Measuring Culture | By Nicole O’Brien
At CITY, we have a very strong culture that is important to us. We also pride ourselves on results. So, it’s important for us to hire the right candidates that will fit our culture. We do this by using a hiring software called Threads Culture. Threads Culture is an online performance review tracking system.
We are able to use the Threads Culture system as a culture checklist when hiring. It helps me in human resources know what type of candidate we are looking for. We can teach job skills and job responsibilities; we can’t teach someone to be a cultural fit. To us, a cultural fit boils down to three things. You need hustle and responsiveness. You need to respond to situations with urgency. A positive attitude is always key, and you need to show up every day. You need to have good attendance. We just need those core features, and from there, we can build the skill set.
We are a result driven company, so accountability is a big part of our culture. We try to be really clear of what the expectations are upfront and communicate those to each person’s role. This way, they can work towards those specific results. If you are not performing or executing the results that are specific to your position, then that’s a conversation we need to have. If someone is still a ‘four’ rating and they have been here for years, why are they not improving? Are they falling behind because training is needed, or is there a tool that they need? It’s an opportunity to have a conversation and move towards that continued improvement.
Threads Culture is designed not just to represent the managers’ impression and notes on how that employee’s performance is going, but it’s designed to capture every manager’s feedback. Threads Culture allows managers to have notes that they can refer to that is a better representation of that employee’s overall performance. Essentially it is a paperless management system that helps us to give better feedback on the employees.
This way, we are hopefully eliminating rater bias like recency effect. This is where a manager only recalls what happened in the last few weeks and the very beginning of the employee’s time at the company. Managers are always providing feedback and Threads Culture compiles all that feedback into one place.
CITY uses Threads Culture to our advantage by using it to track events that happen throughout the year. We encourage managers to capture positive interactions on employees. Also, other managers that have interacted with that employee throughout the year are encouraged to make comments as well. It’s a great tool to let managers know how the employee is working with others. This also allows us to really document. This way, a review is based on events and not feelings. It takes the discussion a step further.
By using Threads Culture, the employee gets a fair picture of what the year entailed, including their strengths and weaknesses. By giving employees an accurate picture of where they succeeded and where they need additional focus, we open up doors for them. It helps us maximize their growth and potential at CITY.
CITY has been using Threads Culture since 2014. We decided to go with Threads Culture because it’s paperless. We never have to worry about losing any information. It also helps us stay environmentally conscious. With paper systems, reviews are just stick into a file and never looked at again, and other managers options are never asked for. If a manager even wanted to take the time to see what was said at the last review, they would have to go to the human resources department, ask for the review, and wait for us to find it. Threads Culture allows us to save a lot of time by letting all managers have access to all of their employees’ reviews.
Threads Culture also lays out reviews in a logical way. It has managers score employees on a one-to-ten scale, and it lays everything out for you. It tells you what a ‘two’ rating mean, what a ‘five’ rating mean. It also tells employees how they need to improve to get closer to that ten. This helps us be very specific and grounded in our evaluation. If we were to tell our managers to scale employees from one-to-ten, every manager would have a different perceptive on what those numbers mean. Threads Culture allows everyone to be on the same page and lets managers know exactly what the scale looks like.
Another tool that Threads Culture offers the ability to run a report that shows all your employee’s performances at once. Threads Culture evaluates everyone into quadrants. One axis on the graph is our core values. This reflects our strive to be customer focused, our responsiveness, as well as our commitment to CITY‘s mission and vision. The other axis is results specific to their position. This means our human resource department and our marketing department won’t be evaluated on the same points because the skills needed for those two jobs are entirely different.
When looking at the graph, the lower left is where almost everyone starts at first because there is a learning curve to every job. You could also be in the upper left quadrant. This would mean the employee has high CITY values, but still didn’t quite understand their role very well or simply needs more experience in the position. A lot of new hires fall in that quadrant as well. As people grow and mature in their time at CITY, they are going to start to move to the right quadrants. We want our employees to fall into the upper right quadrant, which means the employee is high on CITY values and high in executing their day to day responsibilities. Threads Culture allows us to plot everyone on that grid simultaneously. This way, we can see where everyone falls. It helps us recognize our top performers and those that are not excelling at CITY. This doesn’t always mean there is a lack of effort. It could mean we just haven’t matched up their skill set to the right job.
Threads Culture has made a very positive impact on how we do things. It helps us stay on top of reviews because it sends automatic reminders to managers when a review is coming due. It also focuses us to be more objective in performance reviews and makes managers identify and define what that employee’s performance really looks like on a scale of one-to-ten. It helps us identify why someone is struggling and opens communication to help them improve. It forces us to decide what does a successful controller or videographer looks like at CITY.
It also shows the employee that we mean it when we say we care about our culture. It helps employees realize our values aren’t just something we talk about. It’s actually part of what we do every single day. Culture drives your performance, and it’s a key feature of whether or not an employee will be successful at CITY.