Will We Look Back at 2015 as the Year Annual Performance Reviews Died?

October 7th, 2015
Written by: Dana Papke

It’s been hard not to notice this year’s flurry of articles (several listed at the bottom of this post) about Accenture, Deloitte and other influential companies substantially reinventing or even ditching traditional performance reviews.

To that, TPO says, ever so politely, “What took you so long?”

As I wrote in The Performance Review: Another “Form” of Insanity, when a company struggles with measuring and improving employee performance, it is tempting to focus on relatively easy “fixes” like forms and processes, rather than instilling and measuring what TPO has identified through our research as the 6 Performance Essential Behaviors. It is worth listing these behaviors again:

  • Share the mission, vision, and operating objectives of the company – and discuss how each employee’s job fits in and how they are expected to contribute in the organization.
  • Share performance expectations clearly—understand what is expected and clarify with each other continuously.
  • Share informal and on-going feedback—seek and support real-time performance adjustments to iron out uneven performance.
  • Cultivate open and transparent two-way dialogue – building dual accountability for getting performance right.
  • Share the process of finding solutions to problems – which facilitates productivity and makes everyone’s life easier.
  • Build performance through job experiences – play to strengths, seek new challenges and grow on the job.

Reading the list above reinforces the point that guiding and changing employee behaviors is not an annual or semi-annual task; it is a continuous process and therefore it requires continuous engagement with employees to clarify expectations, provide feedback and solve problems.

Perhaps this excerpt from a Washington Post article on Accenture’s performance process overhaul says it best:

The firm will disband rankings and the once-a-year evaluation process starting in fiscal year 2016, which for Accenture, begins this September (2015). It will implement a more fluid system, in which employees receive timely feedback from their managers on an ongoing basis following assignments.

If TPO’s work with clients—and the corresponding results—is any indication, Accenture, Deloitte and other companies reinventing their performance management have a lot to look forward to.


Recent Articles on Overhauling Performance Reviews

What if you could replace performance evaluations with four simple questions? (Washington Post – Registration Required)

Reinventing Performance Management (Harvard Business Review)

Accenture CEO explains why he’s overhauling performance reviews (Washington Post – Registration Required)

In big move, Accenture will get rid of annual performance reviews and rankings (Washington Post – Registration Required)


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