Table of contents
Meta Performance Reviews (Meta PSC)
At Meta, understanding the performance review system is a non-negotiable for anyone serious about career advancement. Each year, employees receive one of these seven ratings:
- Too New to Evaluate (N/A)
- Meets Some (2% of employees)
- Meets Most (8% of employees)
- Meets All (45% of employees)
- Exceeds (35% of employees)
- Greatly Exceeds (7% of employees)
- Redefines Expectations (3% of employees)
Despite the average %s we included above, it's worth noting that Meta's ratings aren't a forced curve but rather guidelines (that are only discussed at the org level).
Meta transitioned to annual performance reviews in 2022 but then re-introduced a six-month check-in for those with a "Meets Most" rating starting in 2023. This is a critical check-in as low ratings like MM or MS can have significant consequences. Anyone who receives a Meets Some rating is immediately put on a PIP and that will also happen if you accumulate two Meets Most Ratings.
But it's not all bad, performance reviews at Meta are an opportunity to significantly increase your compensation. Bonuses depend on role and level but during performance reviews two important multipliers are applied on top of that. First the company multiplier. Historically this has almost always been slightly above 1x, but for the first time in years it dropped to 0.85x after a tough 2022 year. Second is the individual multiplier which is based on the performance rating you receive.
- Too New to Evaluate - this is equivalent to Meets All
- Meets Some - 0x
- Meets Most - 0.65x
- Meets All - 1x
- Exceeds - 1.25x
- Greatly Exceeds - 1.65x
- Redefines Expectations - 2.5x
For example, if you are an E5 software engineer you will have a target bonus of 15%, which when applied to a ~$200K base is $30K. But that is then multiplied by 0.85x for the 2022 company multiple, and if you got a Greatly Exceeds rating, it would be multiplied by 1.65x, meaning your actual bonus would be ~$42K.
Performance reviews are of course also an opportunity for promotions, which we'll share additional context on below.
Meta PSC changes in 2023
We have seen lots of talk on Team Blind and in news articles about harsher ratings in the most recent PSC round which wrapped up March, 2023. However, when digging into the actual data shared by Meta, it looks like rating distributions were roughly inline with historical averages. It seems that so far Meta is willing to be direct when conducting lay offs and isn't trying to quietly fire more employees through performance reviews.
Of course, not everything in 2023 has been par the course. Bonuses were not inline with historical averages, but that's because the company multiplier dropped to 0.85x. And as mentioned above, Meta has re-introduced a 6-month review for employees that are performing below expectations.
Probably the biggest change though is more indirect. From the many conversations we have with clients we support at Meta, there is a marked change in pace and intensity for most teams at Meta. Zuck's Year of Efficiency has been effective in putting pressure on teams to move faster and mangers to expect more from their reports. This means if you want to higher compensation and faster promotions in the 2023 PSC cycle, it's more important than ever to spend the time upfront to set yourself up well.
How to get promoted faster at Meta
Despite Meta moving to yearly performance review cycles, it is still possible to be promoted mid-year. The core promotion process remains largely unchanged. It's still a 360 review where you are required to write a self review, request peer feedback from 3-5 other employees, write peer feedback for others, and write upward feedback for your manager. The first two of these will be consolidated into a calibration package which your manager will present (along with a proposed rating) during calibration meetings.
Navigating promotions at Meta isn't just about doing good work - you unfortunately have to also "play the game".
Manage Your Manager: Since your manager is the one presenting your package at calibration and advocating on your behalf, they are for all intents and purposes the gatekeeper for your promotion. If you're not regularly discussing your progress and skill gaps with them—say, every two weeks—you're missing out. Skill gaps are those competencies you need to acquire or sharpen to move up, and these should be identified early on. Ideally you would have aligned on these gaps right after the prior PSC cylce ended and then selected specific projects for the following year that allow you to show improvement.
Select High-Impact Projects: Picking the right projects can make or break your promotion. Naturally, you want to aim for priority projects where possible and projects where your contributions are quantifiable. It's essential when you start a new project that you set expectations clearly at the beginning. This takes practice as you very much want to underpromise and overdeliver, without causing conflicts. Lastly, the project's scope and objectives should give you the opportunity to demonstrate progress on improvement areas (i.e. close skill gaps).
Documentation: Don't underestimate the power of sharing success. Meta has always had a very open culture and this is in large part enabled by Workplace. As much as possible you should be in groups answering questions and sharing updates. Not only will your team appreciate you stepping up in this way, you will gain visibility across orgs and become known as a leader on your project (which is great when soliciting peer feedback reviews). You can also reference back to these posts in your self review.
Leverage: unfortunately in 2023 leverage is an increasingly important component of a successful promotion case. Sometimes, despite doing everything right, your may pushback on your promotion case because he/she is receiving pressure to only nominate 1 or 2 reports. This is where external or internal leverage can play a big role. Whether it's fielding an offer from another team within Meta for a higher position or simply dropping the fact that you're being courted by another company for a more senior role, these pieces of information can completely flip your manager's opinion on whether to nominate you for promotion. Now this is of course a delicate conversation to navigate, but this has without question been the most effective tactic we've seen for securing promotions over the past year
There is one other Meta-specific promotion consideration that is worth mentioning - the company's 'up or out' policy. Engineers at Meta have explicit timelines for promotions: 24 months to go from E3 to E4, and another 33 months to hit E5. If you don't hit these timelines you will be fired. If you are approaching those timelines and your promotion is looking tenous, you should follow the steps outlined in the PIP section below.
Meta's Performance Improvement Plans (PIP)
PIP at Meta is less common than some other big tech companies like Amazon, but it is definitely still an important consideration and point of concern. Meta has a pretty formulaic approach to PIP where if you receive one Meets Some or two Meets Most ratings you will automatically be put on a PIP. So how do you avoid this?
Reducing the risk of being put on a Performance Improvement Plan at Meta begins with your relationship with your manager (like most of the PSC process). PIP is most common if you've only recently joined a company and it is often your early days on a new team that are most critical. This period offers a golden opportunity to demonstrate your ability to get up to speed quickly and establish a strong reputation. It's also the ideal time to assess and build your relationship with your manager. This is actually so significant that if you feel you have a bad relationship with your manager after the first 3 months, switching teams should be a priority before the PIP process starts and those moves are blocked. At Meta if your only rating is MS or MM you are not allowed to switch teams.
Of course your relationships with co-workers and cross-functional teams are also very important as negative peer feedback is factored in heavily during Meta's PSC process. One of the most common precursors to finding yourself on a PIP is negative feedback from peers. While it's unrealistic to aim for perfect relationships with everyone you work with, strategic relationship-building is key. Focus on forging strong bonds with influential colleagues and those you work with frequently.
All of this can be overwhelming, and there are additional individual-specific considerations around when to take severance if offered. If you'd like to discuss your specific situation, you can book a free call with our team. When it comes to Meta, we've pretty much seen it all and are happy to answer any questions we can.