Wall Street Times

Google implements new performance rating system

Google: According to internal communications, only a few Google employees are expected to receive excellent performance ratings, with many at risk for bad ratings.

Additionally, the company will launch a new performance review system the next year, putting underperforming workers at risk.

The news

Executives from Google recently provided further information about its new performance review procedure during a meeting and a separate presentation last week.

The corporation predicts that under the new approach, 6% of full-time employees will fall into low-ranking categories, increasing their likelihood of receiving remedial action from the previous 2%.

High marks will also be more challenging to achieve at the same time.

Compared to the previous 27%, Google predicts that 22% of employees will be rated in one of the top two categories.

Employees have to accomplish the “near-impossible” and contribute more than “thought possible” to be in the highest-rated category (Transformative Impact).


Google’s new procedure for performance reviews, Google Reviews and Development (GRAD), was introduced earlier this year.

As year-end deadlines have approached, employees have reportedly complained about GRAD’s procedural and technical challenges.

Many people are concerned that their ratings won’t be accurate.

A recent wave of layoffs in the tech sector also reinforces the worry.

Employees at Google are concerned they may be the next laid off despite the company avoiding substantial job cuts like Meta.

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Employees at Google have complained that executives have long touted transparency but have not directly responded to inquiries on headcount.

Some workers think the corporation will reduce personnel due to the new review system.

The bigger concern among workers in the last months of 2022 has been headcount.

After years of explosive expansion, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was compelled to clarify Google’s shifting attitude in September.

Executives at the time stated that there would be small cuts, but they did not rule out the possibility of layoffs.

At an all-hands meeting in November, several staff members inquired about the headcount plans of the management.

Additionally, they questioned whether leaders mismanaged staffing when Google increased its workforce by 24% year over year in Q3 2022.

The corporation has 186,779 full-time employees as of the third quarter and a comparable number of contractors.

According to recent GRAD documents, the company will look at equity, salary, and bonuses.

The new system also anticipates spending more per person on total pay.

Last but not least, it adds that Google still intends to pay between the top 5% and 10% of market prices.


Many top-rated questions from the most recent all-hands meeting discussed the stress around the year-end performance reviews.

According to the questions, employees don’t trust Google’s leadership in being open about its headcount.

“Why did Google push support check-in quotas in front-line managers days before the deadline?” one employee asked.

“I’ve been through a lot in Google in 5+ years, but this is a new low.”

Another said:

“It seems like a lot of last-minute support check-ins were forced through part of Cloud in order to meet a quota, causing a lot of distress.”

“With only two weeks to correct course, how is this helpful feedback? How do we prevent this from happening in the future?”

A top-rated employee said:

“The support check-in process is confusing, increasingly becoming a cause of stress and anxiety in Googlers, especially given the current economic situation and rumors around layoffs.”

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Earlier this month, reports of “support check-ins” for employees surfaced.

Support check-ins are frequently linked to lower performance ratings on the days before year-end deadlines.

Employees claimed that in the final days, officials changed various aspects of the process.

Fiona Cicconi addressed the GRAD concerns during a recent meeting, saying, “I know it’s been bumpy.”

“It’s not ideal to have support check-ins occur so late in the review cycle, and we know that people need time to absorb the feedback and take action on it.”

Google employees need more time to adjust their course, Cicconi added.

To minimize headcount in 2023, employees have asked executives if they have quotas for moving people to lower performance categories.

Employees weren’t quite convinced despite the executive’s assurances that they didn’t have quotas.

Additionally, executives were questioned about if Google was evolving into a “stack-ranking” company like Amazon, which uses quotas to categorize employees’ performance.

“Uncertainties around GRAD processes have been putting a lot of pressure on lower-level managers to pass down information,” said a highly-rated question.

“Layoffs across the industry has been a topic impacting Googlers, raising stress, anxiety, and burnout,” another read.

“There’s been no official comms on this, which raises even more concern around this. When will the company address this topic?”

Executives have avoided direct questions, and CEO Sundar Pichai underlined that he is unsure of what the future holds.

“What we’ve been trying hard to do is, we are trying to prioritize where we can so we are set up to better weather the storm, regardless of what’s ahead,” said Pichai.

“We really don’t know what the future holds, so unfortunately, I cannot making forward looking commitments, but everything we’ve been planning on as a company for the past six to seven months has been: do all the hard work to try and work our way through this as best as possible so, that’s all I can say.”


Google tells employees more of them will be at risk for low performance ratings next year