Bell curve –A Talent killer

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Review time is nearby. Companies will fit their employees in a curve and will brand them performers and non-performers. And afterwards, work equations will change. Excellent will celebrate and some will slow down too as objective has been met. Angry birds will protest and will look out for better options. Emotional dynamics of teams will change. Some known and some unknown bias will come out. Ultimately, work will slow down.

No one can measure loyalty, integrity, talent and efforts. Faces decides grades here.

“Informer is the best performer “

We are part of nature. Can someone fit jungle in bell curve? Elephant, lion, fox or monkey all are made for specific purpose. Another issue with bell curve is frequency. Once in a year / twice a year or 4 times a year. Bell curve can’t be real time.

Bell curve defenders will say that some measurement is needed. Organization, too, go through rigorous review from its stake holders on measured matrices. Efforts by each individual should also be rewarded or punished. Agreed…

But can we measure or fit people in a curve? We all have short memories. Efforts of last three months made us winner or loser. Buttering also helps. It is all game of human relations. Excellent and poor many times have been decided by our equation with supervisor. IIT/IIM people felt lost in a competition with limited resource and system driven thinking. After many years of churning, they lose they shine. All excellent and average look same. Companies should seriously thinking to go out of this mess to preserve their talent pool.

I recently came across a GE new way of measurement. There is no bell curve now. There are two categories – Continue or deviate.

Continue means person is doing well in job and should continue in same way.

Deviate means – Excellent or poor. They are outliers and company HR should think to use them for better purpose. Excellent should get better projects and poor should get alignment or should go out. That way HR role get widen as they have to find way to fit the individual’s aspiration.

It seems to be different approach. Similarly, new thinking is needed. Bell curve is a waste. Companies’ S curve is shrinking. More dynamic and real time approach may help in building talent.