With my love for a perfect world after I read a book on Historical Materialism ( a methodical approach to society , economics and history ) by Z.Berpeshik , D Zerkin and L.Yakovteva [ sorry about the spelling ] in November 2005, I was never satisfied with the way things went around me and had a tendency to find flaws in every system.With the passage of time and reading other books , I slowly stopped thinking every system around me in terms of Historical Materialism.I got the job in TCS and fell in love with Kerala’s scenic beauty in Trivandrum.I almost forgot about Historical Materialism while trying to escape from girls chasing infatuated towards me.
Again, reminded of the possibility of a PERFECT WORLD
The next time I was about to be reminded of a possibility of a PERFECT WORLD was when I was devastated by the tricky Appraisal systems , I was appraised with.The Appraisal systems did look fine and to some extent without any loopholes.
The problem was the processes involved in the Appraisals were never followed.Even the HR people whom I had sometimes literally fight with, didn’t understand the very constructive nature of appraisal systems.It is perhaps been viewed as an obligation that has to be done for the SAKE OF PROCESS(as I have always been told whenever I questioned about the wholesomeness of appraisals).
When I asked my HR , why I have to fill the self-appraisals just one day after the Goals have been accepted,which itself was nearly three months after the official H2 start date.She told me that “You would have got the Goals in an Excel sheet long back”.I said yes.She again said “Then what’s the problem??”.I said “I accepted it only one day back”. She said “It’s just putting into the E-Appraisal form…the actual goal acceptance should have been complete long back”.
My point is “If Goal Acceptance could be done in an Excel sheet, why not RATINGs and Normalization Curve fitting too”
Even , my Project leaders who were questioned by me why I have been given the rating of TWO out of FIVE, were trying to escape my question saying that “I myself do not believe in Appraisals“.
… …. .. .. .. ..Looks really strange to me…. .. … … … … .. ….
I asked back my Project Leader “Then what is the purpose of having the process of appraisals every half yearly, if you do not believe in it and hence it is not serving the very purpose of Appraisals“.
Either the World is Imperfect of it’s the imperfection in me
Later when I was made the so called Module Lead for some Interface modules that connected the Legacy codes in PL1 with the Modern Codes in C++.
It was the time I felt like working as a lead for plumbing team working in SEWERS , because of the nature of codes we wrote, which was like transporting the data to another module and nothing else,like a pipe.
I started realising it was the fault on my side that I never took a bird’s eye view on the projects I worked upon.I always concentrated on the technical aspects of the code that was given to me.But once I started looking at projects from a bird’s eye view or from the business point of view , I started getting credits for my ‘Hard work'(though I was doing only ‘Smart work’).
I easily got FIVE out of FIVE this time.Thanks to my Manager who patiently listened to my proactive thoughts on a project that was struggling due to the American economic recession.
The Problem Areas in the Appraisal system
Probably the problem areas that need to be addressed are
1) Lack of Peer Ratings , who actually interact with the associates
Most of the time work is very descriptive and very complex to be understood by the managers who are more involved in the Management activities.It’s only the peers who actually understand the nature of work done by the associates.
2) Lack of the basic understanding of the very purpose of Appraisals , even by the HR team
It is been either viewed as a process to keep alive the e-Appraisal system or as an obligation to be followed if you are a big company.It is never viewed as a FEEDBACK.That’s why sometimes even the Project Leaders never give the feedback other than the following one words , ‘GOOD’ ‘ACCEPTED’ ‘CAN DO BETTER’ and ‘DO NOT AGREE’ .
Of course , there are sometimes really Good Leaders who do give a very honest feedback, laboriously.
3) The electronic Appraisal tools are NOT USER-CENTRIC
Understanding the complex System Friendly design (not only the UI but also the architechture) is so difficult and is counter intuitive.Managers who have to concentrate more on work , skip the learning part and do the appraisals in a hurry.
4) There is no proof
There is sometimes no proof kind of thing where we can cross verify the acheivements which the associates are claiming to have done it.
DREAMS OF A PERFECT APPRAISAL SYSTEM
I think the problem is quite complex and perhaps needs more digging .The problem is more likely to be on the SYSTEM FRIENDLY e-Appraisal portals that we have created to achieve scalability in a large organizations.Appraisal is a Human Thing so it should always be human even if we make it automated through electronic Appraisal portals which are just a tool to achieve scalability.
Probably , we need to strike a balance between Automated Appraisals and Humane Appraisals.The Problem arises if we make it too Automated or Too human.Many experts believe the fundamental concept behind appraisals is flawed due to it’s money centeredness.
My Dream for a Perfect Appraisals , got fresh life when I came across Web 2.0 revolution where decision making is based on Wisdom of Crowds and the so called RIGHT CONDITIONS for the decision to be accurate is provided by the Web.So WHY NOT an APPRAISAL 2.0 ? Of course Appraisal 2.0 can be confused with ” Web 2.0 ‘fied 360 degree Appraisal System “ .
My next blog will be on Appraisal 2.0..Keep Visiting my blog.