Performance Management: Congratulations you are average!

Boss: Hi, employee. Are you ready for the yearly performance conversation?
Employee: Hi boss, yes I am.
Boss: Pfff, the previous meeting was hectic and took longer than I thought. Do you happen to have a list of things you have done this year?
Employee: Yes of course I have made a list.
Boss: Thanks. So…. can you please explain to me what you have been doing in the last year?
Employee: Yes of course. I can take you through. I think I had a good year. Lots of important stuff got done. Actually it is quite a bit different then we agreed at the beginning of the year. Things have been changing quite a bit.
Boss: Well that is OK.
(taking boss through the list).
Boss: You seem to have been doing a lot of good work.
Employee: I think so too.
Do you want a copy? I can send you over the mail.

…So can you help me to understand how you will be using this for the performance ranking?

Boss: I will take it into the ranking session with the other leaders. But it is all relative. So I am not sure how it will come out.
Employee: Is the system still the same as last year?
Boss: Well …. to decide who gets what, the company has changes from a Bell Curve distribution to a Power-Law distribution.
Employee: What is the difference?
Boss: In essence not that much. We just pay the group of high performers even more than we did in the past. Nowadays they are no longer called high performers but hyper performers. Like in the Olympics where only one person wins gold. On that basis, our leadership is of the opinion that only a hand full of people in this company make the difference. But you are all very important of course.
Employee: That does not sound very nice actually. I think I am working very hard and I am doing a pretty good job for the company.
So what happens to the none-hypers which is most of us?
Boss: Not that much actually. Like the years before, the rest is considered in shades of average. Some will be higher average then others.  And…. we are forced to single people out that are not performing at all. The company does not need them.
Employee: Well that will be difficult in our team. Not sure I can single somebody out that is truly hyper performing and I think we all work hard at our own level and deliver what we promised. I think we did a great job as a team. I hope you agree?
Boss: All right let’s wait and see. It is all relative so who can tell.
I need to run……