Performance Reviews Gain More Relevance When Working from Home

by Jody Ordioni

Performance Reviews Gain More Relevance When Working from Home

Performance reviews are the bane of everyone's existence. However, our studies have shown that a mere 13% of those surveyed (both employees and managers) have found the appraisal system of their company to be useful. Though the reason for this is not that reviews are unnecessary, rather it is so because they are not implemented properly. When working from home, feedback that is gained from thoughtful performance reviews can be extremely helpful. Therefore, managers should not neglect this important part of employee engagement, especially during a time when normal functioning has gone out of the window.

A recent study has shown that only 29% of employees know whether their performance is at par with the expected standards. This gap in knowledge is not only harmful to the performance of the company but is also detrimental to the mental health of the employees.

Have you ever felt the frustration of trying to learn a new skill? If yes, then you know that there are moments when you don't know whether what you are doing is right or not. This is the same feeling that two-thirds of the workforce has these days, as they try to find a balance between work and home. Employees are trying to stick to a routine and optimize their productivity, while the distinctions between personal and professional lives are getting blurred.

Employees are, all of a sudden, being asked to adopt new working methods, that sometimes even run contrary to all the practices they have established over the years. Work has crawled into every inch of personal life. There are no discreet working hours or discreet working places (offices), so work can seem never-ending now. Even if employees are called into the office to work, the workplaces do not resemble the office space of 2019.

Conducting Performance Reviews Making Them Futile

Learning and adapting at breakneck speed has created anxiety and uncertainty in the employees. If proper feedback and guidance are not present, this can take a toll on the mental health of employees. The question that remains though, is how can employers conduct performance reviews, without turning them into a futile exercise? Here are four steps that can help:

  1. Performance reviews imply that the feedback is a recapitulation of the past. On the contrary, feedbacks should keep the future of the employees in mind. Employees cannot alter the past but can do better in the future. They can maximize their productivity, improve the quality of their work, and introduce new methods to separate work-life from home-life. Thus, reviews should be treated as a conversation with the employees that can help them improve their performance in the future.

  2. The next step is to understand what the primary cause of an employee's frustration is. It does not have to be an elaborate procedure. You can simply ask your employees what is the one thing that is causing them the most stress this week. Your question should be direct and to the point. Conversation fillers, such as "How are you feeling?", will not yield any results. Instead of talking in loops, it is better to straightforwardly ask your employees what's bothering them.

  3. Once you have zoned in on the cause of distress, it is time to help your employees tackle it. For most leaders, this is not a difficult task. Rather problem-solving that maximizes the productivity of the employees, is a pleasant and easy activity. Most leaders have already faced situations like this, in their professional lives or they know people who can find out the correct solutions. As long as your primary goal is to help out your employees, your suggestions would be welcomed by the employees.

  4. The final step is to offer feedback to the employees, regarding their performance. Commonly, whatever is bothering the employees might also be your source of frustration with their performance. Most performance reviews tend to flow unidirectionally, with the managers talking at the employees. However, you should try to talk to your employees, to provide the steps to improve their performance.

The Bottom Line

The performance reviews, during this difficult time, should not make the employees feel bad about their productivity levels. The feedbacks should be critical, honest, and constructive. The more clarity an employee has about their performance, the more they can improve.

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