Appraiser and Appraisee must have knowledge and goals set for improvement

I am referring to the above title and in simple language you can take it as Performance Appraisal. This should not be an annual or half-yearly ritual or the appraisee should not think of it as a huge pay rise or bonus. This should be directed towards the improvement of the individual employee, appraiser and the organization as a whole and the increase in salary there after. Therefore the goals have to be set accordingly. To avoid cumbersome procedures this can be condensed in to Key Result Areas (KRA) and must be quantified by the Appraisee and approved by the Appraiser at the beginning of the appraisal period.  One must expect high salaries or special bonuses only if he/she has completed the tasks beyond the normal scope of his or her set goals. If all the goals are achieved as per the set norms, then the immediate superior will decide on the pay increase as per the policy decided by the company.

An appraisal should be seen as an opportunity for open communication about the strengths and weaknesses of the employee being appraised. Once your expectations from the appraisal are in place it will not be very difficult to say the right things.

Most of the employees enter the appraisal interview room with a single minded objective and i.e. to get a good rating and thereby get a higher raise. However, in most of the organizations ratings have nothing to do with raise and bonuses. Appraisal should be a healthy discussion between the manager and the employee about the past year’s performance. Above all, the employee should view this as an opportunity to receive feedback which will help him become a better professional.

For a successful appraisal,

Prepare well for the appraisal and do not take it lightly. Go through the performance highlights and lowlights of the past year.

When faced with criticism, be calm and objective. Take responsibility for your actions. Back your qualitative achievements with numbers.

While experience is the best teacher of how to say the right things in an appraisal one can also do well by spending a little extra time preparing for the appraisals. Well-prepared and well conducted performance appraisals   provide unique opportunities to help appraisees and managers improve and develop and thereby also the organizations for whom they work. Before going in for the appraisals go through the performance highlights and lowlights of the past year. Think of some questions you may have for the manager. Lastly identify and document support required from the organization for the next year it could be in the form of training, budgets, people support etc.

As a department head of Procurement and Imports of a Process Industry, I had years of appraisal experiences. Therefore I can confidently look back and explain how I managed to say the right things. Once my appraiser asked how I could multitask successfully I explained the entire process that I followed and the quantitative impact of my skills including my ability to delegate in terms of results. Remember to talk in terms of numbers. When you back your qualitative achievements with numbers it makes all the difference.

The worst mistake one can ever make in an appraisal interview is to take criticism too personally. It is best to receive feedback with an open mind. Instead of giving excuses or blaming someone else, give logical explanation when asked what had actually happened in a particular situation Taking responsibility shows that you will rectify your mistakes too. Never touch upon any incident in which you had been wrong and about which everyone knows unless of course the appraiser brings it up himself.

In addition to the appraisee, the appraiser must also be careful so as to not give out the wrong signs. Often, it is the laidback approach that impedes the success of an appraisal rather than anything being wrong with either of the two parties. The warning signs of negative cascaded attitudes towards appraisals is that very often senior managers and directors hate conducting appraisals usually because they are uncomfortable and inexperienced in conducting them. They will be typically heard saying that appraisals don’t work and are a waste of time which for them becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. This attitude and behaviour then goes down to their appraisees (all the people in their team) who then not surprisingly also apply the same no-good not-doing-it negative attitude towards their own appraisal responsibilities. This attitude in the middle ranks is almost invariably traceable to a senior manager or director who holds the same view. If people need help doing the right thing, then help them. Performance appraisals that are administered without training without explanation or consultation and conducted poorly will be counter-productive and a waste of everyone’s time.

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