Does self-appraisal make a difference?
Sudipta Dev finds out why self-assessment is considered
an integral part of the performance appraisal process.
is a known fact that people rarely see themselves as others see them. Then what
is the purpose of doing self-assessment? Most emplo-yees question the validity
of an initiative which might not have any impact on the final outcome of the
performance appraisal process. The obvious question is: does self-appraisal
actually make a difference and is able to influence the boss in any way?
Disillusionment with the appraisal system is a common phenomenon
in many organisations, including the formality of self-appraisal. But experts
strongly believe that it is a necessary process. There is certainly a
need for self-appraisal as it gives an opportunity to the appraised to document
not only the achievements, but also the difficulties encountered while working.
It also helps the appraiser understand the gap between the self-assessment of
the appraised and the assessment by the appraiser. Further, it serves as a platform
for professional counselling and as a feedback mechanism, answers H Venkatesan,
Senior Vice-president, Human Resource, ISGN Technologies.
Self-appraisal is an important step in making the employee feel involved in
the process as the appraisee gives his perspective. Moreover, in the realm of
self-managed work, a good manager should be able to identify good potential
employees from the quality of goals set and self-evaluated. In KPIT, the
Intra-based appraisal system actually allows the employee to define various
types of KRAs, like people-related, quality-related, project-related, learning-related
and so forth. These are set at the beginning of the appraisal period; during
the course of the year, by mutual agreement, changes could be made to the original
set of goals defined. So at assessment stage there is a balanced set of goals
that get assessed for the employee. The onus to set, change the goals rest with
the employeewherein the appropriate metrics, measures are provided,
states Shrikant Kulkarni, Senior Vice- president-HR, KPIT Cummins Infosystems.
think the biggest help it provides is to put one side of data on the table.
It provides an alternate picture to the boss. This forces
the latter to go back over his notes and come back with conclusive feedback"
- Arun Rao
A candidates self- appraisal does not lead to a fruitful
result unless it is corroborated by his own boss. It is important to know how
the self-assessment results in influencing the boss and finally the appraisal
results. I think the biggest help it provides is to put one side of data
on the table. It provides an alternate picture to the boss. This
forces the latter to go back over his notes and come back with conclusive feedback.
It also provides an opportunity to the organisation to hear the employee and
seek his expectations, says Arun Rao, VP-HR, AppLabs.
Self-appraisal sets the foundation for the meeting. I
dont think it necessarily
influences the boss, but gets him thinking. We at Hexaware have seen a lot of
positive outcome from the self-appraisal process, says Deependra L Chumble,
Chief People Officer, Hexaware Technologies.
right appraisal approach should be objective and unbiased. This would
happen if you do not factor the rewards/recognition in self-appraisal
process and focus purely on development"
- Srikanth Rao
Executive VP & President
Self-appraisals most often than not turn out to be a list
of only the positive qualities in an individual. Most professionals knowingly
give themselves higher marks than they deserve, as they assume that their boss
is bound to mark them less, and their final appraisal outcome should not suffer
as a result. Rao believes that the biggest mistake people make while appraising
themselves is that they do not drive a correlation between data and information-sharing,
There is almost a tendency to use self-appraisal as a self-appraisal (from
praise). Most use self-appraisal to push the manager to a corner from a self-rating
perspective. Some-times it goes into self-denial as well. There is a hesitation
to rate oneself appropriately because one is not sure how ones peer is
rating oneself and hence drive the ratings northwards.
Kulkarni points out that appraisees try to set-up easy, achievable,
low-risk goals, but may have high visibility in terms of achievement with little
effort. They need to watch out for such self-assessments made.
It is not uncommon for employees to take the appraisal process lightly and put
the ball in the managers court to let him/her decide. Other employees
either overrate themselves or are overly self- critical, points out Srikanth
Rao, Executive Vice-president & President, Keane India. He asserts that
the right appraisal approach should be objective and unbiased. This would happen
if you do not factor the rewards/recognition in self-appraisal process and focus
purely on development. A reward/recognition alters the behaviour of the
person, if it is directly related to an appraisal, adds Srikanth Rao.
