In September 2015, David Rock and Beth Jones reported on research into companies who had ditched performance ratings. Instead of defining performance by numbers, they changed the emphasis to quality conversations between managers and their teams.
If the idea of moving away from ratings makes you nervous, this is why Rock and Jones suggest that a trend towards a no-ratings performance system is gaining momentum:
- The nature of work is changing – monthly, rather than 12-monthly goals are often more realistic, and more people now work in teams (which might also span wide geographical areas), making it more difficult for managers to always see, or understand, everything they do.
- Collaboration suffers when ratings are at stake; not everyone can get top marks, and when some do and some don’t collaboration suffers.
- Removing a rating system encourages managers to talk to people about their development much more often than once, or even twice a year – and this appeals particularly to millennials who crave learning and career growth.
- Removing ratings, and holding more frequent dialogues, develops people more quickly (not much of a surprise there).
Now this is a development I’m going to be watching very closely.