Stepping Stones For Change
4 weeks, fall 2018
Performance reviews are designed to help motivate and challenge employees. These meetings are meant to help the employee as they progress further into their career path. Instrument reached out to us to create a solution that innovates the performance review process. They are a company devoted to growth and development. However, the current tools for self-assessment are not designed to work with the employee to enable change. My partner, Luka Schulz and I set forth to develop an application that makes a year's worth of feedback and information more digestible.
What are we trying to solve?
How do we create an application that innovates the performance review process by creating greater opportunity to empower employees at Instrument?
Narrowing it down
Within the performance review process, there are many components but we decided to focus on self-assessments and tracking one’s personal growth.
Effective but not efficient
Currently, each employee at Instrument receives a performance review once a year. The foundation of these reviews is based around peer evaluations which are filled out around the time of the performance review. Along with peer reviews, employees also are required to write a self-evaluation. Everything is written and stored within Google Docs. While these performance reviews get the job done, the tools being used don’t maximize its potential. By waiting a year to write down reflections and evaluations, information can get skewed or forgotten.
Employees are usually left scrambling to try to remember and piece together what happened during that year. Biases and misinformation tend to arise because it can be difficult to recall an entire year’s worth of information.
“Reflecting once a year is kinda like painting a mural without stepping away 'till the very end.”
Changing the tool
After talking to several employees at Instrument, we realized that we didn’t want to change their process. Instead, we wanted to change their tools to help them get more out of these yearly reviews. A desktop app felt too clunky, and a slack bot was not enough. However, a browser extension felt just right. So we decided to break a year down into its parts. Turning reflection and growth into a daily process, a habit.
Why a browser extension?
The most common thing when hopping onto a computer is to open up a desktop browser. This action is natural to us. Instead of using a tool where someone might have to go out of their way to access it, a browser extension allows for ease of information in a natural way. There’s a lot of opportunities to display information whenever someone opens up a new tab.
Stepping stones for change
Great change comes from repeated action. We want to design a tool that works with employees to keep track of their successes and failures. In doing so, we hope to set the stage for long-term, personal growth.
Tools should never get in the way. They should blend in and become part of the daily routine.
All work and no play makes Instrument a boring company. Play is essential for human growth.
Above all, the employee matters most when it comes to making great work. Everyone needs a little support.
Great change does not happen overnight, it’s something that you have to continually work towards. We believe that daily self-reflections might be the key to unlocking change within an individual. These reflections might seem like a chore but it's an investment that pays back in full.
An employee can reflect on what has happened thus far during the day. A new tab turns into an invitation to reflect on the day. These reflections can be as short or long as they want. At any point, employees are able to look back at their past reflections.
Upon opening up a new browser, employees will simply be asked to select their current mood. Based on the selected mood, tailored prompts will appear where they will be able to write their daily self-reflections. These daily reflections can be tagged which will help with searches later.
Year in review
There’s a benefit to consistently doing the daily reflections because, at the end of every year, each employee gets to see their year in review. The year in review is a special present that is completely unique to each individual. Accomplishments are honored, projects remembered, and promotions celebrated. Instead of having to remember your year, the tool will do it for you.
When it comes time for the yearly self-assessment, employees will be able to search up their past reflections to help them answer each question.
Goals and badges
Being driven by goals can do more harm than good in the long run. We believe that individuals should not solely be driven by goals but instead have them act as a guiding light. The goals are tucked beneath the reflections page where they are easily accessible but not constantly in your face where you become jaded to them.
As you accomplish your goals and develop throughout the year we wanted to recognize the hard work being put in. We created a badge system where leaders could award people for their efforts with custom works of art.
Year in review