TikTok directs managers to lower employee ratings

These lower grades, "F" for 'failed' and "I" for 'incomplete', are the bottom two of the eight available ratings


TikTok, the popular short-video app, has told its managers to give lower ratings in employees’ performance reviews. The company stated to the media that the move is aimed at ensuring a fair distribution of performance ratings among its 1,30,000 employees worldwide.

These lower ratings, which include “F” for ‘failed’ and “I” for ‘incomplete’, represent the two lowest grades among the eight available. This modification is expected to result in reduced bonus payments.

Earlier this year, TikTok modified its bonus structure in a way that some employees believe will lead to smaller bonus payouts. TikTok’s annual bonuses are typically determined based on an individual’s performance reviews.

Reportedly, in mid-October, senior management and human resources staff conveyed to managers the directive to increase the allocation of performance evaluations at the bottom end of the company’s bell-curve rating system. This adjustment is also expected to significantly raise the number of subpar ratings assigned to certain teams this year, possibly doubling or even tripling them.

This development coincides with a period of declining revenue growth for ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company based in Beijing. The slowdown is attributed to increased regulatory scrutiny in the US, China’s weakening economic expansion, and challenges facing TikTok’s e-commerce operations in other regions. According to insiders, managers at ByteDance have also encountered similar requests to push the number of lower ratings.

The company did not disclose the actual numbers of affected employees. However, the situation is similar to what happened at Meta. Employees got poor job reviews a month before revealing that 10,000 people would lose their jobs.

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