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Handling year-end appraisals

For many, it is that time of the year again for festivities and holidays. However, it is also the time of the year for many companies to round up the hits and misses.

Simon Sinek says that "you can’t incentivize performance, you can only incentivize behavior". But what happens to an organization if you reward the right behaviour and fail to deliver on results? Embracing the philosophy of 'survival of the fittest' might be their best chance of staying afloat, should they continue to reward good behaviour at the expense of performance?

Goldman Sachs, has an annual 'culling' ritual whereby it shaves off the underperforming 5% of its workforce. This might sound brutal but that practice is probably one of the key reasons why the investment bank has successfully maintained its leading edge amongst the rest of its competitors.

In the book "Dream Big", Jim Collins also talks about private equity firm 3G Capital's corporate culture:

"The very best people crave meritocracy, and mediocre people fear it."

Generally, those who seek to cruise their way to a natural retirement should be eliminated for the greater commercial good of the company. Yet this is not always so.

Large companies often have blind spots and loopholes within their organisational hierarchy for underperforming people to hide away. Sometimes, it is also more costly to replace a long-serving employee who has been too familiar with keeping up with the firm's day to day operations.

But trimming the fat is a crucial aspect for staying alive. And in all of these scenarios, the firm pays the ultimate price in terms of profitability and efficiency.


It can be very easy to feel victimised when you don't get credited or rewarded (monetarily) for the efforts that you put into a particular project or for achieving a breakthrough for the company. It could also be a certain line manager or a higher up finding fault with you. And this could be anything from a missed deadline, falling short of KPIs, or even not trying hard enough.

Sometimes the way things work (or don’t work) within the company is not entirely your fault. The larger the company, the more complex and inter-connected the workings are.

The reality is everyone is entitled to their opinion. Just remember that the ones who have real skin in the game (those who have something to really lose when things go bad) have the absolute right to ask questions and demand for results - even if they sound unreasonable.

Don’t beat yourself up too much.

But remember, as an employee, also don't be too quick to give yourself more credit than you deserve for your achievements at the workplace.


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