In this economy, technology has shed jobs at a breathtaking rate – and a new performance appraisal system at Google evokes a similar spirit.
Although the tech giant has avoided layoffs so far this year, unlike Meta, Twitter and Amazon, it has reportedly introduced a new way to assess employee performance, according to Insider and The Information.
In May, Google announced a new way to assess the performance of its employees, according to The Information. It’s called GRAD, which stands for “Googler Reviews and Development”.
Its structure asks managers to categorize a larger percentage of their teams as bad apples, Insider reported, according to internal documents. Previously, this number was 2%.
Now it’s 6%.
Parent company Alphabet, of Google and YouTube, recorded 186,779 employees in its latest earnings report. With the new percentages, more than 10,000 people could be tagged as underperforming.
Related: Google CEO asks employees 3 simple questions to boost productivity
Like many other companies in its sector, the pandemic has acted as a kind of high sugar for the industry and has led to rampant hiring. Google added over 40,000 employees from March 2020 to March 2022.
And investors (one such guy had previously called for layoffs at Meta — which laid off 11,000 people in early November) have been asking Alphabet to lay people off, Insider noted.
Sir Christopher Hohn of London-based hedge fund TCI, which is a major investor in Google, wrote to Alphabet and said: “The business has too many employees and the cost per employee is too high.”
“Management must take aggressive action,” the letter adds.
Under Google’s new performance rating system, underperforming now means falling into the last two categories, not just one, Insider noted. The penultimate category is “moderate impact”, which means that the person “was not consistently up to the level/standards expected” in their position.
If a Google manager wants to put you in one of the bottom two, they have to meet you at a “support check-in” which has been increasing lately. Managers also now have a minimum number of these to conduct.
“Performance plans are the next step if people don’t respond to check-ins,” a source told the outlet.
google said Entrepreneur via email: “Earlier this year, we launched Googler Reviews and Development (GRAD) to support employee development, coaching, learning and career progression throughout the year. The new system helps set clear expectations and provide employees with regular feedback on their performance.”
It is unclear whether this could lead to layoffs of underperforming employees.
This year, Google would have quietly cut off the world by removing certain projects. In 2008, during the Great Recession, Google quietly cut labor costs by eliminating independent contractors.