Dick Grote has authored another article on “rank and yank,” “What to do when you think your performance review is wrong” (published in the Harvard Business Review (March 7, 2017)). This time the defense of the system is indirect—informing the recipient of a “C-Bucket” rating to accept it. Indeed, as Grote states in the article, nothing the employee argues against the rating is likely to change it.
Because of the calibration meeting, where managers rank employees, changing a rating means changing it for others, given that rank and yank is a rigid, inhuman, and employee-abusive system.
In reading the paper, I was struck by the attempt to explain human behavior in economic terms only. The paper would be stronger still if other social science disciplines were invited to explore these issues. All of the questions seems to have been proposed by economists, but the questions themselves involve sociology, political science, psychology, and maybe social work. Proper analysis would require involvement of these disciplines in order to make a proper contribution to policy.
In a Bloomberg BNA article, “Is a Manager-Free Company a Good Idea?” Dick Grote, the creator of a management-focused and -dependent forced-ranking system (also known as “rank and yank), disagreed with the implementation of holacracy. (Of course, the success of holacracy means the end of the management class; employees will govern themselves.) What was delightful to experience in reading this Grote quote (below) is the wish for Grote to save managers’ jobs while relishing in the deliverance of abusive treatment and pink slips to rank-and-file employees.
The Federal Reserve Board (Board) publishes a weekly digest of its activities on its website. The digest is called the H.2 Release and is published every Thursday. The release for the week ending January 30, 2016, is below.
With this blog’s coverage of Grote’s rank and yank, this manipulative management style was not new, but what did draw attention is Vanguard’s interest in covering up its use of rank and yank. When an organization decides to enforce rank and yank, that organization must reduce “management” to the calibration meeting’s ranking process. The managers no longer manage the business but instead spend time sorting out who is going to be placed in the firing-level rank during the calibration meeting.
Furthermore, the expectation of constant availability without compensation is thoroughly abusive. Amazon does not perform it service for customers for free; thus, Amazon should not expect overtime without compensation. The “salaried” designation is being abused, as low salaries are diluted every minute beyond a 40 hour work week.
Dick Grote of Grote Consulting has posted a video clip (see below) stating that “performance management” is supposed to be difficult. Given that he speaks exclusively to management, this difficulty is supposed to be given only to employees through a forced distribution curve (or “rank and yank” or so-called pay-for-performance systems). A serious flaw of … Continue reading Dick Grote and “Rank and Yank”: Argument that Performance Management is ‘Hard’, Requires a Perfect World and Perfect Management–Such Does not Exist
The quote from the New York Times Magazine illuminates the chaos of forced distribution and corrosive effect on collaboration and on the organization itself. Simply put–forced distribution, in whatever form, does not work. The reasoning for being forced to give a negative review (that is, an effective notice of termination) to somebody on arbitrary and capricious reasons in so-called calibration meetings is an absolute notice of warning before using such rating systems.
At its best, rank and yank encourages unjust, artificial comparisons of employees with each other (not their work assignments) and permits total and unaccountable managerial power over powerless subordinates. Rank and yank is a system that is properly avoided by rational firms.
The website, Government Executive, published an article about a proposal from the Partnership for Public Service (PPS) and the federal contractor Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) to reform the federal civil service in the United States. (See report at http://cdn.govexec.com/media/gbc/docs/pdfs_edit/040114e1.pdf.) In short, PPS and BAH propose an inhumane and cruel solution (contrary to the second merit system principle)– wrapped up in a colorful PDF document and poor, vague writing–that must be rejected totally.