Crowe Horwath Eliminates Annual Performance Evaluations

Chicago-based Crowe Horwath (FY16 net revenue of $745.2 million) has thrown out its traditional evaluation program.

“Mainstays of the professional services culture, such as cascading goals, formal annual evaluations and traditional ratings for individuals, are out. ‘Measuring What Matters’ is in,” the firm announced recently.

“One of our themes for the past year has been to measure what matters,” says Julie Wood, Crowe chief people officer. “But our performance evaluation program was focused on compliance and looking backward rather than focusing on career development and looking forward.” The program was implemented June 1.

Features of the “Measure What Matters” program will include:

  • Measuring accomplishments against plans by progress indicators rather than a traditional rating scale;
  • Engaging in regular check-ins between individuals and their leaders to build relationships and focus on progress;
  • Focusing on career growth and leadership development;
  • Integrating feedback and coaching into day-to-day interactions through a simple feedback process;
  • Increasing the skills and capabilities of performance managers, including required training through the firm’s virtual Crowe Horwath University; and
  • Driving conversations about key strategic priorities, including mobility, time off, travel preferences and continued learning.

“It was time to move away from the traditional rating scale used to assign a formal ‘rating’ to each person,” Wood adds. “This new program is a work in progress, so we will be refining it and asking our people for their feedback as we move forward, similar to a crowdsourcing approach. This new process will then be adjusted and improved throughout the year. We are excited to start this journey and to focus on higher quality coaching conversations rather than being bogged down in administrative and compliance-related performance activities.”

This is one more change Crowe is making to attract and retain professionals. In December, the firm implemented a new mobility strategy, allowing personnel to work where they’ll be most productive. The firm has also implemented a more casual approach to dress, in line with the nature of work that needs to be completed on a given day.