The purpose of the Talent Assessment Program is to identify and retain team members who drive the success of our organization. This is a top priority and strategic process for people managers at GitLab. Our Talent Assessment Program (which is a critical piece of our overall Talent Development Program) serves as a mechanism to help mitigate a couple of our biggest concerns: lack of performance management and losing key people.
Additional key benefits of the Assessment Program include:
We use Workday to complete our Talent Assessment. You can review an overview of Workday Talent here. Please reach out to your People Business Partner if you have any questions. You can also review the following guide which mirrors what is included in the Workday Talent Assessment template to prepare you prior to the tool being launched.
There are many talent assessment options, and we have opted to use a Performance/Growth Potential Matrix (commonly known as "9-Box" in the US) and annually review Key Talent.
GitLab's Performance/Growth Potential Matrix is a type of talent assessment that forms part of our Talent Development Program.
In addition to assessing Performance/Growth Potential, we annually review Key Talent aligned with the criteria outlined below on this page. The combination of Performance/Growth Potential and Key Talent assessments allow us to identify team members who drive the organization’s success and use our engagement tools to retain them.
For team members with a tenure up to three months to the launch of the Talent Assessment Program will be designated as "Too New to Rate". Also in some cases a "Too New to Rate" designation might be applicable for newly promoted or transferred team members. More about that designation can be found below.
Growth Potential →
|Developing Growth Potential||Growing Growth Potential||Exceeding Growth Potential|
|Exceeding||Box 5 Team member is consistently surpassing performance expectations in their current role but needs to continue to grow in current role, or has not exhibited the willingness or ability to grow in the current role.||Box 2 Team member is consistently surpassing performance expectations in their current role, makes valuable contributions and consistently demonstrates competencies required. They have shown willingness and/or ability to further grow in their role and they may be ready to take on additional responsibilities in the next 12 months.||Box 1 Team member is developing faster than the demands of their current position and/or division. Team member has been given additional assignments and has demonstrated high-level commitment/achieved significant results. Team member is ready to broaden their skill set and take on significantly greater scope and responsibility|
|Performing||Box 7 Team member is currently meeting expectations of their role. Team member is not willing or able to absorb greater scope, impact or complexity.||Box 4 Team member is currently meeting expectations and has shown willingness or ability to further grow; may not be ready to absorb greater scope, impact or complexity in the next 12 months.||Box 3 Team member is contributing as expected and is meeting performance expectations. They have shown willingness and/or ability to further grow in their role and they may be ready to take on additional responsibilities in the near future.|
|Developing||Box 9 Team member is not meeting performance expectations and there is still more to learn in the current position, or, team member has not been in the position long enough (promotion, new to the role, or new hire) to adequately demonstrate the pillars of growth potential for a sustained period of time.||Box 8 Team member has not been in the position long enough to adequately demonstrate their capacity (promotion, new to the role, or new hire), or may have lost pace with changes in the organization. The team member has shown the willingness and/or ability to grow in the role aligned with the pillars of growth or has had opportunity to consistently demonstrate performance and growth potential.||Box 6 The team member is not meeting the requirements of their current role, but has demonstrated willingness and ability to extend beyond scope once ramped, and/or is showing the willingness and ability to grow further with additional guidance or direction. The team member could be more successful in the current role with more direction/time to ramp, or in another role or department that more appropriately suits their skill set.|
This matrix is an individual assessment tool that evaluates both a team members current contribution to the organization and their potential level of contribution. It is commonly used in succession planning as a method of evaluation an organization's talent pool, identifying potential leaders, and identifying any gaps or risks. It is regularly considered a catalyst for robust dialogue (through a calibration process) and is considered more accurate than one person's opinion. The performance/growth potential matrix can be a diagnostic tool for career development.
The matrix serves as a tool to help managers assess, develop, and coach their team members - ultimately resulting in an ability to more effectively and efficiently lead teams.
Performance includes both results and behaviors, and is broken into three areas: Developing, Performing, and Exceeding.
Please note that
Developing should not be automatically associated with underperformance. As highlighted below,
Developing can also be used for new hires or newly promoted team members that are still ramping up in their new roles. Your manager will provide example and detail to ensure the rationale behind the
Developing rating is communicated.
