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betasam's Journal: Performance and Appraisal

Journal by betasam
Right now, I'm sitting with a team, in a company whose attrition rate is relatively high compared to its geographical competitors. I am slowly seeing the reason surface. They suffer from the inability to appreciate great work in a "tangible" manner. Whenever I tell my reporting manager that a big leap in identifying a chip related bug or a solution to an issue that would be far too difficult had the complete principle of deduction been followed; I get the shallow reply, "I acknowledged it, I even clapped in the meeting, sent out e-mail; we always acknowledge good work."

The grim truth, if I clap in front of a store or a vegetable vendor about how nice they are at running things, they are least likely to sell me their wares. Modern economy is based on a "value" representative termed money or to be more correct "currency". As many advertising taglines go, there are somethings money can buy; and so are other things that a company can provide as a Unique value addition for its employees. I work in a product company; a free laptop, ethernet switch isn't gonna damage their finances a lot, but that's what I term "tangible". Most people who come to product companies, land up, because they shun having to sit in service companies listening to how requirements got misinterpreted/changed over time to have a partially satisfied customer. Don't get me wrong, but I have seldom heard of the "fully" satisfied customer in the services business. The difficulty is you never get to read their mind, moods and their real needs.

People come out to product companies to make something they can feel, see and experience the fruits of their creativity (no matter how it turned out.) I have also learnt, having employed people to work for me, that people are in constant need for growth and providing financial growth is good, other than promotions and the like which are merely considered add-on posters. Of course, not all people are dumb, there are the engineering techies, fans of Dilbert; who really see their managers behaving like the Mad Hatter of "Alice in Wonderland." What I fear most, is that a good team, well-jelled and strong, will disintegrate and leave, just because the management likes to "blame" loud, offer less financially or tangibly. For the managers, it's easy to dump one's mental stress down the chain till everyone feels it. Those who can soak pressure are the best managers; there are fewer and fewer of them, thanks to the well established "Peter Principle" which is gaining popular usage at IT firms; sad indeed.

To get people who can spend 8 hours entirely of their day for a company; exercising self-discipline not to indulge in anything else (chit-chat and all that may be deemed time-wasting); there is much a company must do. "Ask not what the Country has done for you, Ask what You have done for the Country," was not spoken of companies, nor of this time. It is from the Americans we inherit the Job-hopping culture that is so common in Bangalore. Today, Companies seriously need to revisit the roles of "Personnel Managers", not "Human Resource Managers" (that's like saying we have 2 Printing resources, 62 Human Resources, 1 Electrical Power Resource, 4 Air-conditioning Resources ... well you get the point.) Otherwise, in this gameplay of the fight for survival, which is no different than the Darwinian "Survival of the Fittest", the extinct shall soon have to sound the Bugle.
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Performance and Appraisal

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Man must shape his tools lest they shape him. -- Arthur R. Miller

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