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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Ranking does NOT work!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/11/12/microsoft_kills_stack_ranking_reviews/

123 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rank this!!!!
POS

Anonymous said...

so much to do over nothing, we're still talking about the difference between a 1.0% raise and 1.5% ? Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

You can call it whatever you want, but "ranking" will be done unless you have infinite resources. Any worthwhile supervisor will always try to reward people according to their value to him (and hopefully the organization). It looks like Microsoft has just decided to allow supervisors to do that individually. This does leave the organization more vulnerable to supervisors with agendas that don't match those of the organization. I think you're better off ranking. At least it objectifies the subjectivity

Anonymous said...

Of course it works, but it depends on your objective! If it is to hold down the people you dislike it's perfect.

Anonymous said...

If it is to hold down the people you dislike it's perfect.

November 14, 2013 at 12:02 PM

It is also perfect if your objective is to avoid rewarding poor performance.

Anonymous said...

You must be from Bechtel.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Of course it works, but it depends on your objective! If it is to hold down the people you dislike it's perfect.

November 14, 2013 at 12:02 PM

You really don't get it. Ranking, for better or worse, involves multiple supervisors, so there is at least some sharing of information and "normalization" of individual supervisors' viewpoints.

When you stop ranking, you just make it easier for individual supervisors to arbitrarily "do whatever they want". You've removed one opportunity to control bad supervisorial behavior.

You may not like ranking, but it's better than most or all alternatives.

Anonymous said...

You may not like ranking, but it's better than most or all alternatives.

November 15, 2013 at 12:17 PM

Absolutely correct. I don't know how the "no ranking" people would propose to allocate raise and bonus money among a group of employees. Maybe they think all employees contribute equally, or maybe they're afraid to point out the (well known) dead wood in their organizations. It seem obvious, probably even to the "no rankers," that just leaving it up to the supervisors without any oversight or accountability would be really stupid.

You are also correct that the current system involves multiple supervisors, and also involves significant negotiation and even serious disagreements among supervisors. Not all supervisors are bad, and not all employees are good. It is clearly good for the organization to avoid rewarding bad employees, even if those employees happen to be supervisors.

Anonymous said...

Top performers tend to always be top performers, no matter where they go. If they don't get a fair evaluation at one place, they'll move on and be top performers who are rewarded someplace else. They really don't have anything to worry about.

Poor performers are the ones that tend to hang on, complain about unfair rankings and salaries, moan about how their great intellects and contributions aren't recognized by their supervisors who just want to hold them down, and want to join unions to protect their (actual) mediocrity.

That's been my observation over years of performance appraisals and ranking sessions at LLNL, on both sides of the process.

Anonymous said...

Since when have hard workers been rewarded,...

Anonymous said...

Poor performers are extremely easy to identify. Once they are identified they should be given a warning shot. If that does not work, quickly tell them time is up. However, you might have a group of 10 people where all 10 people are doing just fine or better. Whats the logic to force one person to be ranked at the bottom and told that he needs to improve or else?

Anonymous said...

What's the point of doing ranking independent of the appraisal process - busy work?

Anonymous said...

What's the point of doing ranking independent of the appraisal process - busy work?

November 16, 2013 at 11:35 AM

News flash: Supervisors are always "doing ranking." Appraisal time isn't the first time all year they've thought about who are the best and worst performers. It's what supervisors are supposed to do.

Anonymous said...

Ranking is not independent of the appraisal process. Heck, the PA is displayed during the ranking session.

Anonymous said...

What I see in ranking meetings is that managers push their own employees, somehow they all walk on water, because they think that is how they themselves will move up. I'm such a great manager, look at how awesome all my employees are, etc. So it becomes a bullshit battle, how far up the rankings can I move my employees before someone calls me on it. The aggressive managers will win, even if they really do not manage well, simply because they yell louder than the others. So you wind up with aggressive egotistical managers protecting their pets, and worker bees who must stroke that ego or be left behind at the next ranking meeting (he did great last year, but this year he sucked, we should ding him for it). Appraisals are really not part of that process, they are just formalities - the real wheeling and dealing goes on behind closed doors.

Anonymous said...

The PA has become an exercise in futility for the employee.

I suppose you think the supervisors are writing the employee appraisals.

Anonymous said...

I suppose you think the supervisors are writing the employee appraisals.

November 17, 2013 at 6:07 PM

As a former supervisor, I always wrote the appraisals for my employees, and nobody ever reviewed or changed them. The rankings and raise amounts were reviewed by upper management, but never the written appraisals. Curb your paranoia.

Anonymous said...

In all my years, the employee writes the appraisal, the supervisor massages it and emphasizes or deemphasizes certain things, maybe someone higher up changes a few things but probably not, then off it goes to a file, where it has zero impact on rankings and raises.

Anonymous said...

Two very different responses.

Anonymous said...

It depends on how lazy the supervisor is, and how many direct reports he has. Nothing wrong in asking employees for written input for their appraisals, but copy/paste is not right. As for impact on ratings or raises, those are usually done before written appraisals are recorded, obviously because the written record has to at least approximately reflect the numbers that are decided on in a different and more communal process. In the end, hopefully, the results satisfy the upper management requirements while treating employees fairly, at least in most cases. I always tried to achieve that and except for a few really hard situations over the years, I believe I succeeded. A significant number of my former employees are still my friends, for whatever that means.

Anonymous said...

"A significant number of my former employees are still my friends, for whatever that means." (8:51 pm)


It means you most likely were doing something right, 8:51 pm. Good work!

Unfortunately, I've seen many lab managers that got to were they where by being jerks. This has been especially true since the lab was turned over to Bechtel-based "for-profit" management. The "gazelle vs. lion" guy is all too typical of this new breed of cut-throat, back-stabbing manager that infest the lab.


http://llnlthetruestory.blogspot.com/2013/05/hey-lanl-and-sandia.html said...

If ranking does not work, someone should tell Sandia, where there are managers that don't even have a Ph.D. How can these managers even begin to rank their employees if they don't even understand what research they do (even on a superficial level):

http://llnlthetruestory.blogspot.com/2013/05/hey-lanl-and-sandia.html?showComment=1368229152210#c5184911644985578339

Adam Rowen (manager of the Materials Chemistry department) from Sandia National Laboratories does not have a Ph.D.

Three Vice Presidents of technical divisions at Sandia National Laboratories do not have a Ph.D.: Hruby, Walker, Vahle. To my knowledge, these are the first ever Vice Presidents without a Ph.D. in Science or Engineering to lead techical divisions at Sandia.

Wow! That's crazy (and quite demotivating_! Leading technical divisions at Sandia without a Ph.D. is like the blind leading the blind!

Anonymous said...

November 18, 2013 at 1:29 AM:

You seem very enamored of yourself and your wondrous PhD. If you think no one without a PhD can possibly understand what you do "even on a superficial level," then you are seriously overestimating your own intelligence, and underestimating that of those around you. Personally, I'd rather have a MS chemist leading a Materials Chemistry department than a PhD engineer. In the course of going from a MS to a PhD (in physics) I merely learned much more detail about one tiny little area of physics, and sacrificed years of valuable work experience to do it. The main traits that having a PhD indicates are stubbornness and narrowness of vision and interest. Not good managerial material.

Anonymous said...

I strongly disagree with the previous post. I've had a manager with a Ph.D. and he was infinitely better than the one I have now who doesn't have a Ph.D. The Ph.D. manager had intimate knowledge of how to get funding for specific projects and actually could "talk the talk." The M.S. manager was incredibly incompetent and didn't know what was going on.

Anonymous said...

November 18, 2013 at 1:29 AM

So your single experience makes a universal truth? I hope you aren't a scientist. Ever hear of "anecdotal evidence"?

Some good managers have PhDs, some don't. Some crappy managers have PhDs, some don't. I guess having a PhD blinds you to any shades but black and white. Or maybe it's the almost universally held belief among PhDs that they are fully capable of understanding every single thing about life, and it is not anywhere near as complicated as their field of expertise.

Anonymous said...

I actually have to disagree with the previous post too! Having a Ph.D. definitely beats an M.S. degree.

Ph.D. score = 2
M.S. score = 0

Ph.D. wins!

Anonymous said...

The broken, corrupt HR process at LLNL is depressing.

Anonymous said...

Do they have Ph.D.s in management?

Anonymous said...

The process works. It is a facade that allows managers to reward their favorite employees despite the phony rigor implied by the system. The pools are small, but a significant number of employees are getting generous raises. Employees who are doing good work for non-sexy sponsors, supporting HQ, or older, less likely to leave, are getting next to zero and the pools are then used to keep "new" talent as judged by often one person. Is anyone suprised at what I am saying? Really?

Anonymous said...

No, but it is wrong and should not happen.

It is not good management (so much for the inherent value of the managerial PhD).

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Anonymous said...

November 18, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Your attitude is cynical and self-destructive. Most people who are educated and lucky enough to have your kind of job know that to let your coworkers and supervisors see that you think they are corrupt and self-serving is a career killer. You get what you ask for. Go tilt at some windmills. You have lots of them there near LLNL. Your unbridled sense of frustrated entitlement is amusing.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is a cynical robot.

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Anonymous said...

All those PhDs at LLNL and all that confirmation bias that went into their failed ignition fiasco or even further back to the Deuterium EoS embarrassment. An independent and critically minded MS beats out a groupthink MIT/caltech PhD in any competitive organization..

Anonymous said...

PA time - smell the corruption, get a whiff of that stench - smells like LLNL.

Anonymous said...

PA time - smell the corruption, get a whiff of that stench - smells like LLNL.

November 19, 2013 at 12:17 PM

I fail to understand why anyone would choose to work at a place where they believe the management and its processes are corrupt. Unless you believe that all management everywhere is corrupt (some on this blog apparently do), why not change employers??

Is it possible that poor performers have two things in common; 1) they are not mobile, and 2) they believe management is corrupt?

Anonymous said...

No, we (the workers) don't want to leave.

We were there first, and we are the lab. Management companies come and go.

Our hopes are for management reform.

Anonymous said...

When Physics and Chemistry merged to become PLS; Physics asked chemistry employees to attach individual picture on to his/her short form PA. The department's administrator had a Polaroid camera ready. Many if us in (then) chemistry requested if we could wear robinhood mask, burqua, or extra-large sunglasses to take that particular picture. We were afraid management would rank us by our looks. After our protest against picture-attached-PA, Bill Goldstein made it optional. So only good looking and pretty employees got good pay raise. This is a true story.

Anonymous said...

Wow. So Goldstein must have given himself a zero raise. Poor bastard.

Anonymous said...

"Poor bastard." Thank you "November 20, 2013 at 10:50 AM" fopr letting us know that Goldstein is a bastard. I do not know if he did not give himself a pay raise, but I bet his clouts did. Glenn Fox, Adam Schwarts, and Jim Trebes were his favorites clouts. That is, until Goldstein took Tomas de la Rubia place and promoted Glenn Fox to replace him (Goldtein). Schwartz was left in the dust and fuming in taking order from Fox.

Anonymous said...

Okay I'm not familiar with these Lackeys. Which one is Larry, Curly andMoe?

Anonymous said...

"Okay I'm not familiar with these Lackeys. Which one is Larry, Curly andMoe?"
OK, after a while, it is difficult to tell which one is which. The bastards inherited one another methods of "management," so they look the same, behave the same. So the conclusuon is: they are the same bred of "bastard."

Anonymous said...

One year, my group leader gave me my PA to sign. It looked familiar to me I thought. It was almost identical to the one from last year. Even the year notation was the same as the previous. I showed him the error. He said "oh it won't make any different in your pay raise any way." Ever since, I did not read my PA seriously any more

Anonymous said...

Endemic corruption

Anonymous said...

Unneeded levels upon levels of highly paid management.

Anonymous said...

highly paid, and highly mediocre. many of them have no business managing people.

Anonymous said...

many of them have no business managing people.

November 22, 2013 at 5:34 PM

You need to modify your colloquialisms "have no business" is clearly false. It IS their business; it is what they get paid to do. "Aren't qualified" or "can't do it" maybe?

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, they don't really manage anyone. They go to meetings.

The workers manage themselves.

Anonymous said...

This might be better: Many of these people have no business being managers.

Anonymous said...

November 22, 2013 at 8:07 PM

Same objection. They DO have business being managers, very lucrative business. Change your colloquialism. "Have no business" is a phrase out of the 50's. It is old and nonsensical in today's world.

Anonymous said...

Not true. Not all of them provide any useful benefit to the lab. Those (many) who are just "parked" into positions to get a salary while also increasing entropy... have no business being managers.

Anonymous said...

People today understand the colloquial usage. So you are wrong.

Anonymous said...

Take the example of Schwartz. He has no business being a manager. The message is to convey more than just a lack of qualifications. It is intended as a insult. Many who know of him will agree with this sentiment.

Anonymous said...

November 22, 2013 at 7:20 PM's suggested language completely changes the tone of the message. Therefore November 22, 2013 at 7:20 PM is wrong. Perhaps he can suggest a better phrase for today's audience?

Anonymous said...

I agreed with 11-22, 9:45 pm. I like to add that Schwartz not only has no business being a manager but he also has no integrity to be one.

Anonymous said...

Adam Rowen (manager of the Materials Chemistry department) from Sandia National Laboratories does not have a Ph.D.

Anonymous said...

Schwartz has a Ph.D but has no integrity

Anonymous said...

So here we have it. A thread noting emerging enlightenment in the salary management of a highly successful enterprise morphs into ad hominem attacks and name calling by the denizens of a failed institution.

Anonymous said...

It's always like that at LLNL. If there were/are clear-honest-communication between managements and employees; this blog would fill up with all cheers for managements. There would be good-name-calling-with-contentment.
I however feel little bad for a couple of good group leaders and a couple of former/present division leaders in PLS who do not deserve a general name calling. This couple of them might not be the best managers in the world but they have integrity.

Anonymous said...

I like ranking. It doesn't work, but watching acquaintances squirm, lie and create lame explanations in their bargain with the devil is a amusing distraction... unless it was me doing the obfuscating.

"Mr. Egotistical technocrat, how will YOU dress up this pig?"

Anonymous said...

Work and hard workers are not valued. Never have been.

Anonymous said...

Work and hard workers are not valued. Never have been.

November 23, 2013 at 1:52 PM

You haven't been around very long, have you? If what you say were true, no one would be bitching about it.

Anonymous said...

By definition, ranking DOES work.

Anonymous said...


Hard work and accomplishment used to be very valued at the lab. Past 5 years or so it's all about sucking up to the crowd on overhead. Eventually this will topple the lab...it's driving out all the talent and we're left with more and more people on overhead with nebulous responsibilities.

Anonymous said...

November 23, 2013 at 10:31 AM
said: "...this blog would fill up with all cheers for managements. There would be good-name-calling-with-contentment...."

I can't let this pass unchallenged.

This guy obviously hasn't been reading this blog much, has he? LLNL and LANL could cure cancer and invent free energy, and they'd still be badmouthed by the neanderthals on this cesspool blog. The most vocal folks on this blog are elementary-school malcontents whose lives amount to nothing, so they live for dragging others down to their level.

Don't pretend that any issue will ever get a fair hearing (either way) on this blog.

Anonymous said...

can't let this pass unchallenged.

This guy obviously hasn't been reading this blog much, has he? LLNL and LANL could cure cancer and invent free energy, and they'd still be badmouthed by the neanderthals on this cesspool blog. The most vocal folks on this blog are elementary-school malcontents whose lives amount to nothing, so they live for dragging others down to their level.

Don't pretend that any issue will ever get a fair hearing (either way) on this blog.

November 23, 2013 at 5:02 PM


AMEN!

Anonymous said...

We could dig up the dirt on these people, if you want a real discussion...

Anonymous said...

Yeah lets stop namecalling. Lets instead talk about Schwartz and his ilk have actually done in terms of their abuses against employees. Using facts should elevate the level of discussion in this blog.

Anonymous said...

One of my biggest criticisms against goldstein is how he turns a blind eye to the abuses perpetrated by those he promoted and who report directly to him.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the poster behind November 23, 2013 at 3:37 PM... something is not right in his head.

Anonymous said...

Yeah lets stop namecalling. Lets instead talk about Schwartz and his ilk...

November 23, 2013 at 8:43 PM

"Ilk"?? Yeah, I call that "name calling." How about completely stopping disparagement of people you disagree with?? How about just refuting their arguments, and if their comments are not arguments but disparagement, just ignore them? Does taking the high road hurt you that much? How did we become a nation filled with people with such thin skins?

Anonymous said...

Just stick to the facts. Schwartz has singled out individuals for workplace bullying and harassment, even trying (some times failing) to get HR to unjustly go after people. Don't need any namecalling here. Just the facts.

Anonymous said...

The hurled insults from many reflect the anger and frustration against certain abusive managers at the lab. This is a forum where people can bring such abuses to light. You should expect alot of venting. Let them vent. They deserve to be heard, especially those who have been the target of or witness to management abuse. The lab does nothing to fix these "problem managers" anyways.

Anonymous said...

"Hard work and accomplishment used to be very valued at the lab. Past 5 years or so it's all about sucking up to the crowd on overhead. Eventually this will topple the lab...it's driving out all the talent and we're left with more and more people on overhead with nebulous responsibilities." (3:42 PM)


Right on target. So much good talent has fled the NNSA labs in the last few years. The labs are running on vapors at this point and the scientific gas tank is almost empty.

Anonymous said...

All managers I have dealt with in PLS are abusive....However, remember they are guided by Employee Relations. They are unprofessional and have lost millions for the laboratory. If we actually had competent people in Employee Relations this would not happen. My advice is fire everyone in Employee Relations and find people who will hold abusive manager and this will save the laboratory millions of dollars in lawsuits.

Anonymous said...

My advice is fire everyone in Employee Relations and find people who will hold abusive manager and this will save the laboratory millions of dollars in lawsuits.

November 24, 2013 at 6:26 PM

You must realize that ER does absolutely nothing that they are not told to do by LLNS upper management. Management abuse of employees comes from the top. Is is their corporate culture. Live with it or leave.

Anonymous said...

PLS works very very close to Staff Relation.
Watch out for Theresa Schantz. This person is a devil-lette in disguise. A very sweet talker with poison in her heart.
Jennifer Szutu was already a abrasive lawyer. After she was promoted to take place of Bob Perko; she became more powerful and extremely ferocious.

Anonymous said...

Employee Relations is not your friend or advocate in any way, they serve LLNS exclusively and look after LLNS interests. Staff Relations (different from Employee Relations) will bend over backwards if you have a legitimate complaint about say sexual harrassment, but again that is because it is in LLNS interests for them to bend over backwards for you.

Anonymous said...

Those that impact deliverables so little get so much. Amazing. Never happen in the off site world.

Is LLNL a National Lab or National Management company?

Anonymous said...

Is LLNL a National Lab or National Management company?

November 25, 2013 at 9:16 AM

Of course LLNL is a national lab. However, LLNS is a management company. Those who persist in thinking of LLNL as an organization are mistaken. It is a collection of office buildings, labs, and equipment belonging to DOE/NNSA. LLNS supplies the people and the organization to manage them.

Anonymous said...

Manage them doing what, laboratory or management things.

Given the unbridled growth of support and management types, does NNSA want a national management company or a national laboratory?

Anonymous said...

NNSA has decided (arguably correctly) that a laboratory run by largely absentee management, where the "inmates run the asylum" (i.e., LANL and LLNL under UC) is a recipe for political, and potentially real, disaster, regardless of the quality of the science.