Based on the Job Family responsibilities, values and remote working competencies, team members in this category are not meeting all of the expectations. There is still more to learn and improve on in the current position to achieve the desired results. This may be due to the following:
Based on Job Family responsibilities, values and remote working competencies team members in this category are “on track” and meeting all expectations. They can independently and competently perform all aspects of the Job Family responsibilities in a way that is aligned with our values and competencies. Their performance consistently meets the requirements, standards, or objectives of the job, and they can occasionally exceed expectations. They deliver results in a timely and accurate fashion. This performance may be expected as a result of:
Team members that are exceeding consistently surpass the demands of their current position. They demonstrate unique understanding of work beyond the assigned area of responsibility. They contribute to GitLab’s success by adding significant value well beyond Job Family requirements, values, and remote working competencies. This performance may be expected as a result of:
Please note that an
Exceeding assessment for the performance factor does not guarantee a promotion. While the performance factor is a consideration, there are several considerations that are reviewed when evaluating promotion readiness. Please work with your manager to align expectations.
Note that this is an expected distribution, not a forced distribution. The bell curve distribution aligns with what is most commonly used as a benchmark in the industry and serves as a baseline for us to review and calibrate against. There may be exceptions that are justified that can be discussed and reviewed during calibration. Where deviations from the expected distribution occur, managers should use this as a data point to further review and work with their leadership to ensure appropriate growth plans are in place, proper role fit exists, hiring plans are adjusted, that we are promoting at a fair and accurate rate.
Remember that "Developing" for Performance and Growth Potential should not be automatically associated with underperformance, and that many newly promoted team members and new hires fall into this category.
While the primary objective of the performance axis of the Performance/Growth Potential Matrix is to calibrate team member performance, this axis of the matrix also directly impacts the Performance Factor, which is a determining factor in the annual compensation review. Please reference the Total Rewards Performance Factor page for more detail on compensation impact.
How can managers determine whether their team members are Developing, Performing, or Exceeding? "The Performance Factor" is determined from several components outlined below. It is optional to use The Performance Factor Worksheet for weighing the different Performance Factors.
Performance against Job Family responsibilities, requirements, performance indicators, and functional competencies (if applicable) should be weighted at 60%.
For management roles, please also review and consider the levels outlined in the Organizational Structure.
Performance against these competencies should be weighted at 40%.
While performance is focused on the past and present, growth potential is focused on the future. Because of the nature of the future-focus associated with growth potential, it is more difficult to measure than performance, and inherently more qualitative than quantitative. A key element in determining growth potential is the manager and leadership observation and experience working with team members. Managers can gauge team member growth potential against the expectations in their current role or their growth potential to take on different roles across GitLab.
Growth potential refers to the ability and desire of a team member to successfully assume increasingly more broad or complex responsibilities and learn new skills, as compared to peers and the roles' responsibilities outlined in their respective Job Family. This could include the growth potential to move up to the next level in their job family, and/or a lateral move.
The Growth Potential assessment helps managers determine the best growth trajectory for their team members. The growth potential assessment will be used as input to leverage our engagement tools, offer lateral and upwards career opportunities and do succession planning.
Growth Potential can change over time as team members develop new interests, as new opportunities for growth arise, and as team members continue to broaden their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
There are four primary pillars to consider when measuring growth potential:
|"Growth Potential" Pillar||Definition|
|Adaptability||Demonstrating a willingness and ability to learn new skills and apply them to be successful under new, tough, or difficult conditions. Ability to navigate uncertainty and be flexibile with change.|
|Expandability||Expandability outside their areas (laterally or vertically), with the willingness and ability to take on a role of greater complexity, impact, and scope|
|Consistency||Demonstrating effective problem-solving capabilities, the consistent delivery of results over time in changing circumstances, and dependability in the commitments you make.|
|Self-Awareness||The depth to which an individual recognizes skills, strengths, weaknesses, blind spots, and is able to reflect and act to improve and invest in their own development. Judgment in decision-making is also a key element of self-awareness. Judgment can be seen through our level of self-awareness in several ways, including communication, collaboration, and results. Judgment can be defined as "The ability to make considered decisions or come to well thought-out conclusions", and to do this effectively, we need to have a heightened sense of self-awareness in terms of how our communication will come across and how decisions and conclusions drawn will impact others and their willingness to collaborate.|
Under each pillar there are a few questions that managers should consider when assessing team member growth potential. Please note that the answer to all of these questions does not have to be
yes to determine a team member is "exceeding" growth potential, the questions are here to help guide managers through the thought and evaluation process.
After assessing team member growth potential based on the four pillars outlined above, managers can determine whether team member growth potential is currently developing, growing, or exceeding.
