Google rethinks employee reviews and promotions process
Google last week shifted to a new system for “employee development, learning and progression” it calls GRAD (Googler Reviews and Development) designed to streamline the process and reduce tensions around employee reviews and career development.
- Performance reviews: Employees are reviewed once a year instead of twice. According to a Google blog entry, feedback and check-ins will continue throughout the year, including one check-in focused on learning and career development.
- Management-led promotions: Management will primarily determine promotions as opposed to a consortium of managers and peers. Employees can still request promotions twice a year.
- New Ratings System: Employees will now be graded on new ratings levels: Transformative Impact, Outstanding Impact, Significant Impact, Moderate Impact, Not Enough Impact. Google said the updated scale “will reflect the fact that most Googlers deliver significant impact every day.”
The changes represent a significant adjustment to Google’s Perf system that has served as a model for other tech companies.
Under the Perf system, each employee completes a self-evaluation every six months based on shared values, execution, thought leadership and problem-solving skills. An internal grading system, Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), helps monitor their progress and accomplishments, but isn’t tied to performance evaluation.
The employee then nominates up to five peers to provide non-anonymous feedback on their strengths, weaknesses and impact. Finally, managers calibrate the feedback and their own observations in a written review and score the employee on a five-point scale (Needs Improvement, Consistently Meets Expectations, Exceeds Expectations, Strongly Exceeds Expectations and Superb).
The update is being seen as a concession as Google has faced complaints over its three-day in-office policy and recently received lower grades on compensation from its annual “Googlegeist” survey amid the Great Resignation. A survey of Google employees also found only 53 percent considered bi-annual reviews to be “time well spent,” as reported by The Information.
“Under this new process, we expect the majority of Googlers will be modeled for higher pay than they would under the old Perf system and the overall amount paid will increase too,” stated one of the internal documents on the GRAD program attained by CNBC.
- Googler Reviews and Development – Google
- Google Overhauls Performance Review System After Employee Criticism – The Information
- Google is raising pay, revamping employee reviews, documents show – CNBC
- Google’s changing its performance reviews to waste less time – The Verge
- How Google conducts performance review – Grove
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Did Google make the right moves in overhauling its employee review and promotions process? What are your thoughts on the frequency of reviews and value of peer reviews and employee ratings for retail frontline and corporate staff?