Zugata Blog

Thoughts, trends, and research for designing
high-performance cultures

How We Redesigned the Zugata Logo

Posted by Jessica Phan on Oct 26, 2017 10:49:17 AM

Back in 2015, Zugata was only a feedback tool for employees to give and request feedback from the people they work with most. Today, we are a more holistic performance management platform, focused on helping employees reach their potential and organizations improve their bottom line. We’re fostering a high-performing culture through continuous development, equipping HR leaders, execs, and managers with valuable insights and cultivating a culture of shared success.

We’re a whole lot more than we were 2 years ago, so we knew it was time to communicate that better — starting with our logo. And it was more than just wrangling pixels and fine-tuning colors. It was about reflecting, asking questions, collaborating and refining our narrative.

So how does one go about revamping a startup logo?


Topics: Zugata News

Re-Imagining Performance Reviews

Posted by S K on Oct 12, 2017 2:55:10 PM

Baseball playoffs. Pre-season hockey and basketball. Fantasy football discussions in the office. Pumpkins everywhere. Must be fall with end of the year right around the corner. Q4 also happens to be performance review season when entire organizations come to a standstill as employees spend countless hours filling out required paperwork.

Ever since Juniper Networks and Adobe announced a few years ago that they are dumping annual performance reviews, there has been a steady drumbeat of others (Accenture, Deloitte and GE being the most recent ones) following suit. This got me thinking, in today’s millennial, mobile, cloud world, what should a performance system look like if designed from scratch?

Before jumping into the details, it is important to understand how the millennial, mobile and cloud era is different and why we need to adapt.


Better Together: Performance Management and Learning & Development

Posted by Caroline Van Dyke on Oct 11, 2017 1:00:00 PM

At the heart of a high-growth organization is a high-performance culture, but how do companies ensure they develop their employees to reach their full potential? Embracing a growth mindset is the foundation for optimizing performance and development, two practices that are critical to building a forward-thinking performance management process. At Zugata, we believe employees are their best when they aren’t just left with performance measurement, but are given personalized development resources within the same solution to drive their performance. Our mantra is that performance management and learning & development are better together — just like a steaming cup of coffee and a perfectly sprinkled donut.

Better Together

If 95% of managers are dissatisfied with the way their companies conduct performance reviews, there must be a better way, and that involves a new mindset decoupling ‘performance measurement’ from ‘performance development.’ Zugata doesn’t leave performance up to chance, employees, or managers alone, instead we jump in and find custom learning and development resources that are personalized to each employee. If recent feedback notes a need for growth in a particular focus area, Zugata will serve up material to drive learning in that area. If employees are excited to learn something new and expand their experience, we’ve got resources for that, too. It’s the perfect, all-in-one measure and learn process.

Check out our recent partnerships with 
The Muse & Skillshare to drive personalized development.

By fully integrating performance measurement and development in one solution, learning resources can be fine-tuned to employee feedback or areas for growth. Not only are they personalized, but the entire process is easy to navigate. Without the hassle of jumping in and out of different environments, employees can have a holistic, easy-to-use system for all their performance needs. Sounds like a perfect match.

Developing a High-Performance Culture


How to Give Valuable Feedback

Posted by S K on Mar 28, 2017 1:00:00 PM
You know that feedback is an important step to professional growth, but how do you get others on the same page to actually give valuable feedback?

A shift to a feedback culture can benefit from introducing some norms to get everyone aligned, and we’ll tackle the “giving feedback” part today in this multi-part series.

Building a Healthy Relationship

Giving feedback is part of building a healthy relationship. It’s an ongoing two-way exchange that requires the right mindset and goals up front. As Liane Davey puts it in a Harvard Business Review article, “Deliver Feedback that Sticks,” a feedback mindset means you’re invested in your colleague’s success as an ally, and not just reacting emotionally.

