Performance reviews in the time of remote work

Performance reviews in the time of remote work

Performance reviews are trickier than ever today when some employees work entirely from home, others come to the office and still others split their time between the two.

One of the biggest challenges involves the difficulty of creating a connection between the manager and the employer. People who share the same physical space as their managers will have more opportunities to interact with them on a regular basis than those working remotely, which means that these officegoers have an advantage over peers who work remotely most or all of the time.

The best way to even the playing field is by making it easier for workers to interact with their bosses when they’re working remotely. You can do this by scheduling short but frequent check-ins with remote workers or providing virtual office hours when you are available.

The most accurate performance ratings are obtained when reviews are based on based on observable behaviors rather than on subjective evaluation of traits. The problem is that observing behaviors is difficult if not impossible when employees are working remotely. One way to address this is to adopt a results-based system in which employees are evaluated based on productivity metrics such as client satisfaction or sales volume or other criteria designed to fit the position.

Unfortunately, performance reviews based on results may not work for every job. The key is to use only one type of review system for all employees that can effectively measure any employee’s performance. If judging on results doesn’t work, you could try a behavior-based system that doesn’t favor employees working in the office. Another system is competencies reviews, which assess employees on competencies such as attention to detail, timeliness and quality of work.

Performance reviews will probably always pose some problems for both managers and employees, but they are critical to your company’s success.  The reviews should be fair and not put anyone – such as those working primarily from home – at a disadvantage.