"Developing" growth potential generally refers to a team member who is not working at full growth potential against the roles and responsibilities outlined in their Job Family. There could be a variety of reasons for this, including:
Please note that "developing" growth potential does not equate to "developing" performance, but correlates with the pillars of growth potential outlined in the "measuring growth potential" section below.
"Growing" growth potential generally refers to a team member who is growing in their current role and demonstrating interest in advancing (up or laterally) and they exhibit knowledge, skills, and abilities that indicate this. Team members with "growing" growth potential generally:
"Exceeding" growth potential generally indicates that a team member will be ready for promotion within the next year (or when an opportunity arises). "Exceeding" growth potential team members:
The portion of the Performance/Growth Potential matrix that often entails the most significant time commitment is the live calibration session of team members with leadership. The calibration session is very valuable to ensure consistency across the Job Family and level, raise any questions, and provide cross-departmental and/or cross-divisional feedback on team members to capture the assessment of different managers as opposed to the opinion of the direct manager exclusively.
Calibration can be done asynchronously or synchronously, and should be done by level (I.E. Manager calibration for their directs, Director calibration for their directs, etc.) so as not to disclose Talent Assessment evaluations amongst peers.
For newly onboarded team members, with a tenure up to 3 months, we have implemented a "Too New to Rate" (TNTR) assessment category. This designation will be applied to individuals with a start date within 3 months of the kick off of Talent Assessment as they have not yet had sufficient time to demonstrate their Performance/Growth Potential according to the defined pillars.
The introduction of a "Too New to Rate" category is a solution as feedback was raised that being rated "Developing" in many cases does not reflect the actual Performance/Growth Potential. Therefore a TNTR designation is to accurately reflect the time to get up and running of recently onboarded team members. This category acknowledges that new hires require a reasonable timeframe to familiarize themselves with the organization, their role, and the expectations before they can be accurately assessed using the Performance/Growth Potential Matrix.
Besides team members with a GitLab tenure up to 3 months (New hire TNTR), the “Too New to Rate” designation will also be available for team members that have just transferred or were promoted to a new role. In these cases we would recommend using this designation if:
If any of the above cases arise we would recommend to discuss with your People Business Partner to ensure the designation is consistently applied.
The calibration session is one of the most important pieces of the Performance/Growth Potential Matrix process, as it provides time for managers, their peers, and their manager to calibrate. Below are a few communication guidelines to ensure efficiency and fairness during the calibration session discussion.
It is likely not necessary to discuss each team member in detail, particularly for larger groups. Calibration sessions typically focuses on gaps, outliers and areas that might require additional management attention and/or alignment.
As a best practice, we should calibrate outliers. "Outliers" are typically considered to Box 1 ("Exceeding Growth Potential" and "Exceeding Performance") and Box 9 ("Developing Growth Potential" and "Developing Performance"). People Business Partners and business leaders have discretion to expand this threshold as needed, but live calibration for team members in Box 1 and Box 9 should be the baseline across the board.
A few additional reasons to consider calibrating beyond Box 1 and Box 9 are:
It is absolutely essential that managers complete the required pre-work to ensure that the live calibration session is as efficient and productive as possible. Pre work includes:
While we want to encourage open and transparent conversation during calibration session, there are certain topics that should be avoided to ensure we respect team member privacy.
After the calibration sessions the performance and growth potential outcomes can be used as input for the following:
Below is the high level timeline for the formal assessment in Q4 FY23 (Nov, Dec, Jan). Different departments may have additional due dates built into the high level timeline, so please follow up with your People Business Partner if you have any questions.
Our e-group completes Performance/Growth Potential Matrix multiple times a year for their direct reports. The rest of GitLab does this at least once per year in Q4, with a recommended informal mid-year check-in. The formal assessment would ideally take place in November prior to the annual compensation review.
Anyone hired on or before October 31st should receive a Performance and Growth Potential assessment. However, if the team member being assessed has been with GitLab for a period of 3 months or less:
Developingfor performance and should not expect a compensation adjustment, although they are still eligible to be reviewed. This is because team members generally need several months to get adjusted to their role and responsibilities, and we aim to hire team members at their accurate market rate.
While there are exceptions, this is the general guideline.
It is up to all team members' discretion if they wish to complete their Self-Evaluation in Workday. This self-evaluation will be shared with their manager prior to the manager's evaluation and Calibration Sessions. Please review the most current timeline to ensure a timely delivery.
The Performance/Growth Potential Matrix typically takes 4-6 weeks to complete from beginning to end. Steps are as follows:
In most companies the Performance/Growth Potential Matrix is used exclusively as a management tool and results are not typically shared with team members. In the spirit of our transparency value, we want to encourage feedback with team members. Discussion topics that arise during calibration sessions (or at any other point during the assessment process) are confidential. Please do not share with anyone other than each individual team member.