Feedback as a Nudge

 Laszlo Bock’s WORK RULES! he discusses Google’s take on initiating change using gentle reminders, or “nudges.” Building off of their guiding principles, we think that feedback is equivalent to a nudge and that means good feedback is specific, actionable and timely.

Specific and actionable

In Davey’s article, she provides four key aspects to making feedback specific and actionable:


Topics: 360° Feedback

Zugata’s Zenefits Integration

Posted by Caroline Van Dyke on Oct 18, 2016 11:00:00 AM

We are excited to announce a partnership with Zenefits that enables a real time and secure synchronization of employee information between Zenefits and Zugata. This integration enables customers using Zenefits and Zugata to automatically enroll new employees into Zugata and maintain employee information (job title, reporting structure, etc.) in sync between the two systems. No more manual data entry required and no more out-of-sync data across the two systems.

Why pair up?

Zenefits and Zugata are like a PBJ sandwich, even better together. Zenefits is an all in one HR platform that helps you manage payroll, benefits, time and attendance, compliance and more. Once your employees are quickly set up with payroll and benefits in Zenefits, we provide an opportunity to think about one of the best benefits you can bring to them in the workplace: their career development. That’s where Zugata steps in. Zugata empowers your employees to reach their potential with continuous feedback and personalized development resources delivered to them. With Zugata, employees can understand how they’re doing and what they can do to improve. No more being in the dark about how to thrive in their jobs.


Topics: Zugata News

The Story Behind The Name

Posted by Caroline Van Dyke on May 5, 2016 3:00:00 PM

The most common question we get when talking to candidates, prospects and customers is about the company name — what does Zugata mean and how we came up with the name. We thought it may be fun to go down memory lane to jot down how the name came to be.


Topics: Zugata Culture

10 Lessons as Founding Designer

Posted by Jessica Phan on Jan 25, 2016 3:00:00 PM

A year ago, I wrote a blog post called 
6 Lessons from an Unemployed Designer talking about my fling with unemployment. The next day, emails and tweets started pouring in my inbox. People from all over related to those lessons and genuinely appreciated it. Those lessons ended up being a blessing as it gave me the opportunity to meet so many people. One of the people I ended up meeting was Deny Khoung, the founder of Whitespace and Designer-in-Residence at Formation 8.

Not knowing what Deny wanted and why, I met him for coffee at the Creamery down by 4th and King in San Francisco. He started asking me what I wanted to do and what kind of company I was looking for. After learning about me, he then talked about what he was up to at Formation 8 and the Whitespace program. 
Whitespace is a 12-weeks design program that pairs designers up with rising startups in the Silicon Valley. Three days a week I would go to the company I am paired up with, and the other two days I would join other designers in the program and participate in workshops, critiques and more.
After meeting Deny that day, we exchange several emails back and forth. He said he had a company in mind for me. It was a peer review app with a solid team of 3 called Zugata. After a few more questions, I joined the program. 
To be honest, I didn’t know what I was signing myself up for. I didn’t get the chance to visit the company I was paired up with, I had no idea who I was going to work, and I didn’t get the chance to see the product. There was nothing on internet about this company because it was in stealth. 
So I joined Zugata through Whitespace. In those 12-weeks, I’ve learned so many things, but here are 10 things I’ve learned as the first and only designer at a stealth startup.

10. Learn to design all sorts of things

At a larger company, you usually work on one feature on one platform.

At a stealth startup, we don’t have that luxury. But sometimes “luxury” could be too comfortable that it’s uncomfortable and boring. For me, “luxury” isn’t always practical. At Zugata, I get the opportunity to touch all sort of things.

One day, I’m designing for iOS, the next day, it’s the web app. Sometimes, it’s designing email templates. And other days, it’s creating presentation decks and designing swags. Being the lone designer, I’m always designing all sorts of things. Although there is a lot to tackle, my job is never boring; I love the variety.


Topics: Employee Development, Zugata Culture