Join industry experts at EmpowerHR 2024 to hear how HR is leading business transformation.

How HR Leaders Enable Performance to Make Work Better

Description

Betterworks CEO Doug Dennerline and VP of HR Transformation Jamie Aitken sat down with Intuit’s Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and VP of Talent Development, Humera Shahid, for a conversation moderated by Betterworks CMO John Schneider. The group discusses the pivotal role HR leaders play in enabling high performance by implementing effective performance processes. Watch now or read the transcript to uncover their insights into creating a successful performance management program.

Transcript

Laurie Ruettimann:
Hello everybody. Welcome back to Empower HR. I’m Laurie Ruettimann, and I am your emcee, your air traffic controller, and your buddy here today. We just saw Jenn Lim deliver this amazing keynote about individual happiness and how if you explore your own levels of happiness, you actually make work better. And many of you in the chat were really taken with her example of the sequoia trees and the way they’re interconnected and they’ve created community and how the health of one can be seen in the health of others. And I just thought it was a beautiful analogy. And if you haven’t seen the great Sequoia trees outside of San Francisco, boy, that is a bucket list thing to do and I’m so glad Jenn was able to bring a little bit of nature into our discussion today about fixing work and making work better. So, I’m pleased to introduce the concept of the next panel.

We’re here today to talk about making work better, and I believe it truly relies on you in human resources to do this work, the work you’re meant to do. And we’ve got a great panel to talk about that today. My dear friend John Schneider from Betterworks is joining us again and really we’re building a session around Intuit. And if you don’t know Intuit, they are a perennial best place to work. They place very high year after year, and I think in 2021 they were number 11, and that’s because they’ve really made a commitment to seeing individuals as whole people, really made a commitment to understanding what wellbeing means in a post-COVID environment, and really are focused on enabling individuals to do great work. So with that, I’d like to welcome John back into the chat and tell us today about what we’re going to see and who we’re talking to. John, the floor is yours.

John Schneider:
Thank you, Laurie, again for the handoff. I’m excited to be leading this conversation. And just so you know if you saw me before, I’ll be talking a lot less this time. Just asking questions. So, this session at its core is about the forthcoming book Make Work Better. The title of it Make Work Better: Revolutionizing How Great Bosses Lead, Give Feedback, and Empower Employees. That should encapsulate a whole lot of what this whole day is about. The book explores the shortcomings of conventional performance management and it presents a novel and enhanced strategy that fosters performance resulting in a more committed and productive workforce. With that, I want to talk a little bit about who you have on this panel here in more detail. So, we have our CEO Doug Dennerline. As a former executive across several technology companies that are very reputable everywhere from Cisco to SuccessFactors, WebEx, and HP, Doug has a finely tuned perspective on understanding what accelerates and can hinder organizational performance. And he’s leveraged those insights to reimagine performance management over his career and his time at Betterworks here. As he says, the traditional process is universally despised. It’s a check-the-box process that does not help lift performance. And a fun fact about Doug, Doug has actually flown for three years of his life. He’s been on airplanes for three full years. So, I’m going to give a fun fact for each person. So in the chat, if you want elaboration on the fun fact, I encourage you to chat about it. That’s the first one. They ladder up, they get better over time. 

Jamie Aitken is the Vice President of HR transformation at Betterworks where she helps customers develop strategies to improve talent management practices, employee engagement, and culture. In the past 25 years, both as a business leader and a consultant, Jamie has become an expert problem solver. She breaks down complex problems into simpler parts and really tries to get to that root problem issue. And in doing so, it transforms HR and people processes to make them more efficient, streamlined, and engaging for employees. So, here comes the fun fact about Jamie: she actually soloed on an album and she claims that it is nowhere to be found on the internet. So, I hope there are some hackers out there who can prove her wrong on that point, but it’s never been found. 

So, beyond the book and what we’re going to be talking about here, I do want to call out that this is very much also about the Intuit story and references to it from the book. And this is a story of a business that did and is doing the kind of work that is symbolic of what the best practices are that are espoused in the book. As HR leaders, I just want to call everyone out here listening to this, you’re exquisitely positioned to take the calling and lead your own transformative rethink of performance management. 

