TL;DR: To stretch a small business budget and get the most ROI, SiteCompli and LifeLabs prioritized manager and exec development and creating shared vocabulary across all employees. The results? A 25% increase in manager effectiveness scores.
A mighty vision for a small team
When co-founders Jason Griffith and Ross Goldenberg started SiteCompli, they were passionate about serving their customers, but even more than that, they dreamed of creating an amazing place to work and a vibrant learning culture – a place where employees could grow and stretch every day. As a small startup, their time and budget were limited, so they had to get creative.
Manager, exec, and all-staff development + nudges
Beginning in 2016, here is the program we put in place together:
1. Manager development
Every manager completed the LifeLabs manager training program, leaving with the most critical skills to develop their reports. After training, managers joined SiteCompli-led discussion and practice groups to keep their skills fresh. (Many of these managers continue to meet over 3 years later!)
2. Executive development
SiteCompli’s executives took each of the workshops so they could sharpen their skills, model the importance of learning, and reinforce core skills. The exec team also participated in a High Performance Team session to optimize their communication norms. They pulled 360 feedback, and communicated their development goals to their teams.
3. All-staff enrichment
SiteCompli offered employees company-wide access to workshops on a variety of topics (based on business needs and employee interests). Executives (including the CEOs) made it a point to attend, sending a clear message that learning is a priority for everyone at SiteCompli.
4. Embedded vocabulary
SiteCompli’s Senior Director of People Operations, Margaret Dwyer, helped make the new skills stick by embedding tools and vocabulary from training into various employee touchpoints. For example, SiteCompli’s performance assessment system includes the framework employees learn during training, and workshop key points often pop up in the bathroom stalls!
High scores and high engagement
The LifeLabs workshops have earned high scores and consistently strong attendance (see feedback scores below from 190 responses):
Internally, SiteCompli runs an employee engagement survey every six months. Since partnering with LifeLabs, SiteCompli has seen an increase of over 25% in engagement scores tied to people management skills and and an increase of over 15% in engagement scores tied to general skill development. Beyond the numbers, SiteCompli employees regularly use the language learned in LifeLabs courses to give more effective feedback, clarify decision makers, and lead better meetings.
The power of modeling and shared vocabulary
When resources are limited, your strategy really counts. SiteCompli has achieved great results with a lean program by leveraging the power of:
- Modeling: SiteCompli’s leaders regularly learn ‘out loud,’ showing up to workshops, encouraging attendance, and pulling for feedback.
- Shared vocabulary: When managers and execs go through the same training, the impact is accelerated because all leaders share the same expectations, tools, and vocabulary. This enables them to communicate effectively and hold one another accountable, further reinforcing the learning. (For example, it is hard to have a poor quality meeting, when you have all learned together how to lead a meeting well.)
P.S. We’re so proud to share that Jason and Ross’s vision has become a reality. Employees regularly describe SiteCompli as a place where they learn every day, and SiteCompli has been on the Best Places to Work list for 5 years!