The Ides of March

 In Miscellaneous

Starting March most organizations will enter what I call as the “appraisal season”. The duration of this season will vary from organization to organization. (depending on the employee “appraisal obsession index”!!)

This season quite resembles what used to happen during the Ides of March in the Roman Era which included sacrifices, revelry and something called as Mamuralia as well!! Please see the link below. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ides_of_March).

Performance reviews, ratings, promotions, salary decisions, portfolio changes etc will keep everyone busy. KRA’s set at the beginning of the appraisal cycle will be dug up and both appraisers and the appraised will look at them with a sense of bewilderment. In many cases there may not be any KRA’s so there will be enough of what are called as “oops” moments.There will be intellectual discussions on topics like the Bell Curve, Transparency in appraisals. Employees who have performed well will know it and will hope that their managers know it as well whereas employees who have not performed well will also know it but will hope that their managers don’t know it!!

The poor customer will in all probability take a distant second place on the priority list since everyone will be so busy with themselves.

All in all, the world will probably be a very exciting place to live in over this season.

When it comes specifically to performance feedback and the ensuing decisions made on the future of the employee in question, I quite like this particular quote from the popular TV serial, The Game of Thrones.

“The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword. If you would take a man’s life, you owe it to him to look into his eyes and hear his final words. And if you cannot bear to do that, then perhaps the man does not deserve to die.” ― George R.R. MartinA Game of Thrones

We all struggle while giving the right and honest feedback especially to employees who have not been performing as expected. The struggle may be a bit less if care would have been taken to give the right periodic feedback to the employee and hence ensuring that opportunities are given and expectations set. But as we all know, this doesn’t happen in most cases.

It will be good if we look at the upcoming appraisal season as an opportunity to do the following:-

  • Figure out what caused the most stress and heartburn during this season and ensure that it gets addressed for the next cycle. For example, if KRA setting was not done well, ensure that it gets done immediately for the next cycle or if enough feedback sessions were not done through the period, use this opportunity to have the first meaningful and honest feedback session. Remember that the onus for such things lies equally with the appraiser as well as the appraise.
  • Look at this as an opportunity to help the organization on two fronts – One, identify the stars and give them more to do and Two, identify the poor performers and put them on notice so that they either perform or perish within an acceptable time frame.
  • Get a handle on your areas of improvement and put up a 90 day plan to fix those. As they say, 90 days is enough to accomplish most things!!

Some things that we absolutely should avoid doing during and immediately after this season:-

  • Take our attention away from the person who puts the bread on our table which is our customer.
  • Spend too much time looking back. There is another wonderful quote from The Game of Thrones which says “If I look back I am lost”

Wish you all a fulfilling appraisal season and remember, there will always be a next time:-)

As always, I would love to get comments/feedbacks so do keep them coming.

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