People & Strategy Summer 2017 Vol. 40 Issue 3 - 34
future years. Feedback, for example, is available anytime,
and employee's feedback from last year could still be informing their growth and performance this year.
In our new regenerative performance approach, employees still meet with their managers in the first month of the
new fiscal year and set a few high-level yearly targets (we
We started with the premise that
each of us is the best driver of our
own growth and performance.
PEOPLE + STRATEGY
Employees need to come to the meeting ready to speak
to each question, and they can use our digital platform
to capture their notes prior to the meeting. Managers are
expected to actively engage in check-in conversations, ask
good questions, and share their perspectives with the goal
of helping the employee learn new insights about themselves and their performance, and ultimately to get better.
A formal performance rating is no longer a part of these
Our regenerative performance approach, as seen in this
graphic, creates an ongoing cycle that supports continuous growth and performance improvement year over year.
The result is a new and better approach to performance
at Patagonia. It aligns our management practices to our
culture and our strategy, and provides us a data set that
enables our culture to thrive and scale with our business as
we move into the next decade.
In the next phase of our journey, we will continue to
drive usership and engagement with our regenerative
performance tools in three ways: quarterly stretch goals,
continuous crowdsourced feedback, and quarterly check-in
meetings. While the work to make these tools more us-
think of these as the big mountains we are aiming to climb
next year). They bear some similarity to our traditional annual goals, but we avoid getting too detailed about how we
will climb the mountains; we will figure that out along the
way. Initially, it is enough to know where we are headed.
After that, employees begin using our three optional
(but highly recommended) regenerative performance
tools. In the first month of each new quarter, employees
write three to five quarterly stretch goals. Then they ask
for feedback from their "crowd" throughout the quarter
using our digital tool (even two to three pieces of feedback
is enough to be helpful in a quarter). In the first month of
a new quarter they use the digital platform to fill out a simple check-in form that guides them through self-reflection
questions. Finally, they schedule a 30- to 60-minute checkin meeting with their managers. The check-in conversation
is built around three simple questions:
* What did I work on?
* What did I learn?
* What's next?
er-friendly and useful will continue, the real power of these
tools will become even more apparent as we find new and
better ways to connect their use and the data they create
with all our people processes. We have already developed
an approach to connect performance goals with our annual
bonus and rewards process and our early findings show
that using these tools leads to a higher level of individual
contribution, resulting in higher bonus awards.
On the learning and development front, we will help
employees connect their feedback with learning content by
pointing them to curated learning content in our learning
management system (LMS) specifically targeted to where
their areas of focus are. And for those employees who take
advantage of our learning content, we will analyze changes
in their subsequent feedback to identify the content that is
most helpful and leads to the greatest behavioral change,
ensuring our library of content remains fresh and relevant.
Most importantly, we will continue to lean on these tools
to support our culture and drive a better work experience
for all employees. We have already begun to see a connection between tool usage (or rather lack thereof) and lower
engagement and higher risk of turnover. We will continue
to monitor usage as an early predictor of how well our
people are integrating into our culture so we can support
employees and managers before it is too late.
Ultimately, as we continue with a compelling and engaging performance approach supported by digital tools,
we will use our analytics and machine learning techniques
to continually improve our performance approach. This is
one aspect of building a better work experience and reinforcing and scaling our culture at Patagonia into the next
Chris Mason, Ph.D., is head of talent management, compensation,
and workforce analytics at Patagonia. He can be reached at chris.