- Appraisees not clear of objectives: Performance
management is a forward looking process and it is often relegated to
a post mortem
- Appraisers not qualified / trained
to provide feedback
- Performance feedback not done religiously
- Performance management is seen as an overhead
by many managers
- Performance management should serve as
inputs to many managerial actions but today it is seen as a backward
integration to rewards apportionment alone
- HR more an administrator than a facilitator
- Done more as a ritualno record keeping
and hence recency is a big factor
- It seldom is data basedit is more
The right approach
dont think it necessarily influences the boss, but gets
him thinking. We at Hexaware
have seen a lot of positive outcome
from the self-appraisal process"
- Deependra L Chumble
Chief People Officer
It is necessary for an organisation to hold training sessions
before the appraisal systemfor both the appraiser and the appraisee. While
there are a few companies who organise workshops on the right approach to appraisals,
self-assessments are largely ignored. A lot depends on how the system has been
evangalised in the company and has been understood by the employees. We
at Hexaware hold various training programmes every year to make people aware
of the system and also train them in handling various situations; both for the
appraiser and the appraisee, states Chumble, adding that the company looks
at this as a year-round process. It is not the year-end post-mortem,
wherein people get more opportunities to receive feedback on their performance
during the period which helps in early corrective inputs. Our process
of taking inputs from the employees to improvise the process too has been very
helpful in better acceptance of the system, adds Chumble.
is certainly a need for self-appraisal as it gives an opportunity to the
appraised to document not only the achievements, but also the difficulties
- H Venkatesan
Venkatesan feels that the best practice will be to have a
document signed off by both the boss and subordinate at the start of the assignment
on the following
- Goals set with short-term milestones
- Identify and acknowledge constraints in meeting
- Agree in advance on performance metrics collection
- Agree in advance on performance standards and the
rating norms for sub-goals for each of the line items
- Concur on the frequency of review for both individual
sub goals and for overall goal.
assessment stage there is a balanced set of goals that get assessed for
the employee. The
onus to set, change the goals rest with the employeewherein the
appropriate metrics, measures are provided"
- Shrikant Kulkarni
KPIT Cummins Infosystems
Such a document will help capture all essentials in self-appraisal,
elements that are used in the appraisal discussion by his boss are made known
to the appraised in advance.
Many organisations like KPIT have adopted the 360 degree
feedback process for senior leadership team. It is acknowledged as one of the
best processes to avoid shortfalls of a formal appraisal system.
It is lengthy and daunting, but comprehensive. The
level of influence for the leadership team is not at a singular level but at
a multiple level. Hence for senior members this could be the right approach,
Failures and weaknesses
It is important for an employee to know about the dos and donts
of filling up the self-appraisal form. While it is a rare employee who would
go out of his way to write about his failures and weaknesses, in the fear that
it will reflect badly on his appraisal, the best way is to be honest.
Venkatesan explains why it is it wise to write about ones
failures and weaknesses, All failures and weaknesses will be captured
by the appraised fearlessly if constraints and difficulties in achieving the
goal are documented at the beginning of an assignment. It will make the feedback
session meaningful with the objective to enrich the employees work and
help them grow, he explains.
Srikanth Rao believes that there are two main factors that make it necessary
to write about ones weaknesses:
- Documenting shortcomings formalises the willingness
- Once documented, the appraisal process will allow
for measurement at the next review
It is imperative for the organisation and also the employees to get rid of the
mindset that the appraisal system is a painful process. It should be considered
as a development initiative. It makes a lot of sense to write about ones
failure. First, drawing from a legal perspective, voluntary self-disclosure
is always considered better than forced disclosure under supervision. Second,
when one does put ones own weaknesses, it gives oneself an opportunity
to introspect and come up with some corrective action frameworks, else one lives
in total denial and this is dangerous because with it comes mediocrity and professional
plateauing, states Arun Rao. This also helps one to set up a dialogue
with ones supervisor in the form of coaching that leads to bonding between
the appraiser and the reportee. An organisation should endeavour to create a
culture where people feel free to bring their failures to the ground level.
In an industry where most professionals drive their own careers, truthful self-appraisal
lays the foundation of career success.