H2 2020 SAP SuccessFactors Performance Management Release Updates

What’s New

There are new universal and admin opt-in features in the H2 2020 Performance Management release along with a large number of universal features. We will start with what’s new. There are two admin opt-in updates and two universal 360 related updates.

New Admin Opt-ins

There are two new admin opt-ins available and we will look at them both.

Latest Version of Goal Management

The latest version of Goal Management provides users with an upgraded user interface with a comprehensive view of goals and development goals. This streamlined tool also enables access to the latest version of Continuous Performance Management (CPM) to create and view linked activities.

A notable change is combining performance goals and development goals within the navigation menu. Development goals now appear as a tab within Goal Management. An example is shown below.

Development Plan Tab

For both plans, the view is cleaner and more visually appealing. Goals are more prominently displayed and may be viewed by status as well. You can see what the new goal plan looks like below.

Linked achievements for the latest version of Continuous Performance Management (CPM) may be viewed here rather than having to go out of the goal plan and navigating to CPM. Activities can be added directly to goals and linked activities may also display. An example of activities tied to a goal is shown below.

Linked Goal Activities

For managers, the new look is especially helpful. It is easy to navigate to direct report’s plans or any other users in their target population. An example the manager’s goal plan view is seen below.

Manager View of Goal Plans

Job Profile Builder Support for Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor

The other new admin opt-in feature pertains to competencies when Job Profile Builder (JPB) is used. Previously, to use Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor for competencies in a performance form, the Teasers and Tunings were added to a competency library via an import file in Provisioning.

Now this task may be accomplished in the UI with the tool “Manage Writing Assistant and Coaching Advisor“. This update fills a gap between JPB and Job Description Manager. Within this tool, a competency library overview page will display. After selecting the library and finding the competency to update, teasers and tunings can be added to the performance details. An example is shown below.

Adding Teasers when JPB is Enabled

This new feature enables users without Provisioning access to create and modify the writing assistant and coaching advice content.

New Universal Updates

There are two new universal updates for H2 2020 both for 360 Reviews.

Advanced Search of Universal People Search Available in 360 Reviews – SAP Fiori Version

Advanced Search of Universal People Search is now available for 360 reviews. When searching for employees, when the “Find Employee” dialog box appears, there will be advanced search options. This search can be used in the “Add Participants” dialog box, in the “Send a Copy” dialog box and in the “360 Executive Review” page. The updated search screen is displayed below.

Advanced Search of Universal People Search

Detailed 360 Report in 360 Reviews – SAP Fiori Version

There is a revised version of the Detailed 360 Report. It has cleaner and easier to read layout. An example is shown below.

Detailed 360 Report

The settings are now housed at the top of the report and fonts are bigger and brighter for the gap values. Comments are more visible and appear beside ratings.

There is a radar chart to display competencies and ratings on the Graphical Summary tab. The print set up dialog box now offers an option to print specific views.

Admin Opt-in Updates

There are three admin opt-in updates available: New Competency Picker in Forms, Qualtrics Surveys for Steps in Performance Reviews and Customized Labels for Calculated Rating and Manual Rating in Customized Weighted Rating Section. Since there are sever

New Competency Picker in Forms

This opt-in is available when Job Profile Builder (JPB) is enabled and is used when adding competencies to a performance form. The new competency picker is used on PM forms to find competencies to add. Competencies can be found using a hierarchy structure and a search option. Competences can be selected by competency library or job roles and using keywords search. An example is shown below.

Add Competencies

Qualtrics Surveys for Steps in Performance Reviews

If you are using Qualtrics surveys in your performance process, the current version only allows the survey to appear after the employee signature step. In the new version, you may select which steps and for which roles the survey should display. The survey can be used for single role, iterative, and collaboration steps.

Customized Labels for Calculated Rating and Manual Rating in Customized Weighted Rating Section

The labels for the calculated rating and the manual rating in the Customized Weighted Rating section can now be customized using an XML file. In the previous version, the labels for the calculated rating and the manual rating were hardcoded as Calculated Form Rating and Overall Form Rating.

