Source: SETTERS Education
Author: Liza Ryabko, HR Manager at SETTERS
To save employees from monotonous routine, stagnation and burnout, a manager should constantly develop them professionally, highlighting both strengths and growth points. SETTERS chose Vectorly to assess and motivate their team.
In this article, HR manager Liza Ryabko explains why we decided to try this platform, as well as how we switched the largest department of the agency to Vectorly and organized a review of Project Managers.
Why do we conduct assessments of our team?
Our goal is to educate and develop specialists inside the agency. So, to grow juniors into middles and seniors, we evaluate their skills, analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and use the information to collect training materials that will help the team improve their skills and raise their grades.
The best way to do this is a 360-degree review. This approach involves an assessment of an employee by his/her manager, by the team, and by themselves.
Before Vectorly, we used Excel spreadsheets to hold a review. Each department and position had special templates. A review took quite some time: we had to change the privacy settings of each column, attach e-mails to them, and ask reviewers to hide their comments, in order to make the assessment anonymous. Then we had to analyze the information manually and got bulky tables as a result.
At some point, I found myself confused by all these endless spreadsheets and realized that we needed an alternative. I found an article on VC.ru about PINKMAN studio’s experience: the design director explained how they used Vectorly to create designers’ skillboards. I visited the site, picked a convenient time for a consultation and, the same evening, Vectorly’s CEO Irina contacted me. She immediately understood my pain and gave me access to the platform so I could try the service for myself.
First, we switched our largest Project Management Dept, with over 50 people, to Vectorly. To start a review, we needed to prepare templates for each unit of the department. Our Group Heads were assigned this task, after getting familiar with the service’s features.
1. Create the skill sets
Each reviewer (a person who writes an assessment) gets assigned to a certain group of skills. For example, we don’t expect a copywriter to evaluate the hard skills of a web designer, so we will not assign him/her to assessment of this skill set.
Tip: Don't try to include as many skills for assessment as possible. During our first review, we had 80 skills. It took too much time, and reviewers quickly got tired of filling out huge forms.
2. Describe skill levels
To make the results realistic, add a description to each skill and its different levels. This will help reviewers be more objective and accurate in their assessment.
3. Describe grades (or career paths)
Each position has grades - Junior, Middle, Senior, Group Head/Lead – with corresponding experience and skills. Salary and skill levels differ, depending on the grade.
Tip: Describe skill levels for each grade. After a review, Vectorly will automatically calculate the grade.
After the preparatory stage is finished, we can start a review.
Here is my checklist before I start a review:
- Choose 10-15 reviewers (max) who interact with an employee on a regular basis.
- Assign the reviewers to complete an evaluation of relevant skill sets.
- Add a field where the reviewers can add comments; for example, give compliments or share negative experiences.
- Add a reminder: a reviewer can skip a skill or add a small comment.
- Give a week for evaluation. Notify those who have not yet completed the task two days before the deadline.
- Take into account the tough schedules of the reviewers. So, I finish the review, if 70-80% of the reviewers have completed the evaluation.
After the review is finished, we organize a meeting with an employee and his/her manager. The review analysis shows us how its results match the required position. In SETTERS, we decided that 90% compliance is enough for the employee to move to the next grade.
The final stage of a review is creation of a growth plan, which includes the list of skills and learning activities that will help to develop the employee. It’s not only weaknesses or growth areas that we focus on when creating a growth plan. We also make sure an employee develops his/her strong skills, and include relevant learning materials for that as well. Every team member gets their own personal training program, which will help him/her to get the desired position.
I always discuss a comfortable format of education with employees: some like watching courses and reading books, while others prefer listening to podcasts or taking short intensives. Sometimes our team members already have their own list of resources, so a manager can use that and add recommendations. I also study all this and add any materials I find useful. This is how a growth plan for six months is formed at our company. Once every two months, we meet for a short monitoring call with an employee, to find out how he or she is doing.
Usually, I try to add free materials to growth plans. But if an employee needs a paid course, we discuss the opportunity to share the costs: 70% is paid by the agency, and 30% is deducted from salary.
With Vectorly, you can not only see the results of a single employee, but also analyze the progress of the entire department. The service shows the team’s average score and allows you to compare results.
Vectorly brought consistency to reviews in our company. After the Group Heads learned how to work with the necessary skills and evaluation criteria, we optimized the process of assessment. All I need to do is to select reviewers, analyze their reports, compare the assessments with the grades, and build growth plans for employees.