Performance Appraisal ! What Happens behind the scenes ?

Performance appraisal and its reality

The¬†most exciting time of the year for any employee in the Organization, Performance Appraisal. You feel tensed, heart beat raises, hands start shaking, Tend to work more, Leave office very late (some really do) and what not ūüôā ? Most Organization’s¬†follow a certain pattern to ‘Fit the Employees’ in¬†their Graph¬†of appraisals. In this post, Let us see¬†know about the process and what Organization’s¬†can do to improve things.

Appraisal Discussions:

Most of the discussions during the appraisals happen toward finding the gaps and negatives rather than appreciating the work done by the resource.¬†Manager needs to ensure that he follows the guidelines to fit you in the so-called ‘Graph’ called as BELL CURVE.

Appraisal Graph:

The Graph is divided with the top performing employees, employees exceeding the expectations, and employees meeting the expectations.

The percentages are like –

A. Top performing employees – 10%

B. Exceeding Expectations – 25% to 30%

C. Meeting expectations – 55% to 60%

D. lower performance Р5% to 10%

Performance Appraisal

By now, its clear that most of the employees fall under C category which is ‘Meeting expectations’.

Before Proceeding any further, we need to have answers for the following questions that happens during the course of appraisal period you have been rated.

Q1. Were you given clarity of goals to be achieved during the year?

Mostly the employees have no idea about the goals and parameters that are rated in the appraisal. All of a sudden, you are rated less for the parameter like ‘Goals reached’. Did anyone happen to discuss about the goals you need to reach and was there any review about the progress ? answer to yourself.

Q2. Are you recognized if you fall under the category of ‘Meeting Expectations’?

The biggest common trap of the appraisal is in which You are rated as ‘Met the expectations‘ and ‘rewarded poor‘. Large percentage of employees fall under this category and which is the biggest reason why Organization’s¬†succeed.

Consider the scenarios :

Team A (size 10) Р Has 3 Top performers and rest are average.

Team B (size 15) – Has no Exceptional performers but 10 of them have reached the expectations, which means they have completed their work on time.

Appraisal Comparison-example

Now answer the question РWhich of the two teams would you think will deliver the project successfully?

So, My dear ones, you are the actual pillars of the Organization! Be proud. And Bell curve will soon be eliminated.

Q3. Did you ever got ‘Vibes’ when your performance is discussed?

During the appraisals (which are usually done during the end of the year) More Negatives are discussed than the performances to justify the decision of rewards. It would have been good if the discussions are about the performances and corrections that would help you improve, going forward.

vibes during appraisal discussion

Q4. Is the Manger qualified enough to do the appraisal?

Unfortunately, Most managers are not trained to do such discussions. The ratings are given based more of the external factors than the actual parameters.

Q5. Did the Organization ever recognized your talent?

Imagine if all the employees are purely rated and rewarded only work-wise and there are no other skills that are being recognized such as Sports, competitions etc. In such case, You are considered as a MACHINE rather than a human resource. whats the difference ? decide yourself!


Q6. ‘I did most of the work in the project but¬†rewards are way below expectations’, Is this your feeling?

You may be right, but management looks at fitting yourself in the graph of appraisals (category) which is the main reason why employees are frustrated and start looking at other possibilities even though they did most of the work.

So, Can this be improved ? Yes it can, if the Organization and Managers follow certain guidelines.

Organization and Managers:

1. Define Goals Clearly:

Goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound. Discuss with the individuals and set give them clarity about the expectations.

2. Define the role of Resources ‘Meeting Expectations’:

As discussed, The success of the Organization lies in the work done by the category C (Meeting expectations). It would mess up things if everyone starts giving strategies and guidance. Think about it.¬†There will be only few leaders and Mangers and others need to follow them. but, ‘Followers’ considered as average performers and get average rewards.¬†If the most compensation is shared among the top two categories then how about recognizing the BEST FOLLOWER?


3. No surprises please!:

It’s not a good idea to give surprises in the appraisal discussions. Instead of having yearly discussions have it periodically to know better. The employee should get vibes about his performances rather than the negative surprises.

4. Managers to be Qualified and Trained:

Managers need to be trained to do the discussions to have good employee experience. Also, need to show the bigger picture and how does he fit in.

5. Define goals to appropriate level:

Divide and Assign goals based on the knowledge levels and roles of the individuals rather them pushing through first and them pulling their socks.


6. Recognize the Talent in the individual.

The manager and Organization has to know and recognize the Individual is a Human Resource and not a Machine with a switch to change moods with ON and OFF.

The Appraisal System:

The same format has been followed by the organization’s for almost decades which cannot be changed overnight. But, if there are changes it would bring miracles into the system. After all, Individuals are humans and spend most of their life time in office (50 hrs per week). They work hard and it is the responsibility of the Organization and managers to give them the comfort. It should¬†create the sense of ownership¬†and happy work environment.

To the individuals – Do not ever mess with the Superiors and Managers in your Organization. If you are doing it, do it as a team. Else, you will be the scapegoat at the end of the day. Beware!

Give us your opinion ‚Äď

Who according to you will most likely to get a good appraisal?

One who ‚Äď

  • ‚ÄėWorks hard‚Äô and competes to finish of tasks.
  • ‚ÄėAverage performer ‚Äėwho completes tasks.
  • ‚ÄėGo to guy‚Äô of the management who sells himself.
  • ‚ÄėSuperstar‚Äô who does more than what is required.

Put in your answers in the comments section below.

End note РI would like to thank Manish Bhilwadkar Р(Senior Vice President Quality at Source HOV) for  his views on the art of appraisal which made me to pen down this post. Also, please note that this post is not against any organization or individual.

Happy Appraisal.