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Annual Self Appraisal forms and all this (censored)

by Jenda (Abbot)
on Jan 18, 2005 at 17:17 UTC ( #423100=perlmeditation: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??

First of, I envy all those that do not have to turn in such load of (censored). The less lucky of us Perl Monks, expecialy those whose mothers language is not English yet they have to fill the forms in a language that resembles English to some extent, would definitely appreciate some help. Maybe just in the form of a list of meaningless hyperbolic businesslike phrases to choose from. You can even take this seriously and contemplate on what did you acomplish in the past year and what do you plan for the next one if you are so inclined.

  1. Using your objectives established for the prior year, summarize the results you achieved for each. Which objectives did you meet, exceed, or fall short on?
  2. What additional accomplishments did you achieve during the past year?
  3. What do you feel are your major strengths in your role? How can your strengths be further leveraged?
  4. In what areas do you feel you need to further develop? How can your manager help?

What objectives (SMART Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound) do you plan for the upcomming year in the following areas:

  1. Financials (profitability, growth, efficiency, headcount, productivity, sales, etc.)
  2. Service (customer retention, customer satisfaction, level of service, customer survey results, etc.)
  3. People (employee development, employee morale, employee commitment, people survey, performance appraisals completed, objectives set, low turnover rate, etc.)
  4. Competition/Market Share
  5. Innovation (product or process improvements, problem solving, advancements, etc.)
  6. Professional Development (personal goals for your professional development)

And now the funniest part, corporate values. Choose two or three and describe at least one way in which you have contributed to making that value a reality over the past year, whate else can you do in the upcomming year and what assistance do you need from your manager:

  1. Customer Focus - We are deeply committed to meeting and exceeding the needs of our customers. We consistently focus on customer satisfaction by listening and delighting our customers.
  2. Accountability - We value people who "do what they say" and we strive for a results-oriented organization whose primary measures of success are growth, customer and employee satisfaction, and shareholder value.
  3. Entrepreneurial Passion and Innovation - We candidly challenge the status quo and reinvent the way we do business to better win in the marketplace.
  4. Fairness in All You Do - We recognize that people are the cornerstone of Xxxxx's success, we value diversity as a source of strength and we believe in treating people fairly and with respect.
  5. Zeal to Win - We have a competitive zest for winning in everything we do. We are committed to a world-class customer experience, leading in global markets we serve, acting with integrity, being known as a great company and a great place to work.
  6. The Xxxxx Team - We know that to be a successful company we must work together as one team and provide each team member the opportunity to learn, develop, and grow. We are committed to be a meritocracy and to attracting, growing, and retaining the best people. We believe that no matter how large we grow, each and every one of us can make a difference.
  7. Leadership - We value leaders who take the company personally and have a sense of urgency and excitement. They strive for optimal results, lead by example and give credit to their teammates for success and assume personal responsibility for failure.

(The company name was Xxxxxed out to protect the guilty. I guess it'd not be that hard to find out which one it is anyway.)

I wonder how many personhours are wasted each year in these actions.

Jenda
We'd like to help you learn to help yourself
Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes
Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home
   -- P. Simon in Mrs. Robinson

Comment on Annual Self Appraisal forms and all this (censored)
Re: Annual Self Appraisal forms and all this (censored)
by Solo (Deacon) on Jan 18, 2005 at 18:07 UTC
    I used to think these were a waste of time, too. Then I came up with a different approache to using them. Here are my suggestions.

    1. Regardless of what management wants (or you think they want), put exactly what you want to do in your start of year planning. Make your manager change it. Note in the document that it was changed and whether you agree with the change or not. (If you don't get to put in the document what you want, why are you filling it out at all?)
    2. If, in the next year, you are asked to work on something not in the document, treat it like a change of scope/requirements. Make sure the document is updated and the change is recorded.
    3. At year end, know why you've successfully completed or failed to complete your plan. Save emails.
    4. Basically, treat your job like a development project.

    If nothing else, you get to make statements like, "By adding this new responsibility to my performance plan, I would have 11 objectives," (there are always 10 blanks for objectives aren't there?), "In order to fairly assess my performance alongside my coworkers, it seems we would either need to remove one of my objectives, or give everyone else another."

    --Solo

    --
    You said you wanted to be around when I made a mistake; well, this could be it, sweetheart.
Re: Annual Self Appraisal forms and all this (censored)
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Jan 18, 2005 at 18:23 UTC

    This is what I would put, if I were answering this. (I'm in that lucky group that doesn't have to waste time with this dreck.)

    1. Financials (profitability, growth, efficiency, headcount, productivity, sales, etc.)

      Because we use Perl, productivity is way up. This means that efficiency is much higher, too. Profitability is also up, due to increased growth and less headcount. Sales ... well, I'd rather we didn't have a sales force because all they do is sign contracts then check to see if we can fulfill our end.

