How Accenture Eliminated Annual Performance Reviews

As one of the largest global organizations that employs thousands upon thousands of employees, Accenture has a tough challenge: it’s essential to have an effective performance evaluation system in place, but it’s also tremendously challenging to make any changes or updates once a system is in place.

However, after conducting their own research and seeing research conducted by other organizations, Accenture made the bold move to revolutionize its traditional rankings and once-a-year performance evaluation process in favor of a system that provide real-time feedback.

Real-Time Feedback, Not Annual Feedback

Accenture will begin implementing a system that allows employees to receive feedback directly from their manager in relation to work completed on a project. Instead of having to wait until the end of the year for a review of their performance, employees are empowered to get bite-sized feedback that is neither overwhelming nor feels outdated. Instead of feasting on buffet of feedback at the end of the year, employees get to snack on actionable feedback throughout the quarter.

Empowerment, Not Comparison

While many organizations have previously trumpeted the benefits of “grading” employees along a curve the same way students are measured and ranked in school on a standardized test, research is proving that not only is this method ineffective and inaccurate, it’s highly demoralizing. Accenture CEO explains, “We’re going to evaluate you in your role, not vis à vis someone else who might work in Washington, who might work in Bangalore. It’s irrelevant. It should be about you.”

Return On Investment, Not Cost

Another thing that Accenture did was review the ROI of their systems. With monetary costs held constant, what were other costs that might be weighing down on the system?

Decreased employee productivity, lowered morale, and heavy time investments were all byproducts of the former performance review system. “The process is too heavy, too costly for the outcome,” Nanterme said. “And the outcome is not great.”

HR practice leader for CEB mentioned that companies aren’t likely to save much time or money by transitioning away from their old ratings systems to a new evaluation process, “The smartest companies are asking, how do we get the best value out of the time and money we are spending?”

Accenture is the latest to join the crop of organizations including Adobe, Microsoft, and Deloitte, that have all moved away from traditional performance reviews, all of which are leading the revolution towards a more engaged workforce.