Team Insights is an existing feedback platform created by NYC-based, digital product studio Barrel. Here’s the brief for the project summarized in one sentence:
Take the existing feedback and survey tool, TeamInsights, to the next level, catering for 360º feedback and custom survey and report creation.
We started off with the problem definition stage, identifying goals and challenges and stating our assumptions. These where:
- Employees feel fear when approaching their manager or their peers in order to give feedback on some negative aspect of their job. They fear negative actions taken against them.
- Anonymity is a great tool when giving feedback. People behave differently and only give positive feedback when they know that the recipient is going to know it comes from them.
- Surveying employees with quick, 2/3-question surveys every weeks is better and more efficient than doing longer surveys quarterly.
We spent the first week doing research on the subject, doing competitive and comparative, creating and sending out two surveys and conducting interviews. Within the first 48 hours, we had surveyed over 100 professionals in 46 positions, 22 companies and 15 different industries about 360º feedback and their behaviors regarding giving and receiving feedback. With all of this information we started to see patterns and mapped behaviors into personas and company profiles. This helped us design with real user and company models in mind, people and organizational structures that would actually use our product.
These are our key personas and out main take-aways from each:
- C-level leadership – Hight-level data view which provides valuable insights at a glance.
- HR manager – Organization management capabilities and custom form creation.
- Middle manager – Reporting, easy to use and valuable insights for his/her team.
- Feedback loving junior employee – Possibility of giving feedback to his peers and managers and being able to give his opinion on company practices.
- Feedback hating junior employee – Open, anonymous feedback.
At the end of our first research sprint, not being able to meet with Barrel due to schedule and seeing how complex our research had turned, we created a presentations and screencasted us talking through it. We also decided to include a small snippet of a user-centered design solution for giving feedback, the concept of Peer-backed Feedback. The following video, with a research repot, was our first deliverable after 4 days work.
After the first round of research, we continued to investigate on reporting and our key finding was that 41% of the managers surveyed do not record data over time and, most specially, don’t cross-reference the information. Our thought process led us to show how cross-referencing employee data over time and contrasting that data with key company milestones would help gather valuable information. Most specifically, if an employee’s answers regarding something like engagement deviate from the team’s average response, our solution could guide managers, putting results into the context of the company history.
An example of negative deviation
In this specific example, I’ll run through a sample report header, which shows an overview graph representing an employees responses to an engagement survey over time.
This example shows how our employee, represented by the blue line, has been answering monthly engagement surveys. However, we see how his average response to the May survey deviated negatively from the teams average, represented by the red dotted line. The system knows there is a significant deviation, so it shows key company milestone (in grey) to help the manager put things into the company context. We can see that the employee has had a drop in engagement after one of his colleagues left the company, so that makes the job easier for the manager to assess te situation and find a hint towards the possible ‘why‘.
Two key insights that we extracted from our research were that people were scared of giving feedback and that not all feedback is constructive. Our way to solve was the concept of peer-backed feedback, giving employees the support of their more senior peers when giving feedback. Here’s how it works:
- An employee (the giver) wants to give some feedback to one of his peers (the receiver).
- The giver types out the feedback and selects some of his other peers to back him up (the backers).
- The backers receive a notification, log onto the platform and review the feedback for the receiver. If they disagree, they reply to the giver sending a message stating why they disagree or how to they can rephrase the feedback so that it becomes more constructive. If the majority of backers agreed wit the feedback, it is sent to the receiver.
Here’s a simple diagram to illustrate the flow of information on backed feedback.
This project was part of the my User Experience Design immersive course at General Assembly NYC.