Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Performance Reviews Best Practices for Remote Employees

With many companies still operating remotely, performance reviews will most likely also need to be completed remotely. While the general goal of performance reviews is the same, having them remotely brings a few fundamental changes and challenges. Here are some tips and best practices to ensuring your performance reviews are as effective as possible while you and your employees are remote.

Know Your Purpose

Previously, performance reviews were a time to commend employees on good performance and weed out any poor performers. However, as we shifted into a remote working environment and worked through the challenges of the past two years, these reviews are now less about who gets a raise and who doesn’t, and more about setting goals both short-term and long-term, and discussing how your employees will achieve their goals. Performance reviews are more of a two-way communication where you will set goals and discuss how you can provide support to your employees in achieving them. Your main purpose is to help employees become as strong and successful as possible.[1]

Re-Imagine the Assessment

Performance reviews are generally a measure of an employee’s performance against a particular goal. While that is still the case, some goals may have changed—or became less feasible to attain—since the COVID-19 Pandemic. For example, meeting the same sales quota may not be feasible and will need to be adjusted. In this instance, you may want to also focus on an employee’s growth, learning, and adaptability in addition to goals set.[2]

Gather Your Data

With everyone working remotely, you don’t have as much data as you normally do since you aren’t seeing your employees in person around the office. This increases the risk of “old biases,” meaning you consider previous top performers to continue excelling and previous struggling employees to also have maintained their performance status. Make a conscious effort to acknowledge prior performance-based biases and be sure to gather all the data prior to conducting the performance review. Requesting self-evaluations is one way to overcome this obstacle. Self-evaluations allow the employee to reflect on their own work and performance, any roadblocks they’ve encountered, areas they feel they can improve on, etc. Asking other colleagues that work directly with your employees will also provide a new and fresh perspective on the employee’s performance. You can ask colleagues questions about your employee’s ability to collaborate and assist others.[1]

Be Clear and Open

Performance reviews are too important not to try and be as face-to-face as possible. Video conferencing is the best way to conduct these reviews while you’re remote. However, it’s important to be mindful of your body language and the fact that you can’t see everything the other person might be doing. In virtual meetings, you lose context cues and it’s easy for things to get lost in translation. You’ll need to be much more explicit and verbal than you would be in person. Listen carefully and encourage a healthy dialogue so each employee has the chance to both talk and ask questions if things are unclear.[1]

Approach Good and Poor Performers Differently

Normally, performance reviews are a time to confront poor performers and demand improvement. After the past year and a half, it’s become more important to determine why someone is not performing. After finding out the “why,” it’s a good idea to offer the employee a grace period to allow them the chance to improve now that you know the cause of their lack in performance. As for top performers, it’s critical to praise their work and commitment and reassure them how valuable they are to the organization. If their performance is going to allow them to have greater opportunities in the organization, it’s a good idea to share with them these opportunities and create goals that will help them move towards these opportunities.[1]

If you are needing assistance with navigating remote performance reviews, Harbor America is here to help. With a team of experts in human resources, we can assist you with preparing for reviews, how best to conduct them, and how to manage both poor and high performers. Our team is here to make sure this important task is done effectively by providing you with all the resources and guidance you need. Contact Harbor America to learn more.

[1] Harvard Business Review- How to do Performance Reviews Remotely

[2] HR Morning- Seven Best Practices for Remote Performance Reviews

Table of Contents
Share This Post