Announcing the new Zugata Partner Program was an exciting milestone for not only our team, but for those we’ve joined forces with. To learn more about the future of the program, I sat down with one of our first Zugata Certified Partners (ZCP) to discuss how our recent partnership will help equip more organizations with the tools they need to help employees and organizations alike boost performance. Meet Cody Wright, founder of Plumeria, who has a keen eye for helping organizations truly develop cultures that build performance with a purpose.
You aren’t entirely new to Zugata, tell us about your experiences with our philosophy? What were some lessons you learned working with
I have long been a proponent of de-centralized feedback, not only in terms of how performance is measured, but also for continual development. As much as they'd like to, managers typically don't have enough exposure to their team members' daily working habits, mentorship or learning habits, or skill gaps and strengths. They become primarily focused on results and on team members who are vocal about their needs and accomplishments. This narrow perspective isn't sufficient for determining developmental goals, compensation adjustments, or promotions.
Platforms like Zugata give managers and teams a crowd-sourced perspective on performance, which is far more accurate than a traditional annual review process. When I reviewed Zugata's specific offerings I quickly became a fan and have since helped other companies adopt the platform.
A few things I learned working with the product:
There are many opinions about whether feedback should be anonymous or identified. I've encountered situations that present solid justification for either approach. It's nice to have a choice within Zugata.
Working relationships are much more dynamic these days, with some companies even continually re-organizing teams based on projects or programs. A continual feedback platform needs to be just as dynamic in tracking working relationships so that feedback is always given by the people who work closest with each person.
There is great power in recognition, and oftentimes managers don't have enough time or insight to recognize all the great work done by their team members. It's great that Zugata helps surface praise and recognition from people across the company to keep employees feeling valued and engaged.
What are you most excited about partnering with Zugata and being the first ZCP? Tell us a bit about what that will look like.
Partnership with Zugata gives Plumeria a chance to help more companies unlock the potential of their teams while creating "stickiness" for Zugata. Think of Zugata as a state-of-the-art, fully-stocked kitchen. Some people can immediately take full advantage of everything the kitchen has to offer because they've gone to culinary school and have ample experience as a chef. For the rest of us, we need guidance. How do you pick the freshest fruits and veggies? What's the difference between dice and mince, and how do you know which one to use, when? In this day and age with so many platforms to choose from, it's easy to blame the platform for low adoption rates or lack of notable improvements. Companies frequently move from platform to platform, hoping one of them will finally be the solution they're looking for, when in actuality the problem is that the company needs some cooking lessons.
Plumeria will help clients establish the proper infrastructure and strategies to create a culture that is ready to successfully implement all that Zugata has to offer.
What do you feel organizations are missing to create high-performers? Where do you see the future of people management?
Clarity is the number one missing ingredient. We get feedback, but based on what? Given by whom? Measured against what? Does this feedback affect my chances at promotion or compensation? How does my work ultimately impact the larger mission of the company? What criteria is my manager using to determine my rating and value? What career path is there for me at this company? The list goes on and on. In the absence of clarity, the most vocal and visible performers are rewarded while sometimes the most valuable contributors are overlooked, creating an environment in which high performers fall through the cracks.
Simon Sinek recently pointed out that HR has gone from being the protectors of the people to being the protectors of the company. They are empowered to institute compliance measures and performance improvement documentation while being limited in their ability to provide learning resources and employee-empowering performance strategies. It's time to change this. Let's make HR the people advocates in the organization and give them the power to create positive and lasting change.
What is one piece of advice you give to organizations looking to overhaul their current performance process?
There are many philosophies out there about how to engage employees and reinvent the performance review process, but there are few tactical strategies for making it happen. Your people are the primary driver of your business, even more valuable than your customers. Invest in them, invest in overhauling the process or in creating a new one with people and platforms that can help you create a truly engaged, high-performing culture.
If you’re interested in making an impact through Zugata, learn more about our partnership program here and apply today.