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Revamping Performance Reviews in the Midst of a Pandemic

by Jody Ordioni

Revamping Performance Reviews in the Midst of a Pandemic

Ask people whether performance reviews work or not and everyone will have a different opinion under the sun. Our surveys, however, show that employees themselves demand specific feedback. But the method that is currently used to measure the performance of employees does not find favor with half the respondents.

To this stagnant procedure, the additional stress of a pandemic has now been added. New dimensions of remote work, possible infections, additional caregiving responsibilities have changed the scope of measuring performance reviews. Keeping employees engaged while also measuring their performance is a difficult task. Here are five steps that will allow you to revamp the performance reviews and be sensitive to the shift in our lives due to the pandemic:

Clarify Expectations Beforehand

The definition of work has drastically changed for everyone. Acknowledging this change and altering expectations from employees accordingly can help you traverse the pandemic successfully. Performance reviews cannot function on the pre-pandemic parameters. Now is the time to talk to your employees and understand whether your year-end goals are attainable in this new situation. Interaction with employees has to be a priority and regular check-ins should become a regular feature. Ensure that there are functioning channels of communication that allow you to track the progress, without it becoming an intrusion. Communicating with employees will positively impact performance reviews.

Understand the Perspective of the Employee

It is during this time that understanding the perspective of your employees is most important. You have to actively seek them out and ask what they are feeling and how they are coping with the changes. An approach like this helps to achieve a broad understanding of organizational effectiveness. You can test out what works and what does not by understanding the feelings of the employees. Challenges can be tackled, and you can adjust expectations or goals accordingly. However, maintain a professional boundary, since sometimes employees might not wish to discuss personal issues.

Importance of Feedback

Specific feedback plays an important role in the performance of the employees, especially during a time when normal processes are disrupted. An ongoing stream of feedback that helps employees recognize areas demanding improvement and what they are doing well is immensely helpful. Quarterly sessions that provide specific reviews to employees and even informal feedback, helps them to excel in their roles. Simply telling them that the job was done well is not enough, you also have to help them leverage their strength for success in the future. Guide the skills they need to develop.

Outcomes-Based Approach

Employees have the right to know what their company values and prioritizes when it comes to outcomes and results. Actions and policies should be implemented keeping in mind the outcomes. When the approach centers on the outcome and not on processes, it allows employees the flexibility to play at their strengths. There should be a plan that details how to reach the desired outcome and a contingency plan in case the outcome is not met. Agree upon tangible outcomes that each employee needs to deliver and then ensure that it gets done. If the employees are well on track, do not micromanage them.

Don't Carry the World Upon Your Shoulders

All of us can admit that the situation we find ourselves in today, is nowhere near normal. People all across the globe find themselves in a challenging scenario. Employees look towards the leaders during times of distress to respond to challenges. By showing your employees that it is okay to be vulnerable right now, you will only increase the trust and rapport within the company.

The leaders would want to put on a brave front to assuage the fear of their employees, but it can also guilt them into hiding their struggles. Employees going through a tough time should not be judged, rather they should be allowed to openly convey the source of their stress. This level of safety and trust is possible when the leaders also express their vulnerabilities openly.

The Bottom Line

Performance reviews in the middle of a pandemic can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety. Thus, it becomes critical to tweak them in a way that takes realistic expectations and strengths of the employees into account. Do not forget that engaging and retaining your employees is the biggest achievement amid a global pandemic.

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