Bell curve system of performance appraisal is a forced ranking system imposed on the employees by the management. Through this system, the organization tries to segregate the best, mediocre and worst performers and nurture the best and discard the worst. And this segregation is based on a relative comparison of the performance of the workforce against those engaged in a similar activity and ranking them accordingly. It is always important to identify top-performers and reward them substantially. This helps the organization to retain the top talent with them.

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Client Login. A significant challenge most companies face is how to accurately assess performance and implement an effective system for employee performance appraisals. Bell curves initially rose in popularity in the s. They were traditionally applied in performance appraisals as a method of segregating elite performers from average performers, and further distinguishing below par employees from the overall average.

Since the corporate world is constantly evolving, many companies are evaluating whether bell curves are a current and operative method of performance management. While there are pros and cons to the normalized ranking system, the bell curve reveals serious flaws in accurately analyzing employees individually, which may consequently affect business operations over time.

The following three reasons describe why bell curves may no longer be relevant for rating employee performance. Regular workdays no longer consist of the 9-to-5 office regime. Business practices are constantly advancing, and with that performance management methods must keep up to be effective. Emerging trends of collaborative employee approaches negates the efficiency of the bell curve performance ranking system. For example, an employee might score higher on the curve than a co-worker who is on their collaborative team, placing an unfair superiority on the higher-ranked individual.

If one co-worker simply scores higher than another, employees will begin to fall under average company rating standards. When teams exceed performance goals, performance cannot be accurately measured on the bell curve. The bell curve forces individuals to rank low on the scale, even though they have surpassed expectations. Employee performance appraisals can subsequently lead to higher probationary periods or increased turnover rates.

More money might inadvertently be spent on recruiting and training new employees rather than refining individual performance within the team. In this case the use of a bell curve in performance management can be vastly imprecise. The unfortunate result of utilizing a bell curve ranking system is expensive employee replacement and excessive training.

Bell Curves Depreciate Employee Morale. The bell curve rating system damages employee morale by force grouping top and low performers regardless of their actual performance. Salary scaling also has negative consequences for employee morale and can misallocate budgets. Bell Curves and Performance Management. The bell curve provides a forced ranking of employees that distinguishes stellar performance from average or below par performance.

Many companies have used the bell curve in recent decades; however, it is no longer effective in ranking individual employee performance in modern group environments. The global workforce has recognized the need for change; even corporate heavyweights like Microsoft and Google have realized the redundancy of organizing performance standards with a bell curve.

Bell curves discourage collaboration and decrease productivity. Forced rating of employee performance causes more problems than provides beneficial resolutions.

The bell cureve system is inefficient upon workplace dynamics in the current corporate economy. With the rapid development of modern technology and the rise in millennials in the workforce, company protocols must evolve.

Performance appraisal systems must adapt advance with corporate teams and allow companies flourish in the competitive business world. Is your company ready to evolve your performance appraisal system? Schedule a live web demo , take a product tour or contact us toll-free at Stay competitive with the newest employee evaluation tools.

Learn more about Grapevine's Degree Software. Learn more. Learn how to avoid the pitfalls of traditional feedback and help employees set achievable goals! Try Grapevine for free. Learn more about Grapevine. G RAPEVINE Grapevine provides an online degree feedback software tool that makes it easy to perform a degree evaluation, employee performance evaluation, employee assessment and employee performance review all using our online multi rater employee evaluation software survey system.

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Performance Appraisals: Should You Grade Your Employees on a Bell Curve 🔔?

The Bell Curve system of performance appraisal intimidates HR managers as much as employees. For a long time, this forced ranking system has remained a topic of debate, but companies still continue to use it. Because in the eyes of leadership teams it rewards top performers who create most part of the value for their companies. In simple words, they continue to use it because it benefits them. But is that really the case? We try to figure out in this article.


Relevance of Bell Curve Method of Performance Appraisal

Managers tend to rate performance leniently to not create any tension, avoiding the often uncomfortable but necessary conversations that could demotivate staff if communicated poorly. If you have employees that like to work competitively, or work in a cut-throat environment such as hard sales or commission focused, the stack ranking method could increase productivity amongst the team to drive sales to avoid being placed in the low-scoring percentage. The bell-curve model helps management to very quickly identify the top performers, which will prompt reward benefits and recognition that can go a long way to retaining the best talent within the organisation. The lower scoring employees could still be great performers who meet the role expectations, but are pushed into this bottom category simply because there is nowhere else to place them against their peers in this rigid model. They are going to feel demoralised and lack productivity going forward, which will ultimately result in them leaving the company one way or another.


Bell Curve Performance Appraisal Management System

HR sings paeans about the effectiveness of using the bell curve to identify the calibre of the employees. The reasoning that HRs give is that it becomes easy to reward the top performers, goad the average performers to put in extra effort while identifies low performers so that a different action plan can be given to them to improve their performance. What are the disadvantages of using the bell curve to grade your employees? Image : shutterstock.


Why you should not grade your employees on a bell curve

There are various performance appraisal systems which exist and used by the different organization. In this system, the employees are categorized based on the ranking given to their performance. The system uses three categories namely, top performer, average performer and low performer employees based on the performance. The bell curve performance appraisal system provides a systematic way to identify the star performers and to link their performance with appropriate reward.

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