Facebook conducts performance reviews every six months to formally collect insights from an employee’s managers and closest colleagues.
If there is anything at all surprising in one of these reviews, then “something has gone terribly wrong,” Facebook’s VP of People Lori Goler told Business Insider.
At Facebook, these reviews are checkpoints rather than investigative, revealing evaluations. “We do it twice a year because the business moves very quickly and our product moves very quickly, and if you wait a whole year, a lot of things have changed,” Goler said.
These evaluations can be used to determine new responsibilities for an exceptional employee, which can then lead to a subsequent compensation discussion. But they aren’t used to decide that an underperforming employee should be fired, Goler said, since managers would ideally not allow poor performance to persist until a formal meeting.
All of Facebook’s roughly 12,000 global employees have access to internal proprietary software that allows teams to be on the same page. Managers are trained to avoid micromanagement, and are instead directed to stay up to date with how projects are progressing, offering real-time feedback and any necessary assistance.
Coworkers can also give each other ad hoc feedback using the software, and there is a designated “thanks” section they can use to express gratitude to a colleague.
“It’s a process that is designed to recognise, acknowledge, and show appreciation for people who have done really great work,” Goler said. “And it’s designed to ensure that you are getting feedback from all of the people that you work with most regularly.”
All of the feedback collected in this system is fair game for the biannual performance review, and managers also send analysis requests to three to five of the team members that work most closely with an employee to see how they behave as teammates. (Goler noted that it works both ways — each of a manager’s direct reports are asked to give feedback on their boss’s performance, too.)
No more than five reports are considered at a time, Goler explained, because Facebook has found that you start seeing the same insights after five reports. “Trying to be efficient about the way it’s done is important,” she said.
Employees are also asked to evaluate themselves, to complete the holistic nature of the review.
After collecting insight on their employees, managers of teams that work together will meet and discuss their findings, to validate information as well as get an idea of where everyone stands.
Managers conclude the process by presenting new opportunities to their team members, and scheduling compensation talks, if necessary.
The entire review process takes an average of a few weeks, and Goler emphasised its intention is to step back from work and check in, rather than suddenly learn about their employees’ progress.
“It’s just a moment in time to really focus on our people,” she said.