August 16, 2015

RIP Bell Curve, really?

Is there a substantial promise, or it's just companies playing the 'wordsmith'?

(Please note: Views expressed are purely personal, conceptual and not aimed at any particular organization)

Corporate circles have been abuzz about a few big organizations (news of Accenture) discarding the bell-curve (or similar) mechanism for conducting their annual performance reviews. As I read the news, tweets, blogposts from folks talking about this - I haven't come across anything different than 'this spells good news'.

For some reason though I personally feel think it sounds good and feels good, I was not able to unearth a more than 'skin-deep' feeling. The real substance was totally missing!

Always curious of how the users would respond to this, I did a quick check with few friends / colleagues. Here's how they reacted/ opined:
  1. Great move! With this, I guess there will be change in hike and benefits based on performance.
  2. Managers always say they can give top rating to one/ two persons only, and that is why every body is so disappointed about their ratings.  
  3. This seems give managers more power. Now managers will have chance to give what they want without justifying or sharing information of other? Will the project dashboards showing individual productivity go too?
  4. Looking forward to new process, only time will tell.
  5. It doesn't matter as long as the manager is the same person :(
While those are some views... What's mysterious, and sounds tricky with this whole 'great metamorphosis' companies are embarking on is - that they have either skipped or haven't substantiated well enough their answers to the fundamental question: Why this change? What has the bell curve not delivered that it needs to be shelved? How better or worse is this new process (if some organization has formalized one yet) over the previous one? What are those values or principles that have changed or renewed which called for this change? Or, is it just a fad for them - like bell curve was, till now? The absence or unsubstantiated answers to these questions leaves one unconvinced as to 'why' a company is doing this!

Will continue this conversation... Stay tuned... 
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