Yahoo employees gripe about forced rankings

An HR problem has become a PR problem after internal message board posts about rankings on a ‘bell curve’ have become public.


Yahoo has a human relations problem. Recently, it also became a public relations problem.

A few months ago, the company incited a national conversation about working from home … when it disallowed employees to work from home. Now, it’s dismissing employees based on a ranking system many employees are calling questionable.

All Things D, citing an internal Yahoo message board, reports that Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer instituted an evaluation system that has resulted 600 firings in recent weeks.

At question is the “Quarterly Performance Review,” which “forces managers to rank some of their staff with designations of ‘Occasionally Misses’ and ‘Misses,’ even if it is not the case, via what is essentially a modified bell curve.” Managers felt they had to give failing grades to employees who were performing adequately or above.

Mayer reportedly denied it in an internal meeting, and told her staff that the process wasn’t being deployed correctly. All Things D says that this post came in to the message board while Meyer was still talking:

It is 100% true that managers are told they need to put someone in occasionally misses to meet the distribution. It is not a cop out, as you mention. We are told, very clearly, that we have to rank someone low. So, forced ranking is in place, regardless of what Marissa thinks is happening. Maybe it’s not supposed to happen — but Marissa needs to make this very clear to upper management before they have us force rank next time.

Posts to the Yahoo message board show a disgruntled and frustrated staff that clearly opposes the system.

Microsoft recently ended a similar process, which it called “stack ranking.”

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