How Adobe continues to inspire great performance and support career growth

How Check-in started at Adobe

In 2012, Adobe replaced annual performance reviews and ratings in favor of a less structured approach that we call Check-in. Employees were frustrated with annual performance reviews as they found the process cumbersome and bureaucratic. It also created barriers to teamwork since the experience of being rated and stack-ranked for compensation left many employees feeling undervalued. We realized that in order to do our best work, we shouldn’t wait until the end of the year to share feedback. Rather, we should have open and ongoing conversations year-round. From this sentiment, Check-in was born. Check-in is an ongoing, two-way conversation where employee and manager discuss performance and career growth, and exchange real-time feedback. It's a meaningful conversation about what's going well, what can be improved, and what to focus on next to drive business impact and career growth.

Embracing a new, digital-first Check-in

As the way we work has gone through a major shift, what hasn’t changed is Adobe’s commitment to providing an exceptional employee experience and supporting employees’ career growth. As we embrace hybrid work and an ever-evolving business, we recognized a need to evolve Check-in to help scale our business and support employee growth. This became more evident as we gathered feedback from hundreds of leaders and employees across teams and territories in the past year to understand how Check-in has been working. We are no longer the same company we were a decade ago – the number of employees has nearly tripled, we are more global and matrixed, the way we work has changed, and it will continue to evolve. To that end, we’ve launched a digitally-enabled Check-in to keep the focus on ongoing conversations, but with a consistent, centralized place for our employees to document goals, discuss performance with their managers, and map career aspirations.

"Feedback and ongoing conversations between managers and employees are at the heart of what make check-ins successful - both to ensure employees have the clarity they need to be successful in their roles and to support their career growth."

- Gloria Chen, Chief People Officer and EVP, Employees Experience

Adobe performance management, then and now.

Before: The annual performance review

After: Digital-first Check-in


HR team manually managed paperwork and process to ensure all steps were completed. 

All employees and managers have a web-based destination to document their goals, development, and growth. 

Goal Setting

Goals set at the start of the year and often not revisited.

Individual goals are documented in a centralized place, reviewed regularly, and can be updated in real-time by manager and employee.


Cumbersome process to ask for and keep track of feedback from stakeholders.  

Stakeholder feedback can be exchanged with anyone at any time and is stored in a centralized place. 

Career Growth 

Career growth and aspirations discussed on an ad-hoc basis, putting burden on employees to scroll through internal opportunities posted on internal career website. 

Employees have access to a data-driven Career Discovery tool that shows them where employees in similar roles moved within Adobe. As they explore new career paths, they can set up notifications, so they know in real-time when their ideal next role is posted.

Performance Conversations

Performance discussions happen annually. Focus was often on ratings, not meaningful, two-way feedback.

Check-in conversations happen quarterly, providing more frequent and meaningful forums for managers and employees to exchange feedback and stay aligned on goals and expectations. 

Compensation Decisions

Onerous process of rating and ranking each employee to determine salary increase and equity.

No formal rating or ranking. Manager determines salary and equity based on performance. Ongoing, regular Check-in conversations help managers make informed, balanced decisions.

 What Adobe employees are saying about the digital-first Check-in

“So excited that we now have a centralized system to keep track of our performance, career growth, and feedback in one place! This will help spur new ideas for my career growth and add depth to conversations with my manager.” – Individual Contributor 

“There’s something really powerful about having access to documented feedback, both as an employee and a people manager. It gives me a 360 view of my direct reports and having everything on record serves as a helpful reminder of how I can best support each of my employees.” – People Manager

“Having a dashboard to view and manage my team’s Check-in information is a game changer! I can focus my time on having a solid conversation with my team vs spending time tracking their performance and feedback in several different channels.” – People Manager 

“The quarterly conversation allows me to reflect on what I've done, who I want to be at the company, and gives me clarity on what I need to do to perform my best.” – Individual Contributor

“The Career Discovery tool is a tremendous resource for helping me explore what potential paths I can take at Adobe to continue my career here!” – Individual Contributor