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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.
When I was at {previous company}, they used this system called 360 degree feedback. I'm sure you've heard of it, a lot of companies use it with varying degrees of success. So what's the big deal, you ask?

go ahead and ask, I'll wait...

ok, well {previous company} may have called it 360 degree feedback, but it resembled the actual process in name only. Every company I've ever been at (and there have been a few) that used "360" did it the same way. You get reviewed by 2 or 3 of your peers, and by your boss and (sometimes) by yourself. All of this get weighted appropriately and the result is an aggregate score of how you are doing. The purpose of having input come from so many sources is so if one person doesn't like you they can't totally wreck your performance review out of spite (or ignorance).

That's all fine and good, and it works pretty well when implemented properly along with some sort of system of merit increases... the better you score the better your raise or bonus. If you're higher on the food chain than I am, it works even better because not only do you get reviewed by your peers, your boss and yourself, but you also get reviewed by the people under you. It's almost like 720 degree feedback. (Tony Hawk would be proud!) Making it nearly impossible for one person to wreck you, but also making it damn hard to scam the system... if everyone hates you there is OBVIOUSLY a problem.

Unfortunately, {previous company} didn't implement it that way. Here is their version of "360":

1. write your own review.
2. submit it to your boss who either rewrites it (YOUR SELF-REVIEW) completely, or copies and pastes it into his review of you and adds his name to it (because he was too hungover to write one himself).
3. then they skip the peer review entirely. At this point, it's down to your review and your bosses. Which may or may not be the same (and even yours might not be intact).
4a. your bosses boss, who is completely out of touch with what you do on a day to day basis, and often gets your name wrong then adds her "input" to the mix.
4b. if by some miracle of fate you manage to get a perfect score, they arbitrarily lower one category by one point because (and I quote) "nobody is perfect".
5. They inform you at the beginning of the process that you can earn up to a 10% merit increase (a fancy word for a raise) based on how good your review is. (Noting that 10% is now impossible, because... and I quote... "nobody is perfect".)
6. Then, after wasting HOURS of company time and the lining of my stomach, they completely disregard performance reviews and award raises based solely on one criteria...   are you ready for this?

They look at how much you make currently, and the max you can make at your paygrade and give you a percentage increase based on how far you are from the middle of the grade. (So if you are at the bottom of the scale you get a "huge" raise, but if you are near the top or middle you get almost no raise.) At no time were the performance marks ever factored into the formula.

Naturally, this means people who performed poorly (are you ready for this) had the potential to get bigger raises than the folks who worked their asses off. In case anyone was still in the dark about why I left... there ya have it. Posted on Friday, September 9, 2005 10:06 AM General Interest | Back to top

Comments on this post: stupid HR tricks... part 2

# re: stupid HR tricks... part 2
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This was the system used when I worked for a large financial company that processes the paychecks for about 50% of the US workforce. Fortunately after I had been there about a year and almost maxed out the Technical pay grade my new manager (who thought the system sucked too) somehow managed to get me on the bottom Maganement pay grade so he could give me a raise.
Left by Jay on Sep 09, 2005 10:31 AM

# re: stupid HR tricks... part 2
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I had a previous employer that worked like that. I actually managed to get screwed over one time on raises and bonuses because I was promoted to a higher grade instead of given a higher score on my review. I figured out that it cost me about 5-7 thousand in just 2 years. But I was Programmer/Analyst IV instead of just P/A III, and that counts for something right?.
Left by Jeremy on Sep 09, 2005 10:56 AM

# re: stupid HR tricks... part 2
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only to your employer's payroll department... :)
Left by Chris Williams on Sep 09, 2005 10:58 AM

# re: stupid HR tricks... part 2
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I used to work at a place that did something similar to this as well. Unfortunatly this was also tied into their bug tracking system, which lead to many Programmer vs QA wars. I just think that system is majorly flawed because it became so counter productive.
Left by JuanBarbatos on Sep 09, 2005 11:41 AM

# re: stupid HR tricks... part 2
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that sounds pretty crazy. Don't get me wrong though... 360 can work well when implemented properly. It just rarely is.
Left by Chris Williams on Sep 09, 2005 11:43 AM

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