    2. Service (customer retention, customer satisfaction, level of service, customer survey results, etc.)

      Because we use Perl, customer retention and satisfaction is much higher because we don't have any more bugs. This means we don't have to worry about our level of service because they never bother us.

    3. People (employee development, employee morale, employee commitment, people survey, performance appraisals completed, objectives set, low turnover rate, etc.)

      Because we use Perl, we don't need as many people. Therefore, the amount of money we can spend on each person is higher, even though we've cut the HR and training budgets. This has resulted in higher employee morale and commitment, giving us better employee development. The turnover rate is also down to 1%. (It would be lower except for the fact that Perl doesn't prevent car accidents ... yet.)

    4. Competition/Market Share

      Because we use Perl, we have much higher market share than our competitors who use inferior technologies, such as Java and .NET. (However, we do have to worry about that one company that uses Lisp ...)

    5. Innovation (product or process improvements, problem solving, advancements, etc.)

      Because we use Perl, we can introduce new innovations much quicker than anyone else. In addition, because we only employ members of Perlmonks, our problem solving capabilities as a team are much higher.

    6. Professional Development (personal goals for your professional development)

      I want your salary.

    Being right, does not endow the right to be rude; politeness costs nothing.
    Being unknowing, is not the same as being stupid.
    Expressing a contrary opinion, whether to the individual or the group, is more often a sign of deeper thought than of cantankerous belligerence.
    Do not mistake your goals as the only goals; your opinion as the only opinion; your confidence as correctness. Saying you know better is not the same as explaining you know better.

Re: Annual Self Appraisal forms and all this (censored)
by Anonymous Monk on Jan 18, 2005 at 20:33 UTC
    Change of requirements means you have an excuse for an uncompleted objective. Basically it's a small artform, but I've figured out to claim 100% success for anything, usually because my objectives are either 100% successes or they change... or some other external factors get me a "not my fault because...". Yeah, it's dumb. BTW, SMART? I seem to remember that. IBM?

      No. Not IBM :-) And neither it's the evil empire nor the source of all energy.

      But the SMART abbreviation might come from something like that, don't know.

      Jenda
      We'd like to help you learn to help yourself
      Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes
      Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home
         -- P. Simon in Mrs. Robinson

        But the SMART abbreviation might come from something like that, don't know.

        I believe that SMART is some sort of Human Resources industry acronym (I could be wrong of course :). We have the same thing in our yearly goal plans, or something along those lines.

Re: Annual Self Appraisal forms and all this (censored)
by toma (Vicar) on Jan 19, 2005 at 05:39 UTC
    Jenda, you give so much more than you receive! You need to learn the gentle art of self-promotion. It has nothing to do with Perl, it is about who you are and who you want to be.

    It is okay to ask for things. Keep asking, and you shall receive. There is a balance here. What have you done for us? What do you want? If you take the trouble to write these things down, you can have a much better result.

    I use a computer to do most of my work. It is easy for me to list my objectives and accomplishments. I just search my whole hard drive for all the files that I created in the last year. I look at the file names and remember my projects. I write up a one sentence description of the problem that I solved for each little group of files. If the description is more than about two weeks worth of work, then I need to break it down into smaller pieces. I like to have about twenty or thirty accomplishments per year.

    It feels very good to write down twenty accomplishments! It should really not be a burden, this is your chance to show off a bit.

    Next you have the hard part, which is to say what you want. Of course almost everyone wants more money. This may not be a good place to ask for more. Or maybe it is good, I can't tell from here. If your pay is not bad, then this is the place where you are supposed to ask for other things. For example, you might ask to attend a conference, or buy more books, or get an assistant, or teach a class, or whatever you really think you need. Except you are not allowed to ask to not have to fill out this type of form :-).

    People used to ask me, "Why do you get to work on such cool things?" My answer was, "In my development plan I am supposed to spend 10% of my time researching new technologies." The percentage changed over time. Sometimes it was as high as 30% while I still had project responsibilities. One time it was 0%, but this was because the other team members had overly-optimistic schedules that made it appear that I was on the critical path :-).

    Then there is the problem of the funny words used by managers. These words tend to come from a book. The explanations of these words can often be found in a book or a loose-leaf binder that is sitting on your manager's desk. The importance of these binders is described in an important work of fiction called Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

    Get a copy of the binder or book and read it to see what they are looking for. Use your imagination and write about how your work will help them accomplish what is in the book. From the words in your post, I have a wild guess. Your company is competing in a crowded market. This means that you need to provide predictable, incremental improvements, not a revolution. These incremental improvements can really add up. When you do a two week project, does it justify your salary for the whole year? If you can list twenty such projects in the last year, that is a true JAPH.