And so, we’re all very fortunate to have Humera Shahid from Intuit with us. She has over 20 years of experience and she’s at Intuit and she’s the Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer and VP of Talent Development. That’s a very long title with a lot of responsibility. Her aim is to build great leaders who drive powerful culture and business impact. This combination unlocks unrivaled innovation at Intuit. And here’s her fun fact. Humera can recite the names of 50 US states in alphabetical order. 

So again, get in there in chat and ask what you want elaboration around on those fun facts. And we’ll go ahead and get started with the questions. So I’m going to start out right at the top since we’re talking about the book Make Work Better. So, Doug and Jamie, I think Laurie referenced it, but just to make sure everybody heard it, we haven’t seen on the bookshelf a book from the perspective of somebody who has been a perennial HR leader and a perennial CEO coming together and really tackling this question as a combined unit. And so, why don’t you tell us a little bit about the inspiration for the book?

Doug Dennerline:
Yeah, yeah, for sure, John. I think an important point to point out is Jamie has also spent 25 years as a practitioner and I actually met Jamie when she was the head of global talent for a very large airline manufacturer and a customer at the time of SuccessFactors. And I found her so innovative that I actually hired her outside of that company to come to work for me at SuccessFactors and have since brought her on to be here with me at Betterworks. And so, a little bit of my background when I was at Cisco, I ended up having a team of 6,000 people there and I had an HR business partner. I had many different HR business partners over the course of 10 years. And at the time Cisco was living in all these traditional processes around performance management. It was an annual review. They moved to the conversation and they moved it out to the six-month window because we all complained it was too much to do just in January.

And we did things like calibration, 9-box, all those traditional things. And it really motivated me when I became the president of SuccessFactors and now Betterworks to build a process that does something that people would actually enjoy doing versus looking at it as this horrible process that doesn’t change performance. 

And so what we tried to do with the book is give a perspective of me as the CEO wanting to know the power of having a really good partner in the HR seat, the impact that can have on a company, how powerful that is. It’s probably the most powerful relationship in your leadership team if it’s done right. And then having a strong HR leader like Jamie looking at it from the other direction saying, “Look what I can do as an HR executive when I have a CEO that gets it.”

And so, we tried to write a book saying, here’s the journey that many of you, and I know this for a fact, every HR person in the world knows that if they’re running the annual performance review process, it’s really broken. It doesn’t change performance, yet 75% of large organizations still do it. And the book is like, why are you doing that? So, it’s an example of what Humera is going to talk about is a company that has transformed itself to do something different and what impact it had on that company when it did. So, the book is a guideline, it’s not a commercial for Betterworks. It’s a guideline for CEOs and HR leaders to figure out how to go on this journey and how to get from to to.

Jamie Aitken:
And I guess I would add to Doug’s comments, and I’ve been lucky enough to work with Doug twice in my career and others like him who were really aware of the power of HR and how when done right, HR can actually be transformative for the business. And so, we are in an exquisite time as HR leaders to stop asking for a seat at the table. That is no longer part of our vocabulary as far as I’m concerned. We need to stop doing that and just take the seat because the transformation that we’re talking about here is one that truly will make work better, and I know we’re all wanting to do that.

John Schneider:
Great. So Humera, you are one who has taken that seat. So, let’s just go right into that Intuit story and talk about it. So, when we began work with Intuit, it was really born out of IT originally. But as time went on, HR picked up pretty quickly that there was real power in enabling performance through some of the things we were doing there. And so, it was helping to foster a culture of transparency and better accountability. It went from what was starting out as an IT project around OKRs into something so much more company-wide around performance enablement. So, just to start out, maybe tell us a little bit about that story and how it’s grown and evolved under your leadership.

Humera Shahid:
Yeah, I’d love to. Yeah, thanks for asking and for having me. This is such a fun conversation and as I read some of the anecdotes within the book, they really resonated for me. And so, I’m excited to have everybody else have that same opportunity. You’re right in saying that. We started this work at Intuit with our IT team. We had a CIO at the time who’s now our CISO who was always open to experimenting and finding what’s a better way that we can have conversations with our employees around performance and, well actually, he started with how we set goals and track them. 

