2015 and 2016 graduates who joined their first jobs last year – this is for you. It’s been a year since you started drawing your salary and working for this company and it’s nearly that time of the year. When you reap your first set of benefits – with your very first appraisal.
Approaching your first appraisal
Variable Pay, Performance Pay, Bonus – you might have seen these words on your salary structure break-up. However, you can now make a play to get them, with your first appraisal. A few roles like sales have a higher percentage of performance pay or variable pay, as compared to others.
During the first appraisal cycle, your performance is assessed on various parameters which are discussed in appraisal meetings between employees and their managers. Depending on the company, there is a fixed rating mechanism on which the variable pay or performance bonus is decided. And your appraisal would ensure that you make the cut or not.
The Appraisal Cycle:
In many MNCs, the cycle is generally October/November with the bonus given in the month of November or December; this is generally tied to the New Year and Christmas season abroad.
In Indian companies, the cycle shifts to coordinate with the Diwali season. If you work at an MNC then you are half way through the cycle and have to seriously start considering working towards a good bonus at the end of the year.
Here is what you can do to maximise your chances at a high variable pay and bonus this financial year –
Keep a list of performance highlights:
Through the course of a year an employee will have many ups and downs but come appraisal time, many of these get missed out. Make sure that you have a list ready which highlights your performance, the problems you faced and even your shortcomings.
Many companies have an appraisal form which they expect you to fill out, it will become an easy task to fill this our come appraisal time. This will also continuously help you evaluate your own performance and push you to perform better.
Career Path Discussion with Manager:
Most companies already have a Mid-Year review planned. However, employees tend to overlook it. This is a golden chance to assess your manager’s perception of your performance. Get into a frank discussion with your manager about your work and where he/she sees you career progressing over the next year and ahead.
If you have been performing well, your manager is certainly making a note and planning ahead for you. If they are not, then it is a red flag for you to take charge.
Expectation Setting with Manager
This is a separate discussion from a career path discussion. This is more about current deliverables and your performance related to it. You can include a lot of soft issues in this discussion like issues with working with your team, problems you face with colleagues or your own personal issues like family situation or anything. It is always best to keep your manager informed about situations which affect your work.
Improving on your first impression:
Your first appraisal is also your big chance to ensure that you can move beyond your first impression in the organisation. Take a moment with your manager and discuss how they have seen you grow and what areas require improvement.
For example: If the feedback you receive is that you don’t acknowledge emails from your peers then ensure that every email is acknowledged. This means you are committed to improvement.
Show leadership and initiative
Every manager is always looking out for enterprising and leadership employees, even if you have a difficult boss the expectations are the same – you grow, the company grows! Speak out more in team meetings, think beyond your regular work and bring up new initiatives, keep a tab on industry news and stay updated.
Managers appreciate employees who show responsibility and take ownership of their work.
One might say being a ‘Yes man’ to your manager might just bring you the higher bonus, but that strategy doesn’t work in the long run! Make sure you are building yourself a fruitful career while impressing the manager with productivity. It is bound to get you a higher bonus!