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Ahead of bell curve: Employee appraisal is beyond forms! Good evaluations are good parleys and not just appropriately-filled forms.

By Akash Shukla

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Like a bell, the appraisal benefits have conventionally stayed restricted to a few niche employees, dare I say the bigwigs. Awarding exorbitant perks to some has led to a lot of disagreement in the employee-staffer clan that branches out in the top down hierarchy of an organization. The same company takes a hit when the employees, instead of lateral movement, begin to evacuate the ship.

For more than a decade, bell curve in appraisals has maligned and malaised the employee sector. The crème-de-la-crème in an organization reaps those rare benefits which should be equally distributed among the unsung lot as it equally works hard but somehow couldn't manage to blow its own bugle before the bosses for the same.

So, how to attain a good evaluation process?

Ideally, the governing board and the manager should come together to decide on a three-pronged approach: How to do this? When should it be done? And, on what merit will the employee be evaluated?

While many shy away from evaluations, employee should ask for contracts that have open ways of communication with the "new bosses'. This would help an employee understand their viewpoints. This way an employee's efforts would never go down the drain and it would ensure that he was always in sync with the company's vision.

The appraisal process is fortified simply by opening lines of communication as it breaks barriers and leads to a sense of solidarity that previously never was.

Gone are the days when evaluations was just a form

Good evaluations are good conversations and not just appropriately-filled forms. In fact, the appraisal forms are often a distraction from the actual aim and the vision in which an employee is to be evaluated. A frank open dialogue, with all individuals participating, is much better than an A4 sheet with some questions to be checked in the boxes for an appraisal.

Forms are good for clarity and recordkeeping. They sustain the professionalism in human resource department. Agreed! But, they can never replace the feedback received during an actual appraisal interview.

Good evaluations occur when people indulge in a dialogue to talk and listen. Performance can never really be gauged through a form that is structured, penned, read, signed, and forgotten after it is stashed away like any other file.

Revisiting and reviewing the goals

Appraisal is an ideal time to review progress of the employee's goals and objectives. It is also a period when new goals can be set while the previous ones are reviewed. Setting a goal is the heart of the appraisal process.

Thereafter, the top bosses and the department heads allocate responsibilities and time frames for completion of goals. This plan in entirety can form the basis of an apt appraisal.

Akash Shukla

Former Sr. Features Writer, Entrepreneur India

With four years of journalistic and editorial experience from two leading English dailies, namely, The Pioneer and Hindustan Times, Akash dabbles in Applied Linguistics and mainstream journalism. His interests include book writing, travelogues, Gender Studies and Shaivism. The author is a senior features writer cum sub editor at 'Entrepreneur Online' and has a dual masters in journalism and English Language Teaching (ELT).


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