Inevitably Agile

somethings are just inevitable …

Annual reviews, objectives and all the objections

I was reading a blog post by a colleague and decided to leave a comment … but then it turned out that I actually had a lot to say about this particular topic…

This is a tough nut to crack. I would like to experiment with a brand new company and have open salaries to see how that works – probably a whole new set of ‘issues’ 🙂 .

peer_review Illustration:James Yang

So why are people reacting this way? I can think of a few possibilities:

1. This impacts how much money they will get every month for a year. money_tree02

People don’t want to hear after a year that they just didn’t do enough and so they are getting a mediocre increase or possibly none at all. It doesn’t matter about regular reviews or feedback loops during that year. It always happens. Why do we only have reviews every 12 months? Why don’t we have them every 3 months based on how that person (in his/her individual capacity and with regards to their team) are doing? It immediately becomes more of a relief, and in fact seems like the company is rewarding the individual more. As the reviews are so often they wont be expected to be huge increases.


Sally earns R300 000K a year (R25 000 a month)

old way:

She is getting an annual increase of 10%. So she will earn R330 000 a year (R27 500 a month).

new way:

After 3 months Sally is reviewed, she is doing well, but can improve in some areas

she gets a 2% increase: R25 500 a month

After another 3 months – Sally has improved in the area highlighted before and now has new goals

she gets a 3% increase: R26265 a month

After another 3 months – Sally is not doing so well, she has had a lot of personal problems and her work has suffered for it.

she gets a 1% increase: R26528 a month

After another 3 months – Sally has taken to heart her last review and turned her life around.

she gets a 3% increase: R27324 a month

As this would have been where her previously annual review would have occurred she is shown that in the last year she got an 9% increase.

2. The objectives are the same for each job type.


Whilst I understand that there are many commonalities between roles (say scrum masters or developers) these are also individuals. Maybe adding on some of that individuals objectives would help. I know these get discussed with line managers and blah blah, but the objectives form seems very “official” and so if the persons objectives are added on then it shows their objectives are also as important and valuable to the company.


Then there is the concept of “stretch objectives”. I get that the company wants to guide people to striving for greater things … but all I hear (and I’m sure I’m not alone) is that to get a decent raise I’d best meet all those stretches. I like to think of myself as an individual who does more than is required and I like being recognised for the effort I put in. So perhaps these stretch objectives should rather be defined by me and my line manager in a discussion and they should include my personal (though work related) objectives.


Finally – I think people are just scared of change – its a BIG thing now as its just happened, but it wont be a BIG thing forever…


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