Time for the Reckoning

April and appraisals are not just alliterative, but synergistic for more reasons in the corporate lexicon

April is the cruellest month. Whether you appreciate the season for its regenerative powers along with Geoffrey Chaucer or curse it with T. S. Eliot for stirring dull roots with rain and waking the zombies or the living dead from our mechanized existence, April or the beginning of the new financial year, is an unforgettable time in our corporate existence.

Come April, it is time for the annual balance sheet to be taken out and updated. And here I mean our personal scorecard that we have to fill up and submit for the annual appraisal. Achievements against targets for the year gone by and goals against the next calendar yeara dreaded exercise for most managers! A month-long task that stretches into a few months and at the end of it some savour just desserts and some nurse broken hearts.

Appraisals despite all the objective and measurable criteria to induce a 360 degree holistic assessment, remain open to criticism. Mainly because what they are used to judge are highly emotional and subjective subjectshuman beings. Yet, as managers, open and fair, we must try our best to promote and preserve the deserving for the greater good of the organisation. The how is never easy to answer.

As a junior executive on the IT team of a leading corporate house, I observed a strange phenomenon. There were some senior managers who seemed to idle away their duty hours. They would just be part of the many morning meetings with the powerful clique--managing director, directors, general managers and visiting vendors heads. After that all the work would be assigned the senior executives, who stayed late and did the dogs work. Yet, the bosses would openly praise pay handsomely through appraisals. It was all very curious. After some time and being part of a few meetings, I realised they were the fountainheads of ideas, responsible for ensuring the companys healthy bottom line.

The example is just to illustrate the subjective nature of human talent. What appears to the eye is not always the truth. There are the ideators and the doers. Both are critical to an organisation. But only a manager working closely with both can decide what each deserves. The best way to deal with such a scenario is to remove a cog and then appraise the effectiveness of the wheel. Can it survive? Does it affect the performance of the team? Does it affect the company performance as a whole?

If As performance is of consequence to the team, the larger group and the company, then by improving it, A will be contributing majorly to the whole. The targets of A will be aligned to the immediate tasks of individual/team and the goals to the larger company goal. With a clear vision of the company goal, As roadmap of personal goals will be well laid out. The appraisal will then be transparent and fair.

What do you think?

Sangita Thakur Varma,

Editor, India Now

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