“Apologies, apologies, sorry I’m a bit late” Rob bustled in and sat down heavily. “Southern Rail?” asked Jordan nervously. “Don’t even say those words …. I can’t even remember who I am more angry with - the stupid unions or the useless management!”
Jordan had a sinking feeling that Rob “was not in a good place” as that annoying phrase put it. But here they were and the appraisal was actually going to happen. And reassuringly Rob did have some paperwork with him, so Jordan had lost the bet with himself that Rob would arrive empty handed – and then start apologising for that.
“Well first of all sorry for having to cancel you a few weeks’ back after my cock-up with the Xenon meeting – by the way that’s going to be a great piece of work and I want you involved. And then sorry for cancelling again last week.” Rob exhaled and was relieved to see that Jordan looked fairly relaxed and was even smiling. “Really Rob, I do understand and appreciate that you …. well, couldn’t help it.”
Thirty minutes later Jordan and Rob were walking down the steps out of the office towards their local Costa. It had been Rob’s idea, “Come on Jordan let’s head out – we’ve got lots more to discuss and I could do with some air”. Jordan was more than happy to move out of the slightly artificial meeting room environment and very happy about the way their conversation had gone.
In answer to Rob’s opening “So tell me – how are things?”, he had run through the list he had prepared. Wanting to get involved in transactions earlier, not having his time written off when he wasn’t briefed properly, enjoying acting as a mentor to the new trainees, worrying about how he performed at the Lightspeed pitch (when he had got no feedback afterwards) and needing access to decent on-line training on contract negotiations. He had got the sense that Rob was genuinely interesting and listening. Partly this was because Rob had actually managed to stay quiet and not interrupt as he normally did - and also because he had asked some questions that really got Jordan thinking.
It had been a real effort for Rob, trying to put into practice all he had been learning about running a good appraisal session. His “Surely, they just need me to tell them what the problems are” instinct, was blatantly not as effective as this approach. And after he had said “Well, look there are a few things I’d like to mention ….” and then ran through six examples of great work (including the trainee mentoring) Jordan had done in the last six months – Jordan’s face was a picture of surprise and delight. It made Rob feel good too – although he did have a lingering sense of “if only I’d said some of this earlier”. Going on to talk to Jordan about the challenging targets he wanted to set him for next year now seemed less difficult.
As they ordered their Flat White’s Jordan knew that this was going to be the moment to raise the “substantial pay hike” question. But should he offer to pay for the coffees?
My experience of appraisals is that
What’s your experience of appraisals? If they go right and are useful, why is that the case? Who gets the credit? And if they go wrong – where does the blame lie?
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