In 2016 Patreon became one of the first companies to use Culture Amp and Paradigm’s Inclusion survey. Around the same time, they started looking for the best employee feedback platform to manage individual feedback and engagement surveys. Lauren Ficklin, People Operations Business Partner at Patreon, says “I wanted something that could do everything. Being able to find a service that could do engagement, onboarding, offboarding, inclusion, and peer-to-peer feedback was crucial. Culture Amp did that.”
Finding a better way to collect 360 feedback
Before Culture Amp, individual feedback was provided by rating peers on a scale of one to five. When data from these surveys was analyzed, Ficklin found that most people were giving others a score of four. “That's indicative of us not feeling comfortable with the scale,” she says. After speaking with managers and team members, Ficklin learned that giving someone a three or below was seen as impeding their career development. The scale-based surveys were not an effective way to gather candid feedback, and they didn’t provide enough information to be actionable.
It was Culture Amp’s focus on finding a balance of strengths and areas for improvement that drew Ficklin to the Employee Effectiveness tool. “I also liked that you could choose strength areas that were already written out, making it a faster process,” she says. Because there is an opportunity to leave comments on each question, people receive more candid and actionable feedback, together with valuable context.
Patreon now uses Culture Amp individual effectiveness surveys biannually, and the results are used solely for learning and development purposes - they’re never tied to compensation discussions or adjustments, so people are more likely to give constructive feedback. Managers coach their direct reports through the 360° feedback process, using a built-in guide within the platform. “Managers at Patreon really, truly own career development for their direct reports,” says Ficklin.
Share survey data with your company
Ficklin’s team has used aggregated individual effectiveness survey data to help provide clearer guidelines for leveling up within roles. They’ve also used data from their onboarding surveys to improve new hires’ experiences at Patreon, and they’re creating a custom onboarding survey for their engineering department. Engagement survey results are shared and actioned on by the whole company, and Ficklin’s biggest tip for others looking to expand their employee feedback reach is to share survey data with everyone.
Unpacking employee engagement results
This year, Patreon completed their first employee engagement survey. They scored highly on contribution to broader purpose (95%) and overall company confidence (83%). Confidence in leadership, decision making, as well as growth and development were the three areas selected for focus, and the solution Patreon is testing is to host more question and answer sessions at All Hands meetings, as well as giving an opportunity for anonymous questions to be submitted beforehand to executives and leaders.
Ficklin took all of the areas for improvement to small in-person focus groups for discussion. Equalizing recognition standards across the organization was an idea that came directly from one of these groups. “All of our leaders are managers and so equalizing these recognition standards should help people to feel recognized and to see that other people are getting the recognition they deserve for their work, as well as building trust in leadership,” says Ficklin.