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Warby Parker Taps Internal Surveys To Drive Innovation And Growth

Since the inception of Warby Parker in 2010, the multichannel eyewear retailer has evolved from a small startup to a nationally recognized brand. With this consistent growth, however, the retailer started struggling to maintain personal relationships and improve collaboration among a growing employee base.

“In a little over three years, we’ve gone from eight employees sitting around a table to more than 250 employees split across two offices, two stores and multiple showrooms,” said Colleen Tucker, Talent Manager at Warby Parker. Today Warby Parker keeps a constant pulse on team member sentiment and leverages that feedback for constructive improvement using the 15Five Employee Feedback System.
 

The 15Five solution was designed to help employees share their thoughts on products and internal processes, and provide managers and executives with instant access to this feedback. The company name, 15Five, reflects the provider’s core mission: To help companies streamline communication using employee reports that take just 15 minutes to write, and require no more than five minutes for managers to read. 
“Employee feedback plays a crucial role in our decision-making process,” said Colleen Tucker, Talent Manager at Warby Parker. “While it is great to see all of the positive things our employees have to say about the company, we are most interested in using 15Five as a tool for improvement.” Shortly following the March 2013 implementation, Warby Parker made “a bunch of changes based on the constructive feedback we have received,” Tucker added, “and we already are seeing results!”

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Each week, Warby Parker employees are asked to spend 15 minutes creating one report to highlight updates on recent successes, challenges, ideas for innovation and overall morale. Once complete, all surveys are relayed through the solution to managers and executives so they can analyze feedback, identify patterns and engage in follow-up conversations. All reports are rolled into a cohesive summary and shared with the entire Warby Parker team, so everyone is in synch regarding company challenges, opportunities and future plans.

The feedback Warby Parker seeks “can be a big idea, such as a new product line, or a small office improvement,” Tucker reported. “We’ll continue to collect weekly ideas from everyone in the company and implement those that make the most sense for the business. We truly believe that great ideas can come from anywhere and anyone — it’s just a matter of finding the right tool to collect those insights.”

In addition to creating questions focused on overall business operations, Warby Parker also tailors surveys and reports based on department. “Particular team members can ask very specific questions,” Tucker explained, “giving managers the ability to collect feedback about the most relevant issues within their departments in nearly real time.”

Warby Parker is implementing a variety of other communication tools and strategies to address some of the “unique challenges” experienced with growth, according to Tucker. For example, the company also is investigating ways to train remote employees using virtual training tools. To further improve communication, “we’ve started holding ‘Google hangouts’ so that all of our employees can participate in all-hands meetings, regardless of their locations.” 

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