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Growsari customer spotlight
Lisa Beebe

Lisa Beebe

Writer, Culture Amp

The performance review process provides companies with valuable data they can use to make better decisions. But too often, performance reviews become a source of stress and anxiety, company-wide. What can organizations do to gather the insights they need without placing an unnecessary burden on their people?

A recent Culture Amp webinar explored how effective performance strategies can empower both employees and managers. Andrzej “Oggy” Ogonowski, Co-Founder and Head of Platform at Growsari, spoke with Dr. Shanta Dey, Senior People Scientist at Culture Amp, about how Growsari benefited from rethinking its performance process as the company grew.

Growsari, based in the Philippines, provides mom-and-pop entrepreneurs with the technology solutions to run their businesses. The company’s founders knew from experience that performance management matters, but at first, the team was so small they took a manual approach – each team member working in a shared Google doc.

As the company scaled, its too-simple review process became hard to manage. Oggy recalls, “Those Google docs quickly got overwhelming or things were missed. We realized that we need to formalize it a bit more, and that's been a year-on-year continuous journey.” For a more strategic approach to performance management, Growsari began working with Culture Amp.

Empower your workforce graphic notes

Using performance data to drive decision-making

Growsari’s leaders wanted reliable data to inform company decisions, so they were willing to work hard to get the performance process right. Oggy explains, “We need to be running on good information… and ultimately, it comes down to data.”

Today, more than 300 people work at Growsari’s headquarters, and the company recognizes that its people are its greatest asset. Oggy explains, “If you’re going to be making decisions around the business, you want to be focusing on your biggest levers. People are one of your biggest levers, both in terms of cost and of potential – what they can achieve.”

People data matters, but only if it’s accurate and available. Oggy puts it this way: “If the data you’re working with is wrong or flawed, or you’re not able to get it all in one place, you’re going to be spending all those hours just fighting to get it cleaned up – or you’re going to be questioning all of it, rather than making the proper decisions that are going to drive the business forward.”

Using Culture Amp’s tools, Growsari knows what their data means and how to take action on the results.

Communicating the process to employees, one step at a time

To support its B2B customers, Growsari operates big warehouses at scale, which involves breaking down tasks so they’re as simple as possible. Think: “Your job is just to get this box from here to here.” By bringing that learning into the performance review process, they’ve made it less intimidating to employees and managers alike.

The company takes a 360-degree approach to feedback, including self-reviews and peer reviews, which managers then use to construct a holistic review of each employee. To keep it simple, they focus on one task per week, and everyone works through it together. This has been very successful for Growsari, which has a 100% performance cycle completion rate.

Clear communication about each week’s task adds clarity to the review process and keeps employees engaged. Culture Amp data shows that when employees view the performance process as transparent and fair, they are more likely to be happy with the outcome.

Calibrating performance data to get the best results

Because Growsari uses performance data to guide decision-making, it’s critical that the data is as accurate and unbiased as possible. The company’s performance process runs on a twice-yearly cycle to match the core operating cadence of the company. Every six months, as that cycle comes to a close, the leadership team books two days together to take a closer look at each review.

The way we’re always approaching this as a leadership team is making sure that this is a really clear and correct source of truth that then you can go make all these other business decisions based on. Really, the calibration process is us getting in the weeds and making sure that the data is fair, it’s correct, and it all makes sense.

— Andrzej “Oggy” OgonowskiCo-Founder and Head of Platform, Growsari

This calibration process gives Growsari’s leaders a sense of how everyone at the company is performing. Because the team is so large, it’s difficult to manage development individually, so leadership clusters employees into groups.

Top performers are batched together for access to certain programs and engagement opportunities. Struggling employees, in a separate batch, are offered the chance to rotate into different roles internally in the hopes that it will kickstart their performance. Oggy explains, “The power is about being able to segment your employees into these different groups, and then you have three or four programs to help as many people as possible.”

Continuing to evolve the performance process

Although Growsari has emerged from what Oggy describes as “the awkward teenager phase of building a company” and developed an effective performance process, the current approach isn’t set in stone. Oggy and his team have iterated and improved it over the years, and with support from Culture Amp, they will continue to do so as the company grows.

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