Far better, in their minds, to reward a "management company" to keep tight reins on everyone and value compliance and cost-saving over science. In today's world, no one really expects good science from a weapons laboratory anyway.

Anonymous said...

But do these managers need to be rolling in the serious dough, and exempt from company downsizing?

Anonymous said...

Captains of industry require due compensation!

Anonymous said...

But do these managers need to be rolling in the serious dough, and exempt from company downsizing?

November 26, 2013 at 7:05 AM

If you don't like that managers make so much more than you, then your only two choices are to become a manager, or to shut up and forget it. The inequity is in your lack of ambition. If you think all employees should be paid the same, guess what that makes you?

Anonymous said...

...The inequity is in your lack of ambition.."

Back in the day technical competence was a filter for management consideration. Those managers and their employees had a level of mutual
respect due in part to a common experience in the arena of technical rigor and achievement.

Only modular (black box) NIF installers moved into management or political appointee managers would make
such a gross mischaracterization
of our innovative technical staff by stating they were not "ambitious".

Engineering is now peppered with managers that don't respect their staff for this reason and it shows. They think leveraging the technical staff is a valid and superior substitute for their own lack of engineering achievement. Very sad indeed.

I don't know how one would fix this other than periodic rotation of managers back into technical roles. Even a dog won't usually SH_T where he eventually has to sleep.

Anonymous said...

It is neither desirable nor possible for managers to be technically competent in all of the fields they manage. Do you think all CEOs of Wall Street brokerage firms were once floor traders? Do all university presidents hold multiple PhDs in the disciplines of all the departments they manage? Are legal firm CEOs experts in every branch of law their firms practice? Hospital CEOs, etc., etc., etc.?

So are you saying that as an engineering PhD, you'd rather be managed by a chemistry PhD than a BS engineer? Just another example of scientific elitism.

Anonymous said...

Managers need to be able to manage what they are responsible for, and that requires a certain level of technical competence when that field is highly technical or scientific. You need to at least understand the big picture, and be able to talk to people in their language. You also need a feel for who to listen to, which is the biggest risk of placing technically inferior people in charge of complex scientific progams (this incidentally is ultimately why the NIF failed to make its mini sun, EM should never have been in charge of that effort). That said, past policy of promoting the best technical people into management roles is a failure unless you have unlimited resources. It is a different role, and some (many I think) of the best technical people are the worst choices you can make for managers. Particularly in a world of slashed budgets and expectations of deliverables.

Anonymous said...

The "technical rigor and achievement" need not be identical nor could it be in most cases. The observation is still valid.

There are former technical innovators now managers that successfully transcend the various disciplines with honor and leadership.

Yes it is a challenge for the chemist to rank the engineer or the other way around. However, that doesn't mean appreciation and respect are absent, as is the case with the non-technical political appointee.

Anonymous said...

It is a different role, and some (many I think) of the best technical people are the worst choices you can make for managers.

November 30, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Correct, and I would go further to say that in many (most) cases, the less capable technical people make the best managers since they know first-hand how difficult the work is and appreciate from experience how valuable the really good technical people are. I have known several so-so technical people who became excellent managers having "found their niche" with a combination of tech-savvy and people-savvy. The latter is often woefully missing in the best technical people.

Anonymous said...

Key for all is, leave your ego at the door. Poor technical people who are bitter about it and become managers can resent the really sharp technical people, and don't understand at all how valuable they are. And yes, the best technical people often have the worst people skills, so it is a trade off.

Anonymous said...

LLNS has bucket and 1 to N rankings.

The 1 to N version has employee rank in increments or decrements of 1 employee. This suggests a very small uncertainty (high confidence) in the completed rank set over the courser bucket style rank set.

Question 1:

Referenced to the Man-Hours (MH) spent on the bucket style ranking, and normalized to the size of each population, how many multiples of MH are required to achieve the finer resolution 1-N ranking?

Question 2:

If the answer to question 1 is no more time or an insignificant amount of extra MH are needed, what are the 1-N rankers doing that is so efficient while acquiring such low uncertainty, or put another way, whats up with the bucket ranker process?

