TCS Scraps Bell Curve System For Appraisal
India’s largest IT services firm moves to a system of continuous feedback
Mumbai: Tata Consultancy Services, India’s largest IT services company, said it has abandoned Bell Curvebased performance appraisal and is moving to a system of continuous feedback, becoming the latest player to move away from the forced-ranking system. The Bell Curve system — one of the most popular appraisal methods popularised by former GE chief executive 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 past 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 loo- king at building more digital, collaborative tools to ensure that the continuous feedback process is easy to maintain.
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 working in 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.
“Attrition is a factor, but we are seeing the impact of automation. I cannot give you a target for next two, three years. But I have said what trend we are seeing, and productivity per employee is growing,” Chandrasekaran said on Monday.
TCS CEO N Chandrasekaran