And I think that one of the things that fuels our focus at Intuit is we really listen to our customer and in HR, our customer is the employee, and we think about what does the employee need and want and what’s going to help them? Not what’s going to help management, what’s going to help me do all the things I need to do as a manager, but it’s really what’s in it for the employee. And I think when we take that employee-centric view, then we’re able to put things in place that actually matter and you get that stickiness and that pickup. And so, this notion of there’s a better way I think is where it all started. 

And the idea behind it and the idea behind even OKRs, and we call them something a little bit different that I can get into, is the pace of change in technology as well as in other industries is so fast. And the idea is doing something like once a year is just, it doesn’t fully reflect or appreciate everything that happens in this really fast-moving environment. And so, one was how do we solve for that? How do we keep up with what’s changing so rapidly? 

And then we were also shifting our business, and we were moving from software as a service to a platform company. And when you have a platform company, the CEO’s goal was to say, “We’re going to have people working a lot across functions. We want to have shared goals now because we have to across different organizations, and we want transparency around that and to build that shared accountability.” And so, when we thought about bringing it together, the rapid pace of change, employees telling us they wanted to know more frequently, getting feedback, and what was happening. And then when you combine that with a business transformation, this was a time where we could now talk about company individual performance together. And so, we took advantage of the business and what our employees were saying and went on this journey of performance enablement.

Doug Dennerline:
Hey John, I would add too Humera, what we found is when you’re doing just a goal methodology like OKRs where it’s about managers meeting with people and setting goals for making the company achieve what it’s trying to achieve and making sure you are aligned to that is good. But actually, the superpower of it is when you start to add a couple of goals around what’s in it for the individual, who do you want to be in the organization, where do you want to go? And you were very good at expanding just going from the OKR thing and IT to a company-wide thing, which is, “Hey, we want to make you great too, not just what you’re doing for the company,” to combine those two things together.

Humera Shahid:
Yeah, a hundred percent.

John Schneider:
I think that’s a great segue. We’re going to ask a question of the audience and then we’ll dive a little more into the interpretation of it. But given this unique perspective of coming in from the goals perspective and expanding out, we want to ask the audience where they’re at as well. So, the question that we have for the audience is, to what extent does the HR team at your company participate in the goal-setting process today? And so, choose an option there. We’ll sit on this for about a minute and then we’ll advance and see the results and then we’re going to talk a little bit about that as well.

John Schneider:
Okay, so here’s the result. So, 11.6% said that HR, we pick the tool and run the process. That’s the one hundred percent answer. 50/50, co-ownership with the business was at 37.9%. 33.2%, so pretty close on the tail of that, we manage the technology and administer it, but have no real connection to how those goals lead to organization or individual performance. And then 11.2%, I feel bad for this group. It is complete turmoil. Everyone does their own thing. 6%, we all pretend to do it, but nothing really happens and we wish it would go away. I have to admit I wrote that one because I had a former experience of that. So, does anyone want to comment on those poll results?

Doug Dennerline:
I’m really glad that it’s a very small percentage on the first one because our experience is when a leader says to HR, “Hey, go find some goal application, and let’s get everybody aligned,” and you go do that, we don’t see a very good experience happen. Leadership needs to be involved in the process dramatically.

John Schneider:
Absolutely.

Humera Shahid: 

I appreciate the fact that people were honest in that last one. We all pretend to do it, but nothing happens. We wish it would go away. Just appreciate your courage in pointing that out.

Doug Dennerline:
That’s true.

Jamie Aitken:
I think one other piece to it is, and Humera was talking about it before we went live, is this notion that it’s really, really important that we arm people with the knowledge of how to actually construct meaningful and smart goals and articulate them very precisely. You want to talk a little bit more about that, Humera?

Humera Shahid:
Yeah, it’s a great question. One that we’re always wrestling with because this is a journey. I would say for Intuit, we were doing this offline separately before. When we partnered with Betterworks, it was really about putting in place the processes and the structure and what we’ve been really working on since that time. 