Question 3:

Is the 1-N rank one of those $10 DMM situations where they have high digital resolution with low accuracy?

Question 4:

We are talking about ~2% average pay packages in recent years yes?
What is the total dollar expense consumed for the 2013 ranking process compared to the pay package dollar bring in for 2013?

Anonymous said...

So in summary, when dealing with such small pay packages, why not just hand it out and forego the expense of managing the process.

Anonymous said...

I think the above rank questions should be considered (cost/benefit) for continuation of either rank method.

Certainly we don't want to burn 2,000 calories on the hunt for a 1,500 calorie catch, and in doing so, we don't want to bring down the other guys deer (accuracy).

Anonymous said...

You people are needlessly and erroneously infatuated with yourselves. You reek of self-involvement. You sound like HR types who just learned that you can wrap your nonsense in statistics and make it sound real. News flash: you aren't the first to have this "idea." It was discredited in the 1980's. Look it up.

Anonymous said...

http://llnlthetruestory.blogspot.com/2013/05/hey-lanl-and-sandia.html?showComment=1368229152210#c5184911644985578339

Adam Rowen (manager of the Materials Chemistry department) from Sandia National Laboratories does not have a Ph.D.

Three Vice Presidents of technical divisions at Sandia National Laboratories do not have a Ph.D.: Hruby, Walker, Vahle. To my knowledge, these are the first ever Vice Presidents without a Ph.D. in Science or Engineering to lead techical divisions at Sandia.

Anonymous said...

November 30, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Who gives a crap? More scientific elitism.

Anonymous said...

Are you serious?!!!!!

How can those guys lead technical divisions and don't have PhDs?

Anonymous said...

Regarding PhD's,, check on the acting director of llnl.

Anonymous said...

How can those guys lead technical divisions and don't have PhDs?

December 1, 2013 at 12:58 PM

That's a fairly recent conceit. Lots of division leaders in the 50's, 60's, and 70's did not have PhDs. But they did know how to get things done, during arguably the best decades of the two weapons labs.

Anonymous said...

The PhD has become little more than a reward for spending a few years of indentured servitude in support of bargain basement r&d at our universities. The customers, usually government agencies without a pot to p in, love the system. They get first class science for pennies.

Anonymous said...

A PhD is an early-career hurdle bar, ideally ensuring that an individual has a minimum level of training in how to function as an independent scientific researcher. It also ideally ensures that an individual has a minimum level of intelligence, at least in the sort of thinking required within his disseration field. It does not mean that individual is particularly intelligent outside that field, or that he really can function as an independent researcher. It also does not mean that someone without a PhD cannot be just as intelligent in that same field, or cannot perform equally strong independent research. What matters more, long past graduat school age, is what you have actually done. Functioning as a scientist without a PhD is difficult because it will be assumed that you are a super-tech and not a researcher, but I am sure many here can think of examples of people who have gone down this path and achieved a great deal - maybe more than those of us who have PhDs have accomplished by the same age.

Anonymous said...

The era when Directors and other managers at the labs needed good credentials and PhDs is over.

After all, both LLNL and LANL are now being managed by Bechtel, a construction company, for goodness sakes!

Anonymous said...

After all, both LLNL and LANL are now being managed by Bechtel, a construction company, for goodness sakes!

December 1, 2013 at 8:34 PM

You are wrong on two counts. First, the labs are managed by LLCs whose managing partner is UC, not Bechtel. Second, Bechtel is far from just a "construction company" and you or anyone else can confirm that by a simple web search. The Chairman of the LLNS Board of Governors is Pattiz, a UC Regent. By my count, only 4 of the 16 current Governors of LLNS are Bechtel. Try to get your facts straight.

Anonymous said...

As the lab crumbles into the pit of hell, let us talk about ranking. How about the lab does not work and never has!!

POS

Anonymous said...

Back to the topic, why spend time ranking in years when the compensation package is so small?
It doesn't make sense.

Shouldn't the appraisals be completed before ranking begins?

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the appraisals be completed before ranking begins?

