Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on most workforces, companies currently have all or part of their staff working remotely. This requires adapting a substantive number of pre-pandemic workplace processes to accommodate employees working remotely.
One critically important area for business leaders to review is how they intend to perform employee performance reviews remotely. The unexpected and extended period of time working remotely requires changes to current feedback and development practices. This will be key to ensure instructive feedback to foster ongoing employee engagement and future business success.
This process change requires thoughtful planning and follow through but can be readily accomplished. Organizations can positively impact their online performance reviews by incorporating the following 4 key strategies into their current practices.
Strategy #1 – Develop a Pre-Performance Review Checklist
- Ensure you know your employees’ strengths and weaknesses prior to performing their virtual performance reviews.
- The discussion should revolve around the employee’s performance, not personality.
- Determine ways to recognize positive performance; instrumental in fostering feelings of fulfilment and engagement.
- Concentrate on aspects that most impact the employee’s productivity and success.
- Home in on 1-2 areas requiring improvement and offer possibilities to help employees strive towards their potential.
- Communicate the parameters of the online performance review process.
- Share how the remote performance review will be conducted i.e., via Zoom, WhatsApp, Google.
- Outline the areas to be assessed – goals, KPIs and achievements.
- Set a specific time for the review and send a calendar invite.
Strategy #2 – Demonstrate Sincere Empathy
- Acknowledge that their having to work remotely during the pandemic has created a number of changes that could impact levels of performance.
- Take time to recognize the employees’ efforts to adapt during this time of change.
- Ask what they find most challenging about working remotely from home.
- Give employees the opportunity to share what tools, technology and/or processes they might require to help them work more effectively.
- Working from home has created a multitude of stressors for employees – lack of privacy, limited workspace, children not able to go to school and are studying online.
- Be extremely sensitive to the overall wellbeing of your employees, especially when there is a need to discuss areas of work deficiency.
- Empower employees to ask questions and raise concerns to enable them to fully engage and participate in the process.
Strategy #3 – Select the Appropriate Performance Review Format
- Explicitly recognize that these are neither normal times nor normal working conditions.
- Consider using a more flexible format in your performance review process.
- Instead of ranking employees along a numerical continuum, consider a non-metric approach.
- A non-metric approach will enable you to provides instructive feedback that outlines what employees are doing well as well as what areas require improvement.
- Focusing on coaching and developing employee skills over just numbers can boost confidence and strengthen engagement during what is a challenging or anxious time for many people and organizations.
- This does not negate the possibility that you may need to extend a firm warning should an employee’s work performance continue to show signs of being substandard.
- Research online programs/apps that can be utilized to share ongoing feedback
Strategy #4 – Employ These Constructive Feedback Principles
- Be honest. Employees know when you are sugar coating your feedback.
- Recognition is important! Begin by highlighting positive items for employees to continue.
- Make specific observations with examples, not vague inference.
- Avoid feedback overload.
- Identify key areas and actions where the employee excelled or performed poorly.
Common areas to focus on for remote workers include:
Working as part of a team
Problem solving & Resource Management
As remote work becomes increasingly standard the need to evaluate and provide effective feedback to remote workers increases. Incorporating these strategies into an updated performance review process can pay dividends in employee engagement and organizational performance.
To learn more about the services Flex Surveys offers and how they can help your team, contact us at 877.327.5085 or visit our Contact Page to set up a demo.