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I think it's fair for the employee to wonder what it takes to get that superior rating and a manager should be able to express at least in general terms the difference in their mind between meets and exceeds. Since some managers are too free and easy with "exceeds" there is disparity in how people are rated within a company. If the ratings are defined in general terms then all employees will have the same "ground rules" and we should expect more equal treatment - although there will still be differences based on manager interpretation of the guidelines and how to relate them to a specific role. If exceeds means going above and beyond primary job duties, that will have different meanings if I am a production worker versus a division manager.

The "I will know it when I see it" refers, I think, to a manager's perception that an employee takes on more, volunteers, goes the extra mile, works longer hours perhaps or just works smarter, doesn't complain, takes responsibility for their own development - in conjunction with a management plan perhaps, and engages on a what's good for the company level vs a purely selfish one. If you know it when you see it, you should know what you are looking for. Seems like that would be easy enough to explain to an employee and should not be left as a mystery.


Excellent points and I have to say that I agree with you on all of them. If you know it when you see it then you ought to be able to explain it at some level.

Thanks for the comment!

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