And we have what we call input goals. So, they’re not really OKRs, they’re input goals at the company level. And then we have development goals and both of them are really important. And what we’re trying to get now is how do you do that in a way that’s high quality? And it’s high quality, meaning they are actually specific. They do set a high bar for what’s expected in this particular performance cycle. They are actually measurable, so you can get feedback on what you’re doing and how you’re doing and whether or not you’re making progress. And if the goal isn’t written well, none of that can happen. And so, then maybe the goal is not strong enough or is not stretch enough, maybe it’s too stretch, maybe there’s no metrics attached to it, so you actually don’t know how you’re progressing, it’s just a matter of opinion. So, we’re now really leaning into, how do you write these in a way that is in service to an employee? And they’re like, “Hey, I know where I stand. I know how I’m doing.” And that alignment is so critical. And without that, without really good goals, you just can’t do that. 

We’ve also found, putting on my diversity hat, that the more specific you can be and the more measures you have attached, the more you remove this notion of bias around an opinion and it’s actually fact-based, which is also really important to us. The other thing we’ve used too is to start to calibrate against, well, who has what kind of goals? And so are all people setting goals in a way that’s equitable based on their role and their experience. And that’s also really important when we think about diversity and how that translates to performance and pay and all those other things.

Jamie Aitken:
Right.

John Schneider: 

That’s really interesting. And Humera, I don’t know that you were able to join the very first session, but our latest State of Performance Enablement report just came out and I mentioned at that that fairness was the number one aspect of the employee experience because it just permeates everything. If you don’t have fairness, then you look at everything in the wrong way. So, anybody out there that has those answers there in the poll that are a little bit more painful, feel free in chat to vent your frustration. There are many people here who can be a bit therapeutic on your responses and sympathize with you.

Humera Shahid:
It’ll get better is what we can say. It will get better.

Jamie Aitken:
It can and will get better.

John Schneider:
It will get better, it will get better. Okay. So let’s shift gears a little bit here. So in the book, there’s a stat, 75% of companies are still using the old process, and we know that doesn’t work. It doesn’t impact performance. The pace of change is just so rapid today. Jenn Lim mentioned the pace of change and that was kind of scary how fast that chart goes up relative to what people can actually handle. So why don’t we dive into that question of why change is so hard. Doug and Jamie, that’s one of the reasons you wrote the book in the first place, is to espouse that this is possible. So both of you, I mean Intuit perspective and your journey, and also from a book perspective, how do we make that change happen?

Doug Dennerline:
Well, we really tried to flip the process into something that today, most of these are kind of driven by HR. They’re compliance-driven, they drive compensation changes, and it’s not something that people see value in if you’re an individual contributor or manager. And so we really moved to try to be something that creates lightweight conversations. So certainly we’re not advocating that you take your annual process and do it four times a year. That would be nutty. But the time that it takes to do what we’re proposing you do takes much less time than the annual thing. But it creates an engagement between manager and employee that isn’t there for the once-a-year thing. And so, all of a sudden the individual contributor is going, “Hey, my manager actually is helping me set my goals. They’re looking at the progress of my goals. They’re knocking down roadblocks for me to achieve my goals. And I have two of these goals that they set with me that are helping me grow inside the organization to be who I want to be.” So they actually see value in it. And the manager now, whether they want to or not, we’re forcing them into four conversations a year, if not more. I think, and I’ll let Humera answer this, but they start out at monthly. And so, it creates a culture that is much more interactive than the other thing. So Humera, I mean you can talk about the impact I think culturally it’s had on Intuit.

Humera Shahid:
Yeah, I’m happy to. You talked about, John, having a very traditional process. Ours was too, it was very traditional. It was an annual evaluation. We did it at the end of the year. You got a rating and it was attached to your compensation. And I think the couple of things I mentioned earlier that are worth highlighting that really drove our change and our desire for change. One was our employees were giving us feedback that they wanted to do something different and they wanted to have more frequent conversations and feedback. As always, when you ask employees, they say, I want more feedback. The second one is we were going through a business transformation. That was all about, again, being a platform company, shared goals across the organization and having that transparency and accountability was really valuable to us. And so, those two things became really a big part of why we wanted to make the change.

