People Aren’t Performance Reviews

Hi, I’m Jose.

I’ve spent the last 15 years helping to build some of the best teams in Silicon Valley at companies including Apple, Nest and Google where a bright People Operation Leader once told me, “our people are the most valuable resources that we never own.”

About a year and half ago, I decided to leave Google at a time when the company was set to become the most valuable company in the world. I was fed up with the way HR had been done and needed time to think about why “talent recruitment”, even at the biggest most successful companies, was a losing battle. I wanted to find a way to empower people to take control of their own careers. So, after eighteen months of work with a brilliant team of product experts, psychologists, and HR advisors, today, we’re launching Plause.

In some ways, I think I’ve been working up to this all my life.

Leading recruitment efforts at some of the most competitive companies in Silicon Valley, you can really see the divide between HR and employees first hand. Despite having the best leaders and hiring the most talented employees, even the best companies struggle to recognize and retain their star employees.

I’ve lost incredibly smart, motivated employees because my team and I failed to gauge the pressure they were under. We failed to properly integrate them into our culture and we lost them. The experience left me wondering how we could have done things differently, how could we prevent the oversight from happening again? I wonder how many times this happens everyday despite the company size or industry.

The dirty little HR secret? Career growth is incredibly difficult to quantify and measure with a universal performance measurement tool. Career development is complex and difficult and performance reviews don’t work. Everyone has different goals and aspirations and each company is driven by a unique team with uniquely gifted individuals. Yet we still haven’t found a way to facilitate a natural conversation around career development, performance and recognition that employees (and managers) can use.

Employees are already continuously connected and communicating with tools like Slack, Skype, and chat. Productivity has increased. We have open, daily constructive conversations about nearly every aspect of our workplace, except performance which is, oddly, reserved just for the traditional annual or bi-annual review. Reviews are a ritual that is deeply ingrained into corporate culture, but we need to let it go.

The question we’ve set out to answer with Plause is — how do we use the digital communication toolkit to inspire people’s careers?

With Plause, we’re giving people a platform where they can freely share their personal work stories and engage with one another instead of providing more “feedback”. It provides an ongoing conversation that improves the way employees and managers get and receive actionable, meaningful insights for their careers. We created Plause to make work, work better.

Today I’ll be giving a keynote address at one the largest HR gatherings of the year, The Arizona SHRM State Conference, to talk about more of these issues and to share how HR teams can better understand and empower their people. We will be sharing more in coming months, but, in the meantime, check out the early release of Plause on iOS or Android available today.