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Customer Stories
7 Min Read

How Kreg Tool Skyrocketed Engagement and Reduced Turnover by over 20%

Logan Hendrickson
Logan Hendrickson

Kreg Tool specializes in innovative woodworking tools.

The Challenge

After moving into a new facility they noticed a problem: their employees weren’t very engaged. This was causing issues like low performance and a high level of turnover – about 40-45% of employees were leaving the company each year.

This was costly. Kreg, with a mix of manufacturing and office staff, calculates their turnover costs at approximately 30% of an employee’s salary to replace them. Gallup studies have shown that number could be up to 200% of their salary.

Kreg’s HR team realized they needed to make some changes. They wanted to address the retention issue, measure engagement, and improve how they evaluated employee performance – and their existing system didn’t set clear expectations, offer chances for career growth, give enough recognition, or hold people accountable.

For Kreg, fixing these employee issues wasn’t just about numbers – it was about making the company a better place to work. Kreg Tool knew they had to do something to keep their employees motivated, to boost morale and prevent so many people from leaving.

Choosing 15Five over their existing HRIS

They knew they needed a solution to help them tackle their engagement, performance, and retention issues. At first they looked to their HRIS for help but found that it wasn’t built to impact those outcomes as much as it was built for their core transactional HR work.

So they turned to the employees, and asked them what they would like to see. One of those employees suggested that Karee Vernon, VP of HR, look into a tool called 15Five to evaluate and see if it could help.

“We found the functionality wasn’t there with ADP. ADP is a system of record but it is not a system that allows you to take action, especially from a performance perspective. 15Five is more of that performance and engagement system that allows you to build relationships between managers and employees”

Karee Vernon

After an employee brought 15Five to Karee, it immediately stood out to their team for its ease of use, continuous approach to improving engagement and performance, and the focus on connecting managers and employees.

Their HRIS data is still crucial, and integrating ADP with 15Five is easier than ever using the HRIS Connector.

The approach: The HR Outcomes Flywheel

Starting with their key HR outcomes in mind – turnover, engagement, and performance – Kreg Tool started gathering feedback and using signals from employee data to implement changes.

Targeted HR Outcome: Turnover and Performance

Because turnover and performance were the primary areas for improvement, Kreg started using check-ins as a way to keep a pulse on both outcomes on a regular, weekly basis, as well as rolling out 360° reviews and engagement surveys.

Signals: Gathering Data and Measuring Progress

They gathered additional data signals from 15Five, including: 

1. Performance Reviews: Now Kreg Tools has flexible reviews that their employees and managers actually enjoy completing. This makes a big difference in having the right data to make decisions with.

5. Objectives: Now that they can track performance quarter over quarter and week-to-week, everyone feels more confident in achieving their goals and more connected to the bigger organizational goals and objectives.

5. Check-ins: Regular check-ins provide a structured platform for managers to communicate with their teams. These brief but impactful meetings ensure that goals remain aligned, feedback flows seamlessly, and challenges are addressed proactively.6. 1-on-1 Meetings: Kreg puts an emphasis on connecting their employees and their managers with effective 1:1 meeting templates, so any issues around engagement or performance would be surfaced immediately and they could take action right away.

Insights and Recommendations: Measuring Manager Effectiveness

Kreg was collecting actionable insights from their performance reviews, weekly pulse scores, engagement surveys, and 1-on-1 Meetings. Because their data showed how much impact employee’s managers were having on their performance and engagement, 15Five recommended measuring manager effectiveness during their engagement survey process.

After all the work Karee and team accomplished, they have increased to a 75% effectiveness rating among their managers, a strong leading indicator of retention.

Taking Action: Focusing on the manager employee relationship

Given all their signals, insights, and recommendations, Karee and team took action:

  • Measure manager effectiveness: They use the measure to ensure that their managers are doing well, engaging their teams, and providing the feedback they are looking for. Karee’s team can evaluate areas of especially high or low manager effectiveness across the company and by department and individual manager, identifying both high performers to emulate and managers needing targeted support.
  • Focus on recognition: They saw an opportunity to utilize High Fives to create a culture of recognition and connectedness
  • Leaning in to weekly check-ins and 1-on-1s: Recognizing the impact of their managers on retention, engagement, and performance, Kreg has decided to stay focused on the ways employees and managers can best connect.
  • Tracking Objectives: Kreg replaced their existing objective tracking system with 15Five to streamline their goal setting and tracking, keeping everything aligned with their goals of engagement and retention.

“Having the objectives within the check-ins has made it a lot easier to track those week to week and keep everyone connected inside the organization”

Karee Vernon, VP of HR

Impact: Tangible Results and Achievements

Since implementing 15Five and following the HR Outcomes Flywheel approach, Kreg has seen a significant impact on their HR outcomes:

  • Turnover: Decreased from over 40% turnover in 2022 to 32% in 2023
  • Retention: Increased from 71% to 83% 
  • Performance: Fixed the broken performance management, providing accountability and career development conversations.
  • Employee Feedback: Strong positive feedback from employees and a belief in the direction of the business.
Kreg tool Decreased turnover by over 20% Increased retention by 16%
Manager Effectiveness score: 75%


Unlike Kreg Tool’s HRIS, 15Five offered a solution tailored to enhance engagement and performance, fostering a stronger connection between managers and employees.

Implementing the HR Outcomes Flywheel approach allowed Kreg Tool to target turnover and performance through regular check-ins, 360 reviews, and engagement surveys. Data signals gathered from 15Five provided valuable insights, enabling the company to track performance, set objectives, conduct check-ins, and facilitate meaningful 1-on-1 meetings.

Recognizing the crucial role of managers in driving engagement and performance, Kreg Tool started measuring manager effectiveness, leading to a significant increase in manager effectiveness.

Taking decisive action, the company focused on fostering the manager-employee relationship, emphasizing recognition, leveraging weekly check-ins and 1-on-1s, and refining objective tracking.

The impact of these changes has been remarkable. Kreg Tool witnessed a substantial decrease in turnover from over 40% to 32%, an increase in retention from 71% to 83%, and significant improvements in performance management, fostering career development, and accountability conversations. Moreover, positive feedback from employees and managers affirmed their belief in the company’s direction.

Kreg Tool’s journey, powered by 15Five and our approach to scaling strategic HR through the  HR Outcomes Flywheel, showcases the tangible benefits of implementing a proven system to increase  employee engagement, performance, and retention. These changes not only revitalized the company culture, but also paved the way for sustained growth and success.

Learn more about 15Five.