A very simple HR tool with poor goals and 1:1 features
November 12, 2019

A very simple HR tool with poor goals and 1:1 features

Dmitry Pashkevich | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 4 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Small Improvements

We use Small Improvements across the whole organization. We use the following features for the corresponding activities: 360 feedback; quarterly goals for individuals and managers; 1:1 tool; employee performance reviews.
  • The 360 feedback tool is straightforward to use and does exactly what it's meant to do: collect private and public feedback across peers (managers can use it too, of course).
  • The 1:1 tool automatically detects 1:1 meetings on your connected Calendar, automatically creates entries for these meetings in the system and reminds you of the upcoming 1:1s.
  • The 1:1 tool allows both parties to create a checklist for agenda items and notifies you when the other party added agenda items or general notes.
  • While the structured agenda format in the 1:1 tool has advantages, it also limits formatting options that you would otherwise have if you used a plain Google Doc shared with the other person.
  • 1:1 tool doesn't let parties add inline notes/comments under each agenda item, which makes it hard to organize notes during the actual meetings.
  • 1:1 tool lets you mark agenda items as done, but surprisingly doesn't let you copy or move "unchecked" items to the next meeting if you didn't have time to go over them. Lattice does that.
  • 1:1 tool only seems to create an entry for the next meeting on the next day after the current meeting happens. This is inconvenient because I might want to add notes for the future meeting right after my 1:1 happened.
  • The goal tool makes people's goals private by default, and there's no way to change that setting. Not good if your company embraces transparency and uses a framework like OKR for goal-setting (which prescribes that everyone's OKR is public).
  • The goal tool doesn't automatically compute the overall goal progress based on key results progress.
  • The goal tool doesn't seem to support departmental and overall company goals, it only ties goals to individuals. That means you have to keep track of the former somewhere else.
  • The goal tool doesn't support setting non-binary progress for key results inside an objective. You can only check or uncheck the entire key result. Not good for OKR. Lattice has much stronger goal-setting features compared to Small Improvements.
  • It's been less than a year since we rolled out Small Improvements, so it's too early to tell.
While still far from perfect, Lattice has much stronger goal-setting and 1:1 features (see my list of areas for improvement above).

At another company, we put all OKR in Confluence and used Google Drive (specifically Google Docs) for 1:1 notes and performance evaluations. While it may seem cumbersome to conduct something like a performance review process via Google Docs, I appreciated the flexibility that it offered. I also still think that shared Google Doc is a perfectly fine tool for 1:1 notes (it even has assignable tasks now), and Confluence is a perfectly fine tool for defining OKR and tracking progress. Keep it simple (c).
I never had to contact their support so far. There's no "N/A" option so I'm going with a neutral "5".

Do you think Small Improvements delivers good value for the price?

Not sure

Are you happy with Small Improvements's feature set?

No

Did Small Improvements live up to sales and marketing promises?

I wasn't involved with the selection/purchase process

Did implementation of Small Improvements go as expected?

I wasn't involved with the implementation phase

Would you buy Small Improvements again?

No

I'm honestly not sure why my company chose to use Small Improvements. We used Lattice before for the all the same use cases I mentioned here. The employee performance review feature might be a bit better in Small Improvements, but the goal-setting tool and the 1:1 tool are very weak. I may not have benefitted yet from all the features that Small Improvements have to offer, but so far it looks like a pretty basic HR tool with much better alternatives out there. If it's cheaper than the competition, that might be the only argument to go with it.

Small Improvements Feature Ratings

Performance plans
Not Rated
Plan weighting
Not Rated
Manager note taking
Not Rated
Performance improvement plans
Not Rated
Review status tracking
10
Rater nomination workflow
Not Rated
Review reminders
10
Workflow restrictions
Not Rated
Multiple review frequency
Not Rated
Reporting
Not Rated
Individual goal setting
3