Todd Bishop's Microsoft Blog @ SeattlePI.com - Microsoft rethinks employee reviews ... and towels: "'To reset our approach, beginning with this review period we are retiring the 2.5-5.0 rating scale and introducing a three point Commitment Rating scale of Exceeded, Achieved and Underperformed. ... There will be no forced distribution (i.e. curve) associated with this commitment rating, which allows managers and employees to have a more candid discussion about performance.'"
This is truly remarkable - I almost can't believe it to be true.
It will be interesting to watch how this change is being implemented and whether more candid performance discussions will actually result from it - and not remain the exception.
The bigger question is actually whether this will lead towards a situation where people that actually create value for the company and its shareholders by striving do the right thing for the customer will be recognized for it and successful during review time. Or whether it remains more important knowing 'how to play the game' and focusing on how to promote your own contribution to the company effectively - rather than primarily focusing on delivering it.
I also wonder whether this has any impact on other companies competing with Microsoft for the top IT talents. Anyway, I do agree with mini-Microsoft that this seems to be a good start at least.