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WorldatWork Journal

2nd Quarter 2016  |  Volume 25  |  Number 2

The Special Issue on Performance Management:
Guest Editor's Introduction

By Gerry Ledford Jr., Ph.D., Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California

A Study of Cutting-Edge Performance Management Practices: Ongoing Feedback, Ratingless Reviews and Crowdsourced Feedback
By Gerry E. Ledford Jr., Ph.D., Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California; George S. Benson, Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington; and Edward E. Lawler III, Ph.D., Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California
Three cutting-edge performance management practices – ratingless reviews, ongoing feedback and crowdsourced feedback – have received tremendous attention from the business press, but there has been almost no research that can guide the design and implementation of these practices. Using data from a survey of 244 companies, the authors examined patterns of use, what types of organizations use these practices, reasons for adoption, design and implementation processes and the effectiveness of these practices.

Death to the Performance Review: How Adobe Reinvented Performance Management and Transformed Its Business
By Donna Morris, Adobe
In March 2012, Adobe announced it would be eliminating its annual review process. In the months that followed, it introduced the "Check-in" — an ongoing, two-way dialogue between managers and employees. This move has resulted in 80,000 manager hours saved per year, increased employee retention and engagement and strengthened performance management, while the company's stock price nearly tripled. In this article, Adobe's HR leader describes the company's dramatic shift away from annual performance reviews and its lessons learned through the journey.

Enabling New Levels of Performance at Sears Holdings Corp.
By Holly Engler, Sears Holdings Corp. and Chris Mason, Ph.D., Patagonia
Sears Holdings Corp. replaced its traditional performance management processes for salaried associates with an entirely new approach called performance enablement. This new approach draws from the latest findings and applications in neuroscience and psychology as well as innovations in performance management at leading-edge organizations. It creates a more dynamic, democraticized and data-driven process that is built around quarterly goal setting, continuous feedback and quarterly performance conversations. The result is continuous improvement in performance and development without the traditional annual performance rating. This article details the creation and implementation of the new approach to performance at Sears Holdings.

Engaging Employees to Transform Performance Management at
Cardinal Health

By Lisa George and Julie Holbein, Cardinal Health
Cardinal Health sought to transform how employees feel recognized and valued for the work they do every day by focusing on revamping the performance review process. This business case describes the four options being piloted to examine the effectiveness of different ways to conduct performance reviews. The options being piloted are explained as well as the business case for conducting the project. Shared in this article are the details of how the pilots have progressed along with the metrics for success.

Transforming a Company: How Microsoft's New Employee Performance System Supports Its Business and Cultural Transformation
By J. Ritchie, CCP, Microsoft
For decades, Microsoft had a performance management system in which a curve was a cornerstone in talent management. In fact, the performance management system had been vilified in an August 2012 Vanity Fair article, "Microsoft's Lost Decade." Dial forward three years to 2015 and the new employee performance system has been instrumental in advancing the business, supporting cultural change and increasing employee engagement. The new performance and development approach comprehensively changed the manager and employee interactions, creating more focus on feedback and learning as well as rewarding individuals for their contributions to the team.