Microsoft, SAP and other companies have stopped employee assessments. Whereas in the past great value was placed on regular assessments of employees by managers, an increasing number of companies are recognising that the process takes a lot of work and generates little real profit for the company.
The annual rituals bring about demotivation rather than constructive results amongst those involved. One alternative is to assess managers instead of staff.
Why not assess managers as RAG does?
When the federal government decided to stop subsidising the German coal mining industry in the 1990s it was clear that the company – still called Ruhrkohle AG at the time – would have to shed 100,000 jobs by 2018. How does a board of directors communicate this bad news to the workforce? Because that was hard for the workers who depended on work in the area. If, for example, mines were closed, workers had to find jobs at other pits in far-off locations. Managers were supposed to attend to every worker and his perspectives in that process.
It had been agreed with the social partner that the management would be assessed by workers. Any manager who did badly and didn’t not look after his staff was replaced. This is how RAG managed the massive job cuts successfully.
Google goes for transparent management and staff feedback
In contrast to many other companies in the digital sector, Google is continuing its policy of work performance assessments – and publishes the assessment results right up to board level. This means that both managers and staff receive feedback about their performance every six months. Whilst the former GE CEO (iron) Jack Welch believed that the bottom 10% of employees needed to leave the company as they were poor performers, Google now says that the results of this group must be made transparent. The same applies to managers who perform badly.
Google is also implementing this type of transparent feedback in Germany. We have now seen this ourselves. This is how those involved find out where they stand and how they are viewed in the company. Google generally assumes that people want to achieve good performance. With several million applications for vacancies every year and as direct applications, this assumption is quite justified. Since many positions in companies will change in the coming years, in Germany as well, it is definitely an option to consider these forms of performance evaluation.