Behind the HR Scene at Chameleon Technologies with Mike Luckenbaugh

2 min read
Feb 16, 2012

When I sat down with Mike Luckenbaugh, Co-Founder of Chameleon Technologies "Chameleon," he struck me as someone who is very likable and easy going which helps explains the success of his company. Chameleon provides consulting services, temporary staffing, and recruiting for some of the largest companies in the Puget Sound region, including Microsoft, HTC, and REI to name a few.


Currently Chameleon employs 42 people, and Mike cites that Chameleon's strategic assets are:

(1) Employees

(2) Process

(3) Brand / Reputation

Chameleon undertakes strategic planning once a year in December and then reviews the goals quarterly to see how they're tracking. Mike shares the outcome of the strategic planning in a company-wide "State of the Union" address with the troops to get them rallied and on-board. To keep his employees happy and the underpinning for their continued growth, Mike discussed the following insights:*Leverage employee feedback in review process - reviewees complete a review form prior to the annual review. They document their successes, areas for improvement, and wins. Then management completes a similar form. During the meeting they match up the feedback from both sides and really dig in, especially in areas where there are discrepancies when matching up. The meeting usually take about an hour.

*Quantitative scale for raise - each reviewee is graded on a scale, then all the points are tallied. They must hit at least 45 out of a 50 point scale to warrant a pay increase. The qualitative feedback in the process is quantified for easier comparison and performance tracking.

*Spreadsheets and shared drive - Mike is a self-admitted spreadsheet wonk. He tracks performance and productivity all via spreadsheets. And he leverages a corporate shared drive to share reviews and progress internally with other key members of his team.

*Praise in public [a lot] - during their standup meetings, Mike often praises people in public. He's a big believer in giving people recognition and respect in front of their peers and the entire company.

*The more frequent the better - Mike employs a monthly 1-on-1 meeting rhythm because he's able to resolve any issue quickly before it gets out of hand. For the 1-on-1, the reviewee fills out a form with 8 different sections an hour before the meeting and sends it to Mike. They'll then sit down for about an hour to discuss all 8 sections together (which is about the duration as the annual review).

*Conclusion - they say that companies embody the personality of the founder(s). If this is true, I can only imagine how much clients enjoy working with Mike and his team considering his amiable personality. But given a friendly founder and work environment, there's bound to be anxiety and issues during annual reviews especially when expectations don't line up. Therefore, I understand why one of the reasons they boil the qualitative feedback down into a quantitative points systems is to depolarize potential conflicts.


*Follow @TINYhr on Twitter to get the latest insights and best practices from entrepreneurs as David continues his travels and interviews around-the-world.

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