Appraisals are very painful for all the stakeholders concerned – the appraiser as well as the appraisee. As I find myself in the shoes of both, I thought that there are some generic pointers that can help people do justice to their role.

What are you trying to do in an appraisal?

You are trying to

  • judge a person’s performance over a period of time (usually is six months or an year)
  • give feedback on what he has done so far (good or bad)
  • provide clarity on what he is expected to do in the next time-period

Lets get it clear – majority of the appraisees will fill their self-rating anything less than the highest. One of my friends remarked that the ones who dont know the process and how it works, will fill in the ratings lower than what they deserve.

Is it justified? How can one prove it?

Notes over the time-period mentioned will surely help – chronological order of tasks performed will provide enough information on the achievements of the appraiser. Similarly, the appraiser can also note instances in his diary. But, people are usually not so organized.

So, my suggestion is to list down the following during the chat between the two (the following is from the appraisee’s perspective):

  • What did I do? This is nothing but the various accomplishments in the last time-period.
  • How did I do what I did? Did I do a good job? Was I satisfied myself? Did I get a good response from my customer (can be the Project Manager or the Architect or the end-customer)
  • Did I do what I did on time? Did I meet (if not exceed) the expectations that were set by my Manager?
  • What did I do in addition to what I was told to do? This is important. If everyone can show that they have done that ‘bit extra’ in their daily work, that goes a long way in winning the customer’s heart and of course that only means repeat business. This is the difference between a Star and the others.
  • Why did I not do what I was asked to do it? There might be some tasks that were assigned but due to some reasons, one could not take it up. If there is a real genuine reason, do not feel afraid to speak it out.

Comparison of notes can happen then and one can then see where the gaps are.

It is not as smooth as it sounds but this will make things more clearer for the people concerned. Do let me know your thoughts and experiences of appraisals.


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9 Responses to “Appraisals”

  1. xyz Says:

    Nice initiative for appraisal

  2. Amit Agarwalla Says:

    Professional organizations do maintain internal tools to report incidents of achivement or good work. Its usually the duty of the appraiser to report it, which generally does not happen.

    This can be used effectively for a smoother appriasal. Also why not report incidents of bad work or unmet expectations?

    So mu point is, its not just the appraisee’s duty to keep record. Its mutual with slight tilt towards appraiser.

  3. Binod Suman Says:

    Really nice posting. I think nowadays it is more useful for satyamites as appraisal is going on. I agree that it is difficult for both appraiser as well as the appraisee. One has to judge and the other has to define what he has done in one year. The points you suggested for both are really very insightful and useful.

  4. Girish Ahankari Says:

    Hi Madhu

    Nice article.
    I would like to add few more points out of my thinking hat.
    1. Appraisals should not be a yearly, but should quarterly or Half yearly. An Appraiser should not wait for yearly appraisal to give feedback.
    2. Appraiser should also take responsibility if an appraisee did not meet his targets as he/she was his mentor.
    3. An appraisee should not wait for annual appraisal to seek feedback. He/she should be constantly in touch with his mentor for suggestions and feedback.
    4. Feedbacks should be both positive and negative.
    5. An Appraisee should ensure that he takes a notebook and pen with him for discussion and ensures that he notes down all the points which are discussed. This will help him shape up his career.
    6. An Appraisee should take the feedback positively and should not link the monetory benefits with Appraisal.


  5. Mohit Goel Says:

    Nice article, i must say

    i am really agree with you and at all points but i would like to add some thing that is; you put up all evaluative components that should a employee think after his appraisal but what about organization’s evaluative components. A satisfied work force is a key in this highly competitive market.

    I have also written my view on same and looking for your comments.

    Its nice if you visit at following url and post your precious comments.

    Mohit Goel

  6. prateekkhare Says:

    I might be very-very naïve to express my opinion but I have been talking a lot about the subject lately in my attempt to promote Human Aspects of Software Engineering. I was fist inspired in Engineering days, by the clarity and concepts of Akio Morita and Sony: MADE IN JAPAN, then by the writings of Mr. Vineet Nayar, CEO-HCL Technologies. – And now this write up taught me the fail proof way of responsibly and tactfully handling the appraising process, when one has to deal with it.

    But I have some different thoughts about the whole thing. I for one feel that the whole concept of performance appraisal should be abolished, as it has no fixed formula. It brings in high possibilities of pre conceived notions, word of mouth, inappropriate judgment of personality, inability to judge, etc. If at all, a performance appraisal should be BOTH WAYS, as it is done in IIM’s across India, which enables both teachers and students to be at their best, at any given day, throughout the academic session.

  7. Jason Christensen Says:

    Many of the same points apply to goal setting. Here is a post with some valuable information:

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    Yes it is all a fantasy

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