Spring Cleaning 2017: 3 Design Improvements You’ll Like

We’ve decided it’s time for a spring cleaning at Small Improvements. Gloves on, brushes out. But instead of tackling the growing pile of dishes in the kitchen, we’ve turned our attention to improving three design aspects of the SI software.

Improved “Your Reviews” Overview

You might notice some changes to the page where your Performance Reviews are listed. Before, we tried to make some assumptions about where to direct you when you clicked “Your Reviews”  – if a review was in process, we’d send you to edit mode; if none was in progress, we’d send you to the archive.  But this didn’t work well for those who had two or three existing reviews, and the archive was not well-presented either.

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Improvements To Performance Review Signature Quirk

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We set ourselves a goal in early 2017 to fix some annoying bugs and functionality issues associated with some of our features.

One of those pesky UI/UX flaws had to do with the “editable until” field for performance reviews within Small Improvements, and how its relationship to the “sign by” field. The problem appeared when admins would set an earlier date for edits than for the signature.

When the “editable until” deadline passed, the review would lock, meaning it was impossible for both manager and reviewee to sign the review.

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Mark the Manager can now sign off on a Performance Review, regardless of whether it’s been locked down.

We needed to take action. So we made some tweaks and now it’s possible for both the manager and reviewee to sign off on a review, even after it’s been locked down.

We understood more flexibility and clarity was needed here, and appreciate everyone who provided feedback.

Improvements To Secondary Reviewer

The fluid nature of modern work environments means we sometimes find ourselves outside of traditional team structures, working in flat hierarchies or lending our skill sets to ad-hoc projects.

We have a host of features supporting feedback reviews from anyone to anyone, but the performance review is still generally between one employee and their direct manager. The secondary reviewer concept allows admins to add a second person to contribute to a manager review, thereby making it a more complete review. 

We’ve been wanting to improve our current secondary review feature for a while – in particular, to incorporate feedback from some of our customers. While a full overhaul is still planned, here’s what we’ve tweaked to enhance your experience:

  • We increased visibility for the administrator. Admins now have a clear overview of who within the organization is participating as secondary reviewers.
  • We increased visibility for the secondary reviewer. In the past, the secondary reviewer had to implicitly know that a review was happening, i.e., we didn’t notify them of their status. Now, the secondary reviewer receives both an action item and an email – at the start of a cycle as well as during (in the form of a nudge).
  • Notification for the manager. A hint at the top of the review screen will inform managers that a secondary reviewer is also participating.

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New in Small Improvements: Instant Notifications

We’re excited to announce a new way to get all your Small Improvements updates: instant notifications, right in your header.

The new notifications menu provides an at-a-glance way to keep tabs on your account activity. Whether it’s a significant update (like new 360 Feedback) or a minor one (like a reply to your objective), you’ll receive an alert on your SI header.

All notifications will appear in the upper right-hand corner of the header. New notifications show up in red.

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When you click on the notification, you’ll see an overview of recent events.

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We love how it highlights even small events that don’t trigger an email or Slack notification, such as “Someone liked the praise you sent.” That’s not only gratifying, but it encourages further positive feedback.

It’s a small tweak, but it has an impact – we’ve been testing it within our own Small Improvements’ account and have seen a clear boost in engagement. We’re betting you’ll notice a difference, too.

A new navigation is coming in Q1

In the past year we’ve improved quite a few navigational elements: User and cycle search, upcoming admin dates, global create, and general speediness. More recently we’ve shifted our attention to the sidebar, and we’re proud to enter a public beta phase now.

The new navigation has been battle-tested internally by our own staff and select alpha clients, and we’re really pleased with it. But we won’t rush it. We plan on phasing out the “old” navigation by the end of Q1, so there’s plenty of time to take a look and give us feedback!

Here’s an overview of what is new and improved:

Dedicated “your content” section

Until now the sidebar was split up strictly by module, showing submenus depending on the user’s role. An individual contributor would see their own review in the Performance Review menu, while a manager also saw their team’s reviews in an additional menu item.

We’re now dropping these role-specific menus, moving to a much cleaner and simpler layout: Independent of role every use immediately sees their own content – objectives, 360s, reviews — in one section:

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360 Feedback from anyone – Introducing Proactive 360 Feedback

Do you want to give people a chance to provide 360 feedback even if they were missed in the nomination phase? Or even want to leave it entirely up to people who they give feedback to, skipping the nomination & approval phases entirely?

Starting today, you can empower your team to provide feedback to any individual during a 360 Feedback Cycle with our entirely new feature: Proactive 360 Feedback.

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New in Small Improvements: Request feedback any time

Imagine you just finished a project, or you’ve been working with a new skill. You’re curious as to how you did and want some feedback from your peers. But how do you go about getting it?

You might email your colleagues or ask them in person – both approaches have their place, but both lack structure. On top of this, it will be difficult to refer back to your feedback at a later date.

With this in mind, we’re excited to introduce our new Request Feedback feature – a big step towards better helping your employees take ownership of their performance and make continuous improvements. This update allows every employee in your company to request feedback from whomever they want, whenever they want. Not only have we shortened the feedback cycle, but your employees can request feedback as they see fit.

Request Feedback in practice

Let’s say you just organized an event for your company, and want to get some feedback on what your peers thought of it, and how you can improve the next event.
Head over to your dashboard and click on the +Create button in the top right corner. You can read all about the functionalities of this new button on this blogpost. Select “Request Feedback” to reach the feedback form pictured below.

 

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