Case 5. 1: Comparing co-workers against each other: Does this motivate employees? This case takes a critical look at using comparative methods to review and evaluate employees and exposes the impact of those methods on productivity and morale. "Forced Ranking" had occurred for many years at GE, instigated by the famed ex-CEO Jack Welch who had managers categorize their reports into three categories: the top 20 percent, the middle 70 percent, and the bottom 10 percent.
This process has been shown to work well for about two years because it eliminates the least productive workers and strengthens the core team. After two years the benefits decline since the core team has now become stronger and eliminating the weakest links are no longer critical. After two years, the cut-throat mentality starts to take hold and employees know that they must portray themselves in the best possible light while playing up any negative factors about coworkers to help reinforce their positions.
This behavior discourages innovation and leads to infighting as well as avoidance to risks which stagnates the company from growth and new ideas. This case goes on to look at best practices and techniques used by Yahoo who "made substantial changes to its rating system which compared employees' performance to an absolute standard rather to each other" (Ivancevich, Kinopaske, Matteson, 2008, p. 135) My opinion on forced ranking is that it works to motivate employees up to a point. It also introduces negativity into the evaluation process that may permanently scar the team members who stay behind.
If employees start slamming each other to protect their jobs, it can get ugly and after the dust settles, the remaining team members must still work together but negative actions won't be forgotten. It could lead to less trust within the team which hurts morale and productivity over the long run. I believe that forced ranking should be introduced sparingly in instances where upper management decides that there needs to be a reduction in force based upon productivity so that the least productive workers are let go.
If that is the objective, management may decide to do layoffs instead of a forced ranking program. On the other hand, forced ranking would get the remaining employees motivated for fear of losing their job which could lead to much higher productivity as long as the forced ranking is eliminated after two to three years. Forced ranking would motivate workers but only for a limited amount of time, according to Ivancevich et al. Equity theory would explain some employees' negative reactions to forced ranking because people's perceptions of their own work and productivity levels tend to be biased.
Workers may disagree with management's ranking of them and their co-workers which would in turn hurt morale and cause resentment and jealousy. If employees felt they were treated unfairly, they may put less effort into their jobs and sabotage coworkers' work. If forced rankings was not an option to motivate my employees, I would implement Herzberg's motivators of achievement, recognition, and responsibility as well as his Hygiene factors which include salary, working conditions, and job security (Ivancevich et al. . 131). First I would have dialogues with my employees one-on-one as well as taking anonymous surveys to find out their thoughts on the above topics and implement insights from them. I would want to make sure that I was well compensating the people that were necessary to make my department run smoothly and providing working conditions that were well above average. Working conditions may appear subtle but can be vital in retaining the best talent.
I would set up the office design using color theory and feng shui tactics, as well as natural light, and enough noise dampening so that my workers were able to conduct their jobs with ease and not feel like they were stacked one, on top of another. I would add water features, specialty coffee machines, and gaming areas for office tournaments in miniature golf and Nerf(TM) basketball. ? REFERENCE Ivancevich, J. , Konopaske, R. , Matteson, M. (2008). Organizational Behavior and Management, Eighth Edition. McGraw-Hill/Irwin.