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Posted Wednesday, December 04, 2013 10:59 AM


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I'm not sure it's fair, though I'm not sure how much fairness I want in business. We don't have a lot here, with plenty of poor decisions by managers because they have their own inherent prejudices/attractions/etc.

I think this model can work in sales because we do have sales people falling down and you want to get rid of them, and reward the high achievers. however, when you get a good sales force, do you still want to get rid of the worst one? You might end up with an even worse salesperson.

I don't like this system, but I especially don't like it in technology, accounting, probably a few other areas.







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Post #1519723
Posted Wednesday, December 04, 2013 11:39 AM
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The article failed in that it set up the conflict, but didn't resolve: so, Steve, how did you rank your employees? Did you unfairly assign a 2?
Post #1519741
Posted Wednesday, December 04, 2013 2:42 PM
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The best way I have seen this applied was at a call centre (had to right the scripts for it).

It worked better because it was a giant sample size of employees (making it more likely that their abilities were normally distributed), their performance did not depend on one another, and evaluation was done with actual metrics.

But I have seen similar theory applied to 'teams' as small as 2, with zero metrics beyond manager opinion. And when it is used like that it is basically a straight-jacket that is both unfair and has unintended consequences.

And what it truly reflects is leadership not trusting their managers to make honest assessments of performance.
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Posted Wednesday, December 04, 2013 3:01 PM
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It's entirely artificial to make an HR department think what they do is a science rather than art.

How do you boil down complex behavioural and performance characteristics into a single digit?
If someone gets the maximum grade then how can you measure an improvement in their performance?
If someone gets the next point down how do you quantify what they need to do to get the maximum grade if that grade is officially unobtainable?

I'd much prefer my manager to say "these are the objectives I need you to complete for the next quarter/6 months, let me know if there are any blockers and I will let you know if the objectives become obsolete".

For me the annual review process is where two adults are forced together in a mutually embarrassing situation where both could be doing something more productive and all to maintain the polite fiction that an annual review process is anything but retro-fitting a justification to a fait accompli in the annual pay review.


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Posted Wednesday, December 04, 2013 3:16 PM
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David.Poole (12/4/2013)

For me the annual review process is where two adults are forced together in a mutually embarrassing situation where both could be doing something more productive and all to maintain the polite fiction that an annual review process is anything but retro-fitting a justification to a fait accompli in the annual pay review.

+1
Post #1519812
Posted Wednesday, December 04, 2013 3:30 PM


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chris 24158 (12/4/2013)
The article failed in that it set up the conflict, but didn't resolve: so, Steve, how did you rank your employees? Did you unfairly assign a 2?


Yes. Sad to say. After much arguing with my boss (the director) and a debate with the VP, I was ultimately told that this was a subjective, relative ranking. Someone was below the others, and whoever that was deserved a lower ranking.

I gave one person the 2, had a conversation about why, and then awarded him the same bonus as the 3s. He was weaker than others, but it was slight and somewhat nitpicky.

I ended up resigning a few months later, and listed this as one of my reasons.







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Post #1519816
Posted Wednesday, December 04, 2013 5:41 PM
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Thanks Steve. I agree, stack ranking is idiotic for high-performing teams and only serves to drive away talent.
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Posted Wednesday, December 04, 2013 6:48 PM


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Perhaps it's me but the primary flaw I noticed is that this is an attempt to use a de facto individual ranking system to measure performance in a team setting. You need to match the metrics/measurements to what it is you're trying to reward; as in - if you truly want to encourage positive teamwork, adding a dimension that measure performance of teams you participate in should be part of your review. You're essentially trying to rank apples by how much they taste like oranges.


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Post #1519843
Posted Wednesday, December 04, 2013 7:36 PM


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Matt Miller (#4) (12/4/2013)
Perhaps it's me but the primary flaw I noticed is that this is an attempt to use a de facto individual ranking system to measure performance in a team setting. You need to match the metrics/measurements to what it is you're trying to reward; as in - if you truly want to encourage positive teamwork, adding a dimension that measure performance of teams you participate in should be part of your review. You're essentially trying to rank apples by how much they taste like oranges.


We just went through our reviews in the Sept/Oct time frame. The 1's were below average and are probably going to be shown the door. But the the management style dictated that less than 1% get a 3. The 2's were the expected norm meaning you do your job to at least average if not at a 100% level.

It is not great, but it seems at least somewhat fair.

In addition most rating systems are setup to groom people to be a personnel managers in the future. I told them when I was hired that I can deal with managing project teams, doing training on <SW/HW/systems> for junior staff but don't want to mange people on a permanent basis. I don't like wetware, I like tech. The review system, as usual, emphasizes managing people.

So I always look at any rating system as a joke.




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Post #1519845
Posted Thursday, December 05, 2013 7:42 AM


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I have heard that the most talented people tried to ensure they weren't working on the same team with other talented people, just to ensure they would continue to be highly ranked.

I can see how stack ranking would be disruptive, but often times disruption can be good thing. It actually makes sense to disperse a cluster of talented people who just delivered a successful project so that they move on to become team leaders on new projects with less experienced members.



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