Saturday 29 March 2014

#65 Measuring up

It was appraisal season at work so people were scurrying about collecting feedback and setting up meetings. Season is not an exaggeration. Every year, the firm's thousands of employees are taken through a process that lasts several months, culminating in remuneration discussions in the summer. The feedback flowed like the rain in Forest Gump's Vietnam tour. Sometimes it came down from above, sometimes in from the side and sometimes it even came up from underneath us.

I was in my element at this time of year and loved nothing better than to sit back and write about my colleagues, all their greatest qualities and achievements and any areas in which I thought they could do better. It occurred to me that not everyone felt the same way. I think a lot of people get frustrated by the assessments because they take up a lot of time and don't directly make anyone any money.

In a large company, reviewing and grading people properly can be a challenge. People work on various different projects and don't just report to one person. To get around this, each person is assigned an independent manager, whose job is to collect and review feedback across the range of jobs on which the person works. The objectives that they have to meet on those jobs are aligned to a set of core competencies, several of which are going to be needed in any job, such as courage and integrity, technical knowledge, client focus and relationship building.

I expect that there are a lot of ways to review people. For me, a thorough process and meaningful discussions are part of what makes somewhere a great place to work and help to make a person feel valued.

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