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Old 10-01-2016, 07:46 AM   #41
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Just reminds me how wonderful retirement is. The two times of the year I hated most was annual appraisals and budget prep and defense.

I'd agree that who you hire/promote is probably the most important of all the silly things you have to do. Especially in a highly regulated environment like government where if you picked the wrong one you either had to live with it or prove they were incompetent. Or as my first boss said, catch 'em _______ in the hall!
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Old 10-01-2016, 04:17 PM   #42
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For those of you currently employed at a company that does this kind of ranking, just know that you can choose to work at a company that doesn't have this type of bureaucracy. Of course you have to look for that kind of company, and there may be some downsides.

To oversimplify, the smaller the company, the less likely these kinds of reviews/evaluations are going to be. Pensions, bonuses, etc. are also less likely, at least in my own personal experience. I went from JnJ to a small privately held company and took a big hit in my compensation but was quite happy to do it.
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Old 10-01-2016, 04:36 PM   #43
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This is true. In the 18 years I worked at my (40 employee) micro-corp I never once had a performance review or gave one. Let alone the "ranking" stuff.
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Old 10-01-2016, 05:09 PM   #44
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There is a bell curve of performance, the difficulty becomes when a fixed percentage is forced onto it. Especially funny when your recruiting folks and other company propaganda states you only hire the best and brightest. So if that is true, how does forced percentages work out when supposedly the workforce is all above avg?

I worked at GE under Jack Welch's time. It sucked. I have no respect for the man as an employee. He may have been good for stockholders, but not for the employees. Glad to be out of there, but I will gladly take my very meager 5 years worth of pension when eligible!
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Old 10-01-2016, 06:34 PM   #45
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This is true. In the 18 years I worked at my (40 employee) micro-corp I never once had a performance review or gave one. Let alone the "ranking" stuff.

Did you get annual COL or merit increases? The only companies I've worked for that didn't do annual reviews, also didn't give annual raises.
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Old 10-01-2016, 07:24 PM   #46
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At the state agency I w*rked at the reviews were just a box checking exercise. They had stopped discretionary raises many years ago and COL raises were few, as matter of fact we had a wage freeze for 6 of my last 7 years in the management titles.
Our union reports got their raises so needless to say most junior and mid managers did just enough to not get written up. Why do more? Pretty much I only cared about the safety of my employees and putting safe vehicles on the street everyday.
Time and attendance? Didn't care. Productivity? Didn't care.
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Old 10-01-2016, 07:31 PM   #47
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Oh yeah, raises and bonuses all the time except during the last recession and even then we didn't fire anyone just skipped profit sharing in the 401K for a year.

Good company, that's why I was there for 18 years -
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:38 PM   #48
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There is a bell curve of performance, the difficulty becomes when a fixed percentage is forced onto it. Especially funny when your recruiting folks and other company propaganda states you only hire the best and brightest. So if that is true, how does forced percentages work out when supposedly the workforce is all above avg?

I worked at GE under Jack Welch's time. It sucked. I have no respect for the man as an employee. He may have been good for stockholders, but not for the employees. Glad to be out of there, but I will gladly take my very meager 5 years worth of pension when eligible!
Yep- I get $933/month, which started at age 60 with no option to postpone it.

And I agree on the "best and brightest" observation. Even if a few people don't work out, a little ranking and yanking can leave you with a team of high performers (each with different strengths and weaknesses). Now you're done cutting fat and have to cut muscle.
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:59 PM   #49
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My wife worked at GE too and, because of forced ranking, her manager (who was incompetent) would come up with some excuse to not give her a good ranking so he could save those for his favorites. She doesn't miss it.

My MegaCorp was the same way with people in our group sabotaging others in the group to get good rankings.
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Old 10-02-2016, 05:47 AM   #50
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Did you get annual COL or merit increases? The only companies I've worked for that didn't do annual reviews, also didn't give annual raises.
After megacorp release, I was invited in by a much smaller rival contractor, which was employee-owned. Mega had 100,000+ employees, while minicorp had 500+.

I've been through one year-end review at minicorp. It was very simple to do, as I had practice with the process. Many younger employees struggled with the self-review, just as I had in the beginning with megacorp. It was not too hard to pump up what little I had done in 3-4 months.

The company rules specified that I had not been there long enough to get a raise, so I really expected nothing. Manager went to another company. New manager was pressing me early on about more responsibility, and I was honest with him. Said I was looking for less, that I was not on a career path, just wanted to perform a job. Customer feedback was all positive.

One day I got a call from manager, who was in weekly meeting with executives. He asked me if I got a review or raise. I said no, explained what I knew, and I had submitted self-review. He said that something was wrong, and put me in for a raise. Later got 3%, which was more than all raises at megacorp, save one.

Not related, but minicorp missed my instruction to raise contribution enough to get the entire yearly match in just 3 months at year's end. I wrote to benefits admin, and he said I had actually done things correctly, but they missed the instruction. I received the entire match in my account, without any additional contributions on my part.

In this one case, there is significant difference in how raises are given out. I don't think ranking comes into play as much as with larger companies. For those who are truly bottom quintile, they wash out early. The workforce is also much younger, and competition exists for labor, from rivals.
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Old 10-02-2016, 01:31 PM   #51
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W Edwards Demming (TQM) argued correctly that performance appraisal is cardinal among the seven deadly sins of management.

