Over the last year, we’ve changed our career growth evaluation. We transitioned from a “levels system” to a more comprehensive multifaceted system. 

While the transition wasn’t smooth, it was more than worth it. We learnt to evaluate each other thoughtfully and acknowledge the role a team can play in the development of an individual. 

Here’s a quick overview of why we made this change, what we created and how we implement it.

Why 

We strongly believe that people produce great work when they are at their natural best. Forcefully reducing them to experts vs generalists, or individual contributors vs managers, hampers their growth instead of boosting it.

At Obvious, we look for multi-faceted, T-shaped individuals, who bring a lot to the table other than just their craft. To nurture and accelerate the growth of such people, over the years we’ve experimented with several different frameworks. We’ve finally resolved to the one that follows.

What

The Framework

The framework is divided into 3 parts – Creating, Executing and Supporting, each of which has 3-4 different skills. Each skill is further divided into 5 different milestones. As you go deeper, or take on more responsibilities, you cross a milestone.

In general, you must have demonstrated the 5Cs – “Conscious, Comfortable, Continuous, Consistent Competency” defined as follows:

  • Conscious: having devoted intentional effort to this endeavour,
  • Comfortable: without being overly stretched,
  • Continuous: for a reasonable period of time,
  • Consistent: reliably and evenly,
  • Competency: meeting the criteria.

We have a seperate Design Growth and Engineering Growth Framework that you can explore in detail. 

This framework is inspired by the fantastic work done by the folks at Medium.

How 

A 360° process

Evaluations are done in a comprehensive and transparent manner, facilitated by the manager. 

  1. Each person self-evaluates themselves.
  2. Everyone in a project team evaluates each other.
    • To prevent bias, no one should be able to see someone else’s evaluation of a person!
  3. Each individual is evaluated by their manager.
  4. Managers collate all the evaluations and consolidate them.
  5. The consolidated feedback is shared by the manager in a 1:1 conversation with each individual. 

Assessment Cycles

We run formal assessments (using our growth frameworks as a basis) twice a year, once in February, and the next in August. Everyone at the company has to receive a completed assessment by the 1st of March, and the 1st of September respectively. If the assessment leads to a level change, then the impact of that level change (compensation etc) will take effect from the 1st of April or the 1st of October. 

Guidelines for Feedback

  • Specific examples everywhere are important! Use the situation-behaviour-impact framework to make your case.
  • To ensure that someone definitely lies on a specific milestone, remember the 5Cs.
  • In case you don’t have sufficient information about a facet, please talk to the person and your manager. A year is a long period of time, and it is good to get clarification in case you think you’re forgetting something.
  • Feedback provided in an evaluation cannot come as a surprise to the person. Such a data point will be disregarded. All comments — positive and negative — should be a summary of the feedback provided through the course of day to day work.

If you’re looking to work in a team that aims to grow together, you should know that we’re hiring. Join us!

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