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It's Time for Appraisals!

- Surbhi Chattkara

Jack Welch once said, 'You got to be rigorous in your appraisal system”. And that holds true for organizations as well as individuals.

Appraisal is that time of the year when you formally sit with your colleagues (here, I intentionally say colleagues because we get the best out of a team when we see them as colleagues) and discuss the year that was. Whatever be the appraisal process in your organization, appraisal discussion is a must in almost every process. And each person has his/her own way of approaching the same.

However, many of us discuss a colleague's contribution in terms of what went well, what didn't go well. The result is that some  of them walk out of that meeting satisfied, some  dissatisfied, while a few  elated, and a few definitely  angry! This shows that it is quite emotional.   We think and talk about appraisal meetings for next few days and gradually it tapers off and soon it's business as usual!

What is that we must do   to get more out of appraisals and make it a platform for sharing ideas and suggestions?

Share and Seek Feedback

Give feedback a constructive spin. You can use these meetings to share feedback as well as seek feedback—not just about you as a leader but also about organizational processes, systems, challenges the team faces, direction in which the team is going, tools the team uses. Who knows you might just sow the seeds for an innovative product offering or a process in one of these meetings.

As for feedback about the appraisee, a lot of it should have been shared with the person during the course of the year. And if there is a point of concern about a colleague's performance or skill, use this platform to discuss a course of action that helps them bridge the gap.

5

Make Them Think

Encourage your colleagues to think beyond their roles. Ask them questions like what they like about the team? How can the team function better? How can the team align better with the organizational objectives? This has twin benefits. One, you get different perspectives. Two, you get an opportunity to share your perspective to help them understand why things are done in a certain way. The third benefit is that such discussions enhance people's sense of belonging.

Know Them Better

In the same role, different people like different aspects of the role. Understand what your colleagues like most about their job or role and what they like least. This will help you know their strengths from their standpoint. You can use this discussion to initiate small innovation projects that play to your colleagues' strengths. Such discussions and projects (if you get an opportunity to initiate projects) keep teams motivated. Everyone wants to work on things close to their heart. You might just be surprised to see the magic that your team can do!

(if you get an opportunity to initiate projects) keep teams motivated. Everyone wants to work on things close to their heart. You might just be surprised to see the magic that your team can do!

Talk About Future

Invest time in understanding your colleagues' professional aspirations. Ask them about their dreams. What type of role and responsibilities excite them? Are they interested in working in another team within the organization? Discuss how you can guide and support them in realizing their dreams. Your support might just be in the form of connecting them with someone who can answer their queries better.

Appraisal meetings can be used as a platform to discuss thoughts and ideas that are lost in daily routines. Like you, your colleagues, also have numerous ideas. Discussions that happen in this meeting can help you become a better leader, improve processes, enhance productivity, and even create a new product offering. But most importantly, such discussions would ensure that your colleagues walk out of that meeting thoughtful and smiling.

This time around let us make it a more rewarding exercise during the appraisals both for the feedback giver and seeker.

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