My mega hired Dr Demming to overhaul our mgt systems and conduct seminars for all employees. It was salvation from a quality quagmire we were stuck in. In about 15 yrs the mgt lessons wore off but quality has not slipped (yet). Fortunately it was time for me to leave.

When I had direct reports they were generally rejects from other groups. I was able to figure out whatever they were good at and they were all solid contributors and responsive to my management style. I sometimes had to rank individuals but without saying they did not meet expectations. The implications of a lower ranking were obvious but management frequently overrode me rankings for raises anyway.


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Old 10-02-2016, 03:43 PM   #52
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My mega hired Dr Demming.........
MegaMotors hired him to give some seminars, but they picked and chose which parts of his advice to take. They stuck with performance reviews, but did heed some of the quality improving techniques that he preached. I was impressed by Deming. He stood for over an hour when I heard him speak and he was in his 90's.
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:08 PM   #53
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Channeling Machiavelli:
• employee ranking dispenses with the silly notion that an employee's performance review should have anything to do with what they actually accomplish during the review period. Instead, the performance review becomes a beauty contest where the goal is to impress as many of the judges as possible, which often involves ego-stroking and ass-kissing unrelated to actually doing any useful work.
• thriving within a company that uses employee ranking for performance reviews requires a considerable degree of social intelligence. Think about it: you need to outwardly appear endlessly helpful and self-sacrificing to your colleagues while actually identifying and seizing every opportunity to make them fail at their jobs, so you look good in comparison. Wouldn't any high quality company want to promote employees capable of successfully playing this game?
• every sensible person agrees that managers in general (and C-suite executives in particular) are horribly overworked and underpaid. The beauty of employee ranking is that managers are not burdened with the time-consuming and unpleasant job of defining tasks for each direct report such that the result of their collective efforts will be a net benefit for the company.
• it's true that if layoffs are scheduled in a department, managers will need to rank the employees from high to low and dispose of the low-ranked employees. The beauty of employee ranking as a standard performance review technique is that it institutionalizes a layoff-is-around-the-corner atmosphere and thus keeps employees right where you want them if you are a high quality manager: beaten-down, cowed, and terrified of losing their jobs. What good is having power if you don't use it (or threaten to use it)?

Full disclosure: I spent the last four years of my professional career working for a large American war contractor that used employee ranking. It was hilarious how the company HR department would continually spout nonsense about 'teamwork' while employing a performance review system that promoted anything but. The amount of backstabbing among my fellow employees as they tried to win the annual beauty contest was remarkable.
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Old 10-03-2016, 10:04 PM   #54
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I had to DO IT to subordinates and have it DONE TO me by mgmt.

In the beginning, we had a very fair system. There was a "pot" of money to be split up within each grouping of employees. Sitting in a room with my peers, we spent 4 or 5 hours, sifting and justifying our report's positions on a chart. ALL could have been rated at the top or at the bottom because it was just how we doled out the raises. SO folks were very conscientious in providing feed back and we ended up with a very fair (and I think accurate) distribution.

A couple of years later we went to the "curve" system described by OP. It was unfair and it ended up creating a much worse atmosphere at w*rk. This was the beginning of the end for me. The Megacorp I used to enjoy coming to in the AM became just another money grubbing, penny pinching, grind the empale*yees into the dirt company. When the final straw was heaped upon me, I was out at the end of the week (notice included my unused vacation time.) I hate "one size fits all" schemes like the "curve" as we came to call it. YMMV
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Old 10-04-2016, 03:05 AM   #55
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This thread reminds me yet again why I have always resisted pushes to go into management.
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Old 10-06-2016, 06:31 PM   #56
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Thanks for all of the comments and insight. After years and years of annual layoffs, all of the dead wood is long gone. Having to choose good solid performers to take their "turn" being "below expectations" is just wrong.

Anyway when you are FI you can choose to aggressively stand your ground and justify with documented accomplishments why the group meets and exceeds expectations and not worry about retribution. This is what I did again this year and it worked.

The forced ranking certainly leads to less of a team environment and more individuals taking credit for whatever they can at someone else's expense.

Anyway, its all done for another year, glad I stood my ground, supported good people and I just may pull the plug before the same time next year. Sure feels nice to be FI and have choices.
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Old 10-06-2016, 08:40 PM   #57
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Today's Dilbert:




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Old 10-07-2016, 08:30 AM   #58
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Today's Dilbert:




that's hilarious!
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Old 10-08-2016, 11:57 AM   #59
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Old 10-08-2016, 12:55 PM   #60
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I have to admit that over the last few years I have been a one man protest - refusing to complete a scorecard and jump through all the hoops that the modern day megacorp seems to want.

The ridiculous thing was it used to be called a "balanced" scorecard because it contained the opportunity to give up some things in order to focus on the things the organization needed / wanted. But recently the "balanced" piece got dropped.

I started my protest when one year I was rated a 3 ("meet") when clearly i had exceeded all my goals. When I met with my boss he said that he would have rated me a 4 but couldn't because of the bell curve. I made myself very unpopular by launching a formal appeal at the end of which I received my 4 rating......but no salary adjustment. Now ...at age 52 i think they have given up trying to push me (and I still get my 4 rating).

Sometimes you've just got to be a human.
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