Universal Updates

There are several universal updates for Performance Management. Many revolve around the Customized Weighted Rating Section of a performance form. We will look at these but first we will look at the other universal updates.

Message to Remind Users Before Removing Signers

In a performance form that allows for a signer to be removed, there is now a reminder in the Remove Signer confirmation pop-up. The message is to remind users that by removing a singer, the form automatically routes to the next step. If that is not the user’s intent, they need to add a new signer before removing the current signer. An example of the new reminder is shown below.

Message Added to Remove Signer

New Feedback Data in Goal Plans

Feedback from Continuous Performance Management (CPM) is now available to display in performance and development goals plans. The CPM achievements column for a goal currently shows the count of achievements tied to a goal. With the latest version of CPM, achievement related feedback will also display. In the CPM achievements column, clicking on the count will now display the feedback topic title along the topic title and three sets of questions/answers from the Achievements tab.

New Feedback Data in Performance Management Forms

The CPM achievements column in the performance and development goal sections of a PM form currently shows the count of achievements tied to a goal. With the latest version of CPM, achievement related feedback will also display. In the CPM achievements column for a goal, clicking on the count will now display the feedback topic title along with the three related feedback question/answers.

If any achievements or feedback is deleted in CPM, the data is also deleted from PM forms, including completed forms.

You can check out my blog on the H2 2020 CPM Release Updates to see what else is new.

The remaining universal updates that we will discuss pertain to a very specific summary section of a performance form: Customized Weighted Rating.

Removal of Enable Customized Rating Calculation from Form Template Settings

Enable Customized Rating Calculation” no longer appears in Form Template Settings as seen in the example below.

Current Method to Enable Customized Rating Calculation

Enable Customized Rating Calculation” was a prerequisite to enable the calculation.

In the new version, simply adding the Customized Weighted Rating section to a form template acts as the prerequisite to enable the calculation of the overall customized weighted rating.

Enable Customized Weighted Rating

The business rules that trigger the calculation must also be configured.

Rating Scale for Customized Weighted Rating Section

In the previous version, the rating scale for the Customized Weighted Rating section used the same rating scale as the other rating section. In the new version, the Customized Weighted Rating section has its own rating scale.

“Unrated” and “Too New to Rate” in Previous Ratings of Customized Weighted Rating Section

In the previous version, “Unrated” and “Too New to Rate” were not in the Previous Ratings table of the Customized Weighted Rating section of a PM form and just displayed as 0. In the new version, “Unrated” and “Too New to Rate” are displayed in the Previous Ratings table of the Customized Weighted Rating section and both are ignored in the calculation of the overall customized weighted rating.

Allow Override of Unrated Manual Rating for Customized Weighted Rating Section

In the Customized Weighted Rating section of a form template, there is now the option to override the unrated manual rating. The option, Allow Override of Unrated Manual Rating has been added so this summary section can work like the others as seen in the example below.

Allow Override Unrated

In the previous version, the unrated manual rating displayed as Unrated. In the new version, the unrated manual rating can be overridden by the calculated rating.

Too New to Rate in Customized Weighted Rating Section

Like the other summary sections, there is now the option to provide a label to explain why an employee is not rated. An example using the current summary section is displayed below.

Unable to Rate Label

The summary section example above shows the Unable to Rate field will be available as an option in the Customized Weighted Rating section of a form template.

Calculated Rating from Customized Weighted Rating Section in Ad Hoc Reports

If you are using the calculated rating in the Customized Weighted Rating section of a form template, ad hoc reports use the unadjusted calculated rating from the performance template summary section instead. An example of creating an ad hoc and selecting rating columns is shown below.

Unadjusted Calculated Overall Performance Rating

In the new release, when creating an ad hoc report, when this same field is selected, the Unadjusted Calculated Overall Performance Rating from the Customized Weighted Rating section is used. This means reporting will accurately reflect the ratings in the performance forms. This is especially important when the template has both the Summary section and the Customized Weighted Rating section. The calculated rating from the Customized Weighted Rating section overrides the unadjusted calculated rating from the Summary section.

