Here comes the appraisal season…
You know the drill when it comes to the performance review season. You drag each employee to a conference room for a one-on-one, hand them a document to sign, and start a gruelling conversation about their past performances.
Now, add in the pandemic where companies have trouble rating their employee performance accurately. Unfair reviews can leave your employees feeling shocked, disappointed, and defensive.
What happens if the employee disagrees with the reviews? How should you remedy the unfair and inaccurate evaluation? In this article, we provide some tips and perspectives on how you should manage performance reviews differently.
Tips to appraise your employees this year
1. Modifying pre-COVID-19 objectives
Some of the objectives you set in employees’ last review may not be prioritised or suspended because of the pandemic. Therefore, inform your employees to jot down their new priorities when working remotely before the review. Focus on employee contribution and the value they added through the crisis.
2. Change evaluation method
This gets a little tricky. You need to understand that some goals are difficult to achieve during the pandemic. For example, increase revenue or achieve a number of sales by a certain percentage. Holding staff accountable for such goals is unfair and unrealistic, even almost impossible. Consider looking at the projects they are involved in and their accomplishments throughout the crisis.
3. Enable a two-way discussion
Employees may feel that their work is less visible or have fewer opportunities to show you the work they are proud of. Make the discussion more conversational for employees to talk about the challenges they are facing while working remotely. Create a safe space for them to discuss issues about what’s bothering them at work.
4. Understand the inevitable setbacks
Nobody saw the pandemic coming. Plans changed; your employees had to work out how to achieve more outcomes in new ways. When you’re reviewing them, don’t be too critical or doubt their capabilities. It is all the first time we have been trapped in a situation like this. That’s why some people may need a few tries before finding a new solution.
What to do to give a fair-minded review?
Refine goal settings
Update goals on a real-time basis and discontinue the ones that no longer apply. Have an ongoing discussion about what work adds the most value, considering that the employees have much less contact with you than usual because of the remote working situation. Adjust the goals to emphasise how employees can improve to better collaborate with each other.
Introduce bi-weekly or monthly check-ins with your team members to discuss the recent achievements that can possibly move them closer to the next promotion. Companies should reinforce the importance of providing constant feedback and give guidance on how to conduct them remotely.
Some goals are more difficult to hit because of the pandemic. In this case, talk about your expectation with your employees and how they can explore new areas to focus on. Taking new online courses or new initiatives out of their usual job scope are great examples for self-improvement to excel in the future.
The bottom line
Yes, we get that the pandemic is challenging, but this is also an opportunity for employees to find a new sense of purpose in their careers. Have more frequent communication with your employees to understand how to best support them.
Ultimately, the crisis will not change the fundamentals of performance management, but it is advancing to a more continuous, flexible approach towards evolution.