Goldman Sachs to scrap numerical performance ratings

The global investment giant plans to bring in a continuous feedback system to appeal to younger employees

Goldman Sachs Group has announced it will revamp performance reviews for its 36,500 employees. The bank will get rid of the current system – which rates staff on a scale of one to nine – and bring in an online system which collects and provides continuous feedback.
Employees want “more direction with respect to how they can improve,” Edith Cooper, global head of human capital management at Goldman Sachs told Wall Street Journal.
When asked about improving internally conducted surveys, staff wanted “more frequent and constructive feedback,” according to a companywide memo the publication saw.
The new online system, Cooper hopes, will produce more frequent one-on-one conversations between employees and managers, she said.
Cooper also said the bank would provide staff with specific instructions on how they could improve in the future instead of simply grading their work from the previous year.
With current economic conditions meaning thousands of senior job cuts for banks, the morale of junior staff members has become even more imperative. The new performance evaluations are hoped to go some way towards this.
Ranking performance on a numerical scale can be difficult on all workers, Josh Bersin, principal at Deloitte told the Wall Street Journal. “The person receiving the rating is now stuck with the number for an entire year that labels them,” he said.
Deciding to supply more frequent feedback is a natural move for a competitive organisation such as Goldman Sachs, Ryan Frankel who used to work in the firm’s special situations group told WSJ.
The new system would allow workers to “course correct and elevate their own performance,” he said.
Goldman Sachs will also retain its 360-degree annual performance reviews through which staff gain feedback from managers and certain colleagues.

This trend of moving away from numerical appraisals to a more qualitative approach seems to be spreading through more and more firms. Cindy Grass, head of talent and strategy at Millward Brown recently, recently spoke to HC Online about this trend.
“They are replacing year end appraisals and ratings with in-depth conversations, often drawing on the myriad data points now available about employee and company performance, such as sales information, organisational climate survey results, and employee engagement data,” she said.

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