Economic Climate and Performance Appraisal Game Theory
Posted by Jai on April 30, 2009
The topic itself is very controversial but I still had this in mind for a long time to write something on it and what is better time than the current market situation and one way or other nothing is hot than this.
The Indian Premier League Season 2009 is currently going on and I am fan of Delhi Daredevils but in yesterday’s, 28th Apr league match when Rajasthan Royals defeated them which was due to an extraordinary batting by Yusuf Pathan, I was appreciating his current performance and made me think that was I appreciating his skills or whoever plays better should win or I should feel bad about DD defeat. In the end it is just the game, whoever plays better deserve to win and should be appreciated.
Now what point I am trying to make here is that how the economic climate is related to the performance appraisal game handled by different organizations, both big and small players. What are the do’s and don’ts in such situations? Lets take the different situations in more details.
Few Basics, Game rules
Whatever the market situation is, there is always a kind of game which is played between the management and the employee. I have hardly seen and on very rare occasions when you say that both the parties are very satisfy with the discussion they have during the performance appraisals. The employee always puts forward the good things done in the past and the management mainly focus on the things that were not done by the employee. That is how usually the game is played, the employee creates lists of thing he/she has done and the management try to compare with the things that possibly could have been done, irrespective of the practical possibilities. The employee tries to get maximum out of it and on the other hand the management tries to put a balance on the relative parameters in respect of the balance sheet they need to keep up. Well, lets have a look how this game changes for both the parties with the change in the economic climate.
Economic Climate, Good
The dynamics of the game changes when the market is good, when you have plenty of opportunities around and you are seriously on the batting side. The game is still played the same way but the rules are a bit different. From management perspective you always ask the employees to do better.
For the organization the business is good, the management can bear to give some portion to the employees to balance out things. For the employee they have option to agree with the terms or they have option to look for the opportunities if they get anything better. Here the employees play their cards and many times it does work.
Economic Climate, Recession
In the current economic climate there is obviously pressure on costs for all businesses.
The game is a bit different in such situation. The business is not good, you have the excuse that market is down and no question of appraisals. Be ready for the pink slips. Point out the under performers, even if the employee has been with them for a long time. In this situation the employees are on the fielding side.
Different players plays it different ways, depending on big or small organizations.
The big players always play it with the numbers. Most of the times they do survive it but in such situations a lot lay offs and cost cuttings come into the picture. Few people expecting or fighting for appraisals does not matter to them, either be happy with it or feel free to quit.
The small players either vanish or more or less not effected much by it, the usual business go same way. The planning to stay in business and all the risk assessments start in advance and so as the measures. But the game still stay intact in terms of performance appraisals. Now you have the excuse of market condition. The management plays the game same way with recession stuff and the employee as being on the fielding side is left with no comments. Usually the employee prefer not to raise the voice because having job in hand is much more than not having at all.
What if you get peanuts:
No point in discussing here that what if you get payed peanuts (very low wages). For some peanuts is more than what you expect. For some it may be survival time or may not be. But analyze it properly against your expectations and practicality.
Do’s & Don’ts
This happens in companies both big and small. For every person who’s thrilled about his or her review, there are many who feel shortchanged, unhappy or just livid at the way the review turns out. This situation is common across most companies, but no matter what, here are a few pointers on how to go about handling such a situation:
- Be ready with the list: Be ready with the evidence of your performance, appreciation from peers or clients, statistics relating to successful completion of projects, and value-addition on your part to the organization.
- Always ask for facts: Well, the excuses given may be different and surprising in such situations. Go through the review and ask the person to explain each criticism or expectations.
- Take is easy & chill-out: Instead of reacting negatively in the heat of the moment, try and do an honest self-evaluation and this might help you in future.
- Show to be proactive: Last days before appraisals do give you last chance to put final impressions and at least can say that you are taking things more pro-actively etc.
- Stronger will survive: Well known fact that the stronger player will survive, much more relevant in such scenarios. Put your mind and efforts in gaining skills and doing better than just wasting it.
- Keep the expectations right: Keep your expectation right as every dog has a day, may be you better wait for the day.
- No point in being argumentative/ Not for discussion: The decisions taken under such situations are not mainly for the discussion. Better you stay calm rather than creating problems for yourself.
- Plan the future: This may be the right time to take new initiatives and proving point that it is not only performance driven but more what you are capable of.
- Wait or plan for the D-day: Wait for the right time when you are on the batting side and may be you have ball in your court and hope for the best.
This is how the game is played. Now you are on the passenger seat and may be someday you will be on the driver seat. Many a times the things remain more of subjective but the rules, situations and tricks remain more or less the same. Nothing to feel very good or bad about it. Just part of professional life, learn from it, be more prepared next time and hopefully expect to master the game in a way.