Browse Definitions :
Definition

stacked ranking

Stacked ranking is an employee evaluation method that slots a certain percentage of employees into each of several  levels of performance.  

Because the ranking is inherently somewhat arbitrary, the model is also sometimes referred to as a forced distribution. Such a model might assume a normal distribution, for example, in which 10% of employees are high achievers, 80% are satisfactory and valuable, and 10% are actually deleterious to the company.  When evaluating the staff, administrators assign individuals to those categories in such a way that the percentages assigned to each category remain constant.

One of the best-known stacked ranking systems is former General Electric CEO Jack Welch’s Vitality Curve, which assigns high-achieving employees, which he called “A players,”  to the top 20 percent, normally productive employees (B players) to the middle 70 percent level and unproductive employees (C players) to the bottom 10 percent rank. According to Welch, the top employees should be further motivated with bonuses and other rewards and the bottom 10 percent should be fired. GE has since moved away from the practice. 

Other companies that use (or did use) stacked ranking include Dow Chemical, Enron, Motorola, IBM and Yahoo. Microsoft followed the stacked ranking model for years but abandoned it in 2013 in response to employee complaints about the system.  

Proponents of stacked ranking claim that it motivates mid-range employees to aspire to top-level ranking, increases profits and clearly identifies underperformers. Critics of the model argue that it discourages cooperation, encourages unethical behavior and hampers staff cohesiveness and morale.

Thirty percent of Fortune 500 companies are said to use stacked ranking for employee evaluation. 

This was last updated in November 2013

Continue Reading About stacked ranking

SearchNetworking
  • network security

    Network security encompasses all the steps taken to protect the integrity of a computer network and the data within it.

  • cloud-native network function (CNF)

    A cloud-native network function (CNF) is a service that performs network duties in software, as opposed to purpose-built hardware.

  • microsegmentation

    Microsegmentation is a security technique that splits a network into definable zones and uses policies to dictate how data and ...

SearchSecurity
  • incident response

    Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack, also ...

  • MICR (magnetic ink character recognition)

    MICR (magnetic ink character recognition) is a technology invented in the 1950s that's used to verify the legitimacy or ...

  • What is cybersecurity?

    Cybersecurity is the protection of internet-connected systems such as hardware, software and data from cyberthreats.

SearchCIO
  • privacy compliance

    Privacy compliance is a company's accordance with established personal information protection guidelines, specifications or ...

  • contingent workforce

    A contingent workforce is a labor pool whose members are hired by an organization on an on-demand basis.

  • product development (new product development -- NPD)

    Product development, also called new product management, is a series of steps that includes the conceptualization, design, ...

SearchHRSoftware
  • talent acquisition

    Talent acquisition is the strategic process employers use to analyze their long-term talent needs in the context of business ...

  • employee retention

    Employee retention is the organizational goal of keeping productive and talented workers and reducing turnover by fostering a ...

  • hybrid work model

    A hybrid work model is a workforce structure that includes employees who work remotely and those who work on site, in a company's...

SearchCustomerExperience
  • digital marketing

    Digital marketing is a general term for any effort by a company to connect with customers through electronic technology.

  • hockey stick growth

    Hockey stick growth is a growth pattern in a line chart that shows a sudden and extremely rapid growth after a long period of ...

  • Salesforce Trailhead

    Salesforce Trailhead is a series of online tutorials that coach beginner and intermediate developers who need to learn how to ...

Close