Envato Improves Clarity of Expectations And Performance With 15Five
Envato is a family-owned, wholly bootstrapped company supporting a global community of digital creatives, from a digital asset marketplace to a creative subscription service, with 600 employees in offices in Melbourne, Australia; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Los Angeles. The company was founded in 2006 as a platform for professional creatives to sell their digital assets, resources, and services, and is now expanding its offerings to empower anyone to produce creative solutions for their needs.
Organizational Development Manager, Rebecca Covington, describes Envato as being truly values-led, with a culture of humility and friendliness that naturally flows from the family owners to the rest of the organization. As the company grows, Envato’s biggest challenge now is ensuring individuals across the company are rising to the challenge of being outcomes-focused— without compromising the core values Envato was built on.
“I think 15Five is really going to come into its own as we start to build out our performance culture and hold people a little more accountable, without losing our Envato magic. “Rebecca Covington, Organizational Development Manager
Managing performance with clarity of expectations
Rebecca and her team oversee everything related to Envato’s engagement, diversity, and inclusion, as well as learning and leadership development and performance. As Envato has grown and begun to focus more on results and outcomes, they’ve introduced a philosophy of “holistic contribution” for performance management.
From the perspective of Envato’s CEO, Collis Ta’eed, holistic contribution is the idea that employees are intrinsically motivated to come to work and contribute great work with “fully bound hearts and minds,” which will naturally lead to higher performance, rather than pressuring employees to achieve a certain level of performance based on a grading scale.
While this philosophy could prove to be more effective for increasing performance at Envato, it isn’t easy to do. It requires the company to be clearer on how well they’re weighing expectations throughout the year, and it requires mutual agreement between Leadership, managers, and individual contributors.
This is exactly where Rebecca sees 15Five helping Envato by enabling the company to more easily connect and coach, and create clarity of expectations.
Finding the right solution
While enabling meaningful conversations and recognition have been identified as critical to Envato’s ability to manage performance through clarity of expectations, these weren’t initially thought to be the company’s primary drivers for employee performance.
Rather, Envato thought its main challenge was aligning OKRs across the company by cascading goals from Leadership down to individuals, which it was thought would create a connection to purpose and mission.
To help, Envato implemented Small Improvements before migrating to Lattice, but the company wasn’t experiencing the results it expected. That’s when Rebecca began evaluating 15Five.
“One of the key things I loved about 15Five is that when you do your 15Five Check-in, you have to update your goals. There’s the ability to have wins and challenges and goals show up in one place when you do your quarterly review.”
Along with this, a major reason Envato decided to go down the path of implementing 15Five was the simplicity of the product and how immediately helpful the majority of the company found it to be.
“Our executive team has been fully on board and really loving 15Five. Our managers and teams are giving that same feedback. We never get feedback like that about HR systems.”Rebecca Covington, Organizational Development Manager
When Envato implemented 15Five, their focus was still on aligning goals. But as the rollout process has continued, their primary focus has shifted to empowering meaningful conversations and recognition, which the company has found helpful for establishing a connection to mission and purpose for employees.
Creating meaningful conversations
One of the biggest hurdles to achieving clarity of expectations at Envato has been defining the company’s long-term vision as it grows. But the company has found that as leaders continue to communicate the vision, employees are motivated to meet and exceed clear expectations. In turn, leaders gain clarity on how to hold each other and employees accountable for performance and delivering outcomes.
Envato sees 15Five helping it achieve this cultural growth through a unique performance management philosophy by enabling more meaningful conversations through 15Five’s Weekly Check-in and 1-on-1s, creating more transparency, visibility, and clarity of expectations.
“I see 15Five helping set a clear path for our leaders on how to have the best conversations that will ultimately help people be their best-selves, because they will be having more coaching-based conversations about development opportunities and strengths.”Rebecca Covington, Organizational Development Manager
Upholding a culture of recognition
15Five is also helping Envato uphold its values through better recognition of others with the High Fives feature in 15Five. In just six months, Envato employees had given nearly 14,400 High Fives to each other.
After conducting its most recent engagement survey through Culture Amp, employee sentiment around feeling recognized for good work had risen 15 percent, which Rebecca believes is attributable to High Fives.
Equipping managers to be leaders
In addition to improving recognition and meaningful conversations, Envato is equipping managers with the skills necessary to be great people leaders, which will help the company uphold its values and drive higher performance.
To help, Envato is rolling out 15Five’s Best-Self Certification course through the Best-Self Academy, a learning platform based on 15Five’s Best-Self Management philosophy, which emphasizes creating the right context for people to be and become their best selves at work and in life.
“The Best-Self Academy is going to be such an integral part of our manager fundamentals program. And obviously, that then just helps us explain why 15Five is such a crucial part of managers’ roles,” Rebecca said.
In the end, Rebecca sees 15Five as a partner with values and a mission that aligns extremely well with Envato’s values.
“What I love about 15Five is that they’ve set great foundations and have a clear, thoughtful vision for what they’re trying to achieve. How I see this playing out is that all the improvements they make are consistent with their vision, which has meant that, as the platform has developed, it has remained enjoyable and simple to use. It’s brilliant for us as our philosophy on performance is so aligned with 15Five, so it feels like they’ve been reading our minds every time they release a new feature!”Rebecca Covington, Organizational Development Manager