Employee performance reviews are challenging, especially as more work is being done from home. Here’s how you can improve performance management for remote workers and set them up for success.
Managers have long relied on physical proximity to their employees to assess their performance. But as people continue working from home after the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies find it difficult to evaluate remote workers.
Fortunately, out of sight needn’t mean out of mind, and employers can still get a clear view of how teams are doing from afar. Here are three tips for designing more accurate remote employee performance reviews.
1. develop performance reviews specifically for remote work
The first step is to develop a performance evaluation process that acknowledges the differences between remote and onsite working. Annual reviews were already falling out of favor in recent years because feedback is often delivered too late for employees to take meaningful action. Quarterly performance reviews are better suited for remote employees so they can make improvements as problems arise.
Remote workers also benefit from more frequent one-on-ones with their managers. These sessions are an opportunity for leaders to help employees feel seen and valued. Equally, it’s an opportunity for remote workers to be candid about their challenges and successes. These one-to-ones should dovetail with regular meetings of the full team, where employees can share progress and talk about any roadblocks they’re facing.
2. create clear remote performance indicators
The traditional idea of a productive worker has often been “first in the door, last one out.” These days, however, employers can’t always determine the exact hours employees are on the clock. However, leading companies have still found that workers are 35-40% more productive at home than in the office.
In the remote working environment, outcomes and impact are more meaningful than presence. Therefore, the next step is to determine how to objectively and consistently measure remote work quality. Managers can also guide employees through setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based) goals for themselves and as a team. Above all, clearly communicate expectations from the beginning and quickly address any issues that arise.
3. assess work-from-home well-being
It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic changed people’s attitudes about work. Employees want a healthy work/life balance and to feel supported by their employers. Remote work provides greater flexibility, but it can also mean that employees may feel pressured to work longer hours. If an employee seems to be constantly “on” while working from home they could wind up burning out. As such, it’s a good idea to remind remote employees to separate their personal and company time.
Managers can also encourage team members to schedule short, informal interactions. After all, the workplace isn’t just for formal meetings; it’s a place where people get to know one another while grabbing coffee and lunch. According to a recent survey by Microsoft, employees who have thriving relationships with their immediate team members claim better wellbeing (76%) than those with poor relationships (57%). They also report higher productivity and are less likely to change employers in the immediate future.
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