Appraisals: Will the status quo continue?

Each sector is setting its own rules on appraisals this year, which are dependent on how the sector is performing during the lockdown. Here is what to expect from a few sectors.

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The corona virus pandemic has hit at a time when most companies start their appraisal process. Now, with the lockdown, followed by the economic slump, appraisals or increments seem like a distant dream.

In sectors where businesses have been seriously hit, the major challenge is to avoid losing one’s job. However, there are sectors where business is continuing as usual, yet many of the companies from these sectors are playing it safe.

The Big 4 – PwC India, Deloitte India, EY (Ernst and Young) India and KPMG have all decided to defer their employee appraisal cycles, which include promotions and bonuses, because of the virus outbreak.

Not just the private companies, even several government organisations have declared salary cuts. In view of the economic impact of the coronavirus lockdown, Maharashtra’s

Amit Das

we have managed to ensure continuity of the performance appraisal process through meaningful performance & developmental conversations between the managers & the appraises through virtual interactions & meaningful conversations supported by the right technology.

Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar announced on March 31, that salaries of ministers, the chief minister and other elected representatives, along with all government officials in the State will be slashed by up to 60 per cent in March, and the balance will be paid later when the situation improves.

Central government too has extended the dates for initiation and completion of its employees’ annual performance appraisal reports (APARs) due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There is optimism yet, as companies are postponing the appraisal process, but not completely calling it off.

Suresh Kumar, president-HR, Polycab India, who represents an electrical solutions company, says, “Business from all verticals has been heavily impacted. Hence, we will delay the increment process but will definitely pay our employees their due amounts along with the arrears at a later stage.”

Suresh Kumar

The only small change we will introduce now will be a variation in fixed salaries, which too will be performance based

“In our organisation, the salary consists of fixed and variables in the ratio of 75:25, and increments range from 5-12 per cent and that is dependent upon the employee’s annual performance. The only small change we will introduce now will be a variation in fixed salaries, which too will be performance based.”

According to a media space professional, Amit Das, director -HR and CHRO, BCCL (Times Group), “the continuity of the performance appraisal process will happen through meaningful performance & developmental conversations between the managers & the appraises through virtual interactions & meaningful conversations supported by the right technology. However, the increment & rewards outcome need to be evaluated & decided through a pragmatic & balanced approach based on the short term & long term impact of the current phase of business disruptions.”

In the quick service restaurant (QSR) space, the picture is brighter. Talking about the appraisal process, Balachandar N, group director, HR, Coffee Day Group, says, “Nothing will change or be shifted even by an ounce from where it was. We are still devising ways to live up to our commitments to our employees, but amidst this havoc, the process will be a bit prolonged.”

However, he adds, “As all must be aware, we lost our MD (VG Siddhartha) last year, and hence, many discussions are still going on in order to keep the business running as usual. Though we had to shut down few of our outlets, decisions about when to give increments and how much are yet to be taken.”

Balachandar N

Nothing will change or be shifted even by an ounce from where it was

 

Industry observers say that sectors, such as pharmaceuticals and professional services are expected to remain unaffected by the Covid-19 outbreak and appraisals in these sectors will be done as usual.

Another sector, where increments have already been announced is the legal consultancy space.  All top law firms, including Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM), Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (SAM), Khaitan and Co., Luthra and Luthra Partners, and Juris Corp are proactively giving out bonuses to their associates and partners.

Amidst such challenges, the employers too expect some understanding, the same way in which employees expect empathy from their employers. This is a phase where the companies will get to know who will stand by them through thick and thin!

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