Time to review the review

The art of leadership is not to spend your time measuring, evaluating. It’s all about selecting the person. And if you believe you selected the right person, then you give that person the freedom, the authority, the delegation to innovate and to lead with some very simple measure.” Pierre Nanterme, Accenture CEO

My last couple of posts have been around the subject what good management and leadership skills are. I, therefore, ask the question: should a leader or manager know how their team or people are performing everyday, and should they be reacting to their performance (supporting, rewarding (immediately), coaching etc) on a day-by-day basis? Is this too much to ask?

Do companies need performance review processes?

Well, slowly, change is afoot. Companies are beginning to consider a more collaborative and flexible approaches designed to ensure that employees have complete transparency of how they’re tracking against their goals at any point in time.

I, personally, have not had a performance review in over two years, and I certainly don’t miss them nor do I feel I have missed out by not having one.

It was reported this week that Accenture will do all of its employees and managers an enormous favour (their words, not mine), and will be getting get rid of their annual performance review process.

Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme (quoted above) said 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 per cent of what we did in the past.”. Yup, sure is a big change.

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

Accenture determined that performance management had to change from trying to measure the value of employees’ contribution after the fact. It needed instead to regularly support and position workers to perform better in the future.

Another great example is SEEK. They are challenging how they are managing their biggest asset, their people. In August 2014, they launched ‘This is SEEK’, which encapsulates this new approach in creating a culture to harness talent. Beliefs and attributes now codify what it means to be a high performer, meaning employees can now see exactly what is required to excel.

Recognising these qualities now gives them the right platform to recruit and reward by. With that in mind, their attributes and beliefs have become what they hire to, and these are implemented in recruitment across all divisions of their business. To put these beliefs and attributes into play and explore these concepts, every employee participated in a full-day workshop. Half-yearly performance reviews are being phased out, and instead, ‘This is SEEK’ has been introduced to promote ongoing honest conversations around the performance of employees.

If everyone is performing at their best, the performance discussion becomes one focused on stretch and challenge, raising capability even further. SEEK is reporting that they are already starting to see the benefits through increased engagement and positivity in our workplace.

In March this year, Deloitte announced that it was piloting a new program in which, like at Accenture, rankings would disappear and the evaluation process would unfold incrementally throughout the year. Deloitte is also experimenting with using only four simple questions in its reviews, two of which simply require yes or no answers. Simple is good.

Regardless of the industry you’re operating in, or the size of your organisation, the people within it are your greatest asset. So should companies get rid of their cumbersome performance review processes completely or is it important for employers to establish regular feedback systems to deal with issues as soon as they arise?

What do you think of the performance review process?

Thanks for reading,


#HowILead / Please note that I have directly quoted from the following articles:

Accenture article in the SMH

How SEEK codified culture and disrupted performance reviews

SEEK / The changing face of performance reviews – what you need to know

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