Tech company Atlassian to review staff based on “heart and balance”, less emphasis on skills and results


Atlassian, an Australian enterprise software maker, seems to have decided to emphasize congeniality in the performance reviews of its employees – over merely their technical skill in producing the software the company sells.

“The new strategy focuses more on whether an employee adheres to Atlassian’s values rather than how technically skilled they are,” writes Business Insider.

More specifically, the website said, the new review process, in testing since 2018, will for the most part “have nothing to do with the skills in an employee’s job, but more to do with how well they are living with the company values.”

And there are five values that the company wants to see demonstrated front-and-center by its employees: “Open company, no bullshit; Don’t f**k the customer; Play, as a team; Be the change you seek; and, Build with heart and balance.”

The software-maker, currently reportedly valued at nearly $33 billion, has now instituted the new performance review rules permanently, and their results will directly affect employees’ bonuses.

Business Insider quotes Bek Chee, Atlassian global head of talent, as saying that the purpose is to focus on the way employees do their work rather than “just on skills,” and also remarked that the current performance evaluation systems in place in most companies are becoming obsolete, as they have not changed much over the past 30 years.

She said Atlassian’s new brand of employee review would do away with bias and unconscious bias, thanks to managers being asked to answer a series of questions about those working under them.

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And the wording used to describe performance is to judge whether any of the 3000+ of its employees distributed globally had “an off, great, or exceptional year.”

The principal target of the change in the review process seems to be “the brilliant jerk! – someone which Chee said would be “technically-talented, but perhaps at the expense of others.” Atlassian now wants to reward not only the actual work done, but the way an employee behaves.

Chee also said that the new system, which she described as a holistic performance review in a company blog post, has already produced “a more accurate and less-biased idea of a staff member” – and urged other companies to consider switching to it as well.

And what will happen to “the brilliant jerks”?

Chee said they will be given specific feedback – namely, that they’re a great team member and that they were “living the values” in a way which the company “honored” – and be told, “but you just haven’t quite been able to nail it within your current role.”

Up next for the brilliant jerk will be a specific “coaching conversation,” Chee explained in her comments made for Yahoo Finance.

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