Does Microsoft do stack ranking?

Cisco dlook
Jan 19 25 Comments

Does Microsoft still do stack ranking for reviews? I had read an article saying they were doing away with this, but also read on Glassdoor that it still exists. Any insight would be appreciated.

#microsoft

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TOP 25 Comments
  • Microsoft :;/edit
    Yes of course. You’re stacked against the other people in your band under your GM/Partner.

    If one person gets a 140, another person HAS to receive a 60 to balance. So good people who otherwise would get good rewards get screwed.
    Jan 191
    • Cisco dlook
      OP
      They use to do this at Cisco and did away with it. I HATED it.
      Jan 19
  • Microsoft cout<<
    What went away was the forced curve. Before it was common that 2 people with arguably the same performance/impact would be placed in different reward buckets to hit the curve. That went away.
    Jan 191
    • Microsoft :;/edit
      Tell that to my HR rep.

      We always “balance” and it looks a suspiciously close to standard distribution bell curve.
      Jan 19
  • Twitter hodgesodge
    There is no stack ranking (aka forced curve), there is a budget which m2s and above have to adhere to.
    Jan 199
    • Microsoft :;/edit
      You’re saying the same thing. A forced budget which doesn’t have everybody getting 200% is a forced curve.
      Jan 19
    • Twitter hodgesodge
      No. There. Is. No. Forced. Curve.

      You could put everyone at zero, therefore there is no forced curve, you could put everyone at 100% therefor there is no forced curve. You could put half at zero and half at 200%, therefore there is not a forced curve.

      If you put everyone at 200% you would have to probably talk to your manager and skip to justify it and try and get budget, or you might be get get told to alter things to make the budget work, but you could decide to lower everyone, or lower one person massively or stick to your guns and just submit it and let your manager sort it out.

      Obviously if you plot your team rewards on a graph you could fit a curve to it, but what that curve looks like isn't defined.

      You have a budget, a forced curve states, *how* you must use that budget, but at msft there is no prescribed way to use your budget, because there is no forced curve to fit against.
      Jan 19
    • Microsoft :;/edit
      If you can’t put everybody at 200% then yes there’s a forced issue here.
      Jan 19
    • Twitter hodgesodge
      Maybe it's unfair you don't get enough money to give everyone 200%, but that's not forcing a curve, if a anything the best way to describe it is that 'there are some curves you can't achieve'.
      Jan 19
    • Microsoft :;/edit
      If I don’t have the option to give everybody 200%, then I have to stack rank employees against each other.

      So Bob gets 160% and Sarah gets 80% and Sanjay gets 90% etc

      Classic stack rank.
      Jan 19
    • Twitter hodgesodge
      As a m1 you can as it's done individually , m2s care about budget and if over budget m2s can, if they want, just move everyone Down to achieve budget, they don't have to stack rank if they don't want to.

      Are you a m1, m2 or higher?
      Jan 19
    • Microsoft :;/edit
      M1, and I’m still told to move people around to manage the budget.
      Jan 19
    • Twitter hodgesodge
      Ok, well your manager is doing it wrong, and so I understand your view points now. Unfortunately with msft being so big a lot of times managers just do what they want despite official guidance. Hope you have a good weekend!
      Jan 19
    • Microsoft :;/edit
      I’ve worked for several managers, they’ve all done this.

      It’s a culture / HR problem at Microsoft.

      As long as a budget has to be balanced, there will always be this.

      We need to budget appropriately for 200% and let managers be managers.

      Have a good weekend.
      Jan 19
  • Microsoft Dev Man
    That’s not exactly true. The strict curve went away. Each VP can impose distribution constraints including how many people they expect in each bucket. Then during calibrations people are moved into buckets (up or down) to meet the distribution constraints. For example, more people in 200% or in 60%. One VP had a rule of nobody in 80% bucket. Others forced 12% in the 180/200 buckets. Any constraints like these will indirectly force a curve because you have to meet budget.
    Jan 191
    • Microsoft :;/edit
      👆yep this.

      So when people throw their hands up and say “oh no curve” they don’t understand the subjective bs which is the truth stated here.
      Jan 19
  • Microsoft dKWp30
    What did you expect? There’s a limited budget, and it’s not called profit sharing.
    Jan 193
    • Pegasystems YOLOnoCode
      I’m a ❄️. Upset that this was posted: https://blog.impraise.com/360-feedback/microsoft-throws-stack-ranking-out-the-window . And it’s fake PR.
      Jan 19
    • Microsoft :;/edit
      I expect the budget to be managed like it should be. If you are capable of earning 20%, budget should be there for it. And for 30%, 40% etc

      Budget should reflect everybody getting 200%.

      Now we know this isn’t the case, so then managers work out how their employees landed which puts the control into the managers hands, not HR/Finance trying to “balance the budget”

      If my team killed it and delivered in a huge way, then why shouldn’t they all get 200%? Sounds motivating for the next year. It’s like winning the super bowl. You know it doesn’t happen every season, but the hope that it can happen would be enough for teams to really work for it.

      Today, what’s the motivation? Work your ass off for 140%?
      Jan 19
    • Microsoft dKWp30
      Yes! There! I’m frustrated at Microsoft because the company doesn’t provide incentive for us to push very hard, which encourages a culture of mediocrity, especially at the lower levels. How much of an incentive is 140% compared to 120%? That’s a few thousand dollars extra per year at best! That’s totally not enough money to work an extra 15 or 20 hours a week. Given current market rates, I can better invest my time by looking for a job outside the company, because I can easily earn 20% more in annual TC (which is a lot more than 140% target) at a more respected company. This is a problem when the company budgets barely above 100% (less than 110% I’ve heard) of target, because teams either give peanut butter bonuses or give people low scores, the latter of which produces a very poor team culture.

      What’s worse is that the company suffers from attrition, and teams have trouble filling open heads because they can’t find talent that meets or exceeds their expectation. People in this industry know the comp plan, and good ones end up going to other companies who will pay them what they’re worth, because they don’t want doors to get closed on them by working with technically mediocre (or bad) people and potential employers find us unappealing if they can’t find enough good talent here. I simply can’t find good reason to stay at this company, and I will GTFO when the time comes. (Or leave tech because it’s easier said than done to GTFO)
      Jan 19
  • Pegasystems YOLOnoCode
    Sounds like the article was bs. They just replaced stack ranking with a modified version
    Jan 190
  • Microsoft juttela
    While stack ranking is not being enforced, peanut buttering is not being prevented either. If anything I hate the latter more than the other. While stack ranking can be unjust at times. Weak managers often resort to peanut butter ING,with which is fucking unfair. At the end of the day you have a fixed pie that you need to divide amongst multiple people. Solve that!
    Jan 191
    • Microsoft :;/edit
      You would rather have hard working people not get the rewards they deserve because sometimes slackers get a little extra money?

      Please leave management.
      Jan 19
  • Pegasystems YOLOnoCode
    So youre saying its more like a flexible curve? Top microsoft says a 140 must get balanced with a 60.
    Jan 191
    • Microsoft :;/edit
      That’s exactly right, there are some nuances. But the budget always gets balanced, mainly because some unpopular blokes get selected to be zero rewards, that really helps balance.
      Jan 19

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