Performance reviews are already intimidating enough, what more during the global pandemic that’s forced companies to adopt remote work arrangements. Now, managers are facing new sets of challenges. After all, how can you conduct employee performance assessments for those working remotely?
Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. This article will share what HR professionals should learn about conducting employee performance assessments for remote workers.
Why is Remote Employee Performance Assessment Different?
Before learning how to adapt performance assessments for remote employees, you first must understand what requires changing. Your remote team isn’t working in the same setting and facing the same challenges that in-office employees do. That’s why you shouldn’t evaluate everyone using the same parameters, which would be unfair.
Here are the aspects to keep in mind.
Communication is a crucial aspect to consider as you arrange remote employee performance assessments. You aren’t physically with remote staff compared to in-house teams, making communication and assessment challenging as you can’t observe gestures and body language.
Make sure to consider communication as you select the appropriate digital platform for performance reviews. We recommend using a video conferencing platform to have some level of face-to-face interaction and pick up on some gestures or body language cues.
Remote work may increase any chances of bias towards employees since you don’t directly monitor how they work every day. For instance, you might be expecting excellent performers to work even better, seeing their results more favorably than others.
Consider these biases and make sure they won’t impact your assessments, decisions, and how you plan to set goals.
The global pandemic has significantly impacted employee performance, so you can expect team members to have personal struggles. It can be the challenge of adapting to remote work, taking care of kids while working, or dealing with a whole new work-life balance for the first time.
As HR leaders, you must encourage employees to talk about their issues, and you must help employees adjust to the new work processes properly.
How to Evaluate Remote Employee Performance Assessments
Now that you have an idea of what to consider when conducting remote employee performance assessments, the next question is: How can you assess the performance?
Follow these three effective methods to improve performance evaluations:
Self-evaluation involves receiving feedback about an employee from himself.
Why is this important?
Self-evaluations offer a holistic view of an employee’s performance and how they operate. These evaluations also let employees know that their views matter, helping them reflect on their work.
You can conduct self-evaluations in performance reviews, which usually consist of at least five multiple-choice questions and a few open-ended questions to have employees express their thoughts further.
Compare all employees’ self-evaluations with other reviews and information so you can understand them better. Discover where the views differ or match so you can recognize any critical factors, such as any areas to improve and one’s major strengths.
Conduct Internal and Peer Reviews
Internal and peer reviews will involve feedback from team members working closely with the employee in question. Such reviews would cover various aspects, such as an employee’s work ethic, performance, and soft skills, including leadership and communication.
These reviews are used alongside self-evaluations, so HR leaders get a more detailed view of how individuals and team members work together. This is important when looking into factors behind the exceptional or poor performance, so HR leaders know how to optimize work processes accordingly.
Internal reviews can provide insight into any strengths or weaknesses leaders weren’t even aware of or considered. These additional views will also eliminate biases so that leaders can evaluate work performance more accurately.
Measure Performance with Key Metrics
Subjective reviews are crucial, but it will be complicated to conduct performance assessments without any objective data you can measure.
To create a more accurate picture of an employee, you must measure remote workforce performance using key metrics like KPIs or sets of deliverables. These need to relate to any organizational goals or individual goals to measure employee value.
For instance, rather than measuring time worked by every employee without any contextual data, go measure the time spent on productive tasks. Then compare the data across employees working in similar roles. That way, you can set clear expectations and accurately gauge remote employee performance.
How to Improve Remote Performance Reviews
We only mentioned critical methods to evaluate employee performance, but this isn’t the only thing to learn. Here are tips to improve your remote employee performance assessments:
Getting employees to trust HR is helpful with work, but it’s crucial when it comes to remote employee reviews. Encourage employees to communicate with you freely. That way, employees will find it easier to open up about any struggles they’re going through, which might interfere with their productivity and performance.
