Thursday, September 26, 2013

Appraised yet?


Leading a team is like drawing a cart with wheels of different sizes and shapes and making destination on time. In this post you will see appraisal ratings from a team leader’s point of view.

Every large services company takes pride in its head count and the profits generated year on year. Every quarter, meetings are held to conduct revenue discussions, to measure quarter on quarter improvement and to set and revise targets. So, a company hiring N number of people every month will account for the expenditure incurred on hiring, training and maintaining those N people and ways and means to offset this expenditure and earn a YoY profit. Simply put while head count determines the size of the company YoY returns determine the credibility and viability of the company.

Each and every individual that is part of a team is assigned a specific responsibility that is directly tied to the financial targets for the specific quarter. A developer, for instance, is responsible for ensuring zero defects. Zero defects in the first test iteration means time saved on further test iterations. Time saved is money earned in advance. Direct and Simple.

If you are a developer and you did not do a good job the first two quarters but did a magnificent job in the last two, you would expect a good rating, but your supervisor will have to account for the money you "lost" in the first two quarters. Let me explain.

A typical self-appraisal form contains sections on objectives, performance, achievement and score. It seems personal, motivational even, but do not forget that you are working for "compensation" and your employer is a "business organization". In your manager's book, if your objective is X units of money in time T1 and your achievement is Y units of money in time T2 then the money you lost or gained for your employer is (X - Y) in the time lost or gained (T1 - T2).

The finer points, like dress code, civil and effective communication, learning additional skills, and honing existing skills, are for personal improvement in the future and make no impact whatsoever on the time and money already lost or gained.

All members of a team do not possess a uniform set of skills, dedication and motivation. The team leader or the supervisor will insert these factors into the equation and then balances it with the variable: years of work experience. Consider two team members George and Gary, all other conditions being equal, who are up for evaluation. George’s objective is X1 in time T1 and Gary’s objective is X2 in time T2. If George, while achieving X1 in T1 also helps Gary with X2/3 of his objective then Gary would have lost 2/3*T2 of time and hence the equivalent money. So, George will still be rewarded with more than expected even though he did not save any time on objective X1 because he also worked on 1/3 of Gary's objective in the same time T1.

Simple. Yes?

Good luck with the next season!



  1. Awesome Soya-di!! The logic behind how one gets the stick is spot on!! :)))

  2. Agree with most of your evaluations.. however, having had a decent stint with the learning and development side of the business, I believe there should be some differentiation among resources based on what you plan for them in future.. Say for instance you identified a candidate as a future manager, the emphasis here would be more on how he/she managed her time to develop the skills required to step up when needed.... money saved/lost today is just one of the parameters for this candidate.. in a year or two, you would expect the candidate to become a more potent generator of money, for which you need to invest on building these key assets and skills... a programmer of today can only get you $100 per hour, whereas the higher potential candidates are the ones you sell to be billed higher..
    Many of today's managers look at the balanced scorecard approach to set and manage goals.. this ensures they are viewing all their appraisals through the various perspectives of the scorecard - Financial, R&D, customer and Internal business... maybe your function is primarily focused on building the financial side of the business, even then i would advocate that you factor in the other aspects as well.