Ranking sessions, labels, long-winded appraisals, and conversations that focus on your past are obsolete at Adobe. Last year we abolished our annual performance review in favor of lighter-weight Check-in conversations that center on ongoing feedback. We don’t have labels, a formal tool or prescriptive time of year it all has to happen – we just ask people to have conversations. At the time it felt like a risk, but it is refreshing to see how the new approach has been embraced.
Our people were asking for change, our company was transforming and moving faster than ever. It was time to take a hard look at those traditional people processes and shake things up for the benefit of our employees and Adobe overall. We hire exceptional people … we don’t want to label them. We want to focus on motivating and inspiring each individual to bring his/her best to the company.
HR Executive Magazine did a great job of capturing our journey of getting rid of annual reviews — I invite you to check it out. Now that we’re nearing our one year anniversary of rolling out the Check-in, I am more convinced than ever that this was the right decision – I actually wish we had abolished the annual review, and all that came along with it, much sooner. We’re seeing more genuine conversations happening at the company; we’re saving 80,000 hours of our managers’ time by removing an archaic process; and our attrition is down year over year. As with any change, things take time to truly become second nature, but I couldn’t be more pleased with the progress.
What’s your take on annual reviews? Are they a process of the past?
This week’s widespread debate over the pros and cons of telecommuting has created quite a bit of water cooler talk about implications for other companies and what it means here at Adobe. It’s been interesting reading the passionate points of view on both sides of the issue. I agree that working side-by-side yields huge benefits in terms of innovation, relationship building and speed. But I also think it’s important to offer employees and their managers flexibility to determine the working arrangements that work best for them and the business.
I get great energy from the constant interaction and spur of the moment brainstorming that happens in my open workspace. I recognize, though, that others do their best thinking in different ways. Telecommuting can be effective for some types of roles and not for others, and managers have preferences as well. It takes a whole different kind of management to engage a distributed team, including those who work remotely. I’d like to believe that at Adobe we build the capability of our managers so we can attract and retain the best people, no matter where they are located.
I recall a time when there was active debate on whether people could really be productive outside the office. Today, great advances in technology have clearly made that possible. Moreover, telecommuting has enabled us to manage our personal lives and the demands of a global business, and continue to reduce our carbon footprint.
At Adobe, there’s no one size fits all solution. We hire the best people and trust them to work when, how, and where makes the most sense for them and their teams. Simply put, we seek to create a company where people can do and be their best. I invite you to learn more about us by visiting our Adobe life blog.
At Adobe, we don’t just recognize what you accomplish; we celebrate how you do it. Our values of Genuine, Exceptional, Innovative, and Involved underpin our culture and how we work. It’s a core part of our DNA that started with our Founders John Warnock and Chuck Geschke.
In fact, we created an award in honor of our Founders that recognizes employees who make the greatest impact on our business, while exemplifying our values. It’s the highest form of recognition we have Adobe and our employees determine who receives it.
Today I had the pleasure of announcing our 10 global Founders’ Award honorees at our company meeting. They range from a principal scientist in Boston who is redefining the digital imaging industry, to a solution consultant in Amsterdam whose passion for Adobe products is infectious, to a manager in Noida, India who is known for his ability to inspire his team. They have vastly different roles, but they all make Adobe a great company and a great place to work.
As we near our 30th anniversary in December, it makes us proud to see employees like this who carry on Chuck and John’s vision for building an innovative company with a strong sense of values. Meet this year’s Founders’ Award recipients in this video:
Each year we pay tribute to Adobe’s values (Genuine, Exceptional, Innovative, and Involved) by recognizing employees who embody them to the fullest extent with the Founders’ Award. It’s a global, peer-nominated program that we started a decade ago and one that continues to be our most prestigious employee recognition program. Our Founders’ Award recipients accomplish great things in their daily jobs, but they do so in way that’s true to the beliefs that John Warnock and Chuck Geschke instilled in our culture when they founded Adobe: treat others the way you’d like to be treated.
