Accenture ends annual performance reviews

The 330,000-employee company is ditching the corporate standby in favor of ongoing feedback from managers. The goal is enhancement of real-time performance and career opportunities.

There are certain corporate rituals that employees dislike.

For many, performance reviews top the list.

Several Fortune 500 companies are doing away with the process in favor of ongoing, timely critiques from managers. Accenture is the latest organization to do so.

Beginning this September, Accenture will shift to a process in which managers give employees more-frequent feedback.

Accenture’s CEO, Pierre Nanterme, said in an interview with The Washington Post that performance is an ongoing activity and that reviews should reflect that. “What people want to know is, on an ongoing basis … ‘Am I moving in the right direction? Do you think I’m progressing?'”

Accenture calls its new approach “performance achievement,” “which includes real-time, forward-looking conversations,” Stacey Jones, Accenture’s managing director of corporate marketing and media relations, told Ragan.com. It “will provide a holistic view of performance and potential that will inform the talent decisions that we make, such as rewards and career progression.”

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Will employees like the new system?

Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communication + Technology, says yes. “Most will love it. There will be no mystery about how they’re doing.

“There’s also a deep sense of satisfaction that comes with knowing you’ve been able to make an improvement to your work,” he says. “That can lead to better team relations, a stronger relationship with the boss, and the sense that there’s real meaning and purpose to your work.”

Sean Williams, owner of Communication Ammo and former chair of PRSA’s Employee Communication Section, agrees. He warns, however, that once an organization gets rid of its review process, it must be clear about how employees will be evaluated—especially when it comes to communicators.

“Performance evaluations are inherently subjective in the sort of work that we [communicators] do … We don’t have metrics that are easily observable,” he says. “The No. 1 thing to remember is that performance against objectives is the first and best means of measuring your value.”

Deloitte, Microsoft, Adobe, Gap and Medtronic have also transformed their performance review systems in favor of timely conversations between managers and employees. Holtz and Williams believe more organizations will follow their lead.

“It will be a serious trend when it moves out of tech and into more entrenched and industrial industries, where such change is harder to enact,” Holtz predicts.

What do you think about Accenture’s move? Should more organizations follow suit?

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