Significantly Exceeds – This ranking is achievable but you have to demonstrate consistently high rankings in all your projects throughout the year. Your Career Counselor has to make a good case for putting you in this slot. Again, it is usually reserved for those who made significant contributions and are up for promotion within the next 1-3 years.
Exceeds – The largest percentage of Sr Managers will get this ranking. Face it, you don’t get to be Sr Manager unless you are very good at what you do. And this is a very respectable ranking. But it is not going to get you a promotion if you keep getting ranked into this slot.
Meets Expectations – You were ranked in the middle or lower of most of your projects. You may have had a lot of bench time. Your projects were not very high profile or challenging. You don’t want to be in this category consistently but it is recognized anyone can have an off-year.
Needs Improvement – Getting the lowest ranking doesn’t necessarily mean you are out the door. But you need to drastically improve the next year in order to make up for this. There is usually a well-recognized reason why a Senior Manager ranked this poorly. Maybe you are a really bad people manager or you missed a major deadline for your client which had financial implications. Or maybe everyone else just did a better job than you or you didn’t promote your successes more effectively.
WHAT IT ALL MEANS
Those who ranked “At The Very Top” will get a lot of exposure and will move to the front of the line for promotion to Managing Director. They will typically be awarded additional RSUs as compensation in addition to the highest bonus level.
Those who ranked “Significantly Exceeds” are typically being groomed for Senior Leadership but it is, by no means, a sure thing. They will get a decent bonus. Anything lower than this level and the bonus drops dramatically. You will get 50% of your eligible amount at Exceeds and 25% at Meets Expectations. Needless to say, don’t expect any bonus if you are ranked “Needs Improvement.”
Accenture won’t force you to leave the company if you get a bad rating one year but there are consequences. When you are being evaluated for a new project, the project supervisor does not have access to your ladder rankings but they can easily contact your prior supervisor for feedback. If your prior supervisor provides negative feedback, you will have a hard time getting staffed on good projects. The downward spiral begins. This is where your Career Counselor can and should intervene and publicize on your behalf why you received negative feedback and what you have done to improve.