Today, I had the distinct pleasure of honoring this year’s 10 terrific recipients at our all-employee meeting. They ranged from a technical sales manager in Maryland who is known as “The MacGyver of Adobe” because he always thinking out of the box and working to make things better, to a technical response team member in India who is lauded for his ability to solve customer issues and his excellent capabilities as a manager.
These individuals are not only great to work with, they make Adobe a great place to work – and we have many amazing employees just like them. I invite you to learn more about what it’s like to work here on our Life@Adobe blog or on ourcareer opportunities page on Adobe.com.
Today I joined 70 other Adobe employees and traded my high-tech tools for gardening and painting tools at a local volunteer project. We spent the morning at Burnett Middle School in San Jose, which is an Adobe Youth Voices site, painting educational murals, tilling soil and tending the garden beds. Although this project was not a typical day at the office, it’s not an unusual activity for Adobe.
This was just one of 50 volunteer projects that took place week in North America as Adobe celebrated Community Action Week. It’s an Adobe tradition that showcases our commitment to active engagement and volunteerism, and I was so proud to see the level of participation from across our locations.
Hundreds of employees helped out at projects that ranged from sorting food for low-income families to assembling care packages for homeless children to prepping materials at a museum. And this is just the beginning; our global locations will hold their Community Action Week later this month. During this week last year nearly 1,000 Adobe volunteers gave 2,500 hours to the communities across the globe. I have no doubt we’ll see that impact grow this year.
Community Action Week is just one of the many ways Adobe supports the communities in which our employees live and work. Each year we donate our time, talent and money to help address key challenges in our communities and promote arts and creativity. In 2010, Adobe invested more than $57 million in community giving.
Community involvement is central to who we are as a company. In fact, one of our core values is “involved,” and it’s powerful to see that value exemplified by our employees as they rolled up their sleeves in service of our community this week and throughout the year.
I had the pleasure of hosting an 11th grader from Yerba Buena High School for a day at Adobe as part of the YWCA’s Project Inspire Job Shadow on Tuesday. If you aren’t familiar with Project Inspire, take a look at YWCA site. Even though it’s a pilot program, the YWCA has had solid success in helping these San Jose students gain course credits and stay on track for graduation.
While this day was outside the regular Project Inspire offerings, it fit perfectly with their mission of helping students see the sort of opportunities they could have if they continue to achieve in school.
We took our student for a tour of our facility and she sat in on a few meetings about Adobe’s Wellness programs and our plans for the Best Places to Work application. I asked some of our employees, who are new college graduates, to join us for lunch so they could share their journey through school and into the workplace. She was interested to hear about the global nature of our workforce and how these employees, even though they are fresh out of school, have traveled significantly.
Reflecting on today’s events, the one thing that stands out to me most is that we need to challenge our students to think well beyond high school graduation day. It’s so important that our students set their personal bar high for their future, career and opportunities that are available to them.
When John Warnock and Chuck Geschke founded Adobe in 1982, they wanted to build a company that was technologically innovative and prosperous. They also wanted to create a workplace based on honesty, trust, and a belief in treating others with respect. It sounds simple, yet it’s extremely rare in our hyper-competitive industry and fast-paced times.
With this in mind, the Adobe Founders’ Award was created in 2001 and has become one of Adobe’s most prestigious global recognition programs. Today I had the honor of recognizing this year’s Founders’ Award recipients at our all-employee meeting — eight incredible employees who consistently exemplify Adobe’s core values of Genuine, Exceptional, Innovative and Involved throughout the year and have made a significant contribution/impact to the company.
What’s most exciting about this award is that it’s peer-nominated – employees across all organizations, geographies and levels are encouraged to recognize the importance of our values and beliefs, and reward individuals who exemplify those values.
The Founders’ Awards are a great reminder of the talented, dedicated people who choose to work at Adobe. We’re looking for more people like our Founders’ Award recipients to join us. See our career opportunities page on Adobe.com to learn more about what it’s like to work at Adobe and view our current openings.
Welcome to Adobe Featured Blogs, a one-stop information and conversation destination for virtually anyone interested in what's going on at Adobe. Here you'll find the latest company and product news from Adobe's multiple lines of business. We value your perspective and encourage comments that are on-topic and add value but that do not spam, denigrate or offend. Read more