back to article Google cancels bi-annual performance reviews, shifts to GRAD system

Google is shifting to one performance review per annum for employees even though more than half of its workforce consider the current twice yearly appraisal system to be beneficial. A recent staff survey by Google showed some 53 percent of the 163,000+ workforce felt that bi-annual reviews are "time well spent", according to …

  1. NoneSuch Silver badge

    Any company...

    ...with a dedicated HR Department, is too large for me to work in. When companies hire HR staff, they are shifting their focus from the employees to the company.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Any company...

      Never work for any organization large enough to have an hr dept

    2. sad_loser

      Iron Law of bureaucracy applies here

      However a simple quick semi-structured quarterly review with direct reports can and should be a pleasure, not a pain. It is only when the HR people start trying to own it and the outputs that it becomes problematic.

      A corporate turnaround guru I know always fires the HR department first, because if they were good at their job, he wouldn’t need to be there. He says just doing that significantly lifts morale on its own.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Just another excuse

    not to give anyone outside the "C" level execs a pay rise.

    Just another day raking it in for the 0.1%.

    1. v13

      Re: Just another excuse

      Salary adjustments weren't affected because they were happening once per year, so there's no change there.

    2. My-Handle

      Re: Just another excuse

      In this specific case, I don't really know enough to comment

      But I know that this is definitely the case in quite a number of large companies. One such I worked for had a cap on the ratings that a manager could give their team - the entire team had to meet the average. If someone performed brilliantly, that meant picking another poor sod to mark down. Likewise, it became nearly impossible to meet the high score (and thus attain a small improvement to the already negligible bonus). As someone who's official contract was website QA, whose actual day-to-day job was developing software in service of several teams, who had actually saved the company something in the low hundred thousand pound region in labour costs, I was nevertheless only given a 3.5 (on a 1 to 5 scale) because I wasn't customer focussed.

      The company was definitely more focussed on it's own internal politics than it was on the actual service it provided.

      1. Ace2 Silver badge

        Re: Just another excuse

        A buddy of mine who works for a behemoth was recently told that, while he is due for a promotion, he is too underpaid to be in the salary band that’s eligible for it.

  3. DaemonProcess

    hate them

    what a total waste of time. Embarrassing. Hurtful. Stressful. Darwinian. Only the most persuasive survive. Large employers only run them to quantify who to lay off with some data that they think can stand up in a tribunal. No other reason. Same for 'objectives'. If you do your job and your manager is happy there doesn't need to be anything else. Its when your manager isn't happy that they want data to kill you with.

    1. tfewster

      Re: hate them

      > Deloitte itself found that its performance management process consumed close to 2 million hours - In 2015, Deloitte had 225,000 employees worldwide.

      10 hours a year per employee seems quite reasonable to collect and review evidence to justify promotions and pay rises worth thousands.

      I normally don't put much effort in to playing the game myself, as I'm happy at my current level (and it doesn't make much difference anyway).

      1. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: hate them

        >I normally don't put much effort in to playing the game myself, as I'm happy at my current level (and it doesn't make much difference anyway).

        It depends of whether you're working at one of those companies that rank and rate employees in which case not paying attention could get you into the 'need remediation' group. You won't have done anything wrong, of course, its just the system.

        I've worked for one or two of these companies but never through choice but by acquisition (you work at a smaller company that gets bought). I can't ever imagine seeking to hire on at a place that has these systems but I suppose lots of people do. All I know is that these systems consume inordinate amounts of time, they become not the means to an end but the end itself.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: hate them

      I hate them too. Bad enough having to do them as an underling. Worse if you have underlings of your own to worry about and get complaints from. And then there's the fact that your higher ups force you to change the scores you give to your underlings to fit thier requirements.

