Performance reviews
How to do performance reviews the Mattermost way.
The performance review process is a vital practice to reflect on the output of ourselves and our colleagues, to identify the key opportunities for each of us to grow and excel, to objectively review our capabilities and track record on delivering results against the requirements of our role levels, which may result in level-based promotions, compensation adjustments, and/or changes in role.

Why are performance reviews important?

The responsibility of a manager is to increase the total output of the organizations they control and the organizations they influence.
The primary purpose of a performance review is to assess a colleague's performance, have the colleague clearly understand how to progress professionally in the opinion of the manager, and hold the colleague accountable for increasing their performance based on the assessment and feedback.
It's one of the most difficult things a people manager needs to do - it's also one of the most important.

Other than increasing output, what are other objectives of performance reviews?

In addition to the primary goal increasing the output of colleagues and of the organization, the performance review process also serves to align our actions to the Mattermost Leadership Principles. These are used as the criteria for peer-evaluation, and to calibrate role levels with colleagues', which may result in level-based promotions and compensation adjustments or, if level expectations are repeatedly not met, changes in role.

Manager Training

We believe a Manager’s fundamental role in a performance review is to improve performance. We use Chapter 13 of the book High Output Management as the framework and pre-reading for our review process.
At performance review time all managers should:
  1. 1.
    Complete reading this document on performance reviews and related documents on relevant departmental review process in detail.
  2. 2.
    Read or re-read Chapter 13 of High Output Management. If you don't have a copy of the book, you can complete the High Output Management Book Order form and Workplace will order a copy for you, or you can order and expense the cost.
  3. 3.
    Complete a short set of questions to reflect on the material.
  4. 4.
    If you have not yet been through a Performance Review Training session organized by HR in the last 18 months, please join one when requested as the review cycle begins.

How is feedback shared?

Feedback is solicited in a 360-degree style to incorporate feedback from peers. If you manage people, your manager may include direct reports in your peer feedback panel.

Peer Feedback

Staff are welcome to select 3-6 peers for their peer feedback panel. Managers can adjust the panel at any time. Peer reviews include Likes and Wishes.
Note: HR will try and limit peer review panel requests to a maximum of 5 per person.

Self Reflection

Self Awareness is one of our Leadership Principles and will be a factor of success for the entire process. The self reflection includes all of the review categories in the peer review.

Manager Evaluation

Managers will review all feedback to complete your performance appraisal. In addition to providing feedback based on your performance, Managers will provide an overall performance rating.
  • Performance rating is a manager's rating based on a direct report's execution of AORs and other responsibilities for the review period.

What is the process?

All staff take part in the Annual End of Year Performance Review Cycle and the Mid-Year Performance Review Cycle. The intent of the mid-year review cycle is to promote timely performance feedback. Compensation is only reviewed during the annual Winter Performance Review cycle.
Team members joining in April will not need to do the 90 day New Colleague review and will instead take part in the Mid-Year Performance Review Cycle. Team members joining May - August will follow the typical 90 day New Colleague review process and are not required to complete the Mid-Year Review.
Team members joining in August and September will not need to do the 90 day New Colleague review and will instead take part in review cycle. Team members joining October - December will follow the typical 90 day New Colleague review process and are not required to complete the End of Year Review.

Rating Scale

Behaviorally-anchored performance ratings help us to establish a shared and agreed-upon language that describes well-defined performance expectations, desired behaviours, and outcomes. Rating scales can also check biases and enhance distributive and procedural fairness during performance calibrations.
We have had several iterations of the rating scale as we continue to respond to staff feedback. For the EOY 2021 review cycle, we moved to a 4-point rating scale to ensure clarity and differentiation between ratings. Based on feedback, we have also adjusted the rating scale to have 1 clear rating of "not meeting expectations" and 3 options describing average to above-average performance.
  1. 1.
    Needs development: Does not consistently meet expectations that are appropriate for the role or level. Additional direction and support are needed. Willing or able to improve but lacks results required for the role.
  2. 2.
    Consistently meets expectations: Regularly meets and sometimes exceeds expectations. May require some direction to achieve core responsibilities for the role or team goals. Seen as a consistent and dependable teammate.
  3. 3.
    Often exceeds expectations: Regularly exceeds expectations. Requires little to no direction to achieve the core responsibilities of the role and often identifies solutions that have a greater impact on team goals.
  4. 4.
    Consistently exceeds expectations: Exceptional performance. Strongly exceeds expectations and consistently delivers beyond the goals of the role. Enables others to perform better.

Questions and Answers

Are annual performance reviews also a time to review compensation?

Yes. In the process of reviewing performance against target levels, changes in level and in compensation are also reviewed with the HR team and compensation committees by department.

Are there any resources available?

  • Learn how to use Culture Amp, nominate peer reviewers, give effective peer and upward feedback, and write your self-reflection in Culture Amp's self-guided course.
  • People Managers should take Culture Amp's self-guided course to learn how to use the platform as a people manager. The course includes tips for writing evaluations, giving clear and actionable feedback, and helping your direct reports write strong goals.
  • SeeEOY Review Toolkit for additional resources.