Customized Weighted Rating Section and Ratings Displayed in En Route Folder

In the prior version, when a form with the Customized Weighted Rating section was in the En Route folder, this section’s ratings were not in sync with the in-progress form. In the new version, the Customized Weighted Rating section section of a form will display in the En Route folder and will be synced with the in-progress form. The Previous Ratings table of the section will contain the ratings from the previous steps for the login role and by other roles.

Calculated Rating from Customized Weighted Rating Section in Bin View

There is a another feature available when a calibration template is based on a performance form template that contains a Customized Weighted Rating section. Currently, when the data source for a calibration template is a performance form template with this summary section, either the manual or the calculated rating can be calibrated.  However, the calculated rating cannot be displayed in the Bin view of a calibration session.

With the latest release, the calculated rating from the Customized Weighted Rating section may display in the Bin view if this calculated rating comes form a PM form and the “Show calculated rating in addition to manual rating (only applicable to Bin view)” setting is enabled. An example is displayed below.

Calculated Rating Option for Bin View

Label for Rating Scale Scores in Previous Ratings of Customized Weighted Rating Section

In order to get a clear picture of what the numeric rating means, labels are now visible. In the previous version, the ratings in the Previous Ratings table in the Customized Weighted Rating section were displayed only as numeric values.

An example is shown below.

Numeric Rating in Prior Version

In the new version, the ratings in the Previous Ratings table of the Customized Weighted Rating section are displayed as numeric values with corresponding text labels. If rating numeric values are mapped to labels in the manual rating scale, the label display next to the rating’s numeric value. If no labels were mapped, the rating will continue to just display its numeric value.

And example is shown below.

Customized Rating Section with Rating Labels

There is a checkbox in the form template for this section: “Hide numeric rating values (only show text labels)” similar to other summary sections.

If a rating’s numeric value is mapped to a certain label for the manual rating’s rating scale scores, the corresponding label can be displayed next to the rating’s numeric value in the Previous Ratings table. Otherwise, the rating is displayed as its numeric value.

There is an added checkbox for this form section in ” Manage Templates“. There is the option to hide numeric rating values and only show text labels.

Customized Weighted Rating Section in Print and Save as PDF

In prior versions, the section calculated rating details were not displayed in the printed or saved performance form. Now the calculated rating details of the Customized Weighted Rating section of a performance form will be included in the printed or PDF version of the form.

To Learn More

All in all, there are over 20 items being changed or enhanced in this release for Performance Management and we didn’t cover every detail here.  For more information, check out the What’s New Viewer here.

Do you need help managing your SuccessFactors Release cycles?  Email info@worklogix.com to see how we can help!

“Ask for Feedback” vs.”Get Feedback” in the SAP SuccessFactors Performance Management Form

You may wonder if these are just different terms for the same thing.  But these features on the SuccessFactors Performance form serve different purposes and impact the form in different ways. 

So what’s the difference?

“Get Feedback”  is a feature allows the manager to send the performance form to someone that is not part of the performance process. This enables the manager to route the form to a specific user to get edits and/or comments directly on the form.

Ask for Feedback” is a feature that enables the manager to send an email to solicit feedback. The performance form is not sent to the feedback provider, they will just reply to the email with their comments.

How do they work?

Both required permissions based on role and route step. A later blog post will detail the configuration needed for both.

Both require permissions based on role and route step.

How does the manager “Get Feedback”?
There are two ways for the manager to “Get Feedback”:

  • Click on the “Get Feedback” button on the bottom of the performance form as shown below to initiate the request.
  • Click on Actions for the current step on the Route Map on the performance form to see the options. Select “Get Feedback” as shown below.

In either case, a popup like the one below will display and the manager may search for a user.

Once the designated feedback provider is selected, the manager may decide to request edits or comments. Additionally, the manager may opt to add comments to the email that is sent with the request as shown below.

