Culture Amp launches its own take on performance reviews

Since launching five years ago, Culture Amp has focused on employee engagement and corporate culture. Now, Culture Amp is tackling the performance review space — something its CEO Didier Elzinga (pictured above) has wanted to do since day one — with the launch of the Employee Effectiveness tool.

“We built an early version of this when I started the company,” Elzinga told me. “This was actually my original idea, but we shelved it because we felt like we weren’t tapping into the niche that was there.”

People now seem much more open to the idea of revamping performance reviews, Elzinga said. Ahead of the launch, Culture Amp beta tested the product with some of its customers, including Etsy. Its other customers include Airbnb, Pinterest and Slack. Starting today, all of Culture Amp’s customers have the ability to buy the Employee Effectiveness tool.

“It’s interesting because the first wave of a lot of HR software is take an offline process and put it online,” Elzinga said. “I would say 99% of the performance review software out there is basically an online process of the paper version that people used 20 years ago.”

The employee performance review tool collects feedback from managers and their employees to help individuals, teams and managers better figure out where they can improve. Employee Effectiveness aims to ask questions the way people would say them in real life. It also doesn’t use ratings and scores.

“We’re at a point where we’ve taken everything online and now have a different goal of optimizing the process,” Elzinga said. “What drove that whole first wave was not getting a better result. This is now about recognizing the performance reviews we’ve been running haven’t worked. We wanted to dig in to why that is and what stops the process from being effective. It comes down to how you ask questions, what type of questions you get people to answer.”

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