Yuck I received an Award

Congratulations. You received a SPOT award for the month of September 2013 – A mail that intruded my email inbox. I was astonished and was happy to see my performance been rewarded with SPOT award. Soon the news spread across other team members since my manager forwarded the email to others in the team. Each of the team member walked in to my cabin, congratulated and in no time asked for a treat. The evening snack went from my pocket puncturing my already starving bank account. Who bothers? I received SPOT award.

The celebrations continued in my home also with a special dinner and the whole night went on talking about how I was selected for the award leaving others in the team. I was on air as though I received Grammy award and was delivering winning speech. I also whispered that other team members will be holding grudge on me.

A week gone. The results of annual appraisal was out. I was confident to get a good rating based on my discussions with manager. My dumbness; I was given rating 3 – Met the expectations despite late night working hours and by taking lot of additional org related responsibilities. Hang on. I also received a SPOT award. Then why was the question scorching my head. I stepped in to my manager’s cabin, had a discussion in fact a sort of fight but nothing helps. I will be losing part of my annual bonus and less hikes because of rating 3.

I understood that rest of my team members who are on my grade level received either 2 or 1 and will be getting good payouts and hikes.

It made me to think are those awards really worth. The award which has no monetary value but just a piece of sugar coated paper has not added anything to me. Lately I also understood that I was selected for the award, so that I don’t ask more questions on my appraisal rating. A typical managerial ploy that did nothing other than me losing some bucks from my pocket.

Now why am I writing my year old experience at this time. My above experience was from an employee perspective. But we need to hear the truth from the horse mouth employers. Recently I came across an employer stating what an award means to them. Here are the excerpts from counter affidavit filed by TCS  in Madras High Court about GEMS award that is been awarded to their employees.

“The TCS GEMS recoginition is not given for any outstanding contribution but is recognition for involvement in any initiatives of the company. The reliance on such awards and recognition does not in any manner confer any additional rights to the Petitioner”. It also added “This is in view of the high attrition rate across the sector”.

TCS Gems

The above affidavit clearly says few things:

  1. Awards are not given for exceptional contribution and always for good performers
  2. It’s a trick to retain employees and exploit more work from the employees
  3. It can easily divide the employees and make a grudge feeling among the employees
  4. Awards will not save you when you are on firing list

Next time when you receive an award, beware. You may be pulled into a trap by the management at a later stage.

PS: Awards like SPOT , GEMS , Feather in my cap , etc just differ in the name but with same meaning to an IT employee.

( Ponraj M , the article author is a FITE member working in IT company in Bengaluru)

(Readers of the article are asked to post their comments and feedback.We also welcome the readers to write their experiences to fiteorg@gmail.com)

  • Guest

    All the employees in a team fights for rating irrespective of there post like ase , se or ita etc the seniors keeps good rating for them and residues remains for the coders.. Seniors never codes.. They should get D rating and termination as well.

    • Akash

      Although I do not come under the senior group. But I must say – Coding is not the only thing required in IT industry my friend. And my friend stop hating seniors, you shall be one in some days… Its just a matter of time.

      • charles

        Coding is the basic need for every one in IT industry except people in leadership team. You senior’s just push your work to junior do body shaping for your boss for ur appraisal. But what a junior will do? . And appraisal is decided based on person not on workdone. I am-tcser. Be a proud software developer not a cheap politician or body shaper for your boss.

    • sunil

      My dear friend its IT industry.. you always think from your perceptive.. while junior you can explain your limitation to senior management. but while in senior leadership you cant do the same to Client, unless its very critical. the pressure in term of handling client is their job. and the pressure always gets cascaded….

  • Santos

    Very well written. This is sad story of TCS GEMs and how does it fool their Team members.

  • Raja

    The appraisal system in IT companies are highly flawed. They have the bell curve. So irrespective performance 5% will get A (highest, 10% B, 70% C, 10% D and 5% E. This percentage may vary company to company. The above logic or criteria has to be applied even if all your employees are above average. So if you happen to be in a team good performance you are bound to get low band. Similarly when a top performance changes from one to another team with different technology there may be slow down for a period in his performance. Because of this he would get a raw deal. His teammates in the previous team who are less performance than him would get good rating. Also if your manager do not have spine you will lose out on the band as they fit the bell curve in the unit level. As a manager if you stand up for your team, you will get a raw deal as your manager will not have spine to standup for you. Companies are firing/laying off employees based on these highly flawed system. In most of the companies HR will not talk for employees as they have to save themselves. Companies like TCS have rating and band. Based on band only increase/decrease/laying off are decided. Band should be based on rating. Rating is based on certain goals. But the sad part is rating and band do not co-relate. You may get a good rating but a bad band. I have seen people who got more than 4 (out of 5) given a band of C and D

  • Shobha

    I previously worked in CTS and had good rating and promotion too. For still better opportunity i joined Xerox which is a product company, but they terminated me within 25 days saying that work force reduction. Is this really work force reduction terminating an new joinee within 25 days. They didn’t even give prior notice, my former manager called me saying that HR needs to have a discussion and when i went to discussion, i really had a shock when HR said that today will is my last day and i need to submit my assets and collect relieving letter for my 25 days of service. This company don’t even have an formality for an employee putting resignation paper, take away all the assets and throw the employee without any humanity. The reason the HR gave was so childish where he said Xerox is divided into two and now this division is getting rebranded as Conduent, but this process was happening from past 1 year, its not just 1 month story. Horrible HR team who are also barbarc in nature. I need justice for this act, please help me whom should i contact. This is really bad where this so called Xerox is hiring people for terminating. My sincere advice to al my friends not to join this xerox or conduent. They send offer letter by name Conduent but give relieving letter by name Xerox. I am totally confused and literally depressed by their act.