Defining what is above and what is below expectations involves defining the expectations themselves in the first place. This is easy if the targets and goals are quantifiable and consequently above and below expectations are easy to define too. Where the targets are not quantifiable, it is advisable to have a mathematical approach by using ratings and weights in a weighted average model. Adopting a mathematical approach reduces ambiguity and aids significantly in successful execution. What is even more important here is that, the performance criteria for a particular rating is described in as much detail as is possible (incorporating the qualitative aspects as well). This can be done by the reporting manager for the concerned position. Having done this, above and below expectations for an employee can be defined using the rating scale. It is important that performance excellence is defined per se in the business planning exercise in the beginning of the year and performance standards below, at par & above expectations are clearly defined and mentioned therein.