Everyone loves to hate performance evaluations, and with good reason:Research has shown them to be ineffective, unreliable and unsatisfactory for seemingly everyone involved. They consume way too much time, leave most workers deflated and feel increasingly out of step with reality. A once-a-year, backwards-looking conversation with the boss hardly fits our forward-looking, instantly updated world. Yet despite all that frustration, many companies do little to change them, thinking there are few alternatives.
That hasn't been the case at Deloitte. The new issue of the Harvard Business Review, released Tuesday, unveils a detailed look at the professional services firm's total redesign of its performance management program. It's an overhaul the company first started rolling out nine months ago.
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As a result, Deloitte wanted to do two main things to simplify the process. It sought to stop asking so many people to weigh in on each employee's performance, instead asking only the team leader for input. Then, it rewrote the evaluation questions, nixing the standard assessment of a person's skills (or "competencies," in corporate parlance).
Now, at the end of every project, or once a quarter if employees have long-term assignments, managers would answer four simple questions — and only four. The first two are answered on a five-point scale, from "strongly agree" to "strongly disagree;" the second two have yes or no options:
1. Given what I know of this person’s performance, and if it were my money, I would award this person the highest possible compensation increase and bonus.
2. Given what I know of this person’s performance, I would always want him or her on my team.
3. This person is at risk for low performance.
4. This person is ready for promotion today.
The HBR report says Deloitte hasn't resolved how it will share the data with employees.