The firm formerly known as Andersen Consulting is getting rid of its annual performance reviews. Well, most of it anyway:
Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme told The Washington Post that the professional services firm, which employs hundreds of thousands of workers in cities around the globe, has been quietly preparing for this “massive revolution” in its internal operations.
“Imagine, for a company of 330,000 people, changing the performance management process—it’s huge,” Nanterme said. “We’re going to get rid of probably 90 percent of what we did in the past.”
The firm will disband rankings and the once-a-year evaluation process starting in fiscal year 2016, which for Accenture begins this September. It will implement a more fluid system, in which employees receive timely feedback from their managers on an ongoing basis following assignments.
This sounds pretty similar to Deloitte's plan to reinvent its approach to evaluations, although it'd be interesting to know what the 10% of Accenture's current process the company will continue doing.
The WaPo article notes that management research firm CEB found that only, "Six percent Fortune 500 companies have gotten rid of rankings." This is sad. Performance rankings need thrown on the business practices trash heap along with fax machines and smoking in the office.
For accounting firms, we've only heard about Deloitte's plan and some unconfirmed chatter about PwC trying to do something. Given their nature, we're not expecting much from other firms.
You've probably noticed by now, but forced ranking in performance evaluations are our bête noire around here. The process demeans, demoralizes, is easily manipulated and are a lazy way to discuss an individual's performance. If your firm is still ranking employees, you (or whoever makes these decisions) should know that there are other options for evaluating performance that don't suck the life out of people.
If your firm is trying something new, we'd love to hear about it. Email us.