The guidelines below are general guidelines and recommendations. However, each department is at liberty to determine what works best for their groups in collaboration with their People Business Partner. For all groups we recommend that managers communicate Performance and Growth Potential assessments.
Aligned with the timeline, managers can see final assessments for each of their team members in their respective Workday profiles.
The cut-off date to determine whether to assess team members at the pre-promotion level or post-promotion level for the Q4 FY23 Talent Assessment cycle is October 31, 2022. Guidelines are as follows:
It is important to note that because being promoted recognizes high performance both in terms of increased scope/responsibility and monetarily through compensation increase therefore a promotion "resets" the performance factor evaluation.
Many team members take advantage of internal mobility opportunities we have at GitLab and change role, departments, and sometimes even divisions during the course of the year.
When assessing team members who have switched teams or changed roles throughout the year, managers should:
After calibration sessions are done and performance and growth potential factors are determined, it’s time to communicate the final results with team members (after you have been notified that they have been approved by the E-Group). Please refrain from communicating Performance factors until approval through the E-group level is communicated. Having an extensive conversation on performance and growth potential with your team members is a great way to set them up for success going forward. We also want to take the opportunity to give them a perspective on their career development. Below we will take you through some of the best practices, but remember, if you are even in doubt please reach out to your manager or People Business Partner for support.
Communicate performance and growth potential factors face-to-face over Zoom. As a manager, this is the opportunity for you to have a conversation with your team member about their performance and growth potential. Having the conversation over Zoom allows for you to have a dialogue with your team member (versus just sharing their performance and growth potential factor) and allows you to pick up other information, like tone and non-verbal cues which can tell you more about how someone is feeling during this conversation.
Schedule a separate call or repurpose your 1:1 to discuss a team member’s performance and growth potential factor. The performance and growth potential factors should be communicated at the beginning of the meeting. This allows the team member time to ask questions, discuss their assessment, and most importantly, determine next steps.
Protect the confidentiality of other team members by avoiding saying things like “you were the only team member to be rated this performance factor.”
My team member is on a leave (protected leave or PTO) during the Talent Assessment period. How should I handle communication of their assessment?
If they will be returning from leave before the due date to communicate Talent Assessment results, please wait until their return from leave to communicate their assessment. If they are returning from leave after the due date to communicate Talent Assessment results, you may email them to offer to discuss their assessment. If they do not reply or prefer to wait until their return, please respect that choice.
My team member was on protected leave for a large portion of the Talent Assessment period. How should I factor this in when assessing them?
It’s important to ensure you are assessing the team member's performance for their contributions while working during the assessment time period. There should be no adverse impact on their overall assessment due to being on leave for a portion of the period. During calibration, please remain vigilant to ensure no private details related to their time away are disclosed. Please reach out to your PBP to discuss the specific details related to your team member.
My team member was assessed as key talent last year, and is not for this assessment period. How should I handle communication with them?
There is no guarantee that team members will retain their key talent assessment each assessment period. Make sure to explain the reasons why their key talent assessment has changed, including how we assess Key Talent and the definition outlined in the Handbook. Remember to end the conversation by discussing what your expectations are of key talent going forward. It’s important not to make promises about future assessments, but to focus on what makes a team member critical to the business, and how you, their manager, will support them.
My team member was exceeding performance last assessment, and is not for this period. How should I communicate this change?
It’s important to take a look at what may have changed since last year. Is your team member in a new role? On a new team? Did they take on bigger stretch assignments? Any of these factors can influence a team member’s performance. Be prepared with specific examples to share which support your performance assessment. The feedback conversation should also focus on what success looks like for the team member in the year to come and how you, as the manager, can support them with their goals.
I have just adopted a new team, and the previous manager is no longer at GitLab. How can I assess the performance of my team fairly?
You may be able to gather insights from your manager or cross functional stakeholders who have worked closely with the team member in the performance period. You may have access to the recent 360 feedback for each of your team members, as well as their talent assessment from last year to help inform your thinking. If you haven’t already, it’s important to ask the team member to share their own perspective on their accomplishments prior to you taking the role, so you are well prepared for the discussion of your assessment.
My team member does not agree with their placement in performance and growth potential. How should I approach this?
