TRAFFIT culture

Transparent system can sometimes be cold. How we use 1-1 development meetings to keep things human.

19/05/2022
Our promotion system limits the interaction between managers and teams. Read how we created space for personal feedback.
Mick Griffin
Mick Griffin
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    Traffit Pathways

    If this is your first time reading about how things work at Traffit, I need to take 60 seconds to intro you to our Pathways system.

    At Traffit we give each of our employees a Traffit Pathway. It’s a completely transparent development system where each team member knows exactly what they need to deliver to achieve their next 3-4 promotions. We also share this internally with all team members, so you can understand why someone got promoted and how they achieved it.

    Those pathways are very systematic and based around KPIs, increasing skills and responsibilities. The core reason fo that is we don’t believe people should get or lose promotions based on if the manager ‘likes them’ or thinks they ‘try hard enough’. It should be clear, achievable and based on specifics.

    You can read more about Pathways here, but let me share the challenge it creates.

    Does such a system create a cold management process?

    When a team member knows what they need to achieve for the next 18 months worth of work and promotions, and those promotions are made purposefully to never change. Regardless of the company status or management process. It can lead to a very employee empowered process which we love, but can also feel a little cold.

    For example, if a team member is hitting all their goals, but I feel they could develop their connection to the team members. This isn’t something that will affect their promotion but as a business and a manager, I would like them to think about it.

    So we needed to create a process for the feedback loop from manager to employee, and employee to manager about the personal side of working in Traffit.

    Traffit 1-1 Meetings

    To accompany our Traffit Pathways, we also created a 1-1 meeting system that we run every 3 months. This takes place in a meeting format, but is also connected to written feedback that the employee keeps so they can compare the changes over time. We have 7 points that we cover and I’ll explain what each one means.

    1. Strengths
    2. Areas for development
    3. Core Responsibilities
    4. Skill Level
    5. Satisfaction score (1-10)
    6. Satisfaction Score Reasoning
    7. Performance Evaluation

    Strengths

    Easy, this is where we add bullet point strengths we believe the team member is demonstrating. I’ll be showing examples for each point, however they will be mixed from various different meetings.

    Leadership
    Adaptability
    Self Management

    Areas for development

    Why we don’t call this weaknesses? It’s on purpose, because in most cases it’s talking about what we want the person to work on next. It might not be expected of them at this time. Team members shouldn’t feel they did something wrong because they need to learn a skill for the future.

    Continuing to develop as a personal manager
    Having a stronger position within the management group

    Core Responsibilities

    This is one of my favourite points. Because over time it’s common for managers and employees to misunderstand how someone’s core responsibility changes. A manager can think a person is now looking after ‘x’ while the employee thinks they still look after ‘y’. Stating this in writing every 3 months allows everyone to stay on the same page.

    Convert inbound trials to sales and generate clients from outbound activities

    Skill Level

    At Traffit we have skill levels connected to our pathways and salaries. We add this so when looking back, employees can see how the feedback changed over time.

    10

    Satisfaction Score

    This is a really tricky one for a manager to deliver, but the one that makes the most impact with the employee. Because it’s a scale we use in our everyday lives. It’s also possible for an employee to have this score go down as their take on more responsibilities and that not be a bad thing. Being a 9 as a junior, and a 8 as a mid level is still strong progress.

    7/10

    Satisfaction Score Reasoning

    This goes without saying that we need to explain why we give such a scoring. Without context it’s lost. Especially over time. Even if you explain it during the meeting, people will forget. Here is an example of real feedback. The name is changed to John as 1-1 meetings are the only items in Traffit we don’t share publicly.

    It’s a hard moment to score ‘John’ work. As we are currently a 9 for determination, and perseverance. a 7 for internal interactions, and a 5 for delivery. John is in such a role that numbers play a big part in the analysis. I do see a very big improvement in the potential of John future as he continues to grow and believe we will see a bigger, stronger John soon.

    Performance Evaluation

    Here we also give our feeling regarding the team member’s performance. We can explain if we think the results are better than expected, average, or under what we hoped. We can also talk here about the difference between effort and performance. I’ve replaced then name with Jane here.

    Currently Jane’s performance is faultless. She has already managed a number of customers above her recommended level. Her upsells are solid and cancellations are low. The next stage for Jane and the team is to increase recruitment knowledge.

    No transparency here

    The most unusual element in this process for Traffit is that this information is only shared between the employee, their manager and the board. It’s not like 99% of our company processes and open to everyone.

    The core reason for this is because this is personal feedback. It can sometimes be about someone’s personality challenges, or emotion experiences, or interactions with other employees. I also don’t believe there is a benefit to our other team members to know the outcomes of the meetings. Also we need to encourage a very open and honest channel of feedback that won’t be affected by ‘what others will think’.

    Wrap Up

    I hope this article was interesting and certainly for Traffit this is the Ying to our Traffit Pathways Yang. That is vital for us to keep a balance between freedom and transparency, with constructive feedback and personal connection with our team members.

    Regards!

    Mick

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