How does the “Get Feedback” provider get notified? As long as the routing document email notification is enabled, the feedback provider will receive an email similar to the email shown below.

If the email notification is not enabled, the feedback provider will still see at To Do item in their performance tile on their Home page. Based on the configuration decisions made, once the form is in their inbox, the feedback provider may add ratings and comments to the goals, competency and overall performance sections of the form. Upon completion, the feedback provider submits the form and it goes back into the manager’s inbox to complete the step.

Can the form be recalled? Yes, it may. While the form is with the feedback provider, the manager may recall the form. On the Team Overview page, the manager may click on the Review button to recall the form.

A read-only version of the form will then display and at the bottom of the form, the manager will see just one button: Recall Feedback

After clicking the “Recall Feedback” button, the editable version of the form will display and the manager may send the form to someone else for feedback or complete the form and submit to the next step.

How does the manager “Ask for Feedback”? The manager asks for feedback via the Team Overview page within Performance. The manager will see all of the launched forms and may opt to ask for feedback for any or all of their team.

As shown below, the manager may request feedback for any launched forms by clicking “Ask for Feedback”.

“Ask for Feedback” is initiated within Team Overview

A popup will display and the manager may select any internal or external feedback provider as long as they have a valid email address. The manager may also modify the default email text before submitting the request as shown below.

How does the “Ask for Feedback” provider respond?  The feedback  provider will receive an email like the sample shown and will just need to reply back with their comments.

Which email notification is used for “Ask for Feedback”? In order to ask for feedback, the Feedback Request Notification must be enabled as shown below.

Where do the “Ask for Feedback” comments go? The “Ask for Feedback” comments are available to view in two locations.

  • Stored within the Supporting Information pod on the performance form.
Pod has indicator to show the number of feedback responses received
This pod also may be configured to hold attachments

Clicking within the pod, the manager will be able to see feedback date, the author and the comments as shown below.

  • Team Overview. The manager may also track the status of the “Ask for Feedback” requests on the Team Overview page and view the responses as shown below.
The manager may track number of request sent and their status

So now what?

Now that you are familiar with the differences, which type of feedback is best for your organization?

When to use “Get Feedback”?  

  • Use “Get Feedback” in cases where an employee transferred to a new manager but you would like the prior manager to provide input to the year-end evaluation.
  • When you would like someone outside of the roles on the route map to provide ratings and comments.
  • When you would like ratings and comments on objectives, competencies and the overall performance of an employee and not just general feedback.

Disadvantages of “Get Feedback”

  • When a form is sent for feedback, it is not available to the manager for edit. The manager would have to recall the form or wait for the feedback provider to complete the form.
  • Form can only be sent to one feedback provider at a time. Once it it out for feedback, it cannot be sent to another feedback provider until they complete the review or the manager recalls the form.
  • “Get Feedback” cannot be used in a collaborative step.
  • The feedback provider would get an email notification if the document routing notification is turned on, otherwise they would only see a To Do item on their Home page.
  • When the feedback provider submits the form, it goes back to the step where the request was made. The form cannot be routed on to a different step.

When to use “Ask for Feedback”

  • When you would like to have feedback from several individuals. Up to 30 requests are permitted.
  • When you would like the manager to be able to edit the form while the feedback responses are pending.
  • When you do not want the feedback providers to have any visibility to the performance form.
  • When you would like to have feedback on the employee that may not be specific to the goals and competencies found of the performance form.
  • When you would like to have the option for external feedback.
  • When you would like to allow feedback over a specific period of time which may span several steps of the review process.

Disadvantages of “Ask for Feedback”

  • Once the feedback email request is sent, it cannot be recalled.
  • Feedback provider has no visibility into what the employee is being evaluated on so the comments may not necessarily be relevant.
  • Once comments are provided, they cannot be deleted. The comments will appear in the Supporting Information pod as well as in Team Overview.

Can a form use both types of feedback?

Absolutely! You may decide that you like the benefits of each type of feedback and may configure the form to handle both. Either way, the manager is getting a more comprehensive view of the employee which will make the performance evaluation more meaningful.