Remember that this conversation will be most effective if you are well prepared. If you haven’t yet, take an opportunity before the performance and growth potential conversation to understand their own assessment of their results. During the performance and growth potential conversation, provide the opportunity for a dialogue with your team member. Remain open and curious about their perspective. Engage in active listening, ensuring that you aren’t planning your counterpoints while they are sharing. The expectation is not that the results will necessarily change but the insights they provide may shape how you both think about their growth and development path. If you feel a conversation might be particularly challenging, you may reach out to the TMR team or your PBP to role play the discussion and ensure you are prepared.
My team member is exceeding growth potential expectations, how should I be thinking about their ongoing development?
Great! At GitLab team members have the opportunity to own their own development, and deserve a great manager (you) to facilitate it. Ask your team member to articulate where they would like to see their skills and career develop. You may have insights that help them refine those goals based on where you see the business going, as they will be most successful in gaining the experience they’re looking for if there are opportunities to align those goals with business goals. Using the 70-20-10 model for learning, help your team member identify experiential and formal learning opportunities, and consider connections you can facilitate that will support their growth. The Career Development handbook page has more ideas to help your team member craft a growth plan, including information on GitLab’s Growth and Development benefit.
How should we be communicating Growth Potential to team members who we haven't communicated this to before?
First, ensure the team member understands what we mean when we say we are assessing Growth Potential, including the 4 pillars that you considered when making the assessment. Be prepared with specifics that led to your evaluation. Remember, Growth Potential can change over time as team members are promoted, develop new interests, as new opportunities for growth arise, and as team members continue to broaden their knowledge, skills, and abilities. Avoid making promises, but if your team member sees themselves in a higher position, help them understand behaviors you expect to be able to assess them differently next time.
I received unexpected feedback about my team member from a cross-functional stakeholder in my calibration session. What should I do?
If you receive unexpected feedback during the calibration, ensure you really understand what happened, and what has been discussed with your team member so far. If someone has tried to help this team member in the past, how did it go? Can your peer provide specifics to help you understand the impact of the behaviors? Talk to your peer about the importance of using this feedback to help your team member grow, and make sure you have agreement on how you plan to deliver this message. During the discussion with your team member, be prepared to gain their perspective on the situation first. Listen actively and consider their point of view. When delivering the message, consider the root cause, focus on impact and alignment with our values, and end with a discussion on future actions that would be more successful. If and when appropriate, check in with your peer on how improvements are going. Be sure to stay close to the situation so you are in a position to deliver more timely feedback if the behavior is ongoing.
How do I assess team members in acting or interim roles?
For team members who have assumed an Acting or an Interim role, we will assess team members aligned with their permanent positions (I.E. not the Acting or Interim position). As the Talent Assessment impacts compensation, and Acting/Interim periods are not permanent, in the instance that a team member does not end up moving into the Acting/Interim role permanently, we would not want to have their compensation impacted by a temporary position.
My team member is performing at a high level in terms of results, but they struggle with behavioral alignment to one or more of our values. How do I take the “how” into account when I am assessing their performance and growth?
Review the handbook content on how we measure Performance and how we measure Growth Potential. When a high output/results-oriented team member is struggling with soft skills and/or behavior, this is oftentimes related to improvement areas in terms of alignment to our values competencies, and/or our Growth Potential pillars (particularly, but not limited to, Self-Awareness). Considering our measurement guidelines for Performance and Growth Potential holistically, and be sure that your assessment takes all of our competencies, job family responsibilities, and pillars into account.
My team member has the skills to perform, but there are will-based performance issues that are impacting their ability or the team’s ability to succeed. How should I think about this in terms of assessing their performance?
First, act early. Do not wait for a formal performance and growth potential assessment conversation to deliver feedback about your concerns. Be specific, and document your conversation. Loop in a TMR specialist for support as these conversations can be challenging. Review the definition of “Developing” performance. Note that one criteria that applies to this category is a team member who is struggling to perform in a way that is aligned to our values and competencies. Think about the specific behaviors or impacts of their work or how they are working that have led you to assess that they are not fully engaged. Despite having the skills, if your team member is not contributing at the level they are expected to be, you should consider that a performance issue in the way you would a skill based performance issue. Keep in mind that not addressing these challenges may be affecting your other team members, especially those who may be picking up the slack. We encourage to review the handbook page on Underperformance.
The script below is intended to help you structure your Performance and Growth Potential conversation. Personalizing this conversation to reflect your authentic tone will make this a more effective conversation with your team member.
"Thank you for taking some time today to discuss your Performance and Growth Potential. I wanted to discuss your achievements and strengths, improvement areas, future development, and the final result of the talent assessment."
