HCL Infosystems, India’s fourth-largest IT company, has decided to abandon the tried-and-tested employee appraisal tool, the year-end “bell curve”, in favour of a weekly appraisal.
“Now, the leadership would be quickly able to zoom in to a specific area and start looking at corrective action rather than wait for a year,” Prem Kumar Seshadri, executive vice-chairman and MD, HCL Infosystems, said.
Other companies that have adopted this “review-as-we-go-along” model include Infosys, Accenture, Adobe, Google and Microsoft.
HCL’s Personalised Unit Level Self Evaluation system is a mobile-enabled, 52-week self-assessment approach in which employees have to give ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses to questions related to their weekly performance.
“In an appraisal system, you do normalisation, then application of a bell-curve and then say that some are excellent and some are average. All of these biases happen because of the duration of the time,” Seshadri said.
The bell curve ranks employees at the end of every year in terms of over-achievers, average performers and under-performers (plotted on a graph, this looks like a bell).
“In expertise-based businesses, the employer gains more by having employees collaborate, instead of pitting them against each other,” said Rekha Sethi, DG, All-India Management Association. “Industries where each employee’s contribution can be segregated may still find the bell curve useful.”
“Over the years, we found the forced (bell curve) rating methodology was losing relevance,” said a spokesperson of Infosys, which has seen its attrition rate drop to 13% this quarter from 20% a year ago. “We redesigned the process so that there is better emphasis on goal setting, feedback and managerial enablement.”