Going the extra mile is rewarding

Ramsey Naja is chief creative officer, JWT MENA

I’ve never been a great fan of the past. Which probably explains why I have both an optimistic character and a bad memory. For me, the best way to use the past is to make sure it doesn’t repeat itself – except in music. Moreover, I don’t like to dwell on it, something that I’d rather leave to petty and vindictive types who think that spilt milk can be unspilt if you give the culprit a really horrible time.

But I do make exceptions, mind you – and they don’t stop at Led Zeppelin. In an industry where stakes are financially high and stress levels stratospheric, not to mention the jungle-like fierceness of competition amongst people, evaluations – in their assessment of the recent past – are as close to being a universal remedy as can be. And, as we approach the time of year when most agencies’ HR departments are distributing performance sheets, it’s worth remembering how significant it is.

For many, evaluations are means to increases, bonuses and a reminder of how fantastic they’ve been all year. And why not? But only once the basics are clear. The simple measurements when it comes to remuneration are as follows: a salary represents your value to the company, which means that, to increase it, that value itself should have gone up. A bonus, on the other hand, rewards the extra mile – the propensity to go beyond the call of duty.

But there are two aspects to evaluations that few look into. One, it should be as much forward-looking as it must judge the past. As such, KPIs, objectives and ambitions should be dwelt upon as much as recent performance. But the other one is more sensitive. It concerns more the person evaluating than the one at the receiving end: in an industry where impunity has often been the norm, and where there’s more comebacks than professional boxing, unless seniors start getting tougher with ethically-challenged staff – regardless of their talent – our credibility, even our value, will just keep dwindling and the only things that gives us any kudos will be past episodes of Mad Men.



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