(Solution Download) 1 If an employee receives performance feedback that implies the

1. If an employee receives performance feedback that implies the employee is "average" or has met (but not exceeded) expectations, how would you expect the employee to react to the feedback during an appraisal interview? How well would this feedback affect the strategic and developmental purposes of performance management?
2. How could performance appraisals or feedback interviews is modified to address employees' resistance to being considered average?

For all the worries about delivering criticism, it turns out that poor performance isn't the only problem: employees don't want to hear they're doing their jobs if it means they sound "average." Although the very idea of average would imply that many employees rate near the middle, and the very idea of goal setting would be that you want employees to meet a challenge, managers and HR experts report that most employees think they're above average and exceed expectations.
Penny Wilson, director of corporate learning and development at Talecris Biotherapeutics, suggests that HR departments "could do a better job of explaining that 'meets' is a good rating, and that we need those solid performers." But John Lewison, director of human resources at MDRC, says that over his career at six different companies, "I've seen every word used for every category. And no matter what you do, people figure out pretty quickly what 'average' is and don't want to be in that category." Part of the problem may be that the use of forced-distribution methods and links between appraisals and compensation have created a climate in which employees are afraid they won't be rewarded (or will be let go) if they get anything but a stellar review.


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