Case Study

Kittelson improves goal-setting, minimizes performance review time by 79% with Reflektive

The Challenge

Since 1985, Kittelson & Associates has been solving complex transportation problems for governments and organizations. Dave Mills, West Region Operations leader at Kittelson, was looking to improve goal-setting and the culture of feedback at the company.

Kittelson’s leadership team believed that a unified system for setting goals would help employees stay better aligned, and ensure that they were working on the right projects to support their professional development.

Before Reflektive, many employees didn’t document their goals, which made it difficult to track success over time. Additionally, goal-setting only happened once per year — during Kittelson’s traditional annual review. The review program itself also had limitations, which was impacting Kittelson’s culture.

During the annual reviews:

  • Leadership was driving the review process, rather than enabling an employee-driven experience
  • Feedback was “watered down” by the time it reached the employee, and it didn’t include all feedback gathered throughout the year
  • Leaders were spending an average of 12 hrs per person preparing and completing the review, significantly longer than they were looking to spend on each employee.

The Solution

In 2016, Kittelson’s leadership team realized that a dedicated performance management system would support their new approach. They selected Reflektive for a few different reasons. Dave said, “Reflektive had great customer service out of the gate, and were really transparent about what they were building and why. They were continuously making thoughtful improvements to the platform, and I knew that they would be a great partner for the long-term.”

After choosing Reflektive, Kittelson launched goals, feedback, recognition, and engagement programs for their employees. Kittelson moved away from their traditional annual review to offer two employee-driven conversations: a yearly kickoff, and a June “Roles & Responsibility” (“R&R”) discussion. In the yearly kickoff, employees come prepared to talk about their goals for the upcoming year, and leaders offer support and feedback to help them better align their goals with company-wide objectives.

The R&R discussion takes place six months later. This informal, ad-hoc conversation is centered on performance and alignment. Before the meeting, employees share the feedback and recognition they’ve gathered from Reflektive with leaders.

Leaders view employees’ feedback, and prepare a one-page document of performance observations to support the conversation. They use the easy “traffic light model” to share their insights with the employee.

Leaders also provide feedback on the employee’s goals in Reflektive, and add discussion points if the goals need to be updated or revised.

Both the yearly kickoff meeting and the R&R discussion are hour-long conversations. Employees follow-up by updating their goals and syncing with their mentor or coach afterward. “We’ve had overwhelmingly positive feedback about Reflektive,” says Dave. “As a professional services firm, people are our business.”

The Results

By improving their performance conversations and enabling continuous feedback with Reflektive, Kittelson achieved powerful results.

In terms of goal-setting: 

  • Over 85% of Kittelson employees have goals now
  • 35% more employees strongly agree that their goals are aligned with those of the firm
  • 94% of staff are comfortable setting meaningful goals to drive their professional learning and development

In terms of feedback:

  • 80% of staff agree that their colleagues provide them with timely and meaningful feedback
  • 40% more employees feel empowered to take actions that support their development

Kittelson’s leaders have benefited from their new programs too. It now takes leaders 2.5 hours total for each employee’s R&R discussion — 79% less time than traditional, annual reviews at Kittelson. Per Dave, “Reflektive has really benefited all stakeholders. From making it easy to edit goals and gather feedback to equipping us with best practices for our performance programs, Reflektive has been a great partner. Our four years working with Reflektive have really supported our mission of making Kittelson a place where employees want to stay and grow.”

Overview
Kittelson & Associates provides comprehensive transportation engineering, planning, and research services to government and private organizations. Recognizing that transportation plays a major role in the health, safety, and sustainability of each community, Kittelson uses data-driven research and active listening to reach solutions that meet each community’s unique needs and ultimately improve people’s daily lives. Kittelson’s team of skilled professionals and national experts offer decades of progressive research, technological innovation, and a diverse portfolio of industry-leading work.

Industry
Professional Services

Year Founded
1985

Headquarters
Portland, Oregon

Employees
270

Mission
Solving complex transportation problems to improve people’s everyday lives

Values
Trust; Serving Others First

Kittleson’s LEADERSHIP

“With Reflektive, people are empowered to set aspirational goals and gather meaningful feedback that helps them to develop continuously.”

Dave Mills
West Region Operations Leader

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