Wyzant is an online platform that connects students and tutors. The company has helped over a million students book lessons with over 85,000 tutors across the Wyzant marketplace.
Carrie McComb, VP of Talent, is responsible for growing and developing the Wyzant team. Prior to joining Wyzant in 2014, Carrie served as the Lead Technical Recruiter at Braintree and was the first Technical Recruiter at Groupon.
Carrie McComb, VP of Talent at Wyzant, knew that the company’s old performance review process had room for improvement. The process, in her own words, was “very manual and labor-intensive.”
At the start of each review cycle, Carrie had to create a Google Form for every individual who was up for review and she would create separate folders for each employee to keep track of everyone.
“We were still doing full 360 reviews but I would aggregate all the feedback, and go through it to make sure that everything made sense before sharing it with the managers as the next step.” The process worked for annual reviews but it wouldn’t be able to scale beyond that.
The turning point came when Carrie started thinking about “how to improve the process and what it would take for us to do more review cycles per year, so that every employee got two reviews, a mid-year and then an annual.”
Carrie also wanted a tool that could do check-ins throughout the year so that performance management at Wyzant could be “more involved while being less of a burden, more of a continuous, ongoing program.”
In Carrie’s words, “People weren’t tracking what happened throughout the year as they should have. There was just no place for them to do so.”
“I knew that I needed a tool that would help support that, and that tool was not going to be me and Google Docs.”
Wyzant team had a clear set of requirements when they started their search for a performance management tool.
They needed a software platform that could automatically organize all of the 360-degree review components, self, peer, manager, and upward reviews so the company could move all employees to semi-annual reviews without overwhelming the HR team.
The team also needed growth development tools that could help managers and employees easily record information during the course of the year instead of struggling to piece together notes from memory during review season.
Carrie surveyed the performance management software market and narrowed down the list to Lattice and another solution. After talking to the vendors and evaluating both tools, she continued with Lattice because of the ability to customize features and the user experience for employees and managers.
Carrie explains, “[the other solution] is great but the user experience on Lattice just surpassed it. The product experience is very important to me when I choose a tool.”
Lattice’s system was a perfect fit for Wyzant’s needs. Lattice’s core performance review tool supports full 360-degree reviews and the software makes creating and managing review cycles much easier than running a manual process.
The Lattice platform also includes a customizable continuous performance management suite with goals, 1:1 meetings, weekly updates, and real-time feedback to help employees keep track of goals and accomplishments in between review cycles.
Setting up Wyzant on Lattice was straightforward for Carrie: “The biggest bulk of it was creating the review cycles, trying to push it out, and just learning the tool. It was very true to the sales demo and all of the upfront questions that we asked prior to purchase. It’s what I thought it would be.”
Moving to Lattice also gave Wyzant the freedom to customize review question templates for each department. “Since I’m not doing the manual labor anymore, we can be more flexible with review questions for different parts of the organization. Engineering can change things up a bit, and customer support can change things in a different way. The tool just makes that easier to manage.”
“I really liked going through the help documents. There was a lot good information in there on how to set things up and it was useful to give to folks so they could see example templates of other questions they could use.”
Lattice helped save Carrie time running her most recent review cycle: “I used to spend a lot of time aggregating, cutting and pasting, making sure that the feedback made sense and was in the right order. Lattice literally cut that piece out of the process completely.”
Review completion rates have been the same because she’s always been a “stickler about deadlines” but Carrie adds, “there’s been a lot less ‘nagging’ on my end. I didn’t have to be the mother hen as much because I told them when it’s over, the system will shut them down. That holds them accountable to that timeframe.”
She also discovered one useful side effect of using a dedicated software tool instead of an ad hoc Google Form is that reviewers take the feedback process more seriously.
“Lattice forces reviewers to think more critically and thoughtfully about the constructive feedback that they’re giving...I don’t have to filter feedback anymore.”
Implementing the Lattice feedback tool was also much easier than expected. “I started with the managers and I told them ‘please go in and put one piece of feedback into the system. It doesn’t have to be public but just use the feedback tool at least once this week,’ and it really took off from there.”
“I think people are really enjoying it, particularly the Slack integration, because it allows us to enjoy successes together in a new, exciting way.”
The team has just started using the goals feature but, as with the feedback tool, Carrie found that feature adoption grows quickly as soon as you get managers to try it out. “Managers are realizing that all they have to do is create a goal for their employees to set up a goal.”
“I’ve had so many employees tell me that they like the tool. What’s fun is when it’s engineers and designers telling you how great the tool is and how simple it is to use.”
“The engineers, who are always hesitant to use anything, are really, really happy with how Lattice could help them be better managers.”