"I assessed your performance factor as **[Insert Performance factor]*:"
"I assessed your performance as [Insert Performance Factor] because:"
"I assessed your growth potential factor as **[Insert Growth potential factor]*:"
"I assessed your growth potential as [Insert Growth Potential Factor] because:"
I'd like to thank you for your hard work, and I look forward to continuing to work together! Do you you have any questions? [Allow team member to ask questions and respond] As a next step, let's schedule some time to talk more about what you want to do in the future and create a career development plan together.
The most important part of the performance factor discussion is to determine next steps in partnership with your team member. The team member should be the DRI for the next steps with support from you as their manager. Our Career Development handbook page includes a lot of great information and resources on career development including an individual growth plan template and career development worksheet which should help provide structure and a plan for next steps. If you have any questions or concerns about next steps, please contact your manager and/or your People Business Partner.
How should I factor in COVID impact when assessing performance and growth potential? When assessing team members affected by COVID (reduced schedules, modified working hours, more extended time off, mental health impact, etc.), please keep in mind:
Team members: It is very important that you are transparent with your manager if you are experiencing significant impact from COVID that has affected your overall performance. Managers cannot be mindful of the points above during assessment periods if they are not aware and expectations are not aligned. If it is helpful, feel free to use the COVID Self-Evaluation template to facilitate a discussion with your manager.
Will my Growth Potential assessment impact my compensation? Yes in FY22 both Performance, Growth Potential, and Key Talent Assessment can impact your Total Rewards.
If you have any questions, please reach out to your aligned People Business Partner.
Great managers share feedback with team members year-round in 1:1 meetings and ad-hoc. A dedicated Mid-Year check-in is a useful tool to support a holistic discussion between team member and manager about how things are going as we approach the second half of the fiscal year. During the Mid-Year check in, we assess how things are going from both the team member and managers' points of view, and share feedback to help inform performance and development plans. Leaning into where things are going well, as well as uncovering blind spots or improvement areas early are the keys to delivering great results. A Mid-Year check in complements weekly, on-going feedback, so we recommend documenting your discussion in your 1:1 doc to support frequent updates on action items and development goals.
Goals of the Mid-Year check in are:
To participate in the mid-year check in we recommend that team members have at least 3 months of tenure so accomplishments and improvement areas are able to be clearly outlined with examples. As our mid-year review kicks off on 2023-06-12, team members who started on or before 2023-03-12 would be eligible to participate.
Recommended process for our FY'24 Q2 cycle will be as follows:
Team Member Led: Team member provides a self-assessment on their own performance in their 1:1 document
Team members can leverage their 1:1 document and should reflect on their achievements, strengths, and opportunity areas since the last formal Talent Assessment in FY'23 Q4. It is the team member’s responsibility to provide the self-assessment and bring it to the conversation with their manager to discuss and align. Documenting in the 1:1 agenda ensures the material is available to come back to throughout the rest of the year.
A recommended agenda for the Mid-Year check-in 1:1 is as follows:
List your 3 most significant achievements since the last formal Talent Assessment, aligned with the job responsibilities and expectations of the role. This can include significant impact to the department or company, customer-impact, community-impacting, etc. Feedback can also be included in this section if applicable.
Strengths & Opportunities in Role
In this area the goal is to determine 2-3 strengths and 2-3 opportunity areas in accordance with your role, job family, and job framework. Include examples when necessary to provide clarity or context. Ensure there are actionable takeaways.
A place to outline any support needed from your manager for your ongoing success and development at GitLab.
Managers will provide additional feedback or response to the self-assessment outlined above. Managers should be sure to reference the Achievements (3) and Roles & Responsibilities (Strengths and Opportunities) outlined by the team member above, and to any additional thoughts or feedback (2-3 points).
A space for the team member and manager to document any relevant next steps stemming from this conversation. This could be a full Individual Growth Plan or a couple of key actions or development opportunities for the individual.
Manager Feedback: Team members let their manager know when they have provided their self-assessment overview in their 1:1 document
Team members should share their Mid-Year Check In document with their manager at least one week prior to the live discussion to ensure managers have time to review the content, and to add in their own feedback in the
Manager Feedback section.
Team members and managers use a dedicated 1:1 to discuss the Mid Year check in.
Align on actions/next steps
Team member and manager align on action items stemming from the conversation to best support team member development and alignment to their goals. You are encourage to leverage our Career Development and Mobility handbook page for ideas and inspiration.
