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Brooklyn Data Co. (now a Velir company) had comprehensive criteria for evaluating their team, but was working with homegrown processes that required a lot of manual effort from managers.
Progression has given the team the transparency, consistency and ease of workflow they needed to make managers’ lives easier, empower the team to take ownership of their careers, and ensure as fair and equitable a promotion and role change process as possible.
Brooklyn Data Co. is a full-stack data and analytics consultancy that helps organisations to unlock the value of their data. As the name suggests, Brooklyn Data Co. was founded in Brooklyn in the US, although it has since expanded to 12 countries.
Brooklyn Data Co. has always been a people-first organisation, investing in career growth right from the start. In the early days, when the team numbered less than 20, performance reviews were informed by a rubric in Confluence for key areas of performance, with 360-degree feedback gathered via Google form.
‘Promotions and role changes were managed on a rolling basis and — by virtue of the skills matrix at the time — typically focused on technical skill development.’ — Rocío
Technical skills are an important part of growth at Brooklyn Data Co., so it was important to prevent lack of clarity from introducing subjectivity to evaluations. The next step for the team was to expand the “technical skills” item on the rubric to offer clear detail by role and level (e.g. what the data warehousing expectations were for a senior analytics engineer, level 2, or what the data visualisation expectations were for a data analyst, level 3). The comprehensiveness of that matrix lent itself better to a Google Sheet, so another resource was added to the workflow.
There were getting to be a lot of moving parts, and the workflow (referring to two frameworks, and pasting feedback from Google Forms into Confluence) was becoming cumbersome for managers.
‘We had too many moving pieces in too many places.‘ — Rocío
The team knew they needed to find a better way to define competencies beyond the technical skillset needed to do the job as an analyst or engineer, for example. And this became only more apparent as the team grew to include roles outside of individual contributors on the data teams.
‘A big drawback of relying on the old approach for promotions was that it didn't naturally lend to supporting people in the way they wanted to grow because the skills matrix could easily feel like a checkbox exercise more than a growth conversation.’ — Rocío
Brooklyn Data Co. needed something that could help them maximise clarity, minimise surprises and focus on demonstrable characteristics, behaviours and actions.
After considering a number of tools, like 15Five, Officevibe, Small Improvements and Impraise (acquired by BetterUp), the team settled on Progression.
‘We considered a few other tools — some were more performance driven, others had a bit of both performance and career growth. The career growth piece was a major driver for us.‘ — Rocío
Brooklyn Data Co. embarked on a project to transfer their Confluence rubric and Google Sheet technical skills matrix into Progression frameworks, which was completed in the second half of 2022. While driven by the People Ops Team, its development was truly a cross-team effort.
The clarity of the Progression framework, paired with the Compare radar chart visualisation, has allowed Brooklyn Data Co. to normalise not just advancing in seniority on a particular track (e.g. Analyst III to Senior Analyst I), but to be able to explore other career changes as well — whether that’s moving from a data analyst role to an analytics engineer role, or exploring moving from a manager role to an individual contributor role.
Alongside the framework itself, teams and their managers can now regularly and consistently document growth through Check-ins — 220 Check-ins have been started to date. Our Check-in feature enables teams and their managers to check in against the skills outlined in the framework and associated with their role (or a desired role) and decide together how they’re doing and whether it might be time to think about a role change or promotion.
Alongside this, teams now document and celebrate each other's achievements through Wins. In total, the team has added 667 Wins — that’s 667 celebrations of a job well done.
‘The Wins feature in particular has been a great way to capture evidence of skills being used that comes in handy for promotion or role change conversations. It might be our favourite function...we have an informal challenge to see who can input the most Wins each week!’ — Rocío
‘The Wins feature really encourages a stronger social graph — I often log into Progression just to see the latest Wins and emoji-react to them. Seeing these Wins makes me want to submit more Wins too for my colleagues, and it feels good to see so much positivity being spread around at BDC!’ — Adam Stone, Senior Analytics Engineer II at Brooklyn Data Co.
The team has also been finding value in our more recently released features; Actions, Focus Skills and Feedback. They use Focus Skills and Actions to document growth goals, and Feedback to support decisions made in Check-ins.
Together, Progression’s features enable Brooklyn Data Co.’s team to identify where they might level up or even switch paths, from analyst to engineer for example, and help them to capture proof of their efforts in one place.
Since launching Progression, Brooklyn Data Co. has seen its team increase their skills level by 38%.
Progression has given the team at Brooklyn Data Co. the clarity, consistency and flexibility they needed, and paired with their transparent compensation by role and level, helped them make the promotion and role change process as fair and equitable as possible. Their framework is entirely transparent (in fact, anyone can take a look at it) — the power to progress has been put firmly in their teams’ hands.
‘Overall, the framework has helped us take the guesswork out of what it means to be an "expert" versus "proficient" in something.’ — Rocío
And while it hasn’t quite been six months since its implementation, early feedback shows that Progression makes it easy for team members to understand what they need to do to grow their careers within the organisation.
‘The concrete skills are transparent and flexible. It's an easy way to have a direct dialogue with your manager with specifics.’ — Data Team member at Brooklyn Data Co.
‘The skill libraries are great, and it's worth investing time to customise them to your organisation! I personally also appreciate how receptive the Progression team has been to our feedback and requests when I find myself stuck (which is rare because the platform is so easy to navigate!)
Have a working group with a balanced and diverse group of individual contributors, managers, and leaders. You want to make sure your framework isn't being developed through a homogenous lens, and a mix of senior and non-senior team members is a great way to ensure biases and assumptions are being checked along the way. Like any work project, build time for reviews and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.
Even if you feel like your organisation is too small, it doesn't hurt to start early! It's a great tool for guiding thinking and planning about how your company (and its people!) might grow with time.’
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