Anxious about the Appraisal? – Stay prepared for a poor pay hike.


It cannot be denied that the Appraisal season brings with it uneasiness and anxiety. This year around macro and micro economic changes has the staffing and hiring managers expect poor or no hike for employees. This sentiment is prevalent across the IT, Telecom, real-estate and start-ups as reported in the Economic Times Wealth, February 2017.

If you are wondering about the relation these macro and micro economic factors have on your performance, then that’s a question no business leader would be able to answer. However, employers always try to retain their best and the ones who they think add value to the growth of the business.  It’s common sense to not stress on the things beyond our control. Nevertheless, it doesn’t prevent us from preparing for a poor or disappointing pay hike this appraisal season.

Living within the Limits: Most of our financial issues will take a good walk out the door or disappear without a trace if we learn to respect our limitations. The limits of our income and expenditure. Expenses that are priority and expenses that can be avoided or postponed. As Anil Rego rightly points out, “There can be instances where some employees don’t get an increment, which essentially translates into taking a pay cut, as inflation impacts steady earnings.”

Anticipating a salary hike can have someone taking up a loan or embark on a spending spree with the credit card. We are not just talking about frivolous spending or the buying of consumer durables or the so called ‘home-needs’  –  Introspection in some expenses really helps. Here’s Athreya, the 13 year old son of Adinath, who is the Sr. Operations Manager of a leading retail chain. Athreya is an above average student who is in Class 8 in a CBSE school in Bangalore. Most of his friends who perform reasonably as well as Athreya and the ones that perform better, have enrolled into a 5 year IIT coaching program costing close to INR 4 lacs. A student can join the program with a registration amount of INR 30,000/-. The balance will have to be paid as equated monthly installments.

While Athreya and his mom were determined to take up the coaching program, Adi wanted them to think twice. Adi believed that it was too early for Athreya to join the program and peer- pressure shouldn’t be a reason for him to opt for it as Athreya was multi-talented and enjoyed English and History much more than Maths and Science. Adinath wanted to postpone this expense or give it a second thought. Why?

  1. He truly wanted to give his son some more time to decide on whether he really wanted to take up the coaching so early.
  2. Analyze the fee and coaching offered in other institutes
  3. Look at alternative courses that his son that take up so early which will truly help in securing the higher education he wanted.
  4. He wanted his son to prove a little better academically, given the kind of academic excellence standards demanded for an admission into institutions like the IIT.
  5. In all truth, Adinath wasn’t prepared for this additional expenditure which was almost equal to the tuition fee he was paying for his son for the whole of his middle and high school. And therefore decided to put it on hold before being convinced about the expenditure.

Clearly, Adinath understands what it is to live by the limits.

Visit your Options: No or low increment does not sit well with us most of the time. Rising living costs and the compelling need to move closer to our ambitions on living the kind of life we imagined generates anxiety and stress. Your current company is not going to be the only one employing someone like you. The only guiding mantra that someone in your corner should be chanting now is “Keep your options open.” Before this, understand the current job market. If your organization’s competition is doing well then it is most likely for your company to be anchored in troubled financial waters for some more time. The key is to look for alternative opportunities much ahead of the appraisal so you have considerable time to weigh options, Biting on an offer letter just before or just in time for the appraisal is a good ground to stay on.

Know your Performance: If there one sure way to prepare for an appraisal it is about keeping yourself informed about your performance. Feedback from peers, seniors and immediate supervisors play a big role in determining your hike and promotion. The very thought that you are open to constructive criticism and introspection is a positive indicator to the company, which fuels your growth. Moreover, increments on salary are implemented based on a range for example; 5- 25/30%.  Positive opinions about you influence a higher percentage.

Unlearn and Learn: There is no end to learning.  However, there could be a few things that you might want to unlearn or stop doing in order to get higher in the company, or gain that competitive edge in the job market. Speak to your managers to know if they see any skills gap in you and constructively work towards bridging them. After all, you reap the benefits and rewards of every investment you make money-wise and effort-wise.

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