Don't be led by emotions while self-introspection your efforts, but get a grip on the facts, says Suhita Saha.
While the annual appraisal season has wrapped up in most of the organisations, the employees' self-contemplation post the review does not peter out.
Often, employees feel that their efforts deserve more appreciation than what they got.
Feelings of jealousy, low self-esteem and anxiety might aggravate in such situations.
This might affect their overall work-life balance, making them less productive and vulnerable and exposed.
According to a survey conducted by Adobe of 1,500 employees and employers, the responses highlight that around 22 percent of the respondents admitted that they have cried at least once after a bad appraisal, while 20 per cent felt it was necessary to quit following a stressful review.
These situations might further lead to insomnia, mental and emotional stress that can lead to adverse effects on the overall health of the employee.
Apart from not receiving what they expected, they might exhibit a feeling of angst and jealousy against their co-workers and boss.
There have been instances where the stress around appraisal acts as a catalyst to bring to the fore the underlying mental illness in vulnerable individuals, especially the ones with significant family or past history of mental illness.
That precise moment might be quite disturbing and difficult to deal with, but all this panic and overthinking could only aggravate the situation.
Here are some tips to help you cruise through a bad appraisal:
First of all, calm down. Sit down and relax a bit before taking any step.
Follow grandmother’s rule, count backwards, or even do subtractions to divert your mind from the frustration.
Drink a glass of cold water and take deep breaths to let out the frustration.
Once you feel a little calm, go talk to your mentor.
Ask them where you went wrong and how you could improve.
Know what went wrong
Sometimes, there could be a biased decision and you might feel like you deserve more.
In such a case, talk to your boss, ask him/her for facts; there are possibilities that either of you might be wrong.
Avoid arguments and approach him/her politely.
While evaluating your performance, take advice from a third person who can give you a more objective view of the situation.
It will help you get better insights of what exactly is happening based on which you can decide and plan your further actions.
Remember, it's not all that bad
Criticism can be hard to stomach, but remember, this is for your own good and to help you be more productive.
Consider it an opportunity to re-evaluate yourself and improve your overall performance.
Don’t be led by emotions while self-introspection your efforts, but get a grip on the facts.
Understand the performance and channelize your efforts in the right direction.
Don't overdose yourself with extra work if that’s beyond your capabilities just to impress your seniors.
It's a step towards improvement
Consider this as the next step in your ladder to success.
It’s not a roadblock but a way to achieve what you want.
All your efforts have not gone in vain, they have just made you better than before and there's a little more hard work you need to do to reach what you desire.
Set new, realistic goals and work towards accomplishing them.
Unrealistic expectations will lead to disappointment.
Start afresh and leave behind all the worries as they aren’t going to take you anywhere.
Don’t stop believing in yourself, keep your confidence levels high and keep working on making yourself better each day.
Vent it out
Call up a family member or a close friend and talk about everything.
Don’t indulge in alcohol consumption or abuse of any other substance. This might help you relieve stress for a short span of time, but would have adverse effects in the future.
You might also feel like staying alone and not indulging in social activities, but doing so will definitely make you feel better at that point.
Staying alone will add to your stress levels, making it difficult for you to handle things.
Take time to pick yourself up
All this can be quite daunting and before you kick-start your work again, give yourself time to deal with things and relax your mind.
Go to a laughter club, meditate or take a day off, escape to serene environs on weekends for a short vacation and spend some time doing things that make you happy.
Unwind the negativity and get back to work with the same enthusiasm and positivity you had before.
What can employers do
Most often, appraisal reviews are seen in a negative light in the minds of the employees, thus indirectly amplifying their stress levels.
So, apart from the above mentioned tips, it is equally important for an employer or the organisation to create an environment that promotes a stress- free environment for its employees.
The work environment should be psychologically safe and the concerns of employees should be given the utmost importance.
The employer plays a major role while conducting the review and thus should have a good rapport with the employees and should make sure they feel comfortable.
Performance assessment often comes with a lot of angst and displeasure towards the leader and this can be eased if the review is conducted in an effective manner.
Instead of putting out all the criticisms on a single day, employers should give regular feedback so that the level of stress is lesser and the employee knows what is expected of him/her.
Personal grudges should not interfere with professionalism and the employer should not get judgemental about the employees' activities and actions outside the organisation and provide them with constructive feedback.
Avoid showing authority or follow a bureaucratic approach, but instead, put forth your judgement in a friendly manner that leaves a positive impact on the employee.
Talk to your team members in private and keep things confidential to avoid any insecurities among the employees.
Post the appraisal, it is essential to conduct counselling sessions for employees as anxiety and insecurities can bring about a sense of unworthiness or accrete low self-esteem.
Proper guidance and advice can help employees combat such issues and focus better on their work.
This will help reduce absenteeism during such times and help build healthy employee-employer relationship.
If an employee has not achieved what he/she expected, it doesn't mean they aren’t capable of achieving it.
Each one has a distinct set of skill sets, pace of learning and ability to grow in life. Comparing your success with that of others is not going to be of any value.
Instead, look at criticism constructively and pump-up yourself with positive energy so you can start working for a better tomorrow.
Suhita Saha is clinical psychologist at mindful TMS Neurocare, Bengaluru.