Mid-Year Check In launch:
Mid-Year Check In end:
We have intentionally provided a longer timeline to ensure different business group priorities are accommodated.
Succession planning is an important step in our Talent Assessment process. Completing the Performance/Growth Potential Assessment gives leaders a fresh overview of the top performers and the highest growth team members in their respective organizations. Particularly for individuals in Senior Leadership roles and above (the S-Group and depending on structure the Director-Group), a recommended next step following the Performance/Growth Potential assessment is to do succession planning.
Succession planning ensures we are identifying and developing future GitLab leaders to ensure business continuity in the event of an unforeseen change, and providing the current leadership team the opportunity to grow and scale. It may provide an opportunity to diversify our leadership team by developing our internal bench of talent. Note, potential alone does not determine who will be a successor. Strong succession candidates should demonstrate sustained exceeding performance and growth, aspire to have a role at the next level, and be ready for a much larger role in the near term.
Questions we should ask ourselves when thinking about succession planning (and the individual(s) identified) are:
The succession planning process might vary slightly for different areas of the business depending on size and structure, but at a high level the process should flow as follows:
|Emergency (ER)||Someone who could take over this role if the current person were affected by a lottery factor or had to take emergency leave. Note: If there is no one who could assume the role today in an emergency situation, part of the succession coverage plan should include an overview of recommendation steps (I.E. engaging a consultancy, splitting up the team, etc.)|
|Ready Now (RN)||Someone who has 90% of the competency & experience to take the role now|
|Ready in 1-2 years)||With additional responsibility & exposure, could take the role soon|
|Ready in 2-3+ years||Longer term candidate who requires significant development|
|Interim coverage||Has competency and experience to provide coverage on an interim basis (~6 months), but may not be suitable for the role long-term|
Note that the
Emergency Coverage slide in the template above should only be used to if the identified successor could not provide temporary coverage for the current leader in an emergency situation.
|Workday: Self Assessment & Manager Evaluation Template||Team members and managers can leverage this template to begin thinking through and documenting the optional self-assessment and the manager evaluation for the Talent Assessment. Please note that this template is for team members who would like to get an early start ahead of Workday launching the FY'23 Talent Assessment cycle, however, all assessments will need to be transferred over to Workday for formal documentation and calibration.|
|Workday Job Aid: How to Complete My Annual Self Evaluation||Team member instructions for how to complete their annual Self-Evaluation task in Workday.|
|Workday Job Aid: How to Complete the Manager Evaluation and Assess Growth Potential||Manager instructions for how to complete their Manager Evaluation task and Assess Growth Potential task in Workday.|
|Workday Job Aid: How to Complete Talent Calibration||Manager instructions for how to complete their Talent Calibration in Workday.|
|Workday Job Aid: How to Facilitate Calibration - PBPs||PBP instructions for how to facilitate calibration sessions in Workday.|
|Workday Calibration Video Tutorial||Manager instructions for how to complete their Talent Calibration in Workday.|
|Talent Assessment Calibration Agenda Doc||This template can be used by managers to ensure similar pre-work, structure, and context to generate alignment ahead of live calibration sessions. The agenda is also recommend to ensure rationale behind potential assessment changes during calibration are recorded.|
|Values competencies||Values competencies form an important part of the Performance Factor evaluation and are important to review prior to beginning the assessment period.|
|Remote work competencies||Remote work competencies form an important part of the Performance Factor evaluation and are important to review prior to beginning the assessment period.|
|Functional competencies||Functional competencies (for groups that have them developed) can also influence the Performance Factor and should be reviewed prior to the assessment period.|
|Unconscious Bias handbook page and Recognizing Bias Training||It is important to me mindful of unconscious bias always, and especially during talent reviews and assessments. It is highly recommended that you review the handbook page and watch the training.|
|Performance Factor handbook page||This page is the SSOT to review the Performance Factor's impact on compensation.|
Key Talent makes up roughly ~10% of the population. Key Talent represents team members who have a significant impact on GitLab's success. They deliver quality results that are instrumental in moving critical company initiatives forward and do so consistently in alignment with our values. These team members are often recognized as experts in their current role. Team members, at any level, can be considered Key Talent.
Team members identified as Key Talent typically have knowledge, skills, and experience that:
While not all of the criteria above need to be met for an individual to be designated Key Talent, it is required that Performance and Growth Potential are in a good place and that the team member meets at least one of the requirements above related to business impact.
Team members identified as key talent must be assessed at minimum Performing and Growing (Box 4) in the Talent Assessment process.
