At JPMorgan, Your Performance Review Is Now. And Now. And Now...

  • Bank offers staff technology to critique each other instantly
  • The feedback will help inform annual compensation decisions

Employees work in the lobby of JPMorgan Chase & Co. headquarters in New York.

Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is shaking up the way it evaluates employees, introducing a mobile tool that lets workers across the sprawling organization send or receive instant critiques of their colleagues.

The software, dubbed Insight360, is meant to foster development of the bank’s 243,000 staff, according to a memo Thursday from John Donnelly, head of human resources at the New York-based company. Executives at the bank found many workers, especially millennials, crave constant feedback instead of a traditional once-a-year performance review.

“By listening to you, we learned that our employees want to know where they stand at all times,” Donnelly said in the memo. The web-based application will allow employees “to request and receive feedback from anyone, anytime.”

JPMorgan, the largest U.S. lender, is the latest corporation changing the way it manages personnel -- the biggest expense at any major bank -- and adapting to an age in which technology enables real-time criticism of everything from restaurant meals to Amazon deliveries. Led by technology and consulting firms including Microsoft Corp. and Accenture Plc, companies are rethinking the annual performance review, scrapping it entirely or supplementing it with more frequent check-ins.

Soliciting Reviews

Last year, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said it was experimenting with an online system for continuous worker feedback. It also dropped on-campus interviews for undergraduates in favor of recorded videos and resume-screening software in a bid to standardize recruiting.

At JPMorgan, the new technology means that moments after a meeting or project is completed, a manager can ping participants for reactions on how a specific employee performed, according to Michael D’Ausilio, a managing director in charge of performance development. Workers can also request written critiques or give unsolicited reviews about their colleagues. The person who initiates the query determines who else gets to see the feedback.

“If they walk out of that meeting, they should hear straightaway how they did,” D’Ausilio said in an interview.

D’Ausilio acknowledged that the changes could be an adjustment for some employees, whose entire year was previously boiled down into a review featuring one of five ratings, from “needs improvement” to “exceeds expectations.” Annual evaluations will now be broken into four categories, measuring things like business results, client focus, teamwork and risk controls. The firm is also rolling out a development tool, which like Insight360 can be accessed on mobile devices or a desktop, to help track progress.

New Routine

Information gathered by the new technology will be one of the inputs affecting compensation decisions at the company, where employees range from part-time bank tellers to investment bankers and traders.

“We want people to act and lead in a way that creates an environment where folks are comfortable asking for, giving and receiving feedback,” D’Ausilio said. “It’s got to be something that’s built into people’s routines.”

Channels already exist for general comments on broader issues or corporate policies. So for rank-and-file workers hoping to give managers like Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon some constructive criticism, this is probably not the app for that.

The new tools are “really meant to give feedback from direct interactions that people have,” D’Ausilio said. “If I’m four levels away from a business head, this wouldn’t be a natural channel to tell him something.”

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