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December 1, 2020by Mikerash1
Evaluating Remote Employees
What is the best way to evaluate remote employees?

As the year-end approaches many companies are preparing for performance reviews. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, workplace dynamics have been dramatically changed over the past few months. The word office has a whole new meaning now, from heavily reduced personal interaction and connection to a heavy reliance on collaboration tools and communication technology. With the absence of in-person interactions – How can you fairly and accurately deliver clear feedback and maintain trust with employees? Here are some ways to help you prepare…

It is important that you construct an employee review strategy and share it with your team. This shows consistency and improves the nature of performance review discussions.

Create and Utilize an Employee Review Template

Performance review season requires preparation from both the reviewer and the reviewee. It is a huge mistake if you think you can just hop into a review and just sort of “wing-it”.

The first step in the preparation process is to create and utilize an employee review template. This is a proven and effective way to document and track employee performance. You will also find that this assists you in conducting a more focused review and creates a level playing field for all involved.

If possible, include your review template with employees during their onboarding process. This is a way to let them know how and when they will be evaluated and what is to be expected during the process. 

Encourage Self-assessment

Encouraging employees to reflect on their goals, responsibilities, strengths, weaknesses, and overall performance through a self assessment will help you for two reasons.

  1. This ensures that employees set aside time to evaluate their performance
  2. This will help managers get a sense of understanding on whether an employee has an accurate understanding of their impact within the workplace
  3. Encouraging employees to evaluate their performance ahead of a performance review meeting keeps them engaged in the process while allowing managers to get an insight into their employees perspective. 

Utilize a self-performance review template that requires the employee to write their job description, goals achieved within a specific time period, areas of strengths and areas for improvement. This will assist the interviewer in assessing their impact on the organization and allows perspective on the employees side of the story.

Use Video Conferencing

Conducting performance reviews can be a tricky matter during normal times. The remote working environment that was quickly forced on businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic certainly have not helped the situation.

Conducting an online performance review utilizing video conferencing software will help you create a more personal experience and allows both parties to facilitate transparent communication. It may not allow you to fully read body language and facial expressions the way that you could in person, but it still allows a strong connection between both parties.

Before you begin utilizing your chosen video conferencing platform, establish video conferencing guidelines and distribute them to your team to ensure it is an effective virtual meeting.

Administer Clear and Explicit Feedback

Stay away from making vague and obscure comments as they only end up damaging employee motivation and more importantly, morale. Conducting a performance review in-person or online, managers are expected to be specific with their performance review feedback.

Due to the absence of personal contact, this is more important than ever in a remote environment. As Harvard Business Review rightly states: You have to be much more explicit and verbal. Be cautious while communicating with your employees and delivering feedback – leave zero openings for miscommunication. Be an active listener and spend time to make sure things are not lost in translation. As an example, if a sales team member is struggling to fill their sales pipeline, use performance-based data examples, look to sales department KPI’s (total revenue generated, new leads, average cost per lead, etc.) and offer specific feedback so that the employee gets a clear understanding of where and how they can improve. Utilize the screen share option and walk through specific documents together allowing for clearer feedback.

Another way to offer detailed feedback is by conducting a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Treats) analysis. This is a proven method that appreciates the positive aspects and identifies areas for improvement.

Two-way Dialogue

Do not bombard your employees with feedback, and consider your job complete. To have an effective performance review, a two-way conversation is required. It’s important to use this opportunity to receive feedback on your management skills and use this time to address any concerns that your employees might have. Once you are complete in discussing all relevant points, set aside time to actively listen to your employee and understand how you can empower them to perform better.

Approaching performance reviews like a dialogue has proven to contribute to a healthy, transparent and productive working environment, both in-person and remote.

Conducting Frequent Reviews

Moving forward if you don’t already, don’t wait until the end of the year for online performance reviews to provide input. Feedback is much more effective when you have frequent check-ins, according to SHRM. Many companies are moving towards providing continuous, real-time feedback consistently throughout the year. When working remotely, conducting frequent 1 on 1 performance reviews allows you to build relationships, establish trust, and open channels of communication. This will allow employees to get timely feedback, increase motivation, and improve on the go, which translates to helping you get more done as a team and building a company culture that retains employees.

Approach online performance reviews with care

If you are looking at improving your performance review process with coaching or with documentation click here or call us at (657) 258-0577. We will run you through mock performance reviews, conduct document review, or provide you with the necessary documents to have successful performance reviews, guaranteed to leave a lasting impression on your business.

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