December 3, 2013 at 4:08 PM

Yes of course, if you are referring to formal ranking. As has been brought up here before, informal ranking of employees occurs in supervisors' heads on a daily basis. But the formal ranking process involves ranking employees who work for different supervisors/managers in the same ranking pool (maybe a division), precipitating disputes among supervisors and managers about whose employees are better. This can only be even marginally justified on the basis of appraisal results, which are usually also the result of only one supervisor/manager input, thus also open to dispute. I am continually amazed that the managers competing for money for their employees' raises don't come to blows. I have seen cases where it was a close call. Any employees who think their managers conspire against them as a group should be flies on the wall in these sessions. The vehemence with which managers defend their best employees for the best raises is eye-opening.

Anonymous said...

I don't care where I land in the rank pile. The raises are small in any case, and if a better offer comes along I will take it.

Anonymous said...

According to mandatory ranking distributions, about 10% of the staff in each group will HAVE to be found to be "unsatisfactory" regardless of the real quality of their work. Talk about policies to de-moralize the lab work force!

Heck, GE used to only require around 5% of their employees to be placed in this category each year with their cut-throat annual ranking system. The ranking system being employed at the lab is even more cut-throat and severe than the policies used in the most abusive companies in the mean ol' corporate world! Heckavajob.

Anonymous said...

In all my many years participating in ranking, I have NEVER heard it said that 10% must be "unsatisfactory" due to "mandatory ranking distributions".

Anonymous said...

December 5, 2013 at 8:55 AM

Agreed. I ranked my employees and critiqued the rankings of other managers every year for over a decade. There was NEVER a "mandatory ranking distribution." It is a fantasy designed to sow dissent and lower morale. I guess misery loves company.

By the way, the "critiquing" process was just as much to correct managers who thought all their employees were garbage, as for the opposite.

Anonymous said...

If you have forced ranking, then by definition you automatically have a distribution (a uniform distribution over the span from the bottom individual to the top individual). Maybe what you meant was whether or not there were instituted thresholds on that distribution.

Anonymous said...

Every ranking session I participated in attempted to order employees according to total contribution. I'm not defending that vague notion, and the rather few poor performers tended to rank toward the bottom, but the ranking was not based performance alone.

Anonymous said...

Define "total contribution" vs "performance." That is, without tying yourself up in HR doublespeak.

Anonymous said...

Didn't you mean "lying yourself up in HR doublespeak" ?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of doublespeak ---

Anonymous said...

Double posting is a skill. Can you do it?

Anonymous said...

The problem with ranking is the ranking to written appraisal disconnect. Much is said in the rankings, but the cowards won't express their opinions in the written appraisals to reflect rank position. The grand cowards will even skip HR required appraisal steps along the way with upper management blessings.

Anonymous said...

Much is said in the rankings, but the cowards won't express their opinions in the written appraisals to reflect rank position.

December 7, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Do you not understand that appraisals are done before rankings? And that rankings are based on appraisals? Where do you think the numbers used for rankings come from? You are sadly misinformed.

Anonymous said...

I have sat through annual ranking meetings for years, appraisals are NEVER part of that process, and are reworded after the ranking process so they are a good fit. You must not be a manager.

Anonymous said...

I think the point is being missed here. For the employee,
the appraisal is a form of feedback from management in terms of employee growth, areas to improve, etc.

If appraisals and closed door management sentiment are
grossly out of sync and significant workplace changes occur (layoffs,etc.), only hard corrections are left that may present an employment performance history discontinuity. This will be difficult to defend in court. The courts will look at this as not working with employees in good faith, capricious, and rather sleazy.

Anonymous said...

I have sat through annual ranking meetings for years, appraisals are NEVER part of that process, and are reworded after the ranking process so they are a good fit. You must not be a manager.

December 7, 2013 at 11:08 PM

At LANL (at least in the division in which I was a manager), Rankings were based on appraisal scores, and the rankings formed the basis for the initial salary negotiations (with other managers). The wording of the actual appraisals had virtually nothing to do with the process, and was never addressed or changed as a result of the process.

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