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Working in Lake Woebegone

Working in Lake Woebegone

by Frank Roche on July 24, 2009

in KnowHR

Did you know that I’m awesome? Of course, you know that you’re awesome, and she knows that she’s awesome. We are all, it seems, legends in our own minds. On their blog and in their recent podcast, NPR’s Planet Money takes another look at how everyone thinks they work harder, better, faster than most everyone else. NPR’s take is that this Lake Woebegone Effect makes it tough to pay for performance, because most of your employees are going to feel like they’ve been hosed.

Bad morale is not the only problem. This skewed view of the world is a big reason why that most sacred of HR cows, the self-evaluation, is so ripe for satire. There’s certainly a place for tooting your own horn, it ensures bosses know about an employee’s successes and provides clues to his expectations. On the other hand, asking people to rate themselves on a scale of 1 to 5? You’re sure to get numeric proof that all of the children are above average.

Editor’s note: We’re delighted to have Lex Fortis as newly featured writer at KnowHR. Lex has been a huge contributor in the comments and to my entertainment (he wrote Performance Review Madlibs, for example). I can’t tell you how jazzed we are to have Lex as part of the editorial team. Please welcome Lex to the KnowHR team. –Frank Roche

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