Running Your Business

Tips for Effective Remote Performance Management and Reviews

  • Remote work is here to stay; having a plan for performance management and reviews under this setup is essential
  • Real-time feedback can provide more accurate data for assessing employee performance
  • Self-evaluations can still lend important insight into the review process

Posted by October 16, 2020

With more professionals working away from the traditional office than ever before, remote performance management is on the mind of every human resource leader. So how can HR manage the annual performance review for remote employees, and what resources are available to deal with this effectively?

According to a 2020 study by Upwork, 62% of hiring managers surveyed said their workforces will be more remote going forward as a result of their experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s not just the pandemic that sparked this trend. There was already a movement by companies to reduce overhead costs, increase job satisfaction, and expand recruitment by hiring remote talent. Plus, more and more employees are attracted to the flexibility and autonomy of remote work.

Communication Is Important

Creating an effective virtual performance management strategy requires the ability to see the differences between remote and in-house workers. The biggest challenge here is communication.

As noted by Fast Company, “Popular research has accredited only about 7% of all communication to verbal exchange and about 55% to body language. Introducing and reinforcing regular one-on-ones throws a much-needed lifeline to managers trying to understand where employees’ heads are at.”

It’s difficult to observe the performance and body language of remote employees, but virtual conferencing technology can help facilitate this. As part of their performance review for remote employees, managers should also prepare a more real-time feedback system. These real-time surveys can uncover more data about employees’ states of mind and their levels of commitment to performance excellence.

When conducting a performance review for remote workers, it’s critical to take careful note of the goals that each employee has. Do these goals align with those of the organization? If so, what support does the remote employee need to achieve them?

Sometimes, virtual workers can feel invisible in the organization as well as undervalued and underrecognized. Management should never overlook how well a remote employee is doing just because they’re quiet. Instead, encourage remote workers to be more vocal about their achievements, what they still want to achieve and how they plan to reach certain performance objectives.

Why Virtual Reviews Can Work

In some ways, a virtual performance review may be more accurate than one conducted for an in-house employee. “Remote working may help companies to achieve fairer appraisals that are based purely on outputs and outcomes, and less influenced by outward signals or unconscious bias,” says Liza Haskell, interim vice president of people and culture for Tide, in an article for theHRDirector.

Often, it’s a good idea to send out virtual performance management sheets to remote workers and have them self-evaluate. Then, a performance review meeting can be set using a virtual meeting method, such as Zoom, Google Meet or Microsoft Teams. This can be more effective and feel less threatening to employees. Focus on the elements that are frustrating to the remote employee first, then come up with joint decisions for solving problems.

It takes cooperation on both sides to make remote work a positive experience and a productive arrangement. To be effective, remote performance management will need to follow the same guiding principles.

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