Navigating Your Remote Performance Review

When Your Performance Review Goes Remote
If you’re one of the many people who are working remotely today, there’s probably a virtual performance review in your future. Although this might add to the normal anxiety that comes with an annual review, in reality, remote interviews are much the same as in-person performance reviews. You still need to prepare in advance for the discussion, so you know what you’re going to say, what you’re going to listen for, and what you’re going to ask.

Here are some things to consider doing before, during, and after your remote review to set yourself up for a positive experience…

Before the Review

Take the same preparations you’d take for an in-person review, plus a few important extras. Create a comfortable space for yourself, organize the notes you’ve prepared in advance and put them within easy reach – and have a glass of water nearby in case your mouth gets dry.

Prior to sitting down with your manager, look at the feedback from your last review. “Be especially aware of any specific areas that you were asked to work on — assume that your manager will be looking at notes from your last review as well,” advises Nancy Halverson, MRINetwork Vice President. “You should come into your evaluation with examples of how you responded positively.”  She also suggests that you compile highlights of your recent performance as it can be challenging for managers to be aware of everything their employees are doing when they’re not in the office every day.

Knowing you’ve thoroughly prepared and optimally set up your space in advance will allow you to be relaxed, expressive, and receptive during your review.

During the Review

Remember to give the screen — and the person behind it — your undivided attention, leave longer than usual pauses to account for lag time, and make eye contact with your computer’s camera. 

Touch upon the high-impact work you’ve done in the last year and what you have done for your team, your customers, or your company. Emphasize the growth you have experienced or created for yourself, and how it aligns with the company’s goals and your own goals.

You’ll also want to discuss the challenges you’ve experienced. Plan ahead and ask for any tools and resources that you may need to better yourself and your work. “If your manager doesn’t touch on areas you want to discuss — specific goals, challenges, accomplishments — be proactive and bring them up yourself,” says Halverson. “Ask for feedback and take any negative observations in stride by focusing on what you can do to improve.” Setting up a plan to deal with issues that come up during your review demonstrates your willingness to fulfill expectations and move forward in your personal development.

Following the Review

While your discussion with your manager is still fresh in your mind, make notes on the issues and suggestion that were raised so that you can determine the specific things you want to work on going forward. “Once you have a plan, refer to it periodically to make sure you’re staying on track,” says Halverson. “If possible, schedule check-ins with your manager to review your progress, which might not be immediately apparent in a remote work setting.” If you feel that your review was negative, consider that most employee performance problems are not because they lack the skills to do the job. “Most performance issues relate to how you interact with others, handle projects, or manage your time,” Halverson says. “So if you have a negative review, you need to take a close look at behaviors that are holding you back and ask your manager for help. Development requires change, and one of the most important skills for long-term career success is the ability to change our own behavior.”