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Monday, January 31, 2011

How to make the most of your performance appraisal

It is that time of the year again. The annual appraisal form has dropped in your mailbox. Like so many others, you sit on it till deadline looms. Then you scamper to fill it by copying from colleagues and get over with the formality. This, however, is not the right way to go about it; nor is it a good idea to see your appraisal as a mere formality.

As an employee who has gone through umpteen performance appraisals, here are a few tips to do a better job on these. Remember, however, that there is no substitute for hard, intelligent work on a consistent basis.

Making a case for promotion

Start now: Most companies set 'time windows' when managers can promote employees. This means that the staffers who want to move up during this period should talk to their managers about it a couple months beforehand. If, in your case, the next window is in April, then you should meet your manager now.

If you wait till the performance review in April, it could be a case of missed opportunity, with no option but to wait for the next window. Companies usually decide on the number of promotions and even the people they want to promote a couple of months before the actual review date. It is, therefore, important that your case is presented well before your boss starts working on the appraisal for his team.

Ideally, you should set the stage for a promotion by keeping your bosses informed throughout the year about your successes and desire to move up.

Record your successes

Keep a diary: Memories are short. Our bosses forget the good things we have done and remember only the times we goofed up. It is your duty to record your successes and highlight them in the performance appraisal. These successes could be an e-mail from a customer thanking you for solving a problem, even a mail from your boss or his boss congratulating you for surpassing the target.

Keeping a log of such achievements will help you put a structured argument in your appraisal. Also, before you start filling in the form, decide on your objectives. Is it a promotion, is it a grade change or is it a transfer that you want?

Every statement of yours should be supported by facts

Keep it short and sweet: Every statement of yours should be supported by facts. And do not exaggerate. Don’t write long sentences like, “I am a loyal worker and I live, breathe and think about our company all the time...” All your remaining claims will also be taken with a pinch of salt.

Remember, you are appraised every day by your boss and the appraisal form is just a way of reminding him of what he may miss out.

When asking for a raise

The first thing you can do is to check your worth in the industry. Several websites like give expected salary ranges based on your position, location and experience. Sometimes your colleagues would also have posted their salaries on websites like This helps in knowing your true value and helps you while negotiating with your boss.

The second thing to keep in mind is that if asked for your salary expectation, never give a figure first. If your answer is too high, you may be seen as greedy and over-ambitious. You may even be deprived of the promotion that is on the horizon. You aim too low and your boss will either think you’re not qualified or desperate. So, if possible, write ‘NA’ on the application.

Don't blackmail the employer

Occasionally, employees make the mistake of thinking that blackmailing the employer can be a good strategy. You may want to tell your boss that you will leave unless you get a promotion and a significant jump in salary. If your boss has no alternative, you may get it in the short term.

But remember that bosses have long memories and will try and develop others within the company so that they don’t have to depend upon you. From that point on, you might face trouble in negotiations not just with your employer, but with everyone in your industry who has heard about it. Word gets around.

What the company expects

The right attitude: This can mean staying long hours when required, or volunteering for that extra bit of work which others want to avoid.

Your output: Sales people are measured on target achievement. So are production people. The majority of the work force today is white collar employees working in back-office accounts, customer service, etc. Here the standards are not easy to measure. If you are in such a role, then it should be your responsibility to work out your ‘target’ with your boss.

Your loyalty: The longer you stay in your company, higher the chances of your promotion.

When you get an offer

Don't take the first offer that you get. Most employers expect candidates to try to negotiate. So ask for time and come back the next day or next week with a higher figure, which you think the boss will agree to.

Once your salary increase is locked in, go for other benefits. You can ask for facilities, such as working from home, study loans, sponsorship by company to management programmes which can help you in your job. If you still feel your package is too low, ask if it can be reviewed again in six months. In this manner, you can show them that you’re worth the money.

At the cost of repeating myself, do remember that the appraisal season starts before you are given the appraisal form.

By Kris Lakshmikanth, CEO & Managing Director, The Head Hunters India

Curtesy: ET

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


I read this post 2 times. It is very useful.

Pls try to keep posting.

Let me show other source that may be good for community.

Source: Free performance appraisal ebooks

Best regards