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The times they are a-changing in the corporate world

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Despite what the title of this post might suggest, we’re not going to talk about Bob Dylan, but the fact that a lot of things are indeed a-changing in the business world. In an unprecedented move, the multinational consultancy organisation Accenture is ditching the much dreaded annual performance reviews. This marks a trend that we have been observing with other large businesses, where old processes are scrapped and replaced by others that are adequate to today’s workforce.

Employees at desk

Pierre Nanterme, Accenture’s current CEO, put it very clearly on a recent interview to the Washington Post:

Yes, so if you are to scoop from me—we’re going to get rid of it. Not 100 percent, but we’re going to get rid of probably 90 percent of what we did in the past. It’s not what we need. We are not sure that spending all that time on performance management has been yielding a great outcome.

And for the millennium generation, it’s not the way they want to be recognized, the way they want to be measured. If you put this new generation in the box of the performance management we’ve used the last 30 years, you lose them. We’re done with the famous annual performance review, where once a year I’m going to share with you what I think about you. That doesn’t make any sense.

Performance is an ongoing activity. It’s every day, after any client interaction or business interaction or corporate interaction. It’s much more fluid. People want to know on an ongoing basis, am I doing right? Am I moving in the right direction? Do you think I’m progressing? Nobody’s going to wait for an annual cycle to get that feedback. Now it’s all about instant performance management.

Starting in the 2016 fiscal year, Accenture will start evaluating employee’s performance in a more fluid manner, with feedback being fed by their managers on an ongoing basis, as projects are completed. For a generation that is used to instant ‘likes’, having an evaluation process that is adequate is of utmost importance if we want to keep them keen and to retain the best talent. At the end of the day, it not only benefits employees but organisation’s results, as it’s been proven time and time again by several pieces of research.

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