And then of course the rate of speed, which we’ve all talked about, Jamie, Doug, and I, which is that the speed at which we’re moving is so fast that we can’t do something on an annual basis. We did go a little bit far in our teetering and we said, “Listen, we want to actually have monthly conversations.” And we think that by doing that, we’ll develop a habit. We’ll develop a very strong habit of always giving feedback, always giving coaching, and always looking at how we’re doing. Because at the end of the day, people show up at work every day, they want to perform, they want to do a good job, right? You don’t show up at work every day and go, oh, we’ll see what happens today. I mean, you really do.

And so, our job, at least I see my job as an HR leader, is to help maximize that potential to help people achieve more than they thought possible. And if I see that as my role, then I’m looking for what are the enabling tools that we can give people to make that thought a reality? And so, that idea of just constant ongoing dialogue around performance was really what we wanted to hone into and emphasize. And for us now, it’s truly year-round. We actually call it our year-round performance management and development program. And that’s where we bring in those goals that we set, we then have those monthly check-in conversations, and they’re real conversations where you’re aligning on expectations. Maybe you’re resetting the bar if you need to, you’re focused on your development and we’re covering all that. And then some of those conversations, one of those monthly check-ins once or twice a year is about your career. So, we have some questions that you can ask that are really around career aspirations. And then we do have, at the end of the year, we do still do a rating and we can get into that. But what we do with Betterworks is really to have that dialogue be ongoing. And I think that’s really changed, put out the fear of having performance conversations and just made it part of how we operate.

Jamie Aitken:
Yeah, I like to say frequency builds competency. And so, if you are having those, it may feel awkward at first if you’re not used to it, but over a course of time, you’ll see people build that muscle and certainly lose the fear associated with it if they have in fact that.

Humera Shahid:
I love that. And you also show up prepared.

Doug Dennerline:
I see people in the chat window talking about going into the process, and some people find it frustrating to go to the quarterly thing. You said a very important thing is you did it monthly because people have to go through a progression and it’s a giant change management process. It’s basically what you’re putting your company through. And I will tell you, it takes three or four quarters of going through this different way before people go, “Oh wow, I kind of get this now. I see the value of this. This is working for me versus in the beginning,” and that’s why leadership’s so important. They need to say, they need to stand up and say, “You know what? This is going to be hard and it’s going to be different than what we’ve done before, but guess what? We’re doing it for a reason. We think it’s going to impact the outcome of the company and your happiness in the company. And so, therefore we’re going to fight our way through and we’re going to get there.”

Humera Shahid:
Yeah.

John Schneider:
And Doug, I think this goes right to where I’m going to throw a question towards Jamie on this and specifically around culture. I mean your role in Betterworks is to help companies through these processes and this change. And so, changing culture is not an easy thing. So with all that experience you’ve had, can you share a little bit about the culture shift from your perspective and how that matures over time?

Jamie Aitken:
Yeah. Well, and the over time is a critical element to it. You don’t just wave a magical wand and suddenly everything changes. You have to recognize that there will probably be a crawl, walk, run approach to this as people build the competency around having frequent conversations, giving feedback, also notions around transparency. And Humera, I’d love to hear from your experience specifically around transparency because I think that was part of your end goal state. 

So, but here’s the thing. So yes, change is something that you manage, but it’s not impossible. And if you have a business case that is grounded and well understood in the organization as to the why we’re doing this, then the change will happen over time. But you definitely need to pay a lot of attention to it. Certainly, at Betterworks we spend an awful lot of time and effort focused on the change management elements to make it successful because this isn’t an open-the-box and magic happens. There is work that needs to be done and capabilities that need to be built.

John Schneider:
I have a detailed question coming from the audience, Humera, I’ll throw it your direction. I think it gets into your monthly statement there. And by the way, as a functional leader that doesn’t come from HR, it’s a lifetime of work in a month. I mean things change constantly. The goal that you started on the first with the next first of the next month, it’s like, what was that? So, I appreciate the monthly pace, but this question was really about, and this comes from Maria G., how do you manage those monthly talks where most of your team is out on the field? We’re trying a new platform that is quarterly, but it’s been difficult. So, I think the question’s really around how do you get that broad-based adoption, especially if you’re a person who’s not necessarily a marketer who sits at their desk most of the day with all the bells and whistles right in front of you.

