Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Office – Office: Performance Evaluation

There are only a handful of activities that every HR team is passionate about. Performance evaluation is one such rabid activity.
The lame corporate employee thinks of this no differently than a pay per use toilet – You pay (in this case fill up numerous similar looking forms) and get relief (promotion/ increment/ bonus). In many cases, you realize the toiler is far too dirty and decide to hold in the relief. Corporate life is no different – those who cannot navigate through the maze of office politics do not get any relief, sorry promotion/ increment/ bonus.
However, the HR professional sees this exercise as no different from organizing and attending a an elite Carnatic music show. The pre-event buzz is created by handing out pamphlets, offering refresher courses and ensuring that the employee knows the last day for submitting completed forms.
As the show begins, HR makes itself inaccessible. Those junior HR team members who are available on their mobile phones are chided for being upstarts (much like the septuagenarians "Shhhh"-ing the 20-something making remarks about the Tambura being out of tune).
Once the completed forms are submitted to the HR team, there is a freeze on activity, much like how it is when Aruna Sairam or Hariharan take their singing to the next stage. A month or two later – results are announced. Some get relief, many don't. Questions are asked and a debate ensues akin to one that goes on the lines of "Who showed better ragam tanam pallavi – Santhanagopal or Gurucharan?" ensues.
Predictably, there is no conclusion to such debates. Performance evaluation is subjective, says the HR. "It depends on which peer group you were put in an evaluated against. Ratings are relative to the peer group. If you are unhappy, please take it up with your HR relationship manager." Spoken like a true rasika without any conclusive opinion!
Needless to say, the HR relationship manager shows little more than sympathy for your situation urging that you escalate any unfairness to the HR Committee (incidentally no one knows who are the members of this committee, much like the committee that chooses which artists will feature in the Kutcheri season). Like all mail boxes, you receive no response from the committee.
Before long truth dawns – Nothing can be done. And like the faithful rasika who doesn't get tickets to the Kutcheri season, you look forward to the next season and hope you get lucky.