Things to Consider Before Enabling “Ask for Feedback” on an SAP SuccessFactors Performance Review Form

Is “Ask for Feedback” right for your organization?

It is if you need a fast, flexible method for gathering performance feedback from those outside of the formal evaluation process. This feature enables a manager to get a more comprehensive view of their employees which adds greater perspective and objectivity into the assessments.  With a click of a button, a manager may solicit feedback from anyone that has a valid email address, both within the organization and externally. As soon as the recipient replies, the feedback is available for the manager to use within the performance appraisal in the Supporting Information pod.

Things to consider before enabling “Ask for Feedback”   

Does your route map have “Start of Review” enabled on the first step? This checkbox makes Team Overview available for managers and is where “Ask for Feedback”  is initiated.

Ask for Feedback on Team Overview

Team Overview is also where the manager tracks the feedback requests: the number of requests sent, the request recipients and the status of each request.

Do the majority of the organization’s employees have email addresses?  Email is the vehicle used to request and provide feedback so only those with a valid email address may participate.

View of “Ask for Feedback” email to be sent

The feedback provider will not have access to the performance form. Without visibility to the objectives and competencies that an employee is being evaluated on, the feedback provider may be providing comments that are not relevant to the evaluation.

“Asking for Feedback” is not limited to the manager role. Any role contained in the route map with access to Team Overview may be request feedback. Matrix managers, HR managers, and next level managers that are part of the review process may request feedback from others as well.

“Asking for Feedback” does not slow down the review process. When configuring the form, the feedback period is set to determine the timeframe for sending and receiving feedback requests. This means feedback may be requested in steps before the form lands in the manager’s inbox. In addition, the manager may make multiple requests and the form does not get “stuck” in a step until the feedback is received.  

Up to 30 internal and/or external feedback requests may be initiated.  Each non-employee role from the route map may send out 30 requests. In addition,  feedback may be requested from the same user multiple times as long as it occurs on separate days. This is helpful later in the year if the manager would like additional comments from someone that replied earlier in the process.

Once the feedback request is sent, if cannot be recalled. The email goes out instantly, so exercise caution when selecting feedback providers. If the email request is sent to someone in error, it can’t be retrieved.

It is not possible to delete any feedback that has been received. Upon submission, all comments are immediately available on the Team Overview page and within the Supporting Information pod within the performance form.  

View of feedback within Supporting Information pod on performance form

If feedback is not received, it will not stop the performance form from moving forward.  There simply won’t be any feedback in the Supporting Info pod.

You may decide to allow employees to view the feedback.  Based on your organization, transparency to the feedback may be encouraged. Typically if employees have access to the feedback, it is during the one-on-one meeting and signature steps.

Feedback is not anonymous. All feedback includes a date stamp and the feedback provider’s name. If you enable employees to view the feedback on their form, be aware that they will know who provided the comments.

 As you can see, there are not a lot of downsides to configuring this option. “Ask for Feedback” provides a manager with an additional avenue to gather information in order to conduct a more thorough performance review without adding complexity to the process.

At a later date, I will illustrate how to configure this feature, so please check back.

Performance Reviews: Can’t Live with ’em, Can’t Operate a Productive Workspace Without ’em

Companies large and small are recently being asked to forgo employee evaluations. When industry giants like Adobe, Cigna, Microsoft, and GE give up on performance reviews, it’s easy to assume that it’s all for the good of the organization, but the evidence is mixed. Why, suddenly, are organizations passing up performance reviews and what good is it really doing?

Why ditch the performance review process?

