Performance Reviews & Hybrid Work Culture: Do They Mix?

Sep 16, 2021 | Performance Management

In the wake of the pandemic, many businesses are reassessing their methods of conducting performance reviews. Why? During the pandemic, many organizations switched to hybrid or remote work. As of March 2021, 56% of U.S. employees were working remotely due to the pandemic, Gallup has found.

In addition, 61% wanted to work from home at least some of the time. Meeting face to face may not always be practical (or even possible). And companies are looking for alternatives to traditional performance review models.

Conducting performance reviews can sometimes raise particular challenges in the workplace. Let’s take a look at how to get the most out of performance reviews on hybrid or remote teams. Then, we’ll dive into how some real companies have successfully put these tips into practice. 

Deliver Performance Reviews for Remote and Hybrid Teams

  1. If you can meet in person for performance reviews, do so. Be extra welcoming to employees who haven’t been to the office in a while. They may feel out of their comfort zone. Greet them warmly as soon as they come in. Consider having a small group get-together for lunch or coffee after you complete your review.
  2. Strive to be more verbal in virtual performance reviews. It’s harder to read body language on a video call. Go above and beyond to express how you feel, clearly and kindly. Take notes as the other person is speaking. This will allow you to share a detailed response when they’re finished. You also won’t need to interject and derail their train of thought as they speak.  
  3. Take a balanced look at how the employee is performing in the following three domains:
  • Setting and meeting personal goals
  • Partnering with others
  • Achieving deliverables

A balanced approach is especially important for employees on newly hybrid or remote teams. It may take some time. But eventually, they’ll get up to speed. Then, they’ll learn to navigate their new terrain and reach desired outcomes. In the meantime, they may excel in personal development that will ultimately help them reach their goals, and the company’s.

Consider more than how the employee is performing as an individual (i.e., the technical aspects of their job). Think of how well they’re participating in teamwork. For many newly hybrid teams, communication challenges are a major growing pain. Discuss how you can better support them in achieving stronger communication with colleagues.

  1. Use clear metrics. This can help prevent positive or negative bias toward particular employees,  like the ones you see in person more (or less) often. Performance reviews help ensure that you’re evaluating employees in similar functions or levels based on the same set of criteria.
  2. Collaborate on setting goals. Ask if they’ve been considering any changes to their career trajectory, as many employees have been this year. Can you help them work toward a lateral or upward move? If so, empower them to do so. 

Most importantly, hold less formal check-ins on a frequent (at least weekly) basis. Remote employees sometimes feel like managers evaluate them only based on their deliverables, SHRM notes. Have conversations about their development. It can help you see a more complete picture of how they’re performing.

Client Success Stories

Ducker, a market research company, thinks outside the box when it comes to performance reviews. They deliver performance reviews on a project basis, in addition to giving mid-year and annual reviews. Prior to adopting virtual performance review solutions through Primalogik, giving project-based reviews proved quite cumbersome.

They were using another performance management platform that didn’t offer that option, and they needed a flexible solution that would work for remote or hybrid teams.

“We want our employees to get timely feedback on a project basis—that’s just how we’ve organized giving feedback.”

Diane, Director of Talent Management at Ducker, explained. “Unfortunately, there were some limitations with our old system that made this whole process very complex.” Adopting a user-friendly virtual solution simplified the process, making it easy for managers to quickly deliver a detailed review grounded in clear metrics after the completion of a project.

Alex Chan of Sensiba San Filippo LLC also says that virtual performance review tools have made all the difference.

“Once we got onto Primalogik, the time required for each review went from 4 – 8 hours to 15 minutes. Everyone was more enthusiastic about doing the evaluations and putting forth good information.”

Alex said.

Follow the steps discussed here. You’ll be able to deliver performance reviews to both on-site and remote employees. When done well, performance reviews can become a rich, two-way conversation, that both you and employees enjoy!

Ready to test-drive a performance review system? Ours is tailor-made for remote and hybrid work. Request a demo of Primalogik’s software. We’ll gladly walk you through the ins and outs of how it works.

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