Performance reviews, the 2015 edition

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Mark Vletter 17 december 2015 2 min
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This week we choose not to share one of our microblogs, but we would like to give you an update about our struggle to find a better system for performance reviews.

Performance reviews, the 2015 edition

We have been playing around with our method of doing colleague performance reviews for almost ten years now.

In order to measure the things we value, we decided to write our own performance review form. We wanted to measure three things.

  1. Our own work, knowledge and skills
  2. Internal collaboration: Colleagues, projects and organisation
  3. External collaboration: Customers, profiling, etc.

The performance review form slowly but steadily improved every year. In 2012 – with 22 people working at the company- we decided we wanted to be a company without management. That meant a lot for the performance system.

Three things changed:

  1. We decided that colleagues should do their own performance reviews and these would be discussed with their peers. Not in a judgemental, but in a truth finding way.
  2. We made a differentiation between performance reviews and personal feedback. The last one led us to building a new system: our Grid360 feedback tool. In this tool we give ourselves and our peers feedback twice a year.
  3. We connected the performance review to a pay scale system.

And now it is the end of 2015. This year we implemented holacracy, which is a big organizational change. We also did a lot of personality tests -DISC and Gallup’s StrengthFinder- because we feel we need to know ourselves to better understand ourselves and others. We have 75 colleagues in three countries working at the company. In the last feedback and performance rounds we noticed these changes. Things work better than in traditional systems, but it is still nowhere near perfect. There is still room for improvement. The issues we wanted to solve this time.

  • We are a high performance organization and the performance reviews lead to a large salary increase, which is not healthy for the company and the colleagues in the long run. We need to change the performance form, but we might need to change the salary system as well.
  • The performance document does not match the holacracy role system.
  • The performance document does not suit every role and should maybe differentiate based on the roles that people have.
  • The Grid360 feedback tool is connected to a standard set of competences and is not connected to holacracy either.
  • Grid360 is very time intensive and the frequency is too low.
  • We need to integrate our personality tests in the feedback / performance system to better understand each other and help each other grow.
  • Finally, we have to take into consideration that in some specific circumstances the connection between performance review and salary actually corrupts the system. You have to be very honest and self-critical to regard these as two separate things.

We will be puzzling with this in the time to come and will keep you up to date. Please feel free to enter your valuable input in the comments!

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