• Pooja Salian

How To Handle Appraisal Discussion In Covid Times

It is THAT time of the year again…you’ve worked through your goals and targets, and now it’s time to self- assess yourself and have a subsequent discussion with your manager regarding the challenges and achievements in the year gone by. The appraisal discussion is an important juncture as this could be the basis for deciding your increments, incentives and shaping your career growth moving forward.

However, this year has been extremely difficult for everyone, with many people dealing with stress, anxiety due to the pandemic situation as well work related difficulties faced due to pay cuts, non-payout of bonuses, increased workload, etc.

As more and more organizations get sensitive about the current situation, they have structured their appraisal models and discussions to be fair and encouraging. Thus, it is also imperative that as an employee you approach this discussion well prepared, positively and confidently. This would go a long way in helping you take charge of your growth within the organization.

Below we give you some simple tips and tricks to equip you for the same –

1. Approach it as a negotiation discussion instead of just an assessment discussion

Many times, employees come out of appraisal discussions feeling unsatisfied and as if, they have received the unfair end of the deal. This usually happens due to the inability to negotiate well. If you approach this discussion with dread, awkwardness and discomfort, you would never be able bring up issues like salary hike expectations, bonus expectations, etc. Hence, it is important to view this discussion as an opportunity or platform to negotiate on these factors.

2. Quantify your achievements

Faced with the unique challenges this year, it is quite possible that the goal post could have changed multiple times due to the resulting dynamic business situation. Hence, it is important to highlight your areas of focus, external factors that helped or created hurdles for you and to quantify your achievements no matter how little or large they may seem.

3. Knowledge is power

Do not approach your appraisal discussion clueless. Understand and appreciate the current market situation that your company is in, but do not let this create a barrier for you in terms of getting a fair appraisal. It will do you well to acquaint yourself with how your department and company has performed overall, instead of focusing on just your achievements. You can also acquaint yourself with the trends and benchmarks for pay scales across similar roles through public platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, etc. and then use this in your negotiations. Remember your work is adding value to the company on an everyday basis.

4. Career growth opportunities

Negotiating for a new role, new responsibilities will all help in your career growth and advancement. This should form an important part of your discussion with your manager as goals and objectives for the upcoming year. However, this should also link to commensurate financial benefits and salary hikes to match the expectations around the responsibilities that your manager expects you to accept or take. This will help you to quantify and link your career growth opportunities with a proportionate hike in salary, benefits and designation leading to a fruitful and conclusive discussion.

5. Separating individual contributions

If you are in a team management role, learn to have an objective conversation where you delineate your own individual contribution to the business, your contribution towards the development of your team as well as your contribution towards group projects. Though you are responsible for driving the performance of your team members, it is also important to create visibility and separate your individual, independent performance in front of your manager. This will lead the way for a fair appraisal discussion.

6. Aligning personal goals with company goals

If you are in a mid- senior management role, it is even more important to understand and internalize your company’s mission and vision for the near future. Ensure your own personal goals and targets that you set for yourself align to the same. Discuss these with your manager, ensure that you sharpen the focus and draw up quantifiable and achievable targets for your team and yourself that are in line with the company’s focus. This way you will be able to create more value and visibility around your role and your contribution, leading the path towards better appraisals and pay hikes.

While the above tips and tricks equip you with ‘what’ you need to do to manage appraisals effectively, they ‘how’ of managing this discussion is very important too. Be open, honest and positive in all your interactions with your manager. Ensure that you present every argument objectively with data to back you up, in case of any non-agreement.

It will also greatly help to be self-aware of your strengths and weaknesses so that you approach the discussion fairly and calmly. This will also open you up to accept any constructive feedback and take all help needed to ensure you achieve the growth that you deserve in your career.

All the Best!

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