This article is based on the past few years practice as shared by trainees. TCS may change the processes, but this article will give you an idea of the appraisal process through out the IT industry. More or less it is the appraisal process followed in all IT companies like WIPRO, CTS ( Cognizant) , INFOSYS and others
All the associates in TCS are rated on a scale of 0-5, 5 being the highest. your rating generally comes up to 3 decimal places which are rounded off to nearest integer e.g. if your rating is 3.499, it would be considered as 3 and if its 3.500 or 3.501,it would be considered as 4.
In first year, you are quarterly rated, i.e. your performance would be evaluated every 3 months by your immediate supervisor (project leader). Suppose if u join TCS in Oct 2011 at Coimbatore ILP, then your first quarter would be OCT-DEC '11. It has nothing to do with Financial Quarters. So, don't combine the two. You'll get a rating in ILP but it is generally not taken into account when you join a project. Your project leader would rate u according to your performance in his project in every forthcoming quarter. After u complete 1 year, you'll have 4 ratings with u (one from every quarter).
Ideally, as per the guidelines, your confirmation rating should be a weighted average of your quarterly ratings. But in reality, it does not happen in most of the companies. The management has a curve and they follow a process popularly known as Bell Curve. According to that curve, you'll get your confirmation rating. After confirmation, you'll be rated half yearly (H1- Apr to Sept and H2 - Oct to Mar).If u are confirmed in Oct'12, then you'll be facing H2 directly without having your H1 appraisal cycle.
The Bell Curve Factor
Bell Curve: - Suppose there are 100 associates in a particular account in which say 10 projects are in progress. In every project, there are 10 associates and one of them is a project leader (PL). Over every 2-3 projects, there is a Project Manager (PM). And over all Project Managers, there is an account manager (AM). And over account managers, there is Group Leader (GL).
In the mentioned process, GL gives guidelines to all the AMs regarding the ratings to be distributed in their respective accounts. This is transferred to PM and ultimately to PL levels. Suppose, according to guidelines, out of 10 associates in every project, 2 can get a rating of 5, 3 to be given a rating of 4, 4 to be given a rating of 3 and 1 has to be given a rating of 2. This is how it is distributed. Now, PL - PM have to identify who should be put into which slot. This whole process is known as Curve Fitting wherein PMs and PLs are fitting you at a particular location of the curve given by the GL.
There is a difference of around 1100 bugs per month between any two ratings. That means, if you have got a rating of 4, then probably you might get around 3.LPA as your package after confirmation and if you have a rating of 3, you might get 3.76 LPA and so on.
TCS's performance appraisal system is supported by an online system called the Human Resource Management System- an Oracle Developer based tool. The system individual right from his biographical details to his projects performance. An employee's performance history at the click of a button and this accurately maintained for all employees! Right from his entry, an employee in TCS get formal performance feedback once very two months till such time that he is confirmed after which the performance feedback is provided twice every year on a formal basis. TCS however widely encourages informal feedback discussions between Project Leaders and Team Members and this concept has found an overwhelming appeal among the people.
TCS conducts two appraisals:
1. At the end of the year
2. At the end of a project.
Appraisals are based on Balanced Scorecard, which tracks the achievement of employees on the basis of targets at four levels —
learning and growth
The financial perspective quantifies the employee’s contribution in terms of revenue growth, cost reduction, improved asset utilization and so on; The customer perspective looks at the differentiating value proposition offered by the employee; the internal perspective refers to the employee’s contribution in creating and sustaining value; the learning and growth are self-explanatory. The weightage given to each attribute is based on the function the employee performs. Based on their individual achievements, employees are rated on a scale of one to five (five = “superstar”). If employees get a low rating (less than two) in two consecutive
appraisals, the warning flags go up. “If the poor performer continues getting low scores then the exit option may be considered” Over the years TCS has found the pattern that leads to the maximum decline in performance — boredom. If employees work for more than two years on the same project, typically either their performance dips or they leave the organization.
To avoid that, TCS shuffles its employees between projects every 18 months or so. “Performance drops if motivation drops” At the heart of an employee's satisfaction lies the fact that his performance is being appreciated and recognized. TCS's performance management system has metamorphosed into one that emphasizes objectivity and a system that mandates performance evaluation against pre-determined criteria.
What deserve special mention is the active participation of the senior management in the determination of guidelines for the performance appraisal process. The process ensure buy in of the employees since the guidelines for the rating system and its conversion into money terms is not unilaterally decided by HR but is a consensus of a cross functional team with representation from all levels