Fair Practices in Appraisals and Promotions

It is that time of the year! Oh no, no, I’m not talking about taxes, budgets or inflation! It’s the time of the year when most companies start working on their performance appraisal also. The forms are sent, or they are uploaded on the system and the links are sent to all the employees, guidelines all set, dates of review given etc. etc.

And yes, nervousness, butterflies in stomach, uneasiness, anxiety, eagerness are all very common words one can hear within the organizations.

Expectations, performance, productivity, achievements, goals and results are also very common words used during reviews specially and they all have so much of importance in our career so due importance should be given to these words but remember, these are not mere words they are linked deep down to the core of your own position in the organisation and can change the destiny also…5 points here and there and you are either going upwards on the corporate ladder or stuck there for some more years.

The same thing also goes for Employers or HR professionals; they need to be honest, fair and open in their practices specially related to appraisals and promotions.

Many companies lose their talent because of these unfair practices and loopholes in the promotion strategy or policy. The methodology, ratings and practices used for appraisals and promotions should be very clear and communicated openly to all the employees in the organisation without any limitations. Yes, one or two such cases who are expecting promotions but not given, and so are leaving the company is fine as this may happen as they look towards everything else except their own performance.

Some of you may also have felt the same, that if the policy is not clearly written or communicated to all, bias or prejudices comes in between, favorites taking all the good things and the hard worker left with Peanuts. Hmmm..sounds like your own story.

Appraisals are linked to promotions so that the ratings can justify the upward movements which are commonly known as Promotion also and they are regarded as an important thing in one’s career but then why are some of us involved in unfair practices while rewarding promotions to the employees? Why do we let the pre-conceived notions come in between our fool proof system of appraisals, little partiality, discrimination and what not.

  • There was once an Operations Manager who stopped the promotion of one of his team leaders because they used to come in the same office cab, the cab used to report to office late everyday, and TL was reprimanded by the VP Operations and so the team leader (after lot of cajoling) complained to the HR about the Operations Manager (that the Ops Manager used to take his dog for a round and the cab used to wait for him for 15 minutes at his residence everyday).

Interesting story… right ? but yes it is true we let our pre-conceived notions come in between to put  their future in jeopardy.

  • Another case is of a pregnant woman, who was working in the organisation for 6 years even before she got married. She was due for her promotion but she had to go for maternity leave, and after 3 months the time was gone and so was her promotion.
  • Gopal, was one of the employees who had been very honest and hardworking. Never missed office, worked properly, had no complaints against him, achieved targets on time but unfortunately was not promoted as he was on leave for 3 months (he met with a serious accident) but what has the company got to do with it. They never cared about promotion, for them he was given leaves and taken back that was more than enough.

So tell me, as HR professionals do you think these are fair practices? While we are sitting in such important positions that we let people down without their fault.

So, guys don’t just boast of your policies and practices but live them.

Share your experiences if you have come across such incidents in your career, and lets hear the solutions also.

  • Rahul

    Excellent…I think this is one of the best article of yours of what ever I have read. Very true examples. Though human beings are full of biases and also errors but as HR we should ensure fair appraisal and promotion practices..with justice and dignity for employee as well as for organization…gr8

  • Anan

    Hi Archana,

    At first would like to thank you for your valuable post. This is what I was looking for since a long time and finally got the opportunity to raise my queries to someone experience in this concern.

    I am working in a MNC Bank since last 4 year. I have joined in Feb, 2007 and have completed my probation period in Dec, 2008 and confirmed as an employee of the Bank. From Dec, 2008 to till date there were several changes in my job roll but no promotion nor any increment have been permitted.

    Description of changes:

    After completion of my probation period in Dec 2008, I have joined as an Assistant Manager in Consumer Transaction Banking department (Direct Sales).

    On Mar 2009 I moved to SME department and my designation changed to Assistant Sales Manager. March, 2010 time came for final review for Jan, 09 to Dec, 09. When I asked my line manager about my final review and growth in yearly compensation, I was told that there will not be any promotion or growth and there were two readymade reasons for this:
    1. In Dec, 2008 I have been promoted to Assistant Manger and to give another promotion or increment bank needs two year time to justify the same,
    2. I have moved from CTB to SME Banking and in the first three month in SME Banking my performance was average, not excellent and my managers advised me that I should devote more time to understand the whole SME Banking so that future growth and promotion can be justify. And finally I accepted to them.

    On July, 2010 I got an opportunity in another Bank and I thought to accept the offer because there were no promotion or growth since last 1.8 yr and went to my line manager to discuss the matter and possible time for put down my resignation letter. That time Branch Manager was my line manager and my dotted line manager was SME Regional Head. After knowing my intention of resignation SME Regional Head asked me to send the appointment letter to him so that he can work on that and accordingly without delay I have sent the letter to him. Several discussions over telephone with my line manager and SME RH took place that time. And finally SME RH sent me a mail to drop the idea of leaving this organization and they will do the best possible for me. As that same point of time one SME Relationship Manager was leaving our Bank and my managers offer me a promotion to that RM role which becomes vacant. But till that time the new offer was lying with me. I asked my managers if I need to join in the vacant position I have to leave the offer which i have, but what growth or promotion they would consider to me?? And again a convincing but foolish answer received from their end, “Definitely we will consider your growth and promotion, but this is mid of the year and nothing is in our hand. You have to give us some more time to offer you a handsome growth and promotion. We are giving you a higher position and more responsibilities. Give your best in the new role and we assuring you to give our best to you in future”. At first I was not agreeing to them and request them to offer whatever they can at that time itself. But again they have forced me to withdraw the new offer and agreed to them. And leaving apart my own demands agreed to them.

