Warning: Appraisal Season Ahead!

If you are a white-collar worker on a salaried job in India, it is very likely that you are currently experiencing “Appraisal Season” in your organization. Over the past two decades, I have seen this process playout in a variety of firms of all shapes and sizes. And, many get the key elements wrong.

Here’s a list of some of the warning signs you should watch out for, especially if you work in junior ranks and/or have experienced just one or two employers during your tenure. Combined with other aspects of the “culture”, they can point to a toxic environment, and come in the way of your career growth.

  • Goal Sheets are drafted only during the Performance Appraisal (PA) cycle
  • Work performance is measured against outdated Goal Sheets
  • Manager feedback on your work is only provided at the year-end
  • Manager feedback is vague, ambiguous or de-linked from org / personal goals
  • Manager feedback is non-existent, or devoid of any constructive comments
  • No self-rating possible by individual; Only managers / reviewers can rate
  • No visibility of your performance rating even after the PA cycle is complete
  • No link between the rating provided and manager feedback
  • No link between performance-pay and the rating / feedback
  • No clarity on how you can progress to higher levels in the organization
  • No HRMS or record of past performance to chart career progressions
  • Organization is opaque or unclear on how it rewards high-performance
  • No clear path for high-performance teams / individuals to progress
  • Mediocrity or long-tenure is rewarded / promoted, regardless of performance
  • HR attempts to force fit “bell curve” on small teams or departments

If you are working for a team lead or organization that does the opposite of these, consider yourselves fortunate – chances are you will progress much, if you do what’s required of you.

However, if you are contributing to any of these as a team lead / manager / function head / leader, I strongly urge you to re-think your approach. After all, this has a real impact on your teams.

“People are the most important asset we have” is not just a buzzphrase. It’s time we commit to that maxim, and put our energy behind it.