Boots ballot: Pharmacists talk about the impact of “forced distribution” performance management

Pharmacists have been responding to PDA Union after we published an article about Boots' performance management system and how it uses a forced distribution approach.

Mon 28th January 2019 PDA Union

After the PDA Union shared our story about the impact on pharmacists of the Boots management’s approach to performance management we have heard from a number of pharmacists who have told us they don’t want to be identified by management so we have agreed to keep their names anonymous.  This is a sample of what we’ve heard:

In regards to its pay structure and market based pay it should be ashamed. It should be ashamed for its performance review where no person I have spoken to has any idea what it means to be above performing and where the pharmacy advisors, the people on the front lines get no bonus at all unless they are above performing.

Nobody knows what exactly they need to do to be “above performing”. Even if you hit all your targets and are green on the scorecard despite those targets being an increase you are performing.


I’ve been a victim of this for 2 years in a row now!


My current line manager has been very supportive but has openly admitted that there is a bell curve and that if there aren’t enough “not performing” results then so-called “calibration meetings” are held to redistribute people into those bottom spots. It seems that everyone must take a turn.


A further pharmacist, who has now left Boots, said this about their approach to performance management:


I worked under this regime and it is a terrible way to work. The constant threat of a ‘non-performing’ rating is so demotivating and demoralising and it sometimes felt like a personality contest. I challenged it many times (probably another reason I would never win a corporate personality contest) and was told that even if all targets were met/exceeded you could still be classed as non performing so what’s the point!


You can read the previous story, and find out what prompted these comments, here:

Boots Pharmacists get to vote next month.  They can vote in complete confidence to secure the ability for the PDA Union to negotiate over matters relating to pay, hours and other working conditions.  The ballot period is scheduled to run for five weeks.   Pharmacists and pre-registration pharmacists at grade 5, 6 & 7 in stores or on relief will be entitled to vote.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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