But changing jobs is not the solution, because the underlying problems will remain unaddressed and will most likely resurface.
We spoke to a senior HR executive on how to deal with a bad appraisal:
1. Don’t resign in haste: Nothing can be worse than looking for another job after a bad appraisal. Appraisal letters are like the annual report cards you get in school. Now, who ever changed their school after scoring a D? A bad appraisal is an opportunity to improve your weaknesses and develop new skills. Quitting a job will only delay the problems till the next appraisal. Of course, if you know you are good and deserved a good hike, speak to your reporting manager.
2. Discuss with your boss: Don’t bury your appraisal letter in your drawer and go about your business as usual. Speak with your reporting manager on why you were appraised the way you were. Find out your weakness, and seek help on how to improve. There’s nothing wrong in asking. Go over last year’s targets and find out when exactly did you start falling behind schedule and figure out what led to it. Was there extra work suddenly, a family problem, a colleague resigning? Or was it simple lack of interest in work? Once the problem is identified, it will be easier to work out a solution.
3. Review more frequently: Assess yourself on a weekly or fortnightly basis, and review this assessment with your boss every month. This way you will be able to know as soon as you start falling behind, and an earlier assessment with your reporting manager will mean the damage control will be quicker, which will be good for both you and the company. If you think that your performance has not been optimum because you are unhappy with your job profile, say so. If the company wants to keep you, it will accommodate. Also, if there are personal issues that need to be addressed, discuss beforehand so that alternative arrangements can be made.
4. Don’t be defensive: Don’t give excuses and defend bad work. If you have made a mistake, say so. Listening to someone list out your weakness is really tough, but it only helps. It also makes clear your limitations and whether you are suited for the job or not. Giving excuses and blaming others for your inefficiency is never tolerated. It also means you do not intend to follow your manager’s advice, which often results in relations getting sour, and usually ends with a resignation six months later.
5. Don’t leave it for the last month: You are appraised on your performance throughout the year, and not just the last 4-6 weeks. All offices have some employees who work diligently throughout the year, and there are also those who rush to meet their targets towards the end of year. This never works. If work allotted over a year could be finished in six weeks, it wouldn’t be allotted a whole year in the first place. Therefore, it’s important to consistently meet your deadlines and maintain general discipline all throughout the year. So the next time you see a coworker struggling to meet a deadline in the middle of the year, don’t look at him with disdain.