Note from Lanteria: This article was originally posted in the middle of 2020 when remote working became our new normal. And although 2021 is just around the corner, we're still staying at home due to the pandemic, and the performance assessments are mostly done remotely, keeping this article fresh and useful for every manager who wants to set up an efficient performance review in the Zoom era.
Performance assessment is a part of the working process for both managers and employees. It allows us to evaluate how effective each staff member is, while also determining the strong and weak sides of each person. This process is essential for the growth of the company, as well as the professional development of each employee.
Assessing a job performance is an established procedure, but during these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is much more challenging than usual. Over 85% of organizations have shifted their focus to working from home, which comes with its own set of challenges. Let’s review some practices that can help you evaluate your employees in 2020.
To properly judge your employee’s performance, you need to understand the real-world situations and challenges they face during the remote work. The most common problems include:
The feeling of isolation – social interaction is an important part of a working process; without it, a person can feel lonely and not belonging;
Lack of face-to-face management – the shortage of communication between the manager and the employee can result in a subpar outcome;
Not enough information – this problem concerns new workers – there is a limited ability to consult with colleagues, requiring students to seek information elsewhere;
Various distractions – for example, with schools and kindergartens closed employees have to take care of their children as well as focusing on the performance task.
For a remote employee, the hours spent on the project are not as important as it is for work in the office during certain hours. If all the previously set up deadlines are met, the quality and quantity of tasks done are a much clearer metric of worker’s performance.
Unfortunately, while it is a better metric, it is somewhat harder to track. One of the solutions is to give two employees similar tasks and compare the results.
Lack of in-person interactions often results in you as a manager not being able to collect all the data necessary for your evaluation. Furthermore, it is easier to fall victim to personal biases. To avoid that, you should gather as much different data as possible – whether it is about employees’ project-based learning or their interpersonal skills. One of the best ways for it is the 360-degree feedback – feedback from subordinates, colleagues, supervisors, and self-evaluation.
Another great way to gauge the growth of a person’s knowledge and skills is to conduct a 1:1 evaluation. In most companies, such a detailed meeting is often conducted as a yearly or quarterly review. However, during the stay-at-home period, it is more effective to make them more frequent. Not only does it establish a better interpersonal connection, but it also allows you to better understand all the factors and obstacles the workers are faced with.
A great performance cannot be achieved if there is no clear goal to pursue. So, the key point of making an evaluation starts before the actual process, but rather during the problem formulation. This includes setting up certain deadlines, defining the details of the task, and adjusting the expectations based on the personal situation of each employee. This drastically reduces the amount of micromanagement you would have to perform and makes the final result easier to achieve and assess.
While it might be a part of your job description as a manager to fire or promote employees, now is not the best time to make drastic decisions. A radical change in circumstances can and probably will result in lower performance. To balance it and provide an adequate conduct review, you need to provide your employees with some adjustment time, moral, social, and financial support and trust in that they’re doing their best.
While performance assessment in 2020 might be different from what you’re used to, it is still an important and valuable task. Try to adapt and adopt new practices to make sure your evaluation is fair and beneficial both to your employees and the company as a whole.
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