For most, appraisal season brings along a sense of nervous optimism. This year, hiring and staffing managers are expecting poor appraisals for employees in several sectors including IT, telecom, real estate and startups, due to micro- and macroeconomic factors.
Further, employers are under extreme pressure to retain the best in the firm with adequate growth in their appraisals, considering the future prospects of the business.
This means that there might not be enough to go around, and your salary hike could turn out to be disappointing. While you can’t do much about this, here are five ways to be prepared, no matter what the outcome of your appraisal is.
Lower Your Expectations
Santanu Paul, CEO and MD of online technology-enabled experiential learning platform TalentSprint advises, “Have low expectations and a cautious view regarding compensation this year.”
The primary reason for this is the election of Donald Trump as US President, and his aggressive anti-globalisation position, which has impacted the IT sector
Another cause is the slowdown in funding to companies for expansion witnessed last year, followed by demonetisation, which has affected other sectors as well. These economic factors are expected to impact the profitability of the companies and hence, employee appraisals.
Kunal Sen, Senior Vice President at human outsourcing and staffing firm Team-Lease Services says, “This year, we are expecting increments around 8-10% for junior and entry level employees and around 3-5% growth in increments for seniors in the organisations.” Some organisations are even expected to postpone appraisals to the June quarter.
Look For Alternatives
If things aren’t looking particularly good at your current job, it’s advisable to start looking for alternatives. Negative feedback from peers and a disappointing appraisal discussion with your manager are the signals to watch out for.
Look for alternative opportunities well in advance, so that you can have an offer in hand while you are still employed. Being out of work means losing any leverage you might have when job hunting.
However, before you start looking, you must examine the current job market. Sabharwal says, “First, figure out whether the entire industry is going through a slowdown or only your company has had poor financial years. If it’s the latter and the company is expected to remain under financial stress for, in the future, it might be time to look for better opportunities within your industry.”
Live Within Your Means
The ever-rising cost of living has to be matched by a proportionate rise in income. “However, there are instances where some employees don’t get an increment, which essentially translates into taking a pay cut, , as inflation impacts steady earnings,” points out Anil Rego, CEO and Founder of financial advisory firm Right Horizons.
People also tend to take up new liabilities and loans or indulge in shopping sprees on credit in anticipation of a salary hike, and a higher variable compensation at the end of the financial year, even before the official announcements.
Human resource experts firmly state that it’s not wise to be overconfident about your performance. Defer all discretionary expenses and financial commitments till you have the increment letter in hand.
Assess Your Performance
Your immediate supervisor and managers can offer valuable feedback, which can help you be prepared for the outcome of the appraisal, as well as be more satisfied with it. Regularly seek their feedback about how you are doing and use their constructive criticism to improve your performance.
Sumit Sabharwal, CEO (Managed Services) & Managing Director (SAARC) of HR outsourcing firm Excelity Global says, “Have discussions about the challenges in the firm or team and the flow of new projects with your supervisors.”
Such discussion with your seniors could provide information on how the company is dealing with challenges and whether it is taking a bearish stance on future prospects, selectively rewarding only high-value employees.
Paul says, “Assessing your performance and seeking feedback from supervisors regularly will give you a clear idea about what you need to do. Either you have to shape up, or be ready to ship out.”
Improve Your Skill Set
Have discussions with your manager about any gaps in your skills, which could be affecting your productivity, then prepare a plan to close these gaps within a set timeline. Also, analyse whether your present skill set and knowledge fit your career aspirations.
Otherwise, consider developing new skills in fast-growing industries like Internet security, digital marketing, data sciences, etc.
Dinesh Goel, Co-founder and CEO of online recruitment firm Aasaanjobs.com advises, “You should also look at taking up freelancing tasks from online portals in your domain or area of expertise, in order to gain experience, as well as hone your skills with challenging assignments.”