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Microsoft unveils a hidden performance-rating system for managers.

Microsoft unveils a hidden performance-rating system for managers

Microsoft has introduced an unobtrusive employee performance-rating system known as ‘impact descriptors,’ which is only available to managers and is not disclosed to employees. These ratings are crucial in determining employees’ compensation and bonuses, which are referred to as ‘rewards’ within Microsoft. The company emphasizes that these descriptors are distinct from traditional performance ratings or labels assigned to specific employees. These ratings, which are not disclosed to employees, promote a growth-oriented mindset.

There are four categories of impact descriptors: ‘Lower than Expected Impact (LITE),’ ‘Slightly Lower Impact than Expected (SLITE),’ ‘Successful Impact,’ and ‘Exceptional Impact.’ A guidelines document defines each category in detail to assist managers in their assessments.

Employees in the LITE category have consistently failed to meet expectations, lacked a growth mindset, or failed to align with Microsoft’s cultural values. According to the descriptors / ratings, those in the SLITE category have occasionally missed expectations or been inconsistent in meeting cultural expectations, but they appear eager to learn and improve.

Employees who consistently meet or exceed expectations while embracing a growth mindset and aligning with Microsoft’s cultural values fall into the’successful impact’ category. As the name implies, the ‘exceptional impact’ category is reserved for employees who consistently deliver exceptional results, exceed all expectations, and demonstrate an outstanding growth mindset while adhering to Microsoft’s cultural values.

Managers are encouraged to evaluate and assess employee performance or ‘impact’ in light of these impact descriptors, and to explain how an employee demonstrated a specific level of impact during the fiscal year. They are, however, expressly forbidden from using the acronyms LITE, SLITE, and so on, or from converting the descriptors into ratings or labels.

Managers are only supposed to use these descriptors as a guide to assess employee impact, facilitate reward decisions, and provide constructive feedback.