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October 2, 2023

How Does Your Firm’s Performance Evaluation Process Need to Change?

Last month we learned that Deloitte plans to scrap its performance evalution process for something that doesn't inspire people to murder each other. 

It's a brave move on the part of the firm because: 1) Accounting firms never take risks like this; 2) Everyone is watching them; 3) Deloitte employees will bitch about it until they realize that anything is better than being scored like a figure skater or labeled with an meaningless phrase like "meets expectations."

If you're a Deloitte employee who's lucky enough to get early exposure to the new evluation process, email us so we can report on their experiences.  

In the meantime, we'll mention an article in the Wall Street Journal  published yesterday that tried to nail down the problems with rating people. The people they spoke to offered several reasons:

  • "[R]atings tended to deflate morale […] we'd call them the walking wounded."
  • "[S]ome managers just dole out higher scores in order to maximize bonuses for employees they’re scared might leave"
  • "[O]thers give everyone average ratings because it is easy."
  • "Workers complain the ratings aren’t fair and don’t paint a true picture of their annual performance."
  • "[E]xecutives are 'giving the numbers too much power' by endlessly debating their worth."
  • "[E]vidence [shows] that workers contribute less after receiving a poor rating."

Then there's this:

One California-based Intel marketing employee said the “successful” rating he received last month made him feel as though his work mattered little to the company. He said he’s wondered whether he should work less hard, theorizing that he’d get the same rating anyway. He’s also started looking for jobs elsewhere, he said.

That's right, even "successful" employees hate being labeled.

Performance evaluations are on a lot of people's minds right now so it makes sense to give you the opportunity to share your ideas about what's wrong your employer's methods. And if your HR department or senior leaders aren't interested in hearing complaints without ideas for solutions, you can offer them these suggestions to get the ball rolling.   

To recap, let's try to cover three areas: 

  • What sucks about your employer's current method of performance evaluations?  
  • Does your HR department or those involved with evals know that the current method sucks?
  • How could the methods improve?

It's probably not necessary to be gentle on this subject, so speak freely. 

The Trouble With Grading Employees [WSJ]

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