How to Handle an Appraisal Request?
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As an HR Manager, you might be dealing with untimely appraisal requests on a regular basis. There can be multiple reasons for it - At times an employee might feel underpaid or s/he might feel that they are doing work above their profile and requests for an appraisal. How do you respond to it? Let’s look at few ways to handle it –
Response – Try and hold back a spontaneous reaction irrespective of the fact that the employee is deserving or not and especially if the request is untimely. The best response to do this would be to ask them ‘Tell us why do you think you need a raise?’, this will make the employee feel respected and recognized and at the same time give you enough information to understand the base of the request.
Ask for a stipulated time frame to address the concern as you would be required to take feedback from the respective head of department. At the end of the conversation, acknowledge the person’s courage as asking for an appraisal is a brave step.
Evaluate – Evaluate the conversation and the employee’s work to decide the way forward. Measure if the increment requested matches their productivity. Discuss it internally - Is the compensation requested for justified, is it fair to her/his peers and externally what is the market value of the person (and the role s/he is performing), and are the other companies in the industry giving a similar remuneration. If you believe that the employee is an asset, is adding value to the organization and you are concerned about the retention; make sure that you build an objective case with respectable amount of information to back it up.
Discussion – Most of the companies have an annual appraisal policy, and in some situations you also have to give consideration to other members in the same team as well. If you feel that the employee’s request is reasonable, then look for alternate solutions before you have this discussion with the management. For e.g. the employee could be given additional responsibilities which would help her/him and the organization grow. S/he could also be given a timeline for the raise and in the meantime the employee could be given incentives such as flexible working hours, vacation time, tuition reimbursements, a consideration to be a part of global summits, etc. or her/his position can be upgraded for time being with a commitment of renegotiation in future. Alternatively, you could also suggest a public acknowledgement in the present and a monetary acknowledgement at a later date.
End result – If the appraisal is given an approval by the respective head of department, understand the right approach to deliver the news. You should make the employee aware that the reason behind this exception is because he is important and his work had added value to the organization. And then motivate the employee to continue demonstrating his value further by broadening his scope of work. If the appraisal is not approved, then explain the genuine reason behind it and give her/him an alternate solution for it. HR needs to make sure that the employees takes the feedback in a constructive manner and shouldn’t see it as negative annotations about her/his performance.
Guideline to follow:
Treat the person and the situation respectfully, even if you think the request is inappropriate
Evaluate the request objectively
If you believe that the raise is well deserved, then do your best to convince the top management
Communicate it clearly to the employee that her/his case is being treated as an exception and in no way it can turn into a trend
Give an immediate response, gather all the necessary information before deriving a conclusion
Grant the appraisal without sharing the message that it was earned and now the expectations from the employee have increased
Blame the management if the request gets disapproved, take complete responsibility even if you disagree with the decision
Above all, ensure that your communication is transparent, detailed and authentic. An HR Manager’s responsibility is to deal with delicate situations and an appraisal request is one of the important and frequent ones, please make sure you balance it well by taking the holistic view into consideration.