Instead of creating an “About Us” page, we thought we’d tell you the story of how all this got started!
Two years ago, we made the jump from annual reviews to more frequent check-ins that helped us follow up on the specific projects each employee was responsible to complete. We setup monthly check-ins and planned to have more ad-hoc catch-ups along the way to make sure everyone was growing personally, professionally and that the important things were being done. But the same things kept happening:
- Lower performers got the majority of attention
- Project blockers surfaced too late in the process
- High performers were left alone to run but weren’t being invested in
- When review time came around it took far too long to recount what actually happened
The urgent things bubbled to the top and demanded our focus while the important things – things that would make a tangible difference in our company – were always on our minds but never quite made it to the front burner. Setting up a process to dedicate investment into the high performers felt like a ton of work, and no one wanted to put a bunch of time into setting up a system that wouldn’t likely be used.
When it was time for evaluations, we would look back at the previous 3 months to see how employees performed on their assigned projects. We also evaluated how they were functioning as a team member. It didn’t take us long to realize it was crazy hard to think back on one week for one employee let alone 3 months (or 12.. yikes) for 10+ employees!
Taking notes in a Google Doc or Notepad or Post-Its just wasn’t sustainable and leds to realizations like this:
“Oh, that project got derailed 3 weeks ago? Did Jason tell me that? Should I have known that?”
Sure, we had developed a better methodology, but we realized what painfully obvious: we needed better tools.
Physician, Heal Thyself
We had the same problem everyone else had – even though we have a CEO who was passionate about his staff! Keeping our managers and employees in sync was a nightmare. We set lofty goals and then let less important tasks distract us from the most important stuff. Or worse, we totally forgot about the important stuff. Then, we acted like we were surprised when we missed the mark.
To add to the agony, when performance reviews came around we gave vague, meaningless feedback that did nothing to improve this cycle of frustration. Nobody was happy. Employees felt like managers did’t know what they did (or what they were supposed to do), and managers felt like staff were underperforming.
Uptick has clarified the mess by reminding us about what is important.
We hope it will do the same for you, too! Our user-friendly process guides you through helping employees know what you expect of them, how obstacles can be addressed and how they can “win” every day at work. And in the end, you will have gathered real-time content that you can use during the review process to evaluate your staff and help them grow.
We created it because of our itch. We hope it scratches yours!
How We Think About Uptick
We try not to have a lot of rules at Uptick, but we do have 3. Take a look and let us know what you think!
1. User focused. First, before we do anything we will consult with users on a regular basis as we develop, implement and refine the product. Their needs, and solving THEIR problems is the highest priority. After all, we look to solve problems people actually have, not problems we think they have! We will create a mechanism within our product to diligently ask for feedback from our existing users, knowing that they know our weaknesses better than we do. And we’ll take their input seriously. Every time. Most importantly, if the users don’t want it, we’re not creating it.
2. Integrated. We will not create technologies that are silo-ed. Because user experience is paramount, we will actively look to connect to related strategic applications users already access. As we connect with users, we will expand our application inputs to the communication apps they already use (Slack, email, SMS, etc.).
3. Iterative. Digital tools are not “build it once and leave it.” To succeed, there needs to be an ongoing plan for development and redevelopment. Technological years are like dog years….one year in the regular world is an eon in the technological regular world. (Like most companies, we have learned this the hard way, and it’s been a tough lesson!) This will keep the tools fresh and relevant, and will keep them from becoming monuments.
In addition to these, we also identified (we think 😃) the components necessary for a useful, successful digital tool:
Clear vision (what it does and where it is going)
Clear strategy (how we accomplish the clear vision)
Clear distribution (ok, we have a great user focused tool, how do people know about it)
Clear accountability (how we evaluate our ability to serve users)