Performance Rating System
Numerous grievances of the associates of the giant company are related to the current appraisal system. In a nut shell with this system it can not be justified why a person should get 3 or 4 instead of 4 or 5. The rating 2 is given to send a message to a team member that his or her service is not up to expectation of the team and he or she should work hard to maintain his or her position in the team. The rating 1 is simply saying that one must start looking for better opportunity elsewhere. 5 is maximum we can do for an associate being within the appraisal system. So we do not have to convince one about these last two ratings.
The issue is with rating 2, 3 & 4. Convincing one with rating 2, 3 or 4 is required for the benefit of the company and the individual. The associate with rating 2, 3 or 4 wants to know what he or she needs to do to get 3, 4 or 5. So we have to very precisely define these three special rating 3, 4 & 5 so that all will have a clear idea when setting the goal to get a challenging 3, big 4 or mighty 5.
Most of the current goals are not realistic for many reasons. Say a goal of database uptime that can not be achieved by more than 100% but an associate will get 5 only if he or she hits 110% of the target. Another example is targeting "zero" issues when a 5 needs 110% achievement.
So we came up with some goals that are
Point 1 and 3 are self explanatory. If somebody ever achieved these goals then these are realistic and achievable. Lets talk about what is measurable and how.
Example of some measurable goals (that you can actually measure against available data)
1) Number of closed tickets with proper documentation (value adding work log, solution summary and solution detail - so that others can solve similar issues getting information from these tickets).
2) Knowledge sharing session conducted or documents created for knowledge repository (based on your work experience - not just ready made materials on internet).
3) Number of billable hours generated (this is directly related to monetary interest of our company).
Note that I do not think number of customer complaints or escalations against you should be part of the performance matrix because it only proves that you work; if somebody does not work at all there will be no escalation against him or her.
So please read on to understand the rating from a real life perspective in plain and simple English text. This is result of my 12 years of experience in current organization and more than five years with other companies and please take it only as my personal opinion - nothing official about it.
A description of fictitious rating "6" is given for the
shake of completeness of the findings.
What I described above is a human perspective to judge a person and his or her performance. But in a mammoth organization like ours we need to make it measurable and scalable. For that we need some tool and the existing one is sufficiently good - and let us assume that we are temporarily authorized to slightly modify the terms and goals as per our understanding so that we can measure the performance more logically. If that would be the case then the following would be my choice of goals and target. When the target number are same for different rating it will depend on quality of the achievement. Again I am considering the 90% of the company force at frontline who face the clients and do the actual work for the company and not the rest 10% of the big bosses who decides how to distribute the fruits earned from the business tree. You are welcome to share your experience in the discussion area at the bottom of this page.
NB:I am not considering those cases where you got a two (with full moral support to those who really need to improve) because you had an old fight with the project leader or changed the project during dirty appraisal time for some reason or left the organization - in that case you are not reading this article anyway. Also I am not considering the "5"s (with full respect to the real performers) those are not really role models as defined above but are having ability to manage and influence vital stake holders (of project appraisal) in different ways or visit adjacent tea stall at right times. These cases are exceptions and cover 5% of the company population and cannot be defined by simple logic. My view dealt with the rest of the 95% of TCS people 90% of which are never happy with the performance rating they are given.
Also I intentionally forgot the convention that as you are at onsite you will score less than your counterpart at off shore with same capability. The sweetness of dollar certainly has some invisible effect on this appraisal system. To get something you need to sacrifice something in real world.
To understand what it looks like from the other sides of the fences let us see the rating system from three different human perspectives - Appraise, Appraiser and Management.
Appraise (you - our main concern) is just like a newly married bride who left her father's home to stay with her husband, work very hard through out the year to please everybody including in-laws and in-laws of the in-laws and at the end of the year her husband (PL/GL) informs her that there is no special place for her in his heart.
Appraiser is left in more dilemma. He started the journey with all his friends and families inflicting lots of enthusiasm and hope in everybody's mind and at the middle of the journey when the boat is being drowned he has limited number of life belts and he has to choose very quickly out of all his family members and friends (say all are very near and dear) whom he will save.
And what about company management? He is like the great father of a big family. In time of economic crisis realizing that he cannot afford to send all his children to good school or provide them all with good food he needs to choose very quickly on whom he should spend wisely for higher education and costly nutritious food so that he can get a quick return of his investment. In the pyramid structure of the corporate family this is quite obvious and we have to live with that.
If you got a '2' for changing project please know the fact that you are not alone and a huge population of your organization have sometime in past became victim or near victim of this system and if you find somebody who never faced this situation or felt the shiver he or she is either not in this organization or one of the lucky 10% of the total company population I am intentionally forgetting for the time being.
Also there is a big fallacy of the current rating system with which the giant company keeps control on its associates (read workers). Say two football teams are going to play matches in world cup for the company - one is Brazil and another Bangladesh (just an example). Now we all know that the worst player of Brazil team is far better than the best player of Bangladesh team. Still at the end of the year the best player of Bangladesh team (and their coach obviously) will get 5 or 4 and the worst player of Brazil team (and the extra players) will get all 2 and 3.
Not to make things light but to take into account the other views I wanted to include some interesting comments I found on
the net on what causes an appraiser gives when he or she needs to give
low rating to his or her teammates. Top 10 reasons are given below:
01. Your rating got reduced in curve fitting which is out of my hand. (As if curve is some indeterminate shape and values in curve are random)
While you are going to finish reading this article please
remember there is always a big umbrella (called curve fitting)
above all of our heads whether we like it or not and whatever
we do we cannot get our heads out and above that umbrella. But
there is no reason thinking that this appraisal rating system is
the end of the world. If you have confidence in what you are
thinking and doing there are hundreds of other ways to be
rewarded. So next time never give up if you think you got a