Is Appraisal Necessary?

Yesterday, I met an young engineer who recently resigned from one of India’s premier IT company. After working in the industry for almost 4 years now, he is now pursuing higher education in the US. If all goes well, he will be joining a college situated near Niagara falls in August.After the initial pleasantries, the conversation turned to the reason for higher education. Then he replied, “I resigned primarily for the bad ratings I got during the appraisal. That made me think and finally, I decided to pursue higher education!”.

According to me, appraisal process is always difficult for both sides. No matter how fair you try to be, it always ends up ruffling feathers. The young engineer continued, “I was rated along with my neighbors”. Seeing my puzzled look, he elaborated, “Neighbors meaning my teammates who sits near me at the office! The saddest part is that I mentored all of them! And my ratings are lower than theirs. With the current rating, I will never get a promotion this year! So I resigned!”.

I have been listening to many people on the topic of appraisal. Everybody hates appraisal. Even during the appraisal season, the apprehension and negativity are always on the high. It reaches to a point that everyone wants to get over it as soon as possible!

If the appraisal process is counterproductive, why to have it in the first place? Does it help eliminate the bad performers? If so, do other countries have this elaborate and frustrating cycle? What happens if there are no appraisal?

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Tags: Musings,Appraisal


  1. Without appraisal, u will end being a govt office. Promotion based on no. of years you have stuck with the company. It doesn't matter whether you have mettle for handling the new profile or not, you are still promoted.

    Well I don't see happy employees there either. I guess, frustration of employees are inevitable.

  2. I think the core issue here is that this guy did not receive regular feedback or indications that his appraisal was going to be this way. It came as a surprise. Sadly appraisal cycles in most companies are once in a year affairs.

  3. I learnt an example of appraisal last week from PM.
    UPA made their own report card.
    It solves all the problems.

  4. I work in a goverment set-up where there is no appraisal. What happens there is that you end up being even more frustrated because there is
    1. No praise or increment or reward for performing well.
    2. A whole lot of who take their jobs for granted and simply refuse to do any work.
    I guess the grass is greener on the other side.

  5. I think appraisals are very important. How else do we know where we went wrong? An honest appraisal is needed for us to grow better.
    Yes it is a scary process and I hated the whole thing, but I felt it was really needed.

  6. Appraisals are important but it is very important that the one who gives you the appraisal knows what they're doing or else it becomes counter-productive.

    I've received many appraisals in my career and I yearn for criticisms than just blank praise. The best suggestion I ever got from my previous boss was this: 'You've many hideen strenghts Anish, you just need to be more confident and assertive when dealing with your assistants'. That one has helped me immensely so far, and my working ethos and style did change for good.

  7. Appraisals are like horoscopes. They can be used as an excuse to put off the marriage and in this case the increment/promotion.
    Like they say - a necessary evil?

  8. In my opinion appraisal is very much needed and plays important role for better growth and prospect. A person who works hard with full sincerity and devotion and if he doesn't get appraisal then its really heart breaking. People who work for the whole day and at the end of the day/month if their work doesn't get rewarded then everyone gets frustrated.

  9. Personal Opinion:

    Appraisal is necessary for an organization ,since, it drives its employees to put up a good show for the next financial year, expecting to get a good rating/appraisal. Yes.. Money matters. :-)

    When does it go wrong?
    --When Organization looks at numbers and not performance.
    --When Organization sets rules like x out of y can be rated z and not more, where z is a good appraisal rating.

    When do managers run into trouble?
    --Managers have x+n employees who deserves z. where n>0

    Question is : Is your organization flexible enough to allow Managers to rate x+n employees as “z” ?

  10. @Laks - So, according to you, appraisal is important!

    @Mayank - In order to circumvent this issue, there is an interim appraisal which happens during end of 6 months.

    @BKC - That was self appraisal!

    @Sucharita - There is a downside to everything.

    @Aparna - It is needed! But everybody hates it!

    @Anish - A good appraisal has two sections at the end. Strengths and Areas of improvement. Areas of improvement is what you are looking for!

    @Radha - A necessary evil... that causes numerous heartbreaks?

    @Babli - If there are more than one people, can everybody get the same rating?

    @Jithu - I think the solution would be to simply state their strengths and weaknesses. When grading comes, then there is a whole lot of issues! But then how will the increment be decided? :)


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