Inside BMW’s ‘intense’ approach to staff feedback

The firm's managing director discusses the in-depth processes used to evaluate and allocate feedback to staff each year

Inside BMW’s ‘intense’ approach to staff feedback
When it comes to assessing employees, BMW Group Asia has quite an intense program in place, said managing director Axel Pannes as he stepped HRD through the yearly evaluation process.
“Each superior assesses staff performance in a certain grading format. On top of that, feedback is also gained from other process partners the employee has worked with throughout the year. This balances the feedback so it doesn’t just rely on the superior.”
After this is done, the superior then presents the results to a larger group which compares all employees within BMW, he said. This process can take over two months to complete.
For the directors, Pannes himself is the superior and has to evaluate their performance personally.
“I have to sit down with them and get their feedback on how they saw their own performance in the past year,” he said. “Then I have to call two to three colleagues from around the world that they have worked with to balance my feedback on them.”
This information will then be put into a written report and discussed in the second round before the feedback is given back to the director being evaluated.
Six months after this rigorous feedback process, Pannes also conducts a development discussion with each of his employees.
“I’ll ask them where they want to be in three to five years and what’s required personally and technically to qualify them to go in that direction.”
As a company, BMW offers a lot of opportunities for staff to move locally to new positions and functions or internationally to offices abroad.
Finally, he also holds coffee sessions with a mixture of staff from each department where he encourages people to open up about matters that bother them in the office.
“In the beginning, it’s difficult for someone new in the organisation. They don’t really know if they should trust you and how open they can be,” he said. “After a year though, I get more honest, direct feedback from them.”
Related stories:
Forget the appraisal – let’s just talk
Three alternatives to scrapping annual reviews
A finger on the pulse of employee feedback

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