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Building a DNA framework: How progression is in our identity

When it comes to career progression, different companies have different approaches. Often it’s a subject that’s brought up in performance reviews. But the most important thing about progression initiatives—be it a promotion or increased responsibilities—is that the company has a unified approach. To ensure this, we decided to implement a DNA framework across the whole organisation.

Why are we doing this?

Implementing a DNA framework not only aligns all teams, but it also helps to differentiate seniority levels and define the skills required in order to progress. This approach helps everyone in the organisation to know where they’re at—and how they should improve in order to get to the next level.

Another benefit to our DNA framework is keeping our compensation structure fair and consistent across the entire workforce. 

To manage or not to manage?

At a certain point in every person’s career there’s a question of where to go next. It usually happens when a person is a great individual contributor (IC) who reaches a senior level. But somehow everyone thinks that the clear progression is to become a manager. But actually, not every person wants to go down that route. As a result, a lot of people who reach this crossroad in their career end up feeling a little lost. They think that if they don’t pursue their career in the management track, they’re actually not progressing. But this isn’t true.

As a company, we think that it’s up to a person to decide which way to go. That’s why we have two different tracks: individual contributor and management. These tracks come with different definitions and required skills. You can still progress even if you stay as an IC—essentially, you’re given the opportunity to expand your knowledge and be the best at your game.

DNA in performance reviews

As we have bi-annual performance reviews, many employees use these opportunities to discuss their progression with their manager. During this discussion, how many boxes the person ticks for the next level of DNA framework is evaluated.

If all seems great and the person hasn’t just achieved everything in their current level—but also ticks some boxes in the next one—a promotion is likely. But if there’s still something lacking, improvement areas are identified and goals are set for the next review. Essentially, our progression is in our own hands. 

Emphasis on equality

We as a company seek to create an environment where every single employee is equal. For example, our training budget was once connected to salary. However last year, we switched it to a fixed amount that now applies to everyone. 

From an equality standpoint, our DNA framework allows individuals in the same IC level to be equal. If someone goes above and beyond in their role, their IC level gets adjusted accordingly. It’s important that an employee’s progress is regularly evaluated based on the individual him/herself.

We think it’s only right that progression is achievable for all.

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2020-07-28

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