9 February 2012


Imagine yourself as an inventor of a new product, something that is needed in Society and worthy of being released in the market. After all your pains and struggles throughout the development cycle of this product, you finally have a finished product which is market ready, but unfortunately there are no takers. No people willing to try it out nor even test it for free

Stop for a moment and visualise your pain. This is exactly the same feeling, which will be felt by your top performers, if you do not pay heed to their performances. A hard year of work put in by your team should never result in a five minute closure by you.

Most Performance Appraisal Systems would mainly consist of 3 parts – Tasks at hand (KRA’s / KPI’s), Competencies and Career Development. Very often the first part (Tasks) takes up most of the time during the appraisal. From a Manager’s raw perspective, you are not entirely wrong if you also do so. The concern normally is when the other two parts are neglected and least importance given to them. Let’s drill further on how a Manager can appraise his team members across these three equally important parts in the Appraisal Cycle.

  1. Part I - Validating the tasks performed: Each member in your team would have his tasks given to him at the beginning of the Performance Appraisal period. These tasks could be called by various names – OKR's) (Objectives and Key Results), KRA’s (Key Responsible Areas), KPA’s (Key Performance Area’s), CPF’s (Critical Performance Factors) or any other name that suggests that they are measurable tasks. As a Manager, one should always ensure that each member has their tasks and that reasonable reviews are conducted through - out the year by discussions and ongoing conversations. Having achieved this, the Manager is all set to conduct the year-end review. Key points to be ensured at this stage are: Task completion status to be accurately evaluated. Emphasis to be laid on incomplete tasks. Make no mistake of rating higher for effort only and not end-results. Give credit for additional tasks performed as well.
  2. Part II – Competency check: In this section of the Appraisal, the abilities and skills exhibited by your team member while performing the above mentioned tasks are rated. In a growing organisation, this becomes an important part to measure competencies such as time consumed, leadership style, team work, integrity, use of one’s own knowledge, support rendered to others, etc., would speak of his or her next role. Appraising of Organisational competencies play a pivotal role in Succession Planning and identifying the next role for an employee. In these competitive days, Managers find majority of their team above high performance levels and as such, appraising of competencies could be the deciding factor in the final outcome of the appraisal. Not just the end-result matters, but the entire process employed in ensuring that the task was completed well. Measuring how a task is completed in hard times would also help you differentiate the men from the boys.
  3. Part III – Career Development: Probably this is the most neglected part in any appraisal due to lack of time or disinterest from both parties. However this section is very valuable from an employee engagement and retention perspective as it covers the existing ability of the employee and also the skill gaps that are visible for not only his present role, but also his future roles. Managers should note that career enrichment is important in an employee’s career and they would be very disturbed if this section is not discussed.

Career goals should be discussed at length and proper follow-up and execution is a must. It is always good to have clear SMART tasks given to your team on time. Timely conversations and check-ins during the year and meaningful discussions on the career at the year end is needed, so that the employee would be ready for the ensuing year.

In closing, the three sections can be recapped as- Tasks are What you do, Competencies measure How you do? And Career development checks - if you are ready.