FinanceMarch 2018

How to get a good appraisal?

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Tips for good increment:



Few years back a young, talented, hard working boy joined a company on a certain annual salary, everybody loved his work that much that he even got 32% hike in his first increment and 15% hike again after 6 months. How did this guy manage to get 52% hike in 18-month period?

5 years back same guy was struggling to get 5-8% growth, so what exactly he did differently this time? Of course I am talking about myself, yes I did things differently. I have been working in private companies from last 12 years, I have seen at least 12 increments. First 5 years I was miserable in articulating myself but my failure helped me.

Appraisal day is one of the biggest day of our professional career, you wait for 12 months and now you want to know how much your company values you. For many it is a very emotional period, we all work hard but only few are rewarded with good raise. But don’t be disheartened if you don’t get what you expected instead you can too come close to your expectation. Read this article and I hope it will help you.

Following steps can help you in getting good hike.


Step 1. RCF (Relaxed, Confident and Focused)

Stop envisaging, be relaxed, be calm and sit peacefully. We all have that tendency to get excited when appraisal is near and in excitement we over prepare ourselves and fill our head with unnecessary and redundant information. Every fighter needs a strategy before going to a war and your enemy (HR) is really willing to snatch every single penny from your well-deserve increment. When you are calm and relaxed you can think better and when you think better you gain confidence which means you have better chance of high increment.


Step 2.  Prepare your strategy.

Now It’s the time to prepare yourself for your big day. Look into the mirror and ask following questions to yourself.

  • Do I deserve a raise?
  • What have I done to get a raise?
  • Am I good enough in my work or am I just an average employee?
  • Have I done something extraordinary which has helped my company financially or in other way?
  • How much raise do I deserve?

Employee gets a form from HR before appraisal which includes all the above mentioned questions and few others which are related to your performances. But the core focus will be on these 4-5 questions. Now all you have to do is bring out a paper & pen and start writing all the projects and tasks, you handled or handling, one by one. Now give ranks to your work, your HR or boss is definitely going to point out your negatives so it’s better you do it yourself. Ideally you should record of your performance monthly, you will be more prepared at the time of appraisal. But I know we all are busy so we don’t have time, in fact I do it every end of the quarter.


Step 3. Rehearse your appraisal.

Now you have your pros and cons, it’s time for rehearsal. Don’t overdo it but make sure you have rehearsed all your lines. Be confident and focused. Convince yourself first then try to convince your bosses.

In one of my appraisal I said “Ohhh I taught my colleagues excel formulas” and my HR almost burst into laughter, firstly it was stupid and secondly helping colleague is what they expect from you. You should articulate yourself in such a convincing way that they feel retaining you more. At the end of day, it doesn’t matter if you are from IT, Finance or Sales department, you are selling your services to your company so you have to become a sales man. Think like them at least for that 1-2 hour.


Step 4. Always have a plan B you never know when things can go south.

Always be prepared for the worst and one way for that is to have self-evaluation (backing) before appraisal. Take part in interviews so that you will have fair idea if your company is paying you fare and it also gives you the idea about the market value of your services. People think to switch after increment but it is good to have at least one offer letter before increment which gives you an upper hand on your HR and it really gives you more confidence but again it is up-to you. I learned this like 7 years ago, when my boss literally told me to take it or leave it, I knew he was bluffing but I surrendered because I had no options.  So since then I always prepare myself for worst. Prepare for following questions from HR and be ready in advance.

  • Your performance is below expectation.
  • We cannot give you more than X%.
  • This much growth is the trend in industry.
  • Take it or Leave it.

Your answers depend on your situation and how you are doing so far. If they are telling you that your performance is below expectation, then evaluate it, if you find them reasonable accept it otherwise justify your stand with counter facts but in a subtle way. When they say they cannot give you more than X%, most of the time they are bluffing, if you have done your homework, you can call their bluff or you can choose to accept whatever they are giving you. Give them convincing reasoning why they should retain you on higher amount, try to trick them, ask if they feel you are valuable for company or not.

When they say oh this is the trend of the industry, you cannot argue on this point, I did and I said there are companies who are giving 30% or 40% raise and my HR said “you should join them”.  It’s better to tell them what extra you can bring to the table in terms of work.,

“Take it or leave it” I mean no one wants to hear that but in case you do don’t blow it by taking instant decision ask for some time to think about it.


Step 6. Don’t argue with your boss.

Try to play cool and no matter how worse things go don’t argue with them, try to have a healthy conversation. Articulating is an art so try to master it with practice rather than being aggressive. Yes, you are on a war but fight it with ultimate dignity and professionalism because firstly you are a professional and secondly you don’t want to lose your job (unless you have an offer letter).


Step 7.  Be realistic.

In one of my interview I said I need 25% raise because I am doing equal work and still I am being paid less than my colleague. And my boss said he is being paid more because he doesn’t compare himself with others, he convinced us that he is a team player, he is working here longer than you and can bring so much to the company. I was aghast by his remarks because I literally worked 20 hours a day for this company but in reality it was a huge mistake on my part to compare myself with others and plus my company expect me to work hard in demanding times.

My boss next day told me that if you want to explore other options you can, you are free to do that, go and explore but in any company you will not get a Jump of 25% unless promotion and increment are on same day or something extraordinary happens. Jump like that only happens when you join another company and he was absolutely right. He said I would like you to go on happy note rather being staying here and feeling you are not paid well because it will affect your work. I was amazed by the way he convinced me to stay on less increment. 



You or your boss everybody is replaceable in the company but the big question is if the company wants to replace their employees? Are they willing to into recruitment process?  Which again is a really pain in the rear and then training of new employee and apart from that level of trust and comfort in between you and your colleague, that all comes with time. They have invested money, time and patience in you, are they going to lose it? No, but they will if you are not being realistic.

One thing you should always remember you are not married to your company and neither your company has adopted you. If you are not feeling that you are paid enough you should move on and join some other companies or else come to the peace that your company is paying you enough. But articulating in a better way can land a good increment in your hand.


Note : This is author’s personal experience, readers are advice to evaluate their situation their own. These steps only to give readers an idea what happens in a particular situation, period and time frame  


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