Culture · 4 min read

Bionics that foster career development at scale

Jaclyn Spangler
Posted August 06, 2021
Bionics that foster career development at scale

At FullStory, we believe that a more perfect digital experience benefits everyone, and helps our customers drive user happiness and loyalty.

We take the same approach to our employee experience, following the belief that satisfaction at work benefits both our employees and our business. FullStory focuses on prioritizing the employee experience throughout the talent management process, ensuring that career development opportunities and exciting challenges are always within reach for FullStorians.

Recently, we’ve worked hard to put philosophies and processes in place that embrace the “new normal” of the hybrid workplace. In this blog series, we’ll outline how our Watchwords (Empathy, Clarity, and Bionics) inform our approach to career growth in an increasingly dynamic workforce.

The bionic effect of patterns

This week is Listening & Alignment week at FullStory. In the past, we’ve written about L&A week and the many ways it helps the whole company zoom out and reset each quarter. But would you believe L&A week is also an integral part of our career development program? 

L&A week is part of the FullStory operational cadence, which centers around Objectives & Key Results (OKRs). The OKR cycle is oriented around our fiscal year. At the beginning of the year, we set company-wide annual goals, and then we break these down into quarterly, department-centric goals that can be achieved one step at a time.

Starting with this skeleton of a quarterly rhythm allows us to flesh out the remainder of the year with predictable programming. For example, we know the first two weeks of each quarter will be set aside for strategy, planning, and reconnection, starting with Company Kickoff in February and followed by L&A Week each of the remaining 3 quarters. The majority of the time in between is dedicated to the work required to meet the outlined objectives. 

Being able to understand the patterns of a quarter provides the ability to maximize the impact of other programming, thereby making it all more bionic (a word defined at FullStory as “human quality at superhuman scale”).  

In the previous post about clarity, we introduced the idea of transparent systems and processes, such as clearly defined career levels. Not only does this clarity build trust, it also allows for the system to scale as a company grows. However, even the clearest and most empathetic career levels documentation is rendered moot if there is no process cadence in place that encourages their use.

How we use operational rhythm to bionicize career growth

When considering career development, having a regular rhythm of business strategy that all employees can see and follow along with provides structured opportunities for growth and challenge. Let’s look at a few examples of how predictable processes support goals:

Your goal: High impact work

Leadership articulates the highest level strategic priorities for the company using OKRs every quarter. If working on high impact projects is a personal development goal, OKRs serve as a repository of important work you could get involved in, and let you see  when in the quarter is a good time to raise your hand.

Your goal: Level up to the next title

Our performance review cycle, affectionately termed #FullStoryAF (Accomplishments & Feedback), happens twice a year. Although you’re likely touching on progress, performance, and aspirations with your manager in your regular 1:1s, the #FullStoryAF cycle designates  two times each year when you can really dig into these topics and talk about what’s next. These conversations, which are when level ups occur, land in mid-Q2 and mid-Q4, making space for the natural pushes of strategic planning and programming that occur in Q1 and Q3. 

Company goal: Ensure equity & fairness for all FullStorians 

People Ops gathers data each quarter that helps leadership make evidence-based decisions in future quarters. Data comes in from many sources—Pulse surveys, onboarding surveys, exit interviews, employee performance reviews, and hiring stats. Since the programs that collect this data are regularly scheduled throughout the year, we can be more rigorous in our data analysis and make fewer ad-hoc decisions about priorities for the future. We can also hold ourselves accountable each quarter to meeting any targets that have been set.

Using the operational patterns of a company as useful constraints can help to amplify people processes that may otherwise become overly burdensome (or worse, ignored!) during busy times of the year. 

As the previous two posts explored, the pairing of empathy with clarity in any company’s career development program is crucial. Without empathy, we allow our own perspective to color our decisions. Without clarity, we become reactive, trying to solve for each nuanced perspective separately. Layering on bionics creates a regular rhythm for these cultural ideals to be reinforced and, ultimately, to scale the human experience. 

Interested in a career full of empathy, clarity, and bionics? Check out our open roles.

Jaclyn SpanglerPeople Operations

About the author

Jaclyn Spangler is a lifelong nomad currently calling Atlanta, GA home while helping to scale culture at FullStory. Since joining as employee #16 in 2015 she has worn many hats, most recently focusing on talent development and employee experience in her role as People Operations Director. You can find her eating, drinking, or running her way through Atlanta in her spare time.

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