How we inspire great performance at Adobe

Multiethnic men and women evaluating product, service. Flat vector illustration.

Image Source: jenny on the moon, Adobe Stock.

The past two years have changed how we define the modern workplace. Companies have had to rethink every aspect of their employee experience — from supporting employees at work and at home, enabling new ways of working, and how to build an enduring culture in a hybrid work environment. I’m proud of how Adobe’s employees have navigated the last two years by bringing their best selves to work every day and contributing to the ongoing growth of our business, all while supporting each other.

At Adobe, we have always recognized that people are our greatest asset. This is reflected in everything we do to create a world-class employee experience, from our industry-leading benefits and programs to various career development opportunities we offer to continually invest in our people. Our culture of ongoing feedback between employees and managers has been critical to helping us stay focused on what matters most to our 26,000 employees globally and as we embrace new ways of working and collaboration, we are being intentional about reimagining the employee experience — where possible — to enable digital-first workflows. Taking a deep dive into how we give and receive feedback to inspire great performance and continue building on a culture of growth became a logical place to start.

How Check-in started

A decade ago, Adobe replaced annual performance reviews and ratings in favor of a new approach that we call Check-in. This was the result of learning that our employees were frustrated with performance reviews. They found the process time-consuming, cumbersome, and bureaucratic. We realized that in order to do our best work, we shouldn’t wait until the end of the year to share feedback. Rather, we should have ongoing conversations year-round. From this sentiment, Check-in was born. Consisting of intentional as well as consistent dialogue between managers and employees that often took place in person, it encompassed forward-looking conversations that provided Adobe employees the clarity they need to be successful in their roles and to support career growth. And Check-in has worked well for the company over the past ten years, helping to strengthen Adobe’s culture and reinforce our goal of providing employees the space to be who they are and the support to become who they want to be.

Transforming Check-in for the new era of work

However, the pandemic upended everything about modern work. Teams are more distributed today than ever before, which has made the opportunity to provide ongoing, in-person feedback less frequent. And in the age of “Great Resignation,” employees want more than just great pay and benefits. They want their employers to prioritize their wellbeing, provide greater transparency around career development, and do work that has purpose and impact.

At Adobe, we quickly recognized that this was an important moment for us to improve Check-in to better align with hybrid work, where a digital-first approach will play a more critical role in driving our business forward. This became more evident as we continuously gathered feedback from hundreds of leaders and thousands of employees globally in the past year to understand how Check-in has been working.

A couple things that stood out to us based on employee feedback: While employees greatly benefitted from frequent conversations about their work, Check-in lacked structure to create a consistent experience. Employees wanted a centralized place to keep track of their performance and progress, gather feedback, and reflect on career goals. In addition, the global nature of our work today means it’s more common for an employee to work cross-functionally with a colleague on a new project and then not work with them again for a long time. For moments like these, employees wanted an easy way to get “in the moment” feedback so that they could take their learnings to their next project. This feedback played an instrumental role in helping us to build a new Check-in from the ground up to better serve the needs of our employees as we lead our own digital-first transformation internally for the next era of work.

Introducing a new chapter in Check-in

Adobe’s mission is to change the world through digital experiences. It is in this spirit that we are launching the next version of Check-in — a digital-first, integrated and dynamic set of tools that will empower our employees to unleash their full potential.

Key features of our new Check-in include:

Adobe’s success has always been predicated on our ability to look around the corner and develop new innovations to challenge the status quo. While the essence of Check-in will still be rooted in ongoing conversations, the new updates to Check-in will provide employees with more clarity and structure concerning their work in light of the distributed nature of where and how many of us work today. Ongoing dialogue between employees and managers about what’s going well or could be improved, and what support is needed, continues to help us maintain a culture of feedback that helps us stay focused on what our people need the most to do their best work. I’m confident that our new and improved Check-in will help accelerate Adobe’s leadership as the best place to work, learn and grow employees’ careers — all while making an impact.

For more information about Check-in visit here.