Smart skills can help you ace the 2019 appraisal
Do not fret about this year’s performance evaluation. Learn from it and prepare for next year
Pune-based Deepak Bisht would often keep a weekly tracker of his tasks while working as a software engineer in Wipro Ltd. “My manager would do surprise checks on us to see if we were staying on top of things, which, in a way, was good. At the end of the year, we didn’t have to go out of our way to show that we have been finishing our projects on time,” says Bisht, who is currently pursuing an MBA from the Symbiosis Institute of Business Management, Pune.
Bisht’s tracker might seem like a lot of hard work for a couple of random checks in the year, but these small steps helped him stay ahead when it came to the year-end appraisal process. “View the appraisal process as a way of getting feedback and bettering your performance. An appraisal should not be looked at as a way of getting increments only, because that will lead and unhappiness,” says Chandrasekhar Sripada, professor (organizational behaviour and strategic human capital) at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
Apart from keeping a note of projects handled, another way to ace your appraisal in 2019 could be to become proactive. Bengaluru-based Usha Mariyappa, manager (corporate affairs), Huawei Technologies India, regularly asks her manager for feedback, especially after an important campaign. “Regular feedback helps improve and improvise,” says Mariyappa.
While many companies have introduced half-yearly or quarterly feedback processes, employees should begin asking bosses if they are aligning with company goals. This will help you to hit the ground running for next year, instead of waiting and wondering why you got a poor rating in the first place. “Millennials are impatient and they want to know right away what is working and what needs to be corrected. If they reach out, they can save time in course correction,” says Achal Khanna, CEO, Society for Human Resource Management, an HR professional society.
Khanna believes that open-door policies make it easier to get feedback from managers and senior leaders. It is, however, also important to get 360-degree feedback—including peers, colleagues, reportees, clients and customers. “It isn’t just your ‘targets met’ that will get you ahead in your career,” adds Sripada.
Goal-setting in itself can be complicated. Spend time on this, understanding exactly what you want to write down as your goals, because most reviewers will take note of whether or not you have met your goals at appraisal time.
“Goal-setting is a top-down approach. The organization’s goals will become your manager’s goal, and that will, in turn, decide your goal. Take the initiative to make these goals as objective as possible. If possible, also give metrics to measure these goals,” advises Arif Khan, chief HR officer at Sasken, a specialist in product engineering and digital transformation.
Khan also suggests documenting the goals and metrics. For, if you have just a discussion, it could lead to confusion later. “If at any point you feel that the goal being discussed is not possible to be met in the discussed time frame, be upfront about it,” adds Khanna.
Yes, work goals are what you are likely to be rated on but you need to do more than just meet objectives. “Sign up for cross-functional projects which might be pertaining to your area of interest, but are not necessarily your core strength,” says Rajiv Krishnan, managing director at executive search and recruiting firm Korn Ferry Hay Group, India.
Once you get feedback, do not brood over your rating. It is a human tendency to shift blame. Instead, ask what people are expecting you to change or modify in your work style.
“In soft skills especially, we do not seek a clear road map for the future. But your personality and how you value-add will take you further than just meeting performance indicators,” says Sripada.
While nothing can beat hard work, one must look at all-round development. Preparing from now for the next appraisal cycle means you are already ahead in the race.
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