Forget Reviews, Let’s Look Forward

Donna coverRanking 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?


  1. lotusfl

    Annual Reviews are obsolete and regressive. Its amazing that organizations cling to these pre-historic methods of evaluating performance – and employees subject/adapt to these structures of no-value assessments in a decaying, self-worth negating parody that is absolutely ludicrous.

    Annual reviews are defunct and ideally should be dumped. Self awareness and self-management are the mantras of the future. Will take a long time for corporates to get it – and change when it comes is most likely going to be forced, not voluntary.

Donna Morris, Executive Vice President, Customer and Employee Experience

“Disrupt or be disrupted” is Donna’s rallying cry. From abolishing Adobe’s annual performance reviews to dramatically expanding its family leave policy, she has set the industry agenda while making Adobe a great place to work. She leads the product, customer service, and technical support experience for all Adobe products, in addition to all aspects of human resources and the workplace. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Carleton University, and her “north of the border” accent gives her away as a native of Ottawa, Canada. If Donna were not at Adobe, she would have a home decorating show on HGTV.

Donna Morris, Executive Vice President, Customer and Employee Experience