Forced ranking at accounting firms?

Francine dishes on forced ranking at GE and the Big Four:

That is, compared to their peers, they don’t have the right stuff right now and their performance, although fine, is not as fine as the other 90%. So, with a poor rating instead of a positive rating, your choices are slim. No raise, no bonus, no ability to transfer, and a less enviable position at the negotiating table as far as a severance package when you do finally realize you have to leave. Oh, and don’t forget, with a poor rating on your record, there’s no rehire… […] One thing for sure. The standards for achieving success in a Big 4 firm are pretty clear. Conformance, Competence, Collegiality, and Chargeability.

The idea of forced ranking doesn’t sit well with me, as it sounds pretty harsh towards those unlucky few at the bottom. It makes sense that there are the best and worst performers at the top and bottom, and that most are average, but to fire or demote or otherwise retard the careers of those at the bottom doesn’t.

It is nearly impossible judge in this subjective manner whether the bottom few at your firm aren’t better than the average (or top) at another firm? Sort of depends on how good the hiring is at each place.

With new online and automated processes at some firms, there isn’t even the old signing of the review to signify acknowledgement and acceptance or rebuttal to signify disagreement.

At my firm, we use online forms to complete job and annual appraisals. It’s appraisal time right now actually as I would imagine it is at other firms, and I should be hearing about when mine is sometime in the next couple weeks. I’m looking forward to it!


Toronto becoming more expensive to live

Not through any direct experience of my own, although my landlord did take the opportunity to raise my rent the maximum allowable by law a month ago, but the city has been moving up the ranks of the most expensive on the planet.

Toronto of course ranks first in Canada as the most expensive place to live in the country, but its our international ranking that is more telling. We now rank 47th out of the top 144 cities, moving up from 82nd last year! That’s a 43% change in just a year, and analysts are basing it primarily on the strength of the loonie.

In other Toronto news, today is our annual Pride Parade, the world’s largest, celebrating our gay and lesbian community. I won’t be attending this year though, because the Netherlands is playing Portugal this afternoon! Go oranje!