    3. Mr Larrington

      Re: hate them

      Those at my last BigCo were crammed to the rafters with insane management-speak bollocks with frequent use of “leverage” as a verb and waffle about “customer-facing roles” which in our case we had not got. Hence The Boss refused to have anything to do with them. Either our systems worked or they didn’t. Then, alas, we were subjected to a Reorganisation and The Boss promptly handed in his notice. Though not before encouraging the rest of us to be as sarky as possible in our completion of the appraisal forms.

      This, natch, did not sit well with the new The Mgt, who had us repeatedly flogged until morale improved.

    4. aerogems Silver badge

      Re: hate them

      Over here in the States, we don't have things like tribunals. By and large, people can be fired at any time for any reason (except a very narrow subset of reasons). Your boss could walk into the office tomorrow, decide they don't like the color of your shoes, and fire you for it. Completely legal. So, just remember that as bas as you may think it is there, it could be worse... and is for millions of people on the other side of the Atlantic.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: hate them

        On the other side, pay for most qualified jobs is much higher on the other side of the pond, too, so it's not all better over here in the UK.

  4. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Come into My Parlours said the Spider to the Fly. IT has Vast Rooms for Many Mansions to Store.

    In a meeting yesterday, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google partner Alphabet, told the organization he wants to give more workers a sense of achievement, while telling them "most Googlers are doing great work."

    The Register has asked Google to comment.

    Virtual Presentations and AILive Demonstrations with the Creative Talents Provided to/for/from the Great Works the Very Best of AlphaBetAI Googlers are doing would be an Awesome AIDevelopment .... Permitting the Trawling and Trailing and Trialing of Enlightening Memes/SMARTR Opinioned Bodies/Almighty Thoughts for Creation and Destruction, Good and Evil.

    If Alphabet and Google are into that Field of Endeavour for Valour, that would surely be akin to them doing God's work?

    A good question to ask them is ..... Do You Like To Dabble and Dither in the Field or Dibble and Driver Ever Further and Deeper and Higher for the Blessed Relief and Release and Reward Great Works Completed Deliver?

    If the answer is Yes to the last question is the answer to the first question also true.

    If the answers was to be a No, would they now like to Change IT and Profess Yes because of the Extremely Strange Changed Circumstances, both for and from the Immaculate Source Far Beyond Any Normal Command and Control introducing All Currently Known About All of the Above that they too are now privy to ?

    1. Roger Greenwood

      Re: Come into My Parlours said the Spider to the Fly. IT has Vast Rooms for Many Mansions to Store.

      That is the best response to a review I have seen in a long time. Have an extra week off.

    2. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: Come into My Parlours said the Spider to the Fly.

      And the counterparts to those Googlers doing great work are gravely to be regarded, and it is incumbent upon and a glorious duty provided for those either unilaterally able or subsequently remotely enabled by emerging technologies and virtual realities, to ensure the latter, [Googlers doing great work], prevails and destroys the former lurking and stagnating behind manufactured veils of fears and tissues of lies

      Such is only natural and therefore fully to be expected wonderfully supported, and in these increasingly strange and fundamentally different times and spaces, sooner rather than later, and in some cases, much sooner than ever can be later prevented and the consequences/opportunities reversed.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: manufacturing veils of fears and tissues of lies .. and hyperlinks which no longer work

        The Nanny UK state admits defeat in the war of words clashes which Question More and the truth and decides to preside and ride on the charger of disinformation into the future fray. .......

        If ever there was a lame donkey in a thoroughbred racehorse race, that is it. Bravo, UKGBNI. Pass Go. Collect £200 and your booby prize. Was ever a systemic catastrophic weakness more ably exposed and telegraphed to friend and foe alike? What on Earth do you think such an hare-brained assault is going to achieve whenever foreign news and alternative views are available from everywhere/anywhere/out there free from perverse bigotry and corrupt, inept, politically incorrect regulation .... apart from derision and shame, of course?

        Strewth, Rodders, what a load of plonkers.

  5. RyokuMas

    Turning upon their own...

    I guess someone decided that they weren't gathering enough data about their own people...

