Google just ended a controversial system that warned employees they were at risk of being labeled low performers


Google has recently ended a practice called "support check-ins" (SCIs) that alerted employees when they were at risk of being labeled as low performers, according to Insider. SCIs were a part of Google's performance-management system called GRAD, introduced in early 2022. Managers were required to conduct SCIs with employees who were trending towards receiving low ratings. Under GRAD, the percentage of employees in the lowest performance brackets increased to 6% from the previous system's 2%.

If employees did not improve following SCIs, they would be placed on performance-improvement plans. However, SCIs did not always lead to these plans. Performance-improvement plans set specific targets for employees labeled as low performers, and failure to meet those targets put them at risk of being let go. Generally, being put on a performance-improvement plan is seen as detrimental to an employee's career even if it doesn't result in dismissal.

Many employees expressed their dissatisfaction with the SCI system, claiming that managers were using them to meet quotas for identifying low performers or as a tool for retaliation. The decision to end SCIs, however, is dividing opinions within Google. Some employees believe that removing SCIs and the associated stigma would put more responsibility on managers to help employees improve before resorting to performance plans. On the other hand, some employees fear that removing SCIs might allow managers to put employees on performance-improvement plans with little or no warning.

Google spokesperson stated that the removal of SCIs was based on employee feedback and aims to create more consistent conversations between staff and managers. The company plans to improve employees' quarterly check-ins to facilitate better feedback from managers. The announcement was made during a company-wide meeting, known as "TGIF," where Google also disclosed plans to revamp its internal feedback system, Googlegeist, to survey employees on a weekly basis.   

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