According to the Harvard Business Review, by 2015 thirty large companies had either altered and reduced their performance reviews or had thrown them out altogether for their combined 1.5 million employees. These companies claimed that performance reviews were failing. Failing how, though? The four major reasons employers say they have replaced or removed their performance review process are:

  1. Numbers lie: Reviewers are increasingly finding it difficult to quantify work done by employees, especially when an emphasis is put on team projects – where does one person’s effort end and where does another person’s effort begin?
  2. Cohesion and collaboration: Performance reviews aren’t like grading a test, only a certain amount of As, Bs, and Cs can be given out. This hurts team cohesion when employees feel they did more work but received a poorer rating than a coworker.
  3. Limiting engagement: Annual performance reviews mean that, often, managers only meet with employees and discuss their progress and performance once a year. Removing performance reviews, apparently, encourages employers to speak to employees more often.
  4. Honesty and Openness: Both reviewers and reviewees report that they can have a more open and honest dialogue about tasks and workload when they don’t have to justify a rating come performance review time.

So, how do ratingless performance reviews work? 

If performance reviews don’t work, then what does?

Consulting firm ETS tracked the performance review changes from 6 major corporations; Accenture, Adobe, Amazon, Deloitte, Google, and Netflix. Each of these organizations has a specific replacement for traditional performance reviews. In 2015, Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme traded performance reviews with a process of “selecting [and] hiring the best people” and “[to] get people to their very best.”

At Adobe, they’ve replaced performance reviews with “check-ins,” where managers are given a budget, salary range and where each employee’s compensation sits within that range. Based on this information, managers make recommendations in a “pay-for-performance” philosophy.

Deloitte utilizes a performance snapshot which asks four yes or no questions about an employee’s performance at the completion of every project (around 4 times every year).  According to the firm, this process saves over two million hours that would have been spent on rating performance.  Where Deloitte’s goal is efficiency, Amazon focuses on data-driven results. Amazon has faced criticism for both its Anytime Feedback Tool and its Organization Level Reviews which created an environment of negativity and where one poor performance review could lead to firing.

Google and Netflix have championed the 360 peer review process. Google asks its employees to evaluate their coworkers semi-annually. These reviews ask employees to tell their coworkers “…one thing the reviewee should do more of and one thing that they could do in a different way.” These reports go anonymously to the reviewee and their manager.

Netflix however, has no guidelines as to how to review the employee, nor has anonymity to the reviews. Netflix utilizes a “keeper test” wherein they ask their management, if a member of their team were leaving, would the manager try hard to keep the employee? If the answer is no, the employee is cut.

What is the global perspective of performance reviews?

While American companies have thrown the metaphorical baby out with the bathwater in ditching performance reviews, abroad, companies have yet to adopt these radical changes. While each organization has their own evaluation system, most European-based companies are sticking to the traditional approach. One exception, SAP, comes at the cross-hairs of European and American influence. Since 2014, the German-based HR giant has been under the guidance of American CEO Bill McDermott. In 2016, McDermott announced that SAP would be scrapping their annual performance reviews. SAP’s shift is not just internal, however. Senior Vice President of Human Resources for SAP Wolfgang Fassnacht announced in February of 2016 that SAP would continue to market their traditional performance assessment software as well as a new “continuous performance management” software for those companies seeking to modernize their performance review process.

Are performance reviews here to stay?

Overhauling the performance appraisal process may aid in improving efficiency, team cohesion or even employee satisfaction, but these replacements have their own issues, including, in many cases, how to award compensation. Other cases, like the Netflix and the Accenture models, are unsustainable in their philosophies: just hire the right people or just remove employees who in any way underperform. 

It’s easy to forget, too, that as much employers and managers rely on performance reviews, employees also benefit from these processes. In a case study of pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, HR.com host Edie Goldberg found that employees who received high marks on their performance assessment felt, on average 70% more engaged with the company over the next year than employees who received low marks on their performance assessment. And in a survey conducted by CEB, now Gartner, found that:

“…employee performance drops by around 10% when ratings are removed, and less than 5% of managers can effectively manage employees without them.”

Performance review ratings will always be tricky, no matter how they are approached, but managers, employees, and companies rely on the ability to track performance and progress. Determining how to best go about designing an approach to performance assessment requires introspection, not only on what information is expected to come from evaluating the individuals, but also from evaluating the organization, as a whole. In the end it all comes down to the simple fact that employees are incapable of meeting, or exceeding, expectations, if management does not themselves know what those goals are.



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