TCS Scraps Bell Curve Sys­tem For Ap­praisal

In­dia’s largest IT ser­vices firm moves to a sys­tem of con­tin­u­ous feed­back

The Economic Times - - Companies - Jochelle.Men­donca @times­

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

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