Employee Performance Does Not Follow a Bell Curve

Here’s a great post written by Josh Bersin that’s gotten a lot of attention in the past few days:  The Myth of the Bell Curve.  As I mentioned several weeks ago, more and more evidence shows that employee performance in the 21st century does not follow a bell curve, and that forced stack ranking is a destructive practice.

As Josh explains, employee performance more typically follows a power law (or Pareto) distribution with a sharp peak of just a few highly performing employees, followed by a long tail of what might be considered below average performers.  But a better way to think of the distribution is of a set of hyper-performers embedded within — and often tremendously helped by — a large pool of normal performers.  Yes, there are occasionally truly poor performers, but it makes no sense to arbitrarily label 5-10% of all employees as such.  In fact, even without forced bottom rankings, there are several ways in which the assumptions behind bell curve-driven evaluation schemes hurt performance and undermine the teamwork and collaboration essential for success in a modern information-based economy (or academic environment).

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3 Responses to Employee Performance Does Not Follow a Bell Curve

  1. Pingback: Venture Funding of Biotech is VERY Concentrated… and Very Limited | Alexander Szewczak

  2. Pingback: Infographic: Top 15 Large Pharma Companies by Market Cap | MechanizedIntelligence

  3. Pingback: Software is still eating the world | MechanizedIntelligence

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