GE Turns to "Rateless" Performance

August 19, 2015

GE Turns to "Rateless" Performance

Performance management is in the news again. This time, it's GE.

If there has been an enduring icon of performance excellence out in the market over the span of more than 100 countries and with more than 400,000 employees, it has been GE. Now that it officially announced embarking on the new performance management system and embracing the "rateless" model, there is no doubt among corporate practitioners that the tide has turned and the next generation of performance management is finally and legitimately here.

Just a couple of months ago, companies embarking on the rateless journey were far and few in-between and they could have been easily dismissed as just a few nimble technology pioneers representing "fearless" millennials. 

Just a couple of weeks ago, when Accenture, with its 300,000 employees, announced its change to a "no ratings" systems (joining the likes of Adobe, Microsoft, Dell, and Deloitte), it was clear that abandoning performance ratings was more than a fad or a domain of the tech start ups.

And as GE has come of the "no ratings" age,  performance management overhaul still remains to be a vastly uncharted territory. The new design is "just out of the box" and has not come with any guarantees and possibly with vastly uncharted territory of unintended consequences. The full scope of change remains unknown, particularly for mega-size global multinationals such as GE. In the next year or so, as the first cycle of these corporate transformations come full circle, we are going to learn a huge amount about corporate performance, shaping a new corporate culture and an accelerated change management process. The conversation has shifted from "crossing the line of courage" (to quote David Rock of the Neuroleadship Institute) to the full-blown change management process and to figuring out what's involved in successful implementation of the daring new model. 

What is exciting and exhilarating for me is the testimony to HR's stepping up to the challenge and taking bold steps in leading business's radical transformation toward unprecedented levels of organizational performance. The most strategic of HR practitioners are taking risks unheard of before, stepping up to the challenge of leading the charge and shaping the future of work.

The Authors: 

Anna A. Tavis, Ph.D., is executive editor of the People + Strategy journal and an adjunct graduate professor at New York University. She is the founder of She can be reached at or