Applying Ranked Choice Voting

Making Business Decisions

How to Use Ranked Choice Voting for Making Business Decisions

Any time you've got a group of people with equal say all trying to make a decision, ranked choice voting is an essential tool. It conveys your coworkers' preferences accurately. It's simpler than 100-point exercises. And, with a platform like RankedVote, it's incredibly easy to implement and immediately tabulated.

Why Use Ranked Choice Voting at Work?

Successful businesses are defined by the quality of their decision-making. Study after study has shown that the most effective organizations embrace the diversity (cognitive, economic, racial, etc.) of their workforce. Embracing these diverse viewpoints yields above-average returns.

Ranked choice voting is an effective way to engage broad, diverse swaths of your coworkers while also teasing out a deeper nuance to their preferences.

We've all participated in group exercises where we've been asked to place a tally or post-it or sticker next to an option on a whiteboard. The first person places a sticker, which influences what the next person does. An early "winner" starts to emerge. No one wants to be seen voting for that "out there" option. Something agreeable, but bland, is ultimately chosen.

Instead, using ranked choice voting, you can quickly elicit the group's preference without so many inherent biases. "Out there" ideas can be voted for without fear of becoming a "wasted vote." Coworkers can see that their voices are still having an impact even if their top choice is eliminated. Most importantly, surprises (and potential breakthrough ideas) can emerge.

Suggested RankedVote Setup

Key Feature Settings
  • Ballot Type - Drag and Drop
  • Voter Registration - On
  • Allowed Voter List - On
  • Deduplicate Results - If needed
  • Results Visibility - "Only Election Creator" (If needed)

You can configure these settings on the "Election Details" page for your election on RankedVote.

Common Use Cases

Customer Pain Point

Gather a group of customer experts (front-line employees, support agents, marketers, etc.) and have them rank the top pain points they're hearing from customers. Each "pain point" can be a "candidate" in RankedVote. This is a great way to tease out the customer knowledge that exists in your organization — allowing you to identify what problems are most important to solve.

Leadership Team

If you're starting up an internal committee chosen by its members (e.g. Hiring Committee, Compensation), multi-winner ranked choice voting is the way to go. Have your members rank the candidates and set the "Winners" feature to the number of seats you need to fill.

The results for a multi-winner election on a Leadership Team with 3 open seats.
The results for a multi-winner election on a Leadership Team with 3 open seats.

Team Identity Building

A common identity makes it easier to achieve a common goal. When a new cross-functional team is created, one of the first things to do is make a decision as a team to foster unity. This decision could be fun and a team name or slogan (e.g. "Project Wombat!"). Or, it could be more tangible like a customer persona to focus on.

Whatever it is, ranked choice voting allows you to draw out the team's true preference in a way that is fun, quick, and fair.

Support a Charity

Especially around the holidays, the whole office may try to figure out which local groups to support. This is a great scenario for ranked choice voting. You can avoid the loudest voices unduly influencing the effort by opening a RankedVote election to the whole office. The results play out transparently.

And, you've got flexibility if dynamics change. When budget opens up to support a second organization, simply change the "Winners" setting to 2 and the results recalculate without coworkers needing to vote again!

Best Practices

Share the "Vote Link" on Multiple Channels

As with any business effort, marketing matters. You've got to reach people where they are to maximize participation.

Don't hesitate to share your election's Vote Link through email, Slack, Google Docs, intranet, or anything else your coworkers use. RankedVote links are designed to be shared on any online platform and viewed on any device.

"Lock it Down" if You're Worried About Bad Actors

Sometimes, the 1% really does ruin things for the rest of us. Thankfully, RankedVote has a whole series of features that can be used to discourage and prevent multiple voting — giving you the confidence to trust your results.

Feel free to adjust the settings on each of these features to meet your needs.


  • Potential Duplicate List - Automatically on. Shows you if any votes are suspected of coming from the same device.
  • Voter Registration - When set to "On," asks for a Name and Unique ID from each voter prior to voting.
  • Results Visibility - Set to "Only Election Creator" so that voters can't see the results page (and therefore how voting multiple times might impact the results)


  • Allowed Voter List - This feature allows you to say "only people who put in these IDs can vote in this election."
  • Deduplicate Results - A brute force mechanism. This will remove any votes identified as potential duplicates from the results calculation.

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