Jack Altman, CEO and co-founder of people management platform Lattice, believes companies need to spend as much time and effort on their people strategy as they do on their sales, marketing, and product strategies. Every initiative starts and ends with people, so investing in employees isn’t just a nice thing to do; it leads to better business outcomes.
Lattice enables HR teams to make people strategy central to their business strategy. The platform includes performance management tools to improve employee effectiveness as well as engagement tools for measuring feedback. This performance and engagement combination helps HR teams—including Lattice’s–build strong cultures and drive business results. Altman says using platform features, including Praise, a tool that allows them to share positive feedback publicly, over a company-wide Slack channel, has been instrumental in building a culture of feedback.
Linking performance and culture
With continuous, customer-centric product development, and by investing in its own culture, Lattice joins the ranks of Fast Company Most Innovative Companies. Its wide range of 1,700+ customers have one thing in common—they are willing, like Lattice, to invest in their people.
Altman and co-founder Eric Koslow created Lattice in 2015 to better enable HR teams to make smart people decisions. They were inspired by their experience at Teespring, a successful Silicon Valley startup that was struggling to maintain a high-performing culture as headcount increased. They recognized this was a common problem and sought to build a solution, starting with a tool for corporate goal setting.
The founders also realized the performance review was having an identity crisis. Companies were moving away from hierarchical annual reviews that focused on compensation. But they weren’t sure how to replace them. Without structured feedback mechanisms, employees felt overlooked, and companies missed out on valuable insights. In 2016, Lattice became one of the first software solutions for continuous performance review. The platform enables structured one-on-one exchanges, as well as ongoing feedback, focused on improving culture and cultivating great performance.
Since then, the Lattice team has introduced a new product every six to 12 months, drawing on customer feedback and empowering customer-facing teams to influence product development. In 2018, they rolled out one of the first engagement survey tools, and linked engagement data to performance. Now, they are beta-testing a career growth product that helps employees plot their career trajectories.
Walking their talk
Lattice’s leadership prioritizes its employees’ personal and professional development, which makes work more meaningful to team members. In February 2020, they launched the Invest in Your People Fund. The fund will be used to invest $100,000 in employees who leave Lattice, after at least a three-year tenure, to start their own businesses.
“Lattice talks about how we want employees to find the job that brings them satisfaction, growth and joy, and we work really hard to help them do that here. But we acknowledge the right growth path isn’t always available, and, at a certain point, you are holding employees back. This fund allows us to support our employees, whether they are with Lattice or not,” Altman explains.
For most companies, product innovation is enough, but Lattice focuses on cultural innovation, too, so they can lead by example, Altman says. Their success epitomizes the link between culture and performance, and the power of a people strategy.