Remote work, on the rise since the dawn of the Age of Information, has solidified itself today as one of the preferred modes of business, for obvious reasons. Bolstered since the pandemic, it has led organizations to adopt policies and models of operation more suited for a virtual workplace.
However, in such a setup, one of the most pressing issues has turned out to be that of employee performance reviews especially since they are no longer face-to-face with employers. It goes without saying that regular reviews of employee performance, along with engaging feedback and appraisals, are necessary for organizational health.
So, without further ado, let us dive straight into the 5 best practices you must implement to conduct successful performance reviews of remote employees.
- Consistent Dialogue of Feedback
Studies have shown that organizations that provide employees with a secure space for opening a dialogue, that can be consistently utilized for feedback, that goes back and forth, report a lower attrition rate. The same surveys have shown that employees, and therefore the employers, of such a system are more motivated to work, have a happier workplace, and a healthy work-life balance. They report higher levels of feelings of eagerness to work every day and a general sense of accomplishment.
Unlike the regular worker, the rising gig work economy is encouraging a new type of worker- the remote worker. Mostly comprising of the Generation Z population that have grown up in the arms of evolving technology, the contemporary remote worker believes in the power of engagement. And conversations in the form of exchanging constructive feedback are just the right way to deliver that. Increasing digitization has made accessible myriad ways of curating feedback generously and businesses should use them judiciously for the purpose.
- Open and Effective Communication
Along with the aforementioned, what a safe and healthy channel for communication ultimately prepares the ground for is the opportunity to identify underlying systemic problems invisible to the naked eye. It aids in fostering organizational transparency that carries the potential to bring forth whether or not personal goals of remote employees are in alignment or conflict with collective aspirations of their respective organizations. It is a valuable marker for analyzing objective metrics for performances.
Ineffective communication among coworkers lead to drops in levels of performance- individual and collective. Especially when working remotely, an individual is at a higher risk of feeling alienated from the rest of the team. Even in performance reviews, if there is not a safe space for bringing up these issues, that is only assuming that they are ongoing, then the purpose of having one in the first place gets diluted. Teams are at a vulnerability to miss deadlines and businesses, thus, might lose out on newer opportunities.
- Fixing a Format for All
Standard practices of methodologies, like Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), for setting individual goals aligned to company objectives should be followed. This also helps in setting a tone to be followed for operations within the organization. Generally, there are methods in place to ensure a system of checks and balances in employees’ output. Be it through simple conversations with coworkers, inputs from managers or observations from project-flows, it is hard to not stick to tone.
However, it is always helpful to fix a format that is supposed to be followed for the performance review of the remote employee at hand. Better so, if it is done ahead of time. Even for cases where the aforementioned methods are not prevalent, which might be quite hard to find, having a fixed format of a performance review would be especially helpful. It would be much easier to discuss openly the personal goals and performances of the individual remote employee and they can have an idea of what to expect from reviews and how to perform henceforth.
- Video Instead of Audio Meetings
In a setting where one barely, if ever, gets the opportunity to meet their coworkers or employees in person, reviewing their business performance might get a little awkward. Usually, though, remote workers do put in the extra effort of, at times, going out of their way, to connect with, and stay connected to, their remote colleagues. However, if that is not the case, a performance review can be a good starting point to familiarize with them beyond what work entails, through online video conferencing.
A lot of communication is carried out non-verbally. A certain string of words may sound different through text, on pre-recorded audio messages, phone calls, video conferences, and so on. What that essentially entails is the inclusion or exclusion of certain factors- like tone of voice, body language, and so on. Through each of the media mentioned, a certain meaning can be reached to, and this observation is bound to provide valuable insight into the process of employee performance review.
- Reflect on Past Lessons instead of Dwelling
Finally, reflection and introspection are the keys to any successful endeavor. However, building on that train of thought, and continuing from there, one might do well to remember that reflection on the past might be one thing, but dwelling on it is a whole different ballgame. Reviewers must strive to avoid the latter if they want to conduct effective performance reviews of employees, especially ones working remotely. Past lessons must be complemented with articulate future-proof plans.
Dwelling on issues where the employee might not have delivered their best performance could be highly demoralizing for them while going on praising one good performance might make them over-confident in their abilities. The person in charge of remote reviews must strive to strike the perfect harmony between mentioning the two. The focus should primarily be geared toward setting realistic goals, aligning the business objectives with personal goals of employees, for the future and attaining them.
Remote work has shown the world, in many instances, how ineffective management of digitally connected teams leads to disruption in workflows. Remote workers are reported to feel disconnected from their office counterparts and one starting point of bridging that gap might be through conducting engaging performance reviews of remote employees. Hopefully, our blog helps you achieve just that.