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General Electric shifts away from annual performance reviews

General Electric
Goh Seng Chong | Bloomberg | Getty Images

General Electric is quietly moving away from annual job performance reviews in favor of more frequent and less formal conversations between managers and employees.

For the past three decades GE graded employees on a "vitality curve" against their peers and then divided them into three categories: the top performing 20 percent, the middle 70 percent and the bottom ten percent.

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Those ending up on the lowest end of the curve were often denied bonuses or laid off.

Forced ranking, or "rank and yank" is no longer practiced among GE's 300,000 workforce, as the industrial giant transitions from a "command and control" environment to one based on the same lean principals practiced at many technology startups.

Think of it as a kinder, gentler corporate giant.

General Electric spokesperson Laura Paredes told CNBC's "Power Lunch" Monday its introduction of a new, performance development-program is part of a bigger move towards a 'simpler, faster company" that creates the best possible working environment for its employees.

"A 135+ year old company can only survive if it is constantly re-engineering not just its product portfolio, but its culture as well," said Paredes.

GE's pilot program follows in the footsteps of several other companies that have eradicated annual formal reviews. including Microsoft, Ford Motor and Medtronic.

Read MoreWill a kinder, gentler workplace be more effective?

Today. nearly ten percent of the Fortune 500 have banished score-keeping during evaluations, a move that should please at least one portion of the workforce: Millennials.

Sydney Finkelstein, professor at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business told "Power Lunch" Thursday "Millennials want steady feedback, interaction and discussion. If you want to hire the best-trained class of young people, its outdated thinking to review them every six or twelve months. You want to coach them throughout the year."