TCS abandons bell curve appraisal; shifs to a system of continuous feedback

Tata Consultancy Services, India's largest IT services company, said it has abandoned bell curve based performance appraisal and is moving to a system of continuous feedback, becoming the latest player to move away from the forcedranking system.

The bell curve system - one of the most popular appraisal methods popularised by former GE CEO Jack Welch - rates a workforce by comparing performances of people in similar tasks.

They are then segregated into top, medium and poor performers. But over the last two years, an increasing number of companies have been looking at other ways to evaluate their employees.

"This year we did not do any forced rankings or curve fitting," TCS chief executive N Chandrasekaran said. "We appraised people based only on their performance. We are now looking at tools to ensure that the feedback process is more continuous, rather than at defined intervals," he told ET.

TCS' move mirrors that of its global and Indian rivals such as Accenture, IBM and Infosys. Last month, ET reported that Bengaluru-based Wipro was also experimenting with different ways to do away with the bell curve.

Chandrasekaran said TCS was looking at building more digital, collaborative tools to ensure that the continuous feedback process is easy to maintain. The company has over 3,53,000 employees.

Bell curve is universally loathed by those being ranked on it, and TCS employees are happy that the company has scrapped the system. "There was too much room for manipulation. Lots of people used to be unhappy," a TCS employee from Mumbai said. "The project managers used to say that they were forced to put good performers into the poor bracket just to fit the curve," said the person who requested not to be identified.

In addition to doing away with the curve, this fiscal year will likely mark the end of TCS' industry-leading hiring levels. Gross additions, which peaked at over 90,000 in the year, will drop going forward, the company said.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google+ Share on LinkedIn