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Use annual appraisals to motivate and promote a meritocracy

Updated: Feb 3

What is the difference between men and boys?

The cost of their toys.

If one is observant and sensitive, learning can come from everywhere, even the most unexpected of places Some of my most impactful human behavioural lessons came from observing children. Adults are just overgrown or should I say adulterated children, except that children are more transparent, vocal and instantaneous in their responses.

Returning from every travel, I would always bring some gifts for my sons.

Upon receiving his gift the first would be delighted, upon gifting the other the first would throw a tantrum upon seeing what the other got. Endless quarrels ensue as the confused children would exchange, exchange gifts in some form of violent manner, before moving on to other distractions and responsibilities.

We humans are happy with what we receive until we compare it with what someone else receives. At first, I tried to resolve it by bringing two identical gifts, but now it made no one happy and it seemed a bit idiotic to me.

I decided to make them earn their gifts, with the better performer getting to pick first. It wasn't perfect but it reduced conflicts.

I designed and instituted a reward system for our sons based on how well they fulfilled their responsibilities, their studies, hygiene, housekeeping etc. and It worked out pretty well.

I discovered the same problem at work when we promoted or rewarded employees. I asked myself, 'If it worked with my children, why could I not take a similar approach with my employees?'

An earlier practice was to treat everyone as equal in sharing rewards and this made no one happy. Then shifting rewarding some employees more and some less based on perceptions of their contribution, made everyone unhappy.

When a transparent and fair methodology is adopted there is greater acceptance for the difference in rewards. This is why appraisal systems have to be sensitive to this fact and be suitably designed.

I modified our organisation's personnel policy. Instituting measurable performance-based rewards rather than rewarding team members on a uniform or ad hoc basis. Minimising the weightage of factors like behaviour and personal relationships, we witnessed a remarkably positive change in performance.

Subjective appraisals evaluating personality and behaviour were greatly minimised whilst

objective appraisals which revealed performance levels helped to determine promotions and rewards.

While appraisals are known to be used by organisations they are also useful to individuals and even families. Appraisals help to identify,

  1. Weaknesses in the individual

  2. Weaknesses in the organisation (often non-performance can also be attributed to problems with the organisation itself.)

  3. Identify possible steps to make the individual and the organisation more effective.

Effective appraisals help usher in a meritocracy. It recognises merit and thus helps motivate employees. It reduces the possibility of a performer being ignored or a non-performer being unduly rewarded.

An effective appraisal and reward system that was transparent and fair turbocharged our individual and overall performance.

As a result of our initiatives, non-performers with the help of our organisation usually succeeded in improving performance whilst existing performers were motivated to excel. This is essential to develop high-quality manpower and world-class organisations.


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