At BetterWorks, we’re focused on productivity and an effective goal management process. In addition to thoroughly utilizing the BetterWorks software internally, we also try to pioneer new approaches and best practices to share with our customers.
Something we’ve done recently that any company or organization can benefit from is our new 30-day quick-start goal. (Sign up for our onboarding webinar to learn even more!)
It began because, like many of our customers, we’re going through a period of high growth and have been adding a lot of people to the BetterWorks team each month. We realized we didn’t want to wait 90 days for our new hires to be clear on what it takes to be successful. We wanted to challenge them and give them real work to do right away. More importantly, we wanted them to understand—from day one—what success looked like.
We thought about it as if new hires were new members of a gym. They could get fit on their own—show up, wander around to various machines and make some progress—but they’d be a lot stronger at the end of a month if they had a plan to follow, designed to suit their goals in consultation with a personal trainer.
So instead of pointing our new hires to a computer, BetterWorks software and some manuals, we create a 30-day goal for each person. These goals are specific to the individual and role, and are developed by the employees and their managers. While the goals are different for every individual, they all boil down to one simple question: What would crushing it look like?
“Crushing it” is what we want every BetterWorker to aim for—remember, we don’t expect every goal to be achieved, because everyone should have stretch goals. But everyone should have a roadmap for success, and with our new 30-day quick-start goal, we’ve gotten over the old idea of babying new hires or soft-pedaling what they’re involved in. We hire people who are go-getters, and we expect them to want to crush it the minute they get here.
How we did it
What we do is come up with a handful of time-bound milestones each new hire can tackle that ensures they get ramped up quickly, learn what they need to know to be successful, accelerate their path to productivity and feel a sense of accomplishment. As expected, this looks different for each role, but it applies across the company, regardless of role or level. For example:
Matthew Rasmus, Engineering
Not only does Matt have more than just the traditional, “read the manual,” work to do, but he’s also got a mix of general and metrics-based goals. On top of “Get familiarized with our backend,” he’s also targeting “Get a feature in the backend merged.” And instead of just “fix bugs” or “contribute code reviews,” those efforts are quantified: fix 10 bugs and contribute 10 code reviews.
The point becomes not reading about the work, but doing the work and learning how to do the whole process—and navigate your team and the company—as part of that.
Jim Priestley, Executive
Jim is in a leadership role, so we expect him to ramp up quickly. He also has different expectations around getting his team up to speed and working with other cross-functional leaders at BetterWorks. As a result, his milestones are much more focused and metrics-based, such as “Meet with 15 prospects” and “Partner with Tamara for 4 new hires in Q3.”
A notable figure on Jim’s screen is the number of views of his goal, represented by “54” next to the gray eyeball icon in the Stats box. Going a step further, clicking on that icon shows him a list of who those 54 people were who looked at his goals.
What you find when you do that is a cross-functional list of BetterWorkers. It’s not just Jim’s direct reports or his manager who cared about his productivity. Marketing cares, sales cares, engineering cares, and more. All of these people are stakeholders in Jim’s success in a way that wouldn’t seem intuitive at first.
Marisa Duggan, Legal
Marisa’s milestones are less quantified, but represent a mix of learning, such as “Read Goal Science™ white paper,” and doing, like “Publish rev. 1 updated order form by September 18, 2015.” Her goals also show a mix of topics: from basic software function (BetterWorks demo) to product philosophy (Goal Science) to departmental process (Review new pricing structure).
Other reporting and social metrics are available on the right side of the screen. In addition to the views (the eyeball graphic), Marisa and others can see the number of cheers or kudos on her goal progress that she’s received from co-workers, represented by the balloon icon in the Stats box, as well as her progress toward completion of her goals in the Progress Over Time graph.
Results in 30 days
It’s hard to be precise about how much time it used to take to get a new hire productive at BetterWorks. Our best estimation is roughly six to eight weeks, though that could vary wildly depending on the new employee’s own initiative. But we believe our 30-day goal cuts that time in half. What we learned is if new hires partner with their manager, both parties are involved in the new hire’s success and if they both know what it means for the new hire to be “crushing it” after 30 days, we have a more engaged and productive workforce.
Plus we’ve discovered a game changer. Not only are new employees up to speed faster, but they’re happier about it. Matt Rasmus received so many cheers as he was executing on his 30-day goal that he was even more motivated to succeed. The social recognition and feedback in real-time as he was ramping up and being successful created a positive, enthusiastic work environment—and that was only his first month on the job!
We know many of you are using BetterWorks across your organizations to power enterprise and individual goals, but don’t forget: that can start from an employee’s first day on the job. Not only can you engage new employees in their own success from day one, but you can also make everyone else in the company a partner in their efforts.
For more tips for successful onboarding, sign up for our webinar tomorrow, “Hiring Hacks: BetterWorks CEO’s 3 Steps to a 98% Retention Rate” on December 1 at 11am PT/2pm ET.