    When you have more experience and learn to play this game well, you can promise a revolution when it is necessary. By then you will know how to deliver it!

    It should work perfectly the first time! - toma
Re: Annual Self Appraisal forms and all this (censored)
by petdance (Parson) on Jan 19, 2005 at 06:06 UTC
    This isn't crap. This is an important part of managing your career. These are questions you, as a professional in the 21st century, should be asking yourself anyway. Know that your bosses are asking themselves the same questions about you and giving you the opportunity to toot your horn. They are constantly evaluating the question "Does this person provide adequate value to the company for what he's costing us?" Do not squander this opportunity.

    Let's look at what they ask.

    Using your objectives established for the prior year, summarize the results you achieved for each. Which objectives did you meet, exceed, or fall short on?

    Translation: Did he do what he said he was going to do?

    2. What additional accomplishments did you achieve during the past year?

    Translation: If we forgot anything about how you provide value to the company, now is your chance to tell us what it is.

    3. What do you feel are your major strengths in your role? How can your strengths be further leveraged?
    4. In what areas do you feel you need to further develop? How can your manager help?

    Translation: We want to get more value out of you. Help us do that.

    A job is not a situation where you get the job, and you're set for life. You and the company have a relationship. You need to provide adequate value to the company. The company must provide value to you, in the terms of money, interesting work, a good place to work, etc. Either party is free to terminate the relationship, so it's in the best interest of both to get as much out of it as possible.

    Just as you evaluate the company to decide "Do I want to work here or go somewhere else", the company asks "Do I want this guy, or should we get someone else." You need to ask yourself if you're providing as much as possible, because if not, it means less money, or a loss of a job, because someone else will come along who does it better.

    xoxo,
    Andy

      Andy:

      ...Opinion only, but I really do think you put too much stock in the subject self-evaluations.

      Perhaps, somewhere, and maybe even somewhere this side of utopia, there is an employer who operates as you've outlined...

      But IME, these time-wasters are relegated directly (do not pass GO, do not collect $200) to a file cabinet. (Sometimes the cabinet is a round one, if the manager in question feels confident the HR staff or consultant types won't be checking on followup, once they've established that the manager has gotten the self-eval box "checked.")

        Perhaps, somewhere, and maybe even somewhere this side of utopia, there is an employer who operates as you've outlined...

        Starting with my company, in my department, working for me. (And if anyone's interested, the job listing is at http://jobs.perl.org/job/1560)

        these time-wasters are relegated directly (do not pass GO, do not collect $200) to a file cabinet.

        Then that sounds like a pretty crappy company and one worth leaving.

        Life's too short to work shitty jobs for shitty employers who make you do shitty stuff.

        xoxo,
        Andy

      That's a nice way to look at it for oneself, but not a good strategy for filling it out for bosses.

      All advice I've seen about self-evalution requests so far suggests that you should say zilch about failures and pile the praise on yourself wherever remotely possible. You were tasked with creating part of your own paper trail, and you don't want it to contain anything that could be used against you at later opportunities.

      (This assumes a large corporate setting. I'm not sure why it would require a formal piece of dead tree to communicate about these things in a small shop with flat structures and good relations.)

      Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: Annual Self Appraisal forms and all this (censored)
by tphyahoo (Vicar) on Jan 19, 2005 at 09:26 UTC
    Short answer is, just take the questions as seriously as possible and give honest answers. And then take a long, hot, cleansing shower :)

    Another idea is, you could answer the questions in an essay form, sprinkling footnotes 1 throughout the essay, indicating which "point" you are addressing in that particular part of the essay. I don't know why, but for some reason this seems less degrading than answering the questions in a "point by point" way with a paragraph for each numbered question. Actually, I do know why. It credits you with having the ability to synthesize complex ideas into a whole which is greater than its parts. You could even explain that you suggest that the "annual self appraisal" be changed to encourage employees to answer in essay rather than "point by point" paragraph form.5.

    ("5. Innovation (product or process improvements, problem solving, advancements, etc.)" Where the process being innovated on is suggested improvement in the self-assessment form.)

    thomas.

      No, you shouldn't be honest. At all.

      These things will be filed with your paper trail. However good your current standing is, writing about failures of your own on such a form creates skeletons in the closet that might be pulled out to be used against you two years down the line when an unrelated disagreement puts you in a position of adversity.

      Pile the praise on yourself. Don't talk about failures.

      (Again, this assumes a large corporate setting. In a small shop with good atmosphere and direct wires between everyone a formal process like this is out of place.)

      Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: Annual Self Appraisal forms and all this (censored)
by DrHyde (Prior) on Jan 19, 2005 at 11:40 UTC
    If they don't have the good manners to use plain English - or indeed your own language - then make sure that you don't use plain English either. If you can't write obfuscated English, use your own language.
Re: Annual Self Appraisal forms and all this (censored)
by inman (Curate) on Jan 19, 2005 at 14:32 UTC
    Preparation is the key to success. Your boss needs to do this for more than one person. This means that you can be helpful and set your own objectives. This way, you can ask for things like training, books, a new computer etc. In fact the whole appraisal process should be used as a means to tell your employer that you need more stuff. I know several people who got the courses they requested and then left the firm with revitalised CVs.

    At least one of your objectives must be - help my boss achieve his objectives. you can't fail this one without your boss failing his objectives.

    Trawl through your e-mail to remind yourself of what you did during the year. Cut 'n' paste is your friend.

    When you are done with all of this you need to talk to the HR department about getting a nice new chair for your bad back and a 'daylight' desk lamp for your winter blues.

    Some of this is from experience. The rest from Dilbert...

      At least one of your objectives must be - help my boss achieve his objectives. you can't fail this one without your boss failing his objectives.

      Why is this combat? You and the boss should be working together, not you trying to find ways to get around it, and covering your ass.

      As to "help my boss achieve his objectives," it's even simpler in my department. "Your job is to make me look good," I tell my folks, "just as it's my job to make my boss look good, and his job to make his boss look good, and so on up the chain." It's just life. It's business.

      Trawl through your e-mail to remind yourself of what you did during the year.

      Better yet, keep track of what you've done throughout the year so that this exercise is a simple one. I've done self-evals in the past where my boss has read it, his face lit up, and he said "Oh, I forgot about that project," please to have been reminded of another Cool Project I had done.

      There is no job security. You cannot just cruise through your career without working on maintaining your skills and making sure that the appropriate people know about how great you are.

      xoxo,
      Andy

(wil) Re: Annual Self Appraisal forms and all this (censored)
by wil (Priest) on Jan 19, 2005 at 16:26 UTC
    SMART Objectives stand for:

    Specific
    Measurable
    Achievable
    Relevant
    Time Based

    This is a very very common managmenet/HR/personal development acronym. That form you posted sounds very off-the-shelf to be honest, and could be any number of companies in the World. What you posted is basically a replica of the suggested form for companies to use that want to apply for an Investors in Peoples Award here in the UK.

    And yes, it's a load of bollocks.

    - wil
      What the SMART acronym stands for is very important.

      I am routinely given the objective: Improve communication skills.

      This is, I believe, a very common objective set by non-technical people for technical people to achieve--and it's an absolutely abysmal example of what an objective should be. Why? Because it does not satisfy the SMART conditions. Whether or not the goal is achieved is based entirely on a subjective opinion of the assigner of the goal.

      Making sure objectives adhere to the SMART principle ensures the goals can be objectively measured.

      --Solo

      --
      You said you wanted to be around when I made a mistake; well, this could be it, sweetheart.
        So make your own version of it. "OK, boss, I want to improve my communication skills, too. We'd both like it to be SMART, but as stated it's not specific or measurable. I suggest that I do X (training, for example) by mm/dd/yy. How about that?"

        There's a positive, useful way to look at everything.

        xoxo,
        Andy

Re: Annual Self Appraisal forms and all this (censored)
by delegatrix (Scribe) on Feb 08, 2005 at 05:02 UTC
    I just came across this thread . . . I have to agree with Andy. As a manager, I want to get your perspective on your work, your projects, what you need, etc. Having to articulate these types of things can help you in many ways. First, it helps your manager with ammunition for awards and promotions. Second, it can provide you with a record and information to draw on when you want a salary increase, apply for another job, or face any personnel action. The corporate values section was actually interesting. I saw a job posting recently which required the applicant to discuss a time he brought his enthusism for a project to the rest of the team. Others have asked for examples of leadership. That's not uncommon.

      If you only get my perspective and needs once a year through some forms then something is definitely wrong.

      The corporate values is the most awfull of all the sections. Thanks god I don't actually have to fill that one. The Prague office boss decided that it doesn't apply to us. One of the problems of the form is that they have just one for both the business people and the developers, the same for US and Prague.

      Once I interviewed some American whose response to "Would you like somethink to drink? Coffee or something?" was "Water would be awesome!" in a very very enthusiastic voice. No need to say he did not get the job. Noone could stand him.

      Jenda
      We'd like to help you learn to help yourself
      Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes
      Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home
         -- P. Simon in Mrs. Robinson

Re: Annual Self Appraisal forms and all this (censored)
by Jenda (Abbot) on Jan 13, 2006 at 14:19 UTC

    It's the time of year again, everyone rejoice! And gather to slay the HR departments. Don't forget to bring your own chainsaws!

    Jenda
    XML sucks. Badly. SOAP on the other hand is the most powerfull vacuum pump ever invented.

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