What is Forced Ranking?

Whether you're a beginner or an expert, you will find this Glossary useful.

Forced ranking, also known as a vitality curve, is a controversial management tool which measures, ranks and grades employees' work performance based on their comparison with each other instead of against fixed standards.

what-is-forced-ranking

Forced ranking definition

Forced ranking, also known as a vitality curve, is a controversial management tool which measures, ranks and grades employees' work performance based on their comparison with each other instead of against fixed standards.

Forced ranking process

In forced ranking process employees are divided into three into groups: A, B, or C.

- A group stands for the employees who are most engaged, motivated, passionate, open to collaboration and committed. They make up the top 20%.

- B group stands for employees who are not as engaged or motivated but are crucial to the company’s success because they are so abundant. They make up the middle 70%.

- C group stands for employees who are commonly non-producing procrastinators. They make up the bottom 10%.

Advantages and disadvantages of forced ranking

Forced ranking enables large organization's to systemize their HR processes. It can also help identify the top employees, combat falsly bloated performance ratings and nepotism. Overall forced ranking offers a chance for increased productivity, profitability and shareholder value.

On the other hand it focuses on making relative comparisons between a company’s best and worst employees using subjective criteria which can lead to undesirable repercussions like departure of employees who can go on to become excellent performers in some other firm.


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