Building trust can also make performance assessments easier to conduct as there will be no fear and distrust on the employee’s side. You can communicate better and give employees feedback in a relaxed manner, and they can receive criticism better. Employees who receive criticism better will be more likely to keep such critiques in mind to improve their performance in the long run, making assessments more valuable.
Provide Regular Feedback
Employee performance assessments are usually held once a year. But today, annual reviews aren’t as ideal, especially in the world of remote work models.
Instead, HR managers need to start providing regular feedback to employees by holding shorter but more frequent performance reviews. Real-time feedback gives employees the chance to continually improve their work performance, assuring them that they’re doing well.
Furthermore, frequent performance assessments can help remote team leaders monitor teams’ progress, making it easier to manage remote employees. More relevant performance reviews will also reduce any burden and stress associated with such check-ins and gets employees used to them. In time, employees will see these performance reviews as a more productive practice, not something they should dread.
When giving employees their assessment, make sure to provide positive feedback with your critiques. Employees will be more receptive to the feedback they receive and will be aware of what they’re doing right and what requires improvement. Doing so can boost employee performance and have people set clearer goals.
Have Effective Communication Channels
Communication is a significant barrier to productivity, so a more efficient framework of communication is required for virtual teams.
We recommend conducting performance assessments over video conferencing platforms like Skype or Zoom rather than text-based tools like email. That way, you can read any body language and listen to tones, which helps with better communication.
Furthermore, it would be best to restrict performance reviews to smaller groups or one-to-one calls rather than an entire team meeting. More private calls will help employees feel more comfortable, allowing them to express what they think freely without being wary of what others around them think. Allow people to speak at length rather than having time limits.
Listen to Employees and Help Out
While you’re giving performance reviews to employees, that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t listen to them. Listening to employees allows you to know how to help them adapt to the new remote work model. They may be facing issues you can help out in, which in turn improves employee engagement.
Doing this can help employees overcome any issue and feel valued throughout the assessment. Moreover, doing this will have performance reviews become a collaborative effort, reducing burdens on the manager and boosting employee morale.
Listening to your employees can also help adjust goal-setting and feedback, catering to individual needs more. This permits you to provide more actionable and concrete advice that actually provides the results you want.
Recognize Your Biases
Our internal biases can be stronger as we work remotely. Maybe you look favorably at good employees’ performances or those you’re closer with. Or you see the work of average workers more critically.
These biases can harm performance reviews’ fairness and pressure good performers into overworking. Moreover, it can discourage other performers from bringing out their best.
To conduct fair employee performance assessments, you must look into the possibility of having biases, recognizing what they are, and keeping them out of your evaluation.
Counteract your biases by gathering feedback from various sources, using self-evaluations, and measuring performances against objective performance metrics. Doing so will show you if you have a biased or limited perception and gain more holistic views of performances to create better assessments.
You can also consider using powerful employee productivity tracking tools so you can track everyone’s work performances daily. This gives you additional insights and accuracy when monitoring employee performance and progress.
Look Into Soft Skills and Objective Results
While objective results are crucial when considering how much value an employee contributes, they aren’t enough. You must also look into talents and soft skills, which also play significant roles in contributing to performance. Recognizing such skills can help you discover the potential of employees.
Here are a few soft skills to look into:
- Communication efforts and skills
- Leadership skills and performance management
- Cooperation and teamwork skills
- Decision-making skills
Since we can’t measure these skills objectively, you can observe them through self-evaluations and peer reviews. During your assessment, keep these skills in mind and their individual output and results. Recognize the efforts in all aspects, encouraging employees to improve on any areas they seem to lack.
Wrapping It Up
Employee performance assessments aren’t the easiest task, and it can get even more challenging when conducting it with remote workers. But with all the information we tackled above, you’ll be more prepared to conduct these performance reviews smoothly.
Hopefully, our guide to remote employee performance assessments helped you out! Let us know how our tips helped you out and if you’d like to share your own experiences in the comments section below. Your thoughts are much appreciated!