Appraisal fever is here!

Just as we close March and the year ending, the next big thing around this time that happens are the appraisals and while some of us have a January to December cycle, some of us have an April to March cycle. In my years of work, I have had all kinds of appraisals from excel sheet forms to 360-degree feedback and they have been interesting experiences in many ways and there has always been learnings to take away.

Apart from appraising and being appraised, I have also been part of the communications team that helps define and design the communications around performance appraisals. While HR teams own and run these cycles, it’s always good for organisations to consider that unless communicated right, the appraisal processes can lose steam and impact and won’t always deliver results that you anticipate.
As communicators here are a few pointers to think of as you design campaigns for appraisal cycles:

  • Be a part of the conversation when it starts and ensure you have a seat at the table when the design and format is being created
  • Work in tandem with HR as they put together the finer nuances of the cycle, to ensure that the communication pieces are plugged in right to address your audience
  • Look at the history of appraisal cycles within the organisation and gather some primary research to indicate trends and insights
  • Understand your audience and keep a keen eye to ensure you grab the attention from the word go, is an essential skill to have while you design the communications
  • Ensure the content is simple and easy for everyone, including the new folks on the block and it isn’t repetitive or boring for the ones who have been in the system
  • Answer the five W’s and one H as a thumb rule in the communications as every cycle tends to be different in some form from the last
  • Note that timing is crucial so are FAQ’s that can be curated well before rolling out, so you are ready to take in and respond to questions quickly and easily
  • Articulate the finer nuances right and ensure that the datelines and deadlines are captured, and the information is accurately passed on
  • Get creative with communicating appraisals and make it a fruitful exercise by engaging the audience in the right way

I remember using IPL one of the seasons at one of the IT companies I worked with as a series of communication pieces to engage our colleagues during the appraisal cycle and it was well received.

If you are the appraiser, here are some thoughts that help. These have always helped me in the past:

  • Steer clear of bias in any form and ensure you ask yourself through the process if there has been any bias – conscious or subconscious and course correct
  • Stay objective and assess the entire tenure
  • Avoid situational instances from clouding your judgement of the person
  • Look at the JD always as a start point to the role and then the KRA’s and map accordingly
  • Look at return on objectives and not just numbers
  • Assess basis output
  • Use a behavioural and value-system based assessment method and look at the person holistically
  • Be fair and be honest
  • Ensure you give feedback and monitor and mentor your teams on an ongoing basis
  • Give constructive feedback

If you are the being appraised, it’s good to think of these, I use them as indicators for me…

  • Put your work out there and showcase it
  • Identify your strengths and weaknesses and be honest about them
  • Bring all that you have to the table
  • Be objective in your self-ranking and benchmark against the JD and hence the KRA’s set
  • Try to showcase qualitative and quantitative measurements to help see both sides
  • Show what you have done for business and how you have impacted the organisation
  • Use feedback and data from the previous cycle, if available, to showcase how you have worked on it
  • Be fair to yourself
  • Go prepared, make sure you go in with a list of things you want to address or want addressed
  • Keep it simple and candid, talk openly and freely
  • Take ownership and responsibility
  • Remember there will be another cycle in the future…

Hope my two cents helped and hope all of you have a constructive and fruitful appraisal!

Shreya Krishnan
Vice President - Marketing and Communications at Aon India Insurance Brokers
Shreya is a CSR Specialist and Corporate Grooming Consultant. Her interests lie in Activism, Dance, Theatre, Poetry, Blogging, Modelling, Acting. She considers herself an Earth Warrior and is an Event Anchor and Trainer. She is a Pageant Winner and public speaker.

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