Custom Reports: Widening the Lens on Employee Feedback and Team Progress

By Shane Metcalf

Ever since my days as an executive coach, my passion has been to facilitate open and honest business communication, providing company leaders with access to their greatest potential.

I fulfill this passion at 15Five by guiding customers through an automated question and answer process, which leads to conversations about everything from how to improve an employee’s role to the creation of brilliant product innovations.

Every question that you have ever asked your team and every answer and comment you provide are securely and permanently stored within the application. But as the days and weeks fly by, this information ceases to be top of mind and opportunities often fade into oblivion.

Until now.

Slicing and dicing

Introducing Custom Reports, a feature that allows you to select and sort the answers to any question you’ve ever asked your team into a single report, for any given time period.

For instance, you can see how an individual, a group or everyone in the company answered “What’s one idea to improve your role or the company?”, either just last week or over the last year.

You can view the entire arc of every employee’s career at the company. Easily access detailed information on team efforts and individual achievement to get an accurate picture of performance over time. This information can be used to supercharge 1on1’s and performance reviews, and to support employees to do exceptional work.

15Five Custom Reports Everyone

You can read the narrative of every employee’s evolution in minutes, and have a living record of conversations to see trends in the growth of employees, teams, and the entire organization.

Look in the mirror

Detailed employee progress is not just for managers, you can show it to employees at regular intervals. When people are fully aware of their opportunities for growth, micromanagement becomes a thing of the past.

When employees see that they have not grown or completed tasks over several weeks, stagnancy stares them in the face. Employees begin to fully understand their own progress (or lack thereof) and they begin to work more autonomously. This adds to their sense of satisfaction and allows them to be more efficient and effective.

In this example, time management continues to be an issue for an employee and multiple company leaders are aware of the problem and offer support:

15Five Custom Reports Question

15Five Custom Reports Challenge

Challenge continues:

15Five Custom Reports Challenge 1

Challenge continues:

15Five Custom Reports Challenge 2

Finally, the employee overcomes the challenge:

15Five Custom Reports resolved

Opportunity knocks twice

Every time you ask an employee a question, you are not only gathering information, you are sending one of the most important messages a leader can send — I care and support you. I care about your satisfaction, your difficulties, your triumphs, and your brilliant ideas.

But if your business environment is as fast-paced as ours, everyone is always moving on to the next thing. The window of time to observe wins and congratulate people for their accomplishments closes quickly.

Custom reports allow for greater interactions with more people who are not direct reports through the comments and likes features.  A senior manager or even the CEO can run a custom report and with little effort provide feedback and acknowledgement to everyone in the company, even after some time has passed.

Leaders can easily sift through 50 employees’ 15Fives and “like” their responses to questions. This extends the reach of the CEO to interact with and acknowledge everyone. This dynamic interaction allows employees to feel heard and get some precious interaction with upper management and executives.

Maintain your culture

Values are the backbone of the company culture. But as companies grow, values become harder and harder to preserve. If they become meaningless words, the entire business is at risk.

Have you wondered what people are struggling with in terms of living the values? You can use the application to easily keep the values alive, and you can use custom reports to determine the health of your company culture.

Throughout the year we ask this question: “What is a way that you have lived one of 15Five’s core values this week?” Running a custom report provides a horizontal view about how everyone is feeling around the values. What do find the leverage or keep things simple mean? Management can be aware of employee perceptions and re-align them towards attaining the company mission.

Ongoing performance reviews

The annual review is a massive source of frustration for employees and for management. Employees feel like they are being put on trial, and managers feel like they do not have enough information to make a confident decision about advancement or reward.

Recent memory colors judgment and managers are likely to rate a person’s performance only based on the last several weeks leading up to the review. This means that a below-average performer who starts to step it up at the end of the year can cheat the system.

Conversely, a solid performer who is suddenly encountering challenges can taint an otherwise stellar work record. Without historical data, managers run the risk of seeing through too narrow of a lens.

Custom reports provide an accurate record of an employee’s performance and experience at your company. Instead of guessing about employee contributions or focusing on the last few weeks of performance, managers can trace the story of an employee’s growth over time.

Performance reviews are conversations about past and future success. Every day, I have similar conversations with customers about what will help them to succeed — namely new features that enhance communication and visibility throughout an organization. Custom reports represents the latest iteration, and we will continue to empower you with tools to better understand and support everyone who works for you.

Shane Metcalf is Vice President of Customer Success at 15Five, where he is helping to transform the way employees and managers communicate through our web-based feedback and alignment solution. Shane has also been coaching CEO’s and their teams for the past 6 years around organizational health, leadership and culture.

Image Credit: Yogesh Mhatre

Have you tried the Custom Reports feature? Leave us some feedback in the comments below.


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