Why should appraisal only be top down?

People join or leave an organisation for its own sake or due to a boss. What do you think?

There is no right or wrong here. Each experience is unique. To generalise would be a fallacy.

The overall work culture in the company, how it looks after its employees, plays a big role in shaping tbe latter’s perspective towards the former. If the overall environment at work is not conducive or congenial, just having a good boss may not alleviate all the suffering. But it sure can buy time for the employee to give the organisation a chance, hoping things work out or get better.

There is one universal truth though. A good or bad boss has a significant bearing on how employees perceive the workplace. That is not to say that an employee wiĺl never quit if she has a good boss. A new opportunity, a chance to relocate to a place of choice, a promotion, a considerable salary hike, an offer from a great company or one which can’t be refused etc are good reasons to make the switch. But, the chances of leaving is minimised, if you have a boss who challenges, encourages, inspires, motivates, trusts or helps you evolve as a professional.

Likewise, a boss who is condescending, dishonest, insecure, suspicious, tyrannical or unfair paves the way for your exit. We have all heard stories how an arrogant, brash, cruel boss makes it impossible to function leaving you with no choice but to leave. Organisations need to pay heed to this. Often the boss determines the employee’s experience in a workplace.

It’s not only about leaving the job. This determines one’s motivation and level of engagement towards work. A good boss can keep you enthused, thereby increasing your productivity and boosting overall output of the team.

A periodic evaluation of leaders is imperative, not just by the reporting manager but also the team reporting into the leader. Managements would do well to ask their HR managers to institutionalise a mechanism where a team can rate the boss on several parameters. This could be anonymous or the voting choice of individual could be strictly confidential.

If one-third or more in a team feel the boss does not meet expectation, the management should go into the merits and consider if there’s a case for reprimanding or replacing the leader. A thorough evaluation is necessary before making an informed decision. This would bring in transparency and hold a leader accountable to the team.

It is almost impossible for any boss to have the entire team rooting for her. Every boss will have a few members in the team who are disgruntled. One key reason for this could be receiving a negative rating which is below the subordinate’s own self-assessment. Sometimes, the insecurity of losing one’s job due to a poor rating as part of the appraisal process, could cause an employee to provide adverse feedback about the boss. This could hold true for a few members in each team. It is for this reason, a threshold of one-third of the team’s strength as the cut-off for evaluation of the manager by the team, is a fair measure to begin with.

Organisations may change the threshold to one-fourth, if they so feel or as the process evolves over time. But at no stage should it fall below 20 percent of the team size. It will just give the truants an opportunity to make mischief. The team members who loathe being disciplined by a boss who is particular about it, may use this as  leverage to get rid of their boss.

It may not be easy to introduce this in a running organisation. One could argue that it could be misused by those with an axe to grind. And every organisation has a few such individuals. The reverse argument is the process discounts such troublemakers by choosing a threshold number. Every process has pros and cons. As long as the pros outweigh the cons, and it is in the interest of the organisation to continuously improve the workplace, it is worth adopting.

Such a bold move can only work if it is mandated by the top leadership and relentlessly driven by HR managers. Checks and balances need to be built in to make it more robust before laying down the process. It needs to be instituitionalised and embedded into the organisation’s culture to help it evolve towards being an admired company.

Companies that can follow this are likely to richly benefit. Such organisations potentially stand to be great places to work in. The big question is, how many will bite the bullet. If you were the MD, CEO or CHRO of your company, would you?

Published by RG

I see, I think. I hear, I think. I read, I think. Sometimes I write. Let me know what you think

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