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Why employees dislike Bell Curve/ Stack Ranking?

November 16, 2013

bell curve image

After “No work from Home” earlier this year, Yahoo’s recent decision of “Stack Ranking” its employees has once again occupied the mind of HR leaders and pros. It is being referred to as “Yahoo’s recent HR disaster”.  Many are disapproving this move and feel that it will work against employee’s advantage.

Bell curve ranking was once the most popular and preferred method of Performance Ranking among large organizations but with time it slowly lost its significance. Tough the process has its own benefits to offer to the business and organizations, among employees, it is more criticized than approved. What is the reason that employees do not approve of this performance rating system? Can this be attributed to the changing mindset of employees? What do employees today expect from the Performance rating process?

Unlike organizations, Performance appraisal process for employees isn’t about rewarding the best and punishing the rest. Here’s what employees expect from performance reviews and evaluation process:

Praise and Credit:  Employees view Appraisal process as a means to highlight their past success and improvement. They expect their Manager and HR to notice their achievements (big as well as small) and praise/ reward them for their contribution to the team and organization.

Personal Development Plan: Performance appraisal for employees is an opportunity to discuss their career path and growth prospects with their employer. It’s the time they can talk about their aspiration, expectations, succession as well as problems with their Managers and HR.

Help and Support:  Often employees are faced with problems at work – non-supportive Manager, team member, too much work load, trainings requirements etc which they seek to discuss and resolve. These discussions are best carried out during detailed performance review.

With employees getting more open and clear about their expectations and apprehensions regarding their job and career, it’s beneficial for organizations to design and implement policies accordingly. As it’s said, satisfied workforce is the first step to organizational success. …. What’s your opinion?

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4 Comments
  1. Interesting Read. Performance Appraisals are hard on both employees and managers. It’s like a manager has Rs 10 and he needs to distribute it among 5 and also ensure that it’s given according to performance. And not to forget the expectation of all 5 employees. So it’s a balancing act. But at the end, you can’t make everyone happy.

    • So well said Kunjal !… Its a balancing act but still at the end everyone can’t be made happy.

  2. Good read….. In short stack ranking are the ones debated as bias by managers and prefer to retain their good stock and neglect the talented and upfront team member. Bell curve has always been the right choice baby for every one. Be it Stack Ranking or Bell Curve, it should be well managed by professional managers.

    • Thanks for your valuable comments Raghunandan.. Yes its all about management and wise judgement when it comes to any PMS method.

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