Google cancels bi-annual performance reviews, shifts to GRAD system

Overhauled reviews supposedly less of a headache for managers, staff

Google is shifting to one performance review per annum for employees even though more than half of its workforce consider the current twice yearly appraisal system to be beneficial.

A recent staff survey by Google showed some 53 percent of the 163,000+ workforce felt that bi-annual reviews are "time well spent", according to The Information, yet the naysayers are being heard clearly.

In a meeting yesterday, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google partner Alphabet, told the organization he wants to give more workers a sense of achievement, while telling them "most Googlers are doing great work."

The Register has asked Google to comment.

The replacement system that kicks in this month is branded by the company as Googler Reviews and Development (GRAD) and will not require the same level of preparation for managers and their teams as the one it replaces.

Google blogged yesterday that the performance management and promotion process had included "formal reviews and raising" done twice yearly.

"Our People team at Google worked with leaders and partners across the company globally to see how we could evolve these processes to help our employees do the best work of their career.

"We looked at everything, starting with employee feedback, as well as research, industry best practices, and all that we've learned about how to design processes for fairness and consistency."

Under the new system, managers will provide "feedback and check-ins throughout the year" and one of these will be the formal one "focused on learning and career development at Google."

"Performance ratings will happen once a year and our new rating scale will reflect the fact that most Googler's deliver significant value every day."

Promotions will still happen "twice a year" it added.

The Great Resignation, which began in spring last year and continued until the fall when the quit rate in the US climbed to a two-decade peak, is forcing companies to consider ways to retain valued staff. This also includes giving staff some flexibility in where they work and hours that are set.

Meta also moved to one annual review last year, as The Information highlighted, but the trend to cut back on these formal processes perhaps isn't as new as big tech might think.

According to Deloitte's 2015 survey, Global Human Capital Trends [PDF] – yeah the title made us feel a bit queasy too – companies have increasingly burdensome HR processes.

"Adobe found its performance management process took almost 1.8 million person-hours per year to complete. Deloitte itself found that its performant management process consumer close to 2 million hours."

In 2015, Deloitte had 225,000 employees worldwide. In calendar Q1 2022 [PDF], Google had 163,906. ®

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