Untitled Document
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
www.expresscomputeronline.com WEEKLY INSIGHT FOR TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONALS
23 July 2007  
Untitled Document
Sections

Market
Management
Technology
Technology Life

Columns

Between The Bytes

Events

Technology Senate
Technology Sabha

Specials

HMA Bankbiz
UPS Batteries

Services
Subscribe/Renew
Archives
Search
Contact Us
Network Sites
Network Magazine India
Exp.Channel Business
Express Hospitality
Express TravelWorld
feBusiness Traveller
Express Pharma
Express Healthcare
Express Textile
Group Sites
ExpressIndia
Indian Express
Financial Express

Untitled Document
 
Home - Technology Life - Article

Feature

Does self-appraisal make a difference?

Sudipta Dev finds out why self-assessment is considered an integral part of the performance appraisal process.

It 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 employee—wherein the appropriate metrics, measures are provided,” states Shrikant Kulkarni, Senior Vice- president-HR, KPIT Cummins Infosystems.

The objective

"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"

- Arun Rao
VP-HR
AppLabs

A candidate’s 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 don’t 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.

Common mistakes

"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"

- Srikanth Rao
Executive VP & President
Keane India

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 one’s 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 manager’s 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.

Problems associated with appraisal system
  • 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 ritual—no record keeping and hence recency is a big factor
  • It seldom is data based—it is more perception based

Source: AppLabs

The right approach

"I don’t 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
Hexaware Technologies

It is necessary for an organisation to hold training sessions before the appraisal system—for 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.

"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"

- H Venkatesan
Senior VP-HR
ISGN Technologies

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 the goals
  • Agree in advance on performance metrics collection methodology
  • 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.

"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 employee—wherein the appropriate metrics, measures are provided"

- Shrikant Kulkarni
Senior VP-HR
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,” states Kulkarni.

Failures and weaknesses

It is important for an employee to know about the do’s and don’ts 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 one’s 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 employee’s work and help them grow,” he explains.

Srikanth Rao believes that there are two main factors that make it necessary to write about one’s weaknesses:

  • Documenting shortcomings formalises the willingness to improve
  • 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 one’s failure. First, drawing from a legal perspective, voluntary self-disclosure is always considered better than forced disclosure under supervision. Second, when one does put one’s 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 one’s 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.

 


[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Untitled Document
[an error occurred while processing this directive]
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

UNSUBSCRIBE HERE
Untitled Document
Copyright 2001: Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Limited (Mumbai, India). All rights reserved throughout the world. This entire site is compiled in Mumbai by the Business Publications Division (BPD) of the Indian Express Newspapers (Mumbai) Limited. Site managed by BPD.