    Again time came for final review for Jan, 10 to Dec, 10 and has received the review letter yesterday.

    “Your compensation, excluding any performance award (bonus), is unchanged and remains as previous year”, this is what was written in the final review letter.

    Please advice what should I do?? Would you say I need to continue with this bank which don’t care for their employees or need to switch over to a new organization? But who is responsible or answerable for the false commitment passed by the managers?? Or this is the way how corporate or a MNC run and makes billion of profits????

    Looking forward for your kind advice……………

  • Muraghendra Moogi

    Very good


    Dear Friend Rahul / Anan,

    The problem with these chota mota corporates is, that they do not have any laid down policies and practices on promotions, that are ever time-tested. Things happen whimsically and arbitrarily. More often, it’s the general experience that we have wrong persons, in the right HR positions. So trust them only as much as they trust you. Be equally prudent, tactful and alert, in the matters of transparency and open-mindedness, as much as they show towards you..

    It’s not that long ago, that both a lady employee and a gent employee were sent home, and shown the door in the guise&garb of company discipline and all that,, just because they both were disproportionately honest, and open in their submissions to the HR&Company, towards their excusable mis-conduct, that too outside the office.

    The paramount job of HR Functionaries is more at ‘ value creations/additions for both the organization and it’s people, than just remain as onlookers, with bystanders apathy, atleast in the matters of utmost concerns of their people…

  • Monika Parnami

    Hi Archana,
    this article is impressive but i want to know after effects of theperformance appraisal & review,when some employees are happy some are in depression. or post pay hike.
    plz get that types of articles also.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Anan, thanks for the post first of all…now coming to the queries:

    1. When they promised you the raise was it all verbal and nothing in written was given to you? if yes, then I’m sorry but you became a fool as you let the opportunity go out of your hand by believing just the words where you have nothing in your hands.

    2. Fix up a meeting with your senior who promised you the raise and present yourself in most cordial way. GO well prepared with every communication what so ever you have related to the earlier discussions on raise. Tell him even after promised why did not you got the raise..if you have to leave the job eventually then why not seek the answers and then go.

    3. Continuing with the same bank will not be a right thing as you won’t work with dedication anymore which can affect your own performance.

    4. No this is not the way MNCs work….actually it would be a fault of the system or a person working on such systems and using their brains.

    5. When you are given a promotion why did you accept it without a raise? Don’t you have a grade system in your organisation?

    If i can seek these answers will be able to provide solution to your other queries.


  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Monika..

    For you specially, my next article on this for sure….thanks for your time and efforts…


    Dear Ms. Archana
    Whatever you had posted is the FACT’S. To my knowledge, nothing is 100% PERFECT in this world except ALMIGHTY. There is not even a single company in this world FREE FROM ISSUES RELATED TO PERFORMANCE APPRAISALS besides there are so many EMPLOYEE RELATED ISSUES.

    We try our best to help employees to get their BEST PAY but again, it is the MANAGEMENT who takes FINAL DECISION or FINAL CALL based on various factors, on which we don’t have any control, as the management feels that THE BALL SHOULD BE KEPT ROLLING or THE GAME SHOULD BE ON

    Examples which you had narrated is THE BITTER FACT and DARK SIDE OF THIS WORLD. Many employees at LOWER LEVEL are victims of such HOPELESS employees playing a vital role at HIGHER LEVELS. I really don’t know how to address these SELFISH employees.

    Such incidents are helping us to eliminate words like LOYALTY, HONESTY, SINCERITY because they never made many to earn their LEGAL STAKE. Many employees are suffering but how many are feeling their AGONY.

    The reason for loosing TALENTED WORKFORCE/PROFESSIONALS is

    a) because WE FAIL TO MEET EMPLOYEE DEMANDS/REQUIREMENT which is also PROPORTIONAL to XYZ COMPANIES TURNOVER RATIO, as most of the companies are concentrating on PROFIT in comparison with PREVIOUS YEAR, but they(companies) HESITATE TO PAY LITTLE MORE and GENERATE A LITTLE MORE, IN RETURN. There is a huge difference between LITTLE and A LITTLE.

    b) PARTIALITY, JEALOUSY, REVENGE kind ATTITUDE …….Appraisals revealing BIASED OUTPUT, naturally employees will suffer.

    On the other hand, OUR(EMPLOYEE & EMPLOYER) DEMANDS ARE ENDLESS. How many are living SIMPLE LIFE. How many had embraced SIMPLICITY. Every one wants to earn more and more and more…Hence forth UNFAIR PRACTICES ARE BORN & PRACTICED EFFECTIVELY, CORRUPTION IS PROMOTED and LOT MORE UNFAIR THINGS ARE HAPPENING.

    We should also focus on certain supernatural things like CURSE(which has devastating results), DO GOOD BE GOOD and help everyone to understand that “AS LONG AS WE LIVE IN THIS WORLD, THINK ABOUT THOSE WHO ARE OF LESS FORTUNE THAN US”

    Let me end my post by giving you an example, indeed it is appreciated and accepted by the world…….but very few are practically implementing it.

    “ALEXANDER THE GREAT, who ruled most parts of the world said, revealed his LAST WISH, after my death, please bury my whole body leaving my hands visible to all in a peculiar position, as if some one is seeking something from god……his followers requested his ruler to brief them about his LAST WISH. His EXCELLENCY REPLIED………………………………………………………………………………………………………I WANTED TO PROVE EVERYONE THAT THOUGH I RULED THIS WORLD BUT I AM LEAVING THIS WORLD EMPTY HANDED……….LET PEOPLE SEE WHAT I AM CARRYING WITH ME AFTER MY DEATH”

    Forgive me if i was wrong..

    May ALMIGHTY bless us all and show us the right path.