  6. pimppetgaeghsr

    Seems I cannot turn on Linkedin at all the past year without seeing loads of new hire posts at Google, it seems the bar has dropped significantly whilst the company hasn't released anything significant in product form for years. Really just name brand recognition, and the word in the industry is that the company has dropped offers well below the competition.

    For anyone working there I would focus on your transferrable skills because once word gets out idiots are working there that name brand recognition won't mean as much on the resume.

  7. elip

    Always strange to see this line parroted

    "The Great Resignation, which began in spring last year and continued until the fall when the quit rate in the US climbed to a two-decade peak, is forcing companies to consider ways to retain valued staff."

    Ways to retain valued staff are varied, but mostly boil down to this one thing: give your people raises to *at least* match the real-world inflation. In the US this would've been between 12-16% last year. I work at one of these tech behemoths, and by and large, everyone got 2% (unless you threatened to quit). Why would I not scale down my productivity by 10-14% in such a market as dictated by market conditions?

    1. fajensen

      Re: Always strange to see this line parroted

      The pay is one factor, but, I think that "Not being assholes towards staff" is the bigger one.

      Being stingy and inflexible with time-off, tight schedules while insisting on holding several weekly 3 hour progress meetings where there is always one idiot manager that has a 60 slide deck as an opus to his greatness and this is tolerated, minimally deal with bullying and harassment by keeping the offender in place and relocating the offended, ghosting people then complaining about their commitment to The Cause, on top the usual excessive certification-, bureaucracy- and documentation- circles of Hell.

      All this builds up resentment over time until the cup is full. Once it is, nobody good cares about the 14% because the market price just went higher for also tolerating all the other bullshit.

      1. My-Handle

        Re: Always strange to see this line parroted

        I agree. There is definitely a threshold on pay - once a person is earning enough to exist without undue financial stress, more cash becomes a nice-to-have rather than a necessity. At this point, how you're treated and how fulfilling you find your job is likely to have a much higher weighting. I lost two colleagues recently. The first left mostly due to frustration in the role, and the insult of an annual pay rise that amounted to £20 per month before tax. They seriously would have been better not giving him anything. My second colleague just left because he got a better offer and he was in a position where he really needed it.

        1. Ace2 Silver badge

          Re: Always strange to see this line parroted

          Re: threshold - I used to feel that way. (Maybe? Can’t remember.) Lately I have been more of the opinion / realization that in my career I’ve done good work that has made lots of other people really, really rich. It’s no longer enough to be comfortable. It has to be equitable, too!

        2. Snowy Silver badge

          Re: Always strange to see this line parroted

          Going by Herzberg’s Motivation Two-Factor Theory (

          We can see that Salary is a Dissatisfier (Hygiene factor) if your not paid enough you are will become dissatisfied and once you are paid enough paying you more does not motivate you more. Hygiene factors once satisfied stop being a factor in how motivated you are but lack of them demotivates you.

          Things like how you're treated and how fulfilling you find your job are Motivation Factors. Lack of them demotivates you and the more you get of them motivates you more.

          Being managed well (assuming all hygiene factors are satisfied) will motivate you a lot more than the job being very well paid and having a poor manager.

  8. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    A recent staff survey by Google showed some 53 percent of the 163,000+ workforce felt that bi-annual reviews are "time well spent",...

    c.f. UK EU Referendum - 51.9% Leave, 48.1% Remain... or rounded... 52% : 48%

    A recent survey of Turkeys showed a majority of them were supportive of Thanksgiving and Christmas

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Is what I found them to be in my last place of work.

    I ended up making a formal complaint against the manger about the words he put in my last review before being made redundant about a year afterwards.

    What was written and implied did not match what had been forwarded to me from the people that had been asked about my performance and interactions with them. I'd not asked for thier assessments to be sent to me but I gather from having talked to them after I'd seen my review writeup that they had an inkling of something odd going on.

    I have successfully avoided any form of review now for 5years.

