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Understanding Small Improvements

Welcome! We’ve built Small Improvements to be easy to learn and user friendly, but we also know that mastering any new software or introducing a new process can still be a challenge.

A personal demo is the best way to learn about how Small Improvements can facilitate employee growth, helping your business succeed, get in touch for a demo with our team to learn more.


Use the following guide as a handy resource while you get started. The links below contain a wealth of information whenever you are looking for specific details, inspiration, or instructions.

We’ll walk you through all the important parts of your evaluation, including:

  • Understanding the basics of how Small Improvements works and its core features.
  • Learning how to get your account set up and adding users to give things a proper go.
  • Rolling out to your entire team and the next steps if you decide we’re right for you.

Of course, if you ever have any questions or need some assistance, our team is here to help you succeed and we invite you to contact us any time.

Ready to go? Let’s get started!

Understanding Small Improvements

Employees, managers, and administrators alike should find things to be fairly straightforward once you understand our approach. The sections below and the links they contain go into far more detail, but here’s what you and your team need to know:

  • For employees with no direct reports things couldn’t be easier – usually you, or another administrator, will send them a notification to let them know they have feedback to provide or a self assessment to write. They simply follow the link in the email and fill in a form, then share when they’re ready.
  • Your managers have it almost as easy. While they’ll also receive similar notification emails linking them to where they need to go, they also have access to team overview pages. These dashboards let them view and manage their team’s feedback. They can even send nudges to direct and indirect reports so you don’t have to.
  • As an administrator, there are a few more things to consider. After checking things out with the sample content you’ll want to start getting some of your colleagues on board, assign them managers, and start creating your own cycles (details below) so you can initiate a round of reviews, 360’s, and/or objectives before inviting the entire team.

Everyone has access to their personal homepage with to-do items and quick links to new messages whenever they log in.

Know Your Roles

By default all users have access to their own feedback, and the feedback of any direct and indirect reports. The administration of the tool is managed through additional roles and permissions you can hand out.

  • HR Admin: This role is very powerful. It gives you access not only to set up and manage review processes but also to see confidential data like performance review content.
  • HR Assistant: Assistants can also create and edit cycles, add reviewees and track statuses. Unlike HR Admins, however, they are not able to access any confidential data or change the reporting structure.
  • Technical Admin: This role allows to set up overall configuration of the system like integrations, design, and security settings.

You can, of course, also have a combination roles, e.g. HR Admin and Tech Admin.

Only have a few HR Admins. Too many can be a security risk — consider adding HR Assistants instead.

What is a Cycle?

Before we can discuss the core features of Small Improvements, it’s important to understand the behind-the-scenes mechanic that makes collecting feedback possible.

To keep things simple – a cycle is a container that empowers you to define how and when all of the individual reviews, 360 feedback, and objectives will be grouped, formatted, and shared. You can create and reference all cycles via the “Company” view located in your left-hand menu- Just tab through features to create cycles for Reviews, 360s, and Objectives. 

You kick off a new cycle whenever necessary and individuals can even be part of multiple, independent cycles that can run in parallel or overlap. We’ve designed them to offer a wide level of flexibility so you can mix and match all of the features and settings you need to make Small Improvements suit your needs.

Create or copy cycles to easily fire up a new round of feedback – when you start them, how long they run for, and how often, is up to you!

The 1:1 Meetings & Praise features don’t have cycles, they are either on or off. Don’t worry if you don’t fully understand cycles yet, they make more sense in practice. Keep reading and get started with your trial, you’ll to get the hang of them! 

Core Features

Feedback in Small Improvements is powered by five modules and a wide-range of admin options, all controlled by you. Use the features you want and combine them as you see fit to keep your employees engaged and encourage a culture of continuous feedback.

Small Improvements is a self-service tool, so it’s important that you understand our main features and how to use them. You’re in control of configuring your account; everything from the questions to the color scheme.

The good news is that it’s exceptionally easy to manage things yourself. While you have access to an array of options, they’re easy to change and offer you a broad range of flexibility.

Don’t feel overwhelmed though, once you get through your initial setup you just need to make sure to send the proper notifications to drive the team where they need to go!

Performance Reviews 

Employees and their managers can easily author appraisals and use our 2D self assessment graph to plot a visual performance rating (a great conversation starter!). These can be shared with one another, adjusted and signed once finished. For each performance review cycle, you customize the questions, ratings and timeline plus select who is being reviewed.

Learn more: General performance review information

360 Feedback

Empower employees to nominate co-workers and even individuals from outside your organization to receive feedback from. When creating a new cycle for 360’s, you control the questions, timeline, anonymity level and who should receive feedback. Get creative and use the feature to allow upwards feedback for managers too. You control who sees what and when.

Learn more: General 360 Feedback information


Employees, their managers, or yourself can set up, share and keep track of goals. All objectives – be it quarterly goals or long term career plans – are handy come review time. Once you create a cycle it’s available for anyone in your organization to participate. Make these as flexible as you need and set the options you want to track progress.

Learn more: General Objectives information

1:1 Meetings & Praise

We make continuous feedback easy with dedicated one on one meeting support and a dynamic praise and recognition tool. With our 1:1 meeting feature, participants can set shared or private meeting talking points, as well as create shared or private notes & action items. Our Praise feature provides options to define sharing permissions, ways to engage with your colleagues by liking or commenting on recognition, and multiple badges to append to a message for more meaningful praise.

General Administration

Check out the administration overview to enable or disable features, customize the email templates or colors and design, set up relevant integrations and tweak company settings. Everything might not be relevant initially, but it’s handy to know – Have a look!

Learn more: Self service customization cheat sheet

Sending Notifications: Don’t forget! Just like you control when you notify employees that you’ve created their account, you’re also in control of sending the notifications during any feedback cycle. 

Updated on February 24, 2021

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