Getting Remote Performance Evaluations Right

by Jody Ordioni

Getting Remote Performance Evaluations Right

Many organizations are still fumbling to manage their employees due to the destabilization caused by COVID-19. As more time passes and remote work becomes the norm, companies have to rethink how they can measure the performance of an employee. Conversations around the performance of employees are important, especially now, when everyone is trying to figure out what is expected of them. However, these are not easy conversations in the best of circumstances, how can it happen now? Here are some tips that might help you out:

Increase Frequency of Check-Ins

In place of conducting annual performance reviews, companies should look at quarterly reviews that will provide a more immediate check-in with the employees. A frequent conversation will help to bring home the structure of the office space as employees work remotely. It can also let managers routinely gauge whether employees are receiving support from the company to make their work efficient and smooth.

Regular check-ins are useful when trying to communicate the various expectations to employees and trying to evaluate their performance. Keep in mind that parameters will differ since employees are now working remotely.

Be Firm but Don't Forget to Be Compassionate

Times of crisis are challenging, not only for the employees but also the managers. It is a time when emotional intelligence comes in handy because everyone is working under stress. Employees who are working from home might be dealing with mental health issues or elderly parents.

If managers communicate with their employees compassionately, it will let the employees know that the company values them as important resources. This is not to say that you do not hold them to a standard but definitely means that their real-time stressors are taken into consideration.

Keeping the Past in Mind and Looking to the Future

Many managers keep referring to the past while evaluating an employee, thereby missing out on the future actions of the employee. While the past can be illuminating, there is nothing you can change about it. The future, however, is in your hands to shape. Utilize the experience you have gained in the past to construct a meaningful future for your employee and your company.

Evaluation conversations should not be only about the past, rather it should outline steps to be taken to achieve success in the future. Both parties involved in an evaluation should be clear about the goals, at the end. Employees should have a clear idea about how to meet expectations and managers should know which tools will help an employee be successful.

Start by Evaluating Your Rating System

Before changing the method of your evaluation, try to rethink the parameters you conduct an evaluation on the basis of. By fixing certain labels, such as expectations, improvements, etc. the employees are confined and forced to function in a certain way. It does not add value to the employees in any sense and restricts their focus to these labels only.

The aim of any evaluation is to set the employees for success, but these parameters restrict them from the very beginning. Leaders should aim to coach the employees through evaluation and not demarcate them into various categories.

Comfort During the Pandemic

Before the pandemic, managers would usually communicate with remote workers through a face-to-face call. This would help them to convey the tone of their meeting easily and also interpret the body language of the employees. Though managers can still conduct evaluations through video calling, it is better to consider whether the employee is up for it or not.

They might have any reason for not being comfortable with their cameras on. Managers, however, should always strive to keep their video on, except in unavoidable circumstances. It shows the employees that they have your undivided attention for the duration of the meeting. Such concessions will also help you improve your employee engagement and retention.

The Bottom Line

While it might be tempting to put employee evaluations on the back burner for now, or even do away with them entirely, they hold importance even now. Though the process might need some tweaking, it is necessary that your employees receive genuine feedback from your end. Supporting them through a difficult time will improve the relationship of the company with the employees.

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