Thursday, February 5, 2009

Performance Appraisal

Where I work, its that time of the year. Yes, February. Also, Appraisals. Having been here for a while now, I am familiar with how these things play out. About a month or two before the review happens, employees are encouraged to submit proof of having done more than just survived through the year. That would be like saying ' HAVE YOU DONE ANY WORK DURING THE YEAR? ... ', just in case you think like me and don't get subtle hints. ' ... IN THE OFFICE ...' in case you still think like me. ' ... NO, EATING CAFETERIA FOOD DOESN'T COUNT' - if you are still thinking like me.

So, a dedicated HR team (dedicated HR, thats an oxymoron!) continuously mentions submission deadlines which everyone (including HR) ignores. After these deadlines have been extended about a hundred times and submissions have been received at gunpoint , the managers sit together to discuss the rating through dedicated brainstorming and multiple rounds of intense discussions among diverse panels of senior executives. I just have a sample conversation for you all.

Senior Mgr1: I think Gabbar did a great job. Heres the proof. He deserves a great rating
Senior Mgr2: Oops, I just spilt coffee over my trousers .. gimme that paper so that I can rub the stains
Senior Mgr1: Take this paper printout of Gabbar's submissions
.. A minute of cleaning later ..
Senior Mgr1: Gabbar's submissions are coffee stained .. he is irresponsible
Senior Mgr2: Yes, he deserves a poor rating

Well, not really. But, these conversations can happen. I do see a lot of coffee getting consumed in these meetings. And many of the appraised employees do feel that their achievements have been treated similar to paper used in other .. ahem .. delicate situations. So, finally with the appraisals done and the coffee producing economies of Brazil and Colombia having received a nice boost, the delicate matter of communicating the appraisals to the employees begins. The HR team communicates a deadline to the managers by when the employee needs to know the rating. The employee unaware of this deadline, like all SriRamaSene-fearing 'true' Indians, is fast asleep while non-Indians born and brought up in India party in a secret pub somewhere in Mangalore. Many managers I know believe in having an open, frank and honest discussion with their reportees. A minority tend to call up the employee about a minute from the deadline. The former category being about 5 and the latter being about 5 million. I have a sample conversation for you all.

Time - Feb 4, 23:59:00 hours
Mgr: Hello Samba, how are you?
Employee: Huh .. *yawn* huh?
Mgr: You have been identified as mediocre, middling performer
Employee: Huh .. *yawn* huh?
Mgr: Well, thats it then .. Am looking forward to you doing a great job this year
Employee: Huh .. *yawn* huh?
Mgr: Bye!
Time - Feb 4, 23:59:45 hours
Mgr to self: Job well done!

Well, not really. But these conversations can happen.