine communication with our manager and we have received the support and guidance we needed to achieve our tasks and goals.
On the downfall, finding an available meeting room at Skroutz Awesome Factory resembles a treasure hunting. :)
Performance & Career development discussions
Another component of CPM is the performance discussion, which takes place quarterly and it serves as a feedback and development mechanism.
This event gives us the opportunity to look back on our 1-1 conversations, on feedback that was shared over the previous 3 months and have a future-forward talk with our manager about our career development.
At the beginning of every quarter, we take a self-assessment, which we send to our manager. S/he then prepares a performance review doc and s/he sends it to us prior to our discussion, so that we are all prepared. During our talk, we recognize superpowers and accomplishments, but most importantly discuss our future, what are our career aspirations, what skills we need to develop in order to fulfill these aspirations, we set priorities and agree on action items for us and our manager.
Goals and action items set in this discussion will be a recurring topic in our 1-1s for the following quarter.
Peer and Manager feedback
Skroutz grew on receiving feedback. Getting feedback on features, services and processes is part of who we are. We believe that feedback can help us become better at what we do. This mindset applies to all of us, as well.
In the context of the CPM framework, we run peer-review surveys as well as manager-review surveys. This way, we have the opportunity to give and receive actionable feedback from our peers and from our team members, in the case of people managers. The purpose of a feedback survey is to assist each one of us to better understand our strengths and weaknesses and to get an insight into aspects of our work needing professional development.
We run our first peer and manager reviews in June. Each one of us got feedback that was true and deep inside we already knew about it. Yes, we got a bit defensive when we first read our report, but then we took out of it action items that fueled some of our 1-1 talks.
We have transitioned to the CPM framework for less than a year and the positive impact on our daily work-life was obvious from the beginning.
To start with, we are now more aware of where we stand. At any time, we know what we did well, what we need to work on and we have the support and guidance we need to achieve our goals. Feedback on performance is given with specific actionables and in a timely manner. Good efforts and accomplishments are given the appropriate recognition.
Performance discussions are currently more fruitful since recency bias has been eliminated, they are more focused in the future and we are constantly examining opportunities for development.
Our relationships with our managers have improved significantly and our interaction is more meaningful. Our people managers act as coaches and mentors and focus their attention on how they could help each one of us to grow and work towards our goals.
To sum up
Continuous performance management has helped us reinforce our culture of continuous growth, feedback, and recognition. It has contributed to making our values come alive.
We still have some fine-tuning to do, but we are all certain that it is a framework that will ensure that our people will be in the centre of our attention and efforts, no matter how big Skroutz becomes.