Employee Ranking Systems : Rank and Yank

Top : Employee Ranking Systems : Rank and Yank - Usually attributed to Jack Welch at GE, Rank and Yank is a performance management system that ranks employees and fires the bottom x%. Here you'll find important information about this dangerous, harmful practice.

Performance Management Articles, Guides and Help:

No, Really: We Don't Do Forced Ranking and Performance Reviews

By Jabe Bloom - Qutoing Chris Argyris, Jabe Bloom about why they don't do forced ranking, and how they did away with traditional performance reviews. Viewed 610 Times )

Must read: Alternatives to Rank-and-Yank in Evaluating People

By Michel Baudin - A MUST read on ranking employees, the problems, and things you can try instead. I like the comparison to the Tour De France and what would happen if you used ranking in that context. Viewed 667 Times )

Vitality curve - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

By Wikipedia - According to Serge Hovnanian from Lebanon, the concept of a vitality curve has been used to justify the rank-and-yank system of performance management, whereby 10% of workers are fired at each evaluation. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, used a vitality curve model in an attempt to justify his rank-and-yank practices. Jack Welch's vitality model has been described as a 20-70-10 system. The top 20 percent of the workforce is most productive, and 70% (the vital 70) work adequately. The other 10% #bottom 10# are nonproducers and should be fired[1][2]. Rank-and-yank advocates credit Welch's rank-and-yank system with a 28-fold increase in earnings #and a 5-fold increase in revenue# at GE between 1981 and 2001 Viewed 962 Times )

Does Rank and Yank Work To Improve Company Productivity?

By Robert Bacal - This isn't actually the right question. The real question is: Will rank and yank work to improve YOUR company productivity? The reason you need to ask this is that rank and yank CAN work in some very narrow situations, when some very specific variables fit. Here are some of the factors that will influence whether rank and yank will work to improve your company's productivity. Viewed 1275 Times )

Why Does Rank and Yank Seem To Work? (The Jack Welch Syndrome)

By Robert Bacal - Companies, such as General-Electric (GE) under former CEO Jack Welch) claim to have succeeded because of the use of rank and yank. Is this accurate? The truth is we don't really know. It may be that under Jack Welch, the company made great strides, and it may also be true that one of the things that operated at the same time was the use of rank and yank techniques. Does that mean that rank and yank caused the success? Almost certainly not, or at least, while it may (and it's a big may) have contributed, there were perhaps hundreds of other factors that also contributed much more strongly to the success of GE. Viewed 1066 Times )

As Enron Purged Its Ranks, Dissent Was Swept Away - The New York Times

By JOHN SCHWARTZ - Enron, which had once prided itself on its intense team spirit, had become the kind of place where someone could be dismissed in such an impersonal way -- a company so bent on success that it did not always observe the basic human niceties. Many former employees and executives say the atmosphere became so intensely competitive that people often did not feel secure enough in their jobs to question irregularities, if they were aware of them at all. Viewed 1072 Times )

Study: Thinning herd from bottom helps (Well, no, but USAToday didn't understand)

By USA Today - New research suggests the common but quiet practice of culling the bottom 5% or 10% of workers improves company performance. This is a great example of how the press gets it wrong as often as it gets it right and why the press and the Internet are so poor for research. If you actually look at the basic study, you'll find it's a mathematical model, which explains, in THEORY, that there are limits on improvement using rank and yank, and that it is a rough computer simulation Viewed 1007 Times )

Rank and Yank?. In the Pipeline:

By Derek Lowe - This is good and it mentions baseball and Bill James This also points out the folly of the Jack Welch rank 'em and yank 'em style of performance review. You know, find your bottom 10% and fire them all. Other companies that have tried this technique (Ford, to pick a notable example) have found that it mostly sows fear and discord. And I'm sure it did at GE, too, truth be told (although some CEOs swear by it.) Viewed 1547 Times )

LEAN Library - The ABCs of Rank and Fire Management

By Mark Edmondson - Really good. Read this if you have an interest in rank and yank. It's amusing, with some very serious points. Viewed 1014 Times )

Welch Malarky 'Rank-and-Yank'? That's Not How It's Done - WSJ.com

By Jack Welch - Welch tries to dress up the pig with lipstick in this WSJ article, and completely refuses to address the downside of rank and yank, or use of hte bell curve to make decisions in business. Viewed 555 Times )

The Benefits and Challenges of Profiling or Stack Ranking Employee Performance | Halogen Software

By Halogen - (ED. Incredible garbage from people who should know better) Profiling or stack ranking employee performance ratings has long been touted as an industry best-practice to cultivate a high-performance workforce. General Electric, PepsiCo, MicroSoft, Intel and others use their performance appraisal process as a means to identify and weed out low performers. Also known as forced ranking or forced distribution, the approach essentially uses the performance appraisal process to rank employees relative to each other, and stipulates that a certain percentage of employees must fall in each rating category. Viewed 1224 Times )

| Library Home Page |
Pages Updated On: 6-Sep-2016 - 15:26:57

We can help you with the various parts of a performance management system with our miniguides on each component.

Instantly downloadable and built to save you time.

There's even help for employees on how to navigate the process.

Click the image below to view the entire catalog.

Viiew all our performance review tools for managers and employees

About Company

Bacal & Associates was founded in 1992 by consultant and book author, Robert Bacal. Robert's books on performance management and reviews have been published by McGraw-Hill. He is available for consultation, training and keynote speaking on performance and management at work.


Robert Bacal

Bacal's Books
About The Company
About Our Performance Management Philosophy
Privacy Policy

Our Related Websites

Leadership Resource Center
Upgrade your understanding of modern leadership in a complex world. Stay current.

The Planning Resource Center

From strategic planning for businesses, small and large, right through to financial planning for millennials, stay current with the latest thoughts and actions on planning.

Bacal & Associates Store
Free and paid guides, books, and documents on business, management and more.

We Believe

  • Performance management and appraisal MUST be a partnership between manager and employee where BOTH benefit.
  • Performance management can be the lever for improved employee engagement.
  • The review process is the LEAST important part of performance management
  • If managers aren't managing employee performance, why are they there?

Get in Touch

  • Phone:
    (613) 764-0241
  • Email: ceo@work911.com
  • Address:

  • Bacal & Associates
  • 722 St. Isidore Rd.
  • Casselman
  • Ontario
  • Canada, K0A 1M0