The only exception is for newly promoted individuals that fall into “Developing” Performance and “Developing” Growth Potential due to time and experience in their new role. Although Performance and Growth Potential are a consideration in the Key Talent selection process, they are not the only criteria used to determine the designation and should not be used in isolation. It is important to look holistically at the Key Talent Criteria outlined above when determining who qualifies as Key Talent on your team.
"Too new to rate" team members can be considered key talent but this would be an exception. In order for a "too new to rate" team member to be identified as key talent they must have specialized skills that drive a significant impact to business results.
Below are a few examples to help managers think through Key Talent designations as they relate to Performance and Growth Potential:
A team member that has a performance assessment of “Exceeding” is not automatically indicated as Key Talent. Perhaps they are doing exceptionally well in their role, but the impact on the business would not be considered “critical” if they were to leave.
A team member that is new to the role due to recent promotion and still "Developing" could be identified as Key Talent if they work in an area of the business that is highly specialized and critical to the success of key results at the company.
Note: Intentionally hoarding knowledge is in direct conflict with our transparency value and is viewed as a performance issue as we measure performance based on alignment with our values.
Single Points of Failure (SPOF) refers to a single person whose absence would significantly impact the ability of an area of the company to function.
Team members that are identified as Key Talent can also be SPOF, as the definition of SPOF overlaps with a few of the Key Talent Criteria outlined above, however, a team member who is identified as SPOF is not also Key Talent by default.
A few key differences between Key Talent and SPOF include: team member’s performance and growth potential, risk mitigation plans, aand support/development strategies.
Four scenarios exist in the context of our Talent Assessment:
To review the SPOF definition in more detail along with a few examples, please review our Organizational Design handbook page.
It is important to have a holistic view of all team members when determining who meets the key talent criteria, which is why we require a certain scope when calibrating key talent and making final recommendations in the organization. There are several factors that can help determine the level at which key talent should be assessed, including things like reporting lines and span of control. As a general rule, if a people manager meets the following requirements, key talent calibrations should start at their level:
The process to determine Key Talent is as follows:
A very small portion of our business (roughly ~10% of the population) is considered to be key talent. As such, a team members’ value in the organization should not be determined based on whether or not they are identified as key talent.
While some team members are identified as key talent, this does not mean the rest of our team is not valued and important to our organization’s success. Aligned with our expected performance distribution, approximately 60-65% of our team are core performers (or "performing"). Core performers are responsible for keeping things consistently moving forward. This group comprises the largest population in companies across the board for a reason and is an essential part of any organization’s success.
We want to make sure we use engagement tools to retain Key Talent. A few of our primary engagement tools are: Learning & Development, growth opportunities and compensation.
Note that being considered or designated as a key talent one year, does not mean or guarantee that a team member will be considered or designated as a key talent moving forward.
Supporting Key Talent at GitLab is a critical element of business scalability and organizational development and growth. Our Key Talent are often individuals that can be looked to for mentorship and guidance by others, but it is also important that we invest in the development of this group and ensure that key knowledge is shared. A couple of key ways we can support our Key Talent is through regular discussions and the development of Individual Growth Plans (IGPs).
Below are suggestions for getting started, resources for managers, a Key Talent Engagement Discussion template, and a recommended cadence.
One way to set up a structure and regular cadence for touchpoints with our Key Talent population is through Key Talent Engagement Discussions. We recommended these discussion focus areas are: Overall Engagement, Growth/Challenge, and Support Needed. The main goals for check-ins with this group include:
Managers can leverage this template to help facilitate consistency in Key Talent Engagement Discussions.
Key Talent Engagement Discussions can be a great starting point to start thinking through Individual Growth Plans, which is the recommended next step. Some ideas for our Key Talent population to consider when thinking through Individual Growth Plans (IGPs) include:
We recommend that managers perform Key Talent Engagement Discussions twice per year, roughly every 5-6 months. Discussion timing is at manager discretion, as we want to ensure these discussions are held at the most relevant and impactful time for each team member. Key Talent Engagement Discussions are more geared towards stay interview format, and should not replace ongoing informal check-ins, regular feedback, and growth discussions that happen more regularly in 1:1s.
A couple of options for Key Talent Engagement Discussions that managers can consider are:
In FY'24 Q2, we will begin optional Key Talent Engagement Discussions across the organization aligned with our upcoming mid-year check-in process. For divisions or departments that choose to opt in, the high level timeline would be as follows (exact dates TBD):
As mentioned above, Key Talent Engagement Discussions can be done at any point during the year, it is not necessary that they are coupled with our Mid year check-in process.