Please advice which is the best method of Performance Appraisal for an organisation of 200 employees currently we are using MBO but we have plans to shift o Bell curve.
So please advice which is the best tool for PMS as per the tools used in your organisations.
Thanking you

From Australia, Adelaide
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Yes please, I too am interested in understanding the process and application of the bell curve method of perfomance appriasal.
From India, Pune

Hi Liz,
Please refer to my post on Bell Curve, follow the link and download the documents.
Post 4
Any further doubt do post.

From India, Thana

Dear AJ
I have already refered to your posts but my query is how do you do it in any organisation... theoritically I know but how to do it practically where there is almost 200 employees comprising of the following
HR Department
Finance and Accounts
Credit Control
Sales Administration
and the other Administrative Staffs
Please give a sample format on how to do the questionnaire, how to allot marks and the how to do the bell curve in excel if you have formats examples etc only examples no theories please...
If possible upload here or email to me at
Thanking you

From Australia, Adelaide

Dear Liz

There is no theory here!!

MBO or Management by Objective is all about setting goals/KRAs/KPAs/Assigning percentages. It is more about target setting. It is actually a process before appraisal is done. One can use MBO or simple target setting or Balanced Score Card method.

Example from an organisation where I used BSC

A General Managers KRAs for a particular year based on BSC

1.Volume of Business 50%( for that year it was considered crucial)
2.Profitability 10% ( Growth was considered more crucial than profits)
3.Systems 30% (It was considered much more important than profit as in Growth mode, systems are critical for future)
4 Training 10%

This is how practically we assigned targets and standards to the Top Team.

Having done this, at the year end it was easy to assess the individual against these standards and in this case this particular individual got a score of 85.

MBO or Balanced Score Card stop with this.

Bell curve starts here. We had all GMs falling under the rating between 85 and 90 based on this scale. The theory of Bell Curve is uniform distribution.
The Top Management sat on this and categorised these individuals into A B C based on certain parameters.

How do you go about on this is your question.

At the outset it will appear all these General Managers were excellent ads they have scored more than 85

Now rank them

First rank was 90 second was 88 third was 87 and the rating A goes to 90 B goes to 87 and C goes to 87.

Well, the point I was trying to highlight here from this real example was that MBO is different and it helps in setting targets and Bell curve is different as it helps in making finer distinctions.

One is critical in pre appraisal stage and the other is critical in post appraisal stage


From India, Chennai

Dear Liza
I have worked on Balanced DScore card for individual KRAs I do have some But ethically I can not share. I will send the BSC after making some modifications and Individual KRAs for that year to your emaill id
I do not have any data wi9th me right now whatever I did on Bell CurveI personally did for 300 employees. But you can check with Murugappa Group of Companies They have been following this for so many years. In fact I learned this there when I was working there 20 years back
They have improvised and have a good system. TCS has reasonably good Bell Curve technique.

From India, Chennai

Dear AJ or Siva
I was trying to figure out how to do the bell curve in a chart since the results we get may be based on grades or figures but is it must that it should look like a bell curve.
More over inorder to get it as a proper bell curve do we have to derive the mean and the standard deviations ...
If so can you please clarify it.
In one thread I read that it is 20% - 70% -20% for the bell curve and then the results we are just putting it inside the bell curve so that it looks like a bell curve..
Please advice
Thanking you all in advance

From Australia, Adelaide

Hi Liz,

I am glad you are almost through with your project.

Bell Curve is a percentage wise calculation.

Hence the post you read where in its 10% (Superior Performers), 70% (Average Performers) and 20% (Non Performers). Wherein the 70% can be considered the assets and the 20% Liabilities.

Now for calculation of the Bell Curve you will need the Average(mean), Standard deviation of the original data and you will need the lower limit and the upper limit.

To fill in the formulaes and the values please refer the word document attached previously by me, its a help by microsoft to create a bell curve and instead of creating random numbers use the data that you already have. Insert the formulaes mentioned as in the document and you will have your bell curve since in the formulae we have opted for three deviations and hence its sure to form a bell curve.

(Please note individual values has to be inserted so as to determine where the personnel is placed). The chart is more for demonstration purpose and to see how well the company has improved keeping in reference to your first bell curve, you can determine individual performances by the data itself.



From India, Thana

Dear AJ and Siva
I tried follow the instructions you have mentioned how to create bell curve and in my PC there is no excel add-ins.
But in vain...Can you please explain if the parameters are as follows
5% Outstanding
20% Very Good
50% Good
20% Fair
5% Poor
And the scores are as follows in performance appraisal for 10 employees
The Standard deviation =10
mean = 20
Now how to go about the rest ???? also to draw the Bell curve
which is the x axis and y axis
Is it possible as Siva said to ascertain the individual percentages based on the KRA score per employee for eg. if 85% then simply plot it in the chart...
Even if its the case how draw the bell curve?
Thanking you in anticipation
Warm regards

From Australia, Adelaide
Hi Liz & AJ,
Very good exchange. AJ, it was refreshing to read your suggestions. Practical and scientific.
Bell curve is very good to adopt as it helps to categorise acc to ratings as mentioned by AJ. In some cases though, it tends to overlook/generalise specific individual achievements. This is not a negative point. Just that its important to know the objective of using the Bell curve and not to use it to just label an employee at a certain rank. Its quite common that Line Managers remember and refer Bell Curve ratings and at times overlook individual capabilities/talents which he/she can exploit in a particular project. It will be fruitful to brief managers on this aspect at the time of a Bell Curve awareness program.
Hope this helps.
Cheers & best wishes,

From United States

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