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It's that time of year again when appraisals are the talk of the office. If you're relying on a good one for a payrise, you need to ensure you are doing the right things and scoring top marks. Here are six on-the-job don'ts that can turn an appraisal into a losers' evaluation and how you can avoid them.

- Chatting on the phone Technically, many staff are not supposed to use company phones for personal calls at all – it costs the company money and you tie up the lines. Most companies, however, are lenient enough to allow a small number, but when employees abuse this leniency employers start to worry as it is not just the cost of the call – long conversations mean the job is not getting done.

- Using the internet for entertainment Instant messaging is a way of life for many and chatting has become a workday pastime but it severely affects production. It is also a security threat – people could unwittingly be helping someone gain access to sensitive data from your company.

- Coming in late (every day) Many employees seem to underestimate the importance of being at work on time. Usually, a grace of 10 minutes or so is allowed, but reporting to work beyond 15 minutes on a regular basis is not going to give a very good impression. Some may think it is fine to be an hour late because traffic is bad but other employees will see how easy it is and they will start coming in late too. But be warned constant lateness is a sackable offence in most organisations and during these tough economic times there only needs to be one reason for employers to get rid of someone. 

- Thinking of your job as a paid holiday Some employees go beyond the call of duty for their employers, and others simply want to collect their pay and go home. But remember business is far too cutthroat for companies to concentrate on anything other than profitability and productivity.

- Cheating the company It is easy to pocket a pen or maybe take a couple of packets of instant coffee but cheating your company is considered fraud and people can be fired or charged with a criminal offence. No company is going to hold the odd pen or coffee against employees but they do draw the line at false claims and corporate espionage or bribery.

In the unlikely event that you have already committed an offence the damage has been done and you may as well consider finding another job as your appraisal will be terrible.

- Biting the hand that feeds you Perhaps the silliest thing any employee can do is bite the hand that feeds him and his family. When you complain about a company, you are complaining about the organisation and that does not go down well.

Never assume that a boss doesn't know what their staff say as word gets around and then the issue will be raised during an appraisal. If someone does not like their firm then they should leave. An employee who turns against the company is bad for morale and bad for business.

 

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