Every industry has a process to review the employees, based on which they are promoted or demoted, given pay hikes or the pink slips. Software industry in a way is no exception to this process. Each IT company has their own set of objectives / yardsticks to measure an employee’s performance. Appraisal or the Quarterly Review is a forum where you get to say/hear the "white" lies.
The process commences with the employees doing self appraisal or review. An elaborate explanation should be provided for each of the rating against the pre defined objectives. That’s indeed a marvelous, mind-boggling task! This is the time when the employee gets to say the white lies while rating his/her performance. Now here is the twist - Can a person deliver "beyond expectations"? If that’s the case, then why is he/she still in the same organization doing the same work for the last few years?
My friend recently commented that in today’s scenario, getting a work completed on time is itself a case of delivering beyond expectations. She finds that the new comers are more interested in working on their looks that kills than on programming skills!
Lesson no 1 – Doing the task on time with minimum bugs are at times considered delivering beyond expectations! Now you may ask, what are "minimum bugs"? Sorry, I can’t help you with that for I have been clueless and confused about it from a very long time!
Once the employee has done with his/her self review, it’s the time for the manager to step in and do his/her part of assessing the subordinates. Human beings have an acute acumen to remember and retrieve bad incidents and they conveniently forget the good ones!
Lesson no 2 – Be pleasant and at peace with your superior especially when the appraisal time is round the corner!
The third step to the appraisal process is the review meeting. The employee and his/her superior sit together and have a discussion on the ratings. This is one of the most time consuming step. If the employee is quite vocal and vociferous, he/she can actually have the ratings revised but it’s indeed one of a case! This is the time when the employee gets to hear the white lies – "You are indeed too good but there is still a scope for improvement!"
Lesson no 3 – If you are bad at convincing, better accept the lies.
The last step is the normalization stage, can be also termed as the bidding process. Here, all managers reporting to the same superior sit with the HR and grade the employees reporting to them. One of my friends recently expressed her concern on how people stoop to a very low level to promote his/her candidate. Though everyone knew that her candidate was the right pick, they brought in the low attendance (due to some personal emergency) as a factor to veto his candidature!
The end of the appraisal cycle, the employees are given a hike based on his/her performance - the good ones get a decent one while the bad ones are not at all ignored! In short, people who work really hard gets awarded with more work while others hardly work and still gets paid for no work!
Which path would you choose – the ideal one or the idle one?