    TBH I've never found reviews to of any use at all... just a box ticking exercise written into the procedures so has to be completed to satisfy an ISO auditor.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Demoralising

      "Saved the company!" said the sales division. Merely "met requirements" said my management (because management *forgot* all the extra work I'd put in on emergency efforts)

      Demoralizing? Yes. Eye opening? Oh yes.

      1. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: Demoralising

        They wouldn’t really have reflected all the extra work/info as it would have been irrelevant and not related to the goals you were being measured against.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Demoralising

      I used to have reviews when I worked for an American company. Once per year. Even that was too many. For the last twenty+ years I worked for a company that doesn't have periodic reviews. Any issues whether management or employee are dealt with immediately. Want training in something then talk to somebody now! Don't save it up for some pointless review. In my opinion this works far better. If your unhappy deal with it now, don't let problems fester for months.

      Much like quality management audits, most companies play the game just to make the reviews/audit have the desired result which often is not good for the employee or employer.

      If employees were honest in their reviews they would be demanding to know why they salary hasn't increased this year by 20% while doing the same amount of work or less and having the under performing managers fired instead.

  10. Martin-73 Silver badge


    I thought they didn't like 'google' as a verb, googler sounds more verb than noun to me..

    Also, given the current war, GRAD is probably not a good name.... I guess this just shows how much that former search engine doesn't give a crap

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GRAD, like the rocket?

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Er... Ever heard of grades, or grading?

      1. Martin-73 Silver badge

        Literally no, grad is russian for city, grade... is gravel? i know yanks like to grade their students (in a really confusing number). But no, GRAD is russian for city. and a bomb that can destroy one. There is no excuse for this

    2. doublelayer Silver badge

      Is that the only context that rings a bell? I first think of graduation or graduate. Then of gradians. Then grades. Then of gradation. Then of Russian city names (other countries also use it, but the Russian ones are the ones that I think of). Only then do I not really know what comes next meaning we can be charitable and call the rocket the sixth thing that comes to mind. Somehow I don't think Google was picking an unusually insensitive acronym.

      1. MacroRodent

        Don't mention the war

        For me (sitting in a country next to Russia) the rocket launcher was also the first thing that the acronym reminded me of.

      2. Martin-73 Silver badge

        YES, that is the only context that rings a bell

    3. localzuk Silver badge

      Makes sense. Don't perform well, get a rocket fired at you. Or it could by more wile e cayote - they strap them to a rocket and launch it?

  12. aerogems Silver badge

    Here's a radical idea

    Someone's performance isn't up to snuff, don't wait until the end of the year to address it. Same as if someone's doing a good job, don't wait until the end of the year to recognize it.

  13. me212

    one of my Appraisals.

    Me: Why did not get 100%, I meet all the objectives.

    Manager: Your performance wasn't good enough.

    Me: ok where did I fail, I ned to know so I can improve.

    Manager: I you persist in this I'll just make something up.

  14. tomgid

    Soon Amazon will go a monthly basis and Netflix an hourly, so it seems... Must be a great business opening for all the shrinks in Bay area.

  15. Richard Pennington 1

    I'm retired now, but ...

    Of my eight (previous) employers, three provided real horror stories with their performance reviews,

    One previous employer used its performance review process as an exercise in ritual humiliation (for everybody), and used the results as an excuse not to award pay rises below Director level.

    Another (let's call them TLA as they were generally known by a Three Letter Acronym) seem to have copied their management handbook (including the section on performance reviews) verbatim from a Dilbert book [but with no overt acknowledgment to Dilbert author Scott Adams].

    The third went in for management "fads" and produced a set of performance objectives which had nothing to do with doing my job. I was an out-and-out techie, and the objectives were all about being a bouncy (and loud) extrovert. There was no technical content, and I tend towards the far-introvert end of the spectrum. I refused to sign up to those objectives, causing all sorts of fireworks at the ensuing performance review.

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