Up until 2013, Pinterest was conducting bi-annual performance reviews every January and July. Their review process included downward, upward and peer feedback. However, goal-setting was inconsistent across the company with different teams using various goal formats, timing and tools.
The people team recognized that a formal review process twice a year was not the best way to drive individual and organizational performance for three main reasons:
- Employees weren’t getting enough feedback and coaching on a continuous basis. This made it difficult for employees to know what was going well, how they could improve and where they stood.
- The goals were easily misaligned and forgotten as the company continued to grow rapidly. Employees lacked clarity on how their work was critical at the organizational, team and individual levels.
- The recency effects of filling out a review twice a year made unbiased promotion and merit increase decisions extremely challenging. There was no accurate picture of the work each employee did and how they did it.
By replacing large, cumbersome bi-annual review cycles with an agile goal check-in system, Pinterest gained more clarity and alignment without adding an extra time commitment for their employees or overhead administration.
“The benefits of regularly checking in is ensuring that expectations are the same for the manager and employee,” said Joel Constable, Head of People Development at Pinterest.
With Reflektive, Pinterest has implemented a lightweight check-in for every employee every other month plus a year-end 360 review.
Pinterest’s Check-In Questions:
- Have these goals changed or should they change?
- Goal Progress: Ahead, On Track, Behind
- What went well this month?
- What do you need to help you make better progress towards your goals?
- Provide 1-2 pieces of feedback that could help this employee make better progress towards their goals. (ONLY manager answers this question)
After Pinterest partnered with Reflektive to be the system of record and execution for goal management, check-ins, and annual 360’s, the team was able to bring their vision of continuous feedback and company-wide goal alignment to life. In addition to ease of use, the Pinterest people team saw several key benefits:
- High Engagement: In 2017, 82% of Pinterest employees logged individual goals in the system. These employees had an average of 3.5 goals each. They also achieved an excellent 91% completion rate for their company-wide 360 review.
- More Feedback & Transparency: Individual contributors and managers noted doing bi-monthly reviews was enabling important course corrections that wouldn’t have surfaced until a much later time with the previous process.
- Dynamic Goal Management: Increased feedback through bi-monthly check-ins allowed employees and managers to manage their goals dynamically as company goals shifted. Tracking the changes with agile goal management at the individual-level helped with setting future goals and forecasting results.