Patagonia takes a progressive approach, from the way it runs its business to its commitment to environmental issues. Unfortunately, its performance management process didn’t reflect who they were as a company and the values most important to its employees.
Patagonia’s existing performance management tool simply digitized the paper and file system made popular in the Industrial era. Once-a-year reviews weren’t adding any value, and the technology was cumbersome and difficult to use, creating a significant administrative burden for internal resources. Overall the process was slow, arduous and not aligned with Patagonia’s celebrated culture of being unconventional.
Patagonia wanted a new process that reflected who they were as a company and the values most important to its employees: transparency, collaboration and improvement. From that, it established a new mission for performance development – to improve employee performance through effective goal setting that leveraged the crowd.
“The beauty of HighGround is that information goes straight to the employee. Once you hear from the crowd, you begin to see trends. Now the conversation employees have with their managers at the end of the month is really different, and the manager’s role becomes a true coach versus just rater/evaluator… That’s the future of conversations — people are empowered with data they didn’t have before.”
– Dean Carter, Vice President of Human Resources, Patagonia
COMPASS, powered by HighGround, is Patagonia employees’ personal device for improved performance every day. The program leverages the science of objectives and key results (OKRs) to help employees set goals, promotes a growth mindset by treating development as a regenerative process and taps into the power of the crowd through HighGround’s social functionality.
Some early successes include: