case study

About InVision

InVision is the leading digital product design platform that enables 100 percent of the Fortune 100 to create the world’s best customer experiences. Today, more than 5 million people use InVision’s tools and resources to navigate every stage of the product design process. Founded in 2011, they continue to grow rapidly with their entire employee base working remotely from more than 28 countries.

Shelby Wolpa, Vice President of People Operations, maintains all of InVision’s systems and is responsible for bringing in the latest and greatest people technology. She’s helped the company grow from 200 to over 800 in two years and played an integral role in building the performance program. Julie DeBuhr, Senior Director of Employee Engagement, leads the People Development team. In partnership with Wolpa, DeBuhr’s team leads the training, execution, and follow-ups for both engagement and performance processes powered by Culture Amp.

Challenge: Finding a tool that aligned with their philosophy

InVision had a misalignment between their previous tool and performance philosophy. “We’ve worked hard to shift leaders towards thoughtful one-on-one conversations, rather than having to rank on a single scale. Our philosophy doesn’t work that way,” says DeBuhr.

It was clear their program had to evolve to match their progressive approach to managing performance. InVision wanted a platform that could facilitate feedback conversations and provide performance data that helps them better understand their employees’ strengths and gaps.

Informing both compensation and promotions, performance is a key driver for InVision’s business growth. At the core of their approach, InVision believes in continuously coaching employees about their performance to create a culture of candid communication. “The connection between managers and employees about coaching and guiding performance matters most,” says DeBuhr. To navigate the nuances of a remote working environment, InVision needed a standardized process and a tool that employees would actively use.

Solution: A performance management process designed for InVision

Finding a tool with frictionless UI/UX

With a solid performance philosophy and demand for a new tool, InVision selected Culture Amp as their new vendor. “We’re very lucky that our leadership team is totally bought into our practices. The cherry on top was that Culture Amp Performance enabled us to design the process we philosophically had in our minds. We didn’t have to bend to the tool – it fit our needs so well,” says Wolpa.

InVision needed their new performance tool to be heavily rooted in user experience. “As a design-driven company, we earn credibility for our programs by using tools that reflect our team – modern, fresh and frictionless,” says DeBuhr. The user interface switch from their previous tool to Culture Amp Performance increased initial adoption. “Employees now connected with Culture Amp Performance without thinking about it as a performance tool. It felt like InVision,” she adds.

Delivering proactive feedback and developmental resources

Beyond the user interface, the robust capabilities stood out to the team. “In my role, I get exposure to all of the latest technologies and Culture Amp Performance was doing something very special and different,” recalls Wolpa.

Specifically, Culture Amp’s approach to continuous feedback aligned with InVision’s conversation-driven philosophy. “One of the key differences with Culture Amp Performance was how it took continuous feedback to the next level. While others viewed real-time feedback as a shout out wall or high fives, Culture Amp Performance helps our employees give meaningful, specific and developmental feedback. It was a step above the other tools that were out there,” states Wolpa.

The integration with email and Slack is a big win. “The tool proactively requests feedback from co-workers that you wouldn’t innately think to tap. For me it’s a great reminder of the broader network of people that I’d like to give feedback to and receive feedback from. This is especially important in our distributed world where it is easy to lose sight of all the people that you work with regularly,” says Wolpa.

A phased approach to implementation and training

Wolpa and DeBuhr attributed overall success to the tool itself and the training resources. “Our latest full performance review cycle resulted in 97% usage of the tool, as well as an excellent satisfaction rating,” says DeBuhr. InVision relied on a phased approach to implementation to ensure widespread adoption of foundational parts of Culture Amp Performance before rolling out other features.

In the first year, the team launched with training for managers and individual contributors. “We used the three key product components – self-reflections, evaluations, and manager requested feedback. To help our employees, we hosted training webinars and shared information internally about how we use the tool tactically as well as our philosophy behind our performance process.” Then, they had a softer launch of continuous feedback.

This year, the process felt even smoother. “By demystifying the performance process through education, employees have learned how to have better candid conversations and direct feedback,” details DeBuhr.

Results: Performance reviews that work for employees

InVision’s reimagined performance process has altered how their employees approach performance reviews. “The reviews were truly developmental and positive conversations as opposed to traditional performance reviews that can be a stressful moment in someone’s journey,” says Wolpa.

Tenured employees who’ve been through performance reviews at many organizations commented on how the latest cycles have been the best experience they’d ever had doing a performance review. In one instance, a manager who had been traveling to customer meetings hadn’t been able to complete her team’s evaluations and people spoke up to request them. “People were asking for the reviews, not asking how to get out of them. That felt like success,” recalls DeBuhr.

Elevating employees with a robust feedback loop

After their first year using Culture Amp Performance, InVision used insights to iterate on their process. “Career development is our number one ask of the People team in engagement and exit surveys. We took that to heart when we thought about redesigning our programming for 2019. We’re motivated to continue moving toward more frequent developmental conversations,” details Wolpa.

With Culture Amp Performance, InVision’s review cycles feel like a good investment, which is not always the case. Rather than allocating time to filling out forms to check the box, employees can focus on the most valuable aspects of the performance process instead – the conversation.

Although it may be too early in the year for ROI data, InVision believes that incorporating development into performance goals and continued exploration of the Learning Management System integration will be rewarding in the future.

Connecting the dots with Culture Amp Performance and Engagement

Using Culture Amp Performance and Engagement together helps InVision amplify their current performance process. “I’m very excited about the intersection of engagement and performance data. Only Culture Amp can help us connect the two data sets and see those insights in an automated way,” adds Wolpa.

InVision’s investment in a thoughtful performance process exemplifies their commitment to their people.  “Many high-growth startups have tactically focused HR departments if they have them at all. It’s incredible to be at a company at this stage in its growth, with a robust feedback loop and a system that supports the process. Culture Amp has played a key part in creating that level of sophistication,” says Wolpa.