Humera Shahid:
Yeah, that’s a great question. I think you kind of have to figure out what’s going to work and make sense for your organization. So, here’s one way that we manage this, which is you have the conversation. There aren’t really parameters around having the conversation. So for example, you can go, what we do is we really encourage people to go into Betterworks and update their goals and make any comments. That then sends an alert to your manager that says, “Hey, this person has submitted their monthly check-in form.” And you can read it. You could do that at any point in time a week before or the day before. Oftentimes in my case, it’s the morning before I have my one-on-one with my manager because that’s when I get it done. And you can have the conversation, you don’t have to document anything real-time. 

You can have the conversation, you can choose the things you want to focus on, but it is very helpful at some point in time to go back and just document what you covered. And the reason that’s important is for a couple of reasons. One is documentation is really important when it comes to alignment. We do want to be aligned and we want to make sure what we said was heard and vice versa. And that’s where we find it most valuable. The second area is that people change managers a lot. They just do. And you know how you always hear, oh, I got a new manager, I got to start over again. How do you kind of remove that feeling from people? And so, the idea is if it’s all documented, even if there are highlights there, if I get a new manager that follows me and that manager now has access to what it is that I talked about or what it is that I worked on, they don’t have to feel like they’re starting over.

And so again, it goes back to the employee-centered view of this. What’s in it for them? And it’s not just like another task or another activity. It’s like, well no, I do want to have alignment and be clear. Did I hear the feedback that I was supposed to hear? Am I clear on what my next steps are? And by the way, if I’m going to have a manager change, this is going to follow me. So, it behooves me to do this. And at the end of the year, it’s also really helpful to have that record, but it doesn’t take me long. I will say once we get into practice, and I think when you first start out, it does take a little bit longer. You’re trying to figure out what you want, what your manager wants. It really doesn’t take me that long now, and a lot of my team, it’s common practice. As soon as we start the meeting, we’re like, okay, it’s our monthly, what are we going to cover today? And it just became a much faster clip because we have more practice.

Doug Dennerline:
I see quite a few questions. So yes, some context here that might help is the way that we enable these conversations to happen is the program team at Betterworks would work with your HR team and they will develop questions inside the application that are written for both the individual contributor to answer and the manager. And so, that’s done in the platform. So, it’s a controlled conversation developed by the culture of your company. And then ultimately, once you’ve both given feedback in the application, the manager and individual contributor get together, have a physical conversation about it, and so then you can click the conversation as done for that quarter. So that kind of gives you a little bit of context around what we’re talking about here. And the conversation is done with lots of exposure to everything that person’s working on. So, you see their goals, you see what feedback they’ve gotten, you see what your attainment has been. And so it removes bias from the process too because you’re looking at their body of work as you’re giving them feedback on the progress they made every time you talk to them.

Jamie Aitken:
I think the other missing piece that we’re not touching on necessarily because we’re talking a lot about the manager and employee, however, there are also capabilities to have feedback from your peers, from other people in the organization above and beyond just a manager and an employee. So when Doug, when you talk about body of work, we’re also looking at the feedback that you’re receiving and maybe recognition that you’ve received from others in the organization as well. So, it really becomes rich with data.

Humera Shahid:
And we love that. We love that it’s all in one place. Our managers always say that, oh, it’s so easy to get feedback and it can be on specific goals, et cetera. And so, having it all in one place really helps.

Doug Dennerline:
Here’s a great question I have to ask it of Humera. It says thought leaders say not to tie performance to compensation and we know organizations still do to differentiate performance in pay incentives. What guidance do you have for those organizations that decide to keep the tie?

Humera Shahid:
There’s no perfect answer to this one because I’ve been in organizations that have had performance ratings tied directly to compensation and I’ve been in organizations where there’s no rating, but there still is a pay-for-performance culture. And as a consultant, I designed pay plans with performance and they were like team plans. So, for what it’s worth, here’s how we think about it at Intuit. So, we do actually have ratings and we do pay-for-performance, and that is something that’s really important, core to our culture. 

The way that we position our Betterworks and the work that we do year-round is really about knowing where you stand, raising the level of your work, that bar of performance, and then constantly getting that feedback and learning and growing. And that’s really important to us all year long, we’re doing that. Now at the end of the year, do we take a look and we look at the summary and the body of work that’s been following you all year and assign you a rating? Yes, but we don’t assign it in Betterworks. We actually do it in a totally different system because this is a system where you’re getting feedback and you’re getting development, but a manager will take into consideration that full body of work and will assign a rating in a different tool and then they will do compensation.

I don’t think there’s a perfect answer here. I think it’s all about how you talk about it. And again, it goes back to being employee-centric in this view. Is your entire system built just to evaluate and pay people or is it built around what the employee needs and wants? Which is, “I know where I stand, I know what work I’m supposed to do and what can help, and then I know what’s going to help me grow.” And so, we anchor on that and then the other pieces just fit in as they do just based on our compensation philosophy. I don’t know if that helps and I’m sure you have a ton to add Doug and Jamie based on your experience, but that’s ours.

Doug Dennerline:
That’s really well articulated. I will tell you the one thing to be careful of, and this is something that Intuit does exceptionally well, is you don’t want to tie too hard to goal attainment because people will then just write easy goals and over-attain them. But you want to agree as you set those goals, is the expectation that you will achieve this or is this an aspirational goal? Which boy, if you get to 70%, you did a really great job. And I think if you do that, then you can use attainment around goals as one of the mechanisms to decide how people are performing.

Humera Shahid:
I love that. That’s a great caution and one that we’ve absolutely had to deal with.

John Schneider:
So Humera, we’ll go to another question here on back to your topic of input goals. Curious your perspective on how you’ve been able to measure or see employee engagement or other metrics improve around the effectiveness of input goals. Do you feel they’re more connected at work and their teams? Are there ways you’re measuring anything like productivity and engagement?

Humera Shahid:
Yeah, that’s a great point. We do look at some measures I’m sure we could look at more. So, there are a couple of things that we look at. First is we do want to know if you have adoption, are you engaging, do you actually have goals? We look at that and we’re in the high nineties which is just phenomenal. That people are actually feeling like this is something that they think is important and it’s also expected and it’s also role-modeled from the top. So, all of those things are what lead us, I think, to have a high goal adoption rate. Then we look at our engagement survey which asks specific questions around, I understand how my performance is evaluated. That’s actually really important to us. We ask questions around, my manager gives me feedback. And we also ask questions around, I’m getting the coaching that I need.

And also recognition is actually another one that we ask because again, recognition is also a really important part of this. When you’re having those monthly conversations, it’s feedback, but it’s also it’s balanced feedback. We do a survey twice a year, and so we’ve been tracking it and we tend to be in the mid-seventies around how my performance is evaluated. And we’re really trying to get under that. And what we’re finding is that it’s not necessarily that they don’t know how it’s evaluated. They’re more focused on, I don’t know how I can get promoted. So, we’re trying to unpack that. And then when we talk about getting feedback and also getting coaching our score is in the eighties, and so we do find that there is a connection. We’re seeing positive upward movement on these items because there is a way to do this that’s consistent across the company.

Doug Dennerline:
Maybe a point here, too, is this is a mental change for people in HR too, though. We’ve been talking a lot about goals. Well, what our best companies do is they move away from a backward-looking conversation and saying, “What did you do over the last six months? Let’s look at that body of work and let me give you some performance feedback” to trying to move the conversation to something that’s more about, I call it accomplishment and achievement. It’s setting the goals together, talking about those goals so that we try to put goals at the center of the performance conversation. But it’s not so much around performance. We actually call it performance enablement. So, it’s enabling people to perform. It’s not doing the backward-looking thing. It’s a fundamental shift in the way that you would do traditional performance management.

Humera Shahid:
And that’s why we like to do it more frequently.

Jamie Aitken:
And blending those with career aspirational goals and having conversations around where you want to be in the next three months, six months, year, how can I help you? So you’re enabling, and I think that’s a critical component. It’s not just about what I’m doing, it’s where I need to go and how my manager and others can support me in my growth in that area.

Doug Dennerline:
And I think we haven’t touched on this either today, but what great companies do too is they expose the visibility of goal setting to everybody in the organization, so everybody can see everybody else’s goals. We have analytics that managers and leaders can see the attainment of those goals, and we let people nudge and cheer people around goal attainment, which like, oh boy, the CEO just gave me a cheer on attainment of my goal and I’m five layers down in the organization from the CEO and he’s looking at my work. It’s a powerful thing.

Humera Shahid:
Totally agree. And I love the “feed-forward.” That’s actually the challenge with once-a-year or twice-a-year performance reviews is that you’re trying to remember what happened across a whole six months or year. It’s not enough because you look too far back and this is about, I’m getting this input and feedback and I can actually very quickly implement it, so we can have a very different conversation moving forward. And I have time and I’m empowered to do something versus I’m just getting delivered a verdict, so to speak. And that’s what we really want to move away from.

Laurie Ruettimann:
Well, I’m sorry to interrupt, team. I hate being the bearer of bad news, but the session is starting to wrap up and come to an end. The chat has been really vibrant and both John and Doug have been on that chat. So, I feel like we’ve answered quite a bit of those questions. But we had a question in the last session with Jenn Lim that I thought y’all might want to take a crack at. And that is if you had to recommend one book that’s not your own for the practitioner who’s watching what book that would be? And Jamie, let’s start with you. Sorry to put you on the spot.

Jamie Aitken:
Well, I’m a great lover of change. I’ve spent most of my career in it. So, Who Moved My Cheese is an oldie, but goodie.

Laurie Ruettimann:
That’s a really good one. That’s a great one. And Humera, how about you?

Humera Shahid:
I’m a big fan of, I mean, this is an older one, a big fan of Kotter’s work. And so, it’s like what got you here won’t get you there, so to speak. And I just think that’s so valuable in this work.

Laurie Ruettimann:
Thank you so much. And Doug, you got a book for us?

Doug Dennerline:
I do. I think leadership has changed pretty dramatically in the last few years from kind of a control thing to very much an empathetic thing. And if somebody knows that your whole motivation as a leader is to make somebody better, that’s a good thing. And I think Kim Scott’s written a couple of really interesting books around just radical candor and understanding and being invested in people’s success. You’re not there to lead them. You’re there to help them achieve what they’re trying to accomplish and be their backbone if you will.

Laurie Ruettimann:
That’s a good one. That’s a good one. And John, we’ll wrap it up with you. Any book that you can think of that you can recommend?

John Schneider:
Okay. I’m a marketer, so it’s a little different. I’ll go back to Jenn’s comments on the pace of change. It’s so rapid, and I know it’s an old book, but I would have to go over Crossing the Chasm because I think that whether you’re in a technology company or not, the context setting around how much change is for your customers and how much it’s motivating and driving change, required change within the company is really critical framing. Where are you in the spectrum of the adoption of your product? Who’s buying it? Why are they buying it? How do you get to the next level? It’s a big motivator surrounding exactly what you should be considering around goals and objectives as well. And sometimes if you don’t get it right around where you stand relative to the market, your goals are super unfair. And so, I would say that one is very meaningful to me. I’ve just always gone back to it.

Laurie Ruettimann:
Well, that’s great. Thank you all for the recommendations. And just to know all of you out there, you will be getting a copy of Jamie and Doug’s book Make Work Better. So, that is coming to you, that’s going to happen. It’s our gift to you for spending the day with us. Now listen, everybody, we’re going on a 15-minute break. John needs some water. Doug probably needs something to drink too, right? We all need hot tea for our voices, but we’re going to be back and have a really great panel about really architecting the future of human resources and what that looks like. So, we’ll see you in a little bit, but make sure you join us again, enjoy your 15-minute break, and we’ll be following up with you pretty soon. Bye.