Scrap performance appraisal !

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Scrap Performance Appraisal


Scrap performance appraisal !

Dear IT friends,

We would be confronting this year’s appraisal cycle in the backdrop of massive layoffs by IT giants such as TCS and IBM.

'I guess our Performance Appraisal system is a little bit 'Old School'.'

‘I guess our Performance Appraisal system is a little bit ‘Old School’.’

After slogging day-and-night for one whole year, we expect pay-hike and promotion as righteous rewards for our efforts. Although we have been facing disappointments during the past appraisals, we are ever-more-hopeful of hitting a good rating (band) this time.

It is common knowledge that not everyone can get a good rating. But we keep running to overtake our fellow team-members and end-up in shock when manager bends our lives to fit a pre-determined bell-curve.

In the current scenario, appraisal will not be used merely to determine our salary hike or promotion; it might well be used to decide whether we continue to have a job or not. It is high time that we question this very system of appraisal.

Many of us think that the appraisal system is fair and the problem is only with the manager. We console ourselves by blaming the manager for prejudice and internal office politics. Some attribute reasons such as race, language, religion or caste for rating problems. According to this point of view, if we have a good manager, we are sure to get a good rating!

How rational is this belief ?

We were told that appraisal begins with self-evaluation and ends in rating. But the fact is that our rating is decided much prior to the start of the appraisal cycle. “Who should be given what rating”, “How many people should be sent home” – all these are decided by the management based on the profit target it aims to achieve. Performance review is simply a procedure where boss comes up with a story to justify the pre-decided pay; language and tone of appraisals are adjusted to be consistent with numbers.

Whose fault is it that we are in bench without a project? That we are not billable? Is it not the management’s responsibility to secure projects and get employees assigned? But, they cite these very reasons to give low rating to employees.

No one understands the mystery behind the process of converting a rating to a band. It is a top-secret formula kept confidential within a limited circle. Who knows how to measure a generic remark such as “Your communication is weak”?

Assume that if everyone in a particular team achieves the target by performing equally well, is it possible for all of them to get an “A” band? Even if the manager wishes to do so, will the appraisal system allow it? The answer is “No”. Manager has to make bell-curve and award good rating to one or two and average or bad rating to all others. What a humbug!

The appraisal system as a whole is unscientific and farcical! Why do the tech wizards and solution providers to the world are resorting to such an irrational approach?

It is the same age-old ‘divide-and-rule’ technique. They want to keep us divide and promote slave-mentality among us. This explains why they insist that we should not discuss our rating with others.

A system touted as accurate measure of an individual’s performance, renders everyone selfish and self-centred. The principle of awarding equal pay for equal work is mocked at. Instead, you are asked to bend more and more even to get what is due. Many of us do not even realise that working for 10 to 12 hours, without asking for our rightful Over Time pay, is slavery. We forget to think “We”, instead think “I” all the time. This is the perfect recipe for making us give-up our fundamental and legal rights of forming a Union to fight for our rights.

As a result, we stand divided and meekly submit ourselves to massive lay-offs by TCSes and IBMs of the IT world. They expect us to debase and demean ourselves before the management to save our job.

These very companies, who preach employees against collective action, have formed a number of unions for amongst themselves like NASSCOM, FICCI, ASSOCHAM etc. They use their association to blackmail employees into submission. In order to have dignity at work and to ensure a secured life, the only option left in front of us is to get together as IT employees and form a Union for ourselves.

We must demand abolition of appraisal system which divides us. This demand does not imply “pay without work”, it means “equal pay for equal work”.

Job security and abolition of this unjust appraisal system are two sides of the coin.

· Let us build unity among employees and face our employers as equals.

· Let us challenge the corporate terrorism called Layoff.

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