Saturday, August 20, 2011

Microsoft Annual Review 2011

It has become a tradition for folks to share their review numbers to help get a sense of what's happening and how your numbers stack up. This year we have a new challenge of working through an entirely new review system and (for engineering) a pay-raise for the levels most at risk of departing for greener pastures. I know folks on the edge of leaving who have been willing to hang on to see what happens.

What's a good format? How about something like the following, obfuscated as you wish:

  • L# (promo'd?)
  • Bucket (1+, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
  • Merit % (/Promo %) / Engineering?
  • Bonus $K
  • Stock $K
  • Optional comments about Division / Group, discipline, impression of review

If you like the review system, I'd really like to understand why (something better than, "whee, I got a 1+," please) and I'd encourage commenters to not slam the positive perspectives. I'm not too pleased with the new system at all because I feel very good engineers in my org are getting lower results because of a very strict curve. I'm probably breaking the rules in that if an excellent person got a 3 I'm having my folks be truthful in writing review feedback that, yes, they did an excellent job, just when it comes to the 3 realize that more people did even more excellent work and what it is they need to do to step it up (or, you know, start connecting recruiters with all of those competing 1s and 2s). Same thing for 4s who are doing a good job and not really having any performance problem. HR would prefer me to write the text of the review according to the verbiage of the ranking system, but screw that. I did that years ago when people got a trended 3.0 and I'm still scrubbing those dark spots of demoralizing compliance off my soul.

How do you feel, whether you're a manager writing reviews this year and comparing results to last year, or an IC trying to make sense of your compensation and recognition?

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