Recently we had the opportunity to sit down with Harrison Kim from Pavestep. Pavestep helps organizations create a feedback culture through software, tools, and processes.
We hope you enjoy this interview.
Tell me a little about Pavestep and why you decided to focus on employee performance.
Absolutely! At Pavestep, we help organizations develop their people faster and retain them longer. With our software and services, leaders can activate a culture of real-time feedback, manage goals, and run meaningful performance reviews with their teams.
I started my career as a consultant at McKinsey. One of the biggest things I learned there was the value of feedback. This is one of McKinsey's biggest rituals - sharing and receiving feedback with/from each other in real-time. I used to have structured feedback sessions with my team members biweekly. These sessions were powerful for me - they motivated me and helped me grow quickly.
After McKinsey, I became an investor at Odyssey Investment Partners, specializing in the human capital management sector. Working with many leaders helped me understand how critical talent was for their and their companies' successes. If your team performs, your organization performs. These two experiences led me to start Pavestep.
What unique performance problems are companies facing in 2022?
One of the unique performance problems in 2022 is successfully navigating and sustaining a hybrid workforce model. How can managers treat their virtual, part-virtual, or in-person employees fairly? Companies will have to figure out ways to conduct fair performance reviews and other employee engagement strategies to ensure that their employees are motivated, developing, and productive.
It is important to note that these strategies extend beyond simply implementing new software. For example, with performance management, a fancy new software alone won't create a culture of feedback and accountability that makes a sustainable impact. There must be true sponsorship from leaders, education for everyone, and clear processes to continue new behaviors.
What are some of the best ways that smaller companies can review individual employee performance?
Weekly or bi-weekly feedback conversations are an excellent way for managers to address challenges in real-time, improve performance, and recognize great work. These frequent feedback conversations (when documented) are also important to mitigate unconscious biases, such as recency bias, in more formal reviews. This is a big issue in companies that only run semi-annual or annual reviews. If you cannot remember what you had for lunch last week, how can you expect managers to remember an employee's performance throughout the year?
What are some exciting ways to motivate lackluster employees?
Many employees, particularly the younger generations such as Millennials and Generation Z, want to learn and grow continuously. Aside from providing more frequent and structured feedback to help them grow, other initiatives like lunch-and-learns, special projects with people outside of their regular teams, and mentorship programs can be a great way to engage and motivate employees.
What are the best ways to reward top performers?
Hard question… Every employee is different. While we think there are six impactful drivers of employee retention (alignment to the organizational mission, frequent feedback, ongoing development, meaningful relationships, fair compensation, and flexibility), everyone is slightly, or sometimes substantively, different. For example, some employees will value flexibility over compensation. Others value development and growth over anything else. It just really depends.
I think this is one of the hardest things to do as a manager - figuring out (really figuring out) what their employees are motivated by and rewarding them appropriately.
What is the best way for folks to learn about Pavestep?
Employee retention, feedback, and culture